My name is Justin Peyton, and I am a 29-year-old African American convert to Islam, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I grew up in a loving, two-parent, and middle-class household with three siblings.
Growing up, my family and I identified ourselves as Christians, but we were never members of a church, nor did we attend Sunday services or other activities. The extent of religious expression in our home was celebrating Christmas.
[…] If I had to identify one single event as the starting point for my journey to Islam, it would have to be the tragic events of 9/11. After months of seeing very unflattering media coverage about Islam and Muslims, it occurred to me that the negative portrait being painted did not coincide with the experiences I had with Muslim classmates, neighbors, and others, growing up in Philadelphia.
It also occurred to me that despite knowing Muslims, I had never actually bothered to take the time to learn about their faith.
So, with the open-mindedness instilled in me by my parents, I decided to research some facts about Islam in order to reconcile the apparent disparity between my personal experiences and media coverage.
[…] Spurred to learn more, I went to a local bookstore, purchased a copy of the Quran, and began to read. I could spend pages listing which information struck me most and why, but suffice it to say that everything that I read made intrinsic sense to me.
After a few more months I decided that reading and learning about Islam on my own was not enough, so I searched to find any nearby mosques.
I contacted the closest mosque, which was about 45 miles away, spoke to their president, and arranged a time to visit and discuss Islam with local Muslims.
On the appointed day, I showed up and spent a great deal of time talking to a very helpful brother. Unbeknownst to me, the information he shared permeated my heart.
During my second visit […] it dawned on me that I believed that Islam was the truth, so right then and there, I took my Testimony of Faith and spent the whole weekend at the mosque learning what was necessary for me to perform the ritual prayers on my own when I returned to school.
That community was wonderful and had I stayed in the vicinity, and I am sure that I would have received a lot of support adjusting to my life as a new Muslim. But that was not to be. Prior to the events of 9/11, I had developed an interest in the military, and continued discussions with local armed forces recruiters, concurrent with the exploration of Islam that would lead to my conversion. […] Looking back on that part of my life, I am grateful for the skills I gained and the experiences I had during the course of my service. But in retrospect, the timing between these two events was less than ideal.
Even after leaving training, I was located in an area of the U.S. With no Muslim community, which prevented me from developing my faith. It wasn't until some three years into my service that I met another practicing Muslim service member who would be able to teach me both about Islam and how to navigate military life as a Muslim. May God reward him for his efforts.
After completing my military service in the summer of 2007, I moved back to Philadelphia, became an active member of a local mosque, and was blessed with the ability to obtain a job at the local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a non-profit civil rights and advocacy organization for Muslims.
The two years I spent as a part of the Philadelphia Muslim community, and an employee of CAIR-PA was a tremendous learning experience that really spurred my development and whetted my appetite for more.
And that leads me to where I am now, an Islamic chaplaincy student at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, pursuing its combined Masters of Arts in Islamic studies, Christian-Muslim relations and Graduate Certificate in Islamic chaplaincy.
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My name is Ali. I’m a 3-year-old Mexican born in America or as some would say a Chicano. […]. I think it will Insha’Allah (God willing) help people understand Islam and why it attracted me. People have a wrong perception About Islam and Muslims, what little they know is usually from movies and television which is almost all the time false and not in peace.
My life before was bad I had no direction in life. […] I would hang out in the streets with my friends “partying” getting high, drinking, and selling marijuana, most of my friends were gang members. […]
One day a friend of mine told me that he knew where to get some good marijuana, I agreed to go check it out. We arrived and went inside this apartment. There were a couple of people inside […]. My friend and I bought some and were getting ready to leave when my friend said one of the guys there invited us to his apartment to give him a book.
We left for this guy’s apartment when we got there, he gave my friend a book and asked him to read it, and said that it might help him out with his problems in life. On the way home I asked my friend to show me the book that the guy gave him, it was the Quran (Koran).
I had never in my life heard of The Holy Quran, I began to briefly read some pages, while I was reading I knew that what I was reading was true, it was like a slap in the face, a wake up call. The Quran is so clear and easy to understand. I was really impressed and wanted to know more about Islam and Muslims.
The strangest thing is that I was not looking for a new religion, I used to laugh at people that went to church, and I sometimes said that there was no God. Although deep down I knew there was. I decided to go to the library a couple of days later and check out the Quran. I began to read it and study it, I learned about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and the true story of Jesus son of Mary (Peace be upon him). The Quran stressed the fact that God was one and had no partners or a son, this was most interesting to me since I never understood the concept of the trinity. The Quran describes the birth of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, and his mission. There is also a Surah (Chapter) called Maryam (Mary) and tells her story as well.
As a child I always went to church, my mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and took my sister and me every Saturday. […]
I did months of research on Islam. I bought a Holy Quran at a bookstore and studied about world’s and Islam’s contributions to medicine and science.
[…] After months of study and research I could not deny the truth anymore I had put it off too long, but was still living the life I was before and knew that if I became Muslim I had to give all that up. One day while reading the Quran, I began to cry and fell to my knees and thanked Allah for guiding me to the truth. I found out that there was a mosque by my house so I went one Friday to see how Muslims prayed and conducted their service. I saw that people from all races and colors attended the mosque. […] After going a couple of Fridays I was ready to be a Muslim and say my Shahada (declaration of faith).
I told the Khatib (person giving the lecture) that I wanted to be a Muslim, the following Friday in front of the community I said my Shahada first in Arabic then in English […]
When I finished a brother shouted Takbir! and all the community said “Allah u Akbar (God is great)!” a few times, then all the brothers came and hugged me. I had never received so many hugs in one day, I will never forget that day it was great. I have been Muslim since 1997, I’m at peace with myself and clear in religion, being Muslim has really changed my life for the better thanks to Almighty God. I went back to school to get my High School equivalent and computer repair training.
[…] Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) in December of 2002, I got married in Morocco to a very good Muslim woman.
I think that Islam is the answer for the problems of the youth and society in general. I hope my story Insha’Allah (God willing) will attract more Latinos and people of all races to the light of Islam.
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My name is Abdullah DeLancey. I am Canadian and I am employed as a Patient Service Worker at the local hospital. […] I was a Protestant Christian for all of my life.
My family brought me up in the Pentecostal Church until I was an adult at which time I moved to a fundamental Independent Baptist Church.
As a faithful Christian I was very involved at Church, giving lectures for the Adult Sunday School and other duties. I was eventually elected as the Deacon of the Church. I really wanted to further my dedication to God and decided to pursue a career as a Minister.
I was awarded a scholarship to help me start taking a degree in Divinity. My goal was to be a Pastor of a Church or a Missionary. […]
I thought it best to look at Christianity critically and ask some very serious questions about my faith. I questioned the Trinity, why God would need a son, and why the human sacrifice of Jesus, as stated in the Bible, was needed to provide me with forgiveness.
I questioned the Christian belief of how all the righteous people in the Old Testament were “saved” and in heaven if Jesus wasn’t even born yet. […]
Realizing that I had always accepted Christianity, with blind faith for my entire life and never had questioned it, was perplexing to me. How could I have not realized this before?
I could not find the answers in the Bible. Once I realized that the Trinity was a myth and that God is powerful enough to “save” someone without the need for help from a son or anyone or anything else. Things changed. […]
I left the Church for good and my wife dutifully left with me, as she was having trouble accepting Christianity too. This was the start of my spiritual journey. I was now without a religion but believed in a God.
This was a very hard time for me and my family as Christianity was all we had ever known. I had to search for the truth. I began studying various religions and found them as false one after another. Until, I heard about Islam.
Islam!!! What was that? As far as I could remember, I had never known a Muslim and Islam was not heard or spoken of “as a faith” in my part of Canada. Unless, of course, it was news stories talking bad about Islam. […]
But then I started to read a little about Islam. Then, I kept reading a little more. Then, I read the Quran. This wonderful revelation of truth changed my life forever. […]
I discovered the nearest mosque was about 100 miles away from my city. So I promptly loaded the family van and drove my family to this mosque. […] I asked myself, was I even allowed in the mosque because I wasn’t an Arab or a Muslim?
However, after arriving at the mosque, I quickly realized I had nothing to fear. I was greeted by the Imam and the Muslims with a most warm greeting. I found them very nice. Nothing like the bad things the news always said about Muslims.
[…] After studying I was in shock. How could I have been a Christian for so long and never heard the truth? I now believed in Islam. I knew it and I wanted to convert.
I was put in contact with the small Muslim community in my city. […] Just before Friday prayer started and with most of the local Muslim Community present as witness; I testified that “La illaha ill Allah, Muhammadur Rasul Allah” (There is no God but Allah, Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is the Messenger of Allah). I was now a Muslim. It was the best day of my life. I love Islam and have peace now.
Difficult times have come since I became a Muslim. When people started realizing I was now a Muslim they would shun me or laugh at me, most of our old Christian friends have never talked to us again. My parents have all but disowned me.
I love being a Muslim and it doesn’t matter if some of my fellow Canadians think of me as odd for becoming a Muslim. Why? The reason is that I alone, am the one that will have to answer to God after my death. […]
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