This is the story of a newly-converted Muslim woman. I will call her Imaan, for although she is a new-Muslim, she has a faith that comes to many people only after countless hours of study and reflection. Her discovery and belief in Islam has come through such an unusual channel that its purity and innocence alone is refreshing. Imaan was born in Italy and migrated with her parents to Canada when she was small. She was educated in Roman Catholic parochial schools equipped with nuns and priests and the daily lessons in catechism.
She says that they spoke endlessly of their homeland and without the intention, instilled in Imaan a yearning to see Italy.
When she finished her university education, she went for a vacation to Italy and found it more lovely than she had imagined. She had found her passion in life and after much contemplation, she made the move and lived there for six years. She was never the materialistic type but more on the intellectual side and spent all her free time at museums and art galleries and Italian operas.
She says quite animatedly, if one wants to enjoy life, then Italy is the best place to go. In Italy, she met a Jordanian man and married him, moving immediately to Jordan. The fact that he was Arabic-speaking, and Muslim did not daunt her and she never gave it any other thought.
She disliked having to leave Italy and felt homesick in the beginning. She was shocked by the Muslim way of dress and felt compassion for the covered women. She saw her mother-in-law wake at Fajr for prayer and made up her mind that it was definitely not the religion for her. Imaan always believed in God but was not a practising Christian. She had friends of both faiths in Jordan and she noticed some prejudice from the Christian Arabs towards the Muslims and thought perhaps because the Christians are a minority they felt threatened.
Her family had warned her against it; there was nothing else she could do. She came to Saudi Arabia with her husband and, as happens to many women, she found herself with lots of time on her hands and spent it reflecting about what life means and the direction hers was taking.
Being away from the mundane things forced her to re-evaluate her life. She recalled many happenings from Jordan and began to think about Islam. Imaan never contemplated becoming Muslim until her son began school. She wanted to know what it was he was learning and how she might be able to help him in his studies.
She thought that she should at least know what he expected of her. Her son is extremely intuitive and sensitive and she could tell that he was concerned about the souls of his parents. His father was not in the habit of taking him to the mosque, but when he was in first grade, he asked to go.
This made a big impression on her coming from someone so young. She thought, could it be he knows something that I don`t? A Muslim friend gave her a book about Islam entitled "Islam in Focus". She says she almost became convinced just from the introduction of the book.
She also learned about Jesus in Islam. This was a big factor in that before converting she felt she would be turning her back on everything she had been taught; that he was God-made man and had died for our sins on the cross. Looking back, she realises how ridiculous it was. She understands that God does not make mistakes.
When some of her friends learned of her intention to convert, they disappeared from her life instantly. She finds it difficult to comprehend that they are not interested in finding out the truth and she is sure they have the same doubts that she had.
She was worried that she would not be able to pray five times a day. Coming from a Christian background, it certainly seemed in-surmountable but she said it was so easy to do and she began to look forward to the next prayer time.
Now she finds herself completely absorbed when she prays and is at peace and quite content that she has made the right choice.
She often thinks about her six years in Italy being wasted, in that she could have spent that time learning about Islam.
It is strange to think that she was once so happy there, enjoying all that life could offer. She says Alhamdulillah over and over for the gift of Islam.