An exclusive Interview of a converted Muslim, Danielle, from U.S by Bentolhoda Mofakhami
Congratulations for your Conversion to Islam
Thank You for agreeing to hold on the Interview
First of all please tell us about yourself. (Name, motherland, Job, field of study, degree, Your back ground, Age, the place that you spent your childhood in, and anything interesting about your back ground)
My name is Danielle, I am 29, and I am from the U.S. (Michigan) I graduated from homeschooling in 2007 and I am currently a sahm (Stay at home mom) of six children who I homeschool Alhamdullilah.
How many brothers and sisters do you have? And how do you stand in your family?
When I was 6 I was adopted by a Christian family. So between my birth family and adopted family, I have 6 brothers and 3 sisters. I am number 7!
Please tell us about your previous religion, before converting to Islam!
Before my conversion I was a member of the Presbyterian Church. My family was very religious and my parents were very strict in regards to their faith. I was never encouraged to study other religions or cultures.
How did you become familiar with Islam? What specifically attracted you to Islam?
I was not exposed to Islam until I began attending college at 17. That is where I met my husband who is from Iraq. One of the first things I learned about Islam was that it was a peaceful religion. So full of humanity.
What attracted me to Islam was watching the behavior of Muslims. Their generosity, love, peacefulness, humanity and compassion.
When and how did you convert to Islam? (Please also talk about your last second before converting)
It wasn’t until nearly 2 years after meeting my husband that I converted. I had been wearing hijab after understanding the beauty and honor of it. But I did not say Shahadah until October of 2008.
When did your journey to Islam begin? (Your Opinion?)
I remember the struggle within me of leaving such a strict Christian background in which I was taught to fear God and believe that Jesus is my salvation. That is why it took me time. After studying and learning more about history (in particular the history of Imam Hussain a.s.) I started to love Islam. On October 26th 2008 I said Shahada. My husband and I had given up hope of having a baby at that time. I had no knowledge of it at the time, but my mother in law had started to go to the shrine of Imam Hussain a.s. to pray for me so I could have a child. 6 days after converting I found out that I was pregnant.
Did you ever hesitate to say Shahadah?
At that point any doubts I may have had, were completely gone. I loved Allah swt, I loved Islam, I loved the Imams, and I loved Muslims. And we named our daughter Suekaina in honor of Imam Hussain a.s. blessed daughter.
How do you feel when you work for your Akherah (The other World)?
Before converting I lived in the fear of death and judgment. I saw God as an angry father who would judge me harshly. Now I know Allah swt is just and so merciful. Even the smallest good deeds will be rewarded Alhamdullilah.
Also I had always doubts about Jesus being God’s son and dying for me. It never made sense. Now believing in Jesus (Esa). I am in awe of his holiness and closeness to Allah swt.
Did you have any problems with your family members and people when you accepted Islam?
How did you come up with and Control the clashes with your family members?
Converting, cost me my relationship with my parents and some siblings. My father was very angry and destroyed my reputation among family and friends. It broke my heart to lose people whom I loved, but doing what is good for the soul can be very painful for the heart.
Did they try to convince you not to convert to Islam?
My church kicked me out and so many friends tried to convince me to change my mind. I think that was based on a misunderstanding of Islam.
What was your family members’ reactions when you were practicing Islam or doing your prayers?
My parents were angry because they did not understand. They actually told me not to come home. My younger sister has been so supportive and would even wear hijab when she visits to show her support!
What was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? Wasn’t it hard for you to pray 5 times a day?
Honestly I am still struggling with prayer. To make time and really connect with my Father and Creator. InshaAllah it will become easier.
When and how did you announce your conversion to Islam?
I sent a letter to my family and told them a few days after. A close Muslim sister had a small party for our friends to show their support.
How do you see the spread of Islam in your country?
More and more people are converting Alhamdullilah! I think a lot of it has to do with what has been happening with our government and its treatment with minorities. Americans are becoming more open-minded and they are seeking the truth.
Many people think that religions are the main cause of problems in the world today, did you believe that too?
When there are different beliefs there will always be conflict. But I believe any conflict in the name of religion is based on politics and government agendas rather than the actual religious differences. Without belief in God there is chaos and immorality!
Did you use Media like YouTube, Facebook, etc. to be more familiar with Islam? Why do most of the media attack on Islam? Why most of the Media are against Islam?
Because of my former lack of knowledge about Islam I saw it as something scary. To see what was happening in the media was frightening. I believed it because I did not know better. Now I know that what the media shows is not the true Islam. It is based on political agenda, racism, and hate.
How did you adapt yourself with new ethics of Islam?
Most of my knowledge of Islam has come from beautiful Muslim sisters who have been so patient in teaching and showing me how to practice Islam.
One aspect of Islam that has been so liberating for me is that the standards which I live by are so clearly black and white. I know what is right and what is wrong.
How was the effect of reading the holy Quran for you? How did the holy Quran Influence you?
The Holy Qur’an is a message that keeps revealing itself. I have read the same verses at different times and discovered a new lesson each time!
What is the most beautiful Ayah in Holy Quran? (Say your opinion)
I do not answer this because I try not to choose only one as they are all equally important. I will say I have a favorite word in the Holy Qur’an. And that is Iqra (Read); This is just a word but has such significance. A one word command to learn the truth of Allah swt.
What’s your opinion about hijab? Has wearing hijab had any negative effects on your private life? Do you think it is only dedicated to women? How do you analyze women’s right in Islam compared to what the West has propagated?
I love my hijab Alhamdullilah. It has made me a strong, independent, modest and a confidant woman. I am no longer concerned about my outward appearance. There are times when I am treated unfairly because of it, but most times I feel respected. It has improved my behavior and my life. Lowering your gaze and modesty applies to both men and women!
Muslim women have so much more rights than any non-Muslim could believe. We are encouraged to study, allowed to choose careers, husbands, how we dress, entitled to a salary for caring for our children… and so much more!
How do you analyze the family institution according to Christianity and Islam?
According to Islam the family is of utmost importance. Especially when it comes to mothers. After all we only enter Jannah if our mothers are satisfied with us.
As a converted lady, what way of inviting to Islam you believe is more effective on non-Muslims?
To show them Islam. Not to try to convince them. Actions speak so much louder than words. When they see our kindness, peace, and generosity they will be drawn to Islam.
If you want to say some words about the beauty of Islam, the peace, the calmness you have found in this religion what would you say?
As a Muslim there is no room in my heart for hate. All humans are made by Allah swt and it is my responsibility to love all. This feeling has given me so much peace! To go through life, free of negativity.
How do Muslims supply their own Halal food? Is there a main shop for it? What is its name?
Alhamdullilah I live in a Muslim community so we have wonderful halal markets. We also have access to Arabic/Islamic TV programs. Alhamdullilah!
And how is your TV programs in your country? Is it good for family?
We have access to Islamic TV but we do not really watch it. I prefer to read to my kids and they attend Islamic school
What is your opinion about Ahlolbayt? Whom do you like?
I chose to be Shia based on my love for Imam Hussain a.s. It made so much more sense to me to follow the leadership of the family of Muhammad PBUH, than the teachings of the sahaba. After all they are the ones who ultimately killed his family.
What do you think we should do for imam zaman’s arrival?
Everything we have been told to do in the Holy Qur’an and by our Imams. To live our lives in service to Allah swt, sharing His message with as many as we can. We cannot just sit and wait for him. We have to work hard in this life that has been given to us. InshaAllah
What roles do Imams have in your life?
All of my understanding of Islam is based on the Imams. Daily I try my best to follow their examples of faith, strength, fearlessness, humility, sacrifice, and service to Allah swt and Believers.