Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Young Girl's Steadfastness leads her Entire Family to Embrace Islam

Never have I ever felt so emotional than while reading the personal account of a middle aged woman of embracing Islam and the changes in her life that finally turned the hostility of her entire family for embracing Islam into becoming Muslims themselves. This change of heart of the entire family couldn't have been possible had she not been steadfast in her decision and display of a good Muslim manners that finally moved hearts.

This is the story of a Southern Baptist girl, a radical feminist, and a broadcast journalist whom Allah led to Islam merely by a computer glitch. 

She was a devout Christian and always lived her life like a good Christian do. However, in 1975, while enrolling for a scholarship she pre-register her for degree on Recreation. Having registered herself she got late to begin her classes by two weeks and in those two weeks due to the computer error much had changed. When she joined the college, she was surprised to know that her admission has been mistakenly have been made in Theater class, requiring students to perform in front of others.

Being a rather religious girl, she persuaded the teacher to change her subject, who declined the request as it was already two weeks since the classes began. She then asked the teacher to enroll her in another branch of performing art. And when she got an alternative, she says she was "shocked by what she saw. The class was full of Arabs and "camel jockeys". And decided not to go back to the class anymore.

But back home, her husband reassured her that God had a reason for everything and that she should think before quitting or else lose the scholarship offered to her. Having thought about it, an idea struck her that she would resume her class with a mission: To convert the Arabs to Christianity. She says: "I proceeded to explain to them how they would burn in the fires of hell for all eternity, if they did not accept Jesus as their personal savior. They were very polite, but did not convert. Then, I explained how Jesus loved them and had died on the cross to save them from their sins. All they had to do was accept him into their hearts." They still did not convert, and so she decided to do something else: "I decided to read their own book to show to them that Islam was a false religion and Muhammad was a false God".

So she borrowed a copy of Holy Qur'an to find out flaws in there to convince her Arab classmates to change their faith. But more she read the Qur'an and related books on Islam, the more she grew closer to the truth she was reading. This had a telling effect on her personal life as she stopped going to bar with her husband and stopped eating pork. She became more quiet and distant which led her husband into suspecting her of having an affair with someone else. And thus one day they separated.

Then one day a Muslim religious scholar met her and invited her to Islam. Though she outrightly rejected his offer, she asked him to clear her queries about Islam. "He was very patient and discussed every question with me. He never made me feel silly or that a question was stupid", says she. And instead of being offended to her questions, he welcomed her to ask more as "He explained that Allah had told us to seek knowledge and questions were one of the ways to accomplish that."

And then it dawned on her the truth Islam carries and became a Muslim on 21 May 1977, when she was only 24 years. But with her conversion came seclusion and a wrath from her family. She lost her friends and had no fun anymore. While her sister attempted to put her in a mental health institution, his father drew out a gun to kill her for he said she'd better be dead rather than suffering in the deepest of Hell. But she stood on to her belief. Later even her hijab cost her job with one final blow yet to come.

His husband filed for a divorce, which meant the future of the custody of her two minor children she loved most dearly. Rather the judge giving her the custody of her children, he gave her two choices: Either renounce Islam and get custody of the children, or keep Islam and leave the children. She was given 20 minutes to make a decision. It were the most difficult 20 minutes of her life as on one side there were two loving children whom she adored very much and on the other hand stood her decision to leave Islam or continue to be a Muslim. She also knew that she wouldn't be able to bear any child in future as doctors had told her earlier. She says: "I prayed like I had never done before … I knew that there was no safer place for my children to be than in the hands of Allah. If I denied Him, there would be no way in the future to show my children the wonders of being with Allah."

And then she decided to continue to be a Muslim at the cost of sacrificing her children. But then she took solace from the following verses of Qur'an:
Allah! there is no god But He – the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede. In His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to his creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (Quran 2: 255)
Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of Bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah?" Ah! Verily the help of Allah is (always) near! (Quran 2: 214)
Thereafter she continued to live alone but never left her family and continued to post cards on their special days with a verse from Qur'an or Hadith (Hadith is the way Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, explained Qur'an to this followers or the way he lived his life in total submission to the commandments of Allah), but not mentioning the source lest it offended them.


The change in her was soon visible in her manners, politeness and behaviour, which started to be noticed and appreciated by her family. And then things started to change for good. It was her grandmother, then 100, who converted to Islam, but died just days after. She believes: The day she pronounced Shahada, all her misdeeds had been erased, while her good deeds were preserved. She died so soon after accepting Islam that I knew her "book" was bound to be heavy on the good side. It fills me with such a joy!"

Her father who was well read otherwise was to take the next step. He read a book on Umar ibn Khattab, a companion of the Prophet who persecuted the early Muslims before he converted to Islam. One day he was going to kill the Holy Prophet when someone told him to first take care of your sister who had already converted to Islam. With the same drawn sword, he stormed into her sister's house to kill her. But upon hearing some of the verses from the Qur'an that his sister was reciting, he recognized the truth and went straight to the Prophet and accepted Islam. So her father also became Muslim and so did her mother and sister who once thought she had become delirious by changing her birth religion.

Still more was to become. His son who had become adult also embraced Islam and when he was 21 he called his mother to let her know his ultimate decision. And then some sixteen years since their divorce, her ex husband also embraced Islam too. He apologized to her for the divorce and wanted their daughter too should come under the fold of Islam.  And she forgave for she was now more forgiving.

Perhaps the greatest reward for her was yet to come. She who had married another person, in the meantime and despite the doctors' verdict that she could never conceive another child, Allah blessed her with a beautiful boy. If Allah (swt) makes a gift to someone, who can prevent Him? It was truly a wonderful blessing from Allah (swt), and so she named him "Barakah". She says: "True, Allah has tested me as was promised, and rewarded me far beyond what I could ever hoped for".

This is the most inspiring personal account of Aminah Assilmi, who is now the President of the International Union of Muslim Women. She delivers lectures nationwide and is on high demand. It was her organization that successfully lobbied for the "Eid Stamp" and had it approved by the United States Postal Service. She is now working on making the Eid Day as a national holiday in USA.

I hope her inspiring personal account of how she embrace Islam, her difficulties as Muslim and the rewards by Allah for steadfastness will inspire many non Muslims to find the true truth in Islam and help them taking their Ultimate Decision to embrace Islam.

Read her complete account at: The Islamic Bulletin

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