“Alif. Laam. Meem. These are the verses of the wise Book, a guidance and mercy for the doers of good, who establish prayer and give Zakat and have firm faith in the hereafter. It is they who are on true guidance from their Lord and it is they who shall prosper.” (Qur’an, 31:1-5)
She opened the Qur’an and couldn’t put it down. By the time she read this passage she knew in her heart that she was already a Muslim. She craved a sense of belonging and found it in these pages.
Karen came to Islam when she was just 18. She had grown up in a very strict religious family who did not tolerate her choosing Islam over their own faith. Loyalty was an integral part of their culture and the fact that Karen had chosen to leave her family’s tradition meant she was subject to abuse in her own home.
Karen accepted her fate. Her father beat her regularly. Despite this, she continued to learn about her faith in secrecy and felt strengthened by her new-found knowledge. When Karen’s mother passed away, she thought this would be the chance to leave her hostile father. However, within the weeks following her mother’s death, her father’s health deteriorated significantly. Karen felt it was her religious duty to care for him and her young brother. She had given up the opportunity to leave and explore Islam without restriction. She was prepared to accept living in a home where she would continue to have to practise her faith in secrecy.
It was Karen’s first year fasting and she was struggling to do it in secrecy in her father’s home. She felt it would be better if she just acted as if Islam wasn’t a part of her life. It was during this time that her father was taken into hospital and the family’s carer’s allowance was suspended. Karen and her little brother were left with little to nothing. They needed access to essentials.
Karen came to the National Zakat Foundation for some financial support in the month of Ramadan. She felt humbled to be given more help than she had hoped for. She thanked her caseworker and said that the support from NZF made her feel as though she had found her family in faith.