New Muslims

My name is Mariem and this is how I accepted Islam

Allah works in mysterious ways.

My name is Diana and I live in Texas, USA.

My life is an evidence of that. A brief background about me, I’m currently a pediatrician-in-training in the United States and was raised in a Catholic family in the Philippines. Alhamdulilah I was able to build my faith in my younger years. I started to have doubts about my religion when I was in college. Still, I did the practices and prayers despite my questions. I even volunteered to be a liturgy reader during the masses and always lead prayers and rosaries. My faith in God grew more day-by-day and that made me even consider becoming a nun in the future. I continued to suppress all my queries until I started residency training.

For some, they may say they have not experienced the lowest point in their lives. Two years ago, I did. I had the most difficult time getting accepted in a residency program and passing the last step of the licensure exam in the US. That, I can say, was the lowest state I had ever been in my life. Being someone who always did well in life, those made me think about my existence, which opened the door to Islam. As a resident, I was able to work with a lot of Muslims. I came to know that they are the kindest and most patient people. One time during a call in my first year of training, I was able to witness two of my co-residents pray.

After hearing the surahs and watching them pray, I felt moved and at peace. I also became more curious. I became more observant and inquisitive as I continued to work with my Muslim co-residents. With the help of my close friend, Mohamed, I got to learn more about the religion. I watched documentaries and videos, read books and articles, talked to people. Little by little things made sense to me, reconciling how I was since I was young and how I am now. Why I felt so different in my family and group of friends.

Why I had those questions. Why I was born and raised this way. I found my answers, and in my heart I knew that I believe in one God, I knew I was a Muslim. As simple as that. But I still had my hesitations that stopped me from taking the shahadah. I knew that it’ll be a difficult transition being from a Catholic family, there will be a lot to study and learn as a new Muslim, and my family and friends may not be as accepting. But after learning about Islam, I knew that I could never go back to my previous religion. I know I have changed.

One day, an angel fell from the sky, and that’s when I formally considered taking the leap of faith. A little girl, Malak (that was her name), accidentally fell from a window and she became my patient. That lead me to talking to my former co- resident, Marwa. She visited Malak in the hospital and I was able to ask her more questions about Islam. She advised that I talk to one of her closest friends who is a revert, Salma. And luckily, she was going to visit Malak that same day as well. I felt so blessed. I was able to talk to Salma and asked her questions about converting, and how all of the difficulties will be worth it. Afterwards, I kept thinking about it, considered my options.

In the end, there was no other option but to embrace the religion. Marwa suggested that I go to the masjid to meet the sheikh so that my other questions will be answered, at the same time I can attend jumuah. I went there with my haphazardly worn hijab and modest clothing on a Friday. I felt very at peace and comfortable the entire time, sitting on the carpet, watching other Muslimas pray. I was then given books about Islam to read, and the sheikh, Yehiah, set an appointment with me to discuss my questions.

Two days after jumuah, I went to the masjid by myself and met with the sheikh. He compared with me Catholicism and Islam, the bible vs the Quran, life as a Muslim and a non-Muslim. He consolidated all the knowledge that I had, both old and new. And the conclusion was this– I have been a Muslim a long time ago and it’s time to take the shahadah. I just needed a little encouragement. So I did. On August 30th 2015, that’s when Allah changed my life for the better. All the anxiety and worry disappeared. I went home like a new person, very eager to start a new journey.

It was an amazing pre-Islam journey. There were a lot of bumps on the road, but Alhamdulilah, I made it through. My faith in Allah is growing even more, and my knowledge of Islam is increasing as well. I feel so blessed to be chosen to be a Muslim, Allah knows what I need in this life, and Islam will make me a better person, worshipping Him, living my life the way He decreed it.

I have been following Hadith of the Day for over 6 months and it’s inspired me so much. It was due to HOTD that I decided to share my story with you today and they’ve helped me in my journey to keep inspired with our beautiful faith. I hope the readers enjoy reading it.

By Mariem

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