Read part 1 HERE
By Khadeeja Islam
Within days, I decided to practise Islam, all the while remembering not to skip prayers and reading the Qur’an. Eventually, as I did more and more research from authentic sources, the truth dawned upon me. The purpose of life is to worship or obey Allah and this is a two-fold purpose, entailing the following:
That we fulfil the rights of the Creator, for example offering our prayers and upholding Tawheed.
That we fulfil the rights of His creation, for example, taking care of animals and helping the poor.
Alhamdulillah! I am a practicing Muslim for 2 years now and I would love to share how Islam has shaped my personality. From the grumpy, disputatious girl, I am now a cheerful, friendly spirit. I am confident and by Allah’s Mercy, I have been endowed with patience, humility and the ability to control my temper. I am passionate about education and feel that I have an added responsibility towards the society and the proper representation of Islam. I maintain a healthy relationship at home, school and work, which has only heightened my productivity in these places. I realize that hygiene, grooming, healthy living and positive attitude are the real factors behind a great looking face and body. No make-up kit can bring out the glow, the blush, the smile, that a jovial, righteous heart is able to. I am active in community service which makes me more humble and grateful for all the blessings that I have been gifted with by Allah. It is very rewarding to spend time with those less fortunate than me and to see them smiling for the little things that I do for them. I am very careful about the way I spend my money because “1.4 billion live in extreme poverty”  and for them, even a single penny matters. The best part is that I have Allah to rely on, both during times of ease and anguish. Alhamdulillah! At a time when Islamophobia is on the rise and people in general are skeptic about religion, everyone seems amazed at how a practising Muslimah can emanate such radiance. The transition has not been easy. I have made mistakes and still do, but none of the mistakes have been major as compared to the past and they do not leave me sulking in seclusion, thinking of how to rectify them or thinking of what my goal is. I bounce back every time with repentance and steadfastness towards my goal. Alhamdulillah!
Now that I look at my past, I have mixed emotions. I feel I have missed out on a lot for not being a practicing Muslimah since childhood. I think I could have contributed greatly to the Muslim Ummah and to humanity as a whole. I wish I was born into a practicing Muslim family. However, I know that Allah has only decreed that which is good for me. I feel grateful to Allah for having guided me so far. Even now, when I think of these developments, I get overwhelmed with tears. He has brought me from darkness to light. This is what keeps me away from disobeying Allah. How can I disobey Him after all the favours that he has bestowed on me? I cannot imagine what I would have done if Islam did not happen to me.
It is very ironic that Islam, the way of life, that has contributed so much to my personality development is now being scoffed at or misrepresented. It is ironic that practicing Muslims are deemed as threats or as unproductive burden, when in reality, we are so keen on benefiting everyone. I remember bursting out in tears because I could not bear Allah and His chosen Deen being insulted in my presence. However, this should not make us fall into despair. Instead, this should remind us that we have a lot to do for Islam. We need to be a proper demonstration of Islam, not by mere lip-service, but by our actions and speech for real. For example, I make it a point to smile even at strangers, so that they instantly feel the warmth of Islam. This is in contrary to the violent images that we see in the media or hear in the lectures of politically-motivated “preachers”. Smiling is a very small deed, but it goes a long way in creating a healthy environment for everyone. It is also our duty to produce greater output in every halaal field, for example, photography, fashion, writing, movie-making, poetry, business, art, medicine and journalism. This will not only ensure halaal entertainment, products and service for the Muslim Ummah, but it will also go on to show that our religion does not promote backwardness. We will also be less dependent on those who hold malice against Islam.
Let us take leadership in every field and produce some really talented artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and writers. Islam is in the dock. My love is in the dock. Will you help me to free it from the allegations?
 Rural Poverty Report issued by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insidestory/2010/12/2010127101119119276.html
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