Sara Chaudhry, the ex-model and actress who studied Islam and said goodbye to her showbiz career, discusses with us the challenges she faced in her journey, and how her life has changed for the better. These days, she conducts workshops on Islam and continues to inspire many.
YC Blog: What was the reaction of your family and friends when you left showbiz and when you started Hijab? How did you handle it?
Sara Chaudhry: It came as a surprise for them to see this sudden change in me. They had lots of confusions and questions. But when a person is firm and confident about his/her decision, Allah helps him/her to answer all the ifs and buts. With Allah’s help, it was, and still is, easy for me to face all their questions and objections calmly and reply to them.
As Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says in Surah al-Maidah, verse no 54:
“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion, Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.”
YCB: What role does the Quran have in your everyday life?
SC: The Quran and Hadith are a complete manual on how to live your life peacefully.
I was a very emotional and sensitive person when the Quran was not a part of my life. My decisions used to be based on what people would think; but now I have a simple formula: I just check if a particular act will benefit me in the Hereafter or not, and I make a firm decision accordingly. Alhamdolillah, it works out perfectly.
Even in early days of my marriage i was a totally different wife, but now Alhamdolillah I have a better relationship with my husband and I understand him more. I am stronger and I see things in a totally different perspective. Now, I understand my true values and responsibilities as a Muslim woman.
YCB: Has the Hijab, and particularly the Niqab, restricted your activities in any way? Do you find it a burden?
SC: (Laughing) Ahhhh, this is a very common thinking of those who don’t observe the Niqab: “Poor girl, I wonder how she survives inside!” Trust me, I feel much more comfortable and confident with the Niqab than without it. On top of that, when I have to go out shopping or anywhere else, I don’t need to worry: “Does my dress look old fashioned? Does this colour suit me etc etc”
I know that I have covered myself for my Allah, and In sha Allah He will reward me for it.
Besides, I obviously don’t observe Niqab in female gatherings. In such gatherings, we do dress up well and enjoy ourselves while staying within the limits Alhamdolillah.
YCB: Has your life become dull and boring since you started practicing Islam properly?
SC: (Laughing) Dull and boring? What’s that? I’ve never experienced it. Alhamdolillah, I am leading a busy and productive life. There’s so much of work to do that I literally feel as excited as a child when I get a holiday. Nowadays, my baby son keeps me busy most of the time.
YCB: What do you do to chill out and entertain yourself?
SC: I like to try out new and unique recipes.
YCB: Do you watch dramas?
SC: Is there anything worth watching in dramas? Seriously, you tell me. I don’t watch dramas because it’s a pure wastage of time, and a believer’s time is too precious to be wasted in useless stuff.
YCB: Are you in contact with your showbiz friends, or have you changed your company?
SC: I am still in contact with a few of them. But of course with time, I’ve gotten busy with my life, and they are busy with their lives, so we don’t get to meet each other often.
But they are all always in my duas. May Allah guide them all. Aameen.
YCB: How supportive is your husband?
SC: Alhamdolillah, whatever I am today is because of Allah’s Mercy, and after that because of my husband’s support. If he wouldn’t have supported me and stood by me in my decision, I might not have reached here today.
He is not just my husband. He is also my teacher and my friend. He always guides me and advises me in matters my worldly as well as religious matters.
YCB: Tell us about your baby son.
SC: Alhamdolillah, Allah blessed me with a baby son three years after my marriage. At times, I think how perfectly Allah plans things, because if I would have become a mother in the initial years of my marriage, I might have been a confused mother, not knowing how to bring up my child. But now that I know the purpose of life through Quran and Sunnah, I have a clear vision. During my pregnancy, I have been listening to the Quran, staying busy in Dawah work and studying Hadith. Even now, I spend a lot of time with my son, and make him listen to Quranic recitation. I know why my child has come in this world. I know he is an Amanah (trust) from Allah to me and that I have to make him grow up and spend his life the way Allah wants in sha Allah. It is my dream that my son grows up to become a scholar and a Sadqa Jariyah for me. May Allah help me and ease this matter for me. Aameen.
YCB: What is your advice to youth who want to join showbiz? Is it really an enjoyable and glamorous career choice?
SC: I find it funny at times how the media people themselves make such movies and dramas which depict the real truth of the showbiz world, yet some naïve people just don’t get it.
Yes, it seems an easy route to money and fame, but that’s just one side of the coin. All the politics, hard work, health issues, mental torture and insecurities of this world never let you enjoy peace. Plus, many people who enter showbiz don’t end up as success stories.
It is just a fake world; nothing is real in it. At times, you might be really sad or anxious, someone close might have died, but you have to act and fulfill the demands of your role. When you keep on acting against your nature, it kind of kills you inside. The glamour of this world is a Satanic deception. It looks good on screen, but it is ugly in reality. Try living your life the way Allah wants you to live it. That is surely the safe route for us in this life and the next.
YCB: What is your advice to youth who want to change something in their lives but feel reluctant and afraid of social pressures and family opposition?
SC: Don’t live for others; live for yourself. You are a great asset of this Ummah. You need to lead the others by your example. Keep away from forbidden matters and become a Sadqah Jariyah for your parents.
YCB: What are your plans for the future?
SC: On top of the list is to take care of my family and look after their needs and be there for them when they need me. Then, to study the Deen as much as possible and do Dawah work and strive for a bright and prosperous hereafter In sha Allah.
YCB: Thankyou for your time. May Allah keep you steadfast and fulfill your dreams.
Does Sara Chaudhry’s U-turn inspire you? Would you like to see more interviews and real-life stories featured on the blog? Let us know in the comments below.