An Exclusive Interview with a Revert to Islam, Malin Hansson, from Sweden, by Bentolhoda Mofakhami.
1. Please give us a biography of yourself.
I am a 24 years old Swedish girl who was raised on an island in Sweden. My family is atheist and I saw myself as an atheist for a very long time. Religion was something we joked about in my family, something scary that we didn’t want to get too close to. When I was a teenager I went trough a trauma and started to not trust people anymore. I got emotionally deranged and stopped loving myself. It took me 10 years after this trauma to finally find Islam and inner peace, Alhamdulillah.
2. How did you get familiar with Islam?
I started to read about Islam in school and heard some about it when watching the news. Sadly I was only learning false information about Islam. When I went to high school I started to read more about Islam, got my first contact with the Quran and its view on wearing the hijab and niquab. That was my first contact with Islam but I would never have thought that I, 8 years later, would revert to Islam.
3. What motivated you to convert to Islam?
I don’t believe that anything drove me. I had started to believe in God. Started to read the Quran to see what it was and I found the truth. I believe that Allah let me find Islam. That Allah guided me to Islam, Alhamdullilah. Why I decided to revert was very simple, I had finally found something that I believed in and that I could find comfort and myself in, so it was obvious for me that I needed to learn more and revert.
4. What was your family’s reaction after you became a Muslim? Did you have any problem with people who knew you? Are you married?
My family where devastated, scared, worried, angry and confused. They didn’t understand why I had chosen a religion that in Sweden stands for oppression of women’s rights, terrorism and extremism. Some friends asked me why but supported me.
I am married with the love off my life and best friend.
5. How do you see the spread of Islam in your country?
We have a lot of other nationalities who are living in Sweden. There are people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and so on. And with the people also came the religion. But since I reverted I have seen other Swedish people who have decided to revert and that really makes me calm, because then I know there are people who understand me.
6. What is the most beautiful Ayah of the Quran in your opinion? And why?
I find all the Quran, beautiful. But this Ayah is one of the first I read and remembered strongly: As-Zumar ayah 23.
It is a little bit hard to translate to English but I have translated the last part and it says “with this (writing) God guides whom he wants; but those whom God allows to go astray will not find someone to guide them into the right path”.
“Med denna [Skrift] vägleder Gud den Han vill; men den som Gud låter gå vilse finner ingen som leder honom på rätt väg”
7. What’ your opinion about hijab? Did wearing hijab have any effect on your private life? Do you think it is only dedicated to women?
I believe that I am blessed to be allowed to wear the hijab. When I put my hijab on I feel so safe. The first time I put on my hijab and went out with it I felt a calmness inside me. Before that, I had done research for years. I felt safe and happy and I felt love. Love for myself and that I always have Allah with me.
When I started to wear the hijab my family went crazy. We had long discussions on why I made the choice to wear hijab and it was a difficult time when me and my family had difficulties to communicate, even the most basic thing as “hi how are you”. I don’t have the same problem today but I know they don’t understand me and think this is a temporary thing. But I understand them, and Inshallah it will be better in the future.
My colleagues at work were very supportive. Many of them come from cultures that wearing the hijab is a part of the every day life. I faced a lot of questions that if I was “really Swedish”, why I had chosen to wear the hijab. But as a Muslim and a revert we need to be patient and to answer these questions to spread awareness and understanding.
8. How do you analyze the family institution according to Christianity and Islam?
To be completely honest I don’t know anything about the family institution in Christianity. But in Islam I think it is so beautiful that we see the human race development is trough family institution. I love the part where we as Muslims have to see each other beyond physical attraction before marriage and be focused on if we as people are capable to live with each other and if we have the same view at life or we are too different so we should move on. For me who is raised in Sweden it is such a relief to be seen as the person -Malin- and just not only for the body and face. In Islam husband and wife are equal. The husband and wife are each others complement. We have both equal responsibilities and duties and in balance we create a calm and peaceful family which is the foundation for a functional society.
9. What specifically attracted you to Islam?
When I started to read the Quran I fell for the feeling that I was reading the truth. Every sentence expressed guidance and non of them were contradicting. They all fit together and became a clear and beautiful way of life. I was lost in life. I had been lost for over 10 years and when I started to read the Quran, and talked to my husband about the questions I had, I got the answers and felt like I piece by piece found myself. It is a journey I am still on and I have a lot to work out but Alhamdulillah I found Islam and lnshallah I will be a stronger person day by day.
10. What was your religion before converting to Islam?
Before I reverted I had no religion. I believed in God but didn’t belong to any religion.
11. What was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? Wasn’t it hard for you to pray 5 times a day?
I had prayed before but of course not in the right way. When I washed my face and arms in the correct way, took on my hijab and modesty clothes and started to pray, I felt such a relief. I felt that for the first time in my life God actually could hear my prayer and that I was showing Allah the correct respect. It is hard some days to pray 5 times a day but I see everyday as a day to develop. I am human and some days I fail and that is okay as long as I do my best to be better. Allah is forgiving and merciful and I believe that Allah will see my effort.
12. If you want to say some words about the beauty of Islam, the peace, the calmness you have found in this religion what do you say?
When I found Islam I found my home. I felt safe and relaxed for the first time in years. Some people think Islam is a religion with many rules, for me it is a religion with a lot of amazing guidelines for a more relaxed, peaceful and loving life. Every time I feel lost I can read the Quran and find guidance and I can go down on my knees and pray to Allah for help. Most of all Islam has opened my eyes to not pay so much attention to this life, that this is a trial and there is something bigger and greater waiting for us. When I see life as a trial I can begin to be grateful in the trials and the difficulties but the most important thing that I can be grateful for is what I have and not strive to have more or become someone else. I can be satisfied with the person I am.
13. How do you analyze women’s right in Islam compared to what the West has propagated?
In the west and Sweden included, Islam is showed as a religion that oppresses women. That it is a religion where women don’t have a voice, a religion where the women’s job is to listen to their husbands and do all the work and be his slave. The hijab is seen as a symbol for that men have bigger value than women. But they know nothing. They don’t know that marriage in Islam is based upon that both man and woman are equal and complement each other. When a girl is born she opens a door for her father to the heaven. When she is a wife she completes half of her husband’s religion and when she is a mother the heaven lies under her feet.
14. Which feature in Islam attracted you?
The love, the surrendering to Allah and the clear and peaceful message.
15. Who/ what influenced your conversion to Islam?
I met my husband who is a Muslim and we started to talk. It was so important for me that the person I would share my life, believed in God . He started to talk about Islam and I asked him to give me some time so that I could read and by myself understand what Islam stood for. I started to read the Quran, of course a translated version, and as soon as I had questions about anything I asked him and we talked about it. Very soon I felt that I found the truth and I was sure that I had been a Muslim for a while but I just didn’t know it. Islam was the guidance I had searched for so many years.
16. As a convert, what way of inviting to Islam you believe is more effective on non-Muslims?
I believe that there is nothing we can do except tell people to read. To read the Quran and see the real Islam. To not trust media and not to listen to other people. Do not read on internet, do not listen to other people, even if they are Muslim, read the Quran and see the truth from the real source.
Of course I tell people my story, but please do not take my words and my story and make them yours, create your own, then and only then your faith will be stronger and pure ❤️
Thank you for your time
Edited by Zohreh Nourang