My name is Theresa and I accepted Islam about 14 years ago Alhamdullilah. I consider myself a “new revert” to Islam because in the last few years I have really understood the religion, I have found a real sense of peace and contentment being a Muslim girl Alhamdulillah.
My revert story isn’t your typical story. It is a very honest story. I found Islam in my second year of College when I met a boy from Lebanon in an art class. He was extremely talented and I was intrigued by his drawings. He made everything look so beautiful and effortless.
I have always been fascinated by art and simple beauty. I have always been drawn to nature, animals and kind hearts. My background was Catholic and I had a very strong foundation in the love for God. I was very interested in the boy from the art class. As time went on we became friends and I came to know about a year later that he was a Muslim.
I always wondered why he was unable to go out with friends until after a certain time in the evening. I now realize because he had to wait until after the evening prayers to go to a movie. I was the first girl who he brought home to his family. I came to understand later down the road that men and women are not supposed to be friends or date in Islam. It was a very different lifestyle to explore.
I observed certain habits that him and his family had. I have always been a very open minded person. Racism and cultural acceptance have always been a part of my school upbringing. He really cared for me and he began to become very comfortable explaining Islam to me. He even video-taped himself praying so that I could follow along. He became more religious teaching me and researching the questions I had about Islam. I took the videos, a hijab, the prayer book (in English and Arabic transliteration) and some loose clothing and tried praying on my own. It was when I started saying the Arabic words that I felt a rush of peace inside my body. It felt like a calm ocean. At times when I prayed it felt like sugar in my body. That may be a weird explanation, but I think it’s because I was seeking to know Allah.
Over time, I met some incredible girls who were Muslim. One was named Esraa. When I started wearing the hijab, I was extremely shy and almost embarrassed. People who knew me all my life would make me feel extremely insecure. I met Esraa by accident one day at her work (She worked at Shoppers Drugs Mart).
That particular day she was working in the one-hour photo department. I happened to go there to get my photos developed. I saw her beautiful hijab and how she wore it. It was how she wore it that intrigued me. I’m a very shy person, but when it comes to complimenting another person, I will compliment them right away. And that’s exactly what I did. I told Esraa how much I liked her hijab style (it looked like a flower design on the side). Later on, when she left to live in Egypt she gave me that exact hijab she wore that day. I always remember that day. Her hijab let me know I can be myself. I can let my personality shine through in a modest way.
I became very good friends with Esraa. Her dad taught me how to break my fast with a date and milk. I joined them for a couple of Ramadan Iftars that year.
It was when I went on a solo trip to Dearborn Michigan that I adapted the strongest contentment with my new found religion. I experienced solitude in Dearborn when I stayed with a new friend of mine. She had no music in her little house, she took me to these intriguing Islamic classes and gave me my own room with a prayer mat, books etc. It was during the solitude of being alone where I felt the closest to Allah.
My story really progresses each and every day.
Every day I learn something new. I am extremely proud of the girl I have become thanks to Allah’s guidance Alhamdullilah. Every person that has come along my path has brought me a little lesson, which I take forth each and every day. Today I stand here and I look back at all the previous events and struggles and I realize everything happened in a certain sequence to bring me to who I am today Alhamdullilah.
As a woman who now wears hijab, I still enjoy being in nature. I thank Allah for all the beautiful things he has created and allowed us to enjoy in innocence. I became a full time wedding and engagement photographer and a certified Pilates instructor. I teach all women. Health, wellness and finding inner peace is very important to me. I thank Allah every day for this path he put me on. I am very thankful.