A Christian youth from Italy has converted to Islam after visiting the holy shrine of the eighth Imam of Shia Islam, Ali ibn Musa al-Reza, located in Iran’s northeastern city of Mashhad. In a show of love to Imam Reza, the Italian pilgrim changed his name to Reza. Astan Quds has sat with the Italian youth and talked to him about his motivations for becoming a Muslim.
26-year-old Carmelo Coco is from the Italian island of Sicily. He officially declared his faith in Islam and converted to the religion during a special ritual held at the Department of Non-Iranian Pilgrims of Astan Quds Razavi.
The newly converted Muslim told Astan News about his life-changing decision. “There was a mosque near my workplace. Every day, I could hear the sound of the prayer call echoing from the mosque’s loudspeakers three times a day. The soothing sound gave me nice feeling. Somehow, I felt really attached to it,” said Carmelo.
The intriguing sound finally lured the Italian youth to the mosque, where he became acquainted with a number of Muslims who prayed there. “However, I did not have any information about their religion and beliefs,” admitted Carmelo.
The turning point in Carmelo’s life started with a traumatic accident. “Last year, I made a harsh accident and went into a coma. Doctors had lost hope in my recovery,” recalled Carmelo. Amid all the disappointment with Carmelo’s survival, there shone a glimmer of hope. “One of my Muslim friends would sit by my side every day and recite the holy Quran for me,” explained Carmelo.
The sound was as soothing as the prayer call he had heard from the Mosque. “In the dream world, I could hear the relaxing sound, and it gave me a sense of revival,” he said. To everyone’s surprise, Carmelo gets back to life after a few days. “When I regained consciousness, doctors were shocked and considered this a divine miracle,” recalled Carmelo with a shivering tone.
After his recovery, Carmelo’s life changed dramatically. He owed his life to the “relaxing sound of the Quran.” He became interested in listening to verses from the holy Quran. “So, unwittingly, I was treading on a path from which I never wanted to return,” said the Italian Muslim.
Reza then developed his relationship with his Muslim friends to learn more about the new religion. He was determined in his decision. “I was certain that the path I chose would lead me to peace,” said Reza.
Regarding how he chose Imam Reza’s holy shrine for the conversion ritual, the Italian Muslim said he consulted with one of his friends. “My friend recommended that I come to the city of Mashhad to closely get acquainted with Islam and Muslims,” he pointed out.
“Happiness is an inner blessing, and whoever listens to their inner voice, they will find serenity. By visiting this holy shrine, I felt peace and I decided to become a Muslim,” he explained.