By the grace of Allah, six months have passed since I made Shahada. Reflecting on what had changed in my life in those days, I notice “the change of consciousness”. Before embracing Islam, the criteria of my life had been myself in every aspect. However, one day, I realized the danger of human criteria, which means that people may have different criteria of good or bad, or right or wrong if freedom of choice is given to each person.
Once I came across Islam and studied it, I came to know that Allah exists in the centre of my life. Keeping the Qur’an, the words of Allah as the principles of my life, constantly being conscious of Allah, and concerning myself always whether I follow the right path of Allah- these efforts have greatly changed my consciousness.
Next to the change of consciousness, I experienced “the change of view”, that ‘how to see’ matters. Afterwards I remained always aware of Allah, He taught me many things which I had never noticed, Alhamdulillah. What is true happiness? What is true richness? What is true kindness? What is true strength? In the past I had thought religion as something vague without any clear answer. Nevertheless, I realized Islam provides me answers in the Qur’an like solving a formula of mathematics. Allah has opened the closed eyes f my heart, Alhamdulillah.
Recently, I joined a free market as a volunteer, in order to sell goods which were made in Nepal, to support Nepalese orphans. One of the volunteer staffs sold goods while telling lies to the customers to draw their attention. I told him; “It is not good to tell a lie.” He replied; “You can tell a lie as far as you do not hurt people.” What shall I learn from this experience? What made me different from this staff? At first, the difference of the criteria is to judge what is good or bad, and the second difference is purpose. If a purpose is different its method must be necessarily different. We Muslims, can learn from the Qur’an which describes what’s good and bad, Alhamdulillah. The purpose is to love Allah, to seek help to please Him. I believe that the knowledge of Islam is enough to realise this aim. This is “the change of behaviour”, along with the change of view. In the 40 Hadith, the first words of the Prophet (Pbuh) is “an action is judged only by its intention and the importance is the intention of people.” This is the lesson which I have learned from the experience oas a volunteer who is engaged in uplifting orphans in Nepal. I confirm that we should always be aware of Allah and behave ourselves righteously.
I believe that Allah gives us a chance to decide, how to behave. I notice there are several types of people who have no shelter. People who have a work but no job or those who have food but no house of their own. A person may be hungry to rummage through a garbage can. We do not need to give a sleeping bag to a person who has it. What I have learned from “alms giving” is that how important knowledge is not only for alms giving but also for many aspects in Islam. “We have indeed created man in the best of moulds.” (95:4)
We have to use all our abilities to see, to hear and to feel from our heart in order to behave in the right way.
One day I was told by a convert, a Japanese Muslima that she could not yet grasp the faith since she was not a native Muslima. I can understand her feeling very well. Though six months have passed since I made Shahada, frankly speaking, I could only recently feel the existence of Allah from the bottom of my heart. I cannot read the Qur’an in Arabic and I am doing my best every day in order to find what I should study in Islam.
While staying in Nepal, I started thinking what true richness is. Richness is not that we have a lot of money or materialistic prosperity. Alhamdulillah I met Islam. The encounter with Islam did not change all of my life at once. Most of Japanese people know that we cannot buy happiness with money. Nevertheless, we feel unsafe without money and many people follow a materialistic life. When I met Islam, being much away from Fitra which was given in the name of Allah, my heart was tightly closed like a stone. Everything started with the assumption, “if there is Allah,” I had many questions and looked for answers in the Qur’an which is Kalamullah. What is Allah? Why do we exist in this life? For what sake do we live and where do we go? What is Faith?
I could find all the answers in the Qur’an. I am neither a native Muslim nor have travelled any Arab country. I did not have any other way to find answers except the Qur’an and to confirm that there is no contradiction in Islam. While my knowledge about Islam is almost equal to zero, I cannot help thanking Allah that He has guided me till now.
Even though I did not know Islam, I did many wrong things in the past. Since I felt I was not unhappy, I thought everything all right and I never thought I had to pray or ask forgiveness of anyone. Now I realize I had been in a very unhappy situation without salvation. My friend told me that my soul was saved after I met Islam. I can understand its meaning. I believe that my encounter with Islam is a token of Allah’s love for me and that He has given me a chance to live as a Muslima, Alhamdulillah.
When you feel week, we Muslims are strengthened by the Qur’an and Muslim brothers and sisters, Alhamdulillah. I would like to declare to my friends; “I agree with the rightness in the road of Allah, Insha Allah.”
I am scared to deny Allah because it would deny everything including myself. I am here to exist in this world. I was created by Allah and will return to Allah. Allah teaches me what I am. I will soon return to Allah. I wish to meet Allah straight without shame. I believe we are made to live in this world to meet Allah in the Hereafter with all the Khair, Insha Allah.
Sister Fitra, Osaka Muslim Women's Union - Osaka, Japan
[Courtesy of Islamic Future]