Prior to my conversion to Islam, I lived my life as a Jew. Although my family was not traditional, I learned Judaism from traditional Jews. I went to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue and an Orthodox Jewish school. I lived, and continue to live, in a Jewish community in the United States where there is little diversity. And considering how much Judaism was involved in my life, I did not have any non-Jewish friends. […] I paid special attention to Islam, for I knew it was a religion not much different than Judaism. We share many similar prophets (peace be upon them all), morals, values, and most importantly, we worship the same God — Allah. Although I knew much about Islam and knew it was a peaceful religion, I cannot say I did not have stereotypes. I was lucky because I knew many Muslims online […].
I decided to look deeper into the faith. By doing so I discovered flaws in my own religion. According to the Old Testament, the great Prophet Aaron committed the worse sin possible. Due to pressure put upon him by the people while waiting for Moses to return with the Torah from Mount Sinai, he built an idol.
How could a great prophet possibly commit one of the three sins that are so great that one should prefer death before committing them? In the Quran, Moses comes down and sees the Jews worshiping the Golden Calf. At first, he thinks it is the creation of Aaron and is angry at him; later he finds it was other Hebrews who had created this idol. […]
Another astonishing factor that led me to Islam is the scientific truth written in the Quran. The Quran mentions the human embryonic development long before it was discovered by science.
“And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, Then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place, Then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.” (Quran 23:12-14)
The Quran also mentions how mountains are formed and talks about the layers of the atmosphere! These are just a few of so many scientific discoveries mentioned in the Quran 1400 years before discovered by science.
Here is one of the key factors that led me to explore my heart to find the truth of life. In Arabic, the word Islam comes from Salama which means "to submit"; "purity" and "peace" come from the same root. The person submits to the One, the Merciful, and the Most Beneficent Allah; whereas other religions are named after people: Judaism comes from the tribe of Judea, Christianity from Jesus Christ, etc. Islam is a word derived from a verb; anyone who submits to Allah and believes in all the prophets is a true Muslim. Many of the great prophets mentioned in the Old Testament lived prior to Judaism and Judea; they submitted to God, and therefore they were all Muslims. […]
Considering my situation of being very young and living in an all-Jewish area, it would be difficult to have my beliefs accepted. My parents and relatives are very respectful, but I am unsure how they would react if it is their own son who reverts to Islam. So for now, I am unable to live out an Islamic life to the fullest, but thanks to Allah, I am able to pray five times a day, I am able to study Islam online, and at least I am openly able to believe in one God and express those feelings. […]
The most important thing is to improve the person I am. I try to avoid my friends who do drugs, watch porn, drink alcohol, and steal. It is not always easy to avoid close friends, but I try my best for the sake of Allah. And I hope over time my personality will meet what Allah wishes to see from us all.
When studying Quran, my advice to you is to read it for yourself. Looking at biased websites, you are not able to see the full content of a verse. […]
Through this whole experience, I have discovered that I did not find Islam, I re-embraced Islam; nor did I convert, I reverted; and on my ride from darkness to light, it has only made me a stronger, more spiritual, and a better human being. May Allah guide us all to the truth that I was led. […]
By Musa Caplan
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My name is Tarik Preston. I embraced the religion of Islam in 1988 at the age of 19.
The story of how I came to embrace Islam is not a very long story, and in many respects, I think that the story of how Allah (God) continued to guide me after I entered Islam is more of an inspiring story.
Nevertheless, this story begins with my name. I was given the name Tarik at birth. In the 60s, the 70s, and even the 80s, it wasn’t all that unusual for some Americans to give their children African names. Many times, the names they chose from Africa were actually Islamic names, which is what happened with my name.
[…] Someone who knew the significance of my name […] would ask me, “Do you know what your name means?” I would reply proudly as I had been taught: “It means ‘star of piercing brightness.’“
[…] I started college at the age of 16 majoring in pre-med/biology with the intent, at that time, of becoming a doctor. […] During my freshman year, I attempted to read the Bible, but Christianity had begun not to make sense to me.
While studying the marvelous complexity of cell biology that year, several of my classmates and I reaffirmed our belief in the Creator and that creation was not an accident as some scientists speculated.
During spring break, I had a theological discussion with my grandmother, with whom I was very close. And she, despite being a Christian, made a remarkable statement that I paid close attention to.
She said: “I worship God and I don’t worship Jesus, because I feel safer worshipping God!” She advised me not to pray in the name of Jesus anymore and to just pray to God!
When I returned to college after that conversation, I continued to pray every night before sleeping as I had been taught. But I decided that I would no longer pray in the name of Jesus, and to direct my prayers only to God. […]
Still searching for something that would guide me safely through life, one day I asked God to guide me while walking across campus.
During my junior year in college, a fellow student who I knew embraced Islam saw me walking across campus, and he greeted me. […] He then asked me if I was a Muslim, to which I replied (at that time), “No. I am a United Methodist.” He replied: “Oh! I thought you were a Muslim because your name is Tarik!”
Not long after that encounter, he came to a study session that a few classmates and I were having, and he attempted to inform us about Islam. He was very young and very new to Islam himself, so he didn’t know very much. […]
[…] When I returned home that summer, I took a summer job as a telemarketer where I met a Muslim named Ahmed. Despite being a Puerto Rican convert to Islam, he had the same distinct look and demeanor as my friend from college. […]
He began talking to me about Tawheed (the oneness of God). I was impressed with the concept of Islamic monotheism.
Eventually, he invited me over to his house and showed me a copy of the English translation of the Quran. I was very impressed by the respect that he had for this Book, and I asked him if I could borrow it in order to read it. He reluctantly agreed, saying that it was his only copy of the Quran, and he sternly advised me to respect the Book and keep it clean and in a place of respect in my home. I couldn’t wait to read it!
Two weeks later, I invited Ahmed to my house, and we sat and talked again about Islam. I informed him that I believed the Quran was the truth and that I wanted to convert to Islam.
The very next day we went together to the Islamic Center in Washington D.C., and I embraced Islam.
A few years after my conversion, Allah blessed me to be able to study Islam at the Islamic University of Medina where I earned an Associate’s degree in Arabic language and a Bachelor’s degree in Hadith Sciences.
I hope the story of how I came to Islam encourages others to convert to Islam. I also hope that my story encourages my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to share the true message of Islam with those around them in word and deed.
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I was raised as a Christian and went to a fundamentalist Bible believing church. I made a profession of faith to Jesus in 1969. In all of my years as a growing up Christian, I read and studied the Bible regularly. Later on, I enlisted in the US Marines and led Bible studies with my troops. In 1988, I started my own church reaching out with a special Spanish ministry to the Hispanics. In 1990, I got out of the Marines and joined the US Navy reserves.
In 1991, I was ordered to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. I remember being impressed with the Arabs worshipping 5 times a day and I never forgot about hearing the Adhan (call to prayer) 5 times a day over the many loudspeakers in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. […]
As I continued in my Christian faith, when I got home, I started to become unsettled regarding it. I went to several different churches and faiths over the years and studied their doctrines. I studied and read the book of Mormon quite a bit and became fascinated with the Mormons. However, I eventually found many conflicts between the Bible and the book of Mormon.
I later joined a 7th Adventist Church and thought this was the true path. I studied and read several of Ellen G. White’s books concerning the 4th commandment of keeping the Saturday Sabbath. However, I eventually saw some conflicts between the Bible and one of Ellen G. White’s visions of heaven.
I stayed home from all churches after that and got a job working for the Kansas City Star newspaper. I came across a couple of Muslims at work and observed them daily, becoming impressed with their humble and pious character. One day, I went to my favorite used book store and saw an English translation of the Noble Quran in Jan of 2008. I took it home and began reading it. I started to feel a drawing to the Islamic faith after about 4 weeks of reading it daily.
One January early morning, I was looking up on the internet on how to convert to Islam. I found and repeated the Shahada very prayerfully and did this 2 or 3 times while meditating on it and with a prayerful attitude. I suddenly felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders as I discovered that God had forgiven me of all my past sins. […] Since saying the Shahada, I immediately began performing Wudu (ablution) and Salat (prayer) 5 times daily. It has now been 9 weeks since I converted to Islam and I am reading the Quran and studying the Islamic books daily.
On a side note, my wife has become upset with me over my conversion and has been trying to get me to renounce Islam. I tell her I can never turn my back on God and continue to lead a humble Muslim life before her and being patient with her in the hopes of her one day embracing Islam. I am now mentally, spiritually and physically feeling my best since converting to Islam.
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