Rivka Sajida, A Jewish revert to Islam, and a disabled veteran of the US Arm.
Islam has helped me find inner peace.

I was already covering my hair for three years before reverting to Islam. It’s been hard some on my personal relationships, and my grandma was never a fan of it because we aren’t Orthodox, you don’t have to do that.

According to rahyafte (the missionaries and converts website):

An Exclusive Interview with a Revert to Islam , Lady Rivka Sajida, by Bentolhoda Mofakhami.

 

Rivka Sajida, a Jewish revert to Islam, and a disabled veteran of the US Arm:

 

 1.Would you please give us a biography of yourself!

Well, I’m a Jewish revert and religion scholar (comparative religion right now). I’m also a disabled veteran of the US Arm.

I practiced a form of mystical Judaism. I considered myself “Judeo-Pagan Hermeticist” but I was monotheistic. I never let go of Tawhid

 

2- How did you become familiar with Islam?

When I was in high school I had already been studying and researching religion on my own. It’s my passion. Three sisters and their brother moved into my school from Jordan and I stood up for them against people calling them terrorists, etc. We would talk at lunch about how similar Judaism and Islam are.

 

3- What drove you to convert to Islam?

Honestly, and I know not everyone believes in this, but I had a mystical experience where Allah (ta’ala) told me it was time to revert. In my heart I always knew, I think, that I was Muslim, but I was waiting for it to be the Will of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) before I took my Shahada.

 

 

4- Did you have any problem with people who knew you after converting to Islam? Are you married? 

My non-Jewish family didn’t really have a reaction. My Jewish family has been extremely supportive. My uncle even gave me a special thing to read at Passover about Jews and Muslims breaking the Passover fast (we fast from chametz, or leavened bread/pasta/etc.) together. My grandma was concerned and told me not to tell others. She was the only one like that.

I do have a Husband. He isn’t Muslim. Other people in our families also aren’t Muslim.  I’m the only one in our house, ma shaa Allah. In shaa Allah this will change. Allahu alam.

 

5-How do you see the spread of Islam in the USA?

I don’t really know how to answer this. The US is so divided right now. On one hand, the Islamophobia is moving people to revert or at least learn more about the Deen. On the other hand, we have people so hateful they will physically attack Muslim women and children.

 

6-What is the most beautiful verse (Ayah) of the Quran in your opinion? And why?

Surah Fatiha, ayah 1: “Bismillah ar-Rahman ir-Raheem.” I think it’s so beautiful and telling that the first ayah of the Quran proclaims the compassion and mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). I believe the message in this is that the most important thing in Islam is to strive to be compassionate and merciful to all.

 

7-What’s your opinion about hijab? Did wearing hijab have any effect on your private life? Do you think it is only dedicated to women?

I was already covering my hair for three years before reverting to Islam. It’s been hard some on my personal relationships, and my grandma was never a fan of it (because we aren’t Orthodox, you don’t have to do that). But I felt called to do so by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) so I had to. I also wear niqab outside the house. Hijab isn’t just for women, since in the Quran Allah (ta’ala) proscribes hijab first for men and then for women; but many of the covering styles, and rules on what needs to be covered by the khimar, are specific to women, since the arwah of men and women are different.

Niqab also stopped my panic attacks (I started wearing it part time for anxiety that was really bad), so at New Years I made Niyyah to wear it full time, Alhamdulillah, and it has helped and even inspired others to wear hijab or niqab or ask me about Islam, ma shaa Allah.

 

8.What was your family’s reaction after you became a Muslim?  

Right now we aren’t doing this due to my health, but my Husband and I always had “traditional” marriage roles. We feel that’s what Allah (ta’ala) calls us to do. As for other people in our families… our parents are honestly really toxic to us, and it’s something we have struggled with. But we know that our mental health and physical safety are more important and I trust Allah ta’ala knows our intentions. Allahu alam.

 

My Husband’s family weren’t very nice about it. It was bad enough, I was Jewish when we married and not Christian. So yea. His family mostly don’t talk to us, with the exception of his eldest sister, who has always loved and supported us.

 

9-What specifically attracted you to Islam?

Well, honestly Islam was just a logical next step for me. I always believed in the Prophethood of Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), and same for Isa (alaihi salaam), but didn’t believe Isa was the Son of God. Islam also made dietary changes to kosher in areas I didn’t feel made sense (Judaism says don’t mix meat and dairy. From what I can tell it’s due to a misunderstanding on a verse).

Islam got rid of these nonsensical rules, created, from what I can tell, by scholars over time, and instead the rules for halal were exactly what I thought kosher should have been! Subhan’Allah.

 

10- What was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? Wasn’t it hard for you to pray 5 times a day?

 

My first time actually praying (I used to do the movements while repeating dhikr instead), I was so nervous! I was using a salah “cheat sheet,” which I now create for other new Muslims, and I was so scared of praying by myself, in front of only Allah (subhana w ta’ala).

 

  1. If you want to say some words about the beauty of Islam, the peace, the calmness you have found in this religion what do you say?

I can honestly say that Islam has helped me find inner peace. When people used to be rude to me or insult me for my lifestyle or my sins, I used to be so angry.

Now I am just calm. I give salaams and invite them to discuss with me privately. My reversion also has coincided with me finally being able to do therapy for non-combat PTSD and my physical health finally getting taken care of.

I just had surgery a month ago and inshallah will have my second one soon.

Niqab also stopped my panic attacks (I started wearing it part time for anxiety that was really bad), so at New Years I made Niyyah to wear it full time, Alhamdulillah, and it has helped and even inspired others to wear hijab or niqab or ask me about Islam, ma shaa Allah.

 

DUA: Allah please accept this from us. You are All-Hearing and All-Knowing. You are The Most Forgiving.You are The Most Relenting and repeatedly Merciful. Allah grant us The Taufiq to read all the 5 prayers with sincerity.
(Taken from: To Be Earnest In Prayers By Amina Elahi)
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