My Journey to Islam- Ex christian story

I was asked my reversion story many times, usually keeping it short and simple. But I have been asked by a dear sister to share my full story with those who care to hear, and I think it is time I do so. In the name of Allah.

When I was a baby my parents died leaving me in the care of my elder brother. He was amazing. A devout christian and youth minister at our local Church of Christ here in the state of Alabama, United States of America. I felt confined by the church, bored with its very existence. I would be lying if I dared to say my religious commitment was strong. But every night after dinner I would sit and let my brother read the bible to me. And every night before I went to bed he made sure I had prayed, a prayer I had prayed my whole life.

At this time I wasn’t even sure if God was real…it was just a part of my daily life. I never thought to put much thought into it. I felt disant from God. And the bible just another book, not one I even took as serious as my schoolbooks. I saw the people in the church passing notes during the service. I mean come on, who hasn’t seen it? And in my mind they did not take the religion as seriously than I even did. The difference being that I didn’t hide behind a fake halo. An embarassment to my brother, no less.

I met my teenage years with rebellion, drugs, alcohol, and partying. The more my brother tried to help me the more I pushed away. I can recall an argument with him where I accused the bible of being corrupted to fit the whim of people with no common goal but to control mankind with their idealistic thoughts.Reminding him how the bible was written when obviously some words could not even be translated. A book, that in its true form, could only be read by a small population of people. I threw in his face the sins of David to validate what I, myself was doing. To make it worse I expressed my anger at how cruel God was for killing Jesus when Jesus didn’t want to die. And asked him what kind of loving sacrifice was that? I further expressed my rage that people would want to celebrate such slaughter.

That night I packed my bags and moved in with my boyfriend. I ignored my brother’s calls and hid when he tried to visit. I was sick of all the details of life. Multiple times I tried to commit suicide. In my mind all those who claimed to love God and Jesus were all hypocrites and those who weren’t sinned openly. People were sinful and decietful living in their dream world. Thisis how the world is and I had learned to accept it. All this changed on my 23rd birthday.

It was my birthday and I had decided to celebrate with my friends and boyfriend..shopping during the day and then a party at night. The mall was my number one hangout so there I was sitting with my friends in a spagetti strap shirt and a mini blue jean skirt, eating nachos and cheese in the food court. All of a sudden my friend taps me on the shoulder and points in the direction of the big water fountain in the mall. There standing was a young woman covered from head to toe, all but her face and her hands. My friends and I were laughing at her. Who would dress like that? To our suprise a young man grabbed her head veil and tugged her to the ground. He proceeded to run off laughing. I expected her to cry or scream, get angry…some kind of reaction. But she didn’t. She picked herself off the ground, adjusted her head cover and picked her bags back up.

I was shocked and decided this woman had spirit and strength. I could help her free herself from these shackles of oppression. So I go to her and introduced myself. I was thinking carefully what to say to her so the first words I said was “So you are muslim, right? ” She replied “Yes by the mercy of Allah I am Muslim” I proceeded to tell her that she was in the United States and protected by the consitution, and that she didn’t have to wear those hot clothing here, embarassing herself in such a way. I expected her to be grateful of my knowledge, to acknowledge that yes I was right. Quite the contrary. She smiled and asked me to sit so that she could explain.

She said ” I once was a christian, a year ago today I revert to Islam. I use to dress like yourself, confined to the prison of indecency and society. I made this choice And there is nothing in this world I want more than to make my Creator my Allah pleased with me. He gave me the gift of hijab and modesty.” I was shocked to know this woman willingly wore this clothing, willingly covered in this heat of the summer. She went on to explain what the Quran said regarding modesty an I continued asking questions about her reversion and why. I noticed the looks people were giving us but she didn’t seem to notice. She kept smiling and talking in complete peace with herself. She even explained to me that while that man was attacking her, that he was in reality giving her good deeds. I saw that day a woman who loved her God. A true love. A woman who would sacrifice being abused, humiliated, mocked and laughd at all for her God. While still maintaining a smile.

I began to think how many people would do that? Who would allow people to hurt them and mock them and still thank God for that? I cried that night wanting what she had. What made her so special that she could have this much love and trust in the creator? I had never met a christian like that, not even my very religious brother. I moved on occasionally thinking of her but for the most part it began slipping from my mind.

I worked as a nurse for the hospital in surgery and was having a rushed day. We were short on nurses so I was moved to an area assigned to someone else. Upon opening the curtain there in the hospital bed was the muslim woman I met at the mall. Very sick and pale. She had cancer and was coming for node removal. I moved towards her to hear her reciting something in a different language which I later come to know was arabic. She had been reciting Quran. When I bent down before her surgery to comfort her she said “Verily in the remembrance of Allah does the heart feel rest.” Within a few weeks she had recovered from the cancer completely. That night I went home to research Islam. What made this woman so special that even as sick as she was..she would thank God? And as I started researching I realized that Muslims had more dedication and trust in God more than I had ever witnessed. I got the muslim woman’s number off her file and decided I was going to call her.

I was hesistant to call because I was so nervous. But I worked up my courage and called her, asking to meet with her if possible. She agreed and we met over coffee. I started telling her about my life and how distant I was from God. And she did not judge me nor did she pity me. She took my hand and told me to pray for guidance. That Allah was merciful and would not leave a person who wanted guidance. I asked her if she could show me how she prayed so that maybe I would expierence a little of what she had. She took me to her home and showed me. When she put her head to the floor I remembered in the bible when the prophets prayed, they too put their head to the ground. That night I prayed with my head to the floor and tears in my eyes, asking for the same mercy that this muslim woman was given. And as I prayed I felt myself grow calmer, my head relaxed to the floor like I never wanted to leave there. I called Aisha and told her I want to be Muslim!

She drove hours from Tennessee to Alabama to take me for my shahada. I have still not worked myself up to wear hijab but I do cover my body, I no longer wear make-up nor provacative clothing. I ask Allah for the strength to overcome the hatred of those around me so that I too can wear the hijab. For those who say Islam is Evil, you have never seen a true muslim like I have.

-Story of Sister Linda

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Khadijah ‘Sue – Former pastor, missionary, professor. Master’s degree in Divinity

“What happened to you?” This was usually the first reaction I encountered when my former classmates, friends and co-pastors saw me after having embraced Islam. I suppose I couldn’t blame them, I was a highly unlikely the person to change religions. Formerly, I was a professor, pastor, church planter and missionary. If anyone was a radical fundamentalist it was I.

I had just graduated with my Master’s Degree of Divinity from an elite seminary five months before. It was after that time I met a lady who had worked in Saudi Arabia and had embraced Islam. Of course I asked her about the treatment of women in Islam. I was shocked at her answer, it wasn’t what I expected so I proceeded to ask other questions relating to Allah and Muhammad (pbuh). She informed me that she would take me to the Islamic Center where they would be better able to answer my questions.

Being prayed up, meaning-asking Jesus for protection against demon spirits seeing that what we had been taught about Islam is that it is Demonic and Satanic religion. Having taught Evangelism I was quite shocked at their approach, it wa s direct and straightforward. No intimidation, no harassment, no psychological manipulation, no subliminal influence! None of this, “let’s have a Qur’aanic study in your house”, like a counter part of the Bible study. I couldn’t believe it! They gave me some books and told me if I had some questions they were available to answer them in the office. That night I read all of the books they gave. It was the first time I had ever read a book about Islam written by a Muslim, we had studied and read books about Islam only written by Christians. The next day I spent three hours at the office asking questions. This went on everyday for a week, by which time I had read twelve books and knew why Muslims are the hardest people in the world to conver t to Christianity. Why? Because there is nothing to offer them!! (In Islam) There is a relationship with Allah, forgiveness of sins, salvation and promise of Eternal Life.

Naturally, my first question centered on the deity of Allah. Who is this Allah that the Muslims worship? We had been taught as Christians that this is another god, a false god. When in fact He is the Omniscient-All Know ing, Omnipotent-All Powerful, and Omnipresent-All Present God. The One and Only without co-partners or co-equal. It is interesting to note that there were bishops during the first three hundred years of the Church that were teaching as the Muslim believes that Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet and teacher!! It was only after the conversion of Emperor Constantine that he was the one to call and introduce the doctrine of the Trinity. He a convert to Christianity who knew nothing of this religion introduced a paganistic concept that goes back to Babylonian times. Because the space does not permit me to go into detail about the subject insha’Allah, another time. Only I must point out that the word TRINITY is not found in the Bible in any of its many translation nor is it found in the original Greek or Hebrew languages!

My other important question centered on Muhammad (pbuh). Who is this Muhammad? I found out that Muslims do not pray to him like the Christians pray to Jesus. He is not an intermediary and in fact it is forbidden to pray to him. We ask blessing upon him at the end of our prayer but likewise we ask blessings on Abraham. He is a Prophet and a Messenger, the final and last Prophet. In fact, until now, one thousand four hundred and eighteen years (1,418) later there has been no prophet after him. His message is for All Mankind as opposed to the message of Jesus or Moses (peace be upon them both) which was sent to the Jews. “Hear O Israel” But the message is the same message of Allah. “The Lord Your God is One God and you shall have no other gods before Me.”(Mark 12:29).

Because prayer was a very important part of my Christian life I was both interested and curious to know what the Muslims were praying. As Christians we were as ignorant on this aspect of Muslim belief as on the other aspects. We thought and were taught, that the Muslims were bowing down to the Ka’bah (in Mecca), that that was there god and center point of this false deity. Again, I was shocked to learn that the manner of prayer is prescribed by God, Himself. The words of the prayer are one of praise and exaltation. The approach to prayer (ablution or washing) in cleanliness is under the direction of Allah. He is a Holy God and it is not for us to approach Him in an arbitrary manner but only reasonable that He should tell us how we should approach Him.

At the end of that week after having spent eight (8) years of formal theological studies I knew cognitively (head knowledge) that Islam was true. But I did not embrace Islam at that time because I did not believe it in my heart. I continued to pray, to read the Bible, to attend lectures at the Islamic Center. I was in earnest asking and seeking God’s direction. It is not easy to change your religion. I did not want to loose my salvation if there was salvation to loose. I continued to be shocked and amazed at what I was learning because it was not what I was taught that Islam believed. In my Master’s level, the professor I had was respected as an authority on Islam yet his teaching and that of Christianity in general is full of Misunderstanding. He and many Christians like him are sincere but they are sincerely wrong.

Two months later after having once again prayed seeking God’s direction, I felt something drop into my being! I sat up, and it was the first time I was to use the name of Allah, and I said, “Allah, I believe you are the One and Only True God.” There was peace that descended upon me and from that day four years ago until now I have never regretted embracing Islam. This decision did not come without trial. I was fired from my job as I was teaching in two Bible Colleges at that time , ostracized by my former classmates, professors and co-pastors, disowned by my husband’s family, misunderstood by my adult children and made a suspicion by my own government. Without the faith that enables man to stand up to Satanic forces I would not ha ve been able to withstand all of this. I am ever so grateful to Allah that I am a Muslim and may I live and die a Muslim.

“Truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for God the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner has He, this I am commanded. And I am the first of those who bow to Allah in Islam

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Why Grand Daughter of Priest/Pastor Accepted Islam ?

I was born and raised in the bible belt here in America.

My great great grandparents, my great-grandparents, and my grandparents, as well as my sister’s husband were all preachers of christianity. I was raised in a strict pentacostal home. We went to church on Sundays and wednesdays. Anyone who knows much about the pentacostal know we were were not allowed to wear jewelry, or watch televsion, or wear pants as they resembled men. Nor were we allowed to cut our hair or wear make-up. It was a strict environment and seperate from other denominations where these things were allowed.

In the church they would speak this tongue and say it was holy ghost or holy spirit. The preacher claimed that God was talking through him and my childhood I spent sitting in the pew listening to the pastors yell into the microphone. The typical service was opening prayer, then singing, Sunday School, singing again, sermon and once again singing. At the end of each service the pastor would say that God was telling him someone needed prayer…and I always thought in my head that every Sunday someone was in need of prayer ..so why did God tell the pastor every week? It was the same routine. Once the the pastor called people to the front for prayer the musicians would take their place at their instruments. Then the elders would gather around the one at the altar praying and the music would be a sad song like “The Old Rugged Cross” or “Reach out and Touch the Lord” . And while the person praying started crying and speaking in tongues, the song would end. The next song would be upbeat such as “Jesus on the mainline Call him up” and people would stomp their feet, jump and run around the church like the devil himself was on their tails.

My sister and all I knew there had recieved this holy ghost but no matter how hard I cried, nor how hard I begged God for this gift I never recieved it. I saw them run around the church and worship at the altar, and I never felt the urge to run with the spirit. I was given excuses as to why I wasn’t recieving it. One of them being I didn’t want it bad enough. But many nights I had spent as a little girl begging and pleading with God for this gift of the holy spirit that was needed to go to Heaven. I knew I had wanted it maybe even more than anyone else. Constantly facing that rejection I was feeling slowly pushed me away from God.

At 14 yrs of age I became pregnant out of wedlock through circumstances out of my hand (I will not get into that story) and the preacher got in front of the church and used me a example of a sinner. My punishment a bastard child as he called my son. ( I married the father a year later).

He condemned me to hell and said I had no business there with the people of God. That Jesus didn’t accept me because of this sin. Claiming I had opened the door to Hell for myself as well as my son. I walked out of that church and have not gone back. My family to the day continues at that church. I moved away from God. I had thought if God does not forgive me for this what sense is there to pray. If my soul is destined to hell already why try anymore? These thoughts continued until I convinced myself that God was not real , just a fairytale like Santa Claus. Astaghfirullah.

For years I believed nothing. Times got harder for me, I was abused by my catholic husband, suffered alot of losses,and I started crying out to God yet again. This time I didn’t pray for the gift of holy ghost, I prayed for guidance, that He (God) would lead me to him and the truth. Some nights I would walk around in my yard talking to God and begging with all my heart for truth and for my heart to be opened. Many tears I shed seeking guidance.

As I was telling a friend one day on how lost I felt, how I wanted to love God, and how I wanted God to accept me in heaven not send me to hell, my friend says to me

” I know you are not muslim, but for your sake of sanity and peace, please read the Quran”

If only just for some peace.” At that time my mind was tortured, I was emotionally a wreck. I wasn’t going to read the Quran, I had been told Islam was the home of Anti-christ and that Islam was evil. But it kept on my mind to read the Quran..

I thought well my friend is not evil and it could not hurt to read it. So after a week I searched all the stores in my hometown and no Quran. So I searched online.

I found on http://www.quranexplorer.com .

I started reading the Quran and saw no evil, nothing that I had been taught about the bad in Islam was in the Quran. As a matter of fact it answered questions I had.

I was amazed to learn that Allah was the same God of Jesus(peace be upon him). I read about Muhammed (peace be upon him) and learned he was not an evil man, but a good honest man.

Everything I had been taught about Islam and prophet Muhammed by the church were all lies.

[Amazing ……….. ]

So I started looking up things on Islam in addition to reading the Quran.

I hid what I was doing from everyone I knew, even deleting my history on the internet. I believed the Quran and felt its truth whereas I had always had some doubts of the bible. Tears had never flowed from my eyes reading the bible nor had my heart been moved by it. The Quran had such an impact on me. This was amazing to me.

I thought to myself I actually love God. Allah will forgive my sins. I still have the chance for heaven. This is the truth. One emotion I suffered was shock. All my life taught one thing just to find it was distorted and false. As well as realizing the grave sin I had committed by associating with Allah. Many emotions went through me.

The day I took my shahada was the happiest day of my life. I will never be able to explain the feeling of peace and acceptance I finally felt after a life of confusion and helplessness.

For anyone who has ever thought they were meant to go to hell or that they were unsettled in their life wih God, they would understand this feeling. I immediately went to prayer, teaching myself the prayers, immediately took to the hijab.

The day I took my shahada, I announced to my family I was now muslim. It has been hard for me.My children’s father tried everything to get me to turn against Islam. I stood firm in my Iman Alhamdulillah, but it resulted in my divorce.

Many spit on me, call me a non-american and terrorist, I have been physically attacked. Most of my family has disowned me.

My mother thinks it is a phase I’m going through but still defends me.

My sister refuses to let me speak of Islam at all, and makes a point to say ” thank you jesus and jesus loves you” in front of me and my children. In times like this I just smile, ignore, or say “sorry you feel the way you do” I realize that if I resort to anger then it will confirm people’s belief that Islam is bad.

My son took it all the hardest because of his loyalty to my mother and sister, but I am proud to say all four of my children have now took to learning the prayers.

May Allah guide me in teaching them.

I know all there is about the holy bible, I have read it, been taught it all my life. It contradicts itself.

The Quran speaks truth and I hope that many realize this before the doors of heaven close on forgiveness.

Story of Sister Aisha

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The Best thing I ever did [Christianity to Islam]

Here is my reversion story. I wrote this a number of years ago for my very first blog, which sadly does not exist any more.

My journey to Islam started at the tender age of 15, in Dayton, Ohio, USA; the city where I grew up. As a sophomore in high school, I engaged in all the usual activities, school, sports, and friends demanded most of my time. I stayed at my mother’s house; my parents had been divorced for a number of years. I had very little to do with my father and I would, often, go six months to a year without seeing or even speaking to him. In many ways, I was a typical American youth; moreover, I was a staunch American nationalist; I loved America and dreamed of joining its armed forces. Islam would change me; free me from the burden of prejudice and save the world from one more egotistical American. The key events which lead to my reversion, took place when I had not yet heard about Islam or Muslims.

During the summer of ’96, my mother made an announcement; she would no longer hold the belief that Jesus was the son of God; she adopted a strange mix of Taoism, Hinduism, and new age beliefs. This profound statement affected me deeply and played a crucial role in igniting my conscience. Although, we considered ourselves as a Christian family – we celebrated Christmas and Easter, my father would send us off to the occasional Sunday school, and my mother would, from time to time, drag the whole family to a night service – Christianity had little sway over us outside of the church. As my siblings and I grew older, our church attendance gradually decreased. Until, finally, after an exceptionally long and boring Easter sermon, we stopped altogether. My brother became and unashamed atheist – Although, I can now say as of last year, 2005, Alhamdulillah, he has accepted Islam and joined the ranks of the believers. My sister retained a belief in God; however, she shunned the establishment of the church and organized religion. Prior to my mother declaration, I had given little thought to God or religion and I cared even less.

My mother’s abandonment of Christianity, though I’m not entirely sure she seen it as that, sent me on a quest for the truth. I asked myself if I even believed in God; I often thought religion would be discovered by future generations as mythology only fools could believe, much in the same way we did with the gods of Rome and Greece. Is there any truth to religion and how could we possibly know what the real truth was? After all, a wide variety of ideas and assumptions are masqueraded around as truth, certainly, not all of these “truths” could be true. Thoughts of God and religion began to consume me; they invaded my conscience, whenever I had an idle moment.

After a short time, I went to my mother with an amazing task, I would find out the truth about God! She encouraged me and allowed me to borrow her book titled “Taoism”. I chose that book first because Taoism had prompted my mother’s apostasy from Christianity. I had to know what was written on those pages that changed my mother so dramatically. I read it eagerly and finished it in just a few sittings. I could not, however, find a single sentence of any value in the entire book. I was disappointed but not discouraged.

The next logical step, I decided, was to re-explore Christianity; it was the religion I grew up in and to which my father still belonged; I owed it to Christianity. Shortly there after, a minister from a southern Baptist church – the same denomination as my father – knocked at my door; inviting me to church. This was exactly what I was looking for, plus he offered to take me to and from church every Sunday, it was a deal I couldn’t refuse.

Upon learning of my intention to go to church, my mother warned me not to believe everything just because the preacher says it; sound advice for everyone. She also encouraged me to seek my own truth; a silly notion really, as if there can be more than one truth, which she undoubtedly got from her new age ideology. However, this little encouragement would, later, give me the strength to enter the fold of Islam and then to announce it proudly, because it allowed me to be free from the reproach of my mother, after all, she told me to “seek my own truth”. Just this past year, I learnt that she only meant that I should find out which Christian denomination was the truth. I find that odd, owing to her refusal of the trinity and even the Day of Judgement. Knowing that would not have made a difference in my acceptance of Islam, however my ignorance of it allowed me to openly practice and propagate my new beliefs.

I attended church regularly for months. I was baptised. I played softball. I went to many functions. I listened to countless lectures about Jesus and how he would bare all my sins. I also read the bible quite often. I practiced Christianity to the best of my ability, hoping in some benefit. My mother, I was told, was secretly scared I was becoming fanatical. Although, I’m sure she would say the same about me now, perhaps worse! Christianity, despite my best effort, failed in bringing me any benefit. Thinking back, I don’t know if I ever believed in the Christian ideology and I certainly wasn’t convinced of its superiority.

During my adventure with Christianity and unknown to me, my sister began dating a Palestinian Muslim she met while working. Soon after, they were married, they had to be married in a mosque, he gave her money, and all the women covered their heads. That was my first introduction to Islam. I lived 15 years before I had even heard about it and nearly four more years would pass before I became one of its followers. My sister’s husband quickly became my best friend. Through him, I learned: Jesus was counted among their prophets, they didn’t eat pork, they fasted one month each year, and many other basic practices. I never gave much thought to Islam and I even mocked some of its beliefs, until, I seen the high regard and esteem that Muslims hold the Qur’an. My brother in-law suggested that I read it but prevented me from touching it until I had a religious bath. I never seen the bible respected and honoured in such a way; it was at that point I began to think seriously about Islam.

I continued going to church, although, I began to feel disconnected and distanced from it. My brother in-law successfully caused me to doubt many core Christian beliefs. My attendance steadily declined, until my eventual break with the church and all things Christian, provoked, oddly enough, by a boxing match. Mike Tyson (a Muslim) fought Evander Holyfield (a Christian), in a Saturday night main event. Holyfield turned it into a battle between Islam and Christianity; Tyson was thoroughly beaten. After the fight, I was astonished by the grace and piety of Tyson. I know that sounds ridiculous given Tyson’s recent past, however, on this occasion he just sat in his corner and calmly tried to explain that he didn’t know what happened. He then praised God, Almighty. Holyfield by contrast was arrogant and full of himself. He declared that his victory was because his God was better than Tyson’s God. My observation was obvious: Tyson’s religion taught him to be grateful in times of defeat and Holyfield learnt nothing from his religion. The following morning, the preacher picked me up for church. On the way he began discussing the fight with me, he was excited and proud and was especially impressed by Holyfield’s statement. He urged me to agree with it, but I didn’t agree with it. I remained silent. I felt angry that this type of arrogance was condoned by the church. I told myself that this was my last trip to church and that I too would become a Muslim.

My decision to become Muslim was a moment of clarity for me, I instantly felt my worries melt away. I was happy, content, and satisfied. God made me aware at the moment of my decision that it was the correct one, despite my limited knowledge of Islam. I wish that I could do it all over again just for that feeling, the feeling of God’s approval. I turned to my brother in-law, without telling him what had transpired, with a desire to learn more about Islam. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to help me in the way I needed. Perhaps because he didn’t know I wanted to be Muslim or I didn’t know the right questions to ask. This deterred me from accepting Islam, until I became distracted with my worldly pursuits.

A considerable amount of time passed, including a year I spent studying in Europe, before I returned to learning about Islam. I even joined the army for a few weeks. It was only due to the re-emergence of Islam in my life that I got out of it before it was too late. I shiver every time I think that I could have been associated with those murdering criminals. I, finally, rejoined my quest in the summer of ’99 at 18 years of age. I still didn’t know any other Muslims besides my brother in-law; therefore I turned to the internet to fill the gap. Among the things that I read, I was most impressed by the way Muslims singled out God, alone. All worship is for God and He has no partner, what so ever; not even Muhammed, salallahu alayhi wasallam, had a share. Calling on God alone is not something a Christian is accustomed to; however, I found the complete reliance on God refreshing.

In the next few months, I implemented some of Islam’s practices in my life. I stopped eating pork, drinking alcohol, and stayed away from girls. I also stayed aloof from my friends, preferring the quite solitude of the library over the school cafeteria. I prayed to God for guidance; I believe it was due to my sincerity that God opened my heart to Islam, all praise and thanks belong to Him.

I formally entered Islam in December 1999 by pronouncing my Shahadah in the mosque after Friday prayers. After my reversion, many people asked me what caused me to accept Islam. Regrettably, I was never able to give them a proper answer; I would just say because it is truth and I liked how Muslims prayed. This was, obviously, not a satisfying answer. Now I can answer that I came into Islam because of the feeling I got, the day I preferred Islam over Christianity and Islam’s strict monotheism convinced me of its truth. The wonderful sound of Suratul Baqarah and the beautiful image of Muslims praying in unison were bonuses.

Allah Akbar !

Praise be to Allah Lord of the World…

credit given : http://islamgreatreligion.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/the-best-thing-i-ever-did-christianity-to-islam/

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American woman, Another Reverts to Islam

My name is Sharon. I’m American & live in Texas. When I was a child, I was taught to worship God at the appropriate times – Christmas, Easter, & Need Help Day. We went to church but we weren’t crazy enough to let that effect our lifestyle or anything. After all people who base their lives around God are annoying & need therapy right?

So, this was our way and our family seemed quite pleased with it until I hit puberty. I wanted to know why God created me & no one could give me a satisfactory answer. Go through this life for what? A house, a car & 2.5 children did not seem like a good reason to me. I had trouble motivating myself when I realized I cared very little what others thought of me.

I decided to eat, drink & be merry because I did not have a clue. I dedicated myself to thrills & merriment AND I WAS GOOD AT IT. My parents declared it Need Help Day and began to pull out their only defence – the Bible. I decided it was time to be on my own my, parents did not understand my right to party & they were so boring.

I left with 5 dollars & went to live with flower children. Life was just a big party. Then I began to feel sorry for my parents at Christmas time & went home. They had a wonderful surprise planned for me – a Christian Reform school just for me! I was soon packed, shipped and on my way. I arrived at the door of this home for wayward girls & was led into an office to meet the evangelist that ran the ministry that ran the home.

“What’s your name?”, he said as he extended a friendly handshake. I told him my name and shook his hand. Then, he managed to surprise me by biting my thumb,” Don’t you give me that HIPPY handshake! We’ll soon run the devil out of you!” I made the mistake of saying, “Can I leave with him?”. The rest of the day was spent showing me my bed & telling me the rules.

Bars on the windows, surrounded by a barbed wire fence, intercoms in every room so that THEY could hear you, radio bible broadcast in the morning at 5, 15 minutes of every class in bible study, then home to bible study, then more radio bible broadcast then 2 hours to bathe & get ready for tomorrow. I knew the first ten minutes I was there that I would make a break for it at the first possible opportunity.

The next day I jumped the barbed wire fence & booked it. I hitched a ride with a stranger, who to my horror turned out to be one of the dreaded WORKERS. They drove me right back to the home & I was ushered into PAPA’S office for punishment. I found out Papa was a man about 6’5, middle aged. He asked my name. I was angry at this point and responded with, “Do you talk to God?” He said, “Yes, quite often”. I said, ” Then why don’t you ask him what my name is?” I was beaten severely with a black jack by a 24 year old man that wanted to please Christ by putting me in my place.

I never gave him the pleasure of seeing me cry. Amazingly enough, I am grateful for all of these events because this was the beginning of my search for the true church of Jesus having painfully become aware that this was definitely not it. I was forced to read the Bible & read it I did, not for them – for me. I was searching for truth for myself. I asked Jesus to save me and come into my heart. Everything was supposed to be wonderful after that, but everything wasn’t.

Great, I was going to heaven now (everyone assured me of that).

BUT WHY WAS I CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE? AND GOD, WHY WONT YOU LET ME TELL YOU MY PROBLEMS – WHY DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH JESUS? JESUS IS WONDERFUL BUT I NEED YOU.

I was finally released from the home back to the loving home of my family. They were eating pig meat & it bothered me. I told them the Bible says in Deuteronomy not to eat pigs. They said I was driving them crazy, had become a religious fanatic & it was plainly not normal to worry about what God thinks ALL THE TIME.

I was asked by my parents to find someplace else to live. I was 15 years old. I searched for the pure teachings of Jesus. I knew belief in Jesus was not enough. I need guidance and answers. I led a very lonely life even though I was surrounded by people. I went to many many many churches searching, always searching.

I never considered Islam as a possibility because Christian preachers had already warned us of AND HOW THEY FORCE YOU INTO THEIR RELIGION.

All the lies they told me about Islam kept me from even putting Islam on the shelf as a possibility. Preachers tell tall tales but they have no effect on the plans of Allah. I read the Bible for many years because I wanted to be sure of which Christian religion should join. I had heard many ministers claiming to have the ‘ Holy Spirit’ guiding them, and they were all teaching different doctrines. I came to realize that ANYONE could claim almost anything as Biblical teaching and I understood why, when I came across too many mistakes to print here.

The modern day Bible was collected and binded together in the 16th century. It was supervised by King James who had control of the church at that time. Books of the Bible we have today are books which agreed with the interpretation of the scholars of a particular school of thought. The chapters they did not feel expressed their point of view were not included in the Bible and called fraudulent. The average man never got a look at those chapters because the matters of the heart were decided for him by the church council which was functioning under the political wheel of the government.

I finally threw my hands in the air & gave up because of these Bible Verses:

Isiah 46:3 I will not meet thee as a man.

Isaih 46:8 Neither shall I know the loss of children

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted he is able to soccour them that are tempted.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man.

1 John 3:2 Beloved now are we the sons of God.

1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not. Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him neither known him.

1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin we decieve ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Matthew 15:24 I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel ( HE did not say he was sent to all mankind).

Mark 6:4 ( here Jesus calls himself a prophet)

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto them, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God.

I was told that God was always there & that he was not made. We are told that Jesus is made in:

Hebrews 2:9 and Hebrews 1:4

Ecclesiastes 3:19 so that man hath no preeminence above a beast.

Genesis 1:28 ..and have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 … the dead know not anything neither have they anymore a reward.

Psalms 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned and in the keeping of them there is great reward.

Ecclesiastes 10:19… but money answereth all things.

Isaih 52:3 … and ye shall be redeemed without money.

1st Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear O Israel the lord our God is one Lord.

Psalms 82:6 I have said ye are gods and all of you are children of the Most High.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels.

Hebrews 1:2 Spoken to us by his son..being made so much better than the angels.

Genesis 32:30 I saw God face to face.

1 John 4:12 no man hath seen God at any time.

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker strong drink is raging and whosoever is decieved thereby is not wise.

1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water but use a little wine for thy stomachs sake and thine often infirmities.

Genesis 1:22 And god blessed them saying be fruitful and multiply.

1 Corinthians 7:1 it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2nd Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God.

1 Corinthians 7:6 and I speak this by permission and not of commandment.

1 Corinthians She is happier if she so abide after my judgement and I think also that I have the spirit of God.

Phillipians 2:6 Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal to God.

John 5:57 Ye have neither heard his voice at any time or seen his shape.

2nd Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches (says Paul)

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.

John 5:30 I can of mine ownself do nothing.

John 8:42 Jesus said unto them if God were your father ye would love me for I proceeded forth and came from God NEITHER CAME I OF MYSELF, but HE sent me.

AND THE LIST GOES ON…..THE LIST GOES ON.

Is there any wonder I was bewildered?

I became convinced that God hated me because He would not let me find the Truth. About this time an acquaintance sent me a pamphlet about Islam. She was American like me. I felt so sorry for the poor stupid misled thing. I was quite sure she was weak minded & had let her Arab husband brainwash her. I opened the pamphlet because I was sure it was stupid & nothing is better to make fun of than Muslims.

I had never been exposed to anything but Arab boozers & Muslims who were not practising their religion. Those people were so easy to put down. I would tell them,” Look at you. YOU can’t even believe in your own religion enough to practice it!”The pamphet said

The guy who wrote this pamphlet was a different sort of Arab – to my dismay, not an easy target. I stopped reading in the middle of the pamphlet because I knew HE KNOWS THE TRUTH! I can’t believe this! God has given the Truth to the Muslims! They are Arabs! I’m not Arab! This is a disaster! I cannot be a Muslim , everyone I know hates Muslims! I will have to dress like those women and take off my beloved make-up! How could you do this to me God?!

Then I thought I’d play a game with God…Well, they might not have the Truth & I’m not SURE they have the truth – so I’ll just forget about all of this. I’d been on my own since age 15 & was now 26. I was lonely. I asked God to send me a husband. I asked God for a religious man (I had a Christian man in mind when I placed this request. I made a solemn promise to God to marry the very next man who asked me. I was going to take it as a sign.)

Allah has never failed to answer my requests. The next man to ask me to marry him was Palestinian. He was 2 things I did not want in a man – he was Arab & he was Muslim. He was different than any man I’d ever met. He was practicing Islam & he did not drink. I complained to God. I was convinced God sent me an Arab Muslim to ask me for marriage because He hated me.

I was now angry with God & decided to marry this Muslim since God will not help me. However I felt about this man’s background, I have to say it was love at first sight. The most surprising thing was that he seemed to know everything I needed. It was the first time I felt like another human being loved me. We married. Our marriage was horrible. I told him not to ever discuss his religion with me & he didn’t. I put him through a lot of misery in the beginning of our marriage.

Then one night he brought a Qur’an home to me. He handed it to me explaining that it was a Holy Book. He told me I could read it if I wanted to. My response in front of him was, “Why should I read that? Just set it over there. I don’t want it.” I waited until he went to bed & was asleep. I prayed, “Oh God show me whether or not this book is true. If the book is true I will accept it. If it is false – show me.” I opened the Qur’an and randomly read;

Proclaim ! (or Read !) In the name Of thy Lord and Cherisher,

Who created-Created man , out of A leech like clot:

Proclaim ! And thy Lord Is Most Bountiful,

He Who taught (The use of) the Pen,
Taught man that Which he knew not

I felt strangely some new emotion – I flipped open to another spot – I read :

There will be those of the people of the book who when they see the truth they will recognise it.

I quite suddenly became aware of the fact that I was touching something very Holy for the first time. I was in AWE. I knew I was holding the very Words of God. Then I realized for the first time that God did not hate me because He let me find this miracle.

I felt joy! I had found the treasure! I had finally found the Truth. I felt ashamed that I had been so arrogant towards my Creator & Merciful Allah. I knew I had been given Mercy because I found the Truth when I wasn’t even looking for it. Allah in His Mercy sent it to a poor blind fool. I sat transfixed for quite some time rejoicing in my new found treasure.

It was 4 am. Who cares?! I have found a miracle! I ran to wake my husband. “Honey! Wake up! I need to tell you something you don’t know!”

My husband woke up and said,” I have to work tomorrow. What are you talking about?”

“That book you gave me is a miracle from God! Why aren’t you guys screaming from the mountaintops about this book?!”

. My husband smiled, “Every ayah (verse) has it’s miracle – but not everybody wants to know about it.” We have 5 children now, and have been married 15 years. Islam is my way of life. Now, when rednecks asks me about why I’m wearing this thing on my head I have to smile & be patient. I was once that arrogant redneck. I understand where they are coming from

You may not believe it but:
There is no God but Allah
Muhammad is His Messenger

written by : Sharon

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Embracing Islam

I have been asked many times for the story of how I learned about Islam and came to convert…. so with the help of Allah(swt) I will make an attempt to write it. Just remember I am not a writer…this is a very personal account of my conversion.

I was born to American Christian parents in Arkansas in the Unite States and that is where I was raised also. I am known as white-American to my Arab friends but alhamdolilah that Islam knows no colour, race, or nationality. I was raised in the country on a farm. My father worked on our farm and also preached in our local Baptist church. My mother stayed at home and I am an only child. Baptist is just a sect of Christianity such as Catholics, Methodist, etc. They just have different doctrines. But basically they believe in the trinity and that Jesus (pbuh) was God’s son.

The town I was raised in was completely white raced and all Christian. There were no other religions or races with in 2oo miles of us for years so I had never been exposed to anything out side of our little town. I had always been taught that we were all created equal in the eyes of God. Later I found out that this was not really how my parents, family or friends really felt. But as long as these “other” people didn’t bother them, then these were very easy words to speak. This too would soon change. The first time I ever saw a Muslim was while I was in college at the University of Arkansas. I will admit that at first I stared at the strange clothing the Muslim men and women wore….and could not believe that the women covered up their hair. But I am a curious person so the first opportunity that I was given to get to know one of the Muslim women was a meeting that changed my life forever.

I will never forget her. Her name was Yasmine and she was from Palestine. I would sit for hours and listen to her tell me about her country, culture, family and friends that she loved so much, but even more so was the love that she had for her religion, “Islam”. Yasmine had an inner peace about her like no one I had ever met. She would tell me stories of the Prophets (pbuh) and about Allah(swt). This was when I learned that they didn’t worship some other God, it was just that in Arabic, Allah meant God. Everything she told me made so much sense to me and was so pure. Even though I had never voiced this to anyone in my family nor my friends, I had never believed in the Christian concept of the “trinity” and why I had to pray to Jesus (pbuh) and not to God directly. Yasmine did everything she could to convince me that Islam was the only true religion and that it was also a way of life. The most important thing to her was not this life but the here after and that someday her and I would meet again in paradise. When she left to go back to Palestine we knew that we would probably never see each other again here on earth and she cried and begged me to continue to learn about Islam so we could meet again ……but in heaven. I can still hear her words in my ears saying these words to me.

Yasmine had called me “Amirah” from the first time we met which means “princess” in Arabic….so when I did embrace Islam, I chose this as my legal Muslim name in her honour. So no I am not a real princess, but my Islam treats me and makes me feel as though I am. Two weeks after Yasmine returned to her country, she was killed by Israeli soldiers outside of her home. My soul mate was gone…and I felt like a part of me had died. During our time together in college I had met and made friends with a lot of people from all over the Middle East and it was also during this time that I came to love the Arabic language. It was so beautiful, especially when I would listen to them read from the Holy Qur’an. I still love having someone read to me from the Qur’an or listening to it on tape and even though most of the time I have no idea what is being said, it still touches my heart and soul.

I am trying very hard now to learn to read and write Arabic, and with time and practice I will, insha’allah. But for those of you that chat with me on the internet and seen me type the Arabic/English, or have heard me speak it, they can tell you that I have a long ways to go, but I thank all my friends and Muslim family for their patience and tutoring. After I left college and returned to my little community, I didn’t have the honour of being around Muslims any longer. But the thirst for Islam and the Arabic language never left my heart. Which I might add upset my family and friends very much. Years later, Allah(swt) brought someone into my path that was such a wonderful example of what Islam really was that once again I began to ask questions and read everything I possibly could about this religion. Formonths and months I read and prayed….and finally on April 15th, 1996 I embraced Islam. It wasn’t one thing in particular that convinced me….it was everything about Islam that did and I will never ever give my Islam up.La elah il allah wa mohammed rasool allah, which simply means, there is only one God and Mohamad is his messenger. When my family and friends discovered that I was studying more about Islam they were enraged and rarely spoke to me. But, when I embraced Islam (converted) they totally dis-owned me and even tried to have me committed to a mental hospital because they were convinced that I was crazy.

They didn’t succeed, alhamdolilah. All of this was very destroying to me….as I loved my family and friends with all my heart, and I still do. Occasionally they will call and wish “hell” on my head…but even these calls have become less frequent. I just thank Allah(swt) that my Imaan(faith) was strong.

I spoke to my family two days after the bombing in Saudi Arabia. They called to tell me that my Uncle had been killed and that me and my “terrorist” friends were responsible and that his blood was on my hands. I cried for days and days…but again my Imaan stood strong and I continued. I have made repeated attempts to contact my family but still they refuse me and have went so far as to have their phone numbers changed, some have even had legal bans put on me so that I can not go near their homes, my mother was one of them. But insha’allah I will keep trying to reach them but it has now been over 9 months since I have heard from them. About four days after the bombing, I returned from shopping and found the words “terrorist lover” spray painted down the side of one of my vehicles. When the police arrived to make a report I asked them to check for any damages that might have been done to it that would keep me from driving it to a place of safety…as I no longer felt safe in my home. They refused, stating that ” I could have had some of my terrorist friends plant a bomb for them somewhere on the vehicle”. I could not believe what I was hearing. But things were only going to get worse. A lot worse in fact. I was attacked in a parking lot one night by a man that proceeded to beat me and stabbed me.

He was caught….and is now serving his punishment……”community service” which entails picking up trash in the street and highway, mowing the mayors yard and running errands for the police department, but yet we wonder why we have such a high crime rate here in the US. I have had the brake lines cut on my vehicles so many times that I have lost count. I have been attacked in my home by an unknown man. The ringing of gun shots is a very familiar sound…as they stand outside and shoot at my home. A dry cleaners in town conveniently lost all of my Islamic clothing, which included my jilbabs, abayas, hijabs and niqabs…..strange that all my western clothing was returned. These people here including my family and friends have taken away a lot of things and destroyed alot of things…but the one thing they can never take away is my Islam and they will never destroy my Imaan and alhamdolilah Allah(swt) has always protected me.

At the time of this editing I am fighting in court for a matter which I am not at liberty to discuss here in public, but no I didn’t commit a crime….but the courts have forbidden me to leave this town. But insh’allah in the end they will not win this battle. What little knowledge I have about Islam and continue to gain is from what I find on the internet and from books and materials that are sent to me by my true Muslim friends and family on the “internet”. I thank them for sharing their knowledge and for their prayers and words of encouragement and all my respect and prayers are with each and everyone of you.

To Yasmine…..my friend and sister in Islam and who was the first person to share with me about Islam….I know that when I embraced Islam you smiled and gave Allah(swt) all the praise and glory…and I will see you in paradise, insha’allah. I am not writing this in hopes of gaining pity or sympathy. I do ask that you keep my in your prayers. But the injustices that we Muslims face all over the world has got to come to an end. It is time that the media be made to print the “true” side of Islam, and not what ever they chose to print or show. And if they insist on making sure that when there is trouble in the Middle East or here in the US and “Islam” or “Muslim” is attached….then they need to be made to attach “Christian” or “Christianity” when something horrible happens. They would run out of ink though. For us as Muslims we have to put aside our traditions, cultures and governments and just be the Muslims that Allah(swt) intended us to be.

As for being an American Muslim female….we have faced prejudices against us from the Islamic countries because we were not born Muslim and from parents and families that judge us on our race, colour and nationality when we should be judged on our Islam. Culture and traditions are very important to each and every one of us…but are we truly going to put it above our Islam? If we don’t support and help each other, then who will? My thanks and appreciation to the owners and editors of the papers in UAE, where this article will appear.

Sincerely Your friend and sister in Islam

Admonition
Please read the story and wake up because the time is slipping out of our hands. Please remember the Prophet praised and glorified Allah and then said, ” Just now at this place I have seen what I have never seen before, including Paradise and Hell. No doubt it has been inspired to me that you will be put to trials in your graves and these trials will be like the trials of Masiah-ad-Dajjal or nearly like it (the sub narrator is not sure which expression Asma’ used). You will be asked, ‘What do you know about this man (the Prophet Muhammad)?’ Then the faithful believer (or Asma’ said a similar word) will reply, ‘He is Muhammad Allah’s Apostle who had come to us with clear evidences and guidance and so we accepted his teachings and followed him. And he is Muhammad.’ And he will repeat it thrice. Then the angels will say to him, ‘Sleep in peace as we have come to know that you were a faithful believer.’ On the other hand, a hypocrite or a doubtful person will reply, ‘I do not know, but I heard the people saying something and so I said it.’ (the same) ”

– Story of Sister Amirah

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A former radical feminist and Southern Baptist Accepted Islam

This American lady, a former radical feminist and Southern Baptist from Oklahoma, studied the Quran, Sahih Muslim and fifteen other books on Islam in an attempt to convert the Arabs in her college class to Christianity and “save those poor ignorant heathens from the fires of hell.” But guess what happened!

The Introduction and Decision

I was completing a degree in Recreation, when I met my first Muslims. It was the first year that we had been able to pre-register by computer. I pre-registered and went to Oklahoma to take care of some family business. The business took longer than expected, so I returned to school two weeks into the semester (too late to drop a course).

I wasn’t worried about catching up my missed work. I was sitting at the top of my class, in my field. Even as a student, I was winning awards, in competition with professionals.

Now, you need to understand that while I was attending college and excelling, ran my own business, and had many close friends, I was extremely shy. My transcripts actually had me listed as severely reticent. I was very slow to get to know people and rarely spoke to anyone unless was forced to, or already knew them. The classes I was taking has to do administration and city planning, plus programming for children. Children were the only people I ever felt comfortable with.

Well, back to the story. The computer printout held one enormous surprise for me. I was registered for a Theatre class…a class were I would be required to perform in front of real live people. I was horrified! I could not even ask a question in class, how was I going to get on a stage in front of people? My husband was his usual very calm and sensible self. He suggested that I talk to the teacher, explain the problem, and arrange to paint scenery or sew costumes. The teacher agreed to try and find a way to help me out. So I went to class the following Tuesday.

When I entered the classroom, I received my second shock. The class was full of ‘Arabs’ and ‘camel jockeys’. Well, I had never seen one but I had heard of them.

There was no way I was going to sit in a room full of dirty heathens! After all, you could catch some dreadful disease from those people. Everyone knew they were dirty, not to be trusted either. I shut the door and went home. (Now, there is one little thing you should know. I had on a pair of leather hot pants, a halter top, and a glass of wine in my hands…but they were the bad ones in my mind.)

When I told my husband about the Arabs in the class and that there was no way I was going back, he responded in his usual calm way. He reminded that I was always claiming that God had a reason for everything and maybe I should spend some time thinking about it before I made my final decision. He also reminded me that I had a scholars award that was paying my tuition and if I wanted to keep it, I would have to maintain my G.P.A.. Three credit hours or ‘F’ would have destroyed my chances.

For the next two days, I prayed for guidance. On Thursday I went back to the class convinced that God had put me there to save those poor ignorant heathens from the fires of hell.

I proceeded to explain to them how they would burn in the fires of hell for all eternity, if they did not accept Jesus as their personal savior. They were very polite, but did not convert. Then, I explained how Jesus loved them and had died on the cross to save them from their sins. All they had to do was accept him into their hearts. They were very polite, but still did not convert. So, I decided to read their own book to show them that Islam was a false religion and Mohammed was a false God.

One of the students gave me a copy of the Qur’an and another book about Islam, and I proceeded with my research. I was sure I would find the evidence I needed very quickly. Well, I read the Qur’an and the other book. Then I read another 15 books, Sahih Muslim and returned to the Qur’an. I was determined I would convert them! My studies continued for the next one and half years.

During that time, I started having a few problems with my husband. I was changing, just in little ways but enough to bother him. We used to go to the bar every Friday and Saturday, or to a party, and I no longer wanted to go. I was quieter and more distant. He was sure I was having an affair, so he kicked me out. I moved into an apartment with my children and continued my determined efforts to convert the Muslims to Christianity.

The, one day, there was a knock on my door. I opened the door and saw a man in a long white night gown with a red and white checkered table cloth on his head. He was accompanied by three men in pajamas. (It was the first time I had ever seen their cultural dress.) Well, I was more than a little offended by men showing up at my door in night clothes. What kind of a woman did they think I was? Had they no pride or dignity? Imagine my shock when the one wearing the table cloth said he understood I wanted to be a Muslim! I quickly informed him I did not want to be a Muslim. I was Christian.

However, I did have a few questions. If he had the time….

His name was Abdul-Aziz Al-Shiek and he made the time. He was very patient and discussed every question with me. He never made me feel silly or that a question was stupid. He asked me if I believed there was only one God and I said yes. Then he asked if I believed Mohammed was His Messenger. Again I said yes. He told me that I was already a Muslim!.

I argued that I was Christian, I was just trying to understand Islam. (Inside I was thinking: I couldn’t be a Muslim! I was American and white! What would my husband say? If I am Muslim, I will have to divorce my husband. My family would die!)

We continued talking. Later, he explained that attaining knowledge and understanding of spirituality was a little like climbing a ladder. If you climb a ladder and try to skip a few rungs, there was danger of falling. The Shahadah was just the first step on the ladder. Still we had to talk some more.

Later that afternoon, May 21, 1977 at Asr’, I took Shahadah. However, there were still some things I could not accept and it was my nature to be completely truthful so i added a disclaimer.

I said: “I bear witness that there is no god but God and Mohammed is His Messenger” ‘but, I will never cover my hair and if my husband takes another wife, I will castrate him.’

I heard gasps from the other men in the room, but Abdul Aziz silenced them. Later I learned that he told the brothers never to discuss those two subjects with me. He was sure I would come to the correct understanding.

The Shahadah was indeed a solid footing on the ladder to spiritual knowledge and closeness to God. but it has been a slow climb. Abdul Aziz continued to visit me and answer my questions. May Allah reward him for his patience and tolerance. He never admonished me or acted like a question was stupid or silly. He treated each question with dignity and told me that the only stupid question was the one never asked. Hmmm…my grandmother used to say that.

He explained that Allah ahd told us to seek knowledge and questions were one of the ways to accomplish that. When he explained something, it was like watching a rose open – petal by petal, until it reached its full glory. When I told him that I did not agree with something and why, he always said I was correct up to a point. The he would show me how to look deeper and from different directions to reach a fuller understanding. Alhamdulillah!

Over the years, I had many teachers. Each one special, each one different. I am thankful for each one of them and the knowledge they gave. Each teacher helped me to grow and to love Islam more. As my knowledge increased, the changes in me became more apparent. Within the first year, I was wearing hijab. I have no idea when I started. It came naturally, with increased knowledge and understanding. In time I even came to to a proponent of polygamy. I knew that if Allah had allowed it, there had to be something good in it.

“Glorify the name of thy Guardian – Lord Most High, Who hath created, and further, given order and proportion; Who hath measured, and granted guidance; and Who bringeth out the (green and lush) pasture, and doth make it (but) swarthy stubble, By degrees shall We teach thee (The Message), so thou shalt not forget, except as Allah wills: for He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden. And We will make it easy for thee (to follow) the simple (path).” (Al-A’la 87:1-8)

When I first started to study Islam, I did not expect to find anything that I needed or wanted in my personal life. Little did I know that Islam would change my life. No human could have ever convinced me that I would finally be at peace and overflowing with love and joy because of Islam.

This book spoke of THE ONE GOD, THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. It described the beautiful way in which He had organised the world. This wondrous Qur’an had all the answers. Allah is The Loving! Allah is the Source of Peace! Allah is the Protector! Allah is the Forgiver! Allah is the Provider! Allah is the maintainer! Allah is the Generous One! Allah is the Responsive! Allah is the Protecting Friend! Allah is the Expander!

“Have we not expanded thee thy breast? And removed from thee thy burden the which did gall thy back? And raised high the esteem (in which) thou (art held)? So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily, with every difficulty there is relief!” (Al-Ishirah, 94: 1-6)

The Qur’an addressed all the issues of existence and showed a clear path to success. It was like a map forgiving, an owner manual for life!

How Islam changed my Life

“How much more we love the light…If once we lived in Darkness.”

When I first embraced Islam, I really did not think it was going to affect my life very much. Islam did not just affect my life. It totally changed it.

Family life: My husband and I loved each other very deeply. That love for each other still exists. Still, when I started studying Islam, we started having some difficulties. He saw me changing and did not understand what was happening. Neither did I. But then, I did not even realise I was changing. He decided that the only thing that could make me change was another man. There was no way to make him understand what was changing me because I did not know.

After I realised that I was a Muslim, it did not help matters. After all…the only reason a woman changes something as fundamental as her religion is another man. He could not find evidence of this other man…but he had to exist. We ended up in a very ugly divorce. The courts determined that the unorthodox religion would be detrimental to the development of my children. So they were removed from my custody.

During the divorce, there was a time when I was told I could make a choice. I could renounce this religion and leave with my children, or renounce my children and leave with my religion. I was in shock. To me this was not a possible choice. If I renounce my Islam….I would be teaching my children how to be deceptive. For there was no way to deny what was in my heart. I could not deny Allah, not then, not ever.

I prayed like I had never prayed before. After the thirty minutes was up, I knew that there was no safer place for my children to be than in the hands of Allah. If I denied him, there would be no way in the future to show my children the wonders of being with Allah. The courts were told that I would leave my children in the hands of Allah. This was not a rejection of my children!

I left the courts knowing that life without my babies would be very difficult. My heart bled, even though I knew, inside, I had done the right thing. I found solace in Ayat-Ul-Khursi.

“Allah! There is no god but He – the Living, the Self-subsisting, Supporter of all. No slumber can seize him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and he feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is Most High, The Supreme (in Glory).” (Al-Baqarah, 2:255)

This also got me started looking at all the attributes of Allah and discovering the beauty of each one.

Child custody and divorce were not the only problems I was to face. The rest of my family was not very accepting of my choice either. Most of the family refused to have anything to do with me. My mother was of the belief that it was just a phase and I would grow out of it. My sister, the ‘mental health expert’ was sure I had simply lost my mind and should be institutionalised. My father believed I should be killed before placed myself deeper in Hell. Suddenly I found myself with no husband and no family.

What would be next?

Friends: Most of my friends drifted away during that first year. I was no fun anymore. I did not want to go to parties or bars. I was not interested in finding a boyfriend. All I ever did was read that ‘stupid’ book (the Qur’an) and talk about Islam. What a bore. I still did not have enough knowledge to help them understand why Islam was so beautiful.

Employment: My job was next to go. While I had won just about every award there was in my field and was recognised as a serious trend setter and money maker, the day I put on hijab, was the end of my job. Now I was without a family, without friends and without a job.

In all this, the first light was my grandmother. She approved of my choice and joined me. What a surprise! I always knew she had alot of wisdom, but this! She died soon after that. When I stop to think about it, I almost get jealous. The day she pronounced Shahadah, all her misdeeds had been erased, while her good deeds were preserved. She died so soon after accepting Islam that I knew her ‘BOOK’ was bound to be heavy on the good side. It fills me with such joy!

As my knowledge grew and I was better able to answer questions, many things changed. But, it was the changes made in me as a person that had the greatest impact. A few years after I went public with my Islam, my mother called me and said she did not know what this ‘Islam thing’ was, but she hoped I would stay with it. She liked what it was doing for me.

A couple of years after that she called again and asked what a person had to do to be a Muslim. I told her that all person had to do was know that there was only ONE God and Mohammed was His Messenger. Her response was: “Any fool knows that. But what do you have to do?” I repeated the same information and she said: “Well…OK. But let’s not tell your father just yet.”

Little did she know that he had gone through the same conversation a few weeks before that. My real father (the one who thought I should be killed) had done it almost two months earlier. Then, my sister, the mental health person, she told me that I was the most ‘liberated’ person she knew. Coming from her that was the greatest compliment I could have received.

Rather than try to tell you about how each person came to accept Islam, let me simply say that more members of my family continue to find Islam every year. I was especially happy when a dear friends, Brother Qaiser Imam, told me that my ex-husband took Shahdah. When Brother Qaiser asked him why, he said it was because he had been watching me for 16 years and he wanted his daughter to have what I had. He came and asked me to forgive him for all he had done. I had forgiven him long before that.

Now my oldest son, Whittney, has called, as I am writing this book, and announced that he also wants to become Muslim. He plans on taking the Shahadah as the ISNA Convention in a couple of weeks. For now, he is learning as much as he can. Allah is The Most Merciful.

Over the years, I have come to be known for my talks on Islam, and many listeners have chosen to be Muslim. My inner peace has continued to increase with my knowledge and confidence in the Wisdom of Allah. I know that Allah is not only my Creator but, my dearest friend. I know that Allah will always be there and will never reject me. For every step I take toward Allah, He takes 10 toward me. What a wonderful knowledge.

True, Allah has tested me, as was promised, and rewarded me far beyond what I could ever have hoped for. A few years ago, the doctors told me I had cancer and it was terminal. They explained that there was no cure, it was too far advanced, and proceeded to help prepare me for my death by explaining how the disease would progress. I had maybe one year left to live. I was concerned about my children, especially my youngest. Who would take care of him? Still I was not depressed. We must all die. I was confident that the pain I was experiencing contained Blessings.

I remembered a good friend, Kareem Al-Misawi, who died of cancer when he was still in his 20’s. Shortly before he died, he told me that Allah was truly Merciful. This man was in unbelievable anguish and radiating with Allah’s love.

He said: “Allah intends that I should enter heaven with a clean book.” His death experience gave me something to think about. He taught me of Allah’s love and mercy. This was something no one else had ever really discussed. Allah’s love!

I did not take me long to start being aware of His blessings. Friends who loved me came out of nowhere. I was given the gift of making Hag. Even more importantly, I learned how very important it was for me to share the Truth of Islam with everyone. It did not matter if people, Muslim or not, agreed with me or even liked me. The only approval I needed was from Allah. The only love I needed was from Allah. Yet, I discovered more and more people, who for no apparent reason, loved me. I rejoiced, for I remembered reading that if Allah loves you, He causes others to love you. I am not worthy of all the love. That means it must be another gift from Allah. Allah is the Greatest!

There is no way to fully explain how my life changed. Alhamdulillah! I am so very glad that I am a Muslim. Islam is my life. Islam is the beat of my heart. Islam is the blood that courses through my veins. Islam is my strength. Islam is my life so wonderful and beautiful. Without Islam, I am nothing and should Allah ever turn His magnificent face from me I could not survive.

“O Allah! let my heart have light, and my sight have light, and my hearing (senses) have light, and let me have light on my right, and let me have light on my left, and let me have light above me, and have light under me, and have light in front of me, and have light behind me; and let me have light.” (Bukhari, vol. 8. pp. 221, #329)

“Oh my Lord! Forgive my sins and my ignorance and my exceeding the limits (boundaries of righteousness) in all my deeds and what you know better than I. O Allah! Forgive my mistakes, those done intentionally or out of my ignorance or (without) or with seriousness, and I confess that all such mistakes are done by me. Oh Allah! Forgive my sins of the past and of the future which I did openly or secretly. You are the One who makes the things go before, and You are the One who delays them, and You are the Omnipotent.” (Bukhari, vol. , pp. 271, #407)

Ameen

-Story of Aminah Assilmi

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American Ex-Rapper “Loon” Accepts Islam

Choosy Hokins [Chauncey Hawkins] was one of the most popular American rappers. The thirty four year old young man, who assumed the name “LOON”, was a member of “Bad Boys” band.

He was an international singer of rap and hip-hop, and the sales of his albums exceeded seven million CDs. But at the peak of his success, he left all this fame and luxury for the sake of what is greater and more dignified than all these pleasures, Islam.

This great religion succeeded to attract this youth because it answered many of the questions that confused him for years.

Loon also realized that Muslims are completely different from the rumors said about them by the American mass media as he found them very loving and hospitable people. Therefore, he did not hesitate to accept Islam, and he changed his name from Loon to Amir. His wife and his son could not resist Islam’s mysterious beauty, so they converted to Islam after him.

In spite of his great wealth and fame, Amir admits that Islam makes him feel a mysterious happiness which he did not experience during his luxurious life.

El Gizera channel interviewed Amir last week during his visit to kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and now let’s know the details of his affecting story.

Loon’s story began seven months ago, when he decided to follow the right path sacrificing his extraordinary wealth and fame. Thus, all this luxury did not prevent him from accepting Islam forgetting his great success inside and outside America.

Amir visited Mecca last week to perform Omra, Islamic rite, for the first time in his life, with his colleague Basel. Basel was also a celebrity who spent twenty one years of his life as a singer. His former name was Lizly Bridgen, and he assumed the name FREEWAY.

Although he was a successful artist, Freeway gave up his life as a singer when he announced his conversion to Islam in 1996. Basel now cooperates with a Canadian Organization which aims at attracting popular singers to accept Islam. The Universal Organization of Scientific Miracles in Riyad hosted the two American singers during their visit to the kingdom last week, and El Gizera channel interviewed them a few hours before their departure from the kingdom.

Now, let’s enjoy Amir’s interesting speech to the channel.

Describing his life before Islam, Amir says, “I was an outstanding figure in America as I achieved a brilliant success as a rapper.”

“According to the questionnaires of the American mass media, I was among the best ten singers in America,” he continues, “and my success increased when I sang with the international singer Puff Daddy.”

Amir also adds, “More than seven million CDs of my albums were sold, and I wrote the lyrics of fifty two songs of various types.”

Then, Amir tells the interviewer about the beginning of his journey to Islam saying,” seven months ago, I visited Abu Zabi, Emirate’s capital, and there I found the real happiness and tranquility which my wealth and fame failed to give me all over my life as a singer.”

He continues, “I was affected with the Arab Muslim’s culture; and I admired their refined morals, their kind treatment with people, and especially their regular going to pray in the mosque five times every day.”

He adds, “Consequently, I began to ask about the reality of this religion, and whether it was only exclusive for Arabs, and I realized that Islam includes all human beings without any consideration to their nationalities.”

Amir also declares, “Then, I announced my conversion to Islam after a profound thinking, and I prayed for the first time after my return to my home in Harlem, New York.”

In addition to this, Amir relates how Islam changed his life as follows, “Islam turned my life upside down since I renounced the profession which I practiced from seventeen years old; however, now I feel the serenity and peace of mind which I longed for all my life.”

He assures, “My relief increased a lot when my wife and my son accepted Islam.”

Amir also states, “I became very enthusiast to know more about Islam when I joined a Canadian Organization calling for Islam, and now I work on attracting the popular singers and artists to understand Islam’s tolerant principles.”

Amir describes his feelings during his visit to Mecca and to El-Medina when he states,” when I was performing Omra, a few days ago, I lived a very poignant moment when I saw the holy Kaaba for the first time in my life.”

He adds, “I could not bear this affecting situation, so I could not stand on my feet, and I began to cry thanking Allah who allowed me to perform this magnificent ritual, and to visit the Prophet’s honorable mosque.”

Finally, Amir talks about his meeting with the two Imams of El-Medina Sanctuary, El-Sheikh Ali Al-Hozaify and El-Sheikh Salah Al-Badir, saying,” It was a very pleasant and interesting meeting in which they recommended me to work in favor of Islam by calling other people to accept it; moreover, they asked me to perform Islam’s obligations, and to be modest in my treatment with other people.”

Amir also hints, “I will follow their recommendations in my new project of calling people to accept Islam.”

Before Amir’s departure, the manager of The Universal Organization for Scientific Miracles, Dr Abd Allah Ben Mohammad El-Hammody, and his assistant, Dr Ahmad Ben Hamam, gave him a number of publications which define Islam and link it with life’s diverse domains.

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Revert Story of a sister

My name is “Fatima Al-Tahira”, revised from my old name of “Glynda Lynne”. I was born into a family with 5 generations in the United States Marine Corps on the military base of Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. When I was 4 years old, my step-father decided to move my Mom, me and my half-brother to Atlanta, Georgia to be closer to his mom and dad.

From there, I was raised by my step-grandparents ad my step-father in a predominantly Southern Baptist household. I was however, taught Roman Catholicism because my mother’s family (Native American and Italian) are practicing Roman Catholics. So besides the two VERY different religious beliefs going on at the same time in my head, my grandfather tells me that he is an atheist because he thinks that people should do things on their own without any help. To seek help, even from a God is a sign of weakness. My step-grandmother however, was a practicing Southern Baptist and took me and my half-brother with her to church every Sunday. The funny thing was, after getting out of church I would expect myself to feel better or have more peace OR SOMETHING DIFFERENT LOL! But always I would still have that empty, depressed feeling inside of me. Even after when I got older and started attending Mass (Catholic service) I STILL had a feeling like something was missing from my life and could not figure out what it was.

Well, that depressed, empty feeling went on inside of me until a little bit of light came into my life when I was in college at 18 years old. In my advanced English class, we were assigned to do an essay on compare and contrast between any two subjects we wanted. For some reason, (later on I found out it was the will of ALLAH SWT Alhamduellah ^_^) I chose Sunni Muslim and Shia’a Muslim. Researching this essay almost was an introduction to Islam to me, because up until this point I did not have ANY knowledge about anything to do with Islam. I learn a lot of the various differences between the two sects: like 90% of Muslims are Sunni, most Shia’a are in Iran and how the split between the two occurred. I did not really formulate an opinion on either the Sunni or Shia’a, I was just comparing the differences between the two. Later on Alhamduellah, I chose Sunni Muslim because it just made more sense to me.

Another thing that happened from this essay (besides the intro to Islam) was that I began to have a lot of questions on Islam and what the Qur’an teaches and just the basic beliefs! Unfortunately though, two weeks after the completion of my essay, September 11th, 2001 happened and then the tremendous backlash against Islam began shortly thereafter. People everywhere, from the news to the streets, were saying really bad things about Islam. Then I would have to deal with some of that backlash for asking questions or researching on Islam. I was unfortunately; very confused at that time thinking maybe I was not doing the right thing on researching Islam because of the hateful things being said to me. So I just went along with my current belief system (Catholic) in an effort to please the people around me and maybe make them leave me alone. That attitude goes back to my childhood because if I did not do as I was told, bad things would happen. BUT I never said one bad word against any Muslim or Islam because I always felt that if I did not know anything for sure 100%, I should not speak about it. But inside of me I just KNEW that something better than what I had as far as the religious belief system was there in Islam. I just did not know what it was exactly.

So after dealing with some of the negative backlash from researching Islam, I became very scared to question too much. And the following years after that were depressing empty years (like my childhood) that always left me with the feeling that something was missing. In an attempt to sort things out and fill this emptiness inside of me, I got married to a guy that later turned out to be an abuser, and from there I needed to concentrate on finding a way out for me and my baby girl.

After my divorce from my abusive husband in 2010, Alhamduellah, I had a little bit more time to do some more research on Islam after my daughter (my angel of joy) went to bed. So I began liking the various Islamic pages on facebook and doing more research into Islam that way. About 90% of what I found, Alhamduellah, showed me the true beauty representing the REAL nature of Islam and was VERY beneficial to increasing my Iman (faith) and Aqeeda (Islamic Knowledge) a little at a time. And STILL, some of the same people came back to me telling me the same wrong thing before about Islam and how I must be soooo stupid for wanting to study a religion like Islam. The only difference was that I became stronger and a better women and told them to leave me alone and I was not listening anymore to their LIES. Then I started to ask questions again when I stopped caring how people treated me.

Shortly after that, I had a major epiphany. The epiphany happened when I came to realize that I was VERY wrong on saying that God had a SON. When I was able to stop believing that, it was like a door opened for me to TRULY understand Islam and then everything made so much more sense to me. It was at that point when I knew for sure I want to become a Muslim. Because for sure NOTHING that I have every experienced was this peaceful and loving as Islam truly is!!!

Soon after knowing EXACTLY what I wanted to do, I started performing my 5 daily prayers and a month after that I began to wear my Hijab!!! ^_^ and about 3 or 4 months later, I said my Shahada in Egypt ~SUBHANAALLAH!!!!!!!!

NOTHING I have ever done or studied gave me the peace I have been searching for my WHOLE LIFE! InshaALLAH I will always have this inner peace ^_^!!!!!!!!!!! AND I have never had the feeling of strength to be able to deal with everything I have been through, happening to me now and what continues to happen as well!!!

I LOVE ALLAH SWT, HIS PROPHET MUHAMMED (PEACE BE UPON HIM) AND ISLAM SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!! ALLAH U AKBAR!!!!!

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Five words that changed my life

Today, while out with my family at the Ashby Flea Market in Berkeley California, I ran into a man who changed the entire course of my life fifteen years ago. And he did it with a smile and one simple question. I have no doubt in my mind that had I not met this man on that cold day in February, that I would either be dead or in prison.

Fifteen years ago while on my way to a college class, I ran into a familiar looking guy who pointed at my shirt and said “good looking out” and stood up and shook my hand. I was sporting dread locks, wearing a Haile Selassie shirt, baggy jeans, suede Pumas, sunglasses and a Sessions snowboarder jacket. I was the quintessential hard to label California Bay Area pseudo hip hop hippie skater. Happy because of my rasta shirt he guy said to me “Hey I think I know you dude, we met at such and such a place. My name is Whitney Canon (who we now know as USAMA CANON).” I answered in the affirmative and we struck up a conversation and realized we had several mutual friends. This “chance” meeting would prove to be “one of two” of the most important random occurrences in my life.

Strangely it ended up that we had the same Spanish class together and ended up sitting next to one another. Over the course of a few days we learned that we were both musicians / artists. Usama had the code to the piano room in the music hall so we’d sneak into the room and sit and play music for hours and talk about spirituality. We did this just about every day for an entire semester.

One day while eating sushi at a popular Japanese restaurant near campus I confided in Usama and told him I was burnt out and tired of my life and that I had decided to get things back on track. I was living by myself in downtown San Jose, working nights waiting tables and going to school during the day. There were many things about my lifestyle (that I won’t go into detail about here) that were preventing me from success. I also had the burden of past demons that would sneak up to torment me from time to time. So, the only real solution I knew of to deal with problems of this magnitude was to get religious and go back to church.

I told Usama that I was considering going back to the Catholicism to get my life in order. He asked me if I’d ever thought about Islam. I told him that I hadn’t thought of it for myself because I felt it was either an Arab religion or a separatist black movement (which I couldn’t join because my mother is white) and that I felt the only Muslims I had ever met were hypocrites and that I’d never seen a good practicing Muslim.

He told me about his older brother (ANAS CANON) converting to orthodox Islam after a short time in the Nation Of Islam and that it wasn’t just for Arabs but that from what he knew it was a pretty universal religion. (NOTE: Usama wasn’t Muslim yet when he was telling me this). He asked me if I knew about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) and I told him that I just knew of Elijah Muhammad but that even Malcolm X said he wasn’t a real prophet. He then explained to me that there was a different man named Muhammad that was a real Prophet from Arabia and that I should look into him. At this point I started to get turned off as I usually did whenever anybody spoke to me overtly about religion. Plus once he said “Arab Prophet” I knew that Islam wasn’t for me. We ended the conversation and I headed to work. This was a Wednesday.

That night after work I went to the bookstore to buy a Bible and I walked past the “Eastern Philosophy” section and looked up and saw a green book that had the name ‘MUHAMMAD’ written down the entire spine in gold letters. I stopped and thought for a moment and then reached up and grabbed the book. The cover said ‘MUHAMMAD – His Life Based On The Earliest Sources” by Martin Lings. This phrase “earliest sources” intrigued me because although I was there to purchase a bible, I was aware of the theological debate about the number of mistakes found in the bible and it was something that troubled me greatly. So, I opened up the book and tried to read it but the Arabic names were really difficult for me to pronounce and so I was struggling to get through even a couple sentences. The four or five sentences I did read mentioned the “QUR’AN” several times. The Arabic names solidified the reality that this was an Arab religion and not something I would want to be a part of so I put the book back up on the shelf.

As I began to walk away the gold letters “MUHAMMAD” caught my eye again and looked back up at the book. This time, I noticed another book titled “THE QU’RAN.” I was going to keep walking but I remembered that I saw that word a few times in the Martin Lings book so I reached up and pulled it off the shelf. I opened it to a random page which just happened to be the very first page of Chapter Maryam. I read it from beginning to end and remember getting chills in my body as it explained in great detail the miraculous birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon Him). I had no idea that Muslims also believed in the miraculous birth of Jesus nor that they did not believe He was God’s son. As a Christian it never made sense to me that God would have a son.

Without understanding why, I found myself weeping in the bookstore holding onto a copy of a translation of the Qu’ran. I decided to buy it so I could read more about what Muslims believed. In my emotional state I completely forgot to buy a bible and left the bookstore.

The next morning (Thursday) I went to school and on my way to class I passed by a stall where a Senegalese man was selling some crafts, wallets, and african dolls. He was busy with a customer when I walked up so I just picked up a wallet and was looking at it. The customer left and the man turned to me and smiled. His smile was something I had never experienced before. The only way I describe it is that it was filled with light and love. I remember exactly the words he spoke to me. I remember them because these words would change my life. He said. “Hello brother, how are you?” I said, “I’m fine thanks.” Then he looked at me very closely while smiling at me and asked. “Brother, are you a Muslim? … you look like a Muslim.” I was shocked at his question and assumption because nobody had every made that assumption before ever and I had just bought a Qu’ran and read some it the previous night. Before that I didn’t know anything about orthodox Islam at all. I told him I wasn’t a Muslim but that I bought a Qu’ran last night and read some of it. Then, the man smiled very big, came from around his stall and gave me a hug and kept saying over and over “Oh my brother, this is so beautiful. This is so great brother. I’m so happy for you my brother. This is a good sign from Allah brother. You have made me very happy brother.” I had never met anybody so genuine and was so shocked that he was calling me brother, smiling at me, hugging me and saying he was so happy for me. His name was Khadim.

Khadim walked back around his stall and then asked me if I could do him a big favor. I told him I could. He told me that as a Muslim he has to pray five times a day at specific times and that one of the times had come and so he needed to go wash for prayer. He asked me if I could stay with his stall and watch his things as he went to pray. I told him I would and he showed me the cash box and asked if I could sell the items while he was away so he wouldn’t miss a sale. He gave me the prices and walked off.

I sat there for 30 minutes waiting for this man. You cannot imagine the thoughts that ran through my mind. I was thinking “who is this guy?” He left me with this cash. I could just take it and leave and he’d never catch me. Then I started thinking about why he wasn’t worried about his money. What is it that was so important that he left his money to a stranger? I thought about the prayer he mentioned and how important it must be if he left his worldly possessions behind. I remember thinking at that moment that I wanted something that was that important to me that it would make me forget my problems.

He came back 30 minutes later and his face was full of light. He hugged me again and kept saying “thank you brother, thank you so much.” I was blown away. I missed two classes just so I could stay with this man. I was afraid if I left him, that I would never find the peace and happiness that he carried with him.

A Pakistani student walked up and greeted him with Salams and then turned to me and asked “are you a Muslim?” I said, “No, I’m not, you are the second person to ask me that today. What made you ask me that?” He said, “I don’t know, you look like a Muslim.” I was blown away again. I told him I was reading a Quran and he was also very happy and asked me if I had ever been to a mosque before. I told him that I hadn’t and he asked me if I would like to go see one tomorrow. I told him yes (as I was now far too curious to let this go) and we exchanged numbers.

The next afternoon (Friday) he came and picked me up and we went to his house. His mother had prepared lunch for us and we sat on the floor and ate. I had never sat on the floor to eat in a house before but it didn’t feel strange to me at all. After the meal we drove to the mosque (Muslim Community Association -MCA) in Santa Clara, California.

When we walked into the mosque there were about 40 men standing in a row waiting to greet me… all of them smiling at me and shaking my hand I walked down the line. They motioned for me to sit and they gathered around me kept asking me how I was doing. One man asked me if I knew anything about Islam so I proceeded to tell him how I bought the Quran and had read some of it, etc. Then he asked me if I believed in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) and without hesitation I said YES. He asked if I believed that Jesus was God or son of God and I told him NO, that I believed he was a prophet. He then explained to me about angels, the different scriptures, sent down, the day of judgment, the divine decree, etc. After he explained all this to me he asked if I believed in all that he said and I told him YES. He said, “this is what a Muslim believes so you believe the same thing. Would you then like to become a Muslim?” I remember that I answered YES without hesitation. He helped me struggle through pronouncing the Shahada and I became a Muslim on that 17th day (Battle of Badr) of Ramadan in 1416 H / 1996.

I first heard about orthodox Islam on a wednesday afternoon, bought a Quran wednesday night, met Khadim (the Senegalese man) on Thursday who “showed me the true essence of Islam” by his actions and character, went to the mosque on Friday and became a Muslim.

Six months after I converted Usama Canon called me and asked me to tell him about Islam. We went to dinner and talked about the religion. The next day I took him to the mosque and he took his Shahada and officially became a Muslim. He was the person who first told me about Islam and then I had the honor of bringing him to the mosque so that he could become Muslim.

It was not theology or religious debate that brought me to Islam. It was music, culture, a friend I trusted, and a stranger who smiled at me. Ironically, it was Arab culture that first prevented me from seeking to know about Islam. Then, after I converted I spent a decade trying to leave behind my own culture (the very culture that led me to Islam) and attempted to adopt Arab culture as my own. It wasn’t until many years later that I was able to return to my roots as an American and reconcile that with being Muslim… in a way that is a natural reflection of my own culture and symbiotic with my faith as a Muslim.

I wrote this story today because I ran into KHADIM (the Senegalese man who smiled at me) while Usama Canon and I were out with our families. It was a chance meeting today. just like my two chance meetings with Usama and Khadim fifteen years ago. I took a picture with him today, the first picture I’ve ever taken with him because I wanted to show people the face of a man who won my heart over with nothing more than a genuine smile and good character.

“All praise be to God for the blessing of Islam… and it is enough of a blessing.”

– Revert Story of Mustafa Davis

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