I choose Islam (interview)
Some people are born Muslims, while others struggle finding their way to it.
We have managed to interview “Elishka”, or maybe “Alyah” after she converted to Islam in 2009
Although, most readers here are Muslims, Yet observing those who struggle to find the truth in this life, make us rediscover how precious Religion we have.
Enjoy the interview…
might seems long, though wise words inside!
Czech Republic. A small country in the middle of Europe. The home of Charles IV the Roman Emperor. The country where Mozart played piano; where Albert Einstein used to teach; where the word Robot was created; where is the grave of famous astronomer and alchemist Tycho Brahe… where religion is almost forgotten… where I was born where I studied…
and where I spent my first secret Ramadan… My name is Elishka and I’m a Muslim. Alhamdolillah!
1. How did you first hear about Islam?
I think it was Yusuf Islam who said, “Thank God I heard about Islam before I heard about Muslims…” Well with me it was the other way around. I heard about Muslims before I heard about Islam; but back to the question… It is hard to say when I heard first about Islam. It is hard because you hear things here and there but it is not real Islam, it is just distorted and fabricated ideas of people who don’t know Islam or may have something against Muslims. So, you could probably say I heard about real Islam when I read Quran for the first time. It was in 2007 and I was in my late teen years.
2.what made you rediscover Islam?
As we know all souls were believers/Muslims before life and we all testified to Allah that He is our Lord. So I rediscovered Islam in England in 2007. There are lots of Muslims in England. I liked to go out and just watch them. Sometimes I was probably staring so much that they were wondering why, but I didn’t know almost any English so I could not talk to them.
I always felt happy and curious when I saw Muslims on the streets. I felt like I have some connection with them about which I don’t know. I felt like I was missing something in my life; something that they have. When I returned to Czech Republic – my country, I went to a library to borrow Quran. When I held it I knew I am not holding just a book but a “special book“; although I thought the same about Bible.
I tried to read Bible but I read first page and I could not read more. For some reason I could not go past the first page. With Quran, it was the opposite and it was first sign to me that this is not just a “special book”, it is more than that! From the first page I read, I could not stop reading. I read it everywhere – even at school ,during classes. I could not just leave it in my bag, I had to have it with me all the time.
After I read it I knew that my life will never be how it was anymore. I found something what I was missing and I knew it is the right path. And something happened which I could never have imagined before… I found God – Allah.
3. Did you have any beliefs/religion before Islam?
No, not really… well… I didn’t believe in God, but I kind of believed that death is not the end; and i believed in the existence of a soul. I believed in some form of energy. I was not like other “kids”, especially in high school. I was never interested in what they did or talked about. For example, they would always talk about how they got drunk and make themselves super heroes because they drunk more beers then others; and other foolish stuff like that. Every week the same stories… I kept company with people who didn’t take pride in showing off how meaningless they are in front of others; who were more mature about their lives. I was not perfect, without mistakes, but I was happy for who I am even though I was “strange“.
And what made me even happier after I found Islam? It was this hadeeth:
Prophet (PBUH) said:
” Islam came as something strange and will return as something strange, like it started. So give glad tiding to the strangers.”
4. How did you feel when you first said Shahada?
When I said my shahada in 2009, it was a emotional experience. I had tears. I was happy. I was proud of myself! I wish every Muslim could do this – to have his or her own “Shahadah Day”. Its something the most beautiful, special, and one of the best days in your life. And, not to mention, the most important one.
5. Did you face any difficulties after converting to Islam?
Yes I did. I was not able to say to my parents that I am Muslim for a long time. It was not easy at all. I was praying secretly, fasting secretly; but I knew I had to wait for the right time to tell them. Some Muslims made it hard for me because they were forcing me to say it to my parents but please don’t do it to new Muslims! Give them time! We need to get used to it by ourselves first and we need to learn bit more about our new religion so when we say it to our parents we know how and what to say.
For me, I started by talking to them about Islam first. They thought it is something what interests me but not that I am Muslim
so I kind of was making my way to tell them by telling them about Islam first. It took me about year or bit more to tell them. But I am happy for that I think if I would tell them right away it was be very shocking for them and it would be much harder for me. My family now knows and they are okay about it, alhamdolillah.
6. How do non-Muslims generally think of Islam?
Depends where are you from… In Czech Republic there are not many Muslims and most of the people never met any Muslim in their lives so all they know is what they see in TV which is not good. And it makes them feel like they know everything about Islam. Even if you tell them you are Muslim they still think they know more about Islam than you do. It is very hard to talk to them about it. I live in Canada now and as a multicultural country it is much better here, but still the media is really a big problem for people with closed minds.
7. Being in a Non-Muslim country, what activities do you do to keep yourself on track?
As I said I live in Canada now and life for a Muslim (especially in and around Toronto) is pretty good here. We have Masjids or Islamic Centres in every city. We have lots of going on here in every local community; for example: classes, Halaqas, Zikr gatherings, festivals, conferences, etc. My husband and I go every Monday for Zikr (Remembrance of God) at our friends’ house. There are always about 20 people. we read Seerah (Prophetic Biography), send blessings upon Prophet Muhammad collectively, and make Duas.
I also take online courses at SeekersGuidance. It is an amazing Online academy where all the courses are for free! I would advise anyone who has free time and would like to get closer to Allah by educating themselves to go on their website and sign up for some course which interests you. There are a good variety of courses you could choose. Go check out the website:
. There are very amazing and wonderful people who are running this project. May Allah reward them immensely.
On Sunday my husband and I go another Zikr gathering where we collectively do some Zikr and make Duas get weekly lessons from our Sheikh (Spiritual Mentor).
And of course, on Friday I go for Jum’ah (Friday prayer) and in the evening the imam holds his regular Tafseer lessons.
8. Have you got any mission/ideas/plans for the future?
Kind of… I would like to do something for converts. It is a known fact that most people who convert to Islam end up leaving Islam after some time. It is very sad and most people don’t know about it. Every masjid in non-Islamic country should have some lessons or meet ups for converts, because after you say shahada, you as a convert don’t have anywhere to go; you don’t know how to fill your free time which you got after leaving some habits like partying, etc. Also lots of Muslims speak all the time how this and that is haraam, shirk or bid’ah and fill your head with rules rules rules. But Islam is not just rules. Islam is much deeper than that.
You need to feed your soul somehow and you have to feel good. Born-Muslims need to show them how beautiful and positive Islam is, not just telling them you cant do this, you cant do that, haraam, bidah etc. Of course I am not saying rules are not important but that’s not all there is to Islam. Islam is a complete and beautiful way of life. You can pick up any book of morals and ethics and get rules from it but none of those books (Islamic or non-Islamic) will change your life and bring peace to your heart as much as doing a bit of dhikr, and praising God and His Prophet, and doing a bit of meditation daily.
So I had this idea to do something for new Muslims in our community. I spoke about this idea to our Imam at our local masjid and he liked it. So, from January we will start something inshaAllah.
we are pretty glad to have this conversation with Alyah,
May Allah give her peace, and Happiness with her Husband, here and After InshaAllah.