By: Krankenschwester (Nurse)
How a nurse in Germany, gave up her uniform for a shuttlecock burqa!
I had a typical life for one brought up in Western Culture. It was an upbringing, which was highly influenced by materialism and discrimination, without any real aim in life. No one in my family was inclined toward a religious way of life. We were taught, my three brothers and I, early on that this world is a materialistic one, and the goal in life was to acquire the finer things of this world. The method with which we were taught to achieve these things was to firstly get a good secular education free from religious teachings. This was to be followed by securing a good job. A good job was one that would give you a respectable status within the society. This in turn would allow one to develop his self esteem to the fullest and then you could become free to do whatever your heart desired. The belief in Allah was never part of my thinking when I was young. The belief in a Creator of this world and everything in it is taken away while you are very young when you live in the West. We were taught about the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus and other non-existent personalities. These personalities had the same characteristics as Allah. We were taught that Santa Claus knew everything about everyone and he traveled around the entire world in one night. Later as we got older we were told that all of these things were a lie. There was no such thing as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. This just reinforced our belief that if you can not see something, then it means it does not exist. So the conclusion one reaches after coming face to face with the reality that all of these characters don’t exist is that nauthu billah Allah did not exist either.
So I completed my education and I became a nurse. This allowed me to get my own apartment, car, mobile phone and other luxuries. I was young and free to do, as I wanted as I was living apart from my parents. I could now enjoy some of the finer things in this dunya that I had dreamed about throughout my childhood. Although my dreams had become reality, I was still not satisfied with my life. Life and Shaitan continued to mislead me. The job I had, the status in society I had also, but what about starting a family of my own with a loving husband? So I began my search for a life partner. Since religion was not an issue, I began looking in nightclubs, discotheques, the Internet chat rooms, and just about any place I could think of. I adorned my self with make up and wore all kinds of shameless dresses, with the single purpose of catching “Mr. Right”. But I could never obtain the respect of any man or the rest of society like the western culture’s TV and magazines had promised. I therefore slipped into depression. I started to hate my body and myself and began to change my body so I could turn into the image which the west projects as the perfect woman. But I only succeeded in becoming a shell of my former self. However, things were about to change. Mankind plans and Allah plans, and Allah is the Best of Planners.
While working as a nurse it afforded me an opportunity to witness many, many people die. I was able to see the powerlessness of modern medicine. With all of its x-ray machines, and fancy equipment and the sincere efforts of the doctors and nurses, it could not prevent the patients from dying at their appointed time. As a result, I began to question myself as to what is life’s purpose. All praise is due to Allah, that He planted a spark in my heart that led me to understand that there must be more in store for one after this short worldly life.
That spark started me reflecting on the life of my older brother. He had accepted Islam about 10 years before me. Shortly thereafter he left Germany to study in the madrassah in Pakistan. While he was away in Pakistan he wrote letters to me explaining what Islam was really like. He emphasized the important status a woman had in lslam (paradise lies under the feet of the mother and other hadith like that). He also wrote about the importance of keeping oneself covered, modesty shame etc. at the time he was writing these letters, I was not ready to accept what he was saying. I could only think negatively about purdah, and the burqah. These things represented a prison for a young westernized woman like me. However, after analyzing the direction I was going with my life was not correct, I decided to investigate further as to what Islam was all about. After all I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I could see that obtaining worldly possessions was not the key to happiness. I had most of the things that I had wanted, yet I was still unhappy and thoroughly depressed. I thought maybe Islam had something to offer me. After all, my brother seemed to be happy and I had always looked up to him when I was a child.
As he knew what I was going through in my personal life, because he did the same things I did before Islam; one day over the telephone from Pakistan he suggested I turn to Allah to solve my problems and everything would be alright after that. After some thought, I decided to give Islam a try. It was the best thing I ever did. But the results were not seen immediately. Accepting Islam at first left me very afraid. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I was now alone in Germany (the first thing I had to do was leave my boyfriend and live by myself). I didn’t know any one in the country who was Muslim. How would I learn the prayers and the different things that are halaal or haraam? I was in a difficult situation. So I decided to take a leave from the hospital from where I was working and go to Pakistan and learn the deen from my brother directly. I had no other choice at this time. This would give me the opportunity to learn enough of the deen so I could return to Germany and perform the basic functions of Islam and learn what was expected of me from my Lord.
I arrived at the airport in my western dress, searching for my brother. He came in shalwar kameez along with his wife. The first thing I noticed about his wife was the black burqah she was wearing complete with niqab and netting over that! When I saw this I could only think to myself that I hope my brother doesn’t expect me to dress like his wife! All the negative feelings I had had prior to Islam about the burqa were coming back into my mind. Shaitan had come with a full force attack aimed directly at my weakest point. Then all of a sudden my worst fears were realized. My brother pulled a burqah out of a plastic bag he was carrying and said: come on little sister, it’s time to dress like a Muslim woman! It’s amazing how fast the fear left me after putting on the burqah for the first time. The fear was suddenly replaced by feeling of peace and safety. Now I was being respected as a Muslim woman. The respect that I had searched so hard for before Islam and never achieved it. At last I had found it in Islam after donning the burqah. In addition, I felt more pleased with the way I looked now. I no longer desired to change my looks to please others. I finally became happy with my whole self (both internal self and external self). But this was not enough, I wanted more. I wanted the complete package i.e. the netting over my niqab, gloves to cover my hands and closed shoes along with black socks to cover my feet. I saw that the more I covered myself the better I felt, as I knew that this was the proper way for a Muslim woman to be. When a Muslim woman covers her body from strange men then Allah is pleased with her. This was what I was now striving for.
Now when my leave was over from the hospital and I had to return to Germany and go back to work, I no longer felt that Germany could be my home. And when I did return with a different way of dressing, eating, attitude, etc, my old friends either didn’t understand me or didn’t like me. They thought I had just gone to Pakistan on vacation and that I didn’t enjoy my trip. They didn’t realize I had gone there to seek a new way of life and this is what had happened. So I then decided to quit my job at the hospital and return to Pakistan with the intention of learning more about my new religion. One month after I arrived, Allah blessed me with a husband. Now I try to fulfill the rights of Allah by staying home and remaining occupied with the domestic duties of a wife. I rarely go outside the four walls of my house anymore. I have found complete serenity and contentment in my house where I am the queen of my castle. Those rare times that I go out now are only with my husband and with my blue shuttlecock burqah.