What will happen to us when we die? Where would we go? Why are we here? And many more questions were running through my mind. As I am sure that nearly every person, wherever they live, come across these questions at least once in their lifetime, I strived to find answers for them.
I was born and raised in Australia in a Catholic family with an Italian background. I believed in God, believed that Jesus was the son of God, (only because that was what I was taught in school), and believed that the bible was from God. At the age of 19, I wanted to see what the bible said. I wanted to know what I had to do in order to be a good Catholic. So I turned to the Bible. Surprisingly, I came across some laws in the Bible which I had never heard of in my life. Here are some examples:
In Deuteronomy 14:8-9, it says: “The hog is unclean because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud; of their flesh, you must not eat nor may you touch their carcass.” “Of the creatures that live in water, those that have fins and scales you may eat”.
This was a shock to me, as I previously went to Italy and visited many churches including the Vatican in Rome, and never came across this before.
Continuing to read my way through chapter Deuteronomy, I noticed chapter 18:14-16 called ‘The promise to send a Prophet’. It says:
“Then Moses said, ‘In the land, you are to occupy, people follow the advice of those who practice divination and look for omens, but the Lord your God does not allow this. Instead, he will send you a Prophet like me from among your own people and you are to obey him.” At this point, I was wondering who this Prophet was. After doing research, either on the internet or talking to religious people, I discovered that Christians believe that this Prophet was supposed to be Jesus. Yet this spun me out. Christians do not believe that Jesus was a Prophet!
In that verse, Prophet Moses said that the Prophet who is going to be sent was like him. Jesus did not have many similarities to Moses. Let me give you some brief examples:
• In Christianity, Moses is considered a prophet, and Jesus is considered the son or man or God.
• Jesus healed the sick.
• Jesus' birth and death was different from Prophet Moses’s
• Jesus was rejected by his people, mainly the Jews. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Prophet Moses had difficulties but were both accepted by their people.
Yet Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is very similar to Prophet Moses:
• Both Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) migrated, Prophet Moses to Median and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to Medina.
• Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) married and had children, Prophet Jesus did not.
• Both Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) and Prophet Moses’s deaths were natural deaths, while Prophet Jesus according to Christianity had an unusual death as they believe he was crucified on the cross.
• The birth of Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad (BBUH&HP) were natural births, unlike Prophet Jesus, as both Catholics and Muslims believe that he was born from Immaculate Conception (that his mother was a virgin yet had conceived a baby).
I became very confused. The Trinity could never be explained to me, I was told to ‘have faith’ whenever I asked for the Trinity to be explained to me. Another point that did not make sense to me was ‘original sin’. How could a baby, let’s say a few months old, be accountable for a sin committed hundreds or thousands of years ago, before it even existed. (According to the Catholics) When in Deuteronomy chapter 24:16-17 says:
“Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents, people are only to be put to death only for a crime they themselves have committed”.
So if we do not get punished for basically anything except our own sins, how could every person adopt the sin from his forefathers? (That is if we believe that Adam sinned, which is another contradiction altogether).
One more shocking passage I read after all of the above discoveries I made was in Corinthians 1 11:57:
“And any woman who prays or proclaims God’s message in public worship with nothing on her head disgraces her husband; there is no difference between her and a woman whose head has been shaved. If the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair. And since it is a shameful thing for a woman to cut her hair, she should cover her head”.
At this point I was beginning to become very worried, I thought to myself that the Catholic religion is quite strict. There were serious guidelines to follow and if they are not followed then there will be punishment for that individual who committed that sin.
I then looked a little into Judaism and Islam, but I was totally drawn to Islam. I was afraid of my family’s reaction to my new life, but I felt like I needed a little more convincing reason before I made my decision. My research had been done. I wanted more proof. I wrote a small prayer on a piece of paper and read it each night before I went to bed. I was asking God to show me in a dream what the correct path was that I had to follow. As I rarely dreamt, I thought, “If God wants to show me, He will”.
Within the next few nights, I had a dream of a Sheikh praying in a mosque or a prayer hall. When I woke up I was amazed, but still that night, I asked God for another dream. Now, I look back and I realize that Satan was trying to get me. Within the next few nights, I had a dream of myself and my friend, who is also a new convert, wearing Hijab running away from my father, so that he would not see me like that. I was totally convinced. Subhanallah, how Allah answered my prayers.
Through the first year of my conversion to Islam, I hid it from my family, but they knew this was where I was heading. My father researched Islam for about one year. He finally acknowledged that he had no reason not to accept me as a Muslim. He told me to wear Hijab and that he would walk proudly with me in the streets. He stood by me when any relative questioned what I did and still does to this day.
I was also working, sometimes I felt like I could not explain these things to certain people, especially without them thinking that I had been brainwashed and so on. So once I converted I asked my manager if I was able to pray at work on my lunch break. My boss asked me if there was anything that I needed in particular; all I required was a private room or space. At the end of the day, they could not say no otherwise they would be discriminating. I just wanted to make sure that I was not going to be in the way or a hassle for my co-workers as I felt like that was a part of my duty to present myself as a Muslim. People began noticing that I was praying or going into this room for about 15 minutes a day. Questions began to raise, naturally. I always reassured people that I did not mind if they had any questions and that I would try and answer them to the best of my ability. The day also came when I went with Hijab to work. People took it really well, at least to my face. They began to realize that I was the same person if not a better one. They knew I had done this on my own, I was not in love with anyone, it was not a typical story and that is what, I think, made it even more intriguing for them.
Not long after I put my Hijab on, I met someone. This person was interested in marriage. It was definitely something I wanted to do, get married, and have children, even before I became a Muslim. I was lucky enough to meet the person I am now married to today. He is also a practicing Muslim; he was definitely who I was waiting for, a religious practicing Muslim. He is down to earth, funny and respectful to me and my family. This was obviously another challenging part of my life where we both had to convince our families that we were well-matched. After some time, fortunately, they accepted that quite well. I could not have had better in-laws and once again my father could not have been happier with the son-in-law he has today.
We have now been happily married for 1 year, Alhamdulillah.
I converted nearly three and a half years ago and every day I am convinced more and more that I have made the correct decision. Allah is so merciful. There is always much to learn and always a goal to work towards. Whether it is trying to say your prayer (Salat) better or to eliminate your sins.
I hope by writing this story, I would help others on this path. Whether you are a non-Muslim, a convert, or a Muslim born with a Muslim family. Just remember that our Creator did not send us here on this earth to wander around for 70-100 years, more or less, not letting us know how we got here or where we are going. When we buy a TV, it comes with a manual, with instructions on how to use it, what not to do in case it gets damaged and so on.
Allah created us, He knows everything about us. Our Quran is like our manual, our guidance from our Creator informing us what to do to benefit ourselves and what not to do because it could be harmful to us. If He did not supply these details for us, that would be cruel, yet Allah again shows us His mercy and kindness. This life is a journey and is so short compared to eternity.
Do not wait till you are 20, 30, or 40 to start practicing religion, since we are not in control of our death. Do not wait for your mum to put the Hijab on, because your life might be taken before hers.
Keep in mind that Allah is Merciful. He has sent 124,000 prophets, who covered almost all the nations. These people are perfect role models for our everyday lives. Our last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has left us the Holy Quran, the words of God and his Holy Progeny (AS). What further guidance do we need when perfection has been given to us?
I was born in the city of Mansoorah in the Arab Republic of Egypt in an ordinary Christian family in which religion had not much significance. We did not go to Church except on festive and ceremonial occasions. As far as we were concerned, religion did not mean anything more than rites which we observed, when necessary […] I found the services so tedious that I never sat through them to their conclusion. I was plagued by boredom and unease.
I felt sure that I was not meant to be one of them. I felt a total stranger in this place full of pictures, icons, and statues, like the temples of the idolaters of yore. Then I turned to read with inexhaustible greed and enthusiasm, which stimulated my faculties and sharpened my feelings.
Questions began to strike my mind like a spade striking virgin land to prepare it for the sowing of good seeds to bring forth delicious fruits. It was at this time that doubt arose within me about the religion to which I was born, violently and extensively shattering my frame of mind. […] As for the doctrine of the Trinity, it must ultimately lead to a division of the entity of God Himself, whose glory is far above such a misconception. […] Thus did I cross over the mountains of doubt of firm belief: the true religion of Allah which is Islam?
I studied the Judaism and Christianity as well other, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, etc. In some, I found traces of high morals and philosophy of the sort to guide man to ideal conduct. But when it comes to formulating a definition of Allah, they go too far, either by supposing many gods, each of them entrusted with the management of one specific department of the affairs of the world or by presenting Allah in a tangible form, resembling very closely the forms and shapes of earthly creatures. […]
As for Islam, it is the religion of nature. Almighty Allah has purified it of all material and tangible forms and raised it to the highest degree of spiritualism and purity. Islam confirms that Allah possesses, will, wisdom, discretion, knowledge, and authority. […]
Thus did Islam attract me to its sublime and sacred fold—Islam the purest and most sublime of the revealed religions, unsullied by apostasy or the doctrine of the incarnation.
On the 8th of Ramadan, I entered the mosque for the first time with two companions. My soul and conscience became purified in the melting pot of magnificent faith. I underwent that sweet, pleasant experience which opened to me the door of salvation. […]His most High Spirit embraced me and asked me to resign myself to His care after the period of my prolonged loss and misfortune.
Immediately after concluding the prayer, I took the Holy Book at the gate of the Al-Husain mosque and came back home imbibing enlightenment from the seas of its sacred verses and it's eternal, clear wisdom by which I was thoroughly overwhelmed. This is the Book of God “about which there is no doubt.” “Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or behind it.” (Quran 41:32)
It shall remain preserved till the end of the world without distortion or change.
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Reminder; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (Quran 15:9)
In plunging into this Divine, copious and flowing bounty, I uttered the two Shahadah (testimonies) and announced my Islam to Allah. So that the firmness of my faith might flourish and its impact on me might grow strong, I began to read books and works of contemporary Muslim thinkers who command influence in the Arab and other Muslim countries.
I hope in all humbleness that Allah may accept my Islam which I have embraced heart and soul as my last refuge. I have entered the fold of Islam in love of God, and His Prophet whose status is sublime and exalted and whose personality is unique and exceptional. I have always appreciated and honored him in the past and have an unflinching belief that he is the greatest of all personalities to love an indelible mark on the annals of world history.
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Despite the considerable amount of anti-Islamic movements and propaganda in the world, the number of those who convert to Islam and accept it as a way of life is increasing. The question is, therefore, why would people want to become Muslims, while they know that they might go through some difficulties and challenges? In what follows, we will try to mention some of the main reasons that make people accept Islam as the best available lifestyle.
In a world that media and politics are standing against a specific religion, many people may blindly accept what the media says. But seeing the amount of budget, human and natural resources that are being spent to conceal a specific religion from the world will give thoughtful people more reason to study and learn about this religion. As soon as they read the Quran in full, not only some chosen parts of it, they will understand the divine spirit of the Quran and its efficacy for human beings.
Muslims are living all around the world, and a Hijabi girl can be “the girl next door” to any non-Muslim. Seeing the routine life of Muslim families proves that what the media says about Islam and Muslims is far from the truth. When the true reality of Islam is uncovered to a person, a religion that leads its followers toward a better and more prosperous life, one surely finds enough reason to convert to Islam and follow its path.
Many people who were looking for the most applicable methods in handling social, cultural, or economic issues, found out that the strategies Islam provides for every aspect of human life are so complete that it leaves no room for further questions and ambiguities.
For example, the rulings of Islam regarding business, economy, management, charity, national or international communication, etc. can answer all the needs of anyone who expects growth and perfection.
Another essential aspect of Islam that can attract people and lead them to convert to Islam is the ethical orders that Islam provides in the individual, social, environmental, and cultural life of human beings. No one can morally or ethically deny these recommendations and descriptions of the righteous servants of Allah Almighty. Every sane person understands the beauty of a good character defined by Allah (SWT) and realizes how practical is this description for the One who is willing to take it as a model:
“The servants of the All-beneficent are those who walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, ‘Peace!’ Those who spend the night for their Lord, prostrating and standing [in worship]... Those who are neither wasteful nor tightfisted when spending, but balanced between these [two extremes]. Those who do not invoke another deity besides Allah, and do not kill a soul [whose life] Allah has made inviolable, except with due cause, and do not commit fornication. (Whoever does that shall encounter its retribution … Those who do not give false testimony, and when they come upon frivolity, pass by with dignity.” (25: 63 -72)
Another significant aspect that motivates many people to convert to Islam is the miracle of the Quran. The Quran, as a book revealed about 1400 years ago, presents many incredible scientific facts. These include facts about human beings, the universe, galaxies, and black holes, animals, psychology, and all the other aspects of knowledge and wisdom, some of which have not yet been discovered, that makes its readers prostrate for the One who revealed this miraculous book. 
According to many of its rules and regulations, Islam has proven to be a dynamic religion. Although the pillars of Islam are not to be changed, rulings of Islam are designed in a way to help humanity reach perfection by dominating and controlling all the newly invented technologies and sciences.
Islam does not allow a person to become the slave of changes and improvements in the society but provides him/her with guidelines to help the perfection of humanity using both faith and tools.
Clear examples of the dynamic jurisprudence in Islam can be seen in the way Muslims avoid corrupt music, games, movies, etc. While at the same time, they use these tools in the right way to help human growth and perfection.
In the age of technology, life is so fast, and human beings are busy with making money, surviving, and getting by their life that they hardly find some time for self-development. However, Islam puts the individual experience of human and his/her peace of mind in priority. The relationship that Islam describes between the servant and Allah Almighty is the One that influences all the dimensions of human life.
Allah Almighty teaches man to rely on Him in every single step that we take. He wants His servants to stay by His side as “Whoever takes for his guardians Allah, His Apostle and the faithful [should know that] the confederates of Allah are indeed the victorious.” (5:56)
The fact that staying on Allah Almighty’s side can bring absolute success and victory for the human being is so empowering that will make them not to accept any oppression. Staying by His side and relying on Him can enrich human beings and making them a self-built, confident, humble, and powerful individual.
“… Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter] and provide for him from whence he does not count upon. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Indeed Allah carries through His commands. Certainly, Allah has ordained a measure [and extent] for everything.” (65: 2-3)
In sum, the lifestyle provided by Allah Almighty is multi-dimensional and, therefore, can answer all the needs of human beings. The ways of Allah in ruling the world are very different from those of Imperialist and capitalist powers. That is why people who start to learn about Islam and study various aspects of the Islamic lifestyle become motivated to convert to Islam and choose it as their lifestyle.
A real believer can find ways that are unknown to others only by obeying Allah (SWT); ways that no other “ism” can provide its followers: “As for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them in Our ways, and Allah is indeed with the virtuous.” (29: 69)