Women Who Embraced Islam [R-Z]

Rosalina Panganiban

I am Rosalina Panganiban (Aisha), the eldest daughter among eight children of a young couple. I hailed from a poor family, I didn't even taste the luxurious way of life, but my parents raised me with a good moral character. I finished my education in a very hard situation, and I was so lucky to get a stable job afterwards. As the eldest child, I helped my parents, brothers and sisters, because I didn't want them to experience the hardships I suffered. One day, the most shocking and lonely moment came in our life, my father died. We were so poor that, we didn't even have money for the last service of my father, but thanks to Almighty God, everything was settled, I knew that it was part of His trial.

In 1985, I came to Kuwait, It was so strange, I felt sorry for my decision to leave the company that I worked for nine years.Then my employer tried to comfort me, they treated me as their own family. They decided to open a small boutique shop and allowed me to manage it.

On 2 August 1990, I felt the earth fall down on my head, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. I decided to leave Kuwait. I passed through Baghdad, where I fell ill. I thought it was an endless ordeal. Thanks to Almighty God, I reached my country safe and sound.

Next year, on the same date, our home, which we built on five years of hardwork in Kuwait, was pulled down by the government. Every piece of our house was razed to ground. It was painfull to see that in one second everything was gone, and they didn't pay any compensation.

In January of 1992, I was lucky to come back to Kuwait under the same employer. Everything ran smoothly, and I decided to fulfill my desire, which I have been cherishing since 1985: to embrace Islam the true religion of God, the religion that Almighty God revealed to the last prophet "Muhammad (Pbuh)". The religion which caught my attention when I first reached this Muslim country. On the first day of my arrival here I observed the brotherly relations among countrymen, their help and concern to their brothers outside, the equality among Muslims regardless of their races, nationality, social status etc., the soundness of Islamic law, and when I listened to the programs of Sheikh Salah -Al-Rasheid on "Understanding Islam", my desire became more. I found my source, the IPC to get all the information and pamplets, regarding Islam. Thanks to Almighty God, I'am now in His true religion. I'am now on the right path of life, and I believe that upon embracing Islam, my first and most important duty to Almighty God is to share with others, especially with non-Muslims, what I learned here at I.P.C. , and to study Islam deeply, because our prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said "A believer should seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave". May God bless us all.


I grew up  a Christian my whole life and always thought that everyone else was too.  As I grew older I began to observe other religions and how they practiced.  I think that Islam has the most sound practices and shows God's love and mercy in everything.  I did not decide to become Muslim till I had read the Qur'an and versed myself on various topics in Islam ways, although I still have a lot to learn.  I always had problems with the " trinity". I could not fathom why Allah would have a son come here.  To me, Muslims viewing Jesus as a Prophet not only makes a lot more sense, but answers my doubts.  All the doubts I seem to have even now are always answered with clear and convincing reasons. Often in my Christian life I was taught to just have faith.  I love Allah and am excited to feel at peace in my new faith .

Wasalaam... Shannon

Take care and may Allah bless you throughout your day.

Shariffa Carlo

The story of how I reverted to al Islam is a story of plans. I made plans, the group I was with made plans, and Allah made plans. And Allah is the Best of Planners. When I was a teenager, I came to the attention of a group of people with a very sinister agenda. They were and probably still are a loose association of individuals who work in government positions but have a special agenda - to destroy Islam. It is not a governmental group that I am aware of, they simply use their positions in the US government to advance their cause.

One member of this group approached me because he saw that I was articulate, motivated and very much the women's rights advocate. He told me that if I studied International Relations with an emphasis in the Middle East, he would guarantee me a job at the American Embassy in Egypt. He wanted me to eventually go there to use my position in the country to talk to Muslim women and encourage the fledgling women's rights movement. I thought this was a great idea. I had seen the Muslim women on TV; I knew they were a poor oppressed group, and I wanted to lead them to the light of 20th century freedom.

With this intention, I went to college and began my education. I studied Quraan, hadith and Islamic history. I also studied the ways I could use this information. I learned how to twist the words to say what I wanted them to say. It was a valuable tool. Once I started learning, however, I began to be intrigued by this message. It made sense. That was very scary. Therefore, in order to counteract this effect, I began to take classes in Christianity. I chose to take classes with this one professor on campus because he had a good reputation and he had a Ph.D. in Theology from Harvard University. I felt I was in good hands. I was, but not for the reasons I thought. It turns out that this professor was a Unitarian Christian. He did not believe in the trinity or the divinity of Jesus. In actuality, he believed that Jesus was a prophet.

He proceeded to prove this by taking the Bible from its sources in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and show where they were changed. As he did this, he showed the historical events which shaped and followed these changes. By the time I finished this class, my deen had been destroyed, but I was still not ready to accept Islam. As time went on, I continued to study, for myself and for my future career. This took about three years. In this time, I would question Muslims about their beliefs. One of the individuals I questioned was a Muslim brother with the MSA. Alhamdulillah, he saw my interest in the deen, and made it a personal effort to educate me about Islam. May Allah increase his reward. He would give me dawaa at every opportunity which presented itself.

One day, this man contacts me, and he tells me about a group of Muslims who were visiting in town. He wanted me to meet them. I agreed. I went to meet with them after ishaa prayer. I was led to a room with at least 20 men in it. They all made space for me to sit, and I was placed face to face with an elderly Pakistani gentleman. Mashallah, this brother was a very knowledgeable man in matters of Christianity. He and I discussed and argued the varying parts of the bible and the Quraan until the fajr. At this point, after having listened to this wise man tell me what I already knew, based on the class I had taken in Christianity, he did what no other individual had ever done. He invited me to become a Muslim. In the three years I had been searching and researching, no one had ever invited me. I had been taught, argued with and even insulted, but never invited. May Allah guide us all. So when he invited me, it clicked. I realized this was the time. I knew it was the truth, and I had to make a decision. Alhamdulillah, Allah opened my heart, and I said, "Yes. I want to be a Muslim." With that, the man led me in the shahadah - in English and in Arabic. I swear by Allah that when I took the shahadah, I felt the strangest sensation. I felt as if a huge, physical weight had just been lifted off my chest; I gasped for breath as if I were breathing for the first time in my life. Alhamdulillah, Allah had given me a new life - a clean slate - a chance for Jennah, and I pray that I live the rest of my days and die as a Muslim. Ameen.

Shariffa A Carlo (Al Andalusia)

Erin/Sumaya Fannoun

April 12, 1998.

Bismillah Arahman Araheem

My intention in writing my story is that for Allah's sake, I may help someone who is searching for the Truth, to realize that they have found it in Al Islam. I began writing this on Easter Sunday, kind of appropriate, I think. I have been Muslim now for seven years, Alhamdu Lillah (all praise is for Allah, [God]). I first learned of Islam while attending University, from a Muslim friend of mine. I had managed to get out of a very good, college-prep high school believing that the Qur'an was a Jewish book, and that Muslims were idol worshipping pagans. I was not interested in learning about a new religion. I held the ethnocentric view that if since the US was "#1", we must have the best of everything, including religion. I knew that Christianity wasn't perfect, but believed that it was the best that there was. I had long held the opinion that although the Bible contained the word of God, it also contained the word of the common man, who wrote it down. As Allah would have it, every time I had picked up the Bible in my life, I had come across some really strange and actually dirty passages. I could not understand why the Prophets of God would do such abominable things when there are plenty of average people who live their whole lives without thinking of doing such disgusting and immoral things, such as those attributed to Prophets David, Solomon, and Lot, (peace be upon them all) just to name a few. I remember hearing in Church that since these Prophets commit such sins, how could the common people be any better than them? And so, it was said, Jesus had to be sacrificed for our sins, because we just couldn't help ourselves, as the "flesh is weak".

So, I wrestled with the notion of the trinity, trying to understand how my God was not one, but three. One who created the earth, one whose blood was spilled for our sins, and then there was the question of the Holy Ghost, yet all one and the same!? When I would pray to God, I had a certain image in my mind of a wise old man in flowing robe, up in the clouds. When I would pray to Jesus, I pictured a young white man with long golden hair, beard and blue eyes. As for the Holy Spirit, well, I could only conjure up a misty creature whose purpose I wasn't sure of. It really didn't feel as though I was praying to one God. I found though that when I was really in a tight spot, I would automatically call directly on God. I knew inherently, that going straight to God, was the best bet.

When I began to research and study Islam, I didn't have a problem with praying to God directly, it seemed the natural thing to do. However, I feared forsaking Jesus, and spent a lot of time contemplating the subject. I began to study the Christian history, searching for the truth. The more I looked into it, the more I saw the parallel between the deification and sacrifice of Jesus, and the stories of Greek mythology that I had learned in junior high, where a god and a human woman would produce a child which would be a demigod, possessing some attributes of a god. I learned of how important it had been to "St. Paul", to have this religion accepted by the Greeks to whom he preached, and how some of the disciples had disagreed with his methods. It seemed very probable that this could have been a more appealing form of worship to the Greeks than the strict monotheism of the Old Testament. And only Allah knows.

I began to have certain difficulties with Christian thought while still in high school. Two things bothered me very much. The first was the direct contradiction between material in the Old and New Testaments. I had always thought of the Ten Commandments as very straight forward, simple rules that God obviously wanted us to follow. Yet, worshipping Christ, was breaking the first commandment completely and totally, by associating a partner with God. I could not understand why an omniscient God would change His mind, so to speak. Then there is the question of repentance. In the Old Testament, people are told to repent for their sins; but in the New Testament, it is no longer necessary, as Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the people. "Paul did not call upon his hearers to repent of particular sins, but rather announced God's victory over all sin in the cross of Christ. The radical nature of God's power is affirmed in Paul's insistence that in the death of Christ God has rectified the ungodly (see Romans 4:5). Human beings are not called upon to do good works in order that God may rectify them." So what incentive did we even have to be good, when being bad could be a lot of fun? Society has answered by redefining good and bad. Any childcare expert will tell you that children must learn that their actions have consequences, and they encourage parents to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions. Yet in Christianity, there are no consequences, so people have begun to act like spoiled children. Demanding the right to do as they please, demanding God's and peoples' unconditional love and acceptance of even vile behavior. It is no wonder that our prisons are over-flowing, and that parents are at a loss to control their children. That is not to say that in Islam we believe that we get to heaven based on our deeds, on the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that we will only enter paradise through God's Mercy, as evidenced in the following hadith.

Narrated 'Aisha:

The Prophet said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me."

So in actuality, I did not even know who God was. If Jesus was not a separate god, but really part of God, then who was he sacrificed to? And who was he praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? If he was separate in nature from God, then you have left the realm of monotheism, which is also in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Old Testament. It was so confusing, that I preferred not to think of it, and had begun to thoroughly resent the fact that I could not understand my own religion. That point was brought home when I began to discuss religion with my future husband at college. He asked me to explain the Trinity to him. After several failed attempts at getting him to understand it, I threw my hands up in frustration, and claimed that I couldn't explain it well because, "I am not a scholar!" To which he calmly replied, "Do you have to be a scholar to understand the basis of your religion?" Ouch!, that really hurt; but the truth hurts sometimes. By that point, I had tired of the mental acrobatics required to contemplate who I was actually worshipping. I grudgingly listened while he told me of the Oneness of God, and that He had not changed his mind, but completed his message to mankind through the Prophet Muhammad, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him. I had to admit, it made sense. God had sent prophets in succession to mankind for centuries, because they obviously kept going astray, and needed guidance. Even at that point, I told him that he could tell me about his religion, just for my general information. "But don't try to convert me", I told him, "because you'll never do it!" "No", he said, "I just want you to understand where I'm coming from and it is my duty as a Muslim to tell you." And of course, he didn't convert me; but rather, Allah guided me to His Truth. Alhamdu Lillah.

At about the same time, a friend of mine gave me a "translation" of the Qur'an in English that she found at a book store. She had no way of knowing that this book was actually written by an Iraqi Jew for the purpose of driving people away from Islam, not for helping them to understand it. It was very confusing. I circled and marked all the passages that I wanted to ask my Muslim friend about and when he returned from his trip abroad, I accosted him with my questions, book in hand. He could not tell from the translation that it was supposed to be the Qur'an, and patiently informed me of the true meaning of the verses and the conditions under which they were revealed. He found a good translation of the meaning of the Qur'an for me to read, which I did. I still remember sitting alone, reading it, looking for errors, and questioning. The more I read, the more I became convinced that this book could only have one source, God. I was reading about God's mercy and His willingness to forgive any sin, except the sin of associating partners with Him; and I began to weep. I cried from the depth of my soul. I cried for my past ignorance and in joy of finally finding the truth. I knew that I was forever changed. I was amazed at the scientific knowledge in the Qur'an, which is not taken from the Bible as some would have you believe. I was getting my degree in microbiology at that time, and was particularly impressed with the description of the embryological process, and so much more. Once I was sure that this book was truly from God, I decided that I had to accept Islam as my religion. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I learned that the first and most important step of becoming Muslim is to believe in "La illaha il Allah, wa Muhammad arasool Allah", meaning that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. After I understood that Jesus was sent as a prophet, to show the Jews that they were going astray, and bring them back to the path of God, I had no trouble with the concept of worshipping God alone. But I did not know who Muhammad was, and didn't understand what it really meant to follow him. May Allah bless all those people who have helped me to understand and appreciate the life of the Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), throughout these last seven years. I learned that Allah sent him as an example to mankind. An example to be followed and imitated by all of us in our daily lives. He was in his behaviors, the Qur'an exemplified. May Allah guide us all to live as he taught us.


Both my husband and I converted to Islam. I converted during Ramadan last year and my husband shortly after. The thing that drew me to Islam was the hijab and loose clothing of the Muslim women. We both did research by Internet and then read ahadith.

I was totally convinced. I went to a masjid for my first time. A sister there greeted me and gave me my first hijab which I will cherish always. I watched on as others prayed...too scared that if I participated I might offend someone ...but not realizing that they would soon become my brothers and sisters in Islam alhamdulillah.

After I converted I did not wear hijab right away. It wasn't until a year after that I did. I found the right one to fit my head and also the right spot in my heart to wear it. Now I don't go out without it .

My husband read the Qu'ran and then shortly after converted. Myself I'm from a Canadian Anglican background and my husband never joined his Christian church (Presbyterian). Our parents are dealing with it slowly.

I've never had any bad experience when converting to Islam. I hope that by wearing hijab that I will prompt someone to research it too. I've met wonderful people in my walk in Islam and will continue to pray to Allah for the wonderful thing he has bestowed upon us!! Alhamdulillah.


Sister Tena

Themise Cruz

If anyone were to ask me when I became Muslim, I guess the only feasible answer would be that I was born Muslim, but just wasn't aware of it. We are all born into a state of Islam, but what is unfortunate is that many people never recognize this fact, and live lost in other circles of religion and lifestyles. I was horribly lost, and I suppose this was a good thing, because Allah felt my suffering and reached out to me. (al humd dulilah)

My first introduction to Islam was through a course at the University where during Ramadan we were invited to Juma prayer. It was here where I met a wonderful Muslim sister who invited me to her home for study and food. I declined at the time because it seemed too foreign to me. I had built up so many stereotypes that I was not willing to open my mind to anything surrounding Islam, even an invitation to knowledge. The next message Allah sent me came by my friendship with several Arab Muslims at one of the Technical Colleges near my home. This is where I was exposed to the Islamic lifestyle. I was amazed at the fact that they refused invitations to wild parties and drinking alcohol. How could they sit and pray so many times a day. And fasting for a whole month, what had gotten into these people? From that point forward, I thought I was the American authority on Islam. But in actuality I knew nothing. The height of my confusion hit at this point. I was an observer, but never had any understanding of what it all meant.

So, when I became a Muslim it was like Allah found me and gave me the answers to all the confusion that ran around in my head. It is so mind boggling to me that I was oblivious to the fact that I was so miserable. I was successful in the material aspects of life, but my mind and heart were uneasy. I was so weak in spirit that I tricked myself in believing that the material things that laid at my feet, were enough to cushion any hurtful blow that life dealt me. I was wrong. My mother died when I was 23, and all the money, my home, my education, the cars, jewelry, they all meant nothing. I tried to go on with life as though her death was just another event. But it was at this point that I could no longer ignore Allah. If I went on in my current state of mind, then my mother's life had been in vain. What purpose did she serve here on this earth? To what greater significance did her life have in this world? I could not believe that she meant so little. It was at this point that I began to hunger for this knowledge, and I opened all of myself to Allah.

It is almost too difficult to describe what it is like for someone who begins to feel Allah in their heart. Islam means so much more than rituals, language, culture or country. Islam is a glorious state of being, and it is a fundamentally different experience than what I had previously been learning. My husband taught me much of what I know about Islam today. While observing, listening and opening my heart, I slowly began to understand. Allah presents himself to people in different ways, and Allah impacts everyone's life differently. I had to come to an understanding of what Allah meant to me, and why it was necessary that I follow this path of life. I began to learn the meaning and significance behind the rituals I had only before observed at a primitive level. I began to read Koran for hours at a time. Allah began to reach out to me and fill the vast hole that was in my heart. For when an individual does not follow the path of Allah, they are in a constant search for that missing element. And once I stopped refusing the knowledge of Islam and opened my heart to my fellow Muslims and the teachings of the Koran, the transition was as easy as eating a piece of pecan pie.

Since then I have had contact with the original Muslim sister who I met in my university class. Many of the Muslim sisters get together once a month for study, prayer and informational sessions. I also visit the Masghed during Juma prayers and any other time that my schedule permits. Of course my husband and myself study Koran and Hadith, and are on a constant quest for knowledge. When you become a Muslim it is the beginning of a new path, a new way of life. Everyday Allah reveals himself to me in some way. Sometimes it is with a new piece of knowledge, or maybe he grants me patience or understanding, and some days it is perseverance or a peaceful state of mind. No matter what the case I am always aware of the blessings that Allah presents to me, and I continuously work to live the way he has intended all of us as human beings to live, in submission to his will.

I have also struggled throughout this search. My family is not accepting of my new way of life, nor are they accepting of my husband. I had a co-worker ask me one time, "How can you abandon Jesus, I love Jesus?" My response confused her I am sure. I simply explained that in Islam we abandon nobody. And in fact it is only now that I can read and understand the true significance of Jesus. Islam allows the follower to study the messages that Allah has sent throughout the ages, through the teachings of Jesus, Abraham and Mohammed. (Peace and Blessings be upon them) Because of this fact, as Muslims, knowledge is never hidden from us, and we are free in our search for truth and closeness to Allah.

My struggle is far from over. Western culture is not accepting or understanding of Islam, and it is mostly out of ignorance that this is so. They think that we are fundamentalists or terrorists, or some other form of monster here to wreak havoc in a peaceful Christian world. The way in which I combat the unkind comments and glares is through kindness and understanding. I remember a point when my understanding was so low that I closed my mind and heart to anything that the Muslim community had to say. And to think that if they had turned me away because of my ignorance, I would not be where I am today. So it is up to all Muslims to have patience and compassion for those who do not understand our way of life. Eventually Allah reveals himself to those who seek true knowledge and understanding.
February 27, 1997

Um Kalthum

As Salaamu alaikum,

I would like to share with the other sisters how I became Muslim. It was because of Hijab. I was doing reports on the radio (Radio McGill) a few years ago, and everyone was talking about women wearing hijab. The newspapers were full of derogatory remarks about Muslim women. I decided to find some one who wore hijab and learn what it meant to her. After the interview, we became friends, and within one month I had decided I wanted to be a Muslim. Wearing hijab for me reminds me of that special day.

But I can understand how you feel about wearing hijab on the first day. It is difficult to wear hijab at first-- people look at us in a different way. When I first started wearing it after becoming Muslim, I put it on and then took it back off. I was shy and a afraid that people would laugh at me. Some women tried to discourage me and made me feel that since I covered I had lost part of my intelligence and my brain, that I was no longer free and had become submissive.  All the prejudice about women wearing hijab came to the surface when they saw me. But after one or two months the same people that made fun of me, gained respect for me.  I now wear my hijab everywhere and no one makes me feel bad.

One girl last term at university, told me that I was old fashioned and that she hoped I would be more modern. "How more modern can I get?", I asked her! I am on the internet, she is not, I am finishing my degree, she is not. I know about the latest news, she does not. Islam backed me about the equality between men and women and she is still struggling to be equal with men.

Being Muslim no race is superior to the other  and we are all equal in front of Allah. How much more modern can we be, we are ahead in many ways, and to cover reinforces those ideals of Islam.

So don't worry, walk tall and proud and remember that you are beautiful inside and outside. That is what convinced me to become Muslim, the purity of heart and the beauty that comes with wearing hijab. Allah helps us with these doubts and at the end we become stronger.




Asalamu Alaikum, sister,

My name is Zehra. I converted to Islam over 7 years ago. Alhamdallilah! My husband convinced me of the truth in Islam before marriage.

I've always been deeply religious when I was a Christian. I've always thought that religion was very important. The only thing was that no church really satisfied me, heart and soul. I always felt something was missing. That something was not quite right. So I'd go from church to church, trying to fill that gap that I felt. Nothing worked.

Then I met my husband. At first, he didn't say to much about his religion, then slowly he did. HE started telling me about Islam, and I became more interested. Now you have to understand, that my mother always taught me to be tolerant of other religions, and to have an open mind. So I think that helped a lot. Anyway, as I learned more about Islam, and my husband was reading the Qur'an, along with other teachings. Pieces began to fall into place. I began to feel whole and to be happy in my soul. I'd finally come home. I was sooo excited. Everything made perfect sense. Allah had made the perfect religion, and I'd found it. Praise to Allah!

May Allah bless always my husband for this. My goal in life now, is to help someone else to find Islam even if only one. Inshallah, I will.

Your sister in Islam,


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