Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rabi-Ul Akhir / Jamadiul Awwal 1423 H
July 2002
Volume 15-07 No:187

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From Darkness to Light


A life in harmony with everything Saudi


A life in harmony with everything Saudi

By Raina Abu Zafar

Laura Collin’s visit to Saudi Arabia was, according to her, the real inspiration to belong to her husband’s religion. She terms her visit as the turning point in her journey to Islam

The idea of a mixed marriage is more acceptable today than it was a few decades ago. The interaction between people from different parts of the world and the ease of travel have brought together people from different races and cultural backgrounds. They often marry and settle down, but many of the unions do not last. Others, surprisingly, do in spite of differences between the people as well as between theculture and traditions they come from. Laura Collins is an American married to a Saudi. She has chosen to live here and has created an atmosphere of Islam and Saudi culture within her family. Having been brought up in America and coming from an educated American background, she learnt to be independent and to believe in her own culture and lifestyle which is quite different from her life today. Laura’s parents were divorced when she was young and she feels that this robbed her of living in a “close-knit secure family” circle. In fact, one of the things she liked most about her Saudi husband was the large, close family he belonged to. Her husband lived in the US for 15 years, yet it was his closeness and adherence to “all things Saudi” that actually impressed this young, intelligent and extremely confident American girl.

Laura has actually followed her heart to Saudi Arabia and Islam. Like many other American girls, she lived a comfortable life and was a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration and it was while she was studying that she met Abdullah Abdul Wahid, a young Saudi studying at the American University, also in Washington, D.C. Laura had little exposure to Islam though she had lived abroad as her father had worked outside the United States. Because her parents were divorced, she felt the lack of something that close-knit families enjoy. It was not that she was unhappy or alone; it was that she felt she had missed out on doing “family things” and being a part of one big, happy family. “Abdullah had all those things. His sisters and brothers were living and studying in the United States and his parents also often came here so he had all the comfort and closeness of family. He lived with his family and never actually lived ‘away’ as many foreign students do.” Her visit to Saudi Arabia was, according to her, the real inspiration to belong to her husband’s religion.

She terms her visit as the turning point in her journey to Islam and reaching her goal of completely “belonging” to her partner, his people and his country. Laura became a Muslim after five years of study and she has now been in Saudi Arabia for eight years. She has three children and a full life, not only as a housewife, but also as a professional dedicated to contributing to help and advise other Saudi women in “whatever small way.” In Riyadh, Laura has achieved an impressive number of things which have brought her both recognition and satisfaction. She began her career as a marketing coordinator in Maryland and went on to work as a trade show coordinator, an account executive in Virginia, a coordinator at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, a general manager at Al-Multaka Trade Establishment, and, until the end of 2001, assistant general manager, operations at the Saks Fifth Avenue/Fashion Village Trading.

Laura’s penchant for achieving her goals encouraged her to venture out on her own. She decided to operate as a business consultant, geared to providing consultation to local investors to help them in developing new businesses. Her focus is to ass ist the growing number of Saudi businesswomen. Laura’s complete acceptance and adapting to her new life and religion is apparent in her wish to bring up her children in Saudi Arabia. She has enrolled them in Arabic medium schools and encourages them to speak Arabic

Courtesy: www.arabnews.com

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