I am the youngest of three, raised in a Catholic home; we all attended Catholic primary school, but I guess being the youngest, my parents gave me the freedom to explore life a little more than my siblings may have been allowed. Ironically, however, my first taste of Malay culture was through my brother. He had joined a Malay Muslim choir. I suppose its safe to say that my parents preferred us having Muslim friends because there was no alcohol or wild, late night parties; little did they know - but that's another story.
Being a good daughter, I attended church dutifully and even became a catechist; participated and served on various organisations within the church, and maybe because of church politics - even though I loved teaching and being with kids - I still felt something was amiss and thus, I drifted.
So it happened that my mum befriended a young Muslim woman who had just had a baby, and also ran a Madrassah. When she returned to work at the end of her maternity leave, I would babysit and listen in while she taught her students. Thinking of them now I smile to myself; so sweet.
Her baby was eight months old when her husband announced they were going on their hajj, and wanting to know more, I helped their family with preparations.
When the couple returned from hajj, I was awe-struck by their stories, close to tears at times thinking, "I want to go, too." But it wasn't my time yet.
Some time later I took a temporary position as a day house mother for people with various forms of mental disability, filling in for permanent staff who went on leave. It's the kind of work that requires lots of inner peace and patience, and once again, I felt myself drawn to Islam. Similarly, I also found solace in the peace and tranquility of Islam when finding myself in a failed relationship.
I suppose some thought that would be the end of my romance with Islam, but I knew better. Allaah Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala knows, Islam is where I've been getting my strength to cope with mum's illness ever since; simply stated, it is my refuge!
And even I have to admit, that throughout, there has been Divine Intervention.
ASH HADU ALLAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAH. WA ASH HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAR RASOOLULLAAH.