May 2, 1996. Ever since I can remember, my family
attended a non-denominational conservative Christian church (Church of Christ).
I grew up in the church, taught bible school and sang in the choir. As a young
teenager I began asking questions (as I think everyone does at one point in
their lives): Why was I a member of the Church of Christ and not say Lutheran,
Catholic or Methodist? If various churches are teaching conflicting doctrine,
how do we know which one is right? Are they all right? Do `all paths lead to
God' as I had heard some say? Others say that as long as you are a good person
it doesn't matter what you believe - is that true?
After some soul searching I decided that I did believe that
there was an ultimate truth and in an attempt to find that truth I began a
comparison study of various churches. I decided that I believed in the Bible and
would join the church that best followed the Bible. After a lengthy study, I
decided to stay with the Church of Christ, satisfied that its doctrines were
biblically sound (unaware at this stage that there could be various
interpretations of the Bible).
I spent a year at Michigan Christian College, a small college
affiliated with the Churches of Christ, but was not challenged academically and
so transferred to Western Michigan University. Having applied late for student
housing, I was placed in the international dorm. Although my roommate was
American, I felt surrounded by strange people from strange places. It was in
fact my first real experience with cultural diversity and it scared me (having
been raised in a white, middle class, Christian community). I wanted to change
dorms but there wasn't anything available. I did really like my roommate and
decided to stick out the semester.
My roommate became very involved in the dorm activities and got
to know most everyone in the dorm. I however performed with the marching band
and spent most of my time with band people. Marching season soon ended and
finding myself with time on my hands, I joined my roommate on her adventures
around the dorm. It turned out to be a wonderful, fascinating experience! There
were a large number of Arab men living in the dorm. They were charming,
handsome, and a lot of fun to be around. My roommate started dating one of them
and we ended up spending most of our time with the Arabs. I guess I knew they
were Muslims (although very few of them were practicing). We never really
discussed religion, we were just having fun.
The year passed and I had started seeing one of the Arabs.
Again, we were just enjoying each other's company and never discussed our
religious differences. Neither of us were practicing at this time so it never
really became an issue for us. I did, deep down, feel guilty for not attending
church, but I pushed it in the back of my mind. I was having too much fun.
Another year passed and I was home for summer vacation when my
roommate called me with some very distressing news: she'd become a Muslim!! I
was horrified. She didn't tell me why she converted, just that she had spent a
lot of time talking with her boyfriend's brother and it all made sense to her.
After we hung up, I immediately wrote her a long letter explaining that she was
ruining her life and to just give Christianity one more chance. That same summer
my boyfriend transferred to Azusa Pacific University in California. We decided
to get married and move to California together. Again, since neither one were
practicing, religion was not discussed.
Secretly I started reading books on Islam. However I read books
that were written by non-Muslims. One of the books I read was Islam Revealed
by Anis Sorosh. I felt guilty about my friend's conversion. I felt that if I had
been a better Christian, she would have turned to the church rather than Islam.
Islam was a man-made religion, I believed, and filled with contradictions. After
reading Sorosh's book, I thought I could convert my friend and my husband to
At APU, my husband was required to take a few religion courses.
One day he came home from class and said: "The more I learn about
Christianity, the stronger my belief in Islam becomes." At about this same
time he started showing signs of wanting to practice his religion again. Our
problems began. We started talking about religion and arguing about our
different beliefs. He told me I should learn about Islam and I told him I
already knew everything I needed to know. I got out Sorosh's book and told him I
could never believe in Islam. My husband is not a scholar by any stretch of the
imagination, yet he had an answer for everything I showed him in Sorosh's book.
I was impressed by his knowledge. He told me that if I really wanted to learn
about Islam it must be through Islamic sources. He bought a few books for me
from an Islamic bookstore and I started taking classes at a local mosque. What a
difference the Islam I learned about from Muslim sources from the Islam I
learned about from non-Muslims!
It was so difficult though when I actually decided to convert.
My pride stood in the way for awhile. How could I admit to my husband and my
friend that they were right all along? I felt humiliated, embarrassed. Soon
though, I could deny the truth no longer, swallowed my pride, and alhamdulilah,
embraced Islam - the best decision I ever made.
A few things I want to say to the non-Muslim reader:
When I originally began my search for the truth all those
years ago, I made a few wrong assumptions. First, I assumed that the truth
is with Christianity only. It never occurred to me at that time to look
outside Christianity. Second, I assumed that the Bible was the true Word of
God. These were bad assumptions because they prohibited me from looking at
things objectively. When I began my earnest study of Islam, I had to start
at the very beginning, with no preconceived ideas. I was not a Christian
looking at Islam; I looked at both Islam and Christianity (and many other
religions) from the point of view of an outsider. My advice to you is to be
a critical thinker and a critical reader.
Another mistake that many people make when talking about
Islam is that they pick out a certain teaching and judge the whole of Islam
on that one point. For example, many people say that Islam is prejudiced
towards women because Islamic laws of inheritance award the male twice as
much as the female. What they fail to learn, however, is that males have
financial responsibilities in Islam that females do not have. It is like
putting a puzzle together: until you have all the pieces in the right
places, you cannot make a statement about the picture, you cannot look at
one little piece of the puzzle and judge the whole picture.
Many people said that the only reason I converted was
because of my husband. It is true that I studied Islam because he asked me
to - but I accepted Islam because it is the truth. My husband and I are
currently separated and plan to divorce in June, insha' Allah. My faith in
Islam has never been stronger than it is now. I look forward to finding a
practicing Muslim husband, insha' Allah, and growing in my faith and
practice. Being a good Muslim is my number one priority.
May Allah lead all of us closer to the truth.
As a young girl born in the Northwest of the USA, my dream was
to become a nun. Growing up Roman Catholic, I saw the nuns have a spirtual
presence that attracted me until I reached the age of 14. It was then I started
having misgivings about Catholic doctrine, so I gravitated towards the
Protestant faiths. The trinity was a lingering concern for me. I often just
tried "to have faith" but my own logic overruled this, so many
considered me "not serious enough to be spiritual". At the age of 20 I
began talking religion to a cab driver, and heard the term Islam for the first
time from a real person. The nightly news talked about Islam and the Muslims -
sure, they were called terrorists. I presented this to my driver, who
Alhamdulillah laughed softly and suggested I read Al-Quran. Actually, I read a
few books on Islam first, then the Quran. This is when I knew I could have both
my faith and logic, and Alhamdulillah I found I wasn't crazy after all. It took
another two years before I took Shahada, and another two before hijab.
Alhamdullah now at 29, I have my faith, health, oh, and a
terrific husband as well (this is one of my first prayers or duas answered!). My
story is not unusual, quite boring if you are not me I suppose, yet I never tire
of telling others my story. I could tell of my family, that would be unusual.
They have never been happier with me, although my sister still does not like my
hijab, all members are in agreement, I am happier, more centered, and above all
I have peace where before was chaos and confusion. It didn't happen over night,
I have worked and am still working at this, you don't "convert" and
that is it, everyday comes the struggle to learn, only now I welcome struggle.
Inshallah, God Willing, my story has inspired someone, at any rate thank you for
reading my story. May Allah Guide those who Search.
Jul. 29th, 1999
One day, in the year 1928, my son with tears in his eyes said:
`I do not want to remain a Christian any longer; I want to be a Muslim; and you,
too, my mother, should join this new faith with me.' That was the first time I
felt that I had to link myself with Islam. Years passed before I came in contact
with the Imam of the Berlin Mosque, who introduced me to Islam. I came to
recognize that Islam was the true religion for me. Belief in the Trinity of the
Christian faith was impossible for me even at my young age of twenty. After
studying Islam I also rejected confession, the holiness and recognition of the
supereme power of the Pope, baptism, etc., and thus I became a Muslim.
My ancestors were all sincere believers and pious persons. I was
brought up in a convent and hence I inherited a religious attitude towards life.
This demanded that I should associate myself with one religious system or the
other. I was indeed very fortunate and comforted as I decided to join the
religion of Islam.
Today I am a very happy grandmother, because I can claim that
even my grandchild is a born Muslim.
"God guides whom He pleases to the right path."
From "Islam, Our Choice"
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