Former Bollywood star Sana Khan made all the gossip headlines when she quit the world of glitz and glamour and began a spiritual journey towards embracing Islam fully, which saw her marry holy man Mufti Anas.

After suffering from severe anxiety, Sana began exploring her faith three-years-ago, taking on the hijab and removing all bollywood-related content off her social media platforms. It was move that is still bitterly criticised across India’s gossip platforms and from within the Indian showbiz industry.

Now as an inspirational Muslim woman with over 5.5 million followers on Instagram, Sana shares beautiful tips interwoven with Islamic anecdotes for inner peace and calm. And she’s a huge hit.

Her visit to Yorkshire was arranged by Abu Bakr Supermarkets in Leeds, so that fans could have the opportunity to meet and greet the woman who’s battled off the pressures of showbiz to do what she felt was right for her.

Hundreds of eager fans waited outside Abu Bakr’s flagship store in Kirkstall. And they were not disappointed – Sana gracefully met each and every one of them.

Speaking exclusively to Asian Express about her spiritual and religious journey, she said: “I lost a lot of people who I believed were my ‘friends’ in the showbiz world.

“But where I lost a few, I made thousands more by embracing my faith fully. I have found my inner peace and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

With her husband, Mufti Anas, sitting patiently next to her during the interview, we asked how he deals with the limelight and hustle of fans still very much focussed on her. “It takes a very special kind of man to not feel overpowered by the success of his wife,”says Sana.

“The reason I was attracted to him in the first place was his contentment with himself – not needing to prove any macho status. He’s comfortable in his own skin, completely.

“Anas has supported and guided me when I was caught up with all my anxiety when I was still in showbiz. He still supports everything I do now, without judgement.”

Born in Mumbai, India, Sana began her career in modelling and went on to acting making her film debut in 2005. She became a contestant and finalist on Salman Khan’s reality show ‘Bigg Boss 6’ in 2012. Her career spanned 15 years, in which she’s appeared in 14 movies and over 50 advertising campaigns.