Alhamdulillah, Allah moves in great ways and is a real opener of the heart! As you all know, my partner has been coming to the mosque with me on a semi-regular basis and heard my Shahada nearly two weeks ago. Well, today I met up with some lovely sisters (Isabel, Priscilla, Salama and Maryam) and took Jonathan with me to talk to some of the brothers, as well as Priscilla's husband. I left at about ten to 6 and (all praise be to Allah) had to go back to the mosque twenty minutes later to fetch Jonathan! He didn't really want to leave, but since it was nearly half past six at this point, he had to come home and have his dinner. You never know, he may revert after all!
My second piece of good news is that my parents have accepted that I am a Muslim. They are not happy with it, but have accepted that it is my choice and are still going to be my parents. I will have to pay my own rent once I graduate, but that is a small price to pay for them accepting my religion and accepting who I am. After all, I knew there would always come a time when I would have to pay my own way - it is just a little earlier than anticipated! They have also said they will still go to my graduation, which is amazing, and seem to be open to me discussing my faith with them. I am so relieved and happy that they are open to listening and understanding, and all praise is due to Allah.
So, it has been a full month since I started wearing the hijab and I have learned a lot. I have been challenged in ways I never thought I'd be challenged and I've been shown a new way of life. There will be challenges ahead, and I am sure that I will be tested again and again, but it will all be worth it when I die and go to jannah insha'Allah. I have made some amazing friends, lost some friends, and strengthened the relationship between myself and others. Islam has taught me a lot in the last 32 days, and I know it will continue to teach me more and more throughout my life.
I may not be a perfect person, or even a perfect Muslim, but I will always try my best and Allah knows that. I might not always do things conventionally, nor will I get things right first time, but I will persevere and be guided by Allah, the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). I am so grateful to my friends for supporting me, and to Widyan Al Ubudy for being the person to start it all off. Thank you to Nazma for setting up World Hijab Day and for helping me out, to Isabel, Halimah, Saaniya and all the sisters at the UEA Islamic Society, to Salama for offering to teach me the Arabic alphabet, to Sherwit, Tania and all the other sisters who I have met and will meet in the future.
Thank you to the brothers who have been kind enough to talk to both myself and Jonathan over the last month. Thank you to Allah for softening the hearts of my parents and allowing them to accept my religion. And last, but not least, thank you to Jonathan for being with me every step of the way - through the tears at the extremists, to the nerves before my interviews, to walking to the mosque with me and talking to the brothers there, to being the supportive and loving man that I am going to marry this year.
I would also like to thank you, my readers, for reading this story. I hope that you have enjoyed it and I hope that you have taken something from it. May Allah be with you.