Today started off as a day for relaxing, and boy did I need it! After the mad 11 days that I've had since beginning my journey with the hijab, it was high time I sat down and took stock of things. That lasted until about 2 pm, but it was well worth it.
My brother in Islam, Muhammad Patel, emailed me to let me know that there was a new community centre opening today near us, and he invited me to come and see it and to meet some of my sisters in Islam. I jumped at the chance, and for good measure I took Jonathan along with me so that he could talk to some of the men there and perhaps hear their stories and discuss his own.
Allah truly blessed us both today! I walked into the women's area of the mosque and felt right at home. Unfortunately I slightly gatecrashed the prayers but I made sure I was quiet and I sat down as quickly as I could. There was a lovely woman sitting next to me who smiled at me and made me feel at ease right away. After the prayers, I spent over two hours talking to a lovely woman (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten) about everything from my upcoming wedding to our mothers - we have so much in common that it's almost ridiculous! Allah forgive me, but our mothers are both controlling and manipulative, but we agreed that they are who they are and there is little we can do about it.
Whilst the women prayed, I played with one of the young girls, which was a lovely experience. We were then given baguettes, cakes, biscuits and drinks, which was extremely kind and a wonderful welcome to Islam. I could not have been made more welcome, and I have never before felt so happy to be in a holy place. I have also received support from Jonathan's parents with regards to my conversion, which is wonderful. Even if my parents do not support my conversion, I know I have their support and that is all that matters.
For Jonathan, the experience was also a good one. He was greeted as a brother and made welcome, and when somebody went to throw his can of cola away, the man he was sitting with said "That's brother Jonathan's", which was truly wonderful to hear. I am so glad that Jonathan was made to feel welcome as he was a little nervous about going. He also came away with a small box of books that a brother gave to him, which was overwhelmingly kind! Alhamdulillah, that brother was so kind and thoughtful!
Tomorrow I travel to Cambridge for my Masters interview, so please keep me in your prayers. I shall, of course, keep you up to date as our hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi (mind you, it costs £60 per night so it should do!).