بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
إِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهَا خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَسَبَّحُوا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ
“Only those believe in Our verses who, when they are reminded by them, fall down in prostration and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord, and they are not arrogant.”
[Al-Qur’an- Surat As-Sajdah (The Prostration): 15]
My name used to be Laura. I am from Colombia and I was brought up as a Catholic. My family is not religious, just like most of the people in my country.In fact, being religious has a negative connotation in my country. There, everyone’s supposed to have god in the heart – and I say “god”, not “God”, because whoever knows the attributes of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) would not use this word for the Almighty. In my culture, as in most of the West, a person is encouraged to be modern, and being religious is not a quality that is praised.
After I graduated from high school, I went to pursue higher studies in the United States, where I had my first contact with Muslims. It caught my attention how some Muslims are really different from the common folk just because of Deen (religion). I had always thought of “religious” people as two-faced, but soon came to realize that when a Muslim truly believes with his heart, his faith is like a light in the darkness; it radiates light, which can benefit people around him who live in darkness.
I was filled with amazement when I saw that there are people who pray five times a day – and that sounded like a lot to me before! These people just did what their religion told them to do, ate what their Book told them to eat, and dressed how their religion told them to dress.
Now that I have become a part of the Muslim ummah (nation), I realize the importance of how others see us. When we do da’wah (call towards Allah) and a non-Muslim sees the commitment of Muslims towards their Lord, it makes them think, maybe this is the right way.
Initially it was tawheed (the Oneness of Allah) that brought me to Islam, and then every other aspect of the deen of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) reassured me that this was the only way to success.
In every year of school and university, we used to do a ‘life project’ and divide it into the different facets of life: the spiritual aspect, the professional aspect, and the personal aspect. I remember how long my lists of professional and personal goals were, and I remember how short and neglected my spiritual goals were.
But in Islam, all aspects of our lives combine into one, including issues of the community, political affairs, and social relations. There is no division between the spiritual aspect and the other aspects of deen, and that is something I try to convey to non-Muslims today. We Muslims do not only pray five times a day to fulfill our religious obligations, but we also dress in accordance to Islam, eat as Islam prescribed us to eat, and we talk, sleep, and behave as Islam tells us to. Our whole beings, our ideologies, our concepts of right and wrong, and our perceptions on life – all should be in compliance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Prophetic way of life). That is what differentiates us from the non-Muslims. That is what gives us, with the permission of Allah, a distinct confidence that will help us to convey the message to those around us. But if we take our religion as just a series of rituals we do in order to fulfill our “spiritual” obligations, and yet our ideas, thoughts and codes of conduct are not according to the deen of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) , then we are pretty much just like the non-believers.
Where is the difference, then? We call God “Allah”, whereas they call Him by other names; we pray in a masaajid, while they pray in churches, synagogues or temples. So the true victory, in my opinion, is not only in how we pray or how we fast – because those are basic commandments that should be obeyed, anyway – but true victory lies in living our life, with all its minutest aspects, as Muslims submitting to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) , trying to emulate the character of the Prophet Muhammad(صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم), the Sahaabah (his companions), and the righteous ones. May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) make us of those who live their lives as true Muslims. Ameen.
Throughout history, Muslims who achieved the honour of becoming representatives of the Qur’an on earth did so through their exemplary behavior. With the permission of Allah Almighty, they had the ability, to attract non-Muslims who were inclined towards Islam, and to terrify the stubborn enemies of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). People of such character are able to do da’wah (call people to Allah) and at the same time protect the deen from attacks of Shaytan (Satan) and his awliya’ (friends), due to the fear they feel in their hearts. May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) make us of those who represent the Qur’an on earth through its correct implementation. Ameen.
Islam has changed me in many ways. One of the things that I used fear most, to the point that I couldn’t even talk about it, was death. It terrified me to think that one day my life was going to be over. What about all that I had built during my life? Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks is for Allah) for Islam, because it has given me a clear picture of what’s to come. We are all going to die, so we should make sure that not only our life, but also our death is in the way of our Lord, the Most High.
My goals and my targets are not the same anymore. In the past years, I wanted to achieve a top position in dunya (life of this world), but today, alhamdulillah, by the mercy of Allah, through His Book, I have realized that true success lies in getting to Jannah (Paradise), NO MATTER WHAT IT REQUIRES US TO SACRIFICE IN THIS WORLD – position, name, status, wealth, you name it!
The reason behind getting married and becoming a mother changes, too. Before, I dreamt, as most women do, of having a nice husband, cute children, and a beautiful home. But today, my husband is the key to Jannah for me, and if Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) grants me children, then they would be my sadaqat–un–jaariyah (continuous means of reward) in sha‘Allah (if Allah wills).
The purpose of the Muslim should not be to attain dunya (the world), but to use dunya to attain Jannah. May the Most Merciful make us of those who attain the highest place in Jannah. Ameen.
About the Author
I was born in Colombia in a Catholic family. I became Muslim when I was 17 almost 8 years ago.In 2008, I moved to Dubai because I wanted to be in a Muslim country. Here I got married and I started Qu’ran class in 2010, which is the most beautiful experience I have gone through so far. I used to say that my life is divided in two things, before and after Islam. Today, I say that my life is divided into three things: before my conversion, before the knowledge of the Qur’an and after the knowledge of Qur’an.
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