Well do you?
Ever since I was a little boy, I have always believed that before we come to this world, we choose the outlines of our lives, and then you are born with certain characteristics, and go on forging your life as a story in the great book of life.
I used to believe that there are coincidences, but nowadays, I am not so sure anymore. What opened my eyes was a chain of events that started back in 2011.
Due to some reasons we decided to make a move from Finland to neighbouring Estonia, where we found a fantastic house in the countryside, 15 minute drive away from Tallinn city centre. I was still flying at the time, so I had to take the ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki, but that was OK. I had two hours of me-time before and after flights.
Once my mother came to visit us and being a girly woman, she wanted to go and do mani-pedi and wanted us to find a cheap salon for that. We found one that wasn’t in the poshest area of Tallinn, but she wanted to check it out. Whilst she was having her pampering session, we ended up in this shabby looking shopping mall that had many small stalls inside. One of them was a halal butcher’s. As my wifey is Malay and Muslim, I told her that we should start to get our meats from there. So we did, which meant we started to frequent the stall, and over the coming months, the owner started to chat with us a bit more.
At that time, for the winter season, we did flights to Phuket, and on the way back, there was a stop in Sharjah. On one of these flights, the paperwork was not done properly, so we had to wait at the airside until new paperwork was sent again from Phuket. All of a sudden, there was the adhan, or call to prayer being played on the loudspeakers. Everyone seemed to just vanish, but all the duty-free shops remained open. It was very curious to me.
So, fast forward to January 2012. One evening, we were back at the halal butcher’s, and as we were walking towards the stall, a big bear looking man passed us and nodded at us. When we reached the stall, the owner just told us to wait and ran somewhere. Soon after, he came back with the bear looking man.
After a short chat, we found out that the man was the mufti of Estonia, and he ended up inviting us to visit the Islamic cultural centre in Tallinn. We had never seen him before that at the butcher’s even though he was a regular client there. And we never saw him there afterwards.
Anyway, my wifey said we should go and visit, now that we had been invited, but me… I am a Finnish man who, in general, is mistrustful towards anything religious. And the other thing is… they might talk to me! (If you are Finnish or know Finns, you know what I mean, haha.)
But several weeks later, I told my wifey that I could come there with her, but no religion, no talking. What did I get myself into? I sat in a nice room, the Muslims there made me drink more tea than English would in a day, and no one tried to talk to me about Islam and religion in general. What we talked about was Finland and the differences of Finland and Estonia.
It was one Friday in February 2012. I had returned home from a flight the night before, and my wifey was getting ready for the Friday prayers. I was in the sauna, cleaning the whole place up before turning it on. Earlier, she had asked me if I wanted to come with her, and I said no as I still felt tired from the flight and just wanted to go to the sauna and relax.
So, I was cleaning the sauna, being up to my elbows in soap and on my all fours under the seats. All of a sudden, I felt like an electric shock. One week later, I said my Shahada and reverted back to Islam.
The moral of the story is that even the smallest events can seem to be coincidences at the time, but when you look at them in hindsight, they are parts of a bigger picture.
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