My Journey to Islam and Reaction of My Family

Jan 20th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest, Lauren Booth's Diary, Religion, World

Lauren Booth, broadcaster and journalist, is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, who converted to Islam in 2010. Here below is her journey to Islam and the heart-warming reaction of her family in this translated version of a recent interview:

I thank Allah for giving me the chance to spend a month with the greatest Muslims alive in this Ummah today.
At the end of Ramadan, I went to a family home in Rafa one of the poorest refugee camps in the poorest areas, of the over populated city in the entire world. I had iftar with a family there who had about 16 mats, which were used at night to sleep on. In the middle of this tent area the mother places the meal if she has any for her children to eat.
This lady greeted me at the door and it was as if she was welcoming me to the Taj Mahal not a hellhole in the Gaza strip. ”Sallam alaykum!” she says with a smile that lights up the whole area. I asked her: “What is it like in Rafa at Ramadan with very little food?” She said: ‘Alhamdulillah!’ with such joy I couldn’t help but smile. And as I sat there on the floor of this home eating what little leaves that they had; a bit of hummus, a pita bread that was our Iftar.
I got angry … really angry! I thought what is this God That makes hungry people even hungrier? What is this God Who creates a fast for the poorest of the oppressed people in the world. So, I turned to this sister and I said: “With all due respect I want to ask you, why does your God starve you in Ramadan? Why do you fast in Ramadan…sister, just explain to me?” This lady who never owned a handbag, whose children didn’t have, never had shoes. Whose children I was sitting with didn’t have pen or paper to do any drawings, she said to me: “Sister we fast in Ramadan to remember the poor.” And a key went to my heart and unlocked it.

But of course Islam wasn’t for me that was for somebody else so I put the thought of how great Islam was to one side and said so what I like the Palestinian people but it has nothing to do with Islam.
Then last year in Ramadan again I went to Iran as a journalist and I visited a mosque there, it’s the Bibi Fatima Mosque and I made wadu because I knew how to do it and I put on a shadur and I made a simple prayer: Allah … and I used the word Allah. “Allah, don’t give me anything. I have everything. Thank you for this journey, but Allah, don’t forget the people of Palestine.” Then I sat down in this busy mosque with women feeding their children, pilgrims coming and going; but when I sat down, this immense feeling of peace came over me. Peace and tranquility that I never knew before, such a calm that the tension in my heart went. There was no sound in my head for the first time in my life as an adult … just deep, deep joy and calm. I sat there for a long time in this place of calm knowing that somewhere in the universe everything is like this. Over the course of that evening women kept coming over to me holding me by the shoulders and saying: “I love you.” At one point a child came over and held my hand and just said in Farsi (Persian): “I love you.” I said to my friend Nadia, “Is this what it is like in the mosque?” She said, “Not really. I think something is happening.”

I slept that night on the floor of the mosque with a lot of other pilgrims and the next morning, Fajr sounded and I was inside the mosque and I prayed Fajr. Then I came outside and had a cup of chai and the sun was coming up and I had one very specific thought. “O, no… not Islam, please not Islam.”

I just want to say that a couple of strange things happened to me after that. I took the plane back to London from Tehran. As the plane was coming into London the pilot said: “Thank you for flying Tehran airways we’ll be in London in 20 minutes.” And at that point every Iranian Muslim woman took off the hijab and made out like she was from Sex in the City even showing some cleavage. I thought great. Thank goodness, my hands wouldn’t take off the hijab. My hands wouldn’t take off the hijab and I thought I was having a nervous break down.

Seven days later I said my Shahada in a London mosque and it was time for me to return to the Qur’an. This time I opened the Qur’an, and Surah Al-Fatiha (the opening chapter) look like saying to me: ‘Hello Sarah where have you been, welcome to the religion of peace, joy and tranquility,’ and I couldn’t put it down. Someone once told me — and I feel much like that before Islam — I had given up on God but God never gave up on me. Alhamdulillah.

The question everyone wants to know is how did your family or children react. My two daughters who are very practical and are aged 8 and 10. They came to me with three questions:

Mummy when you’re a Muslim will you still be mummy?

I said: When I am a Muslim you know what, I will be a better mummy, they said: “Horrayyy!

Mummy will you drink alcohol?

I said: When I am a Muslim I will never drink alcohol again and they said “Horrayyy!”

When you’re a Muslim will you show your chest?

I said why would you ask such a question? They said when you come to the school and your chest is showing we are embarrassed and we hate it and we want you to stop it.
I said: When I am a Muslim I will cover all this area and to which they said:

We love Islam.”

It was that easy. When you look at those 3 questions the basic female womanhood is summarized in those 3 questions from the purity of children.

Question no. 1. Will you be the center of our household? Can we rely on you as a mother to be there for us rather than putting your work, your colleagues/friendships or the bar in front of us?
Question no. 2. Will you remain in the limits that Allah has described for all of us in behavior?
Question no. 3. Will you be a modest dignified woman in Islam?

Alhamdulillah that is all I have to say. What I have learnt this year in being a Muslim is this, when you have problems don’t tell to your friends or family …if you can read the Qur’an every night or read 10 min. everyday your Imaan is much, much higher. If you live in a non-Muslim country those of us who do it can go very low very quickly, you must read the Qur’an.
If those who are not on the path of Islam if they come to Islam like me; or, if you’re a Muslim … you are on the path as well, so make sure that you don’t miss those signs in everyday life. All praise is to Allah (Almighty).

Courtesy: Islamic Bulletin


Lauren Booth

About the author

Lauren Booth is a freelance journalist, broadcaster, and human rights activist. Her ground breaking TV series on 'Remember Palestine' and 'Diaspora' have revealed new truths about the Occupation of Palestine. Booth speaks at international conferences on Islam in the 21st Century and women issues. She is the Chair and Co-Founder of Peace Trail and Patron of Cage Prisoner. Booth is currently authoring her keenly awaited autobiography "Journey to Islam."

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  1. SubhanAllah! Is all I can say.

  2. This has been very inspiring for me… Allah guides us to the straight path and make us benefit from Quran everyday :)) <3 Alhumdoilalh im a Muslim and i love my religion and God :)))))

  3. Masha’Allah! jazzakhallahu khairan! Alhamdulillah!

  4. Mashallah thats very interesting journey you gone through and hopefully that would be very inspiring for the womens from all over the world and muslim world.
    i want to know more such as Tony Blair reaction on that and if it is true he is also reading Quran and he is inspired too in that case why dont you share some of your experience in that relation.

  5. Dear Ms Lauran Booth,
    Welcome to Muslim Club.You are really blessed one from Heaven and surely would be getting direct hints and guidance signals as you are carrying with the heighest level of transparency and purity.
    I also believe you are a light post for many women and young children. I have great appreciation for you for different reasons – – one of them is that my mother ( now passed away about 17 years ago) also accepted Islam almost 90 years ago. And she used to tell me the stories of her life before and after her conversion to Islam.
    Wish you the best of Luck and once again lot of respect and regards for you and the family .
    Bashir Saleh

  6. Cried After Reading that, Allah make us better Muslims, the born muslims. InshAllah Tala.

  7. Assalamalaikum, the first word that comes to my mind after reading this blog is SubhanAllah. I always believe Allah tala always shows you a way, a help. And in this era of uncertainty and urban lifestyle Nemaz, Roza , Quran and good conduct are the best way to keep oneself connected to the Almighty.

  8. Very inspiring and moving sister Booth. Thanks for sharing your journey towards Islam with us, may help many more. Jazak Allah.

  9. SubhanAllah! This is beautifully written! Even if one is born a Muslim, we all have to go through a journey of our own to rediscover and accept Islam & Quran as it is truly meant to be.

  10. Assalamualikaum sister ,

    Hope you know the respect you will have in this world and in jannat. You will be above us all as we were muslims by birth & you are a muslim by choice. May Allah accept all your dua & release your worries ameen. Welcome to the religion of Prophet of Allah (PBUH).

  11. Mashaa’ Allaah. We Muslims welcome you. May Allaah strengthens your imaan. ameen.

  12. all those who study Quraan, not with prejudice but in the hope of finding reality, would find the right path:the path leading to find God.many many congratulations to our sister in faith.may we all have the blessings of ALLAH.

  13. Assalam o alaikum wr wb
    SubhanAllah … Allah o Akbar

  14. Really impressed. I did go misty eyed once. I ts indeed a thing to rejoice . The reward for this blessed lady is something we born (taking deen for granted) muslims can ever imagine. Just out of curiosity and to increase my knowledge , I would like t know —does the nikah or any form of marriage contract stay valid after one of the partners has reverted to Islam ??There are many scholars who believe that Ahl e kitab of today come under the mushrik category due to their belief in The Trinity, and marriage with mushrik is forbidden. Any one with a sound religious knowledge please enlighten . .

  15. Subhan Allah….all praises to Allah who guided Lauren to the religion of islam….but she is the one who wanted to learn the truth and was guided henceforth…the bit about the women taking their hijabs off in the plane when coming to London…was so heart rendering. A truly guided person who has converted follows the principles more than us….hope and pray our sisters also take this example…but isn’t it ironic that our parents don’t promote these virtues in most girls and think of protecting them till they are married off and not developing their ideas…its just like setting free when leaving the parents house as they were going to london on tehran air……

  16. @asma….. As far as I am aware if it’s a woman who has turned to islam. Her husband has to convert too officially and legally in Islamic fiqh within some time otherwise it wud be similar to a Muslim girl remaining in the marriage with a non Muslim man which is not allowed but in this world it happens….its different in the case of man,as he is allowed to marry or remain married to a Christian or a jew but that is also not preferred. Which brings another dilemma that many westerners are though christian by birth but actually atheists..hope that would suffice

  17. Asalamoaliakum sister

    we salute for your brave persoanlity and dedication for human rights one of my professor at university has shared about views about you, although he was business studies professor than i search your profile and contribution to humanity on net really impressed from your dedication and work may God bless you and other rmomineens

  18. MashaAllah ,, very amazing journey ,, and happy end 🙂
    jazzake Allah khairan my dear sister
    and congratulations from your brothers and sisters from Palestine

  19. This is a very touching story and we glad to know that we have another inspiring example in front of us from the miracles of Islam. We welcome you to this community and may Allah give you all the happiness and keep all sorrows away from you Insha’Allah.

  20. MashaAllah, may Allah increase your faith and ur good family ameen.

    I AM STUDYING DR ZAKIR NAIK NOW but still i am afraid am i doing the right thing or not some time i thinks that am i still in the cirlce of islam, ur comment gave me the peace.
    IF ANY ONE KNOW ANY MUSLIM SCHOLAR IN PAKISTAN WHO DONOT TELL ME THAT SHIA IS WRONG OR THE SUNNI IS WRONG BUT HE TELLS ME ABOUT ISLAM I JUST WANT TO SAY 100% YES ISLAM IS THAT RIGHT RELIGION I AM ON A RIGHT PATH BUT WITH FACTS AND FIGURES WITH PROOF AND LOGIC . I want to say it myself donot want to hear from my father or brother that I am on a right path today i am facing this if i will not have the knowledge tomorrow my kids will face the problem.
    IF ANY ONE CAN HELP ME PLEASE SEND ME THE MAIL (i am form lahore (pakistan))

  22. Jazaaki ALLAH kheir, and baaraka ALLAHU feeki and may ALLAH reward you abundantly for sharing your journey to Islam with us. Very and deeply inspiring indeed! Baaraka ALLAH feeki and fee meezaan hasanaatik yaa Rabb!

  23. […] You may always be interested in reading Booths diary entries like this one – My Journey to Islam and Reaction of My Family. […]

  24. Alhamdulillah sister. Welcome to islam- the only religion accepted by ALLAH.

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