My name is Frank Estrada. I was raised a Roman Catholic. I was so devout; I even hoped to one day serve in the priesthood. I accepted the church’s teachings even when I didn't agree with them. I even took every chance I got to convert people in the hopes of bringing them to Allah.
While serving in the US Marines, I did two tours in the Middle East. In a short time, I developed a hatred for Arabs and Islam. After I left active duty, I took a job with a company as a network administrator in Iraq. I worked with a man named Ahmed. In the beginning, I didn't trust him simply because of his background. I'm lucky that he was patient with me.
Slowly, due to my ignorance, he taught me about the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and the Quran. He didn't teach me in words; rather, he showed me that Muslims are not evil through his actions. More than that, he taught me the truth of Allah's Message.
After I came home, I began to study Islam seriously. I took a world religions course at Mesa Community College. Though I found the course prejudicial to Islam, it seemed to push me closer to it. I met a young woman named Amal in the class. We would spend hours talking and debating about Islam and Catholicism. I found her arguments both logical and reasonable.
I started taking Arabic courses, so I could learn to read and understand the Quran properly. I still have a long way to go. I spoke to everyone I knew that was Muslim but, more than that, I watched them to see if their actions matched their words. I never saw any hypocrisy. I even went to the Masjid in Tempe, Arizona to talk to other Muslims and the Imam.
What finally brought me to my conversion though, was the Shahadah. I read it and tried to see how it fit with my beliefs. I compared it to the First Commandment and found them to be identical. It was at that point that I had an epiphany.
Catholicism, whatever else it was, was polytheistic. The realization was shattering to me. I knew at that point that I could not obey the laws of Allah and continue to praise the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as his son.
I talked it over with my wife. She was concerned, to say the least. We spent hours discussing what it would do to our family. She went with me to the Masjid where we spoke with a man named Muhammed. Not only was he able to sway her fears, she decided to convert as well!
Becoming Muslim was no doubt the right decision. My friends and family, save my parents, were very supportive. My father would not speak to me for the next three months. My wife's family, to this day, is still unsupportive. I do not doubt that Allah will soften their hearts in the future.
I thank Allah for all the people he has brought into my life to show me the truth. I thank Him for giving me a mind to understand the truth. More than that, I thank Allah for my loving and understanding wife who has come to the truth with me.
I shall end this paper as I began the day. There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet.
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As far back as I can remember as a child, I was always astounded by this universe in which we live […]. And from that early time, I always in some way knew, there just had to be a Creator responsible for all this.
But then as I segued into my teens, it was much easier to succumb to peer pressure, and I lost interest in the Divine and instead devoted my time to alcohol, sex and the immature games of a young male growing up in America. Growing into young adulthood, my obsessions became money, power, a better house, a faster car, and a prettier woman--all shallow pursuits.
I lived this way for many years, slowly losing control of my life, thinking I was pursuing happiness when all I was getting was more depressed, more confused, and making more and more of a mess of my life.
[…] My immediate response was to turn to God, and, having been raised Catholic, it was to that church that I turned. At the time, I had been divorced and remarried and came to find out that the Catholic Church didn't want me. Hurt and angry, but also realizing a need for a spiritual order in my life, I turned to Buddhism.
The Buddhist sect I became involved with followed a Tibetan tradition, where importance is placed on gaining empowerments, which are basically blessings from various Buddhas. At some point I realized I was not really bettering myself […]. All of a sudden, I realized that one of the last things the Buddha said before passing away was not to worship him. I realized this whole practice was BASED on worshipping not only "the" Buddha, but also all these other Buddhas. I became very discouraged and reverted to my old ways of indulgence in alcohol and other forbidden pleasures. And once again, I became very depressed […].
When I was a young man, I was very much "into" the music of Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam). When I heard he had embraced Islam, I was in the U.S. Navy at the time and this was during the "hostage crisis" in Iran. So, I immediately drew the conclusion that Cat Stevens has become a terrorist, and I kept that belief for many years.
A couple months or so ago, I heard he was going to be interviewed on TV, and I wanted to hear about this crazy man who had left a great life to become a terrorist. Well, needless to say, I was just floored by the interview, because he was certainly no terrorist, but a soft-spoken, articulate, peaceful man who radiated love, and patience, and intelligence. The very next day, I began researching Islam on the Internet. [...] It all made so much SENSE, the existence of God was so SIMPLE to understand! […]
Well, the more I learned the more I was convinced that this was truly the path I had been searching for. It contained the discipline--physical, mental, and spiritual--that leads to true peace and happiness. […]. Pronouncing my Shahadatainwas such a CLEANSING experience, and since this time, I have often just … cried and cried and cried. How wonderful!
I have received such a warm and embracing welcome from all Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world; I take great comfort in this, knowing that, despite any adversity or setback, I am literally surrounded by my Muslim family that will never abandon me as long as I remain Muslim. No other group of people has ever treated me in this way.
[…] Accepting the reality of Islam is the easy part, walking the Straight Path is the hard part, especially once one had firmly implanted himself in a society of unbelievers. But I pray to God every day for strength and guidance, and I just take it one day at a time, trying to improve in Islam little by little each day.
By Dawood Kinney
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My name is Darrick Abdul-hakim. I am a 20-year-old Muslim brother living in the United States. […]
I grew up as a Christian who had a good deal of information. I was very excited to express my Christian belief to my friends, co-workers and colleagues. However, at the age of 17, life became a bit more complicated than before. I began to observe my fellow Christians in more depth. I was shocked how most didn’t practice the Christian faith to 100% expectation.
To make matters worse, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the Biblical scriptures. For example, the belief that Jesus claimed to be God was a church addition. Jesus certainly never asserted that he was the God of the world.
[…] I wondered what would happen if I were to become more religious, but that never happened and instead I left the Christian life and bid it farewell. Not only that, but also my faith and belief in God, slipped quietly out the door. I was now an agnostic, not knowing what faith to follow, or knowing if we are surrounded by God or not, I was just lost in a chaotic world. I wasn’t an atheist, I was just confused about who, or what God really was.
[…] I began to have thoughts about the Universe whether we are really humans at all. I began to ask why I should remain moral (I refused to drink because I felt it was a sin, interesting for someone who didn’t have a faith or believed in a God!). I began to question my own existence. I began to contemplate whether I should be here or not and on account of this, I had seriously considered suicide. I wanted to quit my job because I was coming under stress, by this time I was 18 years old.
Alhamdulilah, I had the comfort of friends to keep me from committing such a catastrophe. But, I was still without a faith, life couldn’t get much better from my end, and I still didn’t know how to cope with my grandmother’s death.
Eventually, I began to read for myself. I ran across a book, which was discussing the world’s faiths, and I came across Islam. I simply never had given Islam any thought at all. On the following day, when I was on my way to work I saw a man with a copy of the Quran in his hand so I asked him if I could see it, Alhamduliah (all praise is due to Allah) he not only let me see it, he gave it to me! I was stunned, excited, and compelled. I went to read it and was amazed by its literature; the things I didn’t notice before struck me. It was comprehensible, and lucid for a layperson like myself.
On September 11th, I saw the world trade centers go crashing down. I wondered to myself, could the teachings of Islam have provoked such an act? Could Islam be this bad?
But, the more I read, the more I found out that Islam was a faith that denounced all forms of extremism. Islam by all means is peace. We certainly wouldn’t judge Christianity by the barbaric abortion clinic bombings, or we wouldn’t describe Judaism as an ethnic faith that just wants a Jewish world from the Israeli who assassinated the Israeli prime minister in 1995 because he felt the Prime minister was an apostate of God. Why must we do the same to Islam? 9/11 compelled me to learn more about Islam. I bought and read a total of 10 biographies on Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. I was amazed by his life. I didn’t look at Muhammad from a Christian perspective, but from a Historical, Political and cultural perspective. After my readings into Islam, I decided to convert. I was on a quest for the faith, and I found it. Alhamdulilah.
Now, after my conversion, I have read a large number of books on Islam. I still am currently reading the Biographies of Prophet Muhammad. I can truly say that life now is much better!
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