SHAFAQNA – I have chosen to remain anonymous to better share my story with Shafaqna. Better yet I have asked Shafaqna Editorial team to convey my story in their own words so that you would hear me better. I am not a writer and I’m much more comfortable telling than writing. But anyway …
I converted to Shia Islam fresh out of college after a trip I made with friends to Lebanon. The irony of it all is that I went to Lebanon to party my summer away … I never thought for a million years that I would come back to the UK a changed woman. And yet this is exactly what happened.
I came across the Quran in the randomest of ways – well … in a manner of fashion since I was standing in a bookshop when a volume caught my eye. And by caught my eye I mean this in the literal sense. The book cover was gorgeous! I’m somewhat of an artsy person and book covers fascinate me.
And so here I was in this bookstore staring at this Quran thinking to myself: “A lot of love must have gone into making this cover … what kind of dedication motivated such work.” As I stood there thinking this old man came up to me and asked me what it was about the book that made me stared. And so I told him … To which he answered: “Maybe if you were to read it you would understand the love that motivated the cover.”
And so I did.
I did and I never looked back. I read and I read and I read … I read about Islam History, I read about the 4 Caliphs and finally I read about Imam Hussain and the tragedy of Karbala. I remember the burning in my chest and the knot in my throat. I remember how I wished to apologise and beg AhlulBayt for forgiveness for the many trials they were put through when all they ambitioned was to serve God.
I remember knowing in my heart of heart that Truth was through them and only through them. I remember visualising them at Heaven’s doors, both the door and the invitation.
The rest as they say is history …
Why Shia Islam? Can there be any other way? Can there be any other way than that of Imam Ali and the Household of the Prophet Muhammad?
Shia Islam is Islam completed and whole. Shia Islam is what the Prophet Muhammad consecrated in Ghadeer.
As far as my experience within the community I must say that it has been bitter sweet. I have made the most wonderful of friends and I have met the most unsympathetic of people. I was at times offered guidance and compassion in my ignorance and others have answered my questions with arrogance and mistrust.
I’m hoping this conversation Shafaqna has started will prompt a rethink in the community and maybe allow for programs to be shaped around converts. We yearn for knowledge and acceptance! Coming to Islam was not an easy task … I lost many friends and family along the way.
Still being shun by own brothers and sisters was more painful.
I now stay mostly away from the community and I almost never attend any events. I would not even know where to start to feel included.
It’s a bit lonely at times but I’m accustomed to it now.
For Muharram I have travelled to Lebanon many times and there I have found a home with an open heart.