Thursday, June 17, 2010

All I wanted was to embrace Islam’

New Muslims share their story

Thirteen women who embraced Islam were felicitated in a program held at Nirala restaurant, Jeddah, last week.The program organized by Haji Mohammed Ayub Welfare Organization was chaired by Umm Fakeha Zinjani, president of the organization. Dr. Talat Shawdeen, an Indian doctor working at the Manarat Polyclinic, was the chief guest and Mariyam Ibraham (formerly Mariyama Abraham), an Indian nurse at the Manarat Polyclinic, was the guest of honor.

Mariyam shared her journey to Islam, which began when she came to Saudi Arabia few years back to work as a nurse in Hera hospital in Makkah.“I was always conversing with doctors and patients, most of who were Muslims. I didn’t know what Islam was. When I saw people come on Haj and Umrah, and saw people fast during Ramadan, I became inquisitive,” Mariyam said.“I started asking doctors and patients about Islam. I was then transfered to Jeddah’s Manarat Polyclinic. Most staff here were Muslim and they treated me well. A friend explained me about Islam and gave me a book to read.”“Whenever I had any doubt, I cleared it with Dr. Talat,” she added.

“One night I woke up from sleep feeling tensed. I dreamt that someone told me to get up and read Surah An-Noor. I did Wudhu, which I learnt from reading books, and read the Surah. It had answers to much of the tension I was going through,” Mariyam recalled.

“The next morning I told Dr. Talal about the experience. She recited Surah Noor and translated its meaning to me. I cried a lot listening to it. Dr. Talat then left for vacation in August, 2008. During that time, I felt I had to embrace Islam. I couldn’t wait for her. I went and told another doctor about my intention. She told me to think over and whether my family would accept it. I told her I didn’t care about that. All I wanted was to embrace Islam.”

The same day two Da’ees happened to come to the hospital as patients. Mariyam requested the doctor to tell them about her intention to embrace Islam.“They asked me many questions... I finally embraced Islam on Aug. 30, 2008,” she said.

Mariyam then turned her attention towards her family.

“I always prayed to Allah to change the heart of my husband for me,” she said. “I went on vacation in 2009. My husband noticed the change in me, but I was afraid to tell him. Finally I spoke to him and he too agreed. He was shocked when I told him that if he doesn’t embrace Islam, we would have to separate. He asked me if I was willing to leave him, but not the religion. I said yes.”

That wasn’t needed, as Allah guided her husband, Thomas, to Islam. He has now changed his name to Ali and is learning Islam while working in Kuwait.
Another former Christian lady, Martial (now Zareen), shared her story. She was born in a Christian family. “Though I went to church every Sunday, I didn’t believe much in Christianity. The concept of trinity never convinced me,” she said. “On the other hand, whenever I heard verses of the Qur’an being recited on TV, even while I was in India, I felt something in my heart, though I didn’t understand them.”

Zareen met the man who would be her husband at college. He gave her the translated meaning of the Qur’an in English. When she read Surah Fatihah and Surah Ikhlas she found the answers to her long-held questions.

“I took a course on Islam and embraced Islam before my Nikah some two years back. After marriage, I came to Jeddah. Here I’ve been going to the Da’wah center, learning Arabic and now I can understand the Qur’an properly. The sisters in Islam here always encourage me,” Zareen said.

The chief guest, Dr. Talat Shawdeen, congratulated the new Muslims and encouraged everyone to carry forward the message of Islam. “We have to ask ourselves: What are we doing for Islam? It is our responsibility to give the message to those who are not on the right path,” she said. “We must remove the obstacles from the path of Da’wah. Shyness is the first barrier which we must overcome to call someone to Islam. Sometimes we even fear how the society will respond to our Da’wah work. No, we should not be negative.”

“We should behave gently and practice Islam. If we are examples to them, non-Muslims will turn to Islam automatically,” she added.

Dr. Talat shared her experience with another nurse called Padma Naymoi. She was a Sri Lankan who at times would be a Christian and at times would be a Buddhist, because her father was a Buddhist. Dr. Talat introduced to Islam her and asked her to ponder over whether Jesus and Buddha were gods or a creation of the One God. She told that Muslims believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah.

“I left her with questions. When I went to Madina, Padma kept coming to my mind again and again. I prayed a lot for her. There was an article in Urdu ‘Only Allah’s name will stay’ that I kept remembering too. I translated that article into English and gave it to her,” Dr. Talat said.

“One day she surprised me by saying she wanted to become Muslim. I gave her a book ‘Why I want to embrace Islam’ and a translation of the meanings of the Qur’an and told her to think about her decision, so she has no regrets later on.”Dr. Talat left for vacation and when she returned Padma said she hadn’t changed her mind. She still wanted to embrace Islam.

“Padma said the Shahada in my office. I took her to the Da’wah center for the formal requirements. I can’t forget those moments,” the doctor recalled.“Padma was worried about her future life and marriage. But she is now happily married in Sri Lanka.”

The doctor then went on to say that nothing should stop us from delivering the message and knowledge of Islam, which brings peace to people’s lives. If we don’t know we can always learn from the scholars of Islam, she said. Saudi Gazette

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