By Al-Qalam Reporter
For as long as she can remember, Ayushi Devraj (22) of Durban had no faith in any religion, but in recent months an unexplainable force within her was drawing her towards accepting the Oneness of God. So on January 1 this year, she boldly took the Shahadah and says she has never felt greater peace in her life.
Ayushi, who holds degree in political science and currently studying towards her honours in (Media and cultural studies at UKZN), told Al Qalam that her family and friends had been extremely supportive of her decision after she reverted to Islam.
As a former non-practicing Hindu, she said she could not bring herself to identify with the portrayal of God in various images and forms as projected by some religions. After some soul searching, she felt Islam provided ALL the answers to the burning questions in her head.
But Islam – when she was growing up – was not foreign to her. Her father, Rajesh Devraj, was a friend and ardent admirer of Shaykh Ahmed Deedat. He used to play many video recording of his lectures in his home. In fact, Devraj said in a recent letter to the IPCI that he became interested in comparative religion after the release of Shaykh Deedat’s lecture – From Hinduism to Islam.
Asked whether she was ever worried that her reversion to Islam would restrict her from “enjoying life” in the secular context projected in the Western media, Ayushi said it was those very restrictions that forbade haraam lifestyles that immensely appealed to her.
“Even though, I was never consciously searching for a religion to follow, I had a very strong pull towards Islam – this was something that came from within. It’s a very unique feeling to put into words; it’s something that can only be felt within the heart and soul. I knew I had to start learning about Islam so I read many books, watched many Islamic lectures, and did a lot of other research. When I also started listening to Qur’anic recitation, it gave me a sense of inner peace. This reminds me of the verse, ‘Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest’ (13:28).
“I loved gaining knowledge about Islam so much that my day actually felt incomplete if I hadn’t learnt anything new for the day. As I started learning more and more about Islam, my belief grew stronger, it felt as if I’ve finally found my home, or my path. This was a journey I chose to take alone because I didn’t want any outside influences, and I’m glad I made that choice so this would only be between me and my Creator.
“Islam never felt out of bounds to me, it felt natural. That’s how I knew it was in me all along. It gave me the guidance I needed, a deep perspective on life and so much more. It truly is a gift to humanity. I always felt like something was missing from my life, until I started my journey towards Islam. I realized in my life, things and people are temporary, none of them should be completely relied on; they weren’t constants. The only constants are Allah, and the Holy Qur’an.
“I always knew I wanted to revert to Islam so I finally decided to take my Shahadah. It has been the best decision I have ever made.”
Ayushi told Al Qalam that from the day of her reversion, she felt an inner peace like no other.
“So much has changed within me since that blessed day, which so happened to be New Year’s Day. It was the perfect start to the year and my new life as a Muslim. I’ve felt a huge change in my mind, body and soul from the time I became a Muslim. Of course, all these changes have been incredibly positive. I truly believe Allah has guided me to be the person I am today.
Ayushi said she has received much support all members of her family, including her only sibling, her sister Akshi (19). Her friends, who are of various faiths, supported her in her decision. But support from Muslims who welcomed her to the fold, was special for her.
“There were so many Muslims who didn’t even know me personally yet offered to help me in any way I needed. It was overwhelming to see so much of love, encouragement and support. This made my transition even easier, Alhamdulillah. I couldn’t be more grateful and honoured that Allah chose me to worship him by becoming Muslim”, she added.
Meanwhile, her proud and supportive father said well before his daughter reverted to Islam, he once went to her room and found a “Dua for Security” pasted on her wall. He realized then that his daughter – an agnostic for years – was on the brink of finding faith in Islam.
Last word came from Ayushi: “The Dua is still on the wall”, she says with a smile. “It gives me a sense of security, especially knowing that no matter what, Allah is always with me.”