Monday, 25 May 2009

How I Converted To Islam

I am by no means a perfect muslim, far from it actually. I find Islam very difficult, especially as I have been treated so terribly by men of the muslim faith who in all honesty made me start to turn away from everything I believed in and loved.
Slowly now I am trying to get back into my religion and I hope to overcome my past and start to follow Islam how I used to.
Right now I am not wearing Hijab (no judgements please), however I still dress modestly. I last wore Hijab in 2006.

Here are pics of me today and pics of me in Hijab

Me With and Without Hijab






Anyway, how I became a muslim is as follows.
The night I first arrived in UAE at the begining of the 1990's, I heared the call for prayer for the first time, it was the early morning prayer and I found the sound so beautiful. I stood on my balcony and all the hairs on my arms stood up and I began to gently cry, a happy cry not a sad one. I was very confused as to why I got this reaction but the feeling to cry and the hairs standing up every time I walked past a mosque at prayer time continued for most of my life in UAE.

I was surrounded by local friends and quickly became immersed into the rich culture and customs of the Emirates. Omran taught me a lot about his country and how to behave, act etc and I grew to love it. Everyone called me "The British Bedouin".

One evening I was watching Saudi TV and was watching a station that was showing prayers being said at Mecca. The sound of the Mulla reading the koran was so beautiful it made me cry, I must of cried for 2 hours straight and had no idea why. I thought I had gone crazy. Suddenly the phone rang and it was one of Omran's dear friends "Nabil Al Dowais (who has now sadly passed away). He heared me crying and said "LouLou Habibi, what is wrong, why are you crying" (LouLou was my name before I converted to Islam and changed it to Tahani).

I explained to Nabil that I was watching some religious guy on the TV reading Koran and it was making me cry happy tears and I did not know why.
Nabil laughed and said "Habibi, wallah you need to become a muslim, tonight is Laylat Al-Qadr
( لیلة القدر‎) and if you feel tears of joy then you are ment to be a muslim. He then continued to tell me about Laylat Al-Qadr that it is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

I was later given an English version of the Koran, so at Ramadan one year I sat and read the entire Koran page by page. At the end I knew that Islam was for me, but I still felt like I needed more time to be 100% sure it was what I wanted. I know how easily it is to rush into something you think you want but in the end its not really what is good for you.

Finally in October 1999 I asked Omran to arrange my conversion. My one and only British friend "Fay" wanted to convert also, so Omran spoke with our dear friend Sheikh Hamdan Al Sharqui from the Fujeriah royal family who arranged for us to visit his local court and together Fay and I converted to Islam side by side. We said our Shahada and chose our Islamic names.
I chose Tahani which means "Congratulations" and Fay chose Bedour which means "Many Moons".

The Shahada is as follows




Ash-Hadu Ana La Elaha Illa-Allah




Wa Ash-Hadu Ana Mohammadan Rasul-Allah








Translation






"I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger."











Here is a copy of our Islamic Conversion



Once I converted I ended my long relationship with Omran. I could no longer be with him because I needed to try to go forward with my Deen and find a suitable husband. Omran was heart broken and he never really stopped loving me. I honestly believe he loved me right up until the day he died on 21st June 2005, but I could not go forward with my religion until our relationship ended.

In January 2000 I moved in to live with an Emirati family who were friends of mine and Omran's on a huge farm in Al Awir. My friend Abdul Elah lived there with his second wife Kauser who was from a very important political family in Pakistan. Her father is Pir Pagara also known as the King Maker. I lived there for over a year and it gave me time to get my life back together.
So that is my story of my conversion.





10 comments:

michelle pfirman o'mealy said...

Hi, looks as if I'm your first "follower!" Your story is fascinating. Very similar to mine, I too was "called" back to my religion by the way of unexplained events that reopened my heart. I'm Catholic and open to all beliefs and cultures. The world is so big, yet so small. Wouldn't it be easy if all could just love? Continue to post about your life and your spiritual romance. Looking forward to more!

Tahani said...

Thanks for your comment and thanks for following me.
I have so many memories in my head bursting to get out that I may go blog crazy lol. They have been locked away for too long.

michelle pfirman o'mealy said...

Just keep writing, unlock and blog away!:) fascinating!

desertmonsoon said...

Hi your blog is really interesting and kind of sad. I know what it feels like to long for times that have passed and miss places and people that are "lost" to you. I live in the UAE right now though, so for me the place(s) I miss are Zanzibar and Kenya.

If you don't mind my asking...

why couldn't you marry Omran? Or why couldn't he marry you?

How did he die?

I wish you would write more details - like a book, your story sounds very romantic.

The prayer call gives me chills too but I am not Muslim and don't think I ever will be. But, I think I would really miss hearing it if I moved back to the US.

UmmKhaled said...

MashaAllah beautiful story. I am married to an Emirati and before I was muslim I went to UAE in 2003 and I felt the same when I heared the athaan but was not sure what it was...I just told my DH to tell me when it is going to come on again so I could listen to it...like go outside or roll down the car window. And I agree...make a book here :)

Anonymous said...

well I have to tell you something you look so beautiful in a hijab, pure, clean your face is shining....keep it on!!! as Muslim women we have to cover it's not a choice you know, but Iam sure you know....if you keep it on for a while you will become used to it, I was a nikabi in the UK so I know it's very possible there.

meg said...

I just read through your blog from the beginning, and I find it incredible you can stick to Islam after all the trials and problems with your ex. I left Christianity after having many problems with leaders of the church, and did not feel the spark that you feel. Islam is such a beautiful and peaceful religion, and it is fascinating to learn about. Thank you for sharing your conversion story, I feel the same way sometimes when I read and listen to the Qu'ran. I'm not Muslim, but I find the teachings quite in line with how I see the world. May you and your daughter continue to be blessed in this world and the next.

hekmat said...

I loved your story,It's fascinating and interesting story as well, and especially i must say the differences between the two picture is massive,The one without hijab is shineless and the one in HIJAB is very shining and looks beautiful, well i am also living in UAE from my birth and yet here,i born in Al-Wasl hospital DUBAI you must know,Anyways Continue your life with islamic ways/teachings and you will find more and more PEACE inshallah, ISLAM The best for HUMANITY. thanks (HEKMAT)

Anonymous said...

After spending two hours reading every single thing on your blog i was brought to tears. your story is amazing and i truly commend you for staying strong through all the hardships you have been through. The one question i have is about omran and what happened to him, why you left him and how he passed away. I hope im not touching on a fragile subject. I wish all the best for you and your daughter, may allah grant you loads of happiness and help you to stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Louise, that's very touching! Islam truly is a beautiful way of life and I'm amazed by your journey. Thanks for sharing.

This message is for you and for the others who follow your blog. If you and other new Muslims would like to share your story of your journey in embracing Islam with over 2.1 million followers (www.myhadithoftheday.com, Hadith of the Day on FB), please send a note to hotd@myhadithoftheday.com. May Allah bless you all. Ameen.

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Louise
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