“I was sexually assaulted twice and suicidal, but Allah rescued me”
My life before incarceration was like walking down a never ending road. I was lost, depressed, I hated myself, and I felt my life had no meaning. I was an addict. I just wanted to get high and numb myself to face the day. When /i got locked up I still felt lost but I felt pulled to God. I wanted to give up and just end it but another small part of me still had faith. I know now that was Allah calling me and pulling me towards Him even when I gave up on myself.
In the beginning I was lost but only after incarceration Allah(SWT) found me. I know now He had been with me all along but I was too blind to see. As far as I can remember I’ve always had an awareness of God. I was born and raised Christian so I only knew God as God the father but I just called him God. Christianity had a big influence on me and I believe it opened the door to Islam for me.
My parents divorced when I was 4 so I grew up in a single parent home I was raised by my strong independent mother who took care of all 6 of us kids. In my childhood I went to Sunday School, church camp every summer and church on Sundays and holidays. When I was 11 my father passed away. It hit me hard and I just started to lose my way. The older I got I went to church less and less. I became a very rebellious teenager but under it all I was battling depression.
My mother was my biggest support but no matter what she did I was so unhappy. Something was missing in my life but I couldn’t figure out what. At 16 I thought I found what I was missing in a man twice my age but he brought me down so low. At 18 I was sexually assaulted and in that single moment my life was spiraling out of control. It was the beginning of the end, I was losing myself. I began partying and drinking more and more until I was sexually abused again at 19 leaving me with injuries so severe I had to be hospitalized.
After that I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care if I lived. I didn’t care if I died. I committed my crime 3 months later and 3 months after that the most important person in my life died, my mother. I felt things couldn’t possibly get any worse. I couldn’t face the pain and I couldn’t face myself. I became an addict to numb the pain. I cut myself off from everyone, my family and friends. I just wanted to forget but everywhere I turned I couldn’t escape my life.
It wasn’t until I saw how much my family needed me that I snapped out of it. I realized how much they loved me and that God had a plan for me. I worked on getting sober, I enrolled back in school and started looking for a job, I finally started getting back on track.
I was positive about my future until my sentence hearing. I was sentenced 4 1/2 to 15 years for my first time offense. My family was stunned at the sentence and I thought my life was over. I even made a noose in the county [jail] and plotted suicide but at the last minute something inside me said keep fighting. When I made it up to state [prison] I began searching for the meaning of things. I started reading the Bible and attending church but still felt off.
Path to Islam
It wasn’t until I was transferred to another facility after classification in 2015 that I began hearing more about Muslims. I had always been interested in God. I grew up Christian attending church, church camp, and Bible studies but I wasn’t into Jesus like others were. In fact, I didn’t like how other Christians attributed things God did to Jesus. When I first became incarcerated I tried to get close to God again by going back to church, but it didn’t feel right. I even tried saying in Jesus’s name when I prayed (something I never did before) but it made me feel sick and guilty.
When I heard about Muslims I looked for books to learn about [Islam]. I found a book called “Jesus, Prophet of Islam”. I finally started to see. I would even tie my headscarf up like a khimar when no one was around just to see myself for who I wanted to be. After I read that book I had a dream I was on trial and false allegations were being brought upon me. I was so afraid desperate for help I began screaming for Allah’s help. When I woke up that was it. I knew I was Muslim and I took my shahada.
Since then I have struggled, and I have been tested but I have purpose. I have a reason to keep going and that reason is Allah(SWT). He saved me. I owe everything to Him. Today I can say that incarceration didn’t break me, it lead me to Allah(SWT). Things may not always be easy but with every hardship I know will come ease and that ease has come with his guidance.