Hijab gave me the feeling of security and respect.

SHAFAQNA-

An Exclusive Interview of a Revert to Islam, Alya, from the Philippines, by Bentolhoda Mofakhami.

 

Alya is 32 years old and currently residing in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates) but born and raised in the Philippines . She worked for a Mobile and Telecom company. She has an eight-year-old son and divorced from her Catholic ex-husband. ” I am an ex-Catholic and Alhamdullilah I reverted to Islam 2 years ago.” She said. Her family members are all Catholic up to now.

 

How did you get familiar with Islam?

I have been working in Dubai for 5 years, and I fell in love with Islam through the acts and behavior of Muslims. My concept about Islam totally changed when I began to meet and work with Muslims. I observed Ramadan with them, did fasting and just barely looking at them I can feel how Islam touches their lives and how Quran becomes their way of life.
The image of Muslims and Islam were totally destroyed by the Media. The truth about Islam can only be discovered and seen through the hearts of Muslims.

 

 

What drove you to convert to Islam?

It is the realization that there is only one God, that there is no other one superior to Him, and even equal to Him. He has no gender, no son, no wife, cannot be compared to us human, he never became human as he is the Supreme Being. Once you have this strong belief about Allah, you cannot be doubtful and no barrier can stop your heart to say no to this religion.

 

 

What was your family’s reaction after you became a Muslim? Did you have any problem with people who knew you?

They are mad and they stopped their communication with me for almost 3 weeks. I actually told them about it the moment I received my certificate of conversion, they don’t have any idea that I am going to embrace it.
In the 2nd quarter of 2015, after my conversion, was the toughest because my friends, relatives and those who knew me turned their back against me, cursed me, and say a lot of bad words about Islam and Muslims. But Alhamdullilah through prayers and faith to Allah, they’re back and accepted me wholeheartedly!

 

 

 How do you see the spread of Islam in the Philippines?

Alhamdullilah I used to handle the page of Stories of new Muslims, all over the wor ld, you can see the growth of people who are converting, daily someone is converting to Islam Mashallah. And Alhamdullilah in the Philippines I feel that even they have less knowledge about it, but the moment they have/worked in Islamic countries like UAE (United Arab Emirates) for example, they used to discover Islam too and they will begin to like it and fall in love with the true beauty of this religion.

 

What is the most beautiful Ayah of the Quran in your opinion? And why?

Al Baqarah 216 – “But perhaps you hate a thing and its good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it’s bad for you. Allah knows and you don’t know” This is the most significant verse for me. Every time I lose someone, something or anything I always keep this verse in mind. It serves as a gentle reminder how Allah loves us, and he will not give us any burden if it’s not good for us, only Allah knows what the best is for us. He knows and we just need to trust Him all the time. No one knows the creation except the Creator itself.

 

What’s your opinion about hijab?

Hijab gave me the feeling of security and respect. It made me feel more of a woman who deserves respect in the society. And on the other hand, Hijab doesn’t cover your hair alone. Wearing a hijab gives you the responsibility to act accordingly, covering your mouth against bad words, not hurt people, and your eyes not to look badly to others.

 

Has wearing hijab limited any activities of your normal life?

Not at all, it’s a bit difficult for me at first but once you’re used to it, it became part of your usual routine. I jog, exercise, swimming, meeting my friends with hijab on. It is normal.

 

Do you think Hijab is only dedicated to women?

Modesty shouldn’t be applicable only to women, guys should be modest too, by following the Sunnah and the life of our Prophet Mohammed (saw).

 

How do you analyze the family institution according to Christianity and Islam?

Honestly speaking, I cannot compare it but based on experience and my observation; Muslim families are so intact and I am stand in owe of how they value their parents.
Almost all the Muslims I know here in Dubai is giving a superb love, affection, and respect for their parents. I am not saying that Catholics are not like this, but Muslims are showier and more affectionate to their parents.

 

 What specifically attracted you to Islam?

Islam is a simple religion, no complications and it is easy to understand. The Monotheism approach that there is ONLY ONE GOD, it is the base of all. In addition to this, Islam opened my heart to a lot of realization about life, my body, love, and humanity.
I used to give up all my vices at the same time (pork, alcohol, clubbing, cigarettes, and sexy clothes); at the moment I found out that these things are going to harm my body and mind.
Islam didn’t force me to stop it. But the moment you grasp a clearer understanding about Islam, you will wholeheartedly give up all these things for the sake of Allah (swt).

What was your religion before converting to Islam?

I am an ex-Catholic who used to believe in Trinity.

What was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? Wasn’t it hard for you to pray 5 times a day?

To pray Salah is my first goal after conversion. I strived so hard to memorize some Names. I went to school for the basic of Islam and I’ve learned from there to make wudu and Salah. The first time I bow down for Sujood, oh my, it is one of the best feelings in the world (nothing beats my Shahada moment). You cannot say it’s hard, because if you will just imagine the time that you are allotting for Allah, you will crave for more than 5 prayers as if it’s not enough.

If you want to say some words about the beauty of Islam, the peace, the calmness which you have found in this religion what do you say?

I can say that Islam showed me the true meaning of life, and how it molded me to become a woman of faith is incomparable. I always want to share my feelings and love for Islam and to Allah. It is a perfect religion, and the way of life.
If all the people in the world will be able to know and discover Islam and the calmness of it, maybe the world is a better place to live in. Maybe there are no wars and there is no hatred. Sabr and Istghfar will be everywhere.
Everybody says that I am lucky because the moment I embraced Islam, all my sins are forgiven and it’s like I was reborn. Alhamdullilah because I am unaware of all these benefits, all I want is to just to become a Muslim, that’s it.
But see how Allah welcomed me; He gave me too many blessings, I must say countless. And I continue to receive it in all different ways. My love for Allah (swt) grows more and more each day. And my life is pretty perfect and complete just with the thought of Him and His goodness.
I never regret the day I took my Shahada. Even if my family hates me and leaves me, I will choose Allah over and over again. Inshallah, they will follow my path soon and I am sure of that. I am proud to be a Muslim and I will die uttering only Allah’s name inshallah.

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