Emma, also known by her Muslim family and friends as Saima have been Muslim for almost 7 and a half years now. She is a white British, of Polish descent; born, raised and currently living in the north of England. Her husband is Pakistani and they are blessed to have a beautiful 2-year-old little boy. Read her journey from love to Islam and learn more about her!
“Back in 2010, on a seemingly ordinary September day, I unexpectedly met the one; the man who would become my husband and the father of my child. Our first encounter left a lasting impression. This man was a true gentleman, like the quiet hero in Jane Austen novels. And it was his respect, his kindness and his simplicity which I found so intriguing.
Fast forward a little, and I started to learn that these characteristics I admired so much were stemming from his religious beliefs. He was Muslim.
Before that day, I had never come across a Muslim. Growing up in a relatively rural, predominantly white, middle class area of Britain, we didn’t have Muslim classmates, and our religious education at school was somewhat limited. What we knew of Islam was really only what you see in the media.
Thankfully, I was never a big news watcher and took whatever I did hear with a pinch of salt. So, when it came to researching Islam myself, I was able to do so with a blank canvas and an open mind.
Initially, I made the decision to learn about Islam purely for my own understanding. I wanted to know what it was about this religion that made my husband-to-be so different to the other men of our age. He didn’t ever talk about Islam himself, probably for fear of scaring me off, so I needed to find out for myself.
I bought a ‘Teach Yourself’ book which covered every aspect of Islam in great detail. In fact, I remember him saying that I must know more about his religion than he did by the time I had finished. But what happened while I was reading was something I was not at all prepared for.
With each page I turned, I realised I was instinctively agreeing with everything I read. In particular, there were two beliefs which became vitally important for me:
- Allah is the only God, without any relation, and high above all life on Earth. I had always believed in God, I definitely knew that, but I found the concept of the Trinity difficult to accept, so this made complete sense.
- Islam is a continuation of the messages delivered by God in the previous two Abrahamic religions: Judaism and Christianity. In other words, we all worship the same God. Islam is the final chapter.
It was as though this religion had been waiting for me the whole time – I just didn’t know it.
One page which was particularly memorable, I still think about often; a gorgeous photograph of a mother in a headscarf, kissing her baby with a deep expression of love on her face, accompanied by a written section on the importance of family in Islam. As a girl who had always been very close to my family, this certainly resonated. It was one of those images which has stayed with me.
After finishing the book, I was already starting to consider becoming Muslim, but I needed some time to think about it myself.
The second book I bought was ‘Welcome to Islam: A Convert’s Tale’ by Lucy Bushill-Matthews. This was a brilliant read. Lucy converted to Islam while at university, as I was at the time, and had since got married and had three children.
Her writing style was so down to earth, funny and surprisingly normal! She described the ups and downs of daily life that everybody would recognise – the fact she was Muslim didn’t make her any different.
After this, I was ready to try Islam for size.
Ramadan was around the corner when I finished Lucy’s book. Now I felt ready to share my inner thoughts with the one who had inspired all my research – I was ready to fast for Ramadan.
Half way through the month, I took a moment to consider how things were going. Fasting had been a rewarding and humbling experience for me, far exceeding my expectations. I felt so positive and completely in love with everything about Islam, that I needed to take the leap – it was time to make it official. I finally became Muslim in Ramadan 2011, and to this day I feel incredibly lucky to have taken the decision during that most blessed month.
In a practical sense, accepting Islam and becoming Muslim is very simple. I just needed to read aloud the Shahadah, which states that I believe Allah is the Only God and Muhammad is His Messenger. Following that, I started learning to pray, reading the Qur’an and slowly finding my way.
I have never felt more content or more peaceful than I have since becoming Muslim. In my teenage years, I was somewhat of a lost soul – I didn’t relate to my peers and could never work out why. At uni I tried to fit in more and be like everyone else, but only ended up feeling worse.
In the end, I found my path in the most unexpected of places and at the most unexpected of times. There is no doubt in my mind that Allah always intended for my husband to show me the way, and He knew exactly when it was supposed to happen.
Now the future has never looked brighter. Ahead of me, I have the great pleasure of teaching my young son everything I know about this beautiful religion called Islam.
Find Saima’s blog here: //stillyouremma.wordpress.com/
Some of her articles: