[Reflections] Why I Wear the Hijab

hijab                                                    Image Courtesy www. eislaminfo.blogspot.com


I start with His praise for it is Allah (swt) who guides me each day, and His infinite mercy sustains me for my every breath.

Recently, I was asked by somebody to write a piece for Hijab Day about my journey and my experience wearing Hijab. I was thrown into a bit of a dilemma- as this was a case of, “Well I don’t really celebrate any days as such!”; and not wanting to be offensive, as I knew he in his own right was being sincere. I wrote this over night as I decided to go with how I feel. I didn’t think that this is what was wanted out of me, but I have found that I can only find words when I speak from the heart, or I can’t say anything at all. This is what I wrote, but I didn’t give it in as I felt there could not be a competition for what each of us feels.

I don’t need a day to define the Muslimah that lives inside of me.  Every day for me is a Hijab day. Although, we go through our trials, and are in the various stages of life, but I do not call my Hijab a struggle. For me- it is a source of comfort of beauty,  peace, love, and an integral part of Deen. I don’t need days and I don’t need symbols- but I do need Him, His guidance, His mercy, and even, the people He sends as friends, as teachers, and as fellow travellers throughout this journey.

Years ago, somebody told me during that tough phase when I first wore the Hijab- that this is just a sip of the ocean. Truly, I have found that Deen is so much more than that sip. It is the ocean of life; holding onto Deen, and trying not to deviate- is the real challenge.

I come from a secular back ground, where after several years, the smallest insult to my face is that I am insane. I hear stories about my past as if there was never a time of repentance. I am told by near and dear ones that I may not be forgiven. After all, I came into it so late. After all, wasn’t I so terrible? And yes, I was; and yes, I have repented; and yes, it still goes round and round in my head. Could I have been better? Could I not have done more? For me- the depth of my madness is a normal conversation; for me- this is a normal day.

I don’t ask for sympathy for what is the point in asking for it when I look at His mercy, and I know that He chose me- the lowest of all the repentant sinners to be on His path; the one who forgot Him, but was not forgotten by Him. What I do ask for is forgiveness; and that He makes it easy for all of us. This is not a rant nor this is a complaint- this is plainly the lives of many. I am just the same story in another book which can go into volumes. But each of our stories does matter to our own selves.

When Allah (swt) wants to purify a soul, he tests it through trial and tribulation. Every soul goes through this in its own different ways.

So, here we are after each insult that broke us down; you see it only broke us to re-shape us. If you felt torn apart, it was only to weave you into something stronger.

This madness has made me weep; it has made me cry; and it has made me love. If this is what it is, and the end leads to something far better than what my human mind can fathom, then let me live in my madness.

Those who know me have known my story of “love”. So, this is not a speech of grief. This is truly a story of wanting more of that ocean. I turn everything around as this is the way I will fight. You see I love my Rabb.

And I do it for His love. I love my Prophet (sa) and I love my Deen. I find no embarrassment in secular groups to say it.  And because of this love, I also love my sisters for the sake of Allah (swt).

I cannot compare my stories to any struggling Muslimah- as sometimes when I hear others relate their lives- I am humbled by the strength of the women in this Ummah. But our stories don’t end here, do they? We will go back home. and we will struggle, and we will live some more, and that is how we will move each day.

We do what we do with love for the sake of Him; that love for which there are not enough words in the human language to describe.

When you think of who you’re doing it for, it becomes easy to close chapters and lay certain pages of life to rest- knowing deep in your heart- He has other stories for you. Better plans than we can possibly imagine. I am not just speaking about the Hijab. I speak about our way of life. Imagine, the Mercy upon us when we could have been of those unaware.

From the Creator who has written millions of beautiful journeys, you should be assured, He has got yours covered every step of the way.

After all, “Wa Huwa Ala Kulli Shai in Qadeer”.  He is powerful over everything. So, engrave this belief into your soul.

Yes, I know there are days; but just believe each day will be a good day. For even if you have slept with a face soaked in tears, wake up knowing He is still with you.  For He is As-Sami (The All-Hearer); and He does listen to your Dua- the one you made when you felt there was nobody there. And, He is Al-Wadud (The Ever Loving) – the one who loves you the most. He has all the beautiful names that belong to Him.

And, this great entity, Al-Azeem (The Magnificent) chose us to be on His path; always watching over us, protecting us, loving us, guiding His slaves to Jannah; guiding us back to Him.

When you think of all the things you are hit with; when it seems you are flooded; just then, right at that moment, find that knowledge within you; the knowledge that He will never leave you, and it is then you can truly feel this beautiful realization; that feeling which comes from within; when you utter from the depth of your soul, when you cry out and truly mean the words, Alhumdulillahi Rabb il Aalameen. When you know and understand in that moment of relief that all praise truly belongs to Him.

Repentent sinner

Struggling Muslimah



I discovered when I covered

Blumen - DekorationI was not ready to wear Abaya at all; it seemed quite outmoded and I loved to doll up.
For me Abaya was not less than a prison. My vision shadowed by the basic concept of stereotypes. The idea of Purdah came up with the image of women who swathed themselves in veils, hiding in the inner most recesses of their homes.

I was not raised in a very religious family, but I had seen my mother being a very composed Muslimah. She is the one who made me learn and understand the basic concept of Deen. But there was and there still is a void- I could feel it.

The feeling of emptiness made me curious for what was lacking.
Hijab was my first step towards a contented and perfect living; there was no inspiration behind- it was just a promise I made to myself and Allah (swt).

Later on, my heart found its way, and I started to gain knowledge; but then Abaya was something I never thought of wearing.

And one day, my mother asked me to wear it, and somehow, I reluctantly agreed. In the beginning, I found it real hard and the worldly imperfections attracted me. It still does attract- but now, I have finally decided not to let this precious thing get away from me ever.

This Quranic verse is my favourite; and it is the only thing which inspires me to be pious for Allah (swt) Who is closely watching us, “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do, and say to believing women that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what appears thereof.” (Surah Nur 24: 30-31)

I feel more confident and secure in my Abaya; it’s like a Harry potter’s cloak to me which makes me disappear in front of all evil eyes and protects my grace. Moreover, Abaya is a real blessing for girls- whether in T-shirt or Pyjamas- just get up wear your Abaya and you are gracefully ready to go.

May Allah (swt) grant us utmost righteousness. Ameen.

For the Unwed Muslimah: Single is Serene

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

  1. Everything is decreed

The only sober way to change your perspective is to know that you are where you were destined to be. Allah (swt) is Al-Muqtadir (The perfect in ability) and He is the Creator of the Divine Qadr. Your destiny was written by Him even before you came into existence. Customarily, we find people pinning blame or ill-omens to single women for being single. Nothing can be more ignorant and farther from the truth. If you are single right now, you are living out what has been written for you and the rest shall come to pass too- if that includes a husband and a family then rejoice; if it doesn’t, then rejoice some more. It is your Creator’s (swt) wise plan.

Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development.

  1. Marriage – a non-mandatory blessing

Our lives, our time, the air we breathe are some blessings that have been granted to us by our Lord. But, who said that a spouse is included in the deal for all? Each and every one of us enjoy a different set of bounties when it comes to our share of family, friends, Rizq, intelligence, talent, beauty and opportunities etc. You are not bound to have a relationship; so stop thinking that you are deprived. Your Creator is Al-Wahab (The liberal Bestower). You may have what many other married couples do not have. If being single was unfortunate, then Allah (swt) would not have destined Maryam (as) and prophets like Yahya (as) to live and die as single.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy

Everyone is in a different chapter of his/her life story. If you decide to compare your life to that happily married cousin or the very wealthy and pampered friend, you will self-sabotage your own life. Understand that Allah (swt) has created every person and his circumstances unique. Any kind of comparison is the greatest insult one can do to that uniqueness in creativity. When we compare our life to others, we are always comparing apples to oranges. Regretfully, social media with couples flaunting their joy adds to the trigger of emotions; and single people often feel insecure, under-achieved and deprived. There is so much to life. A spouse may be a cherry on the cake, but not the cake itself. The cake is your relationship with Allah (swt); the rest is just the icing.

  1. Fasting ensures chastity and contentment

For many Muslimahs, marriage is simply a means to satisfy their natural intimate desire- as Islam disallows adultery. They are not mentally mature to handle a relationship; and neither they are committed and trained to bear and raise kids. If physical attraction would have been such a strong means to keep couples together, then we would not have seen spiralling divorces. Sexual need is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The prophetic means to curb is to fast regularly. Also occupy yourself with something productive; refrain from viewing soft pornography and seductive imagery on media; try to hang around with friends and family members who are serious about developing their own talents, skills and pursuing community and welfare services.

  1. Self-appreciation and education

Marriage is a serious business. It comes with a set of heavy duty responsibilities that occupies your entire day and time for many years. Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development. If Allah (swt) has destined you to be single, then avail this opportunity to grow- educate yourself, develop a skill, pursue a hobby and take care of your health. We often hear comments like: “I need to lose weight so that I can get married.” The only reason one should maintain good health and care is so that he/she is able to worship and obey Allah (swt) effectively. Your self-esteem will rise automatically. Your looks and your decisions should not be fashioned to win a spouse; rather to keep Allah (swt) pleased with you.

May Allah (swt) bless us all with understanding of His Deen and contentment. Ameen

The Dua that changed my World

dua(This was one of the entries received as part of the story writing competition 2014)

Making Duas was never important to me. I always used to think that since Allah (swt) knows what is in my heart, He will listen to me. Consequently, there was no conscious effort in my Salah or otherwise to make Dua during rain, or between Adhan and Iqamah, in prostration, after reciting Quran, after Fard Salah, on Friday, while travelling, before opening a fast or at the time of Tahajjud. However, my thinking and understanding of the Deen changed considerably after my new homecoming to Deen.

It was something magical and surreal. There was something divine about this change. It made me happy and satisfied. It completed me. It gave me an identity and put my aching heart, wandering mind and unrest soul at peace!

My life took 360 degrees turn four years ago. A lecture at a friend’s house, followed by a few lectures at Markaz Al-Huda in Sharjah, and my heart gradually attached to the Deen.

It happened immediately after I realised that I had been wasting my life. I had surrounded myself only with things that would drift me away from the Deen, rather than bring closer. This realization was painful but satisfying. It put me to shame, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that He opened up my mind to this reality.

The next big challenge was to remain steadfast upon the change. Guess what helped me to continuously come closer to Allah (swt), seek His pleasure, and increase the knowledge of Deen? The Duas, of course! My favourite Dua at that time and even today is: “Ya Muqqalib Al-Quloobi, Thabbit Qalbi, ‘Alaa Deenik.” (“O, turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon your Deen.”) (Muslim)

I learnt some very meaningful Duas and started reciting them regularly, Alhamdulillah. Each one of it sounds more beautiful and meaningful, since now I make a conscious effort of learning the meaning in English and reciting the Dua in Arabic. Slowly and gradually, my misconception of the fact that Duas are not answered faded away, as I saw, in front of my eyes, my Duas being answered, irrespective of the language… one by one, Alhamdulillah!

Just like many of my sisters and brothers in Islam must have discovered the power of Dua, I too am discovering and enjoying it. In fact, sometimes a Dua that I have asked for is answered beautifully, and it leaves me awe struck and amazed. Sometimes the Duas are answered as I have asked, while at other times my Duas are in fact replaced by something better than I could never have imagined. I have been experiencing the miraculous beauty of the bond between the Creator and His servant getting stronger, Subhan’Allah!

To think of any single Dua that was answered is difficult for me at this point in time, because like I said, Allah (swt) has been so Merciful, Masha’Allah, that when He guided me to His Deen, He made ways of bringing me closer to Him, day by day. The recent Dua that I made, was answered in a manner I could have never imagined – I will share with you this beautiful incident.

My seventy-three years old mother was sick in Pakistan. I had seen her in 2011, and in 2014 she fell really sick. I told my family back home that I was coming from Canada, because I wanted to meet her. This was in February, this year. I went and spent 12 days with her, Alhamdulillah. During this time, she recovered from her illness and seemed to recuperate day by day. What happened to her? Well, a mix of multiple problems. She had angina, breast cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, hernia, and in February she developed severe bronchitis, due to which she used to have breathing problems, as water would fill up in her lungs. To top it all, old age itself is a big problem. When I came back and saw her for the last time on the 8th of March, my heart was aching and my tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to come back to Canada, but I had to!

After coming here, I got busy with various chores. We were moving from Toronto to Mississauga. The kids were starting Hifz program here. Then I slipped from the stairs of my new house. There was too much on my plate at that time. I used to call mummy on Sundays and speak to her for a while. I used to make a lot of Dua for her health.

I remember vividly the Sunday before she passed away – I couldn’t call her, as we were going somewhere. In the car, while it was raining outside, and we were travelling to a relative’s house, I made a sincere Dua to Allah (swt). I begged him to relieve my mother of all the pain and never make her dependant on anyone. I prayed to Allah (swt) to ease her of all her sufferings and trials. I prayed for her to die peacefully, as a Shaheed, whenever her time came. I was deeply saddened by the fact that I wasn’t close to her and I couldn’t serve her or do anything for her, except make Dua.

That night in the bed and all the nights that followed, I repeated the same Dua. I didn’t want my mother to suffer any more, as I had always seen her sick. She had always been a fighter. The following Thursday, on the 12th of June, 2014, she passed away – peacefully – in her bed, Alhamdulillah!

I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t happy about the fact that I didn’t speak to her on the last Sunday that she was alive, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that she died in her own bed, not in the hospital. She went away without giving trouble to any of my siblings. I sincerely hope and pray that she had recited the Kalimah, when she passed away. I beg all the readers of this insignificant note to recite this Dua for my mother with me:

“O Allah (swt), forgive and have mercy upon her, excuse her and pardon her, and make an honourable reception for her. Expand her entry and cleanse her with water, snow and ice, and purify her of sin, as a white robe is purified of filth. Exchange her home for a better home, and her family for a better family, and her spouse for a better spouse. Admit her into the Gardens, protect her from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.” Ameen. (Muslim)

The True Essence of a Muslimah

Beautiful-DiamondA daughter once asked her mother, “Mom, I have heard about diamonds and rubies and also gold and silver. Which is the most precious jewel?”

Her mother replied, “Jewels of gold, silver, diamonds and rubies are all only stones, and do not shine, unless they are burnt and polished. For me, you are my precious jewel. In fact, every daughter is a gem, irreplaceable! I would like to decorate you with such jewels and gems, which will bring you honour and respect, and add a glow to your dignity and character.

• Clothe yourself with Taqwa, and adorn yourself with the most precious jewel of piety.
• Take care of your head! It is the closest to Allah (swt) in Sujud, so make your prostrations lengthy.
• Keep your head cool and low (out of humility) when amongst people. Let Allah (swt) raise it high.
• Keep your hands immersed in work and tongue moist in Dhikr. That’s the essence of the women of Jannah.
• Raise your hands, shed tears, and share your thoughts and feelings only in front of Allah (swt).
• Lower your gaze and adorn it with the emeralds of contentment.

If you have gold, it’s not that you will not turn old.
But if you have character, it will build your Akhirah.
If you have lots of brocade and silk in your closet,
But elegance will be disclosed by your deeds’ facet.

If you are not endowed with diamonds or pearls,
Remember, through your speech and smile you glitter.
And scatter the beauty of Islam.
Through reverence in covering your Awrah.
And reveal what is permissible, and be it little, be happy with Halal and pure.
That’s the true essence of a Muslimah.

Her daughter replied: “True! I am blessed to have a mother, who knows my true value and wants the best for me in this life as well as hereafter.”

May Allah (swt) guide my daughter and all the daughters of the Ummah, too. Ameen

Psychology of Gheebah, Sorrow and Envy

tumblr_md0m4qVITd1qil46jo1_1280Have you ever tried to find out why, even after working so hard to avoid backbiting or thinking negatively about a situation, we bump into the same thoughts again and again? Are you struggling to leave your habit of negative thinking or trying to look towards the brighter side of the situation? Our reasoning behind events and relationship issues are from automatic thoughts, habits of thinking that come to us so effortlessly and we start assuming they come from outside our own mind.

When the aspiring Muslim woman encounters a situation at family or home, she is often trapped into a myriad of cognitive distortions that lead her to backbite, envy or compare herself to others. 

Recently, faced with an interpersonal conflict, I realized that a venomous self-critic resides inside me which blurs my vision of reality and takes me far away from the purpose which is to please Allah (swt). The Muslimah today can be sensitive and at times very anxious. She undoubtedly has to fulfil many responsibilities at home and in the society. The Muslimah, in her struggle, tends to think negatively about situations, relationships and especially about her own self. At heart, the Muslim girl or woman is emotional and yet very strong.

When the aspiring Muslim woman encounters a situation at family or home, she is often trapped into a myriad of cognitive distortions that lead her to backbite, envy or compare herself to others. This is common especially when the vulnerable Muslimah has to deal with multiple family issues and handle the household chores to her best.

The theory of cognitive distortions has its roots in the work of Aaron Beck and David Burns. They highlighted the errors in our perceptions that we continually make, if we don’t identify them. To actualize the essence of a true Muslimah, a woman has to challenge the erroneous thought patterns so that she can identify the unintentional harm that she is doing to herself and others. Our Deen has all the required remedies for perceptual distortions however, we just need to identify where we lack.

We want the other person to change to suit our peace of mind. In fact, our peace of mind is rooted in the remembrance of Allah and a very strong connection with Deen.

Following are some selected cognitive distortions as outlined in the work of David Burns, that I felt can be applied to the day-to-day contradictory  situations that we face  causing us to automatically start thinking negatively without consciously choosing to do so.

  • Filtering: This means magnifying the negative aspects in a situation or a relationship, leaving out all the positive aspects. For example, in a family gathering, some far relative from the in laws makes a cynical remark over one’s appearance; we automatically start thinking bad about her, without knowing the person completely and without considering their positive aspects.
  • Polarized Thinking: This is the either/or thinking style. We think in yes or no terms, without understanding the situation holistically. We might become so fond of perfection in our kitchen cleaning, that a minor stain somewhere will disappoint us to the point that we start considering it as a malfunction in kitchen cleaning. The kitchen is either all clean or not clean at all; this will disappoint us, affect our habits and the entire day will be spent struggling with a bad mood.
  • Personalization: In the pursuit of comparison of our work, our homes and ourselves with others, we tend to see ourselves as the cause of a situation at odds. For instance, when we consider ourselves responsible for an unhealthy external event such as a guest with digestive trouble; we automatically start thinking that something was wrong in our cooking or food. Such thoughts do occur normally, and they need to be challenged otherwise they might develop into core negative backgrounds that we think alongside. Control Fallacy: One part of control fallacy is that we feel helpless or externally controlled. We try to displace the uneasiness of an event on someone else, feeling controlled. For instance, saying something like “I can’t help it if the dessert doesn’t taste good; I was busy working for mother-in-law, she is so demanding!”
  • Blaming: This has become so common and it can ruin the tranquillity of many relationships especially between parents and children or husband and wife. For instance, a mother might yell on her child, “Your disobedience to me makes me feel so miserable!” We should make a note to ourselves that Allah (swt) has given us free will and control to manage our emotional reactions.
  • Shoulds: Shoulds are the most dangerous of all distortions; the kind which can ruin one’s very own mental health. Let’s say, in a cultured gathering, we automatically start saying to our sister how the sister should have spoken, should have covered herself and what not. This way, we get trapped in the tunnel of Gheebah and don’t realize that we are indirectly eating the flesh of our Muslim fraternity.
  • Fallacy of Change: This is also one of our distorted perceptions and values. We believe that we can make the other person change. Have you ever wondered why? This is because, we believe inside without much toil in our mind that for our happiness and sorrow, we are dependent on these people. We want the other person to change to suit our peace of mind. In fact, our peace of mind is rooted in the remembrance of Allah and a very strong connection with Deen.

If we commence to identify these modes of thinking, we can gain the balance between mind, body and soul. Hazy, negative thinking prevents us from getting closer to Allah and seeking His pleasure and love. Also, we should pause and reflect over the signs around us to abstain from negative thinking and break the shackles of anxiety, hopelessness and lack of enthusiasm to completely delve into this beautiful Deen. Consider the following quotes and Ayahs whenever you feel you’re again dripping into that same old mode of thinking again.

  • Yasmin Mogahed: “If you want to kill something, neglect it. It happens in both good and bad. Neglect a relationship, it dies. Neglect your Iman, it dies. But the same principal applies when you want to kill something like a thought or a desire. Neglect it, it dies.”
  • Al-Mutanabbi:“Don’t receive what time brings except with indifference, as long as your soul is a companion for your body, whatever you are happy with is fleeting, and sadness revives not lost loved ones.” (Don’t be Sad, Aid-al Qarni, IIPH).
  • Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitan (Satan), they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright). (Al-Araf 7:201)
  • …..and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve. (Yusuf 12:87)
  • The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend (Fussilat 41:34)
  • Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (Az-Zumar 39:53)
  • Say: “Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector).” And in Allah let the believers put their trust (At-Taubah 9:51)

For a daily reminder, you can ponder over the following Hadeeth:

On the authority Of Abu Malik Al-Harith bin Asim Al- Ashari, The Messenger (sa) said: “Purity is half of faith. Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] fills the scales, and Subhana’Allah [How far is Allah from every imperfection] and Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] fill that which is between heaven and earth. Prayer is light; charity is a proof; patience is illumination; and the Quran is an argument for or against you. Everyone starts his day and is a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin.” (Muslim)

My Life – Story of a Revert Muslimah

islam__beautiful_saings_1_by_strugaartdollo-d494gfnDaiga, a convert Muslim and a mother of five, lives in Latvia, a tiny Eastern-European country. There are no other Muslims in her hometown, except her. Her unusual ‘virtual’ conversion story and her full of determination new life in Islam are truly manifestations of the most amazing ways Allah (swt) can guide people towards Islam.     

 (1) What was your experience with religion before you encountered Islam?

Being a Catholic by birth, up till thirty years of age, I truly believed in Catholicism – it was not just a formality. I attended church together with my grandmother and mother and deeply believed in the values Catholicism stood for.

(2) What was it that turned you towards Islam?

It is difficult to pinpoint the very first influences. Around thirty years of age, due to several reasons, I was going through a crisis of personal values. The deceitfulness of Catholicism had extinguished in me the faith in the values I had believed in, and I found myself in some sort of a religious vacuum. I never lost faith in God. I am talking only about the form of religion – about the fall of Catholicism as a religion in my eyes and my heart. Essentially, it was due to the gap between what was preached in church and what was happening in the real life – both in the doctrines of the church and in the lives of the people around me. I was especially deeply affected by some of my mother’s beliefs – this was, most probably, among the strongest reasons that pushed me out of Catholicism.

My first meaningful encounter with Islam (before that it was only curiosity) came through online talks with a Muslim man from Morocco. I had never before met anyone so frank, sincere and clean. It was a great surprise that in today’s world there could be someone so sincere in intentions and thoughts. This made me interested in the reasons that let people keep their thinking and attitude towards life so pure. It was Islam.

(3) Can you describe the time, when you were moving towards Islam? Which angles of Islam influenced you the most and why?

It was not an easy time for me. After years of discords in family life, which ended with a divorce, I felt confused about my feelings and emotions. I had reached the critical point of needing stability – something, which would be permanent and profound. Since my faith in church was lost and the advice of my mother went against my convictions, I needed something to believe in. In Islam I saw what I had been missing – invariable and unchangeable values, stability, peace.

(4) What was the final drop towards accepting Islam?

In a sense, it was like a revelation. At some point, I got the feeling that, yes, this is what really matters. God is One, and things happen with me only by His mercy. Only the trust onto the One gives meaning to my life. When I internally accepted that Islam is what I have been missing, I felt complete happiness. I can say that I know and can describe what happiness is.

(5) How, where and to whom you said your Shahadah?

My Shahada, just like my second marriage, which followed after it, are virtual. I said my Shahadah over the Internet through Skype to my Muslim friend in Morocco and his friend.

(6) How did you begin practicing Islam?

I began practicing Islam right after my Shahadah. I was convinced that if I am a Muslim, then I have to do everything the right way. Initially, before memorizing the text, I was reading my Salah from paper and learned the recitation through computer softwares. I stopped wearing skirts above my ankles. In about a week, I accustomed my work colleagues to the idea that I will be wearing Hijab. On the first day, I came to work with a small scarf covering just my forehead and ears. After a couple days, I put on a small Hijab, which covered my entire head and was tied behind my neck. After a few more days, I was putting on Hijab properly – so that only my face could be seen. I had to start buying my clothes in second-hand store, because only there I found long enough skirts and blouses that were loose fitting and long.

(7) What was the reaction from your family like? And what about your work-place and hometown?

At work I was accepted almost without any comments. When I came in Hijab, somebody asked, if I would be coming now like this always, and I answered – yes. I think colleagues talked about it behind my back, but nobody said anything in front of me. However, they still cannot understand why I refuse to participate in company outings.

Children accepted me. May be because they did not really have a choice. I am the only one, who takes care of them, so they try to respect me. Time to time, I do hear rebukes from my eight-year-old son. He feels hurt that his mom is not like other moms. May be at school somebody has said something or laughed about him.

With my own mom I had (and still have) painful problems. Once, when we accidentally met on the street, my mom could not control herself and began yelling at me. It was a big shock for me, because usually she does not show her emotions openly, not even talking about public places. I got the feeling that I had hurt her so deeply that she would never be able to forgive me. At the moment, our relationship is better, but only till the moment my way of dressing or religion come in question.

In my hometown, I am the only one wearing Hijab. I have heard laughing, cursing and swearing. Even on the Internet I have read remarks that in Jekabpils (Daiga’s hometown) one is going around in ‘those rags.’

(8) Have you had any pleasant surprises after becoming Muslim?

The time, when I daily searched for, found and studied the materials on Islam was truly beautiful. I did not have surprises – it was a steady feeling of happiness. Islam really is a total model of life given to people by Allah (swt). If this model would be adhered to, people would live in harmony. The actual encounter with people in Islam has somewhat deteriorated my notions about Muslims, but not about Islam.

(9) Have you experienced any hurtful incidents because of your conversion?

I do not want to talk about the negative. I have had verbal attacks, painful feeling that my relatives are suffering.

(10) Are you keeping in touch with the local Latvian Muslim Ummah?

As far as I know, in Jekabpils there are no other Muslims except me. I have been a few times in the mosque in Riga (the capital) and attended the Eid celebrations. However, due to several reasons, I cannot attend the events in the mosque on regular basis. I have not met any Muslim for quite long now. Time to time, I correspond with sisters over the Internet. I am really longing to meet other Muslims for refreshing the feeling of unity, for strengthening my Imaan.

(11) Can you tell a little about your second marriage after conversion to Islam?

I divorced my first husband prior to accepting Islam. After becoming Muslim, I realized that I want to have a family in the true sense of this word. Not only my five children, but also a husband. After reading about Islam, I really liked the Muslim family model. I longed for being a good wife and mother.

Since in my surroundings I do not have any Muslims, I put an advertisement in a Muslim matrimonial website www.qiran.com. Letters poured. Initially, I was surprised that among Muslim men there are so many, who are ready to accept me with my five children. Only later I found out that just a small percentage of them have clean intentions. For some time, I was corresponding with quite many Muslim men. The experience ranged from unpleasant to shocking. Then, through the same website, I got a letter from a man in Makkah. He already had a wife and a large family. I was offered to become the second wife. Originally, Abuhamed is from Morocco. He has studied in France and now lives in Makkah. Although he had a degree in engineering, he is committed to studies of Islam and writes books.

After a virtual meeting with Abuhamed, his wife and family, I accepted his proposal. I was given many promises – that soon I would not have to work any more, so that I can become a full-time mother and wife, that he would come to Latvia for getting to know my children and that afterwards we would be able to live in KSA or in any other country of our choice. We were planning that I would help him with online Dawah activities. I was truly delighted!

However, life has put many hurdles in the way of our new family. My husband has dedicated his life to studies of Islam and writing about Islam, while I am working for earning at least a decent living for my children. We have met two times in Istanbul, Turkey. He was refused visa for Latvia. He is continuously asking me to come to Makkah, but how is it practically possible, if I have neither a Mahram to travel with, nor money for buying my ticket? It is also not possible for me to uproot my children from their current lives and ‘throw’ them into a completely different environment than they are used to. I keep praying to Allah (swt) for uniting our family soon.

(12) What is it that keeps you steady on the Path of Allah (swt), despite the difficulties you face?

My relationship with Allah (swt) is guided by internal conviction, not by any external reasons. The difficulties, which come about due to external obstacles, cannot become a reason for doubts in the matters of faith. Faith can get affected only if a person has internal insecurities and lacks confidence in himself/herself.