Sister Maya Wallace came from a non-religious family. She studied a little about different religions in high school, except Islam as there was no teacher who had Islamic education to teach it.
She was searching for answers to many questions she had but she realized those religions didn’t make any logical sense. At that time, she had a misconceptions about Muslims in general like many people. She thought that Muslims were terrorist crazy people until she worked with Muslims. “ My journey to Islam began in 2005 when I started working in a center with some Pakistani people who were Muslims and they became my best friends. Little by little it was their behavior and manner that introduced me to Islam.” She realized they were nothing of what she thought. She found them as peaceful caring people and became a good friend with them. As she said the most impressing moments she had with them was during Ramadan. Her friends had explained her that they were fasting. At the time of Iftar one of the friends handed her a box containing some food which her mother had cooked. “That was such a profound moment to me because during the day I had ignored them and had eaten and drunk water in front of them, and then they were offering me their food and breaking their fast with me! I became curious, why were muslims doing like this?they were starving themselves and then giving their food to me?!” She started having questions. “What’s Islam? Who are Muslims? ….” And her friends tried to gave proper answers. “…but something that attracted my attention was that they weren’t proud. They didn’t say : ‘I know….I think….I say……’ but said: ‘ This is what the Quran says, this is what the Sunnah says, this is what Hadith says.’ They had proof for everything and didn’t forced me to accept anything. They just gave me the answers and were humble enough to say ‘I can’t tell you’ if they didn’t know the answer.” So Maya found Islam as a true faith but she didn’t want to accept a religion. She just wanted to know the answers to the questions she had in her mind and thought that it would be enough but learning about Islam, Maya realized that believing is not enough. Islam was a way of life in all economical, political, social, ….aspects but she didn’t know if she could commit to be a Muslim. So she was going to try and see if she could do what Islam required of her. Initially she started simple things like stopping eating Haram meat, or drinking alcohol. Little by little she realized that she could overcome these hardships but still was apprehensive if she could give that commitment to Allah! “It took a long time to get that courage to take a leap to know that I was doing the right thing and my fear mainly was telling my family.” She many times decided to tell her mother but she couldn’t until Ramadan. The holy month was coming and she knew that she wanted to embrace Islam as soon as possible to fast during Ramadan. So she mustered all her courage and told her mother and after a few discussions she accepted!
Then she went to a mosque with some friends and took her Shahadatin through tears of joy.
“My journey to Islam was very easy and I had a lot of supports and friends around me. Even my family were very supportive of me. But the main part of this journey began when I started to go to an Islamic class and I learned there about the proper appearance, that we should be covered. For a long time I couldn’t accept it. I didn’t want to cover my beautiful hair.” Then she started to learn more about hijab and the purpose for it: “my friends told me about view of Islam about the women that because of their high value, they have been wanted to be covered. This is their protection and safety and what Allah wants. So when I understood the reasons behind it, I wanted to fulfill that obligation to Allah.”
Before she became a Muslim, she was a little apprehensive about reading Quran which was translated literally and wasn’t understandable for her, till some family friends gave her a Quran which was for children. She went through the stories of the Prophet (PBUH) and her love started and gradually got more toward the Quran. “….and for me the favorite part of Quran is in Surah Al-Bagharah, the verse that Allah challenges the whole mankind: […. if you don’t believe that this book is the word of God, then just produce one word like it…]. it has such strong meaning for me because I’ve seen those people who claim that Allah doesn’t exist or Quran isn’t real or Mohammad made everything up, but they won’t do this simple challenge. Actually during 1400 years, not even a person has been able to do this and we see that In the second part of the verse, Allah goes on to say that you would not be able to bring a verse!”
She ended her speech by explaining about what she’s achieved through converting to Islam: “Islam means everything to me. It’s my whole life. A belief has given me everything that I wanted, given me the understanding to life. It told me why l’m here and what should I do. It lets me know that there’s a God that I can worship and obey him, and describes humanity terms to me. Tells me what’s wrong and what’s right. It has given me a much better relationship with my mother that everyday she tells me that she loves me. Now I have everything and no longer I’m chasing the latest dress or car. I lived for about 17 years and had achieved nothing. Now I’ve understood my place and want to complete my duty toward Muslims and spread Islam.”