Testimonials from Students

“On Friday I had the pleasure of attending another Turning Point Academy event in Mitcham. This event was very special for me…this was the day that I took my Shahadah, the day that I declared my faith in Allah as being the only God, without any partner. Finally, I decided to leave the fears I had with regards to my family, my friends and Society and just go for it! I was really nervous but once I repeated the words, I felt a big relief, like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. All the sisters were very supportive and they were all so welcoming. I couldn’t have taken this step without TPA’s support. The sisters had the patience to guide me for two years with my journey in search of Islam.
It was Open Day, so there was several sisters’ testimonies and it was amazing to be amongst such a welcoming and intellectual group of sisters. It was lovely and I for one, was deeply touched by everything. I felt so inspired and positive about the contributions that Muslim sisters can make to society, while still maintaining their modesty in accordance with Islam. I enjoyed the poem about ‘Hijab’ and how people look at women because of a piece of fabric. I actually felt embarrassed when I heard this, as I used to be one of those people; I used to say bad comments and judge these women without even knowing them. Part of this was because of my Portuguese culture and upbringing and the other part was purely due to ignorance. I admire the sisters who are struggling; I admire their strength and determination.
I could talk forever about the event, but I think it is a bit too much now! Thank you my lovely sisters for the amazing day.”

–Ana (Portuguese revert)

“I enjoy attending the TPA sessions, as I love to learn Arabic and I also like to pray with my sisters…everyone is so kind and friendly.”

–Vicky (English revert)

“Joining Turning Point Academy has been such a blessing. I don’t feel lonely anymore and I feel at peace. I have learnt how to pray Salaah and am now learning Arabic so that I can read the Qur’an in Arabic Insha-Allah. I’m so happy I now know the whole of the Arabic alphabet!”

–Francesca (Italian revert)

“My three favourite things about Turning Point Academy: the smiling faces, the eloquence of the teachers and the inspiring and informative lectures (and the food of course!)”

–Nayna (Hindu revert)

“The TPA sessions are very inspiring, it’s a great atmosphere and I always leave with extra knowledge. The staff are knowledgeable and the sessions are well-planned and organised.”

–Hannah (Polish revert)

“I enjoy the Arabic sessions with excellent teachers as well as the talks, which cover brilliant topics. Additionally the crèche facility has been great, as I have a little one and without it, I would not have been able to learn Salaah and how to read Arabic. It’s great to actually be doing something for myself.”

–Livia (Hungarian revert)

“I love being able to socialise and gain knowledge at the same time. Everyone is made to feel welcome at TPA no matter what your ethnicity, nationality or religious background is. My weeks fell pointless without Turning Point. Now, I try to attend all the classes. I hate it when I have to miss a class!”

–Jenny (Bulgarian revert)

“I love attending TPA’s Friday sessions. I often arrive with all of life‘s stresses but by the end of the session I feel calm and peaceful. Thank you so very much. You have changed my life. May Allah reward you for all that you do. Ameen.”

-Michelle (Jamaican revert)

“Unanswered questions was what brought me to Islam and a recommendation from a friend was what brought me to Turning Point Academy. I went along, slightly apprehensive as I did not know what to expect mainly because I did not know what I was looking for. Yes, I had questions about the existence of God, my own existence, the whos, whys, hows of the world but had I ever given it enough thought to actually do something about it? No…yet I found myself curious enough to meet a load of strangers who all had one thing in common – they found their answers in Islam. Now, I am proud to say that I am a Muslim. However, regardless of whether you are seeking faith, peace, answers to life’s questions or even just looking to satisfy your own curiosity, I would definitely recommend paying Turning Point Academy a visit. Why? There was no “hard-sell”. So I had spoken to poeple about religion before. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh… unfortunately their passion can sometimes become pushy and almost like a sales pitch on why you should buy into their product. At Turning Point, there was no pressure – no pressure to convert, no pressure to conform, purely educational and informative. With so much distorted information thrown at us via the media, it’s important that true Muslims get a chance to set the record straight.

There is something for everyone. From books, to inspirational speakers/events, or just even listening to everyone’s unique story of how they all came to find Islam, you can’t help but be inspired.

The diversity in one room is fantastic! A vast range of members, from all walks of life, from all over the world speaking so many different languages. No dress code, no expectations.

A support system made up of some of the nicest and most welcoming people I have met. I can honestly say, never have I met a bunch of people who are so happy, so ready to help and support you, even though they barely know you- it’s overwhelming. I attended my very first session in December 2012. Subhanallah, I took my Shahadah in May 2013. I know that should I ever need support in any shape or form, I can count on it from Amina and the girls at Turning Point Academy.”

–Namrita (Sikh revert)

“I would describe Turning Point Academy (TPA) as a warm and friendly place, where everyone tries their utmost to make people feel welcome and included. As TPA is such a diverse community no one is made to feel like the odd one out. The knowledge and friendship that I have gained through TPA has had a huge impact on mine and my family’s life. Not only have I made friends, but through the Open Days and Ramadan Iftaars, my family have also got to know other converts’ families and have been reassured that I am in good company. Also, the open, honest and community-focused ethos makes it a comfortable environment to learn and spiritually grow in.”

–Rachel (English revert)

“I took my Shahadah (conversion/reversion to Islam) at the age of 76 years on 16th March 2011 at the East London Mosque. Since then I have attended a few circles for New Muslims but I realised that I was not gaining the necessary knowledge that I needed to be a good practising Muslim because I believe that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. Providence directed me to Turning Point Academy, a Project for New Muslim women; there my dreams were fulfilled. Indeed in just two terms I acquired the knowledge that I needed to make me a proper Muslim. I have now perfected my Wudu (Ablution) and my Salaah (Prayers).
The best thing that has happened to me in my life was learning the whole of the Arabic Alphabet; this I thought I could not do before I joined Turning Point; I used to think that I could never learn the Arabic Alphabet, which is the gateway to learn how to read the Qur’an. In fact, when I enrolled at Turning Point, I told the Manager that I would never be able to read the Quran in Arabic. I told her I would be content with just learning correct pronunciation of the transliteration of the Qur’an on account of my age. (I was 76 years then now 78 years of age). Sister Amina told me I can learn to read the Qu’ran in Arabic. She said her staff are trained and dedicated tutors who would help me. In just one term, I learnt the alphabet! I will move to the next book which will teach me joining the alphabet into words.
On the open day on 16th March 2012 which happened to be exactly one year anniversary of the date I took my Shahadah, after listening to the poems by my fellow new reverts on how pleased they are being Muslims and recalling what I had achieved through my interaction with Turning Point, I could not conceal my emotions. I wept for joy, that even me at my old age could be what I want to be: a good knowledgeable practising Muslim.
Barely 3 years after my Shahadah, I was privileged by the special grace of Allah Almighty to go on Pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj in October 2013. It was a pilgrimage I will cherish for the rest of my life, compared to the Christian Catholic Pilgrimages I had been to. Alhamdulillah.”

–Humra (Jamaican revert)

“When I first came across Turning Point Academy it was when I was researching Islam out of my own choice. In one of the Mosques, I found a leaflet with TPA’s contact number. I rung and was informed about the classes running on Fridays. I wanted to go and meet the women but was at the same time scared that they may put pressure on me becoming a Muslim, wearing the veil, etc. I decided I would go and if I feel uncomfortable or judged, I would just leave. I was surprised by warm welcome. I attended classes and made new friends. The level of presented information is high as the teachers are all professionals. From my own experience, TPA is a place where true Islam is being presented in a way that is easy for new Muslims and those who want to learn more about the Religion. It is a place where sisters can find support and get their questions answered. We are not judged there and are given time to make our own decisions. TPA is a place where no one is telling us what we should be doing. The choice is left for us alone, what we are given is the information and the advice. Being a new Muslim may be difficult when this journey is taken by the person alone. We do need support from other people. We new Muslims are like babies learning how to walk. After the first few steps, we fall, and need someone to be there who will help us to keep the balance until we can walk ourselves.”

–Sylwia (Polish revert)

“I am really happy that now I know Allah and Islam. I took my Shahadah at Turning Point Academy last year. Alhamudulillah. Sisters at Turning Point are very kind and helpful. I’ve learnt from them what Islam is and found many amazing things, which I had been seeking. No matter what happens, this life is only temporary and a test for the hereafter, so believe in Allah and try to be good, inshaAllah, May Allah grant us Jannah (Paradise). Ameen.”

–Ayako (Japanese revert)

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Turning Point Academy. I was recommended to try the day sessions as they have a crèche for the children, so I could get a chance to study. The group is very welcoming and supportive and full of friendly faces. It’s not only a great opportunity to make life-long friends but also a chance to gain knowledge and understanding about Islam in a non- judgmental environment. You are split into classes for your level so you never feel self-conscious or embarrassed about your learning level. There is a close relationship between teachers and students and you find everyone willing to learn and share knowledge no matter what their level of learning. Here you see that Islam is not about divisions, cultural upbringing and groups but rather about sharing experiences, acceptance and diversity. Many people who are not born into Islam may long for an Islamic family and feel they need somewhere to belong. Turning point is my family. We can talk about problems, support one another, share a meal and socialise. I can honestly say I’ve never found anywhere else like Turning Point Academy.”

–Helen (English revert)

“When I started to attend Turning Point Academy about three years ago, I had already been a Muslim for a good seven years. However for the first few years of my life as a Muslim I lived in Germany and my knowledge was quite limited – there is no Turning Point Academy in Germany!!!! All I knew when I started to attend the sessions at Turning Point was the basics of the Arabic alphabet and a few short Surahs. I thought I would never be able to read the Qur’an in Arabic. But Masha’Allah due to effortless and patient teachers at Turning Point I have made steady progress and reading the Qur’an in Arabic does not seem so daunting anymore – Alhamdulillah. I am also on track with memorising the Qur’an and I feel more confident in my faith and how to practice it by listening to wonderful talks every week. Masha’Allah the best thing about Turning Point is that I can learn at my own pace with a teacher who shows patience and understanding and each week I feel encouraged to do a little bit more. What I did not know when I converted to Islam was how beautiful and supportive the sisterhood of our Deen is. Just to walk through the door on a Friday for the sessions and receive the first Salaams and smiles and big hugs from sisters makes me feel that Allah (SWT) has blessed me by letting me be a part of Turning Point Academy! Alhamdulillah.”

–Birgit (German revert)

“Allah led me to Islam about 10 years ago. I was very enthusiastic and learned a lot about the religion. I learned to read Arabic and the Qur’an. Not long after I got married, my life was so busy as I was studying in university and had two babies while finishing my studies. I had lots of friends through university. I was flourishing in all aspects and settling into my new married life which had lots of challenges too. I was ‘new’ to Islam, but my husband was born Muslim so two completely different cultures met Alhamdulillah. When I completed my studies, I stayed at home with the kids. That was all new to me… I was very alone, all my friends from university were working in their fields and far away from me. I was overwhelmed with frustration as I had no mental challenges apart from my husband and our cultural differences. I started to doubt my decision to become a Muslim… Was Islam all about this?? Getting married and just staying at home and serving everyone in my family, not to mention extended family and cultural expectations?!?! A friend of mine mentioned Turning Point Academy. It took a while to actually attend for the first time. And then I was drawn to the weekly sessions! I could not miss out! It just widened my world; all I have learned about Islam came into practice! I lived it Alhamdulillah. I had to start to learn the Arabic alphabet from the beginning as I had forgotten it all. It really helped that I had my own group and had a very patient and encouraging teacher. I find the books we learn from to be the best MashaAllah. In the second half of each session, there is a lecture. The lecturers are very down to earth and the talks are informative. There is not a lecture that I haven’t learnt something from. TPA sessions feel like I’m with family all the time. I always feel free to ask any kind of question. Since starting, I have people who are really my friends. Even my husband said that our life has had a 180degree turn. It really was a TURNING POINT in my life! Jazakallah to all the people who make a great effort to help us revert sisters!”

–Julianna (Hungarian revert)

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. It all started with a prayer… When I finally submitted and embraced Islam it was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. The first few weeks in secret I was walking on air, until I told my family I was a Muslim. Then reality hit home and I realised that I was having my first big test as a Muslim. As the weeks went by I became lonely and sad. I shouldn’t have felt so vulnerable, as I had God on my side, I should have felt empowered! I knew that as long as I prayed to Allah and was patient, He would relieve me of my fears and guide me God willing. This is when I asked Allah to take away the emptiness that I felt inside. I am human, I needed that interaction, comfort, support and love from others. This is exactly what I received from Turning Point Academy. I read about a new Muslim retreat taking place, this is where I met Amina a few years back. I warmed to her straight away, even though she wasn’t one of the hosts, I felt I could go to her for advice. She personally invited me to attend Turning Point which at the time was being held in her home. I made plans to go on the next Friday. As I knocked on the door of her house I was super nervous, I did think about going home, but then Amina’s daughter came to the door smiling, so I couldn’t run away now, lol. So I went in feeling very shy until Amina greeted me and introduced me. We had an hour of learning how to read Arabic, then an hour’s talk on a subject and then we all sat down and ate the lovely food that was prepared for us. It really did feel like one great big Muslim family! Allah is The Greatest! As the weeks went by and I had attended a few more times I felt a sense of belonging to this family. I met other sisters with the same issues and interests, I started learning how to read Arabic with them so I could read the Qur’an and learnt a variety of lessons from the Quran. I went to the sisters for advice and was comforted on many occasions. I finally felt as if I was moving forwards in my religious duties as well as in my personal life.

The name Turning Point really says it all, as from the day I stepped into Amina’s home I felt a part of something huge. I had turned into a stronger, positive person and felt empowered. This was a new start to a better life for me. All Praise be to Allah. I have not attended for months now as I have moved to another part of the UK. I pray that it spreads all over the UK God Willing, because I honestly feel that new Muslims are missing out on such a blessing. I truly am grateful to Allah for blessing me with Turning point. There is not one Friday that goes by that I do not think about all the beautiful smiling welcoming faces at Turning Point, I truly do miss them. You know who you are, lol. You see my prayer was answered by Allah, He gave me Turning Point at exactly the time I needed it. Glorified is Allah and Exalted above all that they associate with Him. I pray that Allah SWT continues to bless Turning Point and all the sisters who contribute to making it a success with the Help of Allah. May Allah unite us all in Heaven together, Ameen. I love you all for the sake of Allah. May Allah reward you all with goodness. Ameen.”

–Angela (Italian/English revert)

“I really enjoy all that Turning Point Academy offers since I started going to their classes; really it’s a great opportunity to meet with other sisters who share the same desire to learn more about Islam. I would recommend the classes to any sister considering taking part in learning more about her religion and to boost her Iman.”

–Amy (English revert)

“I joined Turning Point Academy in 2012 after a friend had told me about it. When I first arrived I was quite nervous but as soon as I saw all the sisters getting their coffees, sorting out the babies in the crèche ready to learn I felt very relaxed and said to myself, “yep, this place is normal”. I was expecting someone to sit at a desk register my name and contact details and be really formal. Not here. Nope, it was all smiles and friendly greetings. ‘Alhamdulillah!’ I said to myself. I have learnt so much since starting TPA and every week after the session I go home and it’s non-stop talking about TPA! I have two teenage daughters that anyone can tell you is a handful to have. They too have become Muslim and attend TPA’s evening sessions in tooting. Every Friday evening, after their lesson, they come home and they test me on what I’ve learnt; it might be about verses in the Qur’an or stories of any of the Prophets (AS). But I do get my own back and test them on their Arabic words and pronunciations! This has made us a closer family and we have better mother daughter relationships, which can be so hard with all the peer pressure and so on. It has made me realise that with faith and the fear and the love of Allah, we think twice about what we are about to say or do. I know, that at times I am so angry at them I just want to scream and shout, but I remember what I have learnt before, ‘if you are angry when standing up, take a deep breath, sit down and make Du’a, if angry when sitting, then lie down and if you are still angry, make Wudu and pray’. Trust me, it works!!!! And it makes you see things more clearly.

The teachers at TPA are so patient and friendly and there is never any rush to go on to the next step until I am comfortable. I have progressed so much in my reading and every week there is a different speaker and through this I have more of an understanding on how to conduct myself daily. As a revert, I don’t have many Muslim friends, just maybe a handful but at TPA, I have a big family. Everyone is always so happy and caring. The babies are looked after really well in the crèche so I don’t have to worry about them and I just concentrate on what I’m learning. Without TPA, I don’t think I’d be learning as much as I do and I don’t think I’d be as patient as I am now. May Allah reward all the teachers and organisers at TPA for all your hard work and efforts!!!!! Ameen.”

–Kim (Chinese revert)

“Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem. I’m so grateful to my dear friend who invited me to Turning Point Academy. I’ve been attending the daytime sessions for almost two years now and I always look forward to each Friday approaching. The sessions are well organised with various teachers available to give advice and help and answer any questions you have regarding Islam. Anything you may need help with, they can help with whether ists learning about Islam, praying or reading Arabic. My main reasons for attending each week are that there is a great crèche facility available which my children love and I have peace of mind knowing they are in safe hands and close by while I learn. I have an inspiring and motivational Qur’an teacher who has taught me so much since I began lessons with her. Over the years I’ve tried numerous times to learn Qur’an with correct pronunciation; finally I’m reciting well and sisters have noticed how much I’ve improved since my first few lessons at Turning point! It’s really wonderful to be part of this project and to know it’s helping so many women gain a better understanding of Islam. The open days are inspirational and a welcoming event for sisters and their families. May Allah bless Turning point and help it to flourish even further. Ameen.”

–Noura (Irish revert)

“Turning Point Academy is truly unique. I embraced Islam as a religion and way of life seven years ago, and since then have attended many mosques, Islamic events and classes to further my knowledge and meet fellow Muslims. However, I had never experienced the sense of community that I now feel part of since attending my first Turning Point Academy session a few months ago. I was delighted to meet so many women each with their own stories, who were passionate about Islam, all from very diverse ethnic and professional backgrounds. Each week I look forward to attending, sharing my experiences with sisters and listening to theirs, learning to read the Qur’an and listening to inspirational talks. I feel very blessed to be part of the Turning Point community and am very grateful for all of the wonderful friends I have made in such a short time. I would recommend Turning Point Academy to every new Muslim sister and anyone interested in finding out more about Islam.”

–Avril (English revert)

“Turning point Academy is definitely a unique family type of program. TPA supported me when very few did, giving me the confidence to achieve great things. The love and care received makes you feel special, especially at a time when your world feels upside down with your new found faith. I have now been Muslim for 20 years Alhamdulillah!”

–Anthea (Jamaican revert)

“When you make a decision as fundamental and personal as reverting to Islam or as some would phrase it, ‘converting to Islam’, the emotional journey you are about to embark on is one which can present you with a number of challenges, but also an enlightenment which is so precious and fulfilling naturally, but can become even more when supported by an organisation such as ‘Turning Point Academy’. In fear of doing ‘Turning Point Academy’ a disservice in writing my testimonial, I will try to be as honest as possible in as few words as possible. I came from a very strict Catholic background and explored many different Christian denominations, including non-Christian faiths such as Buddhism. When I came to Islam, I realised I had now come back home, but the journey was to be far from easy.
I would say I have a very busy lifestyle, not more than an average person, but I live a very active life, I run a business of my own as well as work 9 – 5 as a NHS contractor and travel a great deal out of the country. Despite my commitments I have never visited anywhere in the world and come across a more sincere, a more authentic and a more friend and family orientated organisation such as Turning Point. Never once have I been made to feel pressurised to be more than who I am, or to commit to more than I could. With this, ‘Turning Point Academy’ found a home in my heart, to which I will always keep close.
As a young woman there are some things in this world today you cannot learn unless you are very blessed or in the right place at the right time. Turning Point has taught me true sisterhood, commitment, love and freedom. Be it the warm smiles that greet you at the door, or the gentle embrace you are showered with from fellow sisters. There are soft unspoken words of trust, which need not be said when you come to Turning Point, because when you look at one another, you will see you. Somehow, we all just know what one another is going through, and Turning point walks with you or perhaps runs with you, if you are like me.”

–Ngozi (Nigerian revert)

“Turning Point Academy has been a great part of my life. As soon I was took my Shahadah, I had this feeling of ‘what now’? Turning point has helped me to fill that gap of helplessness and it’s a sense of community, where great sisters are now my friends. Amina has been such a great help in everything, in the advice she has given me to the extra lessons I have received from her. She goes that extra mile and TPA is such a wonderful group to be a part of. Now I am in Scotland studying, I miss the ladies at Turning Point so much, however as usual it’s never the end, I am continuing with my Arabic reading through regular communication with two of the teachers at Turning Point who are continuing to help me. Alhamdulillah I am truly lucky to be a part of this group of lovely ladies and can’t wait to see them all again :).”

–Rashika (Sri-Lankan revert)

“My first encounter with TPA was very surreal, I felt very nervous but was welcomed with friendly smiles and hugs, and made to feel completely at home. The sisters taught me Salaah first of all which came as a big relief as I had been trying to learn this alone for months. I went on to take my Shahada formally at one of TPA’s Iftaars during the Islamic month of Ramadan. I remember all the smiling faces and warm embraces after my Shahada, and could see the Noor (light) shining from the sisters’ faces. It was at that point I realised how blessed I was to be part of such a gathering. Alhamdulillah for Turning Point. There was a time when I didn’t think many Muslims were around me, then they appeared out of nowhere, teaching me the fundamentals of Islam and still continuing to this day to encourage me to grow in our Deen! Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Aalameen! Turning Point has helped me to open my eyes properly to the Mercies of Allah (SWT).TPA provides the revert Muslimah community with the skills they need to progress in their Islam and pass this on to future generations.”

–Aduele (Ghanaian revert)

 

More Testimonials from Students Coming Soon.

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