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Assalaamu aleykum,
I am a 21 year old revert, born in New Zealand to a East African father and Maori Mother but adopted at 3 months old by a beautiful European/Maori family.

My family that adopted me are from Hauraki so I whakapapa to Ngati Maru 

Life before Islam.
My parents did a great job in raising me along with many other foster children. My parents fostered children years before me and up until I was 14 years old amounting to over 300 children.

I was but one of many children who’s parents could not look after them so they did.
MashaAllah May Allah reward them.

Growing in a family with no steady religious base, I do not think that it troubled my upbringing as a child as we were taught morals and values through character and service.

I went through a lot of internal struggles entering my teenage years and external events that cause me to be very empty inside.

I was unconsciously always trying to fulfil the emptiness inside me and I ended up engaging in the wrong environment and the wrong people. That life was cut short after I begun to seek truth.

My first encounter with a Muslim.
In my childhood I came across many muslims as I lived in an area where there was a semi large Muslim community.

My first encounter would have been when in primary school where I had met a Somali girl who became my best friend. We would spend every day together at school until her family moved to Australia. May Allah look after her.

My Conversion.
In seeking truth I very much did it alone. I begun by reading the translation of the Quran and watching YouTube videos. I chose to read instead of seeking knowledge through others simply because I wanted my journey to be exclusively between myself and Allah.

I did not want to feel influenced or feel pressured. After months of seeking truth I was confident that Allah is the only God worthy of worship and that Islam is the truth, I took my shahada in a masjid near my home.

What do I love about Islam?
I am unable to count all of what I love about Islam but if I had to start somewhere it would be the love I have for the core and base of Islam.

How has Islam improved me as person?
Islam has given me ease, before accepting Islam I struggled internally, which led me to hurting others unknowingly.

Islam has freed me. It has helped me heal my heart and clean the ill feelings I had for things that were out of my control.
It has made me more merciful to my parents, and my birth parents. It has helped me to feel content with who I am.

My family likes my changes.
I would say my family do not mind. They accept it because they love me, and I love them for that.

I always keep my family in my duaa that Allah SWT guide them to Islam like he has guided me.

As a Maori African Muslim what challenges I have faced?
For me, my biggest challenge as a Maori Muslim would be the language barrier and cultural difference.

Finding a balance for me is still ongoing where I can embrace Te Ao Maori in a way that does not go against my Islam. 

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