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Sitti Shahara: A Revert Story

Sitti Shahara is a revert who embraced Islam through the proclamation of my faith to Allah SWT, on March 14, 2015. Prior to the decision of reverting to Islam, she personally took actions to understand or have a glimpse on what real Islam is.

According to her, she browsed in the internet to read on many write-ups about Islam. After thorough readings, she suddenly felt peace in her heart and mind. She gladly shares her story for many people to get inspiration from.

When did you start embracing Islam? Was there someone who influenced you?

I started to embrace Islam by way of Shahada, the proclamation of my faith to Allah SWT, on March 14, 2015. Prior to the decision of reverting to Islam, I personally took actions to understand or have a glimpse on what real Islam is. I browsed the internet and read on many write-ups about Islam. After thorough readings, I just suddenly felt peace in my heart and mind. There was a feeling that I wanted to cry, I was touched. “What have I been doing in my life??” At that moment, I felt that I have no foundation of faith. “Who am I really praying to?”. All my life, I just believed that there is God, in trinities. Why it has to be three? I have been asking that since childhood but I didn’t get any answer even from my parents. I grew up believing just like that with no foundation. All these came across my mind. It was like a flashback. Then, a realization was made. And the big decision was created to revert to the straight path, to the right road, to go back to the one and only God. I believed in Allah SWT at that moment and indeed it was the right time. And that faith brought me to where I am now.

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Indeed, there are reasons in everything, from the people that you meet, the people whom you are with today, to the events that occurred in your life.

Today when I look back, I will keep on thanking Allah SWT for everything, for giving my husband to me because first and foremost, he is the one who influenced me to believe in Islam. He did not force me to follow him. I just saw in him his faith. He may be wrong at times; he is not perfect. But, I witnessed many times that he stood up again and asked for forgiveness. He does charity to people at the streets. According to him, this is the investments for the Hereafter. I can’t help but be amazed.

In today’s society, people tend to discriminate or have various reactions when someone reverts to Islam. What were your struggles?

When I looked back to the time I confided to my friends that I am now a Muslim, many were shocked. Most of them did not say anything. They just smiled.

My family hardly accepted my decision.

When I started to wore hijab, changed my outfit styles, went to the masjid to pray, I witnessed the discriminating looks and smiles from my workmates. But that moment, when you asked Allah SWT to make it easy, indeed He listened, He responded, and He helped me to go through all those struggles.

I wanted to fully embrace Islam, I wanted to worship Him, I wanted to follow the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW, and act on the obligatory duties of a Muslimah. During Jummah, it has been a struggle during my work in my previous job, I am late at most Fridays and they hardly understand my 5-minute tardiness.

I am struggling everyday of my life. Striving to become a better Muslim in our Ummah. Striving to invest for the Akhira.

 

Were you or are you still getting questions about your decision to revert? How did the people around you accept it?

As time goes by, Alhamdullilah you will see the mercy of Allah SWT. Indeed He is Ar-Rahim, the ever merciful. When you are struggling for the sake of Allah SWT, it may be hard because we are just humans, the feeling of difficulty cannot be denied. However, life in dunya is just temporary and your struggles in dunya are likewise temporary.

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I am now in a new workplace. People here kept on asking me why I decided to revert, “Is it just for compliance to my husband?

I prayed again to Allah SWT to make it easy for me, to help me deliver my answers rightfully and to enlighten their minds. They even told me to eat pork after all my husband is not there and there is no way that he will know about it. Astagfirullah!

A hijabi sister, Kai Darul, had this video about her hijab story and she just reminded me about commitment to Allah SWT. When I looked back to that situation, I thanked Allah SWT for instilling the faith in my heart, for helping me to hold on to my commitment, for keeping it high.

Coping with this kind of situation takes time. Acceptance takes a longer time and I pray to Allah SWT to grant this to the people around me. Alhamdullilah, I am no longer getting questions, maybe few times but not most of the times.

 

Along with embracing Islam is modesty. How did you embrace it?

It was a great challenge! Yay! First, I began to research modesty in Islam to have knowledge on what is behind Muslimah’s clothing styles. I was amazed that modesty is an obligation. Being modest is not just self interest but Muslim women are helping Muslim/non-Muslim brothers to avoid committing sins. Both of you are benefiting on it.

Embracing modesty is such a great challenge because all my life I used to wear clothes that almost show your soul. 😀 Just kidding. I was raised in an urban area, hence wearing shorts, fitting shirts, small blouses are the usual style. As I mentioned, it was indeed a great challenge because I started from zero. I looked for long sleeves, skirts, long dresses. It was fun and challenging! 😀 Husband was very supportive since he’s based in Marawi City, he kept on buying me different type of blazers, etc.

I was inspired by how different Muslimah dressed up. Along with fashion in mind, modesty and simplicity should take over first. But modesty isn’t just about dressing up, it is being modest in the way you handle yourself especially in a crowd: the way you talk, the way you treat others, the way you engage yourself into the crowd.

Not all can go through and win after being judged because of the choices we make. A lot are still having a hard time embracing Islam due to certain circumstances. How will you encourage someone who is having difficulties practicing his faith due to other’s judgments?

I’ve gone through different type of judgments because of my decision. Be brave. Stand with your faith. Stand for Allah SWT. You will never please people but you will absolutely please your Creator and that is our main goal. Whatever judgments you will receive, pray for it. Speak to Allah that He will make it easy for you as you just wanted to worship him. Everything will be fine, trust me. You have to make the first step. Conquer your fear. Stand with courage.

After you stepped out from your shell of fear, you will see, it will be a majestic feeling. You will have that inner peace and contentment. As for me, when I still not wore hijab after Shahada, it seem that I had a deep secret and it was so heavy in my heart, it is like you are forsaking Allah, you are hiding Allah from all people. I was struggling every day. Then I made the first step. The initial action matters, then everything flowed smoothly. Subhana Allah

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Can you still remember the first time you donned the hijab? If so, when?

I wore hijab on May 26, 2015. It was indeed a great decision.

 

During your first day or month of wearing the hijab, how was it like?

My heart was trembling when I went to the office. My hands were shaking. But that feeling that you stood up for your faith, to your obligations, a different joy came up. When the day ended, I tapped myself and said “you finally made it” then after that until now, Alhamdulillah, I am still wearing my hijab, I still hold on to my commitment.

 

Was there a person who influenced you in donning the hijab? Who? And how was the person able to persuade you?

None physically but was inspired with Muslim girls in the social networking sites, blogs, particularly Eslimah. Wow. Masha’Allah! I was inspired with her revert story. Through her/their motivational messages, they encouraged me to wear hijab and styled it in different ways. Whew! It was kinda hard at first 😀 Husband never fails to support me with my endeavor.

 

Were you getting questions about your decision in wearing the hijab? How did you answer them?

Never experienced yet. It is maybe because I am married to a Muslim man who they thought I am just following my husband’s path. But if I will encounter such interrogation, may Allah be pleased with my answers. Inshaa Allah.

 

Did wearing the hijab change you? How?

Modesty. Hijab always reminds me to become modest. Modest in such a way I handle myself, the way I dressed up, the way I give respect to everyone, the way I treat them. Hijab keeps on reminding me of ALLAH SWT. It always reminds me of how great is His love. It reminds me that angels are on our side and records everything that we do and say.

 

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What were the problems you encountered wearing the hijab?

I experienced one time at the mall when I and my husband stroll over in an apparel, the duty on guard kept on staring at me, a suspecting look I can say. When we went out, this security guard stopped me because he has to inspect my bag according to him. That was okay because I thought that was the store’s protocol. What was different, it was just me who he inspected while the other non-Muslim girls’ bags were not inspected. T_T I may be wrong and I asked forgiveness for that, but I thought it was because I am the only one who was wearing hijab and a Muslimah at that store.

 

What words of encouragement can you tell those who are aspiring to wear the hijab but don’t have the guts to do so yet?

Always be reminded of Allah SWT. Always be reminded of the obligations He set. Always be reminded of the deeds that you sow in the dunya will be reaped in the Hereafter. If you have fear in the Judgment Day, then you will take a step while you are in Dunya J Harsh as I am, but this is my motivation. You go girl! It will be a different joy. Alhamdulillah! I may not be perfect, never will I be, I cannot brag my love to our Creator, but I can brag His love to me. This is my story. I am a revert who is still struggling every day of my life but Alhamdulillah, the blessing of strength always pours down from UP THERE. JAZAK ALLAHU KHAIR

 

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  • Sittié Ayeésha Macapundag Dica

    I love this story. I instantly felt good after reading. Shahara is an inspirational woman radiating with a different kind of beauty. MashaAllah!