SHAFAQNA- When I heard Lady Zainab’s (as) story, I weeped over what had happened to her and I will never forget that moment and even to this day I have such a love for her. And in addition, I want to be a helper to the Imam of our time Imam Mahdi (as), may Allah hasten his return, as Zainab (as) was to Hussain (as).
I first learnt about Islam when I was engaged to a Muslim guy, who wasn’t practising. I was intrigued by his religion and began to do my own research. The only things I knew about Islam where things that I had seen in the media and so I didn’t have a very positive opinion on this religion.
However, I soon realised that there was so much more to this faith than I could ever have imagined. I realised that everything I knew about Islam was completely false. Instead I was presented with a faith that was logical, beautiful, fair and miraculous. I found a God who was so worthy of worship and so merciful to his creation and a Prophet (pbuh) with a beautiful and pure heart.
So after doing a bit of research I decided I wanted to become a Muslim and began to practise. I took things very slowly. I learnt my prayers and began to pray everyday and read Qur’an. I practised fasting, started to be more charitable, gave up pork and begun to give up alcohol among other things. I was very very happy and felt I was nearly ready to take my shahdah.
But things happened. The first thing was I left my fiancé. He had started being increasingly abusive to me and it got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. This completely shattered me – he and his family were the only Muslims I knew properly. I had tried several times to find a mosque to make friends there as my fiancé lived abroad but every time I went to the mosque, I was treated with disrespect and made to feel like I wasn’t welcome there. This hurt me so much and I didn’t understand why. I always dressed and acted so conservatively when I visited the mosque but I was always excluded.
I was so lost and quickly got angry with God about all these things that were happening to me. I panicked because I felt I could not follow Islam anymore. So foolishly I looked for excuses to leave the faith. I ignored everything I had learnt and went back to being ignorant about Islam. Astagfirullah (may Allah forgive me) I did and said some terrible things against God and his Messenger (pbuh).
So instead I became a Christian. I had many Christian friends so I decided it made sense to convert. I had this idea in my head that all Muslims were like my ex and the men at the mosque and that Christians were nice and friendly people. I found excuses to make me believe in the Christian doctrines and for almost a year I lived quite happily as a Christian.
But yet again things changed. As I fully recovered after a difficult few months, I began to miss Islam. I missed the excitement of Ramadan, learning Arabic and above all I began to miss prostrating to God. I began to contemplate my choices and I realised that I had been completely unfair to God and Islam. I left Islam because of a few ignorant and hurtful people who did not embody the ideal Muslim in anyway. I realised that if the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was alive and spoke to these men, he would have told them that they were doing wrong because he said to never hurt or disrespect a woman for she is special to Allah.
And I realised that truly in my heart, I did not accept Jesus (pbuh) as God. From reading the Bible, I loved Jesus with all my heart but truly the idea of him being God is so illogical to me. The only reason why I turned to Christianity is because I felt like I had nowhere left to go, not because I thought it was the truth.
So one day after watching an Islamic lecture, I felt the need to pray. So I washed myself and prayed 2 rakats. And after that I called out to God because I fully believed that I had made some terrible mistakes. I asked God to forgive me of not trusting him and of the terrible sins I had committed. And for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was in the right place.
I decided to take things really slowly and began by increasing my knowledge. At the time, the only path I considered was Sunni Islam. My ex fiance and his friends had told me all about the Shi’as and said some truly disgusting things about them. But one day I was watching Islamic lectures on You Tube and accidendly started watching a lecture by Dr Sayed Ammar Nakshawani. When I realised that it was a Shi’a video I wanted to turn it off, but a huge part of me refused and I kept watching. The arguments and set up were alien to me, but they did make sense. This sent me on a path where I watched more of his videos. First I watched his series on the misconceptions about the Shi’a and everything I had ever been taught was a lie. I couldn’t believe how logical and truthful the beliefs of the Ahlulbayt (as) were. They made more sense to me to anything that I had studied before. After that, I watch his series on the 14 Infallibles and loved learning about the Ahlulbayt (as). I suffer with Bi-Polar and at times get dangerously depressed and managed to find some comfort in learning the difficulties Ahlulbayt (as) went through. It gave me hope that if for example Imam Karzim (as) never gave up on Allah (swt) when we was imprisoned and tortured, then I could do the same with my problems.
I think I had heard of Hussain before but every Sunni scholar who had talked about him just said he is just another martyr and nothing special. What they failed to add was Hussain was murdered by so called fellow Muslims and wallahi it is shameful to call him just another martyr when our Prophet (saw) weeped knowing what would happen to Hussain at Karbala. But the thing that shocked me the most was what happened to Zahra (as). When I found out about her land being stolen and her house being attacked, believe me I was disgusted and ashamed that I had believed she had just died from grief. Wallahi the evidence is even in the books of Ahlul-Sunnah. This pain hurt me so much.
So this is how I refound Islam and I feel so lucky. My name is Amy and I’m not going to officially change my name but I have adopted the nickname of Zainab. This is because when I heard Lady Zainab’s (as) story, I weeped over what had happened to her and I will never forget that moment and even to this day I have such a love for her. And in addition, I want to be a helper to the Imam of our time Imam Mahdi (as), may Allah hasten his return, as Zainab (as) was to Hussain (as).
Al hamdulillah. Last time wallahi I wanted to convert for a man. But now I want to do it for God and God alone. Al hamdulillah.