This is Heather’s story.
Heather’s life changed the day those two official looking letters came through her letterbox. She expected one, but not the other. Redundancy and a breast cancer diagnosis all in the same week!
“What had she done that was so bad to be punished in this way?” She would laugh in hindsight at that thought, and come to realise the wisdom in both. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about work and finances while she was going through chemotherapy.
Her cancer treatment was hard especially living on her own and not having family nearby or children to take care of her. It was during the twilight hours she felt it most; slumped over the toilet bowl in the bathroom. The nausea and sickness made her weak and she would cry alone in the darkness.
“Help me!” she whispered. This was the first time Heather had called out to Allah.
“God never rests and He Knows everything,” She remembered a Muslim colleague at work telling her. They would spend many lunchtime breaks discussing current affairs and religion and even though Heather was an agnostic, she would listen respectfully.
“Allah must be the only One who Knows what I’m going through right now.” Heather thought to herself. She wrapped her blanket tighter around her shoulders. A morning sunlight glow created a rainbow haze at her feet through her frosted bathroom window. This pivotal moment would be forever etched in her mind.
During her convalescence, while resting in bed, she would look up information to read about the religion of Islam and watch YouTube videos. The more she learned the more fascinated she became. This was the time Heather realised Allah had been testing her with hardship to bring her closer to Him. Sickness and loss was, in fact a blessing. Heather felt she had been given a second chance. The day she learned that she had gone into remission, she made a promise to herself before God; she would become a Muslim. She took her Shahadah on her own, but took it again a few months later in front of sisters online. Sadly, the Muslim community was far away from where she lived. She was struggling to learn the prayer and there weren’t any Muslims around who could support her. She remembered one day sitting with a mug of coffee in the kitchen. She had already devoured half a packet of chocolate chip cookies and was feeling low. She was surfing the Net as usual for Islamic knowledge. While reading other revert stories she came across the Solace UK website. She felt nervous to get in contact but she was a revert sister in need, after all. She completed a form and was assigned a support worker. Over the next few months, with her support worker, Heather was able to learn her prayers and link her up with a few other sisters online. Heather had always had a passion for writing, so she started her own personal blog noting her experiences about reverting to Islam and becoming a Muslim.
In her own words:
“I have never had a family to call my own, but since becoming a Muslim I have a new sense of belonging and identity. Solace treated me like a family member. My support worker would ring me to find out how I am. She helped me so much. I highly recommend contacting Solace UK if you are struggling as a new Muslim. They are so friendly and supportive. I’m fine now. I have a new job and I’m cancer free. My hair is growing back – not that you’d notice as I’m now wearing the hijab! I’m so much happier, Alhamdulillah!”
Many sisters who come to Solace don’t have the support of a Muslim community around them, like Heather, and there are those come to Solace with a community, but don’t receive support.
Be their solace. Support revert sisters in difficulty: givesolace.uk/behersolace
The Revert Stories are in aid of Solace UK’s “Be Her Solace” campaign, which are 4 simple ways you can give our revert sisters solace in Ramadan.
Disclaimer: These stories are derived from multiple real stories to depict real-life events and circumstances experienced by revert sisters. While the stories are based on real-life events, none of the stories belong or refer to one particular person. Full anonymity and confidentiality has been upheld in the writing of Revert Stories. Solace takes the privacy of its service users seriously. All names, characters, locations and events have been changed.
This Revert Story was written by Aliya Vaughan.