My name is Diana Beatty, some call me Masooma Amtullah but most do not. I am almost 23 and converted nearly 3 years ago now. I am a college student studying physics and training to become a teacher. I am a native of Colorado, USA. My father and brother are electricians. I have only one sibling, my brother, who is 27 and is married with two young children. He lives just two houses down from my parents. my mother is a legal secretary for the county attorney's office. No one in my family before me has gone to college. My father is an alcoholic and smokes a lot and his habits make the household very stressful and unhappy at times because he tends to be very selfish and angry. He is like a living dead man. My mother is bitter about him often and lives in a loveless marriage, I think. But to most appearances they are an ideal family. They keep dogs at the house, and that along with the alcohol makes visiting difficult but I try to go when I can. My mother says I never go home enough, that is in part because she has few friends as my father prefers it that way. The family has been through a lot over the years and at least we have come to a point where we do not abandon each other even though things are not ideal. I have no children of my own yet and do not plan to right away but eventually.
When I came to college I met a Muslim for the first time. Only after meeting some Muslims did I slowly come to realize how ignorant I was about Islam and Muslims; a lot of what I had learned growing up was quite erroneous, but for the most part I just never heard anything at all about it. I became curious about the religion because the good manners of the Muslims I met appealed to me, as well as the sincerity and worship aspect of the Muslim prayer. The idea of a religion which guided us in every aspect of life was something I had been looking for. I was raised Christian and at the time of meeting the Muslims was quite religious and studying the bible seriously. But the questions the bible left unanswered for me, the Quran answered. At first I did not like to read Quran because of what it said about Jesus not being Son of God and mention about wars that echoed in my mind what I had heard about Muslim terrorism and violence. But the Muslims I knew, I took them as my example of what a Muslim is like and saw that the stereotype I had been raised with just didn't fit. I wondered how I knew bible was right and Quran was wrong, especially when so much was similar between them, they seemed to originate from the same source. I could not believe my bible study teacher when he said Quran was from Satan and made similar to be a better deception. Nor could I believe that these Muslims who were in general far more religious and worshipping of God than the Christians would go to hell for sure, as I was taught. As I continued my study, I was able to read the bible in a new light and see contradictions and even errors and scientific fallacies that before I had dismissed as due to my failure to understand the Word of God. But these errors and contradictions were absent in Quran. And what Quran said about God and our purpose and all these things I found more logical and easier to understand, and I knew that I believed God would provide us with a religion that we could understand and that was fair. It was a difficult time but over a period of several months I studied the two religions and Islam won out, I became convinced that it was the true religion that Allah had sent for us and so I reverted. At that time I still was not sure about everything, I still was not sure about hijab in particular, and I did not know anything like how to pray etc. but in time I started to learn.
It was very difficult to conclude that everyone I had ever known, my teachers, my parents, my grandparents, my friends, my preachers, were all wrong. It was hard to decide to go against my family and do something I knew they would hate and would not understand. I was terrified to make the wrong choice, but Christianity teaches if you do not believe Jesus (pbuh) died for your sins then you go to hell (at least so the religious leaders told me), so I was afraid of being misled. I was afraid that my peers and coworkers and bosses would react negatively and even that I might be disowned from my family. My family did hate the choice but did not disown me. Our relationships was forever changed. Whenever I talk to my mother she complains about my Islamic dress, that seems to bother them more than anything, and she will send Christian religious literature to me, etc. When I first put on hijab she cried for literally a week and was so hurt, she wrote me a letter saying it was a slap in the face and I was abandoning how they raised me and trying to be an Arab. They convinced themselves that I was doing it only for my Muslim husband (I ended up marrying a Muslim man) and so they didn't like him and wished for our relationship to end. I was told by family members that I was going to hell. It was not hard to give up the nonhalal food, the alcohol, to start praying, to wear hijab (after some initial difficulty), the only thing that was really hard was hurting my family and being constantly pushed by them.
In this process, I did lose a few who just could not handle the change but most of my friends did not really mind. Nor did I have any problem obtaining multiple jobs of my choice in hijab. I am generally not discriminated against at all on the college campus, although you do have to get used to stares and a more formal relationship with coworkers. I find most respect me a great deal for doing what I believe. It is only my family who has a great difficulty, because it is THEIR daughter. Well, and men never know what to think when I decline to shake their hand.
It is difficult to describe to someone who has never felt it how Islam can change and improve one's life. But Islam changed me totally. I now have no doubt about our purpose in this world and that I am following the right path, I have a certainty I never knew before, and a peace that goes with it. God's plan makes much more sense to me and I feel I have an idea where I belong. Plus, through Islam, it is rarely an ambiguous question if something is right or wrong, unlike my Christian friends who often doubt if they are doing the right thing. I finally have a hold on the things that really matter and am not lost anymore. I didn't even really know I was lost before, but when I found Islam and looked back it was so clear to me that I had been searching for years. Alhumdooleluh I was guided. Islam also improved my life as a woman in that I find good Muslim men treat women with so much more respect than is found in American society that I am raised in. I feel special to be a woman, before I was always a little uncomfortable as a woman because I felt my life would be easier if I had been a man because as a woman I found myself faced with incredible responsibility of working full time and raising a family and cooking and cleaning and never fitting in fully to any of those roles. As a Muslim woman I feel freer to look at myself and choose the path which truly suits my nature and have others accept that, and I feel like a woman and it feels good; like coming home. Reverting to Islam feels like coming home.