An interview with 'Ayesha Kim, a Korean Convert to Islam

Ayesha Kim belongs to Korea. She is a steadfast and resolute lady, soft at heart and strong of will. She had been struggling in search of Truth when the golden rays of Islam touched her heart. Ever since she has moved farther and farther on the road to Islam. Today she is known by her Islamic name Ayesha. She has become a lighthouse of faith for the ladies of Korea, and in particular for the girl students of that country. She guides them towards the path of Truth. Islam first came to her husband, Imam Mahdevoon, who is now the head of the Union of Muslim in South Korea. Inwardly, however, Ayesha was ahead of him in this matter. They both have started together to traverse the path of Truth.

Ayesha was able to discover truth in the thick of the devastating war that was raging when she chose Islam for her religion. She adopted the Islamic name Ayesha after the name of the noble wife of the Prophet [Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam / peace be upon him]. She thought that it would be a source of blessing for her. She says: "In the face of ever expanding ideological onslaught of the Missionaries in Korea, it was in Islam that I found the truth of assured certainty."

Ayesha was interviewed for one-and-a-half hour in the Korean Islamic Cultural Centre in Jeddah. She was transiting there together with Korean girl students on their way back from Makkah after performing 'Umrah. When she was asked about her early involvement with Islam, she first kept quiet and closed her eyes, as if she was trying to look for something hidden in the deep recesses of her heart. She then became alert and after heaving a deep breath, said:

"The story of my attachment with Islam is prompting me to look back to those early days which I passed in Korea. I belonged to an orthodox family of staunch followers of an ancient Chinese religion. Korea was run down by war. I was then married to Imam Mahdevoon and we both, the husband and wife, were still away from Islam. I had, however, always an inner feeling that we were away from the reality."

The desire for Truth intensifies

"On reaching Korea," continued Ayesha, "I became all the more restless in my heart pinning to know the Truth. My inner voice was prompting me that there was one and only way to reach the Truth; and it was different from all those religions that I had till then came to know about.

"At that time the Korean War burst which compelled us again to be on the move, but this time the journey was within the country. We moved from the South of Korea towards its western seaside up to the port of Pusan. As soon as we came to an end, I told my husband that Faith was the only fortress to save ourselves as well as the society.

"We had a friend called Omar Kim," she said, "he is now dead. He had embraced Islam publicly. He spoke to us when the war was still going on, urging us for the preaching and propagation of Islam and to invite people to accept it. Our mind was influenced by Omar too. Besides, as a result of war, the country was breaking up, not only economically but also morally. False belief and superstitions were at the root of this turmoil. Such were the pitiable conditions then prevailing."

When asked as to what did she think of the worries of her husband before his acceptance of Islam, she smiled and said:
"When my husband consulted me in this regard, I asked him whether it had not dawned on him already that Islam is the only way to guidance? But he was victim of some unknown fear and apprehension. He was worried as to how shall we two live together thereafter. I told him that when he would accept Islam, God-willing, he shall find me going with him."

"These words came in very firm tone out of the very depth of my heart. My husband was, therefore, taken by surprise, realizing that I was ahead of him in accepting the Truth."

"Our friend Omar and my husband got introduced to several members of the Turkish troops that were then posted in Korea. Every day they would go to meet them some 20 kilometres from Seoul. At long last, the day came when our painful plodding reached its welcome climax. It was on a Friday in the summer of 1955. My husband, in the presence of the Turkish Imam Abdur-Rahman, accepted Islam at the hands of Zuber Kochi and offered Friday prayer. Both these gentlemen belonged to the Turkish troops."

About children

After this, she directed attention towards her children. She said, "I have only two daughters. I was apprehending difficulty about them, but I realised that after all we, too, had remained away from Islam for long. Nature itself guides. My elder daughter was then 25 years old. She said, 'My heart? It beats in unison with yours, but for the time being I would rather keep quiet until you procure maximum possible information about Islam.'

After some time, she too accepted Islam. Her name was changed from Yoong to Jamila. She was married to a Korean Muslim. My younger daughter accepted Islam at the age of 20. She too was married to a Korean Muslim. She lives in Korea near us.
"As for my own family, I have entrusted the whole matter to Allah. May He grant me success in bringing them into the fold of Islam. Despite my meagre means, I have maintained these relations according to Islamic principles.

Da'wah and Tableegh

"I have induced many Korean women to accept Islam. I have made them understand how Islam protects the mutual rights of married couples, and how sound is the foundation it provides for family life. All praise be to Allah, I have succeeded in guiding a large number of women to the path of Truth. We arrange get-together for ladies newly converted to Islam.

"I myself can speak Arabic with great difficulty, because I began late to learn it. To learn Arabic is a difficult question for newly converted Muslim ladies. To overcome this difficulty, we are trying to establish a Department of Arabic in the Islamic Cultural Centre of Korea."

"Another difficulty is that newly converted Muslim girls have to live in a society in which the majority religion has the upper hand. For this reason, in order to keep up the spirit of these girls, it is essential to organise their effective defence. This defence can come only through Muslim educational institutions."

"For the beginning and as of now, Muslim women in Korea are organised in Seoul only. Welfare meetings are held by them to chalk out programmes for providing assistance to the poor. We have many instances of this. Several newly-wed Muslim couples have dedicated themselves to take the message of Islam to people at large."

Hope for the Future

When asked about her last wish in her advanced age, she said, "All praise be to Allah! My husband, my children and myself, all have accepted Islam. We have performed Hajj and 'Umrah several times. My first pilgrimage tour took place in 1978 when I also took the opportunity to try to understand how life goes on in the Muslim community. Now that I am returning from Saudi Arabia to Korea, I am leaving my heart behind. There is an abiding desire to pay never ending visits to the City of the Noble Prophet, upon him be Allah's blessings and peace."

At the end of the interview, good wishes were extended to her for all success in her noble mission, and it was concluded on the Qur'anic Verse:"If Allah helps you, none can overcome you..." (3:160).

From: Yes I Converted to Islam and here is why

Tuesday : 15/04/2003


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