She grew up in a landscape adorned with natural beauty and the artistry of men who constructed huge monuments of the Catholic tradition: looming cathedrals that basked in the Spanish heat. But she also grew up in a land where the call to prayer echoed and meandered through the Moorish courtyards; where archways of mosques still reverberated to La illaha illAllah… A tapestry of faiths, weaved with almost divergent claims about God. How could such a place open up new horizons and the single path to the Ultimate Truth?
…and how could a woman, in her mid-twenties, born and bred of such a colourful land cast off years, perhaps even centuries, of tradition and expectation, and answer the call to her heart? Listen to the eternal voice within her?
A glimpse into this woman’s early life reveals that she had nothing lacking: parents, friends and a lifestyle that kept her at the centre of it. Yet an emptiness had begun to expand in her heart and an uneasy brood fester in her mind: there was more…more to reflect upon, more to be understood, more to be touched by. Her journey to Shahadah was her answer to all of this and a new, more meaningful purpose lay ahead – but every journey has obstacles…
A life of dedication to Allah means giving up old habits, it means behaving in a different way and for women, outwardly appearing differently too. She struggled to persuade her parents and friends that she was still the same person just a better version; that she had a new identity that she sought for herself, that she was taking ownership for her faith and shaping her destiny. But no: no to her new life, no to her new way, no to her.
In her desperate moments she longed for some human contact, to reach out and spill her heart out to other Muslims who would guide her, help her, reassure her that she was not alone. Isolation has many facets, but she searched for help – hope and Iman fueling her with the strength not to give into the depressive pangs of isolation.
Her loneliness mingled with her quest to gain knowledge, and why not? She was now a Muslim, who had both a duty and a thirst to gain knowledge and nourish her mind with knowledge that would far transcend the false reasons her rejectors posed. But it wasn’t easy. There were no local seminars held in nearby mosques, no friendly sister coffee mornings, no whatsApp groups she could chat on.
But Allah hears the calls and pleas of those that love Him and depend on Him.
Scrolling, endlessly, Solace UK burst out of the screen like a beacon on a stormy sea. Courageously she made contact and the rest was history. History that can’t be solidified in Gaudi architecture or even Moorish minbars, but history that a believer and Allah are in constant engagement with.
Her case workers listened to her and understood every tear that she shed. It was the beginning of a new relationship, one based on faith and kindness, one forged with the certainty of Tauheed and sanctified by the shared vision of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and all the believers.
One day she came across this: Allah loves to help His servants through other believing servants. Tears streamed down her face. She wonders, now and then, which special people, across the continent, even across the world, form this lifebuoy that seeks to help sisters like her. From help with getting onto free courses and suggestions for further development, Solace UK has never wavered from its support.
For so many years now, Solace UK has been the guiding light that has saved her from those dark moments that creep upon all of us. It’s still difficult for Nadia at times, and some relationships haven’t mended completely but she has matured enough to accept that sometimes some relationships don’t mend: because whilst she wanted to keep Allah in her relationships, others didn’t.
A slow wisdom and security are rising within her now, and she is content in the knowledge that there are many Muslims out there who wish her well, who are making du’aa for her and whom she can contact when she needs a reassuring word. Living in a place with very little physical activity she has learnt to maintain her Iman through worship, teaching herself through the recommendations of her case workers. She has grown through the kind words spoken to her, through the chats and emails with her support worker, and she has empowered herself by learning and reading the blogs and posts on Solace UK as well as on other sites.
Some days are still difficult but her growing faith reminds her that her blessed Prophet (saw) also struggled – her struggles are something she now has tools and wisdom to grow from. She looks forward to meeting that special man who will live up to the expectation of a Muslim husband, as nothing will lower her standards now – she has embarked on a very special journey, a journey that has been blessed by the dozens of sisters working hard at Solace UK to ensure that those like her, wherever they are, do not slip out of the beautiful Path.
She prays with gratitude that Solace UK continues its great work, that it continues being a comforting light for those in need.
We need to ask ourselves now, will we join this comforting light: are we ready to help light their way? Will we be amongst the chosen believers that Allah uses to help others?
We’re inviting you to join the 32 individuals who planted the seed of giving regularly this Ramadan. They’ve answered the call and have committed to be a comforting light to revert sisters in difficulty, every month.
“The most beloved of deeds to Allah is that which is done persistently, even if it is little.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5861) and Muslim (782).
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The Revert Stories are in aid of Solace UK’s “Be Her Solace” campaign, which are 8 simple ways you can give our revert sisters solace in Ramadan. Follow along at https://staging.solaceuk.org/revertstories
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Disclaimer: These stories are derived from multiple real stories to depict real-life events and circumstances experienced by revert sisters. While the stories are based on real-life events, none of the stories belong or refer to one particular person. Full anonymity and confidentiality has been upheld in the writing of Revert Stories. Solace takes the privacy of its service users seriously. All names, characters, locations and events have been changed.
This Revert Story was written by Zaynab Dawood.