This is the first story I will share in my “Muslim Convert Horror Stories Series”. I want to share stories that Converts have faced by Muslims or Non-Muslims. No one has done this yet. I want convert stories and voices to be heard.
This is a two part story about a convert in Serbia. The first part will cover her experience prior to Islam, when she was partying all of the time. The second part will cover her life after Islam. The name of the girl will be kept anonymous.
My name is Marija and I am from Serbia. Serbia is a small Christian Orthodox country, in Europe. People are usually nice and many tourists have good experiences. Tourists do not see the ugly past of my beautiful country.
My, now beautiful country, has had some very ugly wars. We were under the Ottoman Empire for 500 years. So, as you can imagine people do not like Turkish or Muslims very well.
I will be 27 years old in December and my parents have been divorced since I was 3. My life has always been good jalhamdulliah (Thanks be to God). However, it has been emotionally difficult. Until I was 10, I lived with mom. At 10, I stayed with my Grandma and uncle. My mom had moved toanother city for work, to make a better life for me.
When I finished High School, I moved to the city where my mom was working and living. There, I attended university and finished my Bachelors in economics.The city where I was living and studying (2009-2015), was a majority Muslim city. Though I was surrounded by Muslims then, i never thought about Islam. I was partying, drinking, smoking, having boyfriends (because that is what all people do in Serbia or all over the world).
In 2015, my mom moved for a better job in another country while I would have to stay in the city a year longer to finish my bachelor’s degree.
After finishing my bachelors degree, i moved to another city in Serbia (where I am currently living). This city is where I would start my Masters in Tourism Management. I had a new life there, new friends, and I was partying all of the time, just like I was in the previous city but what I was doing in this new city was much worse. I was now living in an actual “college town.” I wish I were exaggerating but people were partying all day and all night. I was just like any other Serbian girl when it came to partying in this town.
So what made me change to be so different and free than I was?
I have always been nice and a good person. I was the girl everyone wanted to hangout with. I was always smiling and always appeared happy, though on the inside I was often sad.
However, I was easily bored and didn’t know what I wanted to really do with my life. Nothing fascinated me. That is when I downloaded an app where I could communicate with people around the world.
After sometime one boy from an Arab country contacted me. We started chatting everyday and he was so nice to me. We were chatting over a month and he never mentioned anything about Islam. He never said you should think, read, or study Islam.
In time, I fell in love with this man, though we never met each other. We communicated by video calls and phone calls. We also would send each other photos. My friends told me I was crazy for talking to him and loving him. However, the nice way he treated me is what made me want to learn about Islam. Not one time did he bring up religion. I wanted to find out about it myself.
I remember on august 28th 2016, I asked one of my friends about Islam, I asked if they could guide me to good websites, blogs, or YouTube channels. She is a friend from my first university and she is a hijabi and very pretty. She is a great person and friend.
Months passed and I read, watched, and researched the religion of Islam deeply. I was falling deeply in love with this beautiful religion.
On October 10th, 2016 I said my shahada (declaring my faith as a Muslim), by myself alone in my room. I cried so much and prayed my very first prayer as a Muslim. The feeling I had I cannot even explain.
I was starting to learn Arabic from reading Quran (and now I know Arabic fluently.) I started to learn more about Islam, etc. Time was passing but still no one from my family knew what I was doing. I told my mom about the Arab boy I was talking to but she didn’t like it. She thought that it is crazy and not serious. She saw I started to dress more modest and wear less makeup. She saw I wasn’t drinking, partying, or smoking anymore. She didn’t like the changes she saw.
After one year of talking with this boy and not finding a way to meet this Arab boy. We ended our relationship and he was heartbroken. He was a great person but it was too much pressure on me and I was not ready for this type of commitment. I prayed to Allah every day for this boy to forgive me. I never wanted to make him suffer. But it was the will of Allah for us not to be together.
There was a new start for me. I joined a new student organisation and was very busy with that. Upon that, I met this boy from Turkey. At the time I met him I didn’t know he was Turkish. He didn’t look Turkish to me. He had blonde hair and green eyes. He won my heart fast! He was so nice to me. He is a great man and person. He has bad moments in life but was not practicing Islam (when I met him). After he met me, he wanted to start practicing. What was between us felt so nice and real. I saw him as a good Muslim man for me. I knew he could protect me, love me, and make me feel happy.
In may of this year (2017) is when everything in my life changed. After one month of being with him, I told my mom about the boy and how he was Turkish. She was so angry…..
To Be continued…