From Christian to Muslim: An Igbo Woman’s Journey of Faith

From Christian to Muslim: An Igbo Woman’s Journey of Faith

From Christian to Muslim: An Igbo Woman’s Journey of Faith

From Christian to Muslim: An Igbo Woman’s Journey of Faith

Aisha Suleiman, formerly Josephine Oziomachukwu Nworie, is a 29-year-old Igbo woman who converted to Islam five years ago and married a Hausa man in Bauchi State. In this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, she shares her story of faith and the challenges she faces from her family.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

My name is Aisha Suleiman, but I was born as Josephine Oziomachukwu Nworie. I grew up in Azare, Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State, where I attended nursery, primary and secondary schools with my siblings. I am a graduate, but I have not been able to find a job yet. My husband is doing his best to take care of us.

How has life been since you converted to Islam?

It has not been easy at all. I have faced many trials and tests from Allah in the past five years. The main challenge is with my family, especially my parents, who have disowned me because they see my conversion as a taboo. We are Igbos from Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.

My mother was the secretary of the women’s wing in her church, but she was removed from that position because they said I committed a sin by becoming a Muslim. She thinks I have insulted her and tarnished her reputation. She hates seeing me in hijab and does not allow me to pray or practice Islam when I visit them. She always says she will only support me if I return to Christianity.

What inspired you to convert to Islam?

There are many factors that influenced me, but it goes back to my secondary school days. Most of my friends were Hausas and I admired their culture and way of life. I used to apply henna on my hands and feet, even though my mother would beat me for it when I got home. I learned to speak Hausa fluently and adopted their customs and manners.

I also studied Islam and found it to be a beautiful and peaceful religion that teaches me how to worship Allah and be a good person. I felt a strong connection with Islam and decided to embrace it as my faith.

So, it has been hard for me and I chose to stay here. Sometimes, when I call my mother on the phone, she does not answer my calls and whenever she calls, she curses me and says that my children will do to me what I did to her.

What is your educational background?

I have a degree in Biochemistry from Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi where I obtained a Diploma in Science Laboratory Technology and an HND in Biochemistry from the same institution before I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Have you applied for jobs since your graduation?

Yes, I have applied for jobs in different schools but I have not been successful and I am still hopeful of getting one Insha Allah. I believe that everything has its time and it is Allah’s will. Even if I were still a Christian, if it were His will that I would not work for now, there would be nothing I could do. I am not alone in this, there are many other graduates out there also looking for jobs. I accept it as my fate and I do not blame any religion, tribe or any factor for hindering me from getting a job. For now, I just accept it as the will of God.

What is your major challenge now?

My major challenge is getting a job or capital to start a small business of my own to help myself and my family because I have learnt some skills and trading in the past but I do not have capital for now. I know that if I have money to do something, I can change the negative situation with my parents as there is a Hausa proverb that says “Yaba kyauta tukwici.” I know that I can do so many things for my parents to make them happy and proud of me after losing their joy and happiness for so many years.

My main ambition is to have a stable job and to keep visiting my mother and always give her something no matter how small. Today I will go, tomorrow I will go, I know that one day she will smile at me and I will feel that joy because I am also a mother. I want to see that smile that I have not seen for a very long time. I want to make my mother happy because right now, she does not consider me as one of her children. She says that I am useless to her, that she trained me in school but she did that for the Hausas because they are the ones enjoying it. I want to prove to her that it is not true.

You are married, is your husband not taking care of you?

Alhamdulillah, I am married and Allah has blessed us with three children and I believe that my husband is doing his best because he provides the basic necessities for the family. He specializes in POP decoration but recently developed an eye problem when a chemical got into his eyes while on duty. The problem is gradually affecting the family.

What I want is either to get a job or for people to support me with capital to start a business that will make me economically stable.

Do you have any regret for your actions given the challenges you are facing?

No, no regrets at all but as human beings, when we are alone, we remember some things that make our iman (faith) weak and that is what I believe, but I have no regrets.

Suleiman Inuwa

I am a professional website developer and also an SEO expert.

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