A Slovakian Woman’s Path to Islam

1233569_577713915623681_317805549_nA Slovakian Woman’s Path to Islam:
Like a Butterfly Set Free::

Human being. A notion as old as earth, known to everyone of us.

A notion that “hides” my destiny, your secrets, and their personalities. Humans, that’s us!

Yes, all of us.

None of us asked to come in this world, however we’re already here.

People may ask themselves: “Why am I right now and right here in this place? Why was I born? What is my mission?”

A Christian Upbringing

I was born on February 27, 1989, in a small village in central Slovakia, where everybody knows everybody and where being “different” is a problem. My mom and dad are Christians. In fact, what other choice could they have as their parents “dictated” their choice upon them?! I was baptized too, and I participated in the first Confirmation, like everybody who lives here.

In the first year of my primary school, my parents registered me in the course of religious education. I knew very little about God then. I remember very well a meeting I had those days with an aunt of mine. She couldn’t have children, so she treated me like her own daughter. She spent a lot of her time with me. She took me to the church and to every Sunday sermon during the following five years. But I was just a kid so my “priorities” were focused just on playing games.

I tried to please her as much as I could, because I loved her so much. Time passed by and I started to prepare myself for Confirmation. I started to go more often to the church. I don’t have fond memories regarding the ceremony itself because two days before I broke my arm. Maybe this was a sign, I don’t know.

Anyway, I took pleasure on the whole event. To tell the truth, I liked playing the role of princess, wearing beautiful clothes and showing off. I don’t have anything to remember that day. Pictures were lost I don’t know where.

I attended church services regularly till the seventh class of primary school, more or less as a habit rather than necessity. I did not like how after sermon, old women gossiped about as many people as they could, and boys smoked and hurried to pubs. There was nothing I could do. I just considered it as a part of daily hypocrisy. As I grew up, I found new interests. I wanted to try forbidden fruits, too!

My relationship with my father is far from ideal. It never was. In fact, it will never be. We quarrel very often. It can’t be otherwise, even if I try my best. I couldn’t get used to it. Those days of desperate tears and moments of bitter disappointment left their mark on my personality.

I wanted to revenge. I gave him reasons to shout at me. At least I knew the reason; I knew he was finally right (shouting at me) and this did not hurt me anymore. I stayed out late at night with people that may never find their perspective in life; they take drugs, alcohol, cigarettes. Now this is all behind me, but those days I felt lost in the wire of vice, in the arms of evil.

My six–year-elder sister tried to give me a helping hand. However, she moved to the city of Bratislava, where she found a job and I was left alone. Of course, you might think that my mom was still there for me, but as it happens often in here, moms take daddy’s side. So when the time came to choose the secondary school, I decided that I wanted to go to school with a dormitory, far from problems at home. Maybe it was a cowardly escape from problems, but those days I thought it was the only correct solution I had. I didn’t want to suffer anymore for my ill-relationship with my father.

The school was located in the city of Nitra. I was away from the people I knew. I started from scratch, anew. I felt more quiet, satisfied, and equilibrated. I was scared of weekends though. The idea that I had to spend two days at home terrified me. I was looking forward to the day when I become an “adult” and leave all this.

One weekend in January 2005, I went to visit my sister in Bratislava. We went for dinner to a restaurant nearby where a friend of her — a Muslim — joined us. He earned my attention with his talk about Islam. He had an answer for every question I asked.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I wanted to know more. A Muslim? What does he believe in? Why is he different from me? Why is it so? Always when TV channels informed about “them,” I heard the remarks that my dad usually used to make in their address. I ignored those remarks as I wanted to make my own opinion about these people based on my own experience with them.

My father doesn’t know any Muslims so he can’t understand them. Or better to say that he knows someone already but hasn’t made a difference about his perception of Islam. It’s ironic! Even though I tried to narrow that gap between us, I haven’t been successful so far.

The other day I met again with my sister’s friend and the topic of our conversation was clear! I learned new and interesting things. He lent me books to read within a week in my dormitory. Deep inside, I felt turmoil, I didn’t know how to react, to laugh or cry. All I have believed in, till that day, suddenly became inexplicable. Different thoughts occupied my mind.

Humans are curious, and I hadn’t made a decision yet, so I asked our friend for a Slovak translation of the holy Quran. I am grateful to him for his patience and willingness to help me.

It was January 27, 2005, when I held the Quran for the first time. I opened it and focused my eyes on the sentence I will never forget:

{And leave Me (alone to deal with) those in possession of the good things of life, who (yet) deny the Truth; and bear with them for a little while.} (Al-Muzzammil 73:11)

I was stunned.

I was scared more than any time. I felt different. I regretted only the fact that I didn’t have anybody to share my feelings with. I wanted to erase all I have believed in from my mind. It was not easy. I know that this is not necessary anymore. What I believe in, now, is in my heart and my mind. I know that this is exactly the thing that I have been looking for all my life.

During this short period of time, I’ve done a lot of stupid things and couldn’t resist the vice. I’ve tried many evil things. But nobody is perfect and I’m not an exception. What is most important is to know your mistakes and failures and correct them. I sincerely regret all my wrongdoings.

I don’t think about my past but hope for a better future. Deep inside my heart, I’ve always believed that there’s always something more important that I found at last.

I started to believe in One God only! Every evening I repeated the same sentence: Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulu Allah. (Arabic for: I bear witness that there is no true god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger.)

It was nice to see the real colors of life.

I spent my summer holidays in Bratislava. I met a Muslim woman who told me a lot about Islam. We spent three days in the Czech Republic in a Muslim summer conference. That was an unforgettable experience. An experience that influenced and changed me for better. That lady was and still is my shining light. She was the only one who supported me at the most important moment of my life. Fully convinced that my decision was right, I accepted Islam as my religion. At last!

After eight months of an uphill path, I declared the Shahadah (the declaration of faith.) I was filled with joy, tranquility, and understanding; that feeling of rebirth, starting-over. I felt and still feel free! Like a butterfly that is set free after being locked up for a long time.

I wish everybody could feel this. I feel this freedom and tranquility whenever I pray and ask for God’s mercy. It’s a chance to live a better and meaningful life!

Only few people know about my decision and that’s better. My parents couldn’t understand it. There were conflicts, and they took the Quran from me, took away my books on Islam, and my mobile. I felt lonely, yet my faith got stronger every day.

My sister doesn’t believe in God. In sha’ Allah (God willing) she will find the truth too, like I did. I pray for her, she deserves it.

I lived through that wonderful feeling and know that I am in the right path even though it is often tricky, full of barriers, and misunderstood by many.

What is my mission then? I know the answer: to be a good woman, friend, later a good wife, and liked by God! This is the only thing that matters. I am happy and thankful for everything.
{To Allah belong the East and the West: whithersoever you turn, there is Allah’s countenance. For Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.} (Al-Baqarah 2:115)

 

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