My name is Janna. I’m Greek.
I was born in Germany and I grew up in a very strict traditional Greek Orthodox family.
We grew up almost as other Muslim families with other children. Our families wanted to guarantee that we will be brought up in a Christian way, in the Orthodox way.
We always went on our vacations all together and we never split up for vacations. So family vacations for all were always very nice and specially our very first vacation in the UAE about 13 years ago. I was like 12-13 years old and the first week we stayed in the country we did a tour all over the UAE, and it was on a Friday when we were on the way to al-Souq (the market). Suddenly the adhan (call to prayer) came for the prayer time and everything stopped. People stopped their cars, took their prayer rugs and just went out to pray on the streets.
The sound of the adhan was something that changed something inside me, and subhanallah I don’t know what it was but it never left me the same, it changed something and it stayed. I wanted to know what it means, what it actually says.
I was a person that never wanted to hear the subject of death at all. I used to leave a conversation when it comes to death and I never attended funerals. My uncle died in front of my eyes taking his last breath and that was the thing that changed a lot inside me. I just started feeling that this life isn’t exactly what I thought it is. We’re investing too much time and energy on things that could be gone in a second. After the death of my uncle I faced a time where I used to wake up three times in the night going to check if my father is breathing and my mom is still breathing.
I had a constant fear of death because you think that this is the end. That made me strongly start researching again about Islam. I researched before about other religions as well but I could not find any truth in there or any truth that would convince me.
When I started reading about Islam, I found all the answers that I couldn’t find in my own religion. The fact is that I got really convinced when I read the biography of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It reminded me so much of what we used to know and read about Jesus (peace be upon him). So I started reading and reading, and this person seemed to be a noble person with such amazing characteristics and a personality that I think I’ve never had something similar like that before.
After reading the biography, I was convinced that I have to delete everything I knew about Islam and just start reading from zero onwards and get my own research and get my own facts about this religion because obviously everything I knew before was wrong.
It didn’t take a long time to find out that Islam was the truth and that there can’t be any other religion in the world than this. Although I got convinced about Islam, I was scared to say the shahadah. I was like “yea, it’s the right thing” and I took this logic and this way of life inside of me, but I won’t ever be able to accept Islam because I knew my parents and my family will never accept it, and that if they ever get to know something like that my life would change dramatically.
So I met a girl in Germany. She’s from Egypt. Her name is Noha. She helped me a lot because I met her right when I started praying to really find the truth and get more courage on what I’m doing. We got to know each other. We talked about Islam. She started explaining everything to me and all the questions that I had because I was convinced I knew the truth, I knew my religion is wrong and I couldn’t live like that.
After meeting Noha, I think one or one and half months later, I took the shahadah (testimony of faith) in Germany in the students dorm. It was supposed to be just me and her, but somehow Muslim students got to know that someone is going to convert to Islam. So I had about 20 people in the room afterwards, so alhamdulellah I had many witnesses.
Alhamdulellah, (Praise be to Allah), alhamdulellah I took my shahadah and I’ll never forget that day and I’ll never forget my first prayer.