I have always believed in God. My parents are very pious people and they raised me to become a disciplined believer. From a very young age, I was aware that my parents did missionary work and as soon as I was old enough and had acquired the necessary knowledge, I joined them.
As a matter of fact, oftentimes, we went together to knock on people’s door to give them our small magazines and to talk to them.
Many times we also just stood on the street and distributed flyers and tried to recruit new members. Especially in winter that became difficult sometimes. But I just followed what my parents told me. They had instilled a fearful obedience in me. And as it was, I was afraid to be left alone, expelled and to loose my parents.
I did not have any friends, really. I went to a public school in Germany but my parents did not allow me to bring friends home. So I was never allowed to visit them either or to celebrate their birthday.
The only actual activity I had outside of our religious circle was my music class once a week. I don’t know why my parents gave permission to learn a musical instrument but I was grateful for this change. I really enjoyed that.
The First Encounter
When we went on our tours to knock on people’s door, we always checked the names on people’s doors. We were not supposed to call on people with Turkish or Arab names. I just followed that rule and never ask questions. Many people were annoyed by us and did not want to open the door.
I remember clearly that one day, I knocked on a door with a very German name on it. There was somebody inside the apartment and I heard shuffling behind the door but nobody opened. So I knocked again.
Then a woman called to please wait for a moment, she will get ready to open the door. When she opened the door, I was shocked. There was a Muslim woman standing, wearing headscarf and a small baby in her arms. She invited us in but we quickly refused.
A Strange Feeling
I was with my mother at that time and she tried to signal me to keep moving but I could not. The woman with the headscarf was smiling and it seemed like she had a special light around her. I started my usual talk about the difficulties and struggles of this life, trying to relate to her situation. She must be very exhausted, I tried to tell her.
I talked about the emptiness many people feel and the meaning of life. She just kept smiling and I felt something strange in my heart. She in turn talked about remembering God all the time. Feeling God, being connected to God. I became confused.
My mother tried to pull me away. Then, I remembered that we still have not given the woman our flyers and magazine. So I quickly handed it over to her.
A Gift in Return
Then something happened, which changed my life forever. She handed me something in return. I tried to deny but she kept pushing and said:
“You gave something to me, so I would like to give something in return.”
I had to take it. It was acopy of the Quran. My mother was furious. She took my hand and we hurried down the stairs. “We are not supposed to accept anything”, she hissed at me. She wanted to snatch the book from me but I hold it tight and quickly put it in my bag. “You have to throw it away”, she continued. But I told her that it was a gift and that we have to honor gifts.
Later in my room, I put the book below my mattress and kept it there for a long time. I was not brave enough to even touch it. Many months later, I took it out and began reading it. I could not stop. And I just had to read it again and again. I read it like other people read novels. But I did not know what to do, how to continue.
I Was so Brave
Then I met some Muslims on the street who did a similar work to us from Jehova’s Witnesses. I was just out to get some groceries but I had to stop and talk with them. And I told them that I had a copy of a translation of the Quran and they were very surprised.
They invited me to come to their center. I don’t know why but I was so brave at the moment and just joined two of the women. I did not return home right away but went with them. In their small Islamic center, I observed them praying and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
In the same night, I took the translation of the Quran to my heart and talked with God. I begged Him to show the way, to guide me, to help me, to protect me. I became Muslim. Alhamdulilah.
The hardest thing was to tell my parents. I had to move. I left our town. My parents pretend that I study in a different country. They are afraid to be excluded from their community. It is extremely hard for them. I am their only child.
After long months of silence, they started talking to me on the phone. We still have a long way to go. Alhamdulilah, I found a wonderful community that supports me in any possible way.
This is Rebecca’s story. She came to Islam two years ago. Rebecca is not her real name. She prefers to stay anonymous.