I feel honored to be a Muslim... And I feel that way for many reasons. There are many norms in the society I live that are opposite to what it is to be a Muslim. And when I first came to this way of life, I didn’t know how well I would fair with it. […]
Having spent a large portion of my short life not being a Muslim, I know the darkness that God speaks of in the Quran. I remember what it was like when Allah opened my eyes and shined a light where the darkness had once been. At the beginning of my life, I had no definite form of absolute guidance.
The simplest aspects of creation would boggle my mind. I was totally oblivious to the miracles God put in nature. One time, in particular, I recall learning about evaporation in science class. I was unable to comprehend it. Not the how, but the reason it happened.
I understood the idea of the water cycle and its importance for life, but what would make the water essentially disappear and float back up to the sky?
When viewing this question, without knowing God, my mind ran into a mental block at which point I could not come up with the answer. Boggled by the thought, I merely shrugged my shoulders and threw it to the back of my mind.
When looking at the human body, and how it’s made largely of water, or looking at the universe and trying to comprehend what was beyond it. I would be faced with the mental barricade of not being able to comprehend the reason for its creation.
Time and time again scientists could explain the how, but never the why. They could explain purpose within the mechanics of creation, but they could never explain the purpose of the mechanics itself. What caused the mechanics? What caused nature to have laws?
Having been brought up in a non-practicing Christian family, I had a general understanding of the principles of Christianity. […] My problem with Christianity was the dogma, and more specifically the beliefs about God. The issue of a “Triune” God that is essentially three different individuals that all unite to take on the role of the “One” God. I know that is not how the Doctrine of Trinity is officially promoted, and any Bible-thumping Christian would probably accuse me of not understanding the Doctrine, but that’s the reality that I saw in it
[…] Around that time, I unofficially rejected Christianity. I became a Christian / Atheist / Agnostic. I began to live life trying to come to terms with my surroundings and myself. Not knowing of a greater purpose, I saw no problem in taking part in destructive activities of any kind; on the condition, I would receive some sort of satisfaction from it.
[…] I began to turn to the common reality escape, namely drugs and alcohol. At first, using them as a social tool, and eventually using them habitually as a sedative. If people ever told me I should calm down, I would tell them I could stop if I had a reason, but I had no reason. […] But eventually, I started to feel a consciousness within me looking for some sort of console. Although I was lost and in the dark, since I never saw the light, I didn’t know the difference between the two. I began to think of “the bigger picture.”
I began to think about death. I tried to comprehend the concept of nothingness, and as many times before in my life, when trying to contemplate the purpose, my mind drew blanks. Until one night, while I lay on my bed, deep in thought, I turned my face to the sky, and I said: “God, if you’re real, and You exist, please help me!”
I went to sleep that night never really thinking twice about it. Then on 9/11, I watched the uncanny events unfold. I was confused about the whole situation, why it happened, what exactly happened, and how they knew who did it almost immediately. For the first time there was meaning being applied to foreign terms that I had heard, but never knew anything about, namely Islam.
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First of all, I would like to start by saying that this true story is not for my own fame or admiration, but for the sake of my Lord and your Lord God. All praises due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful Owner of the Day of Judgment. I would like to repeat to you something I heard: the journey of a thousand miles has to start with the first step, and this is the first part of my journey and conversion to Islam.
My name is Malik Mohammed Hassan, and I have recently converted to Islam. When I was in junior high school, I was first introduced to Islam by reading the book Roots by Alex Haley. It taught me a little bit about the strong will that most Muslims possess, myself included. It also introduced me to Allah. I had never heard of Allah in his real form until I read that book, and I was very curious. I then started reading about The Nation of Islam (specifically Malcolm X), and it fascinated me how devoted he was to God, especially after he left the self-serving Nation of Islam. Reading about Malcolm made me think about a God who (for a change) did not have any physical … limitations and, being a totally blind person, it made me relate to these people: the people who Malcolm and Haley referred to as Muslims. I continued reading what I could about Islam, which wasn’t as much as it should have been. My reading material was very limited, because like I said above, I am a totally blind person, and the material available about Islam in Braille or on tape was not only very little but also very general. I believe the reason was that the material that I had access to wasn’t written by Muslims, and it kind of painted a dark picture of Islam. I think most of the literature written by Christians or non-Muslims about Islam tends to do that most of the time. And I didn’t know that there were even Muslims in Halifax, so I obviously didn’t know any. I didn’t even know about the local Islamic association until I was already a Muslim.
So I read what I could until my first year out of high school, around the month of May 1996, when I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to participate in a camp for blind and visually impaired people, known throughout Canada as Score. I agreed and sent them a resume, and praise be to God, I was accepted for work.
At first, I really didn’t want to go, but something kept telling me it would be a good idea if I went. So, on June 30th, 1996 I boarded a plane from Nova Scotia to Toronto and took my last trip as a non-Muslim; I just didn’t know it yet.
I got to Toronto, and everything at first was pretty normal... It was on the second day I was there when the journey of a thousand miles first started.
I arrived on a Sunday, and on the next day, I met the person who God would use with His divine power to help guide me to the beautiful Religion of Islam. I met a sister named [...], and if she reads this, I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for using her name.
When I met her, I immediately wanted to talk to her because I liked her name. I asked her what origin her name was and she told me that it was Arabic; so I asked her if she was Muslim and she replied with the answer of yes. I immediately started telling her what I already knew about Islam, which lasted about ten seconds. I started asking her questions and also asking her to talk to me about Islam.
One particular incident that comes to my mind is when all of the workers at the camp went to a baseball game, and the sister and I started talking about Islam and missed pretty much the whole game.
Well, anyway, we talked for about three, maybe four days on and off about Islam, and on July the fifth, if my memory doesn’t fail me, I became a Muslim. My life has been totally different ever since. I look at things very differently than I used to and I finally feel like I belong to a family. All Muslims are brothers and sisters in Islam so I could say that I have approximately 1.2 billion brothers and sisters all of whom I’m proud to be related to. I finally know what it feels like to be humble and to worship a God that I don’t have to see.
For any non-Muslim reading this, just look at it this way. It’s good to learn, but you never know when you will be tested, and if you’re not in the class at the time of the final exam, no matter how much you know, you’ll never get any credit. So like I said, it’s good to learn, but if you want to get credit, sign up for the class. In other words, declare shahada (testimony to faith) and let God teach you everything you need to know. Believe me, the reward is worth it. You could say the reward is literally heaven.
If any good comes out of this story all the credit is due to God; only the mistakes are my own. I would like to mention a part of a hadith that has had a great effect on me and that is:
“Worship God as if you see him and if you don’t see him, know that he sees you.” (Saheeh Muslim)
By Malik Mohammed Hassan
My name is Yahya Schroder. I am a “European” Muslim. I became Muslim […] when I was 17. I am living now in Potsdam, Germany […].
As a convert to Islam, I think it’s much easier to follow the deen (religion) than a born Muslim who is been raised up here. […]
I grew up in a little village. I lived with my mother and my stepfather in a huge house with a big garden and a big pool. And as a teenager I “lived a cool life;” I had some friends whom I used to hang around with, do stupid things and drink alcohol like every young German teen.
The life of a Muslim in Germany is quite difficult than one would think especially for me as a German Muslim because when someone asks a German what they know about Islam; they would tell you something about Arabs. For them it’s like mathematical operation, Islam = Arabs.
[…] When I lived with my mother and my stepfather I had everything; a big house, my own money, TV, Play-station. I was never concerned about money, but I wasn’t happy. I was searching for something else.
When I turned 16 I met the Muslim community in Potsdam through my biological father who became Muslim in 2001. I used to visit my father once a month and we used to attend the meetings of the community which were held on Sundays.
[…] I started visiting the community every month and learned a lot about Islam but at that time something happened and changed my way of thinking. One Sunday, I went with the Muslim community swimming and I broke my back twice by jumping in the pool and I hit the ground with my head.
My father brought me to the hospital and the doctor told me:
“You have broken your back quite bad and if you did one wrong movement you’ll become handicapped.”
This didn’t help me much, but then just a few moments before they bought me to the operation room. One of my friends of the Muslims community, told me something. “Yahya, you are now in the hands of Allah (God), it’s like a rollercoaster. Now you are on the top enjoy the ride and just trust in God.” This really helped me.
The operation took five hours and I woke up after 3 days. I couldn’t move my right arm but I was feeling like the happiest person on this earth. I told the doctor that I don’t care about my right arm I’m so happy that God has let me survive.
[…] Now, I can move my right arm again and I was just two weeks there Al-hamdu lillah (thanks God). This accident changed a lot in my personality.
I noticed when God wants something; the individual’s life can be turned over in one second. So, I took life more seriously and started thinking more about my life and Islam […].
I moved to my father’s apartment which is rather small and I had to stay in the kitchen but it was okay because I had nothing just a very few clothes, school books, and some CDs.
It must sound for you like I lost everything but I am very happy, I’m as happy as when I woke up in the hospital after the dreadful accident. […]
I think this is usual because of what they learned from the media. “A terrorist,” “Osama bin Laden is coming,” “Muslims are dirty,” some people thought I am just a crazy guy. And they even didn’t believe me that I am German.
[…] My classmates changed from making jokes to asking serious questions about Islam and they noticed that Islam is not a religion like the others. They noticed Islam is cool!
[…] The special thing on this is that they respect me as a Muslim and even more, they get Halal (Lawful) food especially for me and they have organized two barbecue grills one for them and one for us Muslims! The people here are very open to Islam.
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