Conversion Story For Patricia CapitanePublished on 3 Jul 2020
My name is Patricia Capitane, I was born and raised in Mexico, and my childhood was mainly with my mother. My parents are divorced, I'm the only child. My mother, I consider her as sort of religious. She has always asked me to pray. I attended Catholic school my whole life. I was in Mexico until I was 16 years old.
Basically, my curiosity about God and religion started when I was around eight or nine years old. I have a very close cousin of mine, she became a Protestant. That's a different branch of Christianity. And of course, as a child, you know, I was eight or nine, that's all I knew. I knew nothing about Islam. I just knew about Catholicism. And now my cousin was telling me things about her conversion to Protestant.
She was telling me a lot of things that made me start doubting being a Catholic. I was mainly afraid of going to hell, that was my main concern back then. As a child, I just thought, my God, I just want to do the right thing. But she would tell me, not directly but she will kind of invite me to her beliefs. And at that point, I was sort of nervous, like, what should I do? Should I remain Catholic or should I be what my cousin is?
My mother never knew about this because I just imagined she would be mad that my cousin was making me think of other things. But I knew my cousin, she was just doing it from her heart to try to guide me. So, around the age 10, I started going more frequently to her temple. And I started reading the Bible more, because I wanted to find out the truth.
Long story short, in that period of my life, I would just pray to God every night when I was in bed. I was like, God, I'm very afraid to go to hell, what should I do? Should I stay Catholic? Or should I be a Protestant like my cousin? Please guide me. And every night I'd ask for guidance, every single night.
Years pass, I mean, I will go with my cousin to the temple, but I wasn't really feeling what I thought I would feel. My heart wasn't really opening to the idea of Jesus being the son of God, that's actually a concept I never understood throughout my years in Catholic school or being a Catholic. Just never really thought that was the case.
So actually, I kept praying to God, and I wasn't finding an answer. So at one point I said, God, you know what, I'm not going to be a Catholic, and I'm not going to be a Protestant. I'm not gonna be anything. But one thing I know for sure is that I do not want to stop believing in you, because I know you exist. I know you have given me so much. I'm just going to have a relationship with you, without calling it something. So I just started to talk to God every day. God, this and that, but I would still keep asking Him, like, just guide me, guide me to the right path. I don't want to go to hell or things like that.
I grew up. Then at the age of 16, my parents asked me, I was still in touch with my dad, because he was financially supporting us. He asked me, would you like to go overseas to study English? I was like, no, no. But then just something quick on me. And I was like, okay, yeah, like, how about just six months, you know, I don't want to go for a whole year, just six months. So it was sort of exchange student; I went to Canada when I was 16, and, just amazing. I mean, my prayer was answered after all these years ever since I started praying for guidance since I was around 10.
When I went to Canada, my high school, which my mom was very excited that it was a Catholic high school. And I was actually uhm, yeah, I mean, that's better than non-Catholic, because Catholic High School, I mean, Catholic school, it's all I knew, right, because in Mexico..... Then, when I arrived in Canada, since I was an international student, they gave me, because they chose the classes for me, I had no say, on what classes to pick, they gave me religion class. And at that point, I clearly recall, you know, going through the chapters of the book, and when I saw Islam, I just knew right away, I was like, I can't believe there is a religion out there that believes what I believe, that there is one God, and Jesus is not the son of God.
When I started to read the highlights of the book, what he was saying, I just remember dropping my jaw like, I can't believe this is something you know, because honestly, I had no clue about Islam. In Mexico, you don't see Muslims, at least in my city, there was no Muslims at all, nobody really talks about it. So anyway, at that point, I just felt like, this is it. I wish I could be that. I mean, back when I was not really enlightened at all, I didn't even know you could become a Muslim, to be honest, I just thought you're born with your religion. But then, as I started reading about it, the teacher will like, give test after each religion chapter. And surprisingly, in Islam, I got a 100%. And then Christianity, and I got like 80 something, Buddhism, you know, some of the right like, Islam was the only one I got 100%.
I became very like, well, this is just a natural, you know, like, this is so natural. So, I started reading more about it. I didn't tell anybody because I was sort of afraid to, I don't know, I just expressed that I had the interest in other religions other than mine. So I kept reading about it secretly, then the six months pass, I had to go back to Mexico. So I kept that in my heart. I didn't tell anybody. And I just made the idea that I'm gonna go back to Mexico and just continue on with my life.
But then something strange happened, where my dad was like, why don't you just finish high school? Because it was Grade 11 when I went. He was like, why don't you just finish high school in Canada, and you come back for university? And that was kind of strange to hear because I just thought oh why would he say that. But anyway, so I went back. And to me, that was like, I should read more about Islam.
So I was reading about Islam for maybe eight months or so. And then finally, I told a girl at my school, my school in Canada was mainly like white Canadian people, or some African American people. You wouldn't really see Muslims either. Just saw a few. So I saw this girl, I think she was in a class with me. And I told her, I'm like, you know, you're a Muslim, right? And I just wish I could be a Muslim. And she was very fascinated, she was like, so why don't you become a Muslim? And I was like, really? Like, can you actually do that? And she said, Yes! I'm like, how do you do that? So then she told me, come to the masjid, to the mosque, with us. And we can show you more.
This was a Sunni Masjid. It was actually right across my high school. And I went in, people would talk to me, of course, about the basic beliefs of Islam. I was still kind of afraid to become a Muslim mainly for what my family would say. So at that point I was still kind of refusing to fully embrace it.
Then I started having dreams of just holding the Quran, or, having a hijab, or praying. Prostration is something that I find truly beautiful that I would do without being a Muslim. I just found that beautiful even before I knew about Islam. So a point reached where I couldn't hold my feelings anymore. I said, you know what, it's gonna be a difficult journey. It's gonna be hard to face society, to face my family. But at the end of the day, this is what brings me peace and tranquility, so I wanna to to embrace it.
This was just before I graduated high school. So I was 17. I said my shahada. And, as soon as I said my shahada, as I was saying, it, just my tears will flow, like non stop. And it just felt like a complete transformation. At that moment, I felt just completely different, just felt so much peace that that peace I haven't really felt before or after. So at that point, everybody was hugging me, congratulating me. I didn't know any other convert to Islam, I didn't really know many Muslims actually.
So then I started reading and so on. And then the funny thing is that I have another friend of my high school. She was not practicing at all, but she heard that I became a Muslim. So at that point, she gave me the phone number of a lady. She was like, please call this lady she's going to help you a lot.
To be honest, of course, right after I became Muslim, I had no clue about Shi'a, Sunni or anything like that. My friend, she gave me a phone number of this lady and she took me to a Husseiniyah which was actually near my home, and I didn't know. Once I entered the Husseiniyah, I was greeted very nicely, you know, people made me feel very happy, very warm environment. And they just told me, sister became a Muslim. Oh, that's amazing. They gave me books about Ahlul Bayt. They actually gave me a very brief story about Ahlul Bayt and I just automatically felt, again, my heart drawn towards the Ahlul Bayt. But again, I just thought, okay, this is just part of Islam. And I was saying, I'm going to read more about it.
And then, when some of my friends at the Sunni masjid found out I was going to the Husseiniyah, that's where a few problems started happening. Which, of course, I was very oblivious. I'm like, wait, what's going on? Like, I mean, I felt it was just another place of worship. Some Sunni friends, I considered them friends, they started to give me a hard time when they realized that I was going to the Husseiniyah. They start telling me harsh things like, why are you going there? I mean, do you even know what they believe? I mean, they are not Muslims. Very harsh things, you know. And at that point, I just thought, I cannot really believe what they're saying. I've always liked to research by myself things. So I didn't really appreciate the way they came to talk to me.
They introduced me to a couple more convert ladies from the same Husseiniyah, and they taught me so much. What I love about Shia Islam, basically, is that any question I had, there was just an answer for it. In which, sometimes, I did go to a few seminars, if you can call them from the Sunni school of thought, and I couldn't really grasp a lot of their concepts even though I would ask them a lot of questions. Sometimes I would get like, oh, you just have to believe it. It doesn't have to make sense, you just have to believe it. And when I went to Husseiniyah and I would be taught about Ahlul Bayt, just their whole life story. It's just like a divine proof to me. It was just a proof that Allah, God, gave them the tools, certain means, to inspire all of us to follow their example. So that was basically what drew me more into Shi'a Islam. And I just found it very logical. I know a lot of people mentioned this, I had a lot of friends that have converted to Shi'a Islam mainly because of that. That it's a very logical path, and that it always has an answer to your questions.
My family, after I became Muslim, which was in June 2006, I hid it from them for approximately maybe four or five months. What I wanted to do, my idea was to be very well equipped with knowledge, so when they were to ask me questions, I was prepared. I thought, because my family is like that, they want you to be logical. They want you to know why you're doing something. So I knew that was the way to go with them. Of course, I prayed a lot, I was terrified, especially because I thought, okay, so if my family knows, in Canada, and I'm going to be a Muslim, they may just cut the support and just send me back to Mexico, right, that was my main fear.
Thank God, I pray so much to make it easy. And it was the easiest thing I could ever imagine. I arrived at the airport, my mom picked me up in Mexico City. I didn't have hijab, but I had just like a long shirt, pants. I was covered from my arms. And just something clicked on her. She was like, I think you're Muslim, right? And she knew because I have kind of hinted her that you know, Mom, have you ever heard about Islam? You know, like, do you know of the Ramadan fasting? And of course, like, she kind of knew because it shows on TV on the news when Muslims are fasting and stuff.
So she just saw me, and I swear I didn't even have to say anything. She just said: you're Muslim, right? I mean, even it's strange, because even before I was in my summer, I will always just wear pants and T-shirts. I was not wearing anything else. But she just said it. And I was like, at that point, I started like crying. I was like, how do you know? And then she was like, Oh, well, just tell me about it. Just tell me you guys believe in Virgin Mary, because that's her main concern. Like God, Mexican Catholics are very focused on Virgin Mary. And I told her, of course, we have a whole chapter about Virgin Mary. And I had a Qur'an with me. We sat at the fast food area of the airport, and I started reading to her some of the chapter of Mariam, alayha assalam. So I was reading to her what the Qur'an says about Virgin Mary. And she told me: that's fine, as long as you guys acknowledge Virgin Mary, I'm happy, I'm happy for your choice.
I was like, I couldn't believe it. because my mom, you know, I always felt she was like a difficult person in that sense in my upbringing. She was always trying to have me very well disciplined. So after that, I told my dad later, like a whole year later, because again, I went back to Canada so I wasn't really seeing him. I just wanted to tell my mother. As soon as I told my mother, I put my hijab on because I just wanted to first tell my mom to get her blessing, if you want to call it. And at first, she was like, can you not wear that in Mexico, please? And then, of course, she also went through a whole process of telling, explaining her friends and family why I'm wearing the hijab, things like that.
But she's a strong lady. She told me at first it was hard because, of course, Islam has a bad reputation, what not. But then my mom became strong in explaining my choice, and actually now she loves it, now she even gives me hijabs and things like that. So my dad, actually when I told him as well, my prayer was answered. He just hugged me, and I started crying too. I'm like, I was just so afraid to tell you.. He was like, no, why would you? Why would you be afraid? As long as you believe in God and do good, that's what matters. And I was like, okay, thank you. And, you know, they were fine. The rest of my family were very respectful, they're very respectful in our beliefs.
Post conversion, I would say the most of my experience has been beautiful. I've encountered beautiful people that have helped me throughout especially because they know that my family was back home, and I was a student in Canada. Of course, in some instances, I did encounter a few people where they wouldn't really welcome me because I was not from a particular country or was just not really from their country, or I wouldn't speak their language, things like that. But thank God, that experience wasn't really majority of the time. I just think of a few people that would sometimes put me down, but mainly, it was a good experience.
Well, basically, when I was learning about the 12 Imams, I'd read a hadith and, of course, the selection of the successor of the Prophet. That's what truly made it very clear to me, because it's only logical that the successor of the Prophet is chosen divinely. I don't understand how the successor of the greatest message of humanity, I mean, you know, Islam, I just think God would do anything to protect the message of the Prophets. So that's why its successor had to be divinely appointed. So that was the main key for me, it stood out, and of course how the knowledge has to be protected by his Holy Family. Because otherwise, I mean, we are humans; if you're not infallible then what's the assurance for us that we are following the Right Path? So that's what spoke to me.
This video was first published on 5 Jun 2018 by ABTV Reborn as Reborn - Mexican Embraces Islam. We are grateful for their cooperation.