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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Sr Robin Chami - Sydney

Sr Robin Chami - Sydney

The beginning of my journey to Islam is very difficult to Pinpoint. I believe that all the events in my life have been gradually leading me to where I am now. Alhamdu-Lillah.

When I began my search - I wasn't consciously looking for something for myself. It was for my children. I was quite happy being a Christian, thank you very much, and had no need of this thing called Islam.

Before I married my Muslim husband (in 1980), we made an agreement that I would not be pressured into converting, but any children we had would be brought up as Muslims.

As the children began to grow, my husband made attempts to educate them through the Arabic schools available in our area. Due to other demands on his time and resistance from the children, he was unable to continue.

At the time, I was of the: opinion that because he was the Muslim he should be the one to teach them.

Well, time passed and still they knew very little about why they were called Muslims.

The agreement I made prior to my marriage began to weigh heavily on my soul. So eventually, I began making enquiries to locate a class that was conducted in English.

I contacted the Islamic Council of NSW and was referred to a class conducted on Friday nights. I went along the first time to check things out and subsequently began to bring the children

I cannot explain how it happened, other than by the grace of Allah, but gradually my interest in Islam was aroused.

One of the class members presented me with a copy of the Holy Quran in English/Arabic, and the teacher located a catalogue of books for me. (May Allah reward them both well.) That is when the search began in earnest.

I began to read everything I could get my hands on (including stories of women who had converted). Gradually my attitude began to change from one of resistance to one of acceptance. AlhamduLillah.

As I was reading these books, I found myself thinking 'when I become a Muslim, I'll do that', and 'when I become a Muslim I'll wear the hejab (scarf)'. I was still not ready to submit - but slowly the words of Allah were working their way into my heart.

I kept looking for similarities between my life and the lives of other converts. Although there are some common threads, everyone is different. What is difficult for takes years. (To my knowledge I hold the record for holding out the longest - 15 years.)

I was very secretive about what was happening to me. Not even my husband knew. (I think he may have been concerned that I would use my new found knowledge to point out any mistakes he was making.)

After I made my conversion public, a very good Muslim friend of mine said that she had noticed something going on; but was afraid to ask for fear of pushing me away. So she left the subject alone and just watched and prayed.

There were always things about Christianity that did not make sense to me. No one could explain it though. We were given the impression that if we did not understand, then somehow our faith in God was defective. We were told to 'take that great leap of faith.'

Alhamdu-Lillah - every question I have had about Islam - someone has been able to answer.

Everything in Islam is logical and natural. People say that Islam has too many rules and regulations. It's too strict, it's too severe. As human beings we need to have boundaries and guidelines for our behaviour. Just look at the world and what is happening to society today. There is the real example of what happens when humans do not follow the formal and behaviour guidelines that God has set for us.

Alhamdu-Lillah - I now have the peace I was searching for. For me, it was not instantaneous illumination. It was and continues to be a gradual awakening and understanding. My life is by no means perfect, but I am secure in knowing that whatever happens in my life - ultimately it is good for me. I may not understand why something is happening, but I know that Allah never decrees anything for us that is not ultimately for our benefit.

May Allah guide you to His Path.

Alhamdu-Lillahi Rabbil-AlAmeen.
(All praise to God - The Lord of the Worlds.

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