Journey To Islam - New Muslim Testimonial 2
Being from a country colonized by western and largely influenced by their culture, Islam is not familiar to me until I came in this country. The drastic change in surroundings and the culture around me made me somewhat amazed. At first, belonging to the youngster generation, life seems to be revolving with worldly things. The main thing aim is to work, earn some money and to help in family financial aspect. Not to mention to be able to acquire trendy items which are rampant in the market. But as time goes by and having to meet a lot of people and the leaves of the calendar falls, Islam is being introduced to me by the customs and the traditions around me. Staying in UAE, introduced Islam little by little through people I worked with, observance of their practices. I appreciated the way they have separate section for ladies and gents. And many more. Some people I get acquainted with started giving books to read and sending some links to start with but it didn’t convinced me yet. It took a while before I myself decided that this is it, I liked Islam and am going to go for it. Before, whenever someone asks me or explain to me things about Islam my reply would be fast, “ I am contented with my religion and I respect yours too”. But nobody can stop nor predict things that are bound to happen. A lot of things good and bad happened to me during my stay here. Not to mention having to quit my job due to unjust practices of employer. That made me return to my home country, half-hearted because I made my journey outside the country to earn somewhat more than I was earning before to help support the family. So returning a failure is never an option for me. I told myself I would try once more. During my stay in my home country while waiting for my ban to expire, and waiting for my new visa to be issued, I felt a huge emptiness in my heart. My quest for something unknown to me fused to start up. Having in a trial of losing job, is hard especially when great expectations were given to you. Day by day I have a heavy heart and getting heavier each day. Still there is the emptiness that I didn’t know how to be quenched. Not to mention having dreams I cannot explain. Several times I dreamt of things which I find weird like entering a very clean and well lighted room.
In my dream, I was led to this room and when I opened the door, a mat was waiting for me. Another dream I had was I was making “sujood” like Muslims do. Having had those dreams, which I cannot interpret, I just ignored it. Until one day my family decided to visit relatives from a different city. And I can say that this visit was memorable for me. Inside my grandparents van, I found two books which caught my attention. It was Islamic books written in Filipino language being given by Muslims in the market. Upon starting reading those books, I cannot seem to put it down, I have the urge to finish what they were explaining until the end. My relatives were making fun of me reading it and asking me are you converting to Islam that’s why you can’t put that down? I ignored all of that and continued with my search and brought those books at home. Upon reaching my own place, I continued reading and even secluded myself in my room to be able to finish it. My curiosity was already lit and by then, I was already searching about the verses in the Bible mentioned in the book to prove if they were saying the truth. Days passed and am getting frustrated. My visa taking much time and about the new thing I have discovered. I felt I already liked Islam and I am already willing to embrace it with all my heart. The reservations were gone but what frustrates me is I do not know where and how to begin. Then finally after months of waiting, my time to return to UAE came. I already welcomed the idea of embracing Islam and following the practices. Before I left somehow my family already have a hint that I liked Islam because I am already practicing how to cover my hair like what I am seeing with Muslim ladies. Upon my return to the UAE, my aim somewhat change, first of course is to get a nice job and to learn about Islam. Upon searching for an accommodation closer to the job I got, I saw number posted on a wall and I immediately contacted her, upon knowing that she is also a Muslim and a Filipina, I didn’t hesitate to transfer to her place. After that very same day, after I have taken the number posted on wall, the following day the post was already gone, going back to that makes me thank Allah for the mysterious ways He used to guide me in Islam. Living with this lady, I have mentioned to her that I wanted to know more about Islam and she introduced me to Kalemah.
She brought me with her one Friday to attend lectures for new Muslims. From then on, I was already a regular student of Kalemah Islamic Center for New Muslims. I find Kalemah very helpful for me to understand Islam because most of the students studying there as well as the teachers where former Christians like myself. It was easier for me to adjust because of their first hand experiences which were relevant in my faster understanding of Islam. Being a student in Kalemah, I find the teachers effective in imparting their knowledge about Islam. In Kalemah I learned how to read and write basic Arabic alphabets which I can say very useful because Alhamdulillah now I can read the Quran even my speed is yet to be developed. Also the necessary foundations of Islam were being taught in Kalemah and with our teachers who has studied in Islamic schools, their knowledge and what they learned were being taught to us which is very advantageous for us new Muslims. That is the reason why I was still in Kalemah up to this day, aside from the rapport of the Filipino Muslims in Kalemah. My journey to Islam doesn’t end here. Every day is a challenge, and a chance to learn. May Allah keep us in the right path. Ameen.
Lastly, being with Kalemah for a couple of years now, I have seen the potential of Kalemah to be developed into a more progressive learning center for Muslims. Keep the sincerity in teaching for teachers and for the students keep the sincerity for learning and apply what we are learning, make use of it in our daily lives. Remember, it is our duty male or female to seek knowledge and live what we learn. For we cannot worship Allah with ignorance. Let us not put ourselves in uncertain. May Allah bless us and keep us in the right path, Ameen.