Life is full of tests and trials, some strengthen our faith, and some may shake it.
Less than one year after I converted from Christianity to Islam in June 2019, the world began going into lockdown due to COVID-19. Without my faith, the last two years would have been much more difficult. Around eight to nine months after converting, I got married and moved from the US to Canada. I left my family behind and started my new life in the midst of Covid. Nearly two years later, my husband and I have faced five deaths between us in our families and an ongoing cancer battle.
When my grandfather died in January 2021 due to covid complications, I learned how much strength I have because of my faith. When someone dies, especially of an illness or something that feels preventable, we often question what could have gone differently. Part of me wanted to do the same, but I held onto my belief and Allah, I knew Allah SWT had already set the story of his life, and there was nothing we could have done. However, losing my grandfather gave me great anxiety about losing my grandmother too.
My anxiousness stemmed from two places, one was knowing that if I lost my grandmother, I wouldn’t be able to see or talk to one of my favorite people on this planet, and the other was that I wouldn’t be able to make dua for her. When someone in my husband’s family passes away, we get together and make dua for them. So much of his family has passed away during Ramadan, which I believe speaks volumes about what kind of people they are and how much Allah loves them. The thought of one of my family members passing away and not being able to make dua for them crushes me. In my eyes, this is one of the hardest parts of being a convert.
One of my favourite Quran verses is, “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Qur’an 13: 28) I hold onto Quran verses and hadith when I feel myself sinking back into thoughts about some of these hardships. However, there are blessings in our hardships too. How we respond to these challenges is key and if you draw closer to Allah, then that may have been the purpose of the hardship. Allah wanted you to come to him.
I have overcome much of my anxiousness and continue working through other challenges by remembering the greatest trials in life that befall those closest to Allah SWT. He will never give us more than we can handle. Not everything easy is a blessing and not everything hard is a test.
In October 2021, my 7-year-old nephew, my sister-in-law’s son, was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a rare childhood cancer with approximately 300 to 350 children diagnosed around the world each year. If anything will test your faith, it’s watching someone you love fight cancer.
Since the diagnosis, we have increased our prayers, duas, and Sadaqah. I question the why and how sometimes. Why are we facing this test? How can we pass this test? At the end of the day, I put my trust in Allah SWT. I am not, nor will I ever be perfect, but I will strive to be the Muslim that Allah has called me to be. Everything really does happen for a reason, and we don’t always understand the tragedies and calamities we face, but we must keep our faith. My faith gives me hope and the strength to carry on.