Albania is a country that was under Communist rule for many decades, because of which the Muslims were totally cut off from Islam. Over the past few years, some ‘Ulama from U.K. and South Africa have established makaatib and madaaris in this country. Hereunder is a message from a young Albanian sister, which should serve as an eye-opener for us and encourage us to appreciate the deeni structures that we enjoy in our country.      

Assalaamu ‘alaikum

I live in a simple Albanian family, Muslims but not believers. Before knowing Islam, in 2010, my parents used to fast, but that was all. They didn’t pray namaaz, didn’t read Quraan, didn’t go to the musjid and so forth. I was a normal child, I didn’t know that our Lord is Allah, didn’t know the shahaadah. I knew only Surah Ikhlaas, even that my friend had taught me.

On Tuesday, 15th June 2010. My brother told me that some people with beards had sent them to play, had given them sweets and that on Friday they would go to the home of a woman who was wearing hijaab. My brother told me to go with him and on Friday I went there. I was wearing shorts and I didn’t know that in the home of that lady was the newest madrasah of Rahma (Mercy).

I went there and I liked it. My parents didn’t like it but they didn’t stop us going there. I used to go regularly and never missed a lesson. I started to learn Laa ilaaha illallaah, learnt that our Lord is Allah, our religion is Islam, our prophet is Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). These were the first things I learnt. And also the Arabic letters. In a few months I started to read Quraan in Arabic.

So, since the first year I went to madrasah I started to fast and the next year I started praying namaaz. I remember my first namaaz was Zuhr in Ramadhaan 2011. At the beginning I felt shy when I prayed and I didn’t want my parents to see me praying. I used to hide from them, but then I started praying regularly. It became normal. Even my parents started to read my madrasah books and learn about Islam. My dad started going to the musjid on Fridays and later going for taraweeh every night in Ramadhaan.

However, things are not so easy yet. I grew up without Islam and Islamic education. In my family no one prays and I have to pray and wake up for Fajr always alone. None from my family can read the Quraan, so there’s no one who can listen to my surahs and check for mistakes. My family members still do many things which are haraam or not allowed. However, they never stop me doing whatever I want.

While my future is a mystery. Rahma has helped me learn about Islam and the right way, but there’s still a lot to learn and do. According to this, I have plans in my mind which are nothing similar to my parents’ plans.

The first thing which I want to do in the near future is wear the hijaab, definitely. I haven’t worn it yet because it is prohibited in school, but even if it was allowed, my parents would never let me do that. They worry about what others will say, because from all my cousins, relatives or neighbours, there’s no one wearing the hijaab. My second dream is to go to the hifz school where I can learn Quraan, hifz, Arabic and other Islamic subjects.

I dare a lot dreaming these things because I have 0% support and my parents get furious whenever I mention it to them. They do not want me to wear hijaab. They want me to go to university, to learn and get a good job. They want me to study medicine, like all parents want. They want me to be famous and successful and a Muslim can never be like that in Albania. A girl who wears hijaab cannot study or get a job like those who are uncovered. But I’m so determined, even if it means living in poverty, even if I’d never get a job, even if my parents wouldn’t accept me, I’ll think only on my goal, Jannah.

Finally, a direct message from me, and many others like me, to the people of U.K. and South Africa. We want you to not leave a single village or city in Albania without a madrasah, a single child with an excuse to not learn about Islam. We need to work together and we need your support that with Allah’s will, would make it possible that many others learn the shahaadah.

Albania has passed through many difficulties. We need your support to pass even through this religious ignorance. We need your support that in the Day of Judgment, Albanians go in front of Allah with a reason to enter Jannah. If in other countries there’s a lack of food and water, in Albania we mostly have a lack of knowledge and we need your support to get through this.