Lauren Booth, the pro-Palestinian Activist and sister in law of former Prime Minister Tony Blair writes her story of how she became a Muslim. Her book ‘Finding Peace in the Holy Land’ outlines her life as a young girl and how she would think about God, her relationship with her parents, in particular, her father and moves on to describing some aspects of when her sister’s husband, Tony Blair becomes prime minister. The book takes us through her journey as a young woman finding her feet in her acting career only to then turn to journalism. It was as a journalist she was able to make her way to Palestine to report on the elections in 2005. She makes her way back to Palestine several times as a non-Muslim until after a visit to Iran where she eventually decides to convert to Islam, something she never imagined doing. In fact in her interview with the CEO of Islam Channel, one of her conditions was they were not allowed to convert her! As Lauren describes her life and what led her to Islam, from the reader’s angle on the outside you can see the build up slowly and surely. However, as Muslims we know it is Allah that guides us and when it was time as decreed by Allah, our dear sister in Islam Lauren Booth accepted Allah as the only God and Muhammad (PBUH) as His messenger. After reading the book within a few days, not being able to put it down, I reached out to Lauren Booth to thank her for sharing her story. Her story made me laugh out loud on many occasions and also brought me to tears too. I felt so connected through her honest and easy to read the writing. It had me going over the lessons I had learned for a few days after and this is what I want to share with you all.
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Think of those less fortunate
It was actually her father’s last words to her ‘Remember always take care of the poor.’ We get so consumed in our own lives, comparing, wishing we had this job and that car, that we forget to be grateful. Our life just becomes centered around our selves. It is in service to Allah that we get to look after the poor, a good deed in our book of deeds but a means of answering someone’s dua.
Look after an orphan today, make a monthly donation to a charity of your choice, volunteer in a Soup Kitchen.
“Remember always take care of the poor.” (Antony Booth)
Know that your future is in Allah’s hands!
Lauren was clear when she took the job at Islam Channel that she did not want to convert to Islam, little did she know Allah’s plans for her. Isn’t it amazing how Allah is the turner of our hearts? We can never fully plan out how our lives will turn out, it is through Allah’s power and wisdom. Surely he is capable of All Things. So we can’t live by worrying about the future but just trust in Allah to pave our lives in the best of ways. Know that your future is in Allah’s hands.
This is what moved Lauren most and me whilst reading her story. Lauren experienced the plight of the Palestinians first hand, yet she found many of them worshipping, fasting and praising God. The Palestinians she met were the most hospitable and yet she found them fasting in the month of Ramadan when they barely had food to open their fast. This really brought me to tears, here we are with so much yet still not content or grateful with our blessings. Be grateful for what you have been blessed with and what you haven’t been blessed with. Remember Allah knows us better than ourselves.
Continue gaining Islamic knowledge
I’m always intrigued by the love reverts have for Islam once they revert. Lauren reminded me that even as born Muslims we need to continue gaining Islamic knowledge as there is always so much more to learn about the faith in order to strive to be a better version of ourselves. No matter how far along we think we are as practicing Muslims, we constantly need reminders and encouragement in the faith, so commit to a weekly halaqah or an Islamic Course to revive your love for the faith.
Turn to Allah
Turn to Allah through thick and thin. Even in Lauren’s most desperate moments of prayer, she, as a non-Muslim invoked Allah! I was astonished at how deep down in our fitrah we are inclined towards Allah, this was a reminder for me. I was reminded that prayer is the solution through every difficulty and situation that seems impossible. Allah is mindful of his servants. Turn to Allah with whatever difficulty you are going through and see how He finds the solutions to even those problems we think are impossible to fix or mend.
So, if you want to read an Imaan boosting revert’s story, start with ‘Finding Peace in the Holy Land’ by Lauren Booth. It’s a deep, heartfelt book that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. I highly recommend it so it’s 5 stars from me!
Hafsa Abbasi Hafsa Abbasi is a former Primary School Teacher and now homeschooling mum of 2 girls who currently resides in the Holy City of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. She blogs on all things homeschooling related and occasional reflections on life in Makkah. Instagram: @mamateachesme
By Selina Bakkar