When a young woman says she wants to convert into Islam, the normal question would be, “Oh, so who’s your Malay boyfriend?”
I mean, hello… how can you be sure she even has a boyfriend?
This normal thinking among our Malaysian community actually doesn’t help people to convert to Islam. It’s already bad among the non-Muslims who naturally think that the lady is influenced to leave her own religion for a Malay chap, but when the Muslim-Malay community seems to say “aye” to that thought, what would the poor lady do if she has no Muslim boyfriend waiting for her at the aisle?
Why can’t people accept that there are normal men and women who want to embrace Islam for Islam’s sake because they believe in the truth of Islam, not because they want to marry a Muslim woman or man?
That it’s perfectly all right for a woman, albeit a married one, to want to convert to Islam and not because she wants to leave her ‘kafir’ husband for a Muslim man?
While it is true that there are people who convert to Islam in order to be able to marry their Muslim loved ones, please accept that there are some who do so alone.
A woman who converts for marriage has an easier time compared to one who is alone. Yet I always believe that those who really go for Islam will emerge the stronger in faith, because they bear witness for Islam everyday through their difficulties as mualafs. I’ve witnessed a few sisters in their early twenties who were kicked out of their homes because of Islam. Like me, they had no place to go and were forced to squat with friends or at the Transit Home for new converts, a building so far away from town and entertainment that some girls, due to boredom, had actually ran away from the place. Furthermore, single ladies had more difficulty concealing their new religion from family members especially when they have to pray at home in their telekong. The men had an easier time because they don’t look any different and prayer times can be done at the nearest mosque.
I myself had a very difficult time ten years ago when my colleagues found out that I wanted to be a Muslim. Rumours claimed that I was having an affair with another married Muslim man. Nobody asked me for the truth or for my own version of the story. They just boycotted me at school, thanks for the fact that the wife of my so-called boyfriend happened to be the Penolong kanan.
The community just didn’t know what to do about a married woman who was willing to leave everything behind for Islam. I suppose that a juicy gossip about so-and-so breaking up to be with so-and-so would be so much better to talk about than the plain fact that the lady in question finds Islam good enough to compensate for her worldly loses. And sad to say, these gossipers were also our Muslim brothers and sisters.
So when I decided to go ahead with my plans to convert to Islam the second time around in 2005, I kept quiet. I didn’t dare breathe a word about my plans to anyone but a few close friends did find out, eventually. I didn’t even tell anyone about my plans to divorce my then-husband D, until I actually signed the divorce forms. I was very, very careful because I didn’t want to be the target of another round of gossips. My past experience has taught me not to trust anyone fully, especially about something as sensitive a divorce and religion. Also, I didn’t want to drag any innocent man down the drain with me when the gossips start to fly again.
So did I get the questions from people as to why I convert to Islam?
Of course I did. In fact, I got the same questions too many times that I’ve lost count.
I knew many tongues were wagging behind my back, that I left my husband for a Malay boyfriend
But I’m happy to say that I did all for the sake of Islam, and I got the strength to undergo all the trials and tribulations upon becoming a Muslimah from Islam and Allah swt.