Ramadan: Emily, Ex-Christian, New Zealand
Growing up in New Zealand, I was raised as a Christian however my parents were
not overly religious. As a young girl I went to Sunday school every week and
attended church with my grandmother and went to Christian classes as part of
the school curriculum. As I got older I stopped going to church as I never
really felt passionate about Christianity. In my teenage years I made a few
mistakes as I got involved with a group of friends that were a bad influence
and my family decided to move to Australia at the beginning of 2006 when I was
I attended high school in Australia and really began to excel at school and
began a new life. I achieved the grades I needed to get into my University
Course so I moved out of home (closer to the university) and into student
accommodation. Up until this point I had no idea about Islam except from what
I had heard in the media, I had never met a Muslim person before.
One of my housemates was a Muslim and he was very open minded and was the most
genuine, kind hearted person I have ever met. I did not ask him much about his
religion until I got to know him a bit more and when I did I was very
intrigued. I was asking him questions everyday about everything from the Quran
to Arabic words! I was always interested and excited by the answers.
I was usually very skeptical about religions but with Islam I felt connected
right away. A year went by and I met a lot of Muslims and they were all very
kind and peaceful people and they were always willing to answer my questions.
I started doing my own research just before I turned 19 and I knew I wanted to
convert to Islam before Ramadan 2009. The previous Ramadan I had fasted some
days but I later learned that none of those counted unless I was Muslim.
After my 19th birthday I was eager to learn even more about Islam as I
received the book called "Don't Be Sad" which had a lot of referencing to the
Quran and I realized a lot of it was my theory on life anyway. I then moved
into a house by myself and I was very lonely and depressed all the time.
Because I was always alone, whenever I said Bismillah (I begin with the name
of God) I felt very relieved and safe. I knew I needed to convert to Islam but
I didn't want my Muslim friends to think I was doing it just because of them
so I was very hesitant.
I was also hesitant because I did not realize how easy Islam would be for a 19
year old girl. I was just very concerned that people, even my friends, did not
know much about Islam. Then one night I had a dream that I was in Saudi Arabia
and I was Muslim and I was wearing a Hijab and it fell off in front of
everyone, but nobody said anything to me. When I woke up I felt this was a
sign that Islam was going to be easy for me. Many things happened to me over
the course of the few weeks, all of which I knew were signs from Allah.
I was discussing my concerns with Zia and Samy from islamreligion.com and they
said why wait? You don't know what will happen tomorrow. It just made so much
sense. I wanted to convert to Islam right away.
I was very nervous to tell my friend who had answered all my questions over
the past year as I didn't know what he would think. He was very happy for me
and he said he would help me and the next day he brought me a compass as a
gift so I could find the right direction to pray. I learnt the Shahada and
that evening he helped me convert to Islam. I was so happy that evening, I
cried out of joy. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and I was so
glad my friend could be there with me to help me.
I have still not told some of my friends. I am waiting, in the meantime I am
still learning. All in all, I am loving my new life as a Muslim. I hope
everyday I can just learn more about Islam and I am very excited for my first