Persephone Rizvi, a self-confessed party girl from England’s Huddersfield town, has detailed her journey of converting to Islam seven years ago and how the religion saved her life.
Growing up in Yorkshire, Persephone was a self-professed party girl. She lived for the weekend night life: drink, boys and fun – in any order.
“I was using alcohol as my coping mechanism and going through emotionally-draining experiences that I couldn’t really make sense of. I was struggling to see a purpose in my life and I wanted to do better for myself. So I became a Muslim,” she told BBC.
Seven years ago, Persephone embraced Islam, finding a solution to her problems.
However, in leaving her old life behind – swapping parties for a life of reflection, her stud-pressed stilettos for a headscarf – she also cut off ties with the close friends she grew up with, disappearing without so much as a word.
Seven years on, Persephone’s settled into her new life as a Muslim and is back in her hometown of Huddersfield. But for her one thing remains unresolved: closure with the old friends she cut off when she converted.
While she was a university student, she took Shahada (the oath you take when you officially become a Muslim) after an Imam of Eccles Mosque answered her queries related to the religion.
She told the British media outlet that the Muslim community welcomed her and “reminded me of what sisterhood is supposed to be”.
“I’ve met a few friends for life through Islam – they reminded me of what sisterhood is supposed to be. We can talk to each other with no filter, we’re honest with our guards down and we’re each other’s solace when times get tough.”
Persephone appreciated her friends — Twaheeda and Reema — saying they are literally her “ticket to Heaven. They remind me all the time that this life is not our final resting place”.
“When my mental health got really bad, I tried to end my life in the park. Getting drunk led me to a lot of dark places. It was after a really bad episode of waking up naked on the kitchen floor that I knew I had to make a change. I’d passed out from drinking too much. It felt hellish.
“That’s why I say Islam saved me, because now I know the best way for me to handle those dark times. I wouldn’t have coped this way, by praying and taking care of my mental health as well as physical, if it wasn’t for Islam.”
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