Iman from Italy finds Islam

By Mrs N. Hashim

The convert has asked to remain anonymous for her own reasons. I will call her "Iman" 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.

Iman 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 Iman a yearning to see Italy.

When she finished her university 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 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.

Iman 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. She was dismayed when a Christian friend in Jordan who wanted to be Muslim had to run away from home to do so. 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.

Iman 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. From her continued reading she found answers to Roman Catholic doctrines she had questioned long ago. For instance, how could it be that, if a child died before he was baptised that he would not go to heaven but instead stay in limbo. She learned that Islam teaches no form of original sin. 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. "And when it is recited to them, they say; 'We believe therein, for it is the truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah's will) from before this'". (Quran 28:53)

Looking back she realises how ridiculous it was. She understands that God does not make mistakes. He has sent us thousands of Prophets and now suddenly he comes to earth in the form of a man to convince mankind. No, the Prophets were all men, chosen for a specific purpose. She understands that man has included these items in the religion and they are not from God.

When some of her Christian 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. People all over the world who had never heard of Islam before are becoming Muslim and the people who have been raised in Muslim countries deny the truth of Islam. Its incredible!

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.

"By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love: and whatever ye give, Allah knoweth it well." (Quran 3:92)

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