From Kavita to Nur Fatima A conversation
It is the story of a girl who, before embracing Islam, belonged to a family associated with extremist Hindu organization Shiv Sena. Here is a brief interview of the girl named Kavita. Her name was later changed to Nur Fatima when she converted to Islam.
Question: What was your name before embracing Islam?
Answer: My name was Kavita. While my nickname was Poonam.
Question: And what is your Islamic name?
Answer: I have been named as Nur Fatima after embracing Islam.
Question: Where were you born and what is your age now?
Answer: I was born in Mumbai and I am 30. But I consider myself as a five-year-old because my knowledge about Islam is not more than a five-year-old Muslim kid’s knowledge.
Question: Would you please tell us about your education?
Answer: After schooling from Mumbai, I went to the Cambridge University for higher education. After completing my masters there I did many a computer courses. I regret that I have attained a number of degrees for this world but have done nothing for the world hereafter. Now I want to do some-thing for the purpose.
Question: Would you share with us some facts of your life?
Answer: I had joined a school in Mumbai. The school is big enough and only children of royal families studied there.
Question: Where were you married and how many children you have?
Answer: I was married in Mumbai but later I came to Bahrain along with my husband. I’ve got two sons.
Question: How did you convert to Islam?
Answer: First of all I shall love to pay my gratitude to Allah for His blessings. As Allah’s Messenger? said: “When Allah wishes well for someone He grants him under-standing of Deen.” I say Allah has showered me with His blessings. The environment in which I grew up was extremist Hindu where Muslims were severely hated. I embraced Islam after my marriage but I disliked worship of idols since my adolescence. I remember that once I had removed an idol to a washroom in my house. When my mother admonished me on it, I replied that if it cannot protect it-self then why do you seek bless-ings from it? Why do you bow be-fore it? What does it grant you? There is a ritual in our family that when a girl is married, she washes feet of her husband and drinks that water. But I refused to do so on the very first day due to which I was severely admonished. As I told you that I had joined a school (for teaching purposes) and since I was alone and used to drive my car; I started visiting a nearby Islamic centre. I heard their conversation and knew that Muslims did not worship idols. They were seeking blessings from some other person. Their Bhagwan was someone else. I liked their views. I knew later that this is Allah Who accomplishes everything.
Question: How did you attract to Islam?
Answer: the prayer (Namaz) of Muslims impressed me. I did not earlier know that it is called as prayer. However, I was aware of the fact that all the Muslims do like that. At first I thought it was some sort of exercise. I learnt that it was called as Namaz when I started visiting the Islamic centre. I dreamed of one thing whenever I went to bed. It was a four-dimensional room that I dreamed daily. I would get harassed and wake up sweating. The same room would re-appear in my dreams when I would sleep again. I learned much later about this room.
Question: How your family learnt about your conversion to Islam?
Answer: After marriage I shifted to Bahrain which helped me a lot in understanding Islam. As it is a Muslim country, our house was surrounded by Muslims. I befriended a Muslim girl. She seldom visited me but I used to visit her mostly. One day she forbade me from visiting her for it was Ramazan, the month of worship. “My worship is disturbed due to your visit” she told me. As I wanted to know about the rituals of worship performed by Muslims I got more curious and requested her not to forbid me from visiting her house. I said: “Do whatever you want to. I shall just see you doing all that. I would say nothing and would rather hear whatever you would recite.” So she did not forbade me from visiting her house. When I would see her worshipping, I my-self would be attracted to copy it. Then I asked her about the “exercise.” She told me that they call it Namaz. And that the book she used to recite is the Holy Quran. I wished to do this all. I would lock a room of my house and copy my friend in private though I did not know much about it. One day I forgot to lock the room and started offering Namaz when my husband entered there. He asked me what I was doing. I replied: “Offering Namaz.” He said: “Are you in your senses? Do you know what are you saying?” At first I got harassed. My eyes were closing out of fear. But, suddenly, I felt a huge power in my inner self that made me courageous enough to face the situation. I cried out that I had converted to Islam so I was offering Namaz. He said: “What! What have you said? Would you repeat your words?” I repeated my words with an added emphasis: “Yes! I have converted to Islam.” Hearing this he started to beat me. Hearing the noise my sister reached there. She tried to rescue me. But when my husband narrated the entire story she too advanced to beat me. I stopped her saying: “You should not come in my way. I know what is good for me and what is bad. I shall walk on the way I have adopted.” Hearing this my husband got furious. He tortured me so much that I lost my senses.
Question: Where were your children when you were being tortured? What was their age? And how did you manage to escape from there?
Answer: My children were at home when this gory drama was being played. My elder son was in 9th and younger son in 8th at that time. But after this incident I was not allowed to meet anyone. I was locked in a room. Though I had not formally embraced Islam, I had uttered these words that I had converted to Islam. One night when I was there locked in the room; my elder son came there and burst into tears in my arms. I asked where the other family members were. He said they had gone to attend some function and no one was at home. (There was our religious festival on that night.) My son requested me to escape from the house for the family wanted to kill me. I consoled him that nothing such would happen. They would not hurt me. And he should take care of himself and his younger brother. But he continued to insist amid sobs that I should escape from the house. I tried to make him under-stand that then I would be unable to meet them. But he replied that you could meet us only if you were alive. “Go away, Mama, they will murder you.” At last I decided to leave. I could never forget those harsh moments when my elder son went to wake up his younger brother and said to him: “Get up. Mama is leaving. Meet her now for who knows that whether she will meet us again or not.” The younger one had met me after many days. He was rubbing his eyes while looking at me. But when I stepped forward, he clung to me and burst into tears. The children perhaps al-ready knew all. He just asked me, “Mama, are you leaving?” I nodded in affirmative saying we would meet again. My both sons were seeing me off on that dark and chilly night. I was crushing the love of mother under my own feet. On one hand was the love of children and their separation and on other was the love for Islam which was overcoming the former. I was moaning, clinging to my children…. crushing my love for them. My injuries were fresh. I was un-able to walk on foot. However, I somehow managed to do so. Both the children were waving their hands to me with tears in their eyes at the gate. I could never forget those moments. Whenever I recall this scene, I remember the Muslims who had abandoned their homes and families for Islam.
Question: Where did you go then and where did you embrace Islam?
Answer: From my house I headed straight to the police station. My biggest problem there was that they did not know my language. One of them, however, could understand English. I was out of breath and was unable to speak for I was nervous. I requested him to let me take rest until I collect my-self. Then after a while I collected myself and told him that I had left my house and wanted to embrace Islam. I was anxious to narrate all these facts. However, he consoled me and said that he too was a Muslim and would help me as much as possible. He took me to his family and provided me shelter in his home. In the morning, my husband reached the police station to seek help saying his wife had been kid-napped. But he was told that his wife had not been kidnapped rather she herself had come there. As she wanted to embrace Islam, he did not have any relation with her (being a non-Muslim) so she could not go with him. He insisted and hurled threats. But I myself refused to go with him. I said he could take all my jewellery, bank balance and property, but I would not go with him. At first he did not give up, but seeing my consistent refusal he got a written statement to obtain all my belongings.
The person who had given me shelter said that now your family would not harm you and you might embrace Islam. I thanked him and went to a hospital for my whole body was wounded. I remained admitted to the hospital for some days. Once a doctor asked me: “Where have you come from? No one from your family had ever visited you at hospital.” I remained quiet and did not reply. For I had left my house in search of only one thing…… Now I neither had any home nor any family….. Now my only relation was Islam which had extended me affection on the very first step.
The Muslim policeman had called me his sister and kept me at his home like a sister. He had provided me shelter on that chilly night when I had lost all my relations. I could never forget his favour. When I was hospitalized, I was anxious about my next step. Where to go in search of peace and protection? After being discharged from the hospital I straightaway went to the Islamic centre. There was no one at that time except an elderly person who perhaps lived there. I went to him and narrated my account. He hesitated for some moments and then said: “Daugh-ter! This sari is not the dress of Muslims. Go, wear headscarf and clad yourself like Muslims.” I had some money with me when left the police station. I purchased a suit with this money and returned to the centre. He told me how to per-form ablution. As I performed the ablution he took me to a room. Entering the room, I found a big picture hanging on a wall. Seeing the picture I halted as it contained the room that I used to dream in my dreams. I immediately cried out: “That’s it which I have been seeing in my dreams…..which have been disturbing my sleep.” He smiled and said it is the house of Allah. Muslims from across the world come to this house for Hajj and Umra. It is called Baitullah. I was surprised to learn it. I asked, “Does Allah live in a house?” He was answering my questions with a smile and affection. Perhaps he knew a lot about Islam. I was facing no difficulty in talking to him. He was explaining each and every thing in my own language. I was feeling a strange happiness which I could not understand at that time. He made me recite the Kalima and then told about Muslims and Islam. Now I was neither anxious nor feeling any burden on my mind. I was feeling myself very light. I felt like I had swum from polluted to clean waters. The owner of this centre where I had embraced Islam adopted me as his daughter and took me to his home. Later, he arranged my marriage in a Muslim family. My first desire was to see the “house of Allah.” And then I performed Umra.
Question: Did you go to India after embracing Islam?
Answer: No, I neither went to India after that nor I want to go there. My family has links in political as well as religious organizations there. They have announced head money for me. I am a Muslim, a Muslim daughter…. and I am proud to be a Muslim….. I want to lead my life in the light of Islam.
Question: What was your thinking about Mujahideen before embracing Islam?
Answer: We had been told that they were oppressors who had crossed every limit of oppression. We were made to hate them. But now I have come across the truth and have love for them. I offer prayers for their success in every Namaz. I also pray to Allah that if He blesses me with sons I shall love to see them lined up as Mujahid. I shall devote them for the glory of Islam. Inshallah.