Revert Stories - Nur Ashalina @ Ang Shu Min
Nur Ashalina @ Ang Shu Min started questioning her faith in her previous religion when she was in her teenage years. At that point, she was 17-years-old.
Now, she has been a practising Muslim for the past 13 years.
Nur Ashalina is the youngest in her family of 5, and is the only Muslim while her family members practise Buddhism.
While growing up, she did not understand the reason behind many Buddhist practices that were carried out by her family.
"One time, my sister and I were helping to do some spring cleaning. My sister helped my grandmother wipe the idols, then suddenly she broke the idols. And my grandmother got so angry. Then, I didn’t really care about my sister, I was looking at the pieces that broke to see if there was any lightning or any sign. There weren't any. So I decided to look for God. So my journey started here.”
To quell her doubts, Nur Ashalina followed her friend to learn more about Christianity.
“So we went to Church and there’s sermon and hymns sessions.Then when the Pastor started to talk, I don’t know why, but I will doze off all the way until the sermon ends.”
But at that point of time in her life, she thought she had found Christianity.
“I had a dream that I was in a black box, and a light open, and I woke up. But then two, three days later I had the same dream but the door was locked. I woke up and cried, asking God why He closed and locked the door. Then I told Him, ‘if You are real, please show me the path.”
“At the same time when I was in ITE, I had a friend who looked Chinese and we started bonding more. So we decided to make friends and we started talking about religion. And I shared about myself looking for God. So he will share with me about Islam.Then we were doing comparative religion between Christianity and Islam, then he gave me books to read. And I thought, oh okay, interesting. That’s where my journey started. “
Like most reverts, Nur Ashalina went through a number of challenges while transitioning to Islam. Food was definitely one issue at the start. She could not eat what her family cooked, and she had to start cooking by herself using her own utensils.
Nur Ashalina had the honour and privilege of being called upon and witnessed the House of God with her very own two eyes during her Umrah trip a year after she converted - an experience that even many Muslims might not have been blessed with yet.
"It was like dejavu, I felt like I had been here in my dream, so it was very masyaAllah, to see the Kaaba in real life.”
However like many Muslim women, Nur Ashalina had her own unique ‘hijab journey’. For a Muslim women, there is more to being a hijabi then just wearing a scarf. Even for many Muslim women, there is a spiritual struggle in adorning the hijab everyday, a decision that has to be made before they fully commit to it.
For a revert who has to undergo many transitioning challenges, the transition to wearing a hijab is no doubt an even bigger challenge for them.
“In 2009, my friend's mom invited me for jalan raya and she gave me a hijab to wear. But it was really very hot. I had to take out the hijab everytime I went home. Subsequently when I did it, I felt as though something was missing, like my neck was bare and empty. So I slowly started to wear it full time.”
But it was not an easy feat for her. When Nur Ashalina decided she was going to wear the hijab, she decided to go to the nearest toilet from her house to wear, as she did not want her family to know about it.
But it didn’t feel right. She started to change the location, like wearing it at the lift lobby, but she got caught by her grandmother. Slowly but surely, she started to gain enough courage to start wearing the hijab before she left the house.
Like many Muslims, Nur Ashalina’s journey to knowing Allah s.w.t. and the religion of Islam has been one met with daily struggles within herself, as well as countless of blessings that she has been bestowed upon.
Currently, Nur Ashalina is taking her diploma in Syariah Studies, this a testament to how zealous she is about gaining knowledge of the religion. This could also be a reminder for us, to continuously seek knowledge at every opportunity that we have.
Learn more about Nur Ashalina’s journey to Islam on our first episode of Revert Stories over at our IGTV!