From Sunni to Ahmadiyya Islam | Convert Story

May 10, 2023

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From Sunni to Ahmadiyya Islam | Convert Story

By Aamina Malik

Background: A Sunni Upbringing

In the Name of Allah, The Gracious, The Merciful

Asalamu’alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

By the Grace of Allah the Exalted, I am to relate to you, Respected Reader, the story of how Allah the Exalted guided me to Islam Ahmadiyya.

My journey began at the tender age of 17, when I was living in blissful ignorance, and nothing but worldly affairs had my true attention. My life revolved around school, friends, and the typical things a teenager might want to do with their time.

In terms of spirituality, I was what I believed to be strong in faith- I was a second-generation Sunni Muslim, of the Hanafi sort, and I was raised by modern and fairly liberal parents.

While my parents were born and brought up here in the UK, my mother being of Srinagari Kashmiri origin raised in Halifax, West Yorkshire, as part of the well-known Mir family, and my father being of Persian and Indian origin raised in London, “South of The River”, they both ensured that my siblings and I were not raised to be particularly cultural.

Instead, from a young age, we were sent to an Arab Madrassah to learn about Islam and how to read the Holy Qur’an, and we were taught the fundamentals of Sunni Islam. Though we were not strict, we were moderate, and we were strict in our moderation.

We knew our religion as Sunnis, and as Sunnis we truly believed in our heart of hearts that we were right, and this set the foundation for when Allah The Most Wise thrust me onto an entirely different path. A path I would and could have never anticipated or expected, and a path that has humbled me and fills me with such humility, that to this day, I still wonder, why me?

Discovering Islam Ahmadiyya

I hadn’t met or come cross any practicing Ahmadi Muslims until I began my A-Levels, and it was during this time that I was quickly surrounded by people whom I had first assumed to be Sunni, and whom turned out to share very different beliefs to myself. In my youthful ignorance, it had never occurred to me that I could ever meet Muslims who were neither Sunni nor Shi’a, and though I had heard of other sects existing, it seemed surreal. The concept of there being other sects of Islam was something I associated with existing in the depths of West and South Asia, rather than in my South London school.

I very quickly learnt that that was not the case. Upon finding out that some of my classmates were Ahmadi, I was surprised to have been met with nervousness and apprehension. I was horrified to discover that they genuinely thought I would end our friendships based on their theological beliefs and opinions. I wasn’t raised in such a way, and as a decision maker in my own right, I chose to explore this newfound interest in a different interpretation of Islam- of everything I had been taught. Naturally, I went straight home from school to report to my mother that I would be debating.

Unsurprisingly my mother was supportive of my endeavour, and she instructed me that it was my duty as a Muslim to guide them to the right path- and like a little soldier accepting orders from a superior officer, I took on my mission with pride. I was going to show my Ahmadi friends that Sunni Islam was The Truth…. Or so I thought.

Liwa-e-Ahmadiyyat – The Flag of Ahmadiyyat

As someone who has a constant thirst for knowledge, I found our debating extremely enjoyable. It was exhilarating, and fascinating in ways I hadn’t previously thought possible. For a reason unbeknownst to me at the time, I had a yearning to learn more about these new beliefs, and I found it all incredibly enthralling. I simply couldn’t stay away from the subject of Islam Ahmadiyya. I felt a strong need to investigate and understand everything.

But things began to become worrisome once I was presented with questions and interpretations that I felt I couldn’t answer. Though my faith wasn’t shaken, I was confused as to why I couldn’t find adequate answers for myself. Not wanting my Ahmadi friends to win, and essentially prove me wrong, I turned to my mother for advice.

It was this pivotal moment wherein I can now see how Allah’s plan unfolded. Like a peacock stretching its wings, Allah’s plan extended outwards, with a myriad of hued experiences that would change the course of my life.

For the first time, my mother told me “no”. It was an unexpected “no”, to say the least, and upset me greatly. Out of fear of my faith being shaken, she wanted to me stop debating, and to leave the entire subject alone. It had been emphasised to her that Ahmadis were not Muslim, and she thought it best I stop.

I was not ready to stop. Stopping meant giving up, and giving up is something I have never taken lightly- especially when it was something as important as the belief system on which one bases their entire life. Stopping was no longer an option- even after the word “Ahmadi” had been banned from the house.

Researching in Secret

And so, my research simply resumed in secret. Long nights I would spend reading and learning, in hopes of finding the answers I sought. I turned to a so-called scholar in America for help, and he agreed to liaise with an Ahmadi Missionary on my behalf- I was copied in to all the emails and was able to watch, what I thought would be, a learned debate take place.

I was utterly dismayed to find that while everything the Missionary had said made absolute sense, the scholar I had put forward was not answering anything. Rather, he made excuses, asserting that “this is what Ahmadis do”; my reply was simply, “What Ahmadis do? You mean answer the actual questions?”

His implication of Ahmadi Muslims “twisting things” and “brainwashing” was an unsuccessful attempt to cover up his failings, and it was then that I chose to continue my research without assistance, as I would have to find the answers I needed myself.

In an effort to be fair, I conducted my research in such a way that I would be both for and against. I felt a balanced view was needed, and with the amount of lies that were spread on the internet regarding Islam Ahmadiyya, I also made the decision that anything I read in favour of the Jamaat would have to be from the source- that is, from the Jamaat itself.

“My logic was such that if I would neither go to a Protestant to learn about Catholicism, nor go to a Shi’a to learn about Sunni Islam, then why would I go to any non-Ahmadi to learn about Islam Ahmadiyya? To do so would be illogical.”

Seeking the Help of Allah

As I delved into research, I turned to our Sovereign Lord even more so. My nights alternated between reading, and crying in Sujood begging Allah for His Divine Assistance. His Help was near, but in my state of anguish, anxiety and desperation I begged Him for clear and obvious signs of what was right and what was wrong.  

Even in my fear that everything I had grown to believe was slowly unravelling, like a tapestry of lies which had a loose thread aching to be pulled further and harder, one thing rang true. It was one thing that I could hold on to in my time of need. Allah is Perfect. His Religion is Perfect, and so, the true Jamaat must also be perfect. Any single flaw in the collective beliefs of a sect denotes imperfection, and therefore the entirety can be dismissed, as such would not be the case with Allah’s chosen Jamaat.

With this in mind, it was difficult and incredibly frightening to admit to myself, in the company of my Lord while in Sujood, that everything about Islam Ahmadiyya made sense to me- I could find no flaws in the beliefs- and so, that clearly meant it was the chosen Jamaat.

But what was I to do with this epiphany? I knew it was my duty as a Muslim to inform my family, but I was unsure if I was ready to hear the threat of disownment.

Allah was my Only Hope. He brought me to this, and so, I trusted Him to get me through it.

Though my nights of research became a part of my routine, I did indeed live somewhat of a double life, with my days being that of a typical teenager. The exhaustion of no sleep hadn’t caught up to me yet, and I was determined not to get caught reading Jamaat books in the small hours of the night. I continued to meet my friends on the weekends, and I continued to pursue my interests during daylight.

Blessing of Companionship

It was during this part of my life that I met my Ahmadi friend, Anum Shehzadi; she became, and Alhamdulilah still is, my best friend, and she was truly a gift to me from Allah, and a sign from Him to persevere. Meeting Anum was akin to having an image of the type of girl I wanted to be, held up in front of me. The way she carried herself, her manners and morals, her etiquette and decorum, and her modesty stunned me. I had never viewed modesty as beautiful until I saw her, and at the age of 18, she epitomised to me the Beauty of Islam… and I wanted to be just like her.

Islam is beautiful, and she proved it to me. By the Mercy of Allah the Exalted, she became my rock in hard times, and was without a doubt the best ambassador for Islam Ahmadiyya that I had ever seen in my youth. It was her influence on me, and our close friendship that encouraged me to continue on my path to finding the truth, and I will be forever grateful to our Lord for giving me a gift like Anum to help me along such a tremendous journey of the soul.

“True friends can only be those whose hearts are pure and who are sincere” – Hazrat Mirza masroor ahmad (aba), Khalifatul Masih v

In all my pleading to Allah the Exalted, I felt a newfound sense of bravery in facing my mother, to present to her all the research I had collated. However, as cautiously anticipated, our discussions became heated and one can imagine all the threats I received, including that of disownment. But my mother had forgotten she had raised me to be very strong-minded, and I was not prepared to back down until she was at least on the same page as me. I wanted her to see what I could see.

It was a grueling task to encourage my mother to listen to me, and in between showing her short clips from MTA’s show Faith Matters while she was in the midst of cooking, I reminded myself to trust that Allah’s Help was near.

Divine Assistance in Changing my Mother’s Mind

After a whole year of incessantly arguing with my mother, one day His Help finally did arrive. His Assistance descended upon me like cool water over a raging fire, and left me spluttering in disbelief. It was an evening, and with respect, I had had enough of the situation with my mother, so I assertively demanded that she watch two Faith Matters videos with headphones, and in silence without pausing anything. I told her that she would want to pause the videos, but every question that would pop into her head would be satisfied and addressed by the panel on the show.

Reluctantly, and if only to humour me, she agreed, and it was in watching her facial expressions change as she watched the videos, that I could feel Allah’s Divine Assistance. I had called upon Him and He was truly responding to my call before my very eyes.

As the videos concluded, my mother looked at me solemnly and after a moment’s hesitation, with wide eyes, she said, “Oh My God, we might be wrong!”.

After a year of fighting what felt like an uphill battle, she was on the same page as me. Thereafter, things became all the more intense, as my mother was now taking everything seriously, and she instructed me to order Jamaat books so that we could read them together, and I was also instructed to plan to perform Salatul Istikhara when I felt ready. Having my mother on my side after so long felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I was ready to do the Istikhara around the same time we went on a family holiday to Germany.

A Dream from Allah

It was on this holiday that our Beloved Creator presented me with a dream that served to be the final 1% I needed to be entirely sure that Islam Ahmadiyya was Allah’s chosen Jamaat.

By the Mercy and Grace of Almighty Allah, it is with great humility that I say my Istikhara was answered in such a way that not even an atom’s worth of doubt was left in my mind.

In this dream, I saw our most beloved master Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (saw), and he was stood amongst people who looked as if they had been dipped in the deepest pits of Jahanam. They were so black and burnt, and yet he was stood shining.

All these people were chanting over and over, “He is not the Prophet.” And as I walked through this crowd of people, I made my way to Muhammad (saw), and looked at him.

How these people could deny our beloved Prophet as he stood so tall and majestic was beyond my understanding. To see him glowing almost blindingly white, with so much Noor emanating from his very being, the question that was on the tip of my tongue poured from my lips.

I asked him, “Are you the Prophet?”, to which he nodded. To be entirely sure, I clarified with, “As in Rasoolullah (saw)?”, and he smiled. His blessed smile showed to me the gap between his teeth, and I knew it was him.

Our beloved Prophet (saw) was shown to me and though he looked somewhat elderly, he was strong and stern. Upon realising he was the Prophet, I immediately told him that I knew where to take him, and I brought him to Masjid Baitul Futuh, straight to the office of our treasured Imam of the Time, Sayyidina Ameerul Mu’mineen Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih Al Khamis Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba).

I told our beloved Khalifa that the Prophet was here, and Huzoor simply stated that he knew what to do.

Within moments, Huzoor was in the presence of Muhammad (saw), and without hesitation, he took Muhammad (saw)’s right hand, and placed his forehead upon it. Suddenly, from all over people came and placed their hands on Huzoor’s shoulders, and though I could not turn around, I also felt hands on my shoulders, and I knew from the depths of my heart and soul that the entire global Jamaat was present for the Initiation and Pledge of Allegiance. Muhammad (saw) was performing the Bai’at with the entire Jamaat, and in my shock and overwhelmed state, I quickly joined in by taking his left hand in mine.

Decision to Join the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat

After the Bai’at, I awoke, and it took a moment or two to realise that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, He Who Turns Day into Night and Night into Day, The Lord of The Worlds and Master of the Day of Judgement, had answered me; and He answered me so explicitly, that my heart was filled to the brim with nothing more than Islam Ahmadiyya. There was no room for doubt. My mind had been satisfied by research, but Allah the Exalted had not only satisfied my heart with His response to my Istikhara, but He had also satisfied my soul.

I told my mother and siblings what I had seen, and my mother immediately recognized and understood the gravity of such a dream, with the added knowledge it was a true dream because Shaytan cannot take on the Prophet (saw)’s form. It was then that we decided to take on the advice of my maternal aunt, whom we had told of our interest in Islam Ahmadiyya, to “go and sit amongst them and see”.

baiat ceremony at the hands of the khalifa at the jalsa salana uk

Alhamdulilah, we arranged to attend Jalsa Salana UK 2013 as guests, simply to observe and to see what would happen. On the last day, with no prior planning, my mother, my siblings and I joined the folds of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.

My Father’s Conversion

By the Grace of Allah, 3 years later, after a lot of praying, my father (who had never stopped or hindered us on our journey, and was always very supportive) also joined us in our conversion, choosing to convert in Huzoor’s office, at the hand of Huzoor himself, in a beautifully private and somewhat spontaneous Bai’at ceremony.

My father’s conversion can only be attributed to Khalifatul Masih Al Rabbi’, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh), as it was his English Question and Answer sessions, shown regularly on MTA, that truly led my father to the truth. SubhanAllah.

The Journey Forward

It must be said though, that one’s journey does not truly begin until after converting, because it is only then that the choice to live and die as an Ahmadi Muslim becomes concrete, and with that comes the consequences of our decision to choose Allah over our family and all else. Alhamdulilah when presented with the such a choice, we will always choose Allah over everything.

Now, almost 8 years later, it is with Allah’s blessing that my family are deeply connected and rooted in Islam Ahmadiyya. As staunch Ahmadis, our focus and Du’as are centred around guiding our family and others to the True Islam. Having also recently married a wonderful Khadim, with whom I am completing half of my Deen, it is with both pride and humility, that I say Islam Ahmadiyya is simply the greatest and most breathtakingly awe-inspiring gift that our Almighty Lord could have ever bestowed upon us.

JazakAllah Wa Ahsanal Jaza

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