Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Airline Pilot Aisha reverts to Islam
My Name is Aisha Jibreel Alexander, I grew up in a Roman Catholic family, schools and universities. I was always very interested in knowing about religion and always questioned the “dogmas” of the catholic faith, but I found the same answers every time I asked about the trinity , “ you had to believe and not question your faith because you are committing a sin”, the nuns at the school always replied. With this concept I grew up and I developed a fear to challenge my faith, so I continued in the road of Christianity with a great faith and trust in God and on what I learn to believe “ the Holy trinity.”
In 2001 I had the first meeting with Islam when I worked for a Canadian Company own by Muslims, there I had my first confrontation with Islam, but I was young and very much dedicated to my professional career so I left the questions about religion behind, and I concentrated on finishing my career and taking care of my responsibilities with my family who also relocated with me from Colombia, my mother and my grandmother whose are now 61 and 93 years old. I was very blessed with the family were I was born; these two women taught me the love and respect to God, they started my journey to Islam by teaching me that I could not be or do anything without faith in God. Regardless the school they adhere or followed they taught me all about faith and respect for God.
I got married in 2003, a marriage that unfortunately marked my life with domestic violence but out of the sad episode I had my dearest son who is now eight years old. My husband at the time did not believe in God or I should said he believed on his own way, he drew me far from God even from Christianity, it is the most sad episode of my life, but one day in 2005 I broke out of that situation with the Help of my Mother and I continued life alone with my son, my mother and working hard to achieve my career goals while becoming the main provider of my home.
Aviation brought me many opportunities most of them really good, I had the opportunity to live in Malaysia a country that shares three religions, Islam mainly, HInduism and Buddhism, then I lived in South America and I worked in United States as Corporate Pilot, now I am an Airline pilot flying mainly to Asia, Middle East and Europe. Unfortunately being the only female Pilot almost every where I go I spend lost of time lonely, most of my colleagues spend their spare time in night clubs and bars, and I was looking for something else that I could not find never in a club or at a bar, so I dedicated my spare time to continue my University studies online, but no time for God other than a small pray in the morning and maybe at night time, no time to go to churches, so I was growing as a career woman but what about the life after???...
When I travel to the Middle East I always felt something special inside , there I felt like dressing in a more decent manner than I normally did, I used to wear tight jeans , tight pants and fashion tops but I didn’t feel like dressing on that way on the Middle East, not at a place where they call the name of God five times a day...I felt ashamed…..I guess this is how the conversion started .. once in Bahrein while waiting for my airplane to be fixed, I downloaded the Quran and I started praying every day in the morning before going to the breakfast. I was feeling very empty inside; my life then was limited to wake up, work, eat, exercise and sleep….but what about my spiritual life???, not even when I returned back to Home, I was not leading my son spiritually in the way I was suppose to. Previously on my search to find God I went from the Catholic church to the Baptist church, and after the ceremony of the baptism we only went back to church a few times, mainly because of my tight schedule at work and honestly there was no connection, something was missing, I was not there completely.
Was God in my life?? Yes, indeed , but He had better plans for me I think he was just waiting for me to realize that my life was not only to work and pay bill, he knew I had more responsibilities with myself and my son, those responsibilities to build the life after; so God knocked at my door...and I was afraid to open, I thought just by talking to God on my mind all day and say his name many times in the day was enough to feed my soul….but not it wasn’t enough, God knew I was on urgent need of him saving my life.
The moment I said Islam was for me, it was in the Middle East; when I heard the call for praying, at that moment I had to cover my eyes with my sun glasses in front of the other pilots that were with me on the way to the restaurant, because my eyes covered with tears...I felt like saying; stop! I have to join this pray. I still remember one of them making fun of the songs of the Quran, and I felt so upset inside, I felt like calling him ignorant, don’t you realize is a call for praying to God?… but the words didn’t come out , but the tears kept rolling down my eyes. On that night after dinner I came to my room grabbed the praying rug and bowed dow to God as I asked for his guidance for my spiritual light. After that night my search started more strong than ever, I watched videos, read the Quran on my long flights, looked out for Islamic organizations to find answers, and finally one day in Argentina while resting after a long flight I listed a program about Islam in the country, so I googled for Islam in South America and I found that I was not the only hispanic interested in Islam, the community was bigger than what any one could imagine. I committed my self to return to Argentina soon and visit the biggest Masjid in the American Continent. so I did, three months passed and I was assigned to a trip to Argentina on the thanksgivings day. After arriving I made an appointment and went to visit the Masjid, met with the Sheij, a person from South Arabia who leads the Masjid, we talk for about three hours and before I left he asked me if I wanted to embrace Islam, I said right away ,Yes!, I felt fear for not coming back to Argentina or maybe not to have that opportunity again.
My biggest struggle was to change my preconceived conviction of Jesus (Pbuh) being God, at first I felt I was betraying him, I was concerned and scare, I couldn’t wash out those phrases from the nuns back at the school saying “ not to challenge the religion because it was a sin”. This was the most difficult part.
Sheij Mohammed from the Argentina’s Masjid helped me a lot with a little phrase, he said to me; “Ibrahim, Moses, Noah, and Jesus (pbut) where all in this road, do you think is there any reason why you can’t be following them?”…
reading the Quran and finding the recognition that Jesus (pbuh) has, the importance of Maryam in Islam, she is in Islam more important than for many Christians, reading about the influence of Constantine and how he changed Christianity, all these studies helped a lot in clearing out my mind and feel comfortable with accepting the truth that was always hidden to me, not in purpose, hidden just because that it was the truth that my parents and ancestors knew and “never challenged”.
As far as my lifestyle, I stopped drinking, this happened few months before I accepted Islam, soon after my trip from Bahrein, after I prayed for guidance , I met with a good friend of mine; she and I always eat at the same restaurant and had a drink or two with the food, that day I said “not” I don’t drink any more, and I declared inside of me I was never going to have another alcoholic beverage because I want it to seek God. Also, I am not eating pork ,I am changing my wardroom, which is very difficult because I love clothing and fashion. I was always proud of my body and I liked to dress in a way that every one could look at me, now I am starting wearing a Hijab, wearing losing cloth, abayas and modest long shirt.
At work I am struggling very much, in the company where I work, most people are bias about Islam.
As far as My mother, she is Christian but she said to be glad to my positive changes and she is learning every day more and more about Islam and she feels proud of me being a Muslim and now that my son, 8 years old had also revert by his own willing to Islam she is happy that we are on this safe path seeing for God.
My dreams as new Muslim are to study Islam sciences and help those families that are struggling with accepting the idea of converting to Islam, I want to focus on children coming to Islam .
I think convert to a new faith is harder for parents with young children because they can be easy confused, this is why I would like to concentrate in children of converted families in the future.
I also would like as a Muslim Pilot show the world that Islam is not the submission or oppression that many think it is , and defeat the idea that Islam rejects career women; all contrary being able to do what I do is something that only Allah could make possible.
The last thing I would like to share is that I had chosen a Muslim name for me which is Aisha Jibreel. Aisha means New Life, and Islam is a new life for me, and Jibreel, because he is the messenger of Allah and I am in Islam because Allah delivered to my heart a message of Peace by showing me the road to Islam.