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Home is where the heart is


My story is one of finding true love.


Even if I tried I could never find anything so pure, so safe.


It’s the sweet embrace that cradles me to sleep, the warm presence which holds my tears then wipes them away. It’s the generous hand that gives me everything I could ever need, even before I ask for it myself. 


This love story begins with a young girl and her grandmother, their bond forged on the Southern English coastline. I vividly recall summers spent digging in the wet sand, the songs of seagulls creating a soundtrack to our adventures. We always traveled from Paris, where I lived with my parents and sister, to this seaside haven. Unbeknownst to me then, my grandmother was planting seeds of a profound love within me—one that I couldn't yet name. It was the love of God. My grandmother, a devout Christian, shared her faith with a gentle devotion that shaped my heart and soul.


She left this world just before I turned 20, may God have mercy on her soul. From thereon I embarked on a journey to put words on my own beliefs. What is love? What is destiny? What does it mean to have purpose? What is this greater force that manages our world?


It was whilst living in London that I found those answers. 


Ramadan 2015. I picked up a copy of the Quran. In these pages I found what I was seeking. I found God.


I immediately fell in love with Islam. The peace, the kindness of character you must exude, the trust in Allah. I delved deep into the pages of the Holy Book, I couldn’t put it down. I just wanted to be part of this beautiful religion. But there was so much fear. What would others say? I kept learning about this faith for a few months but shied away from officially embracing Islam.


Ironically, some of the worst atrocities committed in the name of Islam are what hurried me into taking my Shahadah (the testament of faith which makes you become Muslim). I was living in Paris again at this stage. November 2015, some terrorist attacks took place that claimed more than 100 lives. Something felt way too close to home. I had come home early from uni that night and everything unfolded just a few hundred meters away from my school. A close call. I couldn’t live another day not being a Muslim, because what if that day had been my last?


Taking Shahadah is only the beginning though. There's a difference between becoming Muslim and fully embracing Islam. From there commenced my journey of truly finding Allah. My identity shifted, my beliefs shifted, my lifestyle started to change.


Some intense stigma at the time (marked by those horrible events and followed by more in Nice in the summer of 2016) lead me to conceal my Islam. No one knew. Not even those closest to me. It took me 7 years to tell my parents. I lived my faith in hiding. Fasting, praying, learning everything alone.


Fast forward to this present day, my faith is an integral part of who I am. I wear it proudly, hijab included. The funny thing is, those closest to me never even questioned it. All they see is the peace I exude.


I’ve been through mountains of highs and valleys of lows to get there, I think we all do. I’ve tripped, I’ve failed, I’ve fallen and risen. All by the Grace of Allah. On the way, I’ve found a love so deep it could never be replaced. It’s the feeling of never being alone, and even if you were to lose everything, you still have everything. Our brothers and sisters in Palestine come to mind here for obvious reasons, may Allah grant them His highest ranks, grant them justice in this life and the next, and place ease in the hearts. Ameen.


I’ve tried to find my answers outside of myself, chasing love, satisfaction and fulfilment in places, projects and people but I never found anything remotely as powerful as the love of Allah. The love I feel when I pray my salah.


My home is where my heart is. Next to Allah.


My faith has been by far, the greatest source of peace. But also my greatest source of pain by trying to conceal it for so many years. I’ve lived in fear of judgment because of the misconceptions around Islam that couldn’t be further from the truth.


It baffles me that such a beautiful religion and way of life could collect so much hate, misunderstanding and discrimination. I’ve found in Islam’s teachings nothing but love, peace, hope and endless answers to life’s deepest questions.


My intention in sharing these words with you, dear reader, are to share 3 things.


- Hope. That it’s okay to feel disconnected, lost and in pain towards the outward practice of your faith. As a revert, it would be a lie to say that your whole world doesn’t change when you take your Shahadah. Moments of bliss and deep purpose can swiftly be followed by feelings of isolation and confusion. Remember, there is always hope, and it does get easier through Allah’s mercy. These emotions are not unique to reverts; they can be experienced by those born into generations of Muslim families as well. You are not alone.


- The importance of community. Allah didn’t create us to navigate this world alone. Seek likeminded, well intentioned brothers and sisters that elevate you. 


- To encourage you to deepen your love for your Creator. Whether you are Muslim or not yet, know that there is an unconditional love like no other just waiting for you to discover. One that answers all of life's deep questions and gives purpose to our actions. Nothing compares. All you have to do is take one step closer.


All praise is due to the Most High, The Extremely Merciful, the Exceedingly Merciful.


All my love,

Lucy


Ps - if any of these words touched a deep part of your own soul, please reach out to me. Words can feel like they’re echoing into a void unless they are met with a response from the reader.




1 Comment


Renu Malani
Renu Malani
Jun 15

How beautifully you write and articulate your heart. I am so proud of you dear Lucy. x

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