Who am I?
I am Umm Ibrahim and @Bintermanno on Social Media. I live in Sweden. I am half Italian, half Algerian. I am an entrepreneur, a Youtuber, a photographer, and a polyglot.
On a lighter note: to my family, I am a daughter, sister, wife and mum. To my friends I am bintermanno and niqabi. To the brothers, I am sister, marriage proposal’, fitnah and awrah
But at the airport I am: random search and bomb. On the streets my name is: oppressed, ‘Allahu Akbar’, extremist, batman and ninja. On the news I am; ISIS, jihadi, suspect, radical muslim and terrorist.
Yet to Allah, I am His servant, and beautiful, “We have created man in the best form.” (Surah Teen, 95:04)
The purpose of sharing my story
I want to share my story to help people and try to inspire the youth. I don’t want people to feel lonely, I struggled too. I changed, and I want to improve even more, but compared to how I was, I am much better, I hope, insha Allah.
I want others to improve and not be afraid to change in better, I want to motivate those who are struggling in their lives to be stronger Muslims.
I grew up in Algeria. My father is Italian, so he is the only Muslim in his family. On my mother’s side; my mother and grandmother are the only practising ones, though they are all muslims.
I had a typical Muslim childhood, going to the mosque, attending Taraweeh, and even fasting since I was 4 years old. I also attended an Islamic school.
My life before I came back to Islam:
My life started changing when I was about 13. I started talking to a lot of Italians on the internet and I wanted to live my life like Italians; free; live how I want, do what I want, to be free and happy. I started changing my perspectives, but I was still muslim Alhamdulilah.
I meet new friends in Algeria, and that’s when things really began to change.
I became like your average girl, going out, dressing up; my hair out, lots of perfume, taking selfies; your typical girl. I was obsessed with music. I was always surrounded by friends who were not practising Islam, they drank, took drugs and dated boys. I even became gothic at one point; black make-up and clothing, listening to rock and gothic music mixed with horror movies.
Even though I was not religious, I had limits in my life. I was still muslim, I didn’t take drugs or drink.
I thought I was happy, but inside I was lonely. I was really sad, and depressed that I self-harmed several times, I don’t think I was trying to kill myself but instead I didn’t know to deal with my inside depression and sadness.
The role of my parents through this difficult time
My parents were very worried about me, but I was a teen and didn’t listen to them.
When my mother found out I was self-harming myself, she was really upset and she asked me why I wanted to take my life. My parents were really helpful, and very supportive. They were always there for me, and tried to help me. They could have kicked me out of the house, but they kept me, hoping I would get better. They had a lot of patience. When I was going to get kicked out of school my parents smoothed things out.
My school didn’t help, they believed I was Satanic. They wanted to kick me out as they thought I was brainwashing my classmates. They tried to separate myself from my best friend and they were always after me for everything I did, this fact made even more angry and I wanted to annoy them even more for that.
What caused me to come back to Allah?
I was in serious trouble, I thought to myself, either I stay like this and finish my life like this, or I go back to Allah; maybe it will work for me. To me there was only these two choices, there was no middle. So, I made duaa to Allah to save me one last time, that if He saved me one last time I promised myself and Him that I would be better.
He did answer my duaas, and the problem literally did disappear, and things calmed down suddenly from nowhere subhana Allah.
How did I make the change?
I started deleting all my old friends, and stopped talking to them, I was sure they would never accept my religiosity. It was either my friends and go back to how I was, or be religious and lose all my friends.
So, I chose to be religious, and lost my friends. Yes, all of them. It was difficult, but Allah gave me courage. They kept following me, then I changed everything; my social media, number and everything.
I meet someone on skype and started talking about the illuminati, I asked questions and did research about who they were. After I found out, I started deleting singers who I was sure were part of the illuminati. Then I started thinking that everyone was part of this cult and maybe I should stop music completely.
Soon after I met a sister on Facebook who shared a link with me by a Taalibul Ilm (A student of Knowledge) named Abu Anas, whose lectures were in French. One day I was listening to his lecture on music, I realised how bad music was, that it made me worse; it increased my depression and made me suicidal. So, I stopped music Alhamdulillah.
Life is not easy, there’s a lot of tests and difficulties. Islam and practising islam is the only way to survive these tests. It is difficult these days to hold on to your deen. I know, because I go out with niqab, I get a lot of hatred, bad comments. Even in Algeria, I am born here, but I feel like I don’t belong here, actually I feel safer in Sweden than here.
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Indeed Islam began as something strange and it will return to being strange as it began. So Tuba is for the strangers.” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Sahih by Darussalam)
Doesn’t matter how many mistakes you made in your past, because if you make tawbah, Allah will accept it and if you fully trust him he will make it easy for you .
Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Allah, Blessed is He and Most High, said: ‘O son of Adam! Verily as long as you called upon Me and hoped in Me, I forgave you, despite whatever may have occurred from you, and I did not mind. O son of Adam! Were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky, then you sought forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you, and I would not mind. So son of Adam! If you came to me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you met Me not associating anything with Me, I would come to you with forgiveness nearly as great as it.’” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Hasan)
If you change your life and want to be more religious its recommended in Islam to change your friends/city/country, because the old environment will always remind you of your past and mistakes and people can keep reminding you of what you used to be.
What advice would you give to parents and schools who encounter such types of kids?
I would advise the parents to first give there kids a good basis of Islam with understanding and love, cause only with that the kids will return to the straight path after making mistakes in sha Allah, another thing is to try talk to your kid and be friends with them, it’s very important to see who your kids are friends with, a lot of patience and trust in Allah is needed as well.
As for the schools, don’t try to make it more difficult for them in a way they would become worse, instead try talk to the kid, explain what’s wrong and why it’s wrong.
What advice would you give to those who are struggling to make the change?
Try to talk to your parents if you can’t or you don’t want, talk to a friend don’t just keep everything inside and suffer alone, learn about your religion cause it’s the only way to succeed in this life and the other in sha Allah