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The Answered Prayer

"When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close to them: I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, listen to My call and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way."

(Quran 2:186)

She entered the mosque one Saturday afternoon. Tall and graceful, I thought, at a distance, that she was probably one of my Indian sisters, but as she entered our classroom I noted that here was another Australian sister. Our class was lightened by her warm interaction and friendly smile, and we were so very happy to have her with us. "How did you come to Islam?" we asked her. "Ah sisters," she said, "Allah truly blessed and led me," and her story proceeded.

Nurul-Ain, for that was her name, had been born in Australia and even as a small child had had difficulty with church or Sunday-school attendance. "Why is this?" she had asked, or "Why was that?" she persevered. Her teachers were far from happy and always she seemed to be the only one who wanted an explanation for what was being taught.

Seemingly her questions were never answered and she lost interest in what Christianity had to offer. She blossomed from childhood to young womanhood, happy in her family life, and a good student. She graduated as a Commercial artist and was soon employed by the major newspaper in Queensland. Her artwork gave her the opportunity to help plan the Queensland Newspapers pavilion at World Expo in 1988. After this she decided that she would take her vacation and explore our Asian neighbourhood.

She travelled to Singapore, sharing a flat with an Indian Singaporean girl, she was not so enchanted by what she saw and was told by her flatmate that Malaysia would be a wonderful country for her to visit and spend time. So it was that she found herself travelling to Malaysia. While travelling this country with a New Zealand girl, she was entranced by the sights and sounds, even the sweet organic smell of the countryside side beckoned to her.

She was not aware that Malaysia was virtually a Muslim country, and was not sure when she heard the Adhan what it signified, but she found it very attractive. She was, however, puzzled by all the tiny nuns she saw, and said to her friend, "Look at all those midget nuns!" "Really, you are naive," laughed her travelling companion, "this is a Muslim country and those are all Muslim school children." "Is it a Muslim country really?" she replied, but there was no fear or negativity and she accepted it as a fact of life. It was about this time that Nurul-Ain decided that this is where she must surely stay until her return to Australia.

Joining a group of international travellers, she and the New Zealand girl soon became interested in expeditions and mountain climbing. It was during this time that she met Muslim guides and visited Muslim villages where the older Malays could speak English very well. This was not a quest, it was a wonderful time and she was enjoying her stay immensely. Somehow, during this time, she found herself asking questions of the Malaysian women with whom she came in contact.

All the questions which had never been answered came tumbling out and bit by bit she heard of what Islam was and what it meant to be Muslim. Although, she sometimes found that there were different sources of belief, and eventually her questions prompted her new Malaysian friends to tell her that it would be better for her to have the Truth from those who were qualified to answer her on behalf of Islam.

Thus it was that this young woman found herself in Kuala Lumpur on her way to Perkim. "O God," she prayed, "Please show me Your Truth, whether Islam is right, or Christianity, that I may take responsibility for it and live as you wish me to live."

For two months she studied Islam. She found that all the questions which had really bothered her were now answered. There were many Prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran, just as she had always believed, but had been told, by her Christian teachers, was nonsense. God had sent His Messengers to every people. He was Most Merciful.

Nurul-Ain loved the time spent in study and especially she loved those who had brought her such a treasure. The sisters were wonderfully kind and helpful and she especially remembered Hajah Raffiah.

During one Ramadan she was invited to the home of Muslim friends, and during her short stay, she noted that there was a a young Malaysian man also visiting, but this was a perfunctory glance and she was most interested in her sisters and, of course, asking more questions.

Some weeks later she was approached on behalf of the young man who had also been a guest. He would like to ask for her hand in marriage. She immediately sent back the message that there was no use in his asking, she was much more interested in learning of Islam than to consider marriage. Being a young man of high Islamic standards and impeccable manners he did not press matters until she had almost completed her time at Perkim, when he again sent a message to her. So persuasive was his message that she did stop to consider. Eventually she did agree to marry this young man.

Thus it was that her family in Australia received the news that their daughter had not only become a Muslim but, in fact, was now to marry into a Malaysian Muslim family. If they were aghast they did not express their fears or any disquiet. Her mother, on arriving in Malaysia said to her, "Ah, so this is why you could never be happy in Christianity! This is why you asked so many questions!" She seemed to realize that eventually Nurul-Ain had found that for which she had been looking for so very long.

Now, after a few years, I look at her and I rejoice in her Islamic joy. She and her very fine husband now live in Australia while he completes his studies. They have two beautiful little boys. They have had their share of problems with obtaining work and settling, but we are so glad that they are with us. Somehow life seems brighter with their smiles and interaction, and we are hoping that when her husband graduates from his course, that we may not lose them to Malaysia.

May Allah be praised for His leading and His very great Mercy in answering a young woman's prayer.

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