I used to literally think that Islam was an Island somewhere in the Middle East (which surprisingly is still a common misconception amongst a large portion of the population today, thinking Islam is a country). I knew of the Muslim religion, but I looked at Muslims like Buddhist, with strange rituals. I used to think they worshipped idols. But that night when I went out with my friends, Islam had become a hot topic.
Some of my friends started to bash Islam, saying that it was a stupid religion. I was surprised that some of my friends happened to be Muslim and they began to defend their religion. Being curious about the whole topic and its impending impact on the near future, I began to investigate. And what I found surprised me. I found out that the Muslims worshipped God. Furthermore I found out that the Muslims believed in Jesus as being a Muslim (one who submits to God), who was a Prophet and Messenger of God, that God saved him from the Crucifixion, and that he was no part divine or any part of God, and that God alone should be worshipped.
Those pieces of information struck a chord with me, for I remembered believing in God as One Absolute being when I was younger, and likewise, I remember rejecting Christianity based upon its worship of Jesus.
Thus I began an inquest into Islam and Christianity. I became interested in the subject of religion and began reading constantly. I would consult my grandmother on issues regarding Christianity, and would consult my friend on Islam. I would bring the arguments back and forth to one another to see whose arguments would stand up.
Eventually after reading through the Quran and the Bible, observing God’s Miracles in nature and undergoing a thorough soul searching experience. I said to myself about Islam, “it sounds so true, but can it be real?” And right in that instance, I remembered my previous prayer when I said, “God, if your real, and you exist, please help me!” I was covered in goose bumps. I realized that this was the answer, but I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to become Muslim. I didn’t know how well I would fit in with the Muslims from an ethnic standpoint.
I continued reading and was really looking for something to give me a conformation about my decision. Then one day while reading the Bible, I came across verse 26:39 in the Gospel of Matthew. The verse reads:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
For me, this verse confirmed three things that I had learnt from an Islamic view of Jesus. That he was Muslim, as he prayed as a Muslim by falling to his face in prayer. That he didn’t want to die, because he prayed for the cup of death to be removed from him. And that he was not God, because he himself prayed to God for help.
This was the conformation that I needed that really solidified my decision to embrace Islam. And I couldn’t accept the Message, without accepting the Messenger. So on December 28th, 2001 by the Mercy of Allah, I took the declaration of faith (To say I bear witness none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), and embraced Islam. And since that time, by Allah’s Grace, I have achieved things, and been places, and have done things that I never would have imagined possible.
After tasting faith, I know the fruits it bears, and I pray that Allah allows me to do more good, and allows me to live the remainder of my life on His path. All praises are for Allah, and peace and blessing be upon His messenger, Muhammad(PBUH&HP). Ameen.
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My name is Abdullah Al-Kanadi. I was born in Canada. My family, who were Roman Catholics, raised me as a Roman Catholic until I was 12 years old. I have been Muslim for approximately six years, and I would like to share the story as a new muslim with you.
During my childhood I attended a Catholic religious school. […] The more I learned about my religion, the more I questioned it!
At the tender age of twelve, I decided I would be an atheist in order to punish God. […] My teenage years were filled with misery and loneliness. I was accepted in a local technical school and decided that I should further my education and maybe make some good money, so that I would be happy. […]
I would forget my family and be with my friends all the time. One night, I told my parents I was going to move out. They told me, I couldn’t, and that I wasn’t ready for it and that they wouldn’t allow it! I was 17 years old and very headstrong; I swore at my parents and said to them all sorts of evil things, which I still regret to this day. I felt emboldened by my new freedom. […] I was working and going to school when my roommates introduced me to marijuana. […]Soon though, I started to smoke more and more, until during one weekend I had smoked so much, that it was Monday morning and before I knew it, it was time for school. I thought, well, I’ll take one day of school off, and go the next day. […] I never returned to school after that. I finally realized how good I had it. […] Who needed school anyways?
I was living a great life, or so I thought; I became the ‘resident’ bad boy at work. […]I felt worthless and completely valueless. I was stealing from work and from friends to help maintain the ‘chemical haze’. […] I was beginning to crack and I needed a solution, and I figured that religion would help me.
[…] I bought a couple of books on Wicca and Nature Worship, and found that they encouraged the use of natural drugs, so I continued. People would ask me if I believed in God, and we would have the strangest conversations while under the ‘influence’, but I distinctly remember saying that no, in fact I don’t believe in God at all, I believe in many gods as imperfect as me.
Through all this, there was one friend who stuck by me. He was a ‘Born Again’ Christian and was always preaching to me, even though I would mock his faith at every opportunity. He was the only friend I had at the time who didn’t judge me, so when he invited me along to go to a youth weekend camp I decided to go along. I had no expectations. I thought I would have a huge laugh making fun of all the “Bible Thumpers”. […]They played all sorts of music which praised God. I watched as the young and old, male and female cried out for forgiveness and shed tears over everything. I was really moved and I said a silent prayer along the lines of “God, I know I have been a horrible person, please help me, and forgive me and let me start fresh.” I felt a surge of emotion come over me, and I felt tears roll down my cheek. […]
I returned to my party home and eschewed all drugs, intoxicants, and girls. I promptly told my friends how they needed to be Christians so they could be saved. I was shocked that they rejected me. […]
I started to hang out at a Christian “youth house” which was basically a house where teens could go. […] In spite of this, I felt like a fraud, for I started drinking and dating again. […] Through all this, my one Christian friend would try to council me and keep me on the right track.
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Last year my husband and I made our beautiful trip to Hajj. This was something I was looking forward to experiencing since I converted to Islam, and it finally came to me. In previous years, I saw the news coverage of the pilgrims and I got goosebumps hoping to go there one day. Allah invited me and my husband to His holy house and we accepted the invitation wholeheartedly. This was an overwhelming experience, the people, the holy atmosphere, stepping where the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) have stepped, being able to see with my own eyes what the Holy Kaaba looked like. Previously, when I used to pray I wondered about the direction I was facing, what I was really praying towards. Now in my prayers, I often try to picture as though I am still standing in front of the Kaaba. Before I left for Hajj, I did some readings about why Muslims perform the pilgrimage and what the significance of some of the rituals was. To my surprise, I discovered that a lot of the rituals were about re-enacting the steps of Prophet Abraham. I mean, Allah has made this obligatory for every Muslim, as long as they could afford the trip. Why is this so important? This trip tried to make us united as Muslims, to make us realize that even though there are many sects today, we worship only one God. We prostrate to one God. That is the reason why we are living or even attending the trip, because of one God.
Another reason for this trip is that we try to leave this material world behind; we try to elevate our spirituality. We leave the comfort of our homes, our families and friends, our lovely dinners, our comfort zone. There are so many things we take for granted. I saw all types of people there, poor, old, young, disabled, different nationalities, etc. Some people couldn’t even afford accommodation so they stayed in the streets; eat on the streets, just to perform this wonderful pilgrimage. It makes you feel like you take nearly all things in life for granted.
There is a lot more to this trip and I pray that every Muslim be able to make it and make the most of it Inshallah. I pray that Allah gives us another invitation to His holy land again. We are created by Him, cared for by Him, and Inshallah we return to Him once we pass away. We are in this world to build our next life, the eternal one.