No Choice in the Matter
as related to Insight* with their kind permission
“And such as Allah doth guide there can be none to lead astray.
Is not Allah Exalted in Power, (Able to enforce His Will), Lord of Retribution?” Quran 39:37
She was a thoroughly modern young Australian woman – successful in her business and social life, enjoying the close ties of parents and siblings. So who would suspect that it was the destiny of such a young woman to become Muslim?
Her very first sign of interest in Islam was quite early in her adult life when she purchased a book about Islam from a Christian bookshop in Sydney. “Did that lead you in some way to Islam?” we asked. “Well, actually, I bought it but I never did read it,” she replied. We wondered whether, in fact, the book had been pro or anti Islam, but that was never fated to be an issue.
Her life continued on very pleasantly, and among her friends was a young Jewish woman. They had a close relationship with the exchanging of gifts on Christian and Jewish religious festivals. Religion was never an issue, nor was it ever anticipated that it would be.
The second remembered step towards Islam was when she met a young Armenian Orthodox Christian man. “Oh, you would have met Muslims then!” she greeted. “Muslims! Muslims! I hate Muslims!” he vehemently stated. “Oh dear,” she thought. “Why do you hate Muslims then?” she asked him. “I don’t know,” he said, “I just do!” This was to lead to a further step in her journey to Islam, for she was amazed that a person, or persons, could have such hatred without realizing why it was so. Perhaps this was the factor which made her wish to know more.
Her work took her to many towns and cities, and as she travelled she listened to the radio. One day she had tuned to 2FC and found that there was a series entitled “The World of Islam,” being broadcast. She was so impressed by what was being said that she stopped and took down notes. To this day she says that it was very well produced and that everything which was said, was correct.
Her life went on as usual until about twelve months later when she was driving through Lakemba in Sydney, and saw the Mosque standing there. “A Mosque!” she mused. Suddenly, applying the brakes, she turned. Parking in front, she boldly walked up the steps and through the main entrance. “Hello,” she addressed one of the brothers, “What’s your religion about?” She now smiles as she remembers how religiously naive she was at that time.
She was given a Quran and some pamphlets, and told that she had really come to the wrong entrance and that there was a Ladies’ association down the road. This she took in good part, and eventually, when she returned, she was introduced to some sisters, and week by week she attended classes in religious education.
She smilingly recalls that she used to wear Fire-Engine red lipstick to these classes, and gradually, with increase in knowledge and the help of one of our sisters, became aware that this was really not part of the Islamic code.
Week by week she came and learned, and when it came to the profession of faith, she thought, “Ah! I only have to believe that Allah is the only God and that Muhammad is His Messenger. I believe that already. I am, therefore, a Muslim.” Saying nothing to her Muslim sisters, she kept attending. One day, one of the sisters said to her, “Have you ever thought of becoming Muslim?” “Oh,” replied our new sister, “I am a Muslim already!” Thus it was that she was told how profession of Islam, the Shahadah, should take place in front of two or more witnesses. Quite nonchalantly she said, “Oh, alright then.”
Strangely, as she repeated slowly the words in Arabic (followed by the words in English), which gave the witness; and for the first time, seeing the Sheikh in his turban and flowing robes, she became aware of the seriousness of her decision. “It was as sacred as if I had been married,” she told us.
The next weekend, when she saw her parents, without any warning she told them that she had converted to
Islam. Although shocked, they accepted that this was her decision. In fact, as she described the comparison between Christianity and Islam, her mother said, “Oh, then I have really been a Muslim always.” Both parents were influenced to study Islam, her father even attending University classes on the subject.
As for her Jewish friend – she could never quite accept that Islam had claimed Janet, and although both tried to continue the friendship, they found that Zionism was too strongly opposed to an Islamic stand.
Actually, all were amazed, for during these many weeks of studies, she did not think to mention her interest in Islam at all, thereby stunning most who knew her. Today she feels that had she done so, they may have tried to deter her, and perhaps, just perhaps, she may have, in her lack of knowledge, been influenced. Therefore, she says, “It was my fate to be Muslim and I was not to be deterred. Really, I had no choice in the matter, it was my destiny to be Muslim.”
Note: Those who know Janet are happy to tell you that she has, over the years, continued on the Straight Pathway of Allah. She has worked hard in the field of daawah and women’s issues. She has been blessed and is a blessing.- Ed.
* Insight Magazine – the quarterly journal of IFEW (Islamic Foundation of Education and Welfare).