How I Memorised The Qur’an After I Converted To Islam – Rejoice Zainab
May 8, 2023 Fausiat Salako-Sanni
One-On-One with Rejoice Zainab
Rejoice Afebli now Dunu Rejoice Zainab is a Christian convert who went on to adopt the Niqab (veil) and memorised the Qur’an. In this interview, the final year student of Pharmacy, University of Ilorin, with a Ghanaian father and Nigerian mother from Kogi State, shared the story of her journey to Islam, experiences so far and challenges that had come with it. Culled from Daily Trust Newspaper
Give us a glimpse into your educational and family backgrounds?
I was born into a Christian home by a Ghanaian father, Mr Michael Afebli and Nigerian mother, Mrs Otaru Aina Florence, who hails from Ogaminana, Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State. My dad owned a school which has since been sold and mum wasn’t working. Though she died when I was 12 years old, the last time I saw her was when I was 9. I was told she was sick and had to be operated on but couldn’t make it to the theatre. I attended Board of Glory Primary School and got to Primary 5 around 2008/09, then went to Covenant Junior High school and finished in 2012 before I proceeded to Anlo Senior High School in 2012-15. I got admitted to the University of Cape Coast (2015-17), all in Ghana, before I came to the University of Ilorin, in Nigeria, in 2017 till date studying Pharmacy. I speak Ewe, Twi (Ghanaian languages), Yoruba and English. In my secondary school days in Ghana, I was a very devote Christian and went out for evangelism because of my principle that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well, whether in academics or any other aspect of life. As a Christian, I used to believe that I would get to a stage where I will not sin again. When I commit a sin then, I will go to a place and cry myself out because of the resolve to serve God in truth and worship.
So how did you encounter Islam?
Though I have very few distant family members who are Muslims, my parents were strong practicing Christians. After my secondary school, I came to a family friend’s pharmacy in Nigeria to assist while waiting for admission because I love the medical field. But I never knew Allah had other plans for me as I became a Muslim through her. I loved the woman and the family so much. She was so submissive, of good behaviour and together with the children, dressed modestly. At this point, I was interested in knowing what is really in the religion and after some time and with conviction, I took my Shahada before I gained admission to the university in Ghana, Alhamdulillahi.
How were you able to deal with the challenges thereafter from family, especially and friends?
My family friends were very supportive. Actually, if my mum was alive, maybe it would have been a tug of war. It is something I feel bad about but I thank Allah for the guidance. My dad is educated and a very rational person even if he is not the regular church going type. At some point, his Christian friends queried why he would watch me and allow me to make decisions on my own to the point of converting to Islam. So, my father called me and wanted to be harsh but I told him to look at all his children and that of his friends, which of them can he compare to me in terms of academics and morals, among several other criteria. That was the last time he questioned my decisions. Apart from that, I didn’t really face much problem.
your memorisation and academic journeys?
Not really, at some point when it wanted to be an issue, Allah was and has been very faithful. I don’t have a mother, sometimes my dad will fall ill and it gets hard, but Allah has blessed me in those situations through my guardians. They never make me feel I don’t have a mother and they have supported me financially.
How do you see yourself in the next five years, In Shaa Allah?
As a lady of substance who would have improved in reading the Quran which I so much cherish in terms of memorisation, Tajweed and Qirat (different renditions). I have just memorised the Quran in one rendition; I still have about 19 others to add. I want to be married, have kids and complete my PhD in Public Health or Pharmaceutics and Industrial Chemistry and make an impact in the pharmaceutical world because I love academics.
Do you have any regret so far?
Absolutely not, I still have a Christian home and my family members are educated and rational, whenever I go to Ghana for vacations, which I still do and when it’s time for Fajr, they are the ones that come to wake me up for Fajr, the dawn prayer. It was a friend who suggested the name Zainab after my conversion and was told that it’s the name of one of the prophet’s daughters, so I went for it.
I will not say it’s easy or you will have it on a platter of gold, but Allah has made it so for me and that is why it is important that you have a driving force that keeps pushing you. In my case, the fact that I will be among those most beloved to Almighty Allah (Ahlul Quran), if I memorised the Qur’an, was too powerful to ignore and then I will have the opportunity to train my children in the way of Islam and the Quran. When it gets a bit difficult or stressful, I will relax and then continue pushing. Women are the home and have to put in much effort to build themselves Islamically to be able to build the kind of home we envisaged for ourselves and families. With a lot of prayers, Allah will come to your aid.
SOURCE: Daily Trust