YOUTH CLUB: Asalamualaikum, welcome to Islam, sister — may you introduce yourself?
REVERT SISTER: Walaikumasalam, thank you. My name is Samiha. I was raised in Germany but I am originally from Hong Kong. I became Muslim in 2011 while I was a university student in the UK. I have, therefore, been Muslim for 6 years, Alhumdulilah. I became a Masters student for architecture in Australia but right now I am currently gaining work experience as an architectural assistant in Hong Kong before returning back to complete studies.
YOUTH CLUB: What was your life before Islam and what do you think was the turning point for considering to read about Islam?
REVERT SISTER: My life before Islam was nothing extraordinary and was rather very standard. I was a normal teenager who never really gave much thought about life. At the same time I was never into what my peers were doing. I abstained from dating, clubbing, drinking or other western lifestyle. I guess people would consider me as a studious teen that stayed away from trouble. The turning point for me considering Islam was when I started university in the UK. This was where I encountered Muslims for the first time. I was additionally going through personal issues and was thus in a very low period in my life. I hit rock bottom and was completely lost. I furthermore found my degrees in firstly chemistry and later mathematics totally unsuitable where that made me feel more lost. I was, therefore, really low and questioned a lot about my purpose and outlooks in life. This also led me to compare my Muslim friends’ lifestyle to my own where I surprisingly found many similarities. They were modest and disciplined and I really liked that so I started to dig deeper.
YOUTH CLUB: What caused you to embrace Islam?
REVERT SISTER: There were many factors that led me to embrace Islam. Firstly, reaching rock bottom certainly made it easier to accept the truth. I was in a state where I wanted to find meaning and make sense of the world. Islam, however, appealed me on a more rational level. I tend to observe things from a rational and calculated standpoint, especially with my background in chemistry, and mathematics. I, therefore, analyzed and compared Islam to other religions that I was exposed to — religions such as Christianity and Buddhism. I was previously an atheist, but the scientific accuracy within Islam was flawless, and undeniable. The scientific and logical approach in the Qur’an towards the meaning of life, therefore, struck me. I was even more awestruck over the cosmological explanations found within the Qur’an and it aligning with the opinions of modern day scientists. It was too undeniable to ignore and I also felt like Allah (swt) was protecting me in my teens in preparation for Islam. It was, therefore, easy to embrace Islam, Alhumdulilah.
YOUTH CLUB: How do you think Islam has transformed your life for the better?
REVERT SISTER: Islam has transformed my life for the better because it has given me a clear purpose in life and a sense of direction. The detailed teachings over how our intentions matter guides my actions and speech. Islam has, therefore, guided me into decisions fueled with purpose where I think that also led me to my current degree. I am passionate about architecture — more specifically sustainable architecture — because I hope to give back to humanity by building what is sustainable and good not only for mankind but Earth. Islam has thus made me conscious and has increased my accountability. The feeling of accountability has not only given me a clear sense of direction but pushed me to strive for excellence in whatever I do.
YOUTH CLUB: What in Islam helps you cope with life’s difficulties especially when facing non Muslim parents?
REVERT SISTER: Allah (swt) says in the Qu’ran that He will test every believer according to their sincerity and see if they are indeed true believers. This is a teaching that I cling to whenever going through difficulties. I know very well that my parents love me and that their opposition is due to this love. This is, however, a test for me and I know that Allah (swt) has promised not to give me tests beyond my capacity. The knowledge of how what we are going through is temporary helps me cope and the duty within Islam towards parents gives me direction on how to be towards them.
YOUTH CLUB: What message would you like to send Muslims that were born with Islam and that have Muslim families?
REVERT SISTER: Cherish and be grateful for your family whether they are religious or not. It is a tremendous blessing if your family is practicing, but if they are not, it often helps to think from the shoes of others because your family loves you at the end of the day. Allah (swt) will reward you for obeying His religion and being kind to your family — your family will see how Islam has transformed you for the better even if they do not fully understand why you are practicing Islam.
YOUTH CLUB: What further advice would you give born Muslims that start to become practicing but face opposition from cultural parents?
REVERT SISTER: My advice is to be patient. Be consistent when showering kindness and persevere for Allah (swt)’s sake. Allah (swt) will bless you and you will see the fruits. Your parents will ultimately appreciate how Islam has transformed you for the better.
YOUTH CLUB: How do you think born Muslims can be there for reverts and what can they learn from reverts?
REVERT SISTER: I think just being there makes a huge difference. There are many that are quick to judge when you are new Islam and also there are many that preach whatever they know about Islam without looking at your circumstance. There are few that are actually there especially when things get tough. Reverts tend to go through a huge change and face opposition from family. They sometimes do not feel safe at home that support from the Muslim community makes a huge difference. The simple act of reaching out to reverts to ask how they are or how to help makes a huge difference.
YOUTH CLUB: Jazaki Allah khair sister for your time and for sharing with us your experience — we are very pleased to have you as our sister and have lots of prayers for you.