‘I can’t even look at you anymore!’ Preeti’s face crumbled at these words. Was that really her father? Her beloved father who she had only ever known as gentle and loving. She recalled that time when the family visited the lavender fields and as they walked through the sunflowers on the other side, she felt safe from the bees because her father was there.
Her father, her protector.
She had imagined it would be difficult telling her family about her reversion to Islam but the hatred……that was something she could not bear. Enclosed in her room with no one to talk to, she was alienated and isolated. There was nothing to keep her there but where else could she go? Her mother, she could tell, was trying to harden her heart but Preeti would catch the softness melting her facial expressions when she saw her daughter deteriorate. ‘If you just renounce this…. this Islam thing we could go back to normal’ her would plead
But how could she renounce Islam, knowing what she knew…..’ And He found you lost and Guided you’ that was all she knew now, that was her only truth now.
The final blow came when her dad threatened to cut her off completely, with no finance, no support and when he egged on the behaviour of her brother towards her: the name calling, the degradation, on occasion, even the beatings. She would call out to Allah in these times, in her desperation, but the wounds became bigger and the emotional torture unbearable.When she reached out to a cousin, it took a turn for the worse, as news of her conversion and the ensuing shame it brough on her family spread.
‘HOW COULD YOU DO THIS?’ Her father bellowed. She had never seen him like this, at least not with her. ‘You want to make a mockery out of me? In front of my family, my community??? I will never allow it!’
Preeti sobbed into her pillow that night waiting for sleep to come but all that came were doubts. Where were the Muslim brothers and sisters I was told of? Who was going to save me? Did I do the right thing?
‘Sister, if I could just run through your application then we can get you the right help.’ She was pulled out of the trance at the voice of her Solace support worker. Preeti had seen a discarded pamphlet in the city centre Masjid where she was thrown from the car told never to even look back in the direction of ‘home.’ It was a bright orange with a logo and writing, yet all she could see was one word – the thing she had been craving all along: solace. She broke down right there on the pavement at this little ray of hope offered to her on the ground she walked on a gloomy cloudy morning.
Her support worker had been a shoulder to cry on and an ear to be heard; to be heard after months of being spoken to. The vomit of abuse had now turned into bile churning within her, destroying not only everything she believed about herself, but insidiously planting doubts about Allah.
It was over a year after discovering that pamphlet that she finally plucked up the courage to contact Solace. She had turned to her friends and some Muslim acquaintances who, at first, were so keen on helping her but once the novelty wore off, even the sofa became Goldust for them. It was at this point she realised that she needed help, she turned to Allah in her desperation, asking Him that just as He guided her when she was lost before, that He guide her to the door that was best for her now.
Solace became the answer to her prayers, they provided her with the emotional and spiritual support that she was in desperate need of. Her support worker helped her to look past her hardships and see the lessons which would empower her. By rebuilding her confidence and reconnecting with who she was, she ventured into the jobmarket with renewed sense of purpose.
After Preeti went for a promising job interview and was offered the job, she felt ready to face the world, still as Preeti, but with an unwavering faith in Allah. Through implementing the spiritual practices, she had learned, she became aware that mountains were climbed not carried, and she started to rebuild her life. Preeti acquired an apartment to rent but still yearned for her mother’s delectable daal and basmati rice, as the pain of separation would wage war on her heart from time to time, but she kept turning those pangs into heartfelt duaas that her mother could once more be a part of her life.
One night she mustered up the courage built over the last couple of years, to call her parent’s home.
‘Hello……..Hello….who is this?’ then the phone went dead. Hearing her father’s voice after so long caught her off guard, she didn’t expect that her tongue would abandon her like so and her limbs would freeze as if the Arctic took up space in her apartment. She thought to leave it a few days then try again, but she knew that she was avoiding confrontation and so she picked up the phone once more, with a little more trepidation but stayed firm in her intention. She whispered a silent prayer and dialled once more.
‘Hello….Hello…..Preeti? Is that you? Her legs gave way and a huge sigh followed by a flood of tears encapsulated Preeti. Memories of her family came in waves over her, the late nights, the karaoke, the movies and the festivals, it all came back. There were so many questions, so much to say, so much to explain but Preeti knew that if she didn’t stand her ground now, all this would have been in vain. It wasn’t easy what she was about to do, the reconnection, the misunderstandings but she was ready to face it all with Allah by her side.
She was always Preeti just following her own journey and no one could take that away from her.
Now she understood that it was, is and always will be Allah Who is her Protector.
Solace helps revert sisters like Preeti, who are abandoned by their families for becoming Muslim, and there are many sisters like Preeti who are abandoned by their families for becoming Muslim.
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 Meru Hussain.