I was born and raised as a non-practicing Catholic. My family isn’t very religious, with the exception of my grandmother. I went to church on some Sundays, but rarely prayed. I studied science and completed a M.Sc. and a minor in evolutionary biology, and for a long time I labelled myself as 100% atheist.
However, as cliché as it might sound I found myself feeling like I was missing something. I pursued spirituality through meditation and studying Buddhism but also felt a bit lost. I met a long lost friend who is Muslim and recently enlightened after doing Umrah.
My friend was very passionate about Islam, his supportive community, and his new found way of living. I lived with his Muslim family for two months in the United Kingdom and I learned the practical aspects of Islam. Of course, it is all still very new to me, but I am happy about converting to Islam and the decisions I’ve made.
I am still only half way through the Qur’an Pak and I have already bombarded my friend and his family with many questions and progress is slow. However, I am looking forward to Ramadan, going to classes at our local mosque, and learning more about converting.
My mother is from Venezuela and my father is from Spain, but I was born in Australia.
I grew up in Venezuela, so the idea of “giving up” pretty dresses and summer bikinis has been tough to grasp, but these small things are trivial when I look at the big picture.
Many of my friends are a bit worried about me and the decision I’ve made. They wonder why I want to lose my freedom and fun. My grandmother, on the other hand, thinks I have lost my mind completely.
However, honestly, there are better ways of having fun, which don’t involve short dresses or a party lifestyle.
These things don’t begin to compare to the things that can be gained from having faith and being part of a beautiful Islamic community.
I also find interesting that many years ago scientists, like myself, studied nature to get closer to God and this has been the case for me.
I find a huge amount of peace reading the Hadiths, the teaching of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as well as the Qur’an Majeed. I feel like this is an amazing opportunity for me to learn and repent, and I’m very lucky to have been given this chance.
One last note, though I am in the process of converting to Islam, I am honestly not yet to truly ready to believe in the concept of heaven and hell. This topic has always perplexed me and has been the topic of much philosophical debate.
Regardless of this, and any promises of Jannah (paradise), I want to be a part of Islam because I want to be at peace with myself in this life and to be closer to Allah now, as well as in the future.