Oh where do I begin????  Oh I guess from the beginning!

From the time I was 14 years old I was active in the Mormon church until I became a Muslim (when I was almost 19).  My family wasn't active in the Mormon faith, but my grandparents were.  I'd go to church by myself.  You'd always see me sitting by myself in the back usually.  My family and friends would have never believed it if someone came up to them and told them I would change my religion....especially Islam.  I was a regular Mormon girl.  I went to church, went to church dances, had a lot of good clean fun with my friends.  I never took drugs, and never smoked. Yes, the usual Mormon girl.
When I was in my Jr year of high school,  some things really weird and bizarre occurred in my family.  I was getting very unhealthy because of the depression I was facing.  My family became broken, and it was hard for me to cope with the things that had happened.  Alhamdulallah (thanks to God) my best friends mother knew something strange was going on, so I talked to her, and she told me to live with them.  I knew that I should, so I moved in.  I still kept close contacts with my mother.  I'd see her everyday after school, and during the summer. I just knew I couldn't live there anymore.  I loved living with the Stephenson's.  I knew Allah sent me to them.  There were 11 people there counting me, and I loved it so much!  There was always someone to talk to, and always someone to do things with.
As I lived there, I would always chat on the internet.  It was something for me to do.  I met someone from Jordan and Iraq (who lives in Canada) who were Muslim.  I was really fascinated with the religion since where I am from (Idaho Falls, Idaho) there are only Mormons, Protestants, and Catholics mainly.  I would ask questions here and there, but I was never expecting to become a Muslim...never in my wildest dreams.  My friend, Brother Hussein, from Iraq (but lived in Canada) even came to visit me, but even then I never expected to become Muslim.
Since I had Muslim friends on the internet, I became very interested in Middle Eastern history, and of course, therefore I'd investigate Islam.  Like I said, I had no interest in changing my religion.  I thought I'd be Mormon for life, and do everything practicing Mormons do.  Allah really led me to Islam in so many ways.  In December of 1998, the Stephenson's knew I was interested in the Middle East.  As I read information about Islam, I knew women wear the Hijab.  I loved the idea so much!  I thought it was an appropriate and a natural thing to do.  After all Jesus' mother wore the Hijab, so why shouldn't other women?  We had a church Christmas party, and all of us were supposed to dress up in biblical times.  All of the girls wore a 'Hijab', and I even decided to wear a niqaab.  I remember that I had a wonderful feeling wearing it...that it was something a woman should do.  I was even excited wearing it as well.  Still even then, no thought in my mind becoming a Muslim.
Then in February, the Stephenson's oldest son Ben told me that he found a Koran in a used bookstore.   I told him that he was joking with me.  We would joke, tease, and argue with each other all of the time, so I thought that he was teasing me.  Also I didn't know there were Korans available in Idaho Falls at the time.  I told him I'd like to read the Koran to see what it was all about, but I still didn't believe him.  Anyhow all that night I was telling him he was lying, so therefore I made a bet with him.  I told him if he didn't get the Koran for me by Monday then he'd have to buy me this supreme nacho meal I liked at Taco Time, but if he did get me the Koran then I'd have to buy him a big bag of M & M's.  Well it was Tuesday, not Monday, when he gave me the Koran.  I tell everyone I got my first copy of the Koran by giving someone a big bag of M & M's.
This Koran was very unique.  It was a regular paperback book.  The surahs weren't in order, and later I found out this was Allah's will. I starting reading the Koran, and I found it very interesting. I found the book was filled with prophets such as Moses, Joseph, Abraham, etc.  I think I read about half of the book, and I still didn't have the intention of becoming a Muslim.  After I graduated from high school in March, I stopped reading it.  In March of 1999 my friend Hussein came to visit me.  He really didn't discuss too much about Islam, but when he left, I found I was interested in reading the Koran again Alhamdulallah.  Like I said, the Koran wasn't in order, and I didn't yet read the parts about women.  Before I read the information about women, my friend Melinda (who is a daughter of the Stephenson's) invited me to go to Salt Lake City, UT with her and her fiancée (this was in April).  When we went there, we went to Barnes and Noble, and there, Alhamdiulallah, I found a wonderful book on Islam that gives good translations of the meanings of the Koran.  Unfortunately, I don't even know the name of the book now.  I was just happy that I found books on Islam.  I read the parts about women, and Alhamdulallah it gave very good information about the meanings of the Koran, and how women should REALLY be treated.  After I came back, I read the Cow and Women, and I knew the meanings of the surahs, and what they really meant.  You see, the Koran I had didn't have any translations.  In fact, a non-Muslim translated it.  Alhamdulallah! I am thankful I went to Salt Lake, and found the book!  If I didn't find the book, then I would have come back to Idaho, read the Koran I had, and I wouldn't have known the truth .  Therefore I might not have become a Muslim Insha Allah (but of course Allah knows best).  I am thankful to Allah I received a Koran that wasn't in order, and that I went to Salt Lake during the time I did.
While I was reading the Koran, I was reading the Book of Mormon as well.  I have read the Book of Mormon completely 10 times.  I had a decision to make when I finished the Book of Mormon for the last time (which was during the time I was investigating Islam).  I prayed to God, and I knew Islam was the true religion, that no one is to be worshipped but Allah.  I finished reading the Koran April 28, 1999.  I actually finished reading it at Barnes and Noble in Idaho Falls.  I also discovered in Barnes and Noble that there were Koran's and Islamic information there (after I came back from Salt Lake).  I was so happy when I finished it.  I knew Islam was true Alhamdulallah!
For the next 2 months the only person I had to ask questions about Islam was Hussein, and people from an Islamic chat room.  I told Hussein I wanted to become a Muslim, but there were not any Muslims around, so therefore I didn't know what I was supposed to do.  He suggested to me that he'd send a plane ticket to me so I could stay with his sister.  I was thrilled at the idea knowing I could take the shahada.  I was so happy about it all day.  (Also I must note during this time no one else knew I wanted to be a Muslim, so when I told my mom I was going to visit Hussein, she thought just for a visit, and of course not to be a Muslim.)  The next day Hussein told me he would have to leave and try to get his father out of Iraq, and I wouldn't be able to come.  As you can imagine, I was miserable.  Alhamdulallah, Allah had a wonderful reason why I did not go.
I would pray to Allah asking for help. During all of this, I would go on an Islamic chat line, and I would talk to Muslims there from all over the US.  They told me I was Muslim in my heart.  I still wanted to be with some Muslims who could help me.  I would pray to Allah asking for help.  A brother from Chicago, Abdul Kareem sent me a lot of books on Islam.  A wonderful book he sent to me was "A Muslim Woman's Handbook".  The book helped me with so many things.  He even sent me some audiocassettes and books on how to pray, and books on Islamic history, and about Jesus peace be upon him and Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.  It all made sense to me how Jesus was a prophet of Allah.  I would think about the first commandment which is you shouldn't worship anyone else buy God...there is only 1 God.
The day Hussein told me I wasn't able to go to Canada, my friends invited me to go to a movie with them.  I figured why not.  It is better than staying home.  When we reached the movie theatre, I told my friends I didn't want to watch the movie, and that I'd go to the mall which was across the street.  I walked through the mall for awhile, and I was getting bored, so I decided to get something to eat. I never would eat at the mall especially since I didn't have a lot of money to spare at the time.  At first I got a cinnamon roll, and even then I wasn't satisfied, so I decided to get some nachos and cheese as well.  After I ate I decided to go to Barnes and Noble (which was across the street from the mall), and I figured I'd talk to Melinda who worked there.  Well as I was walking in the parking lot, I saw a woman wearing the Hijab.  I told myself this is my only chance!  I ran up to them.  I couldn't let them go in the store because I didn't want my friend to know about my decision yet.  What perfect timing!  As I caught up to them I asked them if they were Indian, and the man said they were from Pakistan!  Then I definitely knew they were Muslim.  To make a long story short, I told them the situation I was in, and the man, Rizwan, gave me his address and phone number.  When I went away from them that day, I knew Allah had answered my prayers!!!!  The odds of finding a Muslim couple where I am from are very slim, and also I needed to find them, and Allah sent me to them! Alhamdulallah!
Another amazing story about this was Rizwan and Ayesha weren't supposed to be at Barnes and Noble that day, and I wasn't supposed to be there either.  Ayesha later told me that as they were driving, Rizwan told her he'd like to go to Barnes and Noble, and just in seconds he decided to turn into the parking lot.  Then Ayesha told him she didn't want to go in, and he pleaded with her, and finally she gave in.  If she hadn't have come along, then I wouldn't have known that Rizwan was a Muslim.  Alhamdulallah Ayesha went in.
On Friday I decided to take a trip to Rexburg, ID (which is 30 minutes away from Idaho Falls) to visit Rizwan, Ayesha, and their 2 year old daughter Zaynab.  I decided I would stay the night with friends and visit them during the day.  When I went over there the other Muslim men in the community were having Friday prayer, so I got to meet others in the community.  After everyone left, Ayesha gave me a beautiful navy blue jilbab, and she let me pick out a scarf to keep. I thought the dress was beautiful, and how much I loved wearing it.  I thought I'd only spend a few hours there, but I was there all day!  They were so nice and I felt so good in their home.
The next Friday I went back to their home and I took the shahada, Alhamdulallah.  After taking the shahada I felt a feeling of being so clean.  There I met Sister Safia who later became my foster mom.
I loved wearing the Hijab and scarf.  Everyone did stare at me, but Allah gave me so much confidence!  Alhamdulallah!
When my family found out they were all shocked and mainly disappointed in me.  My mother thought I was ruining my life because of what she heard on TV, and she saw the movie Not Without My Daughter.  She was so worried I would marry an abusive husband.  The Stephenson's knew I wanted to be a Muslim a few days before I had taken the shahada.  They were accepting of everything Alhamdulallah!  However, things did get hard.  When everyone found out I was Muslim, everyone was asking me questions, and some weren't asking to be informed, but they were asking to prove me wrong.  I was so exhausted trying to defend myself for the next week.  For the next month I would spend weekends with Rizwan and Ayesha, and Alhamdulallah I felt so much peace.
During the time I was still living with the Stephenson's, Rizwan had a friend who knew I was available for marriage, and he knew of a man who was available.  This person called me for awhile, and then decided that he wanted to meet me.  I was excited to meet him.  When we met each other, at first we liked each other.  After he left, I would always pray istakarah about him, and each time I would get a bad feeling about him.  The night before he called for the last time, I was half asleep and I was imagining being married to him, and I imagined myself crying.  Alhamdulallah the next day he called and said he didn't think it would work.  It was amazing because the day before he called to tell me he was still interested in me.  Alhamiallah!  It is amazing how Allah helped me!
It was very hard being the only Muslim around.  Ayesha was trained to teach the Koran and Arabic, so Safia and I would go to her house to learn surahs and Arabic.  One day I told Safia I would stay in Idaho until I became a nanny.  I had applied to places in the East coast, but I didn't have a job yet.   Something came into her mind that I should be a nanny for her sons instead, and I could live with her and her family.  After she had suggested this, it got harder being in Idaho Falls with no one to turn to.  After her husband Saleh got to know me better, she invited me to live with them.  Alhamdulallah! Allah helped me again!
I loved being with them.  I felt like a part of their family.  I felt so much peace.  I look back, and I don't know how I survived the first month after I had taken the shahada because I was so stressed.  I know Allah helped me be confident.
When I was a practicing Mormon, I was diligent on reading the Book of Mormon, Old and New Testament.  When I would read about Jesus in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, I never had a feeling of peace, and I never had a good feeling about Jesus being the son of God.  I remember one time around Easter (I was 14) I told myself that I would read the New Testament, and read about Jesus.  As I was reading I was wondering why I didn't have a good feeling about reading this.  I remember I didn't want to think the way I was thinking, so I forgot about everything.  Finally when I read the Koran about Prophet Jesus (at Salah and Safia's home), I remember this feeling of peace came over me.  Alhamdulallah!  Allah always gives me signs that Islam is true!
Someone suggested to me I should put an ad in a Muslim website since I was interested in marriage.  I thought I should...what should I loose?  I put one in, and the next day I got a total of around 20 responses.  One happened to be Asif.  I wrote back to a few of them, and as I kept getting responses from Asif, I liked him the best.  He gave me his work phone number which was a 1-800 phone number.  In the past, I would hardly ever call men unless they called first, but I thought I wouldn't loose anything by calling.  At least I would know if I liked him or not.  We talked on the phone, and Alhamdulallah, we liked each other, and he called me everyday after that.  His family, and Saleh and Safia got involved. We exchanged pictures, and we both liked what we saw Alhamdulallah!  Then we would talk about marriage, and we didn't think anyone would allow us to get married soon like how we wanted.  Both of us prayed Istakarah about each other, and when the answer was 'yes', I cried to Allah thanking Allah I didn't marry the other person because Asif is a better match for me.
Asif's mother and father were here from India, and Asif wanted them to meet me as well as his brother, sister in law, and children.  The only weekend they were able to come was the weekend my friend Melinda was getting married.  I wanted them to come so much, and yet I was supposed to be a bridesmaid for Melinda.  Also my bridesmaid dress was all completed.  And then came the scarf issue.  After I moved to Saleh and Safia's home, I was wearing the scarf all of the time, and I felt like something was missing if I didn't wear it.  I thought just one last time I will not wear it, but it still did not feel right.  I talked to Safia and she left the decision up to me which was the best advice.  I thought maybe Asif and his family could come and I would leave for a couple hours, but still the scarf issue was there.  I was so stressed that day.  That was the first time I felt stress in their home.  That night I prayed to Allah asking what I should do.  The next morning I woke up and the stress was gone, and I felt a lot of happiness like everything would be okay.  I felt inspiration to go see my friend, and to ask her if I could wear the scarf at her wedding reception.  I had a lot of confidence that I would be taken care of by Allah.  Before I went to see Melinda, I visited Rizwan and Ayesha and told them my decision.  Ayesha then gave me a beautiful jewelry box to give to Melinda.  Then I went to Barnes and Noble to see Melinda, and to give her the gift.  She asked me if she was still planning one being a bridesmaid, and then I asked her if I could wear the scarf.  She told me she didn't feel that her husband would want that.  Right then and there, he called and he said he wouldn't like that.  Alhamdulallah!  I then told her I would buy the dress from her mother in law which I thought it would be appropriate since she made the dress.  Allah saved me from a hard situation.  I didn't want to lie to my friend telling her I was sick that day etc.  I was honest about the scarf, and Allah gave me confidence to tell her about wearing the scarf.  I know without Allah's help I wouldn't have done that.  I would have probably went to the reception without the scarf.
The reason why Allah saved me from going to the reception was for a special reason.  When Asif and his family came to visit us, his family liked me, and Saleh, Safia, and my mom really liked him.  My mom even agreed we should get married that day!  I know this was Allah's will because since my mother isn't Muslim, she wouldn't have agreed to allow me to get marry someone I saw in person the first day.  It was amazing!  Me and Asif's prayers were answered.  We invited everyone to come to the house that day so they could meet Asif and his family.  We found out from an imam in Salt Lake that as long as there were enough witnesses we could get married that day.  Alhamdulallah there were enough witnesses, and Asif and I were married that day!
Alhamdulallah, Allah has blessed us with so much...and that is just the beginning!  Allah gave us a son on June 27, 2000!  Alhamdulallah!  Asif is the husband of my dreams!  I love him so much!  Alhamdulallah, we have a good marriage, and I hope Insha Allah that our love for each other will forever be strong like how it always has been.  It seems like our love for each other grows stronger and stronger Alhamdulallah.  I asked Allah before I met Asif on the computer to give me a husband who is a good Muslim, and a good match for me.  Alhamdulallah, Allah did!  It is amazing how Allah give us the things we ask for!  I have never before received so many blessings.  I owe everything to Allah.  I thank Allah so much for everything I have received since I have become a Muslim.
  Before I close I'd like to say that never before have I received so many blessings from Allah.  I am thankful how Allah led me to Islam.  I consider myself very lucky, and I hope I never take anything for granted.  I know with all my heart Islam is true!  I hope this information about me will be helpful to others Insha Allah.  The important thing to remember is no one is worthy of worship but Allah, and that Prophet Mohammad PBUH is a true prophet of God.
In closing, I would like to thank Allah so much for always leading me to the right path.  I am thankful for Ayesha and Rizwan, and my beloved foster parents Saleh and Safia.  Also I thank the Zadah, Pierce, Stephenson, and the Elabed family for their friendship.  Also to Rehema who is a good example for me.  I, of course, thank my eternal husband (Insha Allah) for all his love and help for me.  I thank Allah for my little boy, Abdallah, who has made my dreams come true by being a mother.  I am also thankful for Asif's mother, father, and the rest of his family who supported us in our decision to get married, and has accepted me into their family.
Once again, I am thankful Allah helped me, and led me to the right path.  Alhamdulallah!  Alhamdulallah!  Alhamdulallah!

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