Episode 005: That Time My Parents Converted To Islam: With Rebecca Minor
Rebecca Minor is a wife, mother, teacher, and active blogger on Instagram and Facebook, writing stories about faith, family, and sharing parenting tips and resources with her followers. Rebecca converted to Islam in the Spring of 2008 and spent her first year as a Muslim living and teaching in Kuwait. Rebecca has taught special education and served as a child behavior expert for the past 11 years. Rebecca has a five month old son and recently decided to trade in her role of teaching full time in public school in order to stay home and work full time as a mama. Rebecca is preparing to launch her first online course called the Confident Parenting Plan. This video course will help parents understand behavior as a whole, learn the most effective strategies for increasing positive behavior, and master the strategies for how to effectively manage negative behavior.
SG: Rebecca, you have a great and interactive following on Instagram! You’re a convert to Islam, take us to that time.. paint us a picture of how this all began for you!
Rebecca: It’s crazy to think about about but I have been Muslim for 10 and a half years! I converted to Islam while getting my masters in college. This came after year and half of personal studying. I was really intrigued by Islam, I didn’t really know Muslims growing up. I knew military persons who had horrible things to say, but also knew good practicing Muslims co-workers.
Nicole: I wanna plug this in here… you Muslims hear that? She saw co-workers and she was just surrounded by the right people. So make sure your super friendly, because you never know if someone is watching you and will just come over to Islam because they thought you were awesome!
Rebecca: That is so true! I feel like the best type of dawah that we can do is through our character and our behavior. I was so intrigued by those people who weren’t doing those typical college things. They didn’t drink, they valued modesty, they would leave a staff meeting to go pray. That was so different for me and that’s what pushed me to make me say.. everything seemed so normal, to me back then, and so fun so what was it that was so important that you’re going to give those up? And it was ISLAM! That is what pushed me and got me to learn more on my own.
Monica: Its really very attractive in’t it? I feel like I had that same experience!
Rebecca: And I think when we come to Islam we can really appreciate those positive role models that we’ve had to help support us. That a really great driver and motivator for us to try and do the same. To be on our best behavior. And let our actions to speak for our faith.
SG: So, Rebecca, you taught in Kuwait while you were very young how old were you in that time?
Rebecca: I was 23! I have to say part of the reason I was there… was that I knew Islam was in my heart. For whatever reason I thought living in a Muslim country will help me take that step. I went to an international teaching fair. I interviewed and accepted a potion into Kuwait and packed my bags and went overseas!
Nicole: You weren’t scared at all? I felt like at 23 I would have been pretty nervous!
Rebecca: My family was more scared than I was, I felt more excited! I wanted to figure out my new identity and embrace it. I ended up taking my shahada a few months before I went. And so, I feel like Allah 9SWT) knew the exact place I needed to be. I felt very self-conscious being the only Muslim in my town and having to drive 30 minutes to the nearest masjid. IN Kuwait, I lived next door to a mosque. Everything felt normal. I didn’t second guess it. Those 10 months in Kuwait surrounded by Muslim and being able to practice freely without feeling like an outsider was huge for my confidence. And exactly what I needed!
Monica: Wow, it sounds like you were so comfortable there!
Rebecca: I was! When I came back to the US I didn’t care for any stares or anything because it didn’t matter anymore. I was confident!
SG: That’s awesome!
Rebecca: I did start wearing hijab here before I went to Kuwait. And I had this moment. I woke up and I said you know what? I am ready, I am going to start wearing hijab! I was staying with my sister at the time and she lives in a very Christian, conservative town. And she said, okay great! Why don’t you go get us a coffee and bagel? And I thought, oh gosh! So, I put on my scarf and I stood in line. And everyone looked at me. And just as I was starting to have that doubt… and older man probably in his 70s looks at me with the biggest smile! And I thought you know what? I can do this! I’m fine! And I never looked back, alhamdulilah!
Nicole: That is so sweet and nice. Okay Rebecca so you build that foundation in Kuwait. So I pictured that serenity you felt. That’s a dream, your surroundings. It’s amazing! It must have been hard and kind of sad to come back to America. But that foundation you had built to work. Walk us through how life was like after and how you found your footing when you came back.
Rebecca: You know, I really started planning my return to the states a couple of months prior. And the biggest thing I did was make personal supplications. Making dua that I would find a community here in the states. Surround me by people who will love me and support me and who will help me grow in my faith. I came back and my dua was answered! I was really able to find a group of people that I fit in with here.
Monica: And Rebecca! Your parents they both came into Islam! Can you engage us a little more... take us to that time and place!
Rebecca: When I came back from Kuwait, I moved in with my parents. And I promised myself that I would not preach to them, that I wanted them to learn about Islam the way I learned about it! Through my actions. And that Rebecca is still the same girl but even better because of Islam. This was all really new for them. They seemed interested they would ask questions. My dad accepted Islam first after helping out with Habit for Humanity and sitting in when I was teaching at Sunday school at the masjid. He loved the common ground of Islam and Christianity. My mom saw our bond with Islam and started to see the peace we had in our heart and followed suit about 8 months after.
Nicole: That is just… wow! I can’t think of a smoother way for it to happen…it’s not like some trauma happened and Islam was the answer. It was like they just watched their daughter portraying this beautiful example of Islam and it intrigued them enough that they said I want to join you. That is just goals!
Rebecca: You know, people ask me all the time! The best thing is, in addition to actions and words, is just making loves of sincere dua! I never asked Allah to make my parents Muslim. I asked Him to open their hearts up to Islam. Inshallah we do the best we can!
Monica: So Rebecca, you just had a baby! Tell us whats up!
Rebecca: When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up? I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mom and a teacher! And I am loving these roles! Alhamdulilah!
Girls, you will want to give Rebecca an Insta-Hug! Her feed is just filled with sincerity that you will fall in love with!
Facebook: Rebecca Minor