Issue 77 February 2011
Henrietta Szovati, marriage counsellor at Barefoot Institute, embraced Islam in 2001 aged 26.
I was brought up in Communist Hungary where talking about religion was out of the question and affected the way we were taught to think. I became drawn to religion after a near fatal accident when I was 21. Upon waking from a coma I felt a huge sense of responsibility to find out why I remained alive.
I went through many religions and philosophies that seemed to soothe my mind at the time but could offer no long term solutions to the emptiness.
With everything else I found excuses but I could not fault Islam. I studied it for five years, read endlessly about the lifestyle of Muslims, different cultures and started learning Arabic. Islam’s sense of justice, clarity, simplicity and transparent nature of God and our relationship with Him without any interference or mediator captured me. Little things in my life started to make sense, I noticed the things that mattered and slowly the idea of God did not seem so threatening. As my 26th birthday was approaching I thought it a good time to start a new life. I walked into the mosque in Hungary and converted. By that point it was anything but a rational step but after the five years of questioning and rationalism, faith had taken me over.
I felt the whole world opened up and I felt blessed to be able to travel and see its beauty for myself. Self-reflection taught me that it is essential to listen to our authentic voice within which is always right.
Fear, uncertainty or anxiety should never be the way to fully embrace all that Islam offers. I jumped into empty space many times, often not knowing where I would land, but God has always facilitated the outcomes for me.