Posted by: Abrahim | 28/01/2009

Julie Warwar

My Way To Islam

by

Julie Warwar

My introduction to Islam came at the age of 15, from my Muslim boyfriend. I never had any doubts about my Catholic religion; I just followed blindly what I was taught. However, slowly over time, my boyfriend told me things about Islam. At first it was very heavy information to take in. (i.e. Jesus was not the son of God; he didn’t die on the cross etc.).

Deep down I knew that what he was telling me sounded very logical, especially about not associating anyone with God. but I still had no intention of changing the religion my parents had raised me in. As time passed I started realising there was truth in what he was saying, and I slowly started following in small steps.

My first step was by not associating Jesus as the son of God, and realising that Islam followed the traditions and teachings of what I thought were only Christian apostles – but Muslims followed them too.

“He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swine flesh, and that which hath been immolated to (the name of) any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” Qur’an 2”173

Then I stopped eating products that contained pork, and made sure that I never touched alcohol. I followed slowly like this for a few years, whilst trying to learn what I could through reading and researching.

“O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed.” Qur’an 5:90

It took me many years to finally revert to Islam. Not because I doubted what I was learning, but for two reasons – firstly because I was afraid of what my family would think, and secondly because I wanted to be confident that I was doing this because it was what I truly believed in and not what my boyfriend wanted me to believe in. Finally all I had learned over the years fell into place, and made sense, as a whole religion rather than bits and pieces.

However, my family were disappointed and thought I was only doing this because my boyfriend was forcing me into it. When I explained the situation to them, and they realised that I was reverting because that was what I truly believed in, even though they were still heartbroken, they knew they were not going to lose me, and did not disown me, over it.

Alhamdulillah I am now happily married, to my then-boyfriend, we are both practising Muslims and very strong in our belief.

I now wear the hijab proudly, and with the help of Allah. One day, Insha’Allah, I will have the strength to help my sister and parents towards the straight path of Islam.

Although I must say my way to the hijab took a bit longer Hijab, took a bit longer ……… It is now a few years since I came to Islam.

It was related that Abu Huraira said that the Prophet (Prayers and peace be upon him) said: “Modesty only brings good.” Hadith – Bukhari

I knew as a Muslim woman that it was compulsory for me to wear the hijab, and it’s not that I didn’t want to, but I was afraid to; afraid that my family wouldn’t accept me, and that I would lose the respect of my peers and work colleagues. A bad trait of mine is worrying more about the opinions of others, rather than doing what I know is right and what I want.

Three years came and went, and although I wanted to put the hijab on, I wanted reassurance that everything would be ok. At this time I was introduced, through a teacher of mine, to another Australian revert, who

wears the hijab. .She told me her story, of how she lived in a very Australian community and one day knew she had to put on the hijab, by doing so, she lost a lot of people she thought were friends but her family were also very unsupportive. I knew in my heart that my friends were all encouraging and my family as much as they may be disappointed, would never disown or disrespect me. By hearing of her struggle, I couldn’t understand how I was so afraid of something I knew was the right thing to do.

I live in a very multicultural society and with a large Muslim population, so I knew I wouldn’t have the reaction of shock that my friend received. It was then that I knew I had to wake up to reality, that is, to be afraid of the One Who Created me and The One Who is going to Judge me when the time comes. It was like a wave of strength that came over me.

“Have We not expanded thee thy breast? And removed from thee Thy burden, the which did gall thy back? – And raised high he esteem (in which) thou (art held)? So verily, with every difficulty there is relief; Verily with every difficulty there is relief. Therefore, when thou art free (from thine immediate task), still labour hard, And to thy Lord turn (all) thy attention.” Qur’an 94th Surah.

Over the next few weeks I told everyone I felt that they should know that I was planning to wear the hijab, before I put the hijab on. It was very nerve wracking but I knew I couldn’t go back now. The funny thing was that I told my husband second last. I knew that if I told him first that he’d get excited and try to rush me, and I felt stronger doing it at my own pace.

When I told him, I have never seen anyone look at me as proudly as he did at that moment. A few days later I finally put the hijab on; I stepped out for work in a nervous sweat. For months I felt as if everyone was starring at me, but I held my head high and knew that Allah (swt) was on my side.

Unlike what I thought, every thing went smoothly. Everyone I knew supported me. I had worked myself up into a nervous wreck for so long over something I knew Allah (swt) would help me through.

Now, eighteen months later, I have found this new courage, strength and energy within myself that I didn’t have before. I still take others into consideration, but I no longer let others influence me negatively or to the point where I hide my beliefs. I feel that my life has changed for the better; I am now a much stronger person. I wouldn’t change anything, and am very proud of myself.

I hope that the story of my journey to wearing the hijab encourages those who feel nervous about putting it on; to have faith in themselves, and mostly in the Strength and Mercy of Allah (swt).

“As for those who believe in Allah, and hold fast unto Him, them He will cause to enter into His mercy and grace, and will guide them unto Him by a straight road.” Qur’an 4:175


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