With most things in my life a ruin, I was left to contemplate the many reasons why I’d failed; I was in debt, had an unfaithful husband and a life with very little time to spend with my children. I couldn’t think of any bigger topics in life to be ruined such as these three things: marriage, finance and children. My soon-to-be ex-husband, now living in our spare room, was still battling for our reconciliation; however, after his constant unchaste behaviour, I realised it was a losing battle and divorce was imminent.
One rainy evening, I was staring out of my back stable door as I often did. With the rain dripping heavily off the trees into my garden and the wind lightly swaying the leaves, I reverted my eyes towards the skies. I remember thinking as I gazed at the clouds and the stars, “No debt collector, husband, or anyone for that matter could take those away”. As I said these words to myself, I pondered on their meaning; at least no one has the power to take the beautiful vision of nature I had from my stable door. That lead me to realise that all these years of hoping that there was a God, now I felt that God was proving to me He was there by showing me His universal power.
I then found myself pleading with the Lord above me for the next half hour, “You are there, aren’t you?… Please God, guide me now… I beg of you to guide me now… I know I’m not here for this.” Then, I sobbed and wept and wiped my tears and closed the stable door.
The next morning, my soon-to-be ex-husband informed me that he desperately needed a motorbike for work. My entire body suddenly went hot and cold like a fever; I’m going to get into even more debt. I took a deep breath and informed him, “I won’t be a party to you borrowing more money. Leave my name out of it.” There was a small debate, later an argument, until eventually, he told me he was going to borrow this money anyway. Two mornings later, he presented me with paperwork to sign. In signing these papers, I would sign all debt over to him – over twenty grand’s worth. This was the only way this loan company would lend him the money; they would handle all his debt. I could hardly believe it. This would mean, apart from the mortgage, I would be completely debt free – something I had prayed for for years. I signed the papers, handed them back and waited a few days to get the confirmation paperwork. The paperwork arrived, and my name wasn’t anywhere to be seen on the debt papers. Allahu Akbar.
Three days later, I decided to do something I felt I needed to do at the time: be athletic. So I signed up for a Jujutsu class. It was in this class I met a Muslim brother fasting for Ramadhan. “Oh yeah!” I exclaimed, “Wait, what’s that?”. He told me it was an Islamic obligation. “And where is Islam?”, I ignorantly asked. Once his chuckles subsided, he explained things to me, only leading to more questions, and then more questions. From there, he informed me that he was just learning about it himself.
The following week, I looked forward to going to Jujutsu, as I had a page of questions for that brother. As he realised how interested I was, the following week, he brought me a book called Islam: The Natural Way. The next week, we exchanged numbers and I couldn’t wait to see him again, because another page of questions was fast developing.
During my journey of knowledge, we were obviously growing attached to each other. Our relationship grew and a year later came to what I’d describe as a sad but inevitable end. We had recently discovered the rulings around fornication, and the punishments associated with this act almost made me burn inside from fear. I asked the brother to find someone who could help me say my shahadah, which was done in 24 hours. I was now officially a Muslim.
Me and the brother then decided not to see each other again, as I was now abiding by the same rules as he. As I did everything overnight, including the full hijab and abayah, this was now a very lonely time for me. People at work had no understanding at all about what I was doing, my two sisters thought I had gone mad, and with losing my mother when I was just 19, I had nobody to turn to. As far as the relationship with the brother was concerned, although I was saddened at not seeing him, my worst loss was that there were no more installments in the Islamic knowledge he had been passing on to me. The sisters I had taken shahadah with, I felt, were so politically motivated, and I expressed my concern that I still hadn’t been taught to pray, and didn’t they feel this was the most important thing to teach me? One of them agreed and then began to help me learn to pray, Alhamdulillah.
The weeks passed, and in those weeks the brother would drop off a huge bag of halal meat at my back door and leave – all I managed to see was a glimpse of his head as he walked away.
One day, I received a text from the brother – I was so excited, I couldn’t contain myself. The message read: “Would you like to be my wife?” Needless to say, my response was a “yes”. It had bothered and unnerved me how I, a western woman with two children, with no family and no Muslim connections was going to find a decent, practising Muslim husband. How could I marry someone I didn’t even know? I turned to my Lord who had rescued me from my previous life, and asked Him to please open a way for this brother and I to marry, if he was indeed a good, practising Muslim that will treat me well. If not, I honestly would not have wanted to marry him, despite my fondness for him.
The next four weeks were tougher than the past two. The brother’s family ideally wanted a Pakistani bride for their son. However, they agreed to visit me – and I was extremely nervous as I hadn’t seen enough of the brother to discuss the meeting with him. They were a very traditional family, but, remarkably, they agreed, provided the wedding was a small affair. The father was interested in why I had become Muslim; had I become Muslim simply to marry his son? It wasn’t long for him to establish that his son was not the reason I had accepted Islam. I was very grateful to this family, as I had heard many traditional families had very sad stories to tell. They overcame their traditions and followed the sunnah.
The brother then informed me that once we were married, it would be better for me to either leave my permanent office job or become part-time in preparation to leave. He asked me how I would feel about that. This would enable me to be a full-time mother to my children, which again was something I had prayed for for years. I then realised, bit by bit, the troubles and traumas from my past non-Muslim life were remarkably being taken care of, and we know by Whom, don’t we?
Allah (SWT) had answered my du’a from my stable door.
Anisah Jameel-Hardy now has her du’as answered: she is still happily married with six lovely children she can spend all the time she wants with and two beautiful grandchildren.