Date :Thursday, October 4th, 2018 | Time : 20:23 |ID: 73221 | Print

The Sense of Community in Islam Attracted Me

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SHAFAQNA-

An Exclusive Interview with a Revert to Islam, Katy, from the USA, by Bentolhoda Mofakhami from Rahyafte:

– Please give us a biography of yourself.
My name’s Katy. I’m 21 years old and I live in Atlanta, GA [Georgia is a state in the southeast US. Its capital and largest city is Atlanta]. My parents are divorced and both are remarried. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. I’m a university student studying Sociology and Religion and I work at a high-end fashion resale boutique.

– How did you become familiar with Islam?
I became familiar with Islam during my first year of college; when I took a world religions course and was required to go to a Mosque for a project. I talked with an Imam and toured the building. I immediately wanted to know more about the tradition and began to read more about it in my free time.

 

– What motivated  you to convert to Islam?
What made me convert was actually a multitude of things. While I was growing up I always considered myself to be spiritual, but I hadn’t found a tradition that I felt matched what I believed in. In college I had made a couple of Muslim friends, I attended a couple of Jummah prayers, I read the Quran straight through and began listening to Islamic podcasts and Quran discussions. Between all of those factors, I decided that this was the path Allah (SWT) chose for me.

 

– What was your religion before converting to Islam?
I was raised loosely Catholic before converting. I wasn’t practicing but I knew I wanted a connection with God but didn’t know how to get there.

 

– What was your family’s reaction after you became a Muslim? Did you have any problem with people who knew you?
My family was neither for nor against my conversion. No one in my family is particularly religious and no one really ponders spirituality like I always had.

 

– How do you see the spread of Islam in the USA?
The spread of Islam in the United States is very mixed. Of course, the vast majority of Muslims are amazing people, but I have met many who are not necessarily becoming a better person through the practice of the religion.

 

– What is the most beautiful Ayah of the Quran in your opinion? And why?
This is a hard question. But I personally really related the entire Surah Fatiha. These were the very questions I was asking myself every day. I asked the heavens where to get to where I wanted and I was guided to Islam, Alhamdulillah!

 

– 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?
I wear hijab and personally really enjoy it. In my daily life, I’ve noticed that more people are either really nice to me or try to avoid me. At first, people avoiding me got on my nerves but I realized these are people I probably didn’t need to be around anyway. I don’t think the concept of hijab is only for women. Obviously what has become the mainstream hijab, the headscarf, is meant for women, but the process of covering oneself, not being overtly sexual or flirtatious, and having manners is definitely meant for everyone, man, and woman alike.

 

– How do you analyze women’s right in Islam compared to what the West has propagated?
I grew up in a non-practicing Catholic family; the traditional mom, dad, and three kids set-up. I feel like my family was appropriate to my beliefs. Since I am a convert to Islam, I haven’t been within an Islamic family for an extended amount of time. However, I have been studying and reading about the Islamic family and I believe the two are very similar. I like to think because both of these traditions are divinely guided, they would, of course, be similar.

 

– What specifically attracted you to Islam?
The first things that truly attracted me to Islam were the sense of community, the all-encompassing set of directions and its ability to answer questions that are difficult to answer. I love the idea that everyone is a brother and sister. Islam offers guidance in every aspect of life in a world without direction and it answers to many philosophical questions that I was unable to even approach beforehand.

 

– What was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? Wasn’t it hard for you to pray 5 times a day?
My first time praying was hard. I only had YouTube and a couple of apps showing me what to do. But I eventually got the hang out it. Even now, I plan around my prayers. luckily, I work for a small business and they are very accommodating.

 

– 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?
Islam has centered me; I have a plan and goal for my day. Every day I learn something new, I build a new connection to the Almighty and this has really changed me for the better.

 

Thank you very much for your attention. May Allah bless you and keep you strong and firm on this true path.

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