بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
In July 2012 I went to University of Glasgow to pursue Masters and I met a new friend who is from Saudi. She is pretty nice from both outside and inside masha’allah, which attracted me very much. I wished that I could become a very smart and good person like her. And I like her very very much although my knowledge about Islam at that time was zero. My first question to her was that why do you wear a scarf on your head? She was very patient and gentle to explain the question to me.
I told my non-Muslim friends that I have a Saudi friend who is very beautiful. And then they told me something about Islam. For example, Muslims have to pray five times a day, and male Muslims can marry with more than one wife, etc.. I asked my Saudi friend about those non-Muslims’ opinions towards Islam. She was so knowledgeable and explained all those queries clearly to me. Alhamdulillah, I always accepted my Saudi friend’s answers without any doubt.
At the end of May, 2013, my Saudi friend and I went to Istanbul. On the second day when we were in Istanbul, we had a walk at the seaside. I asked her many questions about Saudi. Then we started to talk about Islam. She told me what would happen at the end of this world and what would happen to non-believers. After hearing that, I was extremely scared about what she described to me. And I was so overwhelmed that couldn’t speak any single word. That night, my value of this world totally changed. But alhamdulillah, when I woke up in the next morning, I accepted God very easily and peacefully.
6 days later, when I went back to Glasgow, there were two lectures about Ramadan. I attended those lectures and only got/understood two pieces of information. One is that Allah will forgive all of our mistakes and sins in the past and in the future if we fast during Ramadan. And the other is that He will grant us with a lot of blessings during this Holy Month. I strongly wished that I could fast during Ramadan as a non-Muslim. I asked my Malaysian friend if Allah would bless me if I fasted during Ramadan as a non-Muslim? My Malaysian friend asked me what do I want to be blessed with, from Allah? I didn’t know how to answer her. Then she said something like, “Why don’t you just convert to Islam? You already believe in Allah.” Alhamdulillah, I was so excited to hear that and replied to her “Yes, tomorrow I will convert to Islam!!!” The next day, my Saudi friend and other Muslim friends accompanied me to an Islamic education center and I did my shahada there. It was around two weeks before Ramadan.
After converting to Islam, my dominating issue was how to keep my religion stable. I met a very important sister from Indonesia, who is doing PhD in Islamic Finance in University of Glasgow. She suggested me to apply PhD in Malaysia. I did it and got my offer in October, 2013. Alhamdulillah. Now I’m a PhD student in Islamic Finance.
Before I went to Malaysia to do PhD in January, 2014, I spent around 2 months learning Quranic Arabic from three teachers. One is an Egyptian, one is a Scottish-Pakistani, and one is an Indonesian-Chinese (May Allah grant them with a lot of rewards, ameen.) Alhamdulillah, at the end of December, I was able to recite Quran but at a very slow speed. That Indonesian sister had and still has a very important influence on me. She taught me to establish my tahajeed prayer, Du’ha prayer, sunnah prayer, and sunnah fasting. She also encouraged me to recite Quran everyday. Even while I was enjoying my ‘holidays’, she also suggested me to listen to Quran. Alhamdulillah, I accepted and I’ve been practicing her nice and kind suggestions which made me better and stronger by the Guidance of Allah. Now, performing tahajeed prayer, Du’ha prayer, and reciting Quran everyday has become my routine. Alhamdulillah.
When I did my shahada, I said that my aim is to become a perfect Muslim. At that time I didn’t know that the only perfect muslim is Prophet (S.A.W) who never made sin. My friend corrected me that I could only aim to be more and more close to a perfect Muslim insha’allah.
Allah always sends light to my heart whenever I wish to be closer to Him. After I went to Malaysia, I used to ask sisters and brothers how can we pass the Judgment Day without any worry by the mercy of Allah? No answer hit my heart until one day, I met a brother who told me that the Companions practiced each ayah whenever it was revealed, which gave great encouragement to me to achieve this goal by the guidance of Allah.
What I strongly feel is that I could only be more and more close to Allah through permanent hard work insha’allah. If I was lazy, I wouldn’t strongly feel that Allah is with me. Only studying or working hard can let me move forward. Alhamdulillah.
There is a Du’a that I always make after prayer that is “Ya, Allah, please correct my mistakes or sins whenever I make, please lead me and guide me and teach me forever, ameen.” Another Du’a that I recently make every time is that “Ya, Allah, please guide me and let me die as a best Muslim who would be like Prophet’s (S.A.W) great Companions, ameen”.
The fist light in my life is that Saudi friend. I knew Islam through her. She told me that in terms of Islam, we should set up our highest standards, which was immediately planted in my heart. Alhamdulillah! Then Allah sent other lights into my heart step by step. My journey to Allah is always very peaceful and beautiful. Alhamdulillah!
I used to ask my Indonesian-Chinese sister that can I tell everything in my heart to Allah? Will Allah feel bored towards me? This elder sister told me that Allah is the Most Gentle, the Listener and the Most Patient!! Allhu Akbar! So after I got her reply, my confusion and worries totally disappeared. Whenever I’m extremely sad and happy I always make Du’a, telling Allah everything in my heart. I like doing this very much. Alhamdulillah! But I’m also aware that I should be very careful and must respect Allah very very much when I share my feelings with Him.
I clearly know that I have a lot of issues and a lot of problems and make a lot of mistakes or even commit sin sometimes even without knowing it. I also need to have a more humble heart, insha’allah. But I’m not sad all the time about myself which is totally useless. Practicing what Allah says in Quran and struggling to Him by following Sunnah as much as I can, correcting my mistakes or sins immediately whenever Allah points out it to me, that’s what I’ve been trying to do and insha’allah, I’ll do better and better, ameen.
May Allah guide you and me all the time, ameen.