An Australian girl shared with us how she and her family encountered and embraced Islam. Here is her story:
I grew up with an abusive father and my parents ended up divorcing when I was little. I and my other three siblings haven't seen or spoken to him for the last twelve years. Soon after her divorce my mom started a relationship with a Lebanese Muslim boyfriend who wasn't religious at all. He used to lie to my mom and cheat on her and their relationship was always on and off.
We knew almost nothing about Islam except Ramadan and Eid. I used to be a practicing Catholic Christian and attended church and bible study groups. But the more I learnt the more I got confused and when I asked questions about my faith the usual answer was "just believe, don't question too much". But that was never enough for me and I ended up leaving Catholicism. I still believed in God but I was very confused. In 2010 my mom's boyfriend travelled to Lebanon to attend his son's wedding and to care for his sick mom. Before he left for Lebanon he asked his cousin to stay in touch with my family in case we needed anything. He was 27 and had a wife and a beautiful four years old daughter. Me and him became like brother and sister. I would go to him for everything and he would come to me if he had problems. He was quite religious but never discussed religion with me. He was very respectful.
In September 2012 we were going to a christening, he came in the morning to see if we needed anything and to check on us. He used to do this everyday. We arrived at the church and the priest, he was saying all this crazy stuff like now that these kids are baptised if they go into a cult they will be protected. Every time he would pour water on one of the babies heads that were getting baptised, EVERY baby in the room would scream. Even the ones in the crowds. I thought that was creepy. We got to the reception and the priest hit on my mum, started smoking and drinking with the teenagers. I'm thinking what is this?
We left to come home after that. When we got home we were notified that my stepdad's cousin had died. It ripped me apart. But we became really close with his wife and daughter. His wife and I were talking about religion, she's very religious. But it made so much more sense. She took me, my mom and my sister to a sheikh's wife. She answered all our questions and Alhumdulillah we converted that night! A week later my 14 year old brother converted and ubhanallah he now wants to be a sheikh.
By Allah the feeling you get when you first say the shahada is like a light has come upon you, like you are as light as a feather. I knew from that feeling that I had made the right choice!