BY Maryam Shah, TORONTO SUN
The first time Ann, 69, heard the azaan, or call to prayer, it was on one of her three trips to Egypt.
“Of course, it did something different to me than it would to someone else,” she recalled. “I found it very spiritual in the content.”
Now known as Amira and Omar Sahib, Ann and her husband Bill, 81, joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in May this year. They received a copy of the Quran at a Lindsay library open house. As they read it, she found it moved her deeply.
“You’re searching for something in life,” she explained. “And you don’t know what you’re looking for, really. You try to find something but you don’t know exactly what it is that could be missing in your life.”
Born a Catholic, she left the religion at 21. An avid traveller, she took a trip each year (“I’d saved real hard”), exploring cultures from Russia to the Middle East.
“It’s important … that people should, in our countries, if possible, travel to different countries,” she said.
Her small town responded supportively to their conversion, she says, because they “knew us even before we were.” One neighbor congratulated her; another “said she didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
“I told my daughter and she said ‘Well, if that’s what you and Bill want at this time in your life, it’s important that you have it,’” she said.
According to Ann, it’s the presence of a spiritual leader that distinguished the Ahmadiyya Muslim community from other Islamic schools of thought.
“As soon as I went to the Ahmadiyya, it seemed to offer me things compared to others,” she said.