The Message International Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine published by ICNA. What you find in ‘The Message magazine’ is a universal publication for the whole of Muslim community. Echoing the concerns and ideas pertaining to Muslims in America, this non-profit publication is a forum for the youth searching their Islamic identity in a western land.

Nov Dec 2012

Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Zainab Ismail


My Conversion Story

It’s hard to believe how different my life was just three years ago. Alhamdulilah, Allah (SWT) blessed me by guiding me to the straight path. My story was written by Allah (SWT) and happened solely by His will. In early 2009, I attended a wedding at a Catholic church, and subhan’Allah, I don’t know what it was about the wedding ceremony, but I walked out of that church knowing that I no longer wanted to be Christian. I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew I didn’t want to be Jewish because I knew the conversion process was very lengthy and involved.

I had an Egyptian Muslim friend during that period who I spent a lot of time with. I witnessed the unity of the their family during Ramadan and it was something that really stood out and appealed to me. I sat at my computer one day and I googled “what does it take to become Muslim,” and to my surprise, all it took was saying a few words!

I told my Muslim friend and family that I wanted to be Muslim and they were very excited. I was given a Quran, but truth be told I didn’t really read it much. I did know, however, that I wanted to take my shahada before Ramadan of 2009.

It happened one June day. I was on my way home from a trip to Los Angeles and I was walking to my car, and at that moment I was overwhelmed with a feeling of absolute, one hundred percent certainty, that I was ready to take my shahada. I really didn’t know much about Islam at that point, but it was implanted into my heart at that moment that I was ready to become Muslim. The next Friday I took my shahada. I didn’t know how to pray until my first day of Ramadan 2009. Fortunately, after that Ramadan, at the end of October, I found the M.E.C.C.A. Center and their New Muslims Program. It has been an amazing journey ever since.

I have been blessed to be able to use my professional expertise to help Muslims. I am a movement therapist and nutrition coach and have been in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years. I operate a training and nutrition business in Manhattan and my students have nicknamed me “the hijabi drill sergeant.” In addition, I run Fit For Allah, a group strength-training class held weekly at the MECCA center in Manhattan, and work as director for the non-profit, health and fitness organization, Nadoona.

Through this organization and their Nadoona Body Makeover, I am able to create and design individualized programs for weight loss. It is very fulfilling to bring an entirely new perspective to the fitness industry, utilizing the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. I begin each class with a du’a, striving for the pure intention to spread health and fitness for the sake of Allah SWT.

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