The first instance I realised the beauty and magnificence of Islam was ten years ago in February. Though I adorned the hijab and knew of the basic tenets of faith I had not realised there was more to learn. I often frequented the prayer room but never really paid attention to the leaflets on display. Then one day I came across an information booklet about Isa (AS). However on the booklet he was referred to as ‘Jesus.’ Until this point I did not know that Isa and Jesus were the same. I was taken aback by this piece of knowledge. In my head I had an array of questions. I walked out of the prayer room and spoke to Nadia who unknowingly was to become a great part of my quest of knowledge. She explained about Isa (AS)’s role and how we believed he was to return to Earth. It wasn’t what she had told me that drew me but it was her mannerisms. Although I am firm believer that clothing is not a representation of one’s piety, I wondered why she was wearing jilbab and this had impacted her. She was a student of pharmacy and was active in Islam. At that point I had not come across a person who was in tune with contemporary society whilst at the same time being persistent in their beliefs. In my mind it was one or other all those years ago and it was struggle. However what I deduced is that there is a balance and there always has been. From that conversation I began to think about Islam whilst in my lecture at university. I began to contemplate why I was wearing the hijab and the consequent decision to wear the jilbab. I began to think about all those things I did not know about the faith I had grown up with and that’s when I experienced that exciting feeling of emaan (faith.) It felt good to put it simply. Everything had a new perspective whether this was a small part of my life or something significant. Where do I start I thought to myself? I did not immerse myself and ascertain masses of knowledge and burn the midnight candle as I would have liked to, but gained knowledge in the most unexpected ways. Some I derived from conversations with fellow Muslims. Other times I attended lectures. I listened to audio lectures online. I participated in the circles of knowledge at university. I studied Arabic- the language of the Quran.
All of this gave me a spiritual high. I liked the link I would make between my spiritual knowledge and my chosen subject of study at university. I studied Phonology and learnt that the intricate knowledge of the letters as well as the physiological articulation was invaluable when learning Tajweed (how to pronounce the letters correctly for recitation.) Most of all I could not believe how everything entwined together. Things I would learn would be relevant to day to day living. Everyday I would begin with fervour and I had a focus- which I sometimes still yearn for now.