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    Array Ansar Al-'Adl's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here! (OP)



    If you are a revert please add your story here, because it is very inspiring Alhamdullilah.

    There are several stories on this site:
    http://thetruereligion.org/modules/xfsection/

    I'll post a few:
    Lara


    Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem
    DISCOVERING ISLAM: A CANADIAN MUSLIMA'S STORY
    April 25, 1996


    As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmahtullahi wa Barakatu (May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you).


    I am Canadian-born of Scandinavian and other ancestry, and I was raised in Canada. I have been a Muslima since February 1993 when I was 23. While growing up, I was never affiliated with any religion nor was I an atheist. When I was in my mid-teens I started to think somewhat about religion and at that time I did believe in the Oneness of God (Tawheed). Christianity never interested me.


    My first contact with Muslims occurred when I was introduced to some Muslim international students in 1988. Through them I learned a bit about Islam, such as Ramadan fasting. But it was really not until 1992 that I became interested in Islam. In the summer of that year a Canadian newspaper published a series of articles attacking Islam by using examples of anti-Islamic behaviour of some Muslims in an attempt to vilify Islam itself. Non-Muslims tend to judge Islam on the basis of the behaviour (which is not necessarily Islamic) of Muslims. I was not yet a Muslima but the articles were so outrageous that I sent a letter to the editor in defence of Islam. Now I was curious about Islam. I re-read some articles I had picked up several months earlier from the MSA Islam Awareness Week display at my university. One was about 'Isa (Alaihe Salam) [Jesus] as a Prophet of Islam. Also, I asked a Muslim to get me some books about Islam; they were about the overall ideology of Islam and were written by two famous Muslim authors. Impressed, I thought, "This is Islam? It seems so right." Over the next few months in my free time while attending university I continued to learn about Islam from authentic Islamic books, for example The Life of Muhammad (Salallahu Alaihe wa Salam) by Dr. Muhammad Haykal. One certainly does not learn the truth about Islam from the mass media! Also, newcomers to Islam especially must be careful to avoid the writings of deviant groups which claim ties to Islam so as not to be misled. And just because the author has an Arabic name does not necessarily mean that he or she is a knowledgeable Muslim or even Muslim at all. Also, I learned about Islam from some kind, knowledgeable Muslims and Muslimas who did not pressure me. Meanwhile, I had begun to Islamize my behaviour which did not require huge change. I already avoided consuming alcohol and pig meat. Also, I always preferred to dress conservatively/modestly and not wear makeup, perfume, or jewellery outside my home. I started to eat only Islamically slaughtered meat. Also during this time I visited a masjid (mosque) in my city for the first time.


    Until I discovered Islam, I knew almost nothing about it. I say discovered because the "Islam" that I had always heard about through the mass media is not true Islam. I had always assumed that Islam is just another man-made religion, not knowing that it is the Truth. I had also assumed that a person had to be raised as a Muslim to be one. I was not aware of the fact that all humans are born Muslim (in a state of Islam - submitted to the Creator). Like many "Westerners" I associated Islam with the "East" and did not know that Islam is universal in both time and place. However, I never had negative feelings about Islam, al-Hamdulillah. The more knowledge that I acquired about Islam, the more I felt that I too can actually be Muslim as I found that many of the beliefs that I already had were actually Islamic not merely "common sense."


    So after familiarizing myself with what Islam is basically about and what are the duties and proper conduct of a Muslim person, as well as thinking and reflecting, I felt ready to accept Islam and live as a Muslima. One day while at home I said the Shahada (declaration of faith) and began to perform the five daily salawat (prayers), al-Hamdulillah. That was in February 1993, several days before the fasting month of Ramadan began. I did not want to miss the fasting this time! I found the fasting to be much easier than I had anticipated; before I fasted I had worried that I might faint. At first there was a bit of an adjustment period getting used to the new routine of performing salah and fasting, and I made some mistakes, but it was exciting and not difficult. I started to read the Qur'an (Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation) when I was given one soon after accepting Islam. Before that I had read only excerpts of it in other books. Also in the beginning, I found The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam by Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi to be a useful guide.


    In January 1996 (during Ramadan) I started to wear the Islamic headscarf (hijab). I realized that I could not fully submit to Allah (SWT), which is what being Muslim is about, without wearing it. Islam must be accepted and practised in its entirety; it is not an "alter-to-suit-yourself" religion. Since becoming a Muslima I was aware that the headscarf is required of Muslim women and I had intended to wear it eventually. I should have worn it immediately upon accepting Islam but for many Muslimas (even some from Muslim families) it is not easy to take that step and put it on in a non-Muslim society. It is silly how so many persons get upset over a piece of fabric! Also, it is interesting to note that Christian nuns are never criticized for covering their heads. Never in my life did I have negative feelings toward muhajjabas (women who wear hijab) when I saw them. What made me hesitate to put it on was fearing receiving bad treatment from others, especially family. But we must fear Allah (SWT) only, not others. In the few months before I permanently put on hijab I started "practising" wearing it. I wore it when I travelled between my home and the local masjid on Fridays when I started attending the jum'a salah (Friday congregational prayer). (Of course, since becoming Muslim I always wore it during every salah). A couple of weeks prior, in du'a I began asking Allah (SWT) to make it easy for me to wear it.


    The day I finally put it on permanently I had reached the point where I felt that I could no longer go out with a bare head, and I thought "tough bananas" if others do not like me wearing it since I alone am accountable for my actions and am required to perform my Islamic duties, and I could never please everyone anyway. Sometimes opposition to hijab is a control issue: some persons just plainly do not like those who are determined and independent especially if it is their child.


    Upon wearing it I immediately felt protected and was finally able to go out and not be the target of stares/leers from men. At first I felt a bit self-conscious but after several weeks I felt completely used to wearing hijab. Sometimes other persons look puzzled/confused, I think because they are not used to seeing pale-faced, blue-eyed Muslimas! By the way, wearing hijab is da'wah in a way as it draws attention to Islam.


    Since accepting Islam I continue to seek knowledge about the Deen (religion) which is a lifelong duty for all Muslims--male and female. Currently, I am learning Arabic and hope to be able to read the Qur'an in Arabic soon, insha'Allah. Reading, discussing Islam with other Muslims, and the Friday jum'a khutba are all educational. Striving to be as pious as one can be and fighting against one's own evil traits (jihad al-nafs) takes effort and is continuous and never ending for Muslims.


    I find Islam ever-more fascinating, and I enjoy living as a Muslima.
    Last edited by Ansar Al-'Adl; 05-04-2005 at 02:40 AM.
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

  2. #61
    ummbilal's Avatar
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

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    A mugger converts Allhumdulilah

    this is a story of something that happened quite recently in london uk

    a brother was on a train when a man came up to him and asked for his wallet, intending to rob him, the man may have had a wepon i cant remember Allahu alam.
    Allhumdulilah the brother said, "I am a muslim and that means i am willing to defend my property, should i die doing so then i will die a shahid and enter paradise, if i dont die then i get to keep my possesions. Its a win win situation for me"
    the robber looked stunned and walked away..

    a week later the brother is on the train again and is approached by the same man, who say"I've been looking for you all week, i cannot sleep for thinking about what you said, tell me what it is that gives you such faith, what is being a muslim?"

    Of course the brother told him about Islam and Allhumdulilah the man took his shahada Allhumdulilah to be taken from the gutter by the mercy of Allah to join the ranks of the believers inshaallah.
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    Indeed Allah is Great and Good Allhumdulilah

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    Re: Tomorrow is not promised

    well well well u want my story huh? Well ok here goes..I was born into a family of babtists..spent my youth in sunday school like everyone else...but always had questions..so many things in that belief conflicted...so when i got older i started doing research in all religions..and then i found islam.Started learning about it...reading..asking ppl i knew..and one day it finally slapped me in the face lol..this is home..this is where i belong..u see i have never felt like i belonged in any groups here in america..never felt like I fit in at all..with the women all running around half naked...giving their bodies up to different men all the time...makes me want to be sick...so i dont have friends here in the states..but when i found islam the ppl i talked to made me feel so comfortable from the start...so now i know ..this is truely where i belong...

    oh and no i didnt' write that per say...just made my own adjustments to it ..thanks for the props

  5. #63
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    How Emily became Muslim


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I said, Emily has become Muslim?!

    She said, Yes, she became Muslim.

    This news came as a surprise, and I asked myself, how did this woman become Muslim?

    I had never noticed anything in the expression of this Filipina woman to indicate that she wanted to hear anything about Islam… But Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allaah guides whom He wills” [al-Qasas 28:56]

    And Allaah had guided this Christian woman to Islam. The lady of the house for whom Emily worked told me the story of her Islam. Her journey towards Islam had begun when she had said to her mistress, I want to learn about Islam.

    This surprised the lady of the house, but she told her a few things about Islam in an attempt to convey a little of what she knew about her religion. Then she got in touch with the Centre of Daw’ah and Guidance for Non-Muslims (Markaz al-Da’wah wa’l-Irshaad li’l-Jaaliyaat ghayr al-Muslimah) in order to get hold of some books about Islam written in the Filipino language (Tagalog).

    What attracted my attention to this story is the fact that this newly-Muslim woman sees things in our religion that many others do not see.

    When I asked her why she had embraced our religion, she answered as follows:

    I used to feel very peaceful deep in my heart, even though I was in a strange society far away from my homeland. I received kind treatment from my mistress and she was concerned about me and my rights. She cared about my safety and would not let me go out alone on my weekly day off. She said, If your husband were here, I would let you go out with him on your day off. At the beginning, I used to accuse the Muslims of being oppressive, but I soon realized that she meant well and wanted to keep me away from immoral routes. If this was the case with minor issues of your religion, then what about the major issues?

    Whilst thinking about the story of this Filipina worker, whose appearance was even more beautiful than before now that she was wearing the proper Islamic hijaab, another question came to my mind: what motivates a woman to become Muslim?

    Despite the fact that the people in the family for whom she worked were not particularly keen to call her to Islam and they did not follow a purely Islamic lifestyle, there still existed that common sense (fitrah – natural human inclination) which prevails over most of our households – that fitrah accompanied by kind treatment and good manners to which Allaah guides us in most of our dealings, even though some neglect much of it; that common sense which we must pay attention to. But it is this fitrah which always attracts them to the true religion.

    My message here is daw’ah and raising awareness, the da’wah which starts in our homes with simple efforts. Our religion of Islam is a great religion which includes profound principles and concepts and it can save mankind from its woes; we must not neglect these principles.

    If this woman could become Muslim simply from seeing or hearing a few simple things in our lifestyle, how would it be if we were really adhering to our religion properly? Wouldn’t that have a greater and more positive effect on the non-Muslim foreign workers around us? It would definitely have a great impact on improving the state of our Islamic society and the entire Muslim Ummah.
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    “Whoever puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him.”

  6. #64
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    salam
    alhamdulillah
    wasalam

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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    Any stories about re/converts who were atheist and from atheist backgrounds? It seems to me that from the starting point converts were always already *sure* about God?

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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    Any stories about re/converts who were atheist and from atheist backgrounds? It seems to me that from the starting point converts were always already *sure* about God?
    http://www.islamicboard.com/comparat...rs-here-2.html

    read post number 13

    oh and welcome to the forum
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    "The ancestor of every action is a thought."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

  10. #67
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    Salam all! I have meaning to post this for a while but just now have some time. After reading the other converts sories though I'm a little reluctant. I didn't have any big moments or anything so here it goes.

    I have to start back in 7th grade I guees, I was raised Lutheran, thjough after my parents divorce didn't attend church much. Then I meet a very good friend in 7th grade. I actually had the biggest crush on him the whole year tough I never told him. He was in 8th and then went to high school a year before me. We met up again in high school and dated for a few months then back to really good friends. My second year of high school he was promoted to his last year and was changed to a different home room. This is where he became friends and locker partners with my future hubby!

    I saw my hubby in the halls and it was love at first site!:loving: SO i like to say. After a couple months we finally went on a first date, we were both very shy. I knew he was muslim but that was all. I did not know anything about Islam at the time. I learned a bit as we started to date. I know thats not right now but not hten.

    We dated a year before he asked me to marry him. I was still in hs and he was in college by now. His Parents knew nothing of me, he kept it a secret. I have to admit I didn't think at the time that we would really get married. He is very loyal toi his family esp his mom! As things tend to happen here in the US we did things together that Islamically we shouldn't have. My last year of hs, near the end, I became pregnant.

    We debated long and hard about what to do and finally decided we would keep the baby and he would leave his family. This he did because he didn't believe his parents would allow him to take the responsibility. He wrote them a letter and left the house with all his things. His family came looking for him and in a day or two did contact him through his older brother, who knew me and the situation. My husband had a meeting with his parents and grandparents and it was decided that they should meet me. We met the next day and they wanted us to have at least the Islamic wedding, as my step mothers insurance was covering my pregnancy. We had it in 3 days and his grandfather performed the ceremony.

    After my son was born we went to live with my inlaws so my husband could finsh his college degree. A little every day I learned and saw more about Islam. I was interested but a little rebelious. My in laws kept pushing it on me and that is a sure fore way for me to say no!So we asked them to let it be and maybe I would convert.

    Now I have a new baby, husband, inlaws and trying to deal with a different culture( hubby's parents came to US from Pakistan)! I began to feel the need for God and religion in my life. I started to read the Bible and study Christianity as a whole. Also went to my sisters Religious Scientist church. I looked at Hinduism, Bhuddism, Judeaism...etc. I looked all over and also quietly at Islam. Of all of them ISlam didn't make me question beliefs or rules, etc. No one knew I was curoius, not even my hsband! I didn't want to hurt him if I decided not to convert.

    One night before dinner when my son was a year old, I told him I wanted to convert. He was so happy and hugged me tight. THe first thing out of his mouth was we had to tell his parents. I wanted to hold off. Maybe convert firast then trell them but he didn't know exactly what to do so we decided we would tell them at dinner. At dinner hubby said I had some thing to tell them, they must ahve thought I was pregnant again from the look then. When I told them I wanted to convert my father in law got up and came around the table to hug me and kiss my head! THis is big cuz he usually just sniffs peoples heads! My mother in law was crying, which she doesn't often do, and then hugged me as well.

    It was decided the night that over the weekend we would go to my husbands aunts house with all the family present for my shahada. I didn't want to wait the 4 days but it was to be a celebration.

    It was a big event. My husbands cousin from florida came up with her family to be there with me! We had become friends over the year. My father in laws older brother was the one to give me the shahada and I prayed my firat salat that day. I still remember it was Maghrib salat on Feburuary 1st 1993.

    A lot haaas happened since then and I have learned alot but with so much more to go. As you can see not big event when it hit me. Converting just felt right. I didn't miss anything like pork or shorts, etc and salat fit in so nicely. I didn't struggle for it at all. I guess I was always muslim in my heart.

    THe hard part was telling my Mom. She was aliitle upset but always tried to show it with me. Years later she told me people ask her if shes mad about it. She tells them that she isn't because she can see the peace I have found in Islam. The rest of my family was just fine with it from the start.

    I know... not too thrilling like the rest but there it it. My conversion. Thanks for reading

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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    ---

    that is a really thrilling and touching story sis...this just really touched my heart....may Allah reward you abundantly..Ameen...

    Refer to forum rule 17.

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    Post Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!


    a True Story of New Muslim American

    IMAAM SIRAAJ WAHHAAJ

    Muslim Students Association (MSA) used to be umbrella organization for the Muslims residing in America and Canada. Over several years, many Muslim students became citizens of United States and made this country their future home. To serve the needs of these citizens, a new umbrella organisation came into being. It was named Islamic Society if North America or ISNA. Siraj Wahhaaj and I had the privilege and honour to be members of Majlis Shura and Executive Council of MSA. We were also members of the first Majlis Shura and Executive Council of ISNA.

    We had to meet often at ISNA headquarters in Indiana. Our meetings used to be very long and extremely tiring. There was rarely any chance to talk freely with each other. The Agenda was very big. Only a few members had a chance to express their opinion on various issues. In this way, I felt a vacuum between these Muslim national leaders.

    Luckily, one day Brother Siraj and I got together during the brief lunch break of the Executive council meeting of ISNA. I was curious to know how he accepted Islam. He narrated his situation as follows:

    “I used to be a member of the so-called Black Muslim movement, which was quite different from the traditional Muslim beliefs and practices. ISNA held a summer training camp for community workers. I happened to attend this camp. The camp started with a recitation of the Holy Qur’aan by a Sudanese brother. I did not know Arabic at that time. This recitation of Qur’aan affected me deeply. I started crying profusely. The more recitation I heard the more tears gushed out from my eyes, flowing down my cheeks continuously and falling on my clothes. I did not understand a word of Arabic. I said to myself, ‘Whatever it is, it seems real.’ I, therefore, became a traditional Sunni Muslim.”

    Brother Siraj learnt Arabic diligently and mastered recitation of Qur’aan and Hadith in due course of time. Soon, he became Imaam of Musjid Taqwa in New York. His Friday address used to be very effective. Many men and women accepted Islam through him.

    The Muslim community around his mosque grew larger and larger. He surfaced as a Muslim national leader and member of Majlis Shura and Executive Council of ISNA.

    I asked him how he viewed the activities of ISNA and other similar Muslim communities. He said loudly, “All of you are very lazy and your output in the activities is very minimal. For example, when I used to be in the Black Muslim Movement, I had to sell a lot of newspapers. I used to stand on my feet for hour to ensure the sale of all the newspapers. Sometimes, my legs used to tremble despite my youth. You guys talk too much and do very little.” There was no more time left in this lunch break to ask questions.

    His Musjid is located in inner part of New York city where drug business was done day and night. The drug dealers were very rich and extremely dangerous. To eradicate drugs from this community was a very uphill and risky task. Dealers would kill anybody interfering in their activities. These drug dealers were thriving around Taqwa Mosque. Imaam Siraj did not like this. imaam Siraj gathered knowledge about these dealers from some of the new Muslims who used to wheel and deal with them in the past. Siraj gathered a few hundred Muslims from his community and went to the drug lords one by one. He said to them, ‘Get out of the community by tomorrow or we will get rid of you all.’ Many said to him, ‘Why do you want to rob us of our daily living?’ siraj told them that there was no room for drugs in this Muslim community. Siraj repeated his tour with his followers next day. All drug lords left their centres of activities. In this way, the vicinity of Taqwa Mosque was cleaned of drug dealers for a five miles radius. The American Government was surprised because they could not succees even after spending lot of money and applying different tactics using skilful manpower. Brother Siraj was interviewed on national television for his remarkable achievement. TV Ancherman asked, ‘How and why did you do it?’ Siraj replied, ‘Islam and drug business cannot go together. Islam cannot see the poor public ruined in the hands of these drug dealers. Sincerity of purpose and strong will helped to achieve the noble goal.’

    Siraj is now closely working with other Muslim communities in America and Canada. He is very successful in inspiring youth and raising funds for Islamic schools and mosques. He is always with an open boo of Hadith or Holy Quraan in his hand even on the airports. He is respected internationally. During my last visit to Makkah Mukarramah from States, I met a few American Muslims. I asked them who else was there. They told me that Imaam Siraj was also there. Local leaders of Haram were looking for him so that he could participate in the changing ceremony of the cover of the House of Allah.

    The last time when I heard his speech was at the Annual ISNA convention in Chicago. It was the time of the campaigning for the American Presidential election. It was in full swing. George Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perro were throwing as much dirt at each other as much as law permitted. Muslims residing in America expected to gain some sense of direction concerning their voting in the forthcoming election. Any word from the local American Muslim leaders like Siraj Wahhaaj would have ben highly valued. Siraj started his speech like this. “I was reading the Qur’aan last night. I was surprised to read about George Bush in it. Yes, you heard me right. I read about George Bush in the Quraan last night. In fact, I also read about Bill Clinton. Both were mentioned in the Quraan in the same place. Ross Perro was mentioned in the Quraan as well. I did not have to read lot of the Quraan since all three were mentioned in the beginning of the Quraan. You may be wondering where it is. It is in the second chapter of the Quraan. I can even give you the exact verse.” Then he recited the verse, ‘Summun Bukmun ‘Umyun fahum laa yarji’oon’ (They are deaf, dumb and blind. They will not return to truth)

    He added, ‘There ears are not fit to hear the truth, their tongues are not ready to talk truth and their eyes are not capable of seeing the truth. How can there be any hope for their leaning towards or reverting to truth.’

    Siraj has his own original style. There is a need for a book to be written about him. I hope somebody will do so one day.

    Source:al-balagh.net


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  14. #70
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I came from a non religious family, however they still believed in God.

    I grew up with friends of different nationalities and religions. My mother taught me the value of being kind to everyone, no matter what there colour of skin. I thank her for this...as i was far from ever being racist.

    As i grew into my teens, i became very depressed with my life. I felt as though there was no meaning to it. Yes, i had life..but why was i here?

    I would keep a diary of all my thoughts and emotions...i realised later i was one lost soul.

    I would go out to nite clubs as a way of escaping. I would be so happy, laughing and enjoying the night with friends (or so i thought). Then when i had to return home again, i would sink into depression.

    My conversion to Islam came after my cousin and grandmother passed away.

    I questioned God.."why did you do this ????!!!!", and decided that i would no longer believe in Him.

    I became more and more depressed, even hating myself...i felt all alone.

    I went to see a doctor for some anti-depressants...i tried them once, and did not want to take them again.

    I had friends who were born again christian...so i went to there church...as i guess i somehow, deep down still believed in the existence of God. I came back feeling as though everyone was fake.

    I began asking people about there faith, and what they believed in.

    I remember asking " if there is a God, please guide me to the truth " as i found all these religions confusing...and didnt know what the truth was.

    SubhanAllah, it was maybe only weeks later that i went down to an islamic council and asked for some information on islam.

    I was so nervous, but yet so excited. As i began to read up on this wonderful way of life, i felt as though it was the truth, and that Allah had guided me, when i needed Him the most.

    A while later, i took my shahadah, and cried..it felt amazing !!!! I told my parents (stupid me, thinking they'd be so happy for me)..that i was now a muslim...they freaked out..and couldnt understand why i did such a thing. I asked them just to give me some time, and i would show them (through the teachings of islam) how i would change for the better, and how i would honour them and respect them.

    Alhamdulillah, i have been muslim for so many years now, and have changed for the better..masha Allah. Not only that...Allah (swt) with His mercy has guided three other of my family members to Islam

    Allahu Akbar.

  15. #71
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    wow, i love these revert stories. they are an inspirition to the muslim ummah.
    ALLAHU AKBAR!

  16. #72
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    Well...i dont have a revert story...
    A-Hamdudillah,i've been muslim all my life by the grace of Allah all mighty.
    I can tell u how i started to actually love islam and love niqab etc...
    Just let me know..i dont want to go off topic.
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    ~!My hijab is my crown!~




    ~For My past will for ever be a part of my present and my future!~

    I know i look diffrent--im going through something.Make dua for me

  17. #73
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    i luv these stories too
    v inspirational
    i dont hav one aswell-been muslim all my life thanks to Allah -and my wonderful parents

  18. #74
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    we are all born muslims...and yup been muslim all my life and i also luv reading these stories......
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!


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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    I Had Not Gone Shopping for a New Religion
    Written by: Michael Wolfe


    After twenty-five years a writer in America, I wanted something to soften my cynicism. I was searching for new terms by which to see. The way one is raised establishes certain needs in this department. From a pluralist background, I naturally placed great stress on the matters of racism and freedom.

    Then, in my early twenties, I had gone to live in Africa for three years. During this time, which was formative for me, I did rubbed shoulders with blacks of many different tribes, with Arabs, Berbers, and even Europeans, who were Muslims. By and large these people did not share the Western obsession with race as a social category. In our encounters being oddly coloured rarely mattered. I was welcomed first and judged on merit later. By contrast, Europeans and Americans, including many who are free of racist notions, automatically class people racially. Muslims classified people by their faith and their actions. I found this transcendent and refreshing. Malcolm X saw his nation's salvation in it. "America needs to understand Islam," he wrote, "because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem".

    I was looking for an escape route, too, from the isolating terms of a materialistic culture. I wanted access to a spiritual dimension, but the conventional paths I had known as a boy were closed. My father had been a Jew; my mother Christian. Because of my mongrel background, I had a foot in two religious camps. Both faiths were undoubtedly profound. Yet the one that emphasizes a chosen people I found insupportable; while the other, based in a mystery, repelled me. A century before, my maternal great-great-grandmother's name had been set in stained glass at the high street Church of Christ in Hamilton, Ohio. By the time I was twenty, this meant nothing to me.

    These were the terms my early life provided. The more I thought about it now, the more I returned to my experiences in Muslim Africa. After two return trips to Morocco, in 1981 and 1985, I came to feel that Africa, the continent, had little to do with the balanced life I found there. It was not, that is, a continent I was after, nor an institution, either. I was looking for a framework I could live with, a vocabulary of spiritual concepts applicable to the life I was living now. I did not want to "trade in" my culture. I wanted access to new meanings.

    After a mid-Atlantic dinner I went to wash up in the bathroom. During my absence a quorum of Hasidim lined up to pray outside the door. By the time I had finished, they were too immersed to notice me. Emerging from the bathroom, I could barely work the handle. Stepping into the aisle was out of the question.
    I could only stand with my head thrust into the hallway, staring at the congregation's backs. Holding palm-size prayer books, they cut an impressive figure, tapping the texts on their breastbones as they divined. Little by little the movements grew erratic, like a mild, bobbing form of rock and roll. I watched from the bathroom door until they were finished, then slipped back down the aisle to my seat.

    We landed together later that night in Brussels. Reboarding, I found a discarded Yiddish newspaper on a food tray. When the plane took off for Morocco, they were gone.

    I do not mean to imply here that my life during this period conformed to any grand design. In the beginning, around 1981, I was driven by curiosity and an appetite for travel. My favourite place to go, when I had the money, was Morocco. When I could not travel, there were books. This fascination brought me into contact with a handful of writers driven to the exotic, authors capable of sentences like this, by Freya Stark:
    The perpetual charm of Arabia is that the traveller finds his level there simply as a human being; the people's directness, deadly to the sentimental or the pedantic, like the less complicated virtues; and the pleasantness of being liked for oneself might, I think, be added to the five reasons for travel given me by Sayyid Abdulla, the watchmaker; "to leave one's troubles behind one; to earn a living; to acquire learning; to practise good manners; and to meet honourable men".
    I could not have drawn up a list of demands, but I had a fair idea of what I was after. The religion I wanted should be to metaphysics as metaphysics is to science. It would not be confined by a narrow rationalism or traffic in mystery to please its priests. There would be no priests, no separation between nature and things sacred. There would be no war with the flesh, if I could help it. Sex would be natural, not the seat of a curse upon the species. Finally, I did want a ritual component, daily routine to sharpen the senses and discipline my mind. Above all, I wanted clarity and freedom. I did not want to trade away reason simply to be saddled with a dogma.

    The more I learned about Islam, the more it appeared to conform to what I was after.

    Most of the educated Westerners I knew around this time regarded any strong religious climate with suspicion. They classified religion as political manipulation, or they dismissed it as a medieval concept, projecting upon it notions from their European past.

    It was not hard to find a source for their opinions. A thousand years of Western history had left us plenty of fine reasons to regret a path that led through so much ignorance and slaughter. From the Children's Crusade and the Inquisition to the transmogrified faiths of nazism and communism during our century, whole countries have been exhausted by belief. Nietzsche's fear, that the modern nation-state would become a substitute religion, have proved tragically accurate. Our century, it seemed to me, was ending in an age beyond belief, which believers inhabited as much as agnostics.

    Regardless of church affiliation, secular humanism is the air westerners breathe, the lens we gaze through. Like any world view, this outlook is pervasive and transparent. It forms the basis of our broad identification with democracy and with the pursuit of freedom in all its countless and beguiling forms. Immersed in our shared preoccupations, one may easily forget that other ways of life exist on the same planet.

    At the time of my trip, for instance, 650 million Muslims with a majority representation in forty-four countries adhered to the formal teachings of Islam. In addition, about 400 million more were living as minorities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Assisted by postcolonial economics, Islam has become in a matter of thirty years a major faith in Western Europe. Of the world's great religions, Islam alone was adding to its fold.

    My politicized friends were dismayed by my new interest. They all but universally confused Islam with the machinations of half a dozen middle eastern tyrants. The books they read, the new broadcasts they viewed depicted the faith as a set of political functions. Almost nothing was said of its spiritual practice. I liked to quote Mae West to them: "Anytime you take religion for a joke, the laugh's on you".

    Historically a Muslim sees Islam as the final, matured expression of an original religion reaching back to Adam. It is as resolutely monotheistic as Judaism, whose major Prophets Islam reveres as links in a progressive chain, culminating in Jesus and Muhammad. Essentially a message of renewal, Islam has done its part on the world stage to return the forgotten taste of life's lost sweetness to millions of people. Its book, the Qur'an, caused Goethe to remark, "You see, this teaching never fails; with all our systems, we cannot go, and generally speaking no man can go, further".

    Traditional Islam is expressed through the practice of five pillars. Declaring one's faith, prayer, charity, and fasting are activities pursued repeatedly throughout one's life. Conditions permitting, each Muslim is additionally charged with undertaking a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime. The Arabic term for this fifth rite is Hadj. Scholars relate the word to the concept of kasd, "aspiration," and to the notion of men and women as travellers on earth. In Western religions pilgrimage is a vestigial tradition, a quaint, folkloric concept commonly reduced to metaphor. Among Muslims, on the other hand, the hadj embodies a vital experience for millions of new pilgrims every year. In spite of the modern content of their lives, it remains an act of obedience, a profession of belief, and the visible expression of a spiritual community. For a majority of Muslims the hadj is an ultimate goal, the trip of a lifetime.

    As a convert I felt obliged to go to Makkah. As an addict to travel I could not imagine a more compelling goal.
    The annual, month-long fast of Ramadan precedes the hadj by about one hundred days. These two rites form a period of intensified awareness in Muslim society. I wanted to put this period to use. I had read about Islam; I had joined a Mosque near my home in California; I had started a practice. Now I hoped to deepen what I was learning by submerging myself in a religion where Islam infuses every aspect of existence.

    I planned to begin in Morocco, because I knew that country well and because it followed traditional Islam and was fairly stable. The last place I wanted to start was in a backwater full of uproarious sectarians. I wanted to paddle the mainstream, the broad, calm water.
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    “Whoever puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him.”

  21. #76
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    All the stories were so touching that I found it hard to hold back my tears. I'm a bit choked up. Time for a cuppa I think....

  22. #77
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    Smile Converted British mom, daughter say they were guided by Allah

    Converted British mom, daughter say they were guided by Allah
    By Afkar Ali


    DUBAI - An English girl from a rural town on the outskirts of London
    began spontaneously to read Arabic after purchasing a chocolate bar
    with Arabic text on the packaging from a neighbourhood supermarket.
    The girl, now a Muslim, can recite the Shahada, the article of faith,
    and was in Dubai with her mother.

    The girl's parents were stunned when their daughter started to shout
    "I'm a Muslim, I'm a Muslim" and demanded a copy of the Holy Quran.
    They were further surprised to hear their daughter utter words they
    could not understand. While her father did not accept what was
    happening, the girl found support from her mother who got her a copy
    of the Holy Quran and helped her take her chosen path in life.

    The seven-year-old girl, Jamila, whose previous name was Georgia, and
    her mother Sameera, whose previous name was Samantha, were introduced
    to the public and the Press in Dubai during a lecture organised by the
    Pakistan International Forum at the Desert Rose Hotel. The lecture was
    on the duty of a Muslim to contribute to instilling faith and belief
    in the hearts of new Muslims. The lecture was delivered by Dr
    Mansour Malik, an Islamic scholar from London.

    In the middle of the lecture, Dr Malik introduced the little girl and
    her mother, both of whom have recently converted to Islam.

    Speaking on behalf of the child, her mother told Khaleej Times that
    they live in the UK in an area where there are no Muslims or Arabs to
    influence her daughter or teach her to read Arabic or even know about
    Islam.

    "Islam in our mind was associated with violence and terrorism from
    what we hear in the news and read in the papers," Sameera said. She
    added that one day her daughter Jamila could read the Arabic text on a
    chocolate bar that she bought from a supermarket in their
    neighbourhood.

    "Her father and I were shocked when we heard our daughter uttering
    words that we could not understand," Sameera added. While Jamila's
    father did not accept what was happening Sameera supported her
    daughter and brought her a copy of the Holy Quran and encouraged her
    to choose her path in life.

    "One day our house was set on fire and everything we owned perished in
    the flames except for the Holy Quran," Sameera said. This accident
    convinced her to accept Islam as the guidance of her life. "Allah was
    guiding me towards the right path of Islam through the miracle of my
    daughter when she uttered the word Islam," Sameera said.

    Speaking to the Press, Jamila said that she couldn't recall the words
    that were written on the chocolate bar, but she can say the Shahada,
    the article of faith, "There is no true god but God (Allah) and
    Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the messenger of God.".

    She said that the main reason she came to Dubai is to see a Muslim
    country where Muslims interact with people of other religions and to
    see mosques and hear the Azzan (call for prayer).

    Jamila said when they go back to the UK they would like to organise a
    campaign to correct the misconceptions about Islam and spread Muslim
    teachings among the non-Muslim residents in their neighbourhood.

    Jamila pointed out that wearing the Hijab resulted in her being
    ostracised by some of her family members and her friends and
    schoolmates. "As I feel different now I also don't like to mingle with
    my old friends and I prefer to meet Muslim friends to learn from them
    the Islamic teachings," Jamila said. Sameera added: "Studying religion
    has become a great joy for me and my daughter, other religions do not
    offer the (same) depth and insight to the original source of my
    belief.

    "When I first read the Holy Quran it instilled in me a sense of
    belonging. I began to study the Holy Quran this year with a deep
    desire to know more. I know I have reached a source of truth that I
    know will never desert me. I felt overjoyed and I was comforted by the
    strength and belief of others who supported me and my daughter to
    accept the faith in Allah."

  23. #78
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    Re: Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!



    I would like to share a story of a revert that is very remarkable.

    Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim
    (In the name of God the Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate)


    Note from the author:
    Many people, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are surprised to see an American of European descent practicing the faith of Islam. Countless times I have been asked, “How did you become Muslim?” My journey to Islam is a unique one, but by God this is the truth as I remember, without exaggeration.



    The Holy Qur’an - The Living Miracle
    One American’s Path to Islam
    By Anonymous


    Before I became Muslim I was quite a different person. I am not proud of the person I used to be and I am quite shy in telling others the details of my previous life, but for the purposes of this story, in order to emphasize the change Islam has had on my life, I deem it necessary.

    I was without true guidance for the most part of my early years. This means I was without Islam, which guides mankind to the best possible relationship with The Creator.

    As a child, I looked up to the gangsters around the area. They had money and women, but what was most alluring was how they were treated like celebrities. Everywhere they went people would follow just to be seen with them. They were both feared and respected.

    With these people as my role models, I embarked on my personal criminal path. By the age of twelve, I was committing crimes and by thirteen, I was carrying a handgun. May Allah have Mercy on me.

    I soon found this way of life to be far from carefree; it is actually quite the opposite. Everyone around me, including myself, were constantly looking over our shoulders. We were always on guard either from the police, or from the enemies we had made. Even friends had to watch out for one another because you couldn’t even trust them. The ones you thought were your friends were often not really friends at all, and the ones closest to you are the ones who can do you the most harm. I saw so-called “friends” steal from one another, lie to each other and even have affairs with each other’s women.

    By the Mercy of God I was able to go to college, and so I went away to a University directly after finishing high school in 1996. At the end of my first year of college, there was a series of stressful occurrences that took place. Although there were many unfortunate events, for the sake of space I will only refer to the more significant ones.

    First, I was the victim of a robbery. One morning I woke up and to my surprise almost all of my belongings were gone. Along with my belongings, all the money I had, in other words my entire life savings was also stolen. Keep in mind at this point in my life, money meant just about everything to me.

    The most peculiar aspect of the whole theft was that none of my roommate’s belongings were missing. Naturally this caused me to immediately be suspicious of my roommate and I was very distressed, having to spend every day and night with this person who I suspected had something to do with my misfortune.

    Another thing that happened was I received some very disturbing news from my doctor. He informed me that blood tests taken had revealed some damage to my liver. The doctor told me that he would have to do more tests to find out the possible cause as well as the extent of the damage. Naturally, while I was awaiting the results of the follow up tests, I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about death and whether I would soon be suffering from some terminal disease.

    The biggest pressure of them all was due to a situation involving my only brother. My brother and some of his closest friends had been involved in an ongoing conflict with another group of guys. My brother and his friends were a small crew, mostly young guys, who were full of pride and out to prove themselves. The other group was made up of some of the most feared thugs in our particular area. Although they weren’t an official gang, for lack of a better word, I will call them a gang in this article. They were the largest “gang” in our area, with members spanning all generations.

    The conflict began when several guys from the larger, more infamous group, ganged up on and beat up one of my brother’s friends. Well, the kid who had been badly beaten surprised everyone by getting his friends together and retaliating. The result was larger numbers of people getting involved as people began choosing sides. The fighting went back and forth for about a year and escalated from people fighting with fist, to people being beat with bats, and eventually to people being shot at. During one such shooting, one of the leaders of the larger gang was killed. My brother, although not being the actual shooter was there the night this happened.

    Man’s natural reaction is to get revenge and to do it swiftly. If a person is filled with hate and wants revenge but can’t get to the person he wants, sometimes they will hurt the family of the person, or others whom their target cares for. In this way they indirectly hurt the person by attacking what they love and hurting them emotionally. In many ways this is the worst form of revenge. In order to shield my family from such vengeance I left college and came home to safeguard my family.

    I kept a weapon with me at all times. I stayed awake nights guarding the home of my family while they slept. When I did sleep, I slept with a gun under my pillow and would awaken with every little bump in the night. Even the simplest venture outside into public life, for example to go to the store to buy milk, was like a military expedition. If a car slowed down around me I had to be prepared for a drive-by shooting.

    At this time I was also attempting to mediate on behalf of my brother for a peaceful solution to the matter. Both my brother and I had ties with the gang, so they listened to my brother’s side of the story. Many times I met with them, explaining to them that my brother did not have a weapon the night of the killing and also that my brother did not know the others with him had weapons either. Of course I was putting myself in danger by meeting members from this group because as I said before, no one is really trustworthy. I easily could have been killed or kidnapped. I had to watch every person cautiously, focusing on their hands in case they reached for a gun. I was deeply paranoid which helped me to stay alert.

    One can imagine how stressful this is for a person and the toll it can take on a young man. It was like living in a war zone. I had to constantly be alert; I could never let my guard down. My thoughts were always occupied with death. I would think about the people I love being murdered, or about the fact I may have to kill someone myself. If I did have to kill someone, what would happen then? Either I could live a life on the run, or I could spend the rest of my life in jail.

    At some point the normal, healthy paranoia turned into an unsound, debilitating form of paranoia. It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly I began to loose my grip on reality. My thoughts changed from wondering if people were listening to my telephone conversations, to wondering if people were listening to my thoughts. I began to think people were watching me through the T.V. Then I began to think I could talk to people through the T.V. too. For some reason I even began to think I could do magic. I believed if I did some simple ritual like clapping my hands or moving a finger at a certain time I could affect something or someone in another place.

    To detail all the ways my sickness manifested itself is too lengthy a subject for this short article. Basically I developed a very complex alternate reality and also a complex system of rituals to deal with living in this alternate reality. This sort of irrational thinking is a well-documented mental illness called paranoid schizophrenia. For reference, there is a popular movie called “A Beautiful Mind” which is based on the true story of someone who had the same disability. In brief, paranoid schizophrenics have a distorted perception of reality. The person who is sick may believe any number of strange things such as he/she is surrounded by aliens or may believe their thoughts are being monitored by the government as I did. To the person with the illness, this is reality and nothing can convince them otherwise. This makes it almost impossible to help those who are sick because it is difficult to convince them they need treatment.

    At this time I experienced the worst suffering I have ever experienced. Paranoid Schizophrenia is a mental sickness and therefore the brain is racing constantly with very little rest, overworking itself. I remember rarely having sleep because I was never able to relax, and also hardly eating because I was suspicious of chemicals, and food poisoning within the meals. Therefore through this mental sickness my body became very weak and overworked as well as my mind.

    Before going on let me explain a little about my religious past. I was brought up to be a Christian and my family went to church every Sunday. As I became older and as reasoning and independent thought began to develop, I started to question some of the tenets of the faith, starting with the divinity of Jesus. I had become confused and troubled over the teaching that Jesus was God. I asked my mother, “If Jesus was God, how come he prayed to God?” She could not answer and so I was referred to the preacher, and after some attempts to satisfy this nagging question he ultimately resigned and stated that you just have to believe. I searched the Bible for an explanation from the key source, Jesus, and found that Jesus never called himself God; in fact he most often referred to himself as the Son of Man.
    Also bothering me was the belief in the Trinity. I asked the preacher, “How can God be three but yet be one?” I essentially got the same response, which was that I had to have blind faith. I searched the Bible regarding this and found that Jesus himself never taught that God was three. {The only reference to a trinity from Jesus is "For there are Three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these Three are one." (1 John 5:7)” but this has since been removed from the revised Bibles after finding the verse had actually been added at some point}

    Although I never rejected Christianity, I could not bring myself to fully commit to this faith, which was confusing rather than pacifying my soul. However I have always maintained the belief that there is a God, and as my sickness got worse I turned to my God more and more. I would literally beg for God’s help to alleviate my suffering, and because I understood Him to be a source of Benevolence, I faithfully awaited His relief.

    During this time I read the Bible more than ever because I sought better communication with God. I had always been told the Bible was God’s word and I desperately wanted God’s guidance. Sometimes I would say a prayer before opening the book, asking God to please speak to me and guide me. I would then open the Bible and read the first thing my eyes fell upon, having complete faith that God was going to commune with me through this book. Instead of some grand mystical experience however, what I would read would be something about a war or a family tree, something other than the majestic response I expected. It felt like my prayers were going unanswered, and I began to feel worse and worse spiritually. This was the point at which I hit bottom. I was a complete mess. Try to imagine, my mind is disturbed, my body is in poor health, and now my spirit is troubled as well.

    Here in my darkest hour my prayers were finally answered and my life has never been the same since. I had been ordered by the court system to volunteer at a local Salvation Army, which is a store that provides affordable goods for those less fortunate. While working in the section which sells used books, I happened upon an English translation of the Holy Quran. Like most Americans, I knew virtually nothing about Islam. Essentially all I knew was that it was a religion and that this Quran is believed to be Holy Scripture. With a curious yet open mind, I made the same prayer I had made with the Bible, asking God to please communicate with me and guide me and then I opened up the Quran and read the first thing my eyes fell upon; “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion Islam.”

    After more than half a year of misery, I finally felt something other than suffering. But it was more than just relief, at that moment I felt tranquility which I had never experienced before. There was no doubt whatsoever about what just happened. My prayers had been answered; I had found the word of God.

    After that, my mind kicked in and said, “hmm, God wants me to be a Muslim…I don’t know what a Muslim is!” So I took the Quran home to find out what I was supposed to do next. As best as I can recall, I read the Quran everyday. I learned so much. I learned that a Muslim means “someone who submits to God” and that Islam means “submission” which isn’t even a religion per say as we know it, but more of an act of faith. I learned that all the prophets of the Bible had been of those who submit to God and Muhammad is the last in the long, family line of Prophets. (Muhammad is a descendant of Abraham through Ishmael)

    I can’t begin to explain all the Quran taught me; indeed I continue to learn from it till this day. It is like no other book, actually there is nothing like it. God describes it as guidance, a criterion for judgment, and a mercy. I can attest one way in which the Holy Quran manifests its mercy, through healing. As I read I began to feel better and better and after about two months time I was back to normal, praise God.

    “We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers. [17:82] From the translation of the Holy Quran

    I never took medicine, and I never saw a psychologist. It has been almost 8 years later and I am still fine. I also had my blood tested again for liver damage and all the results came back normal. Interestingly, I went to back to college and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and have worked in the field of mental health for almost five years.

    I hope my story strengthens the faith of those who already believe. As for those non-Muslims who read this, I hope it encourages you to read the Quran for yourself.
    I ask God to shower blessings upon His prophets and to send peace upon the righteous followers of His guidance. I ask God to show us the straight path, the path of those whom He has favored; not the path of those who have earned His anger, nor of those who have gone astray.
    Ameen




    Last edited by Muhammad; 01-20-2013 at 01:23 PM. Reason: Requested
    Stories of Muslim Reverts! - Post yours here!

    "Faisbir sabran jameelan".Therefore endure with a goodly patience (70:05)

  24. #79
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    Hindu converts, then his sister, then his wife-to-be, then his brother-in-law

    Hindu converts, then his sister, then his wife-to-be, then his brother-in-law

    I had a Hindu friend who I had known him since i was about 14 yrs old, because we went to the same school as each other, but we didn't share the same classes - only used to play football together.

    When we moved onto college, we picked the same subjects and ended up in the same class as each other. This is around the time when i started practising, so as with all things that you've got a new interest in, i was talking about Islam all the time. And my friend would sit down with me and the brothers in the cafeteria in between lessons. At the time, alot was being made of the scientific proofs in the Qur'an, and since we were studying science subjects this was the avenue through which the brothers gave him da'wah. He became more and more interested in Islam, and would ask us intelligent questions to which we were able to respond alhumdulillah. I even remember that we would invite him to jumu'ah and he would sit at the back of the room on a chair listening to the khateeb looking over the heads of all the brothers seated on the floor, listening to the khutba.

    He became more and more interested in Islam until one day, as we were walking into biology class he said "I want to become a Muslim!" Alhumdulillah, i thought!

    However, we became separated in the class and he ended up sitting next to another Muslim brother in the class. I don't know what the conversation was that went on between them during those two hours but at the end of it, he had changed his mind, he didn't want to become Muslim anymore :|

    We didn't stop giving him da'wah though, and we spoke often about Islam though he didn't again say that he wanted to become a Muslim. At the very least he told me he had given up on Hinduism after our discussions on tawheed vs idol-worship. I believed that because now he would eat beef-burgers with us during lunch

    Then we finished college and ended up going to the same university but doing different courses. Occasionally, we would bump into each other and we would talk, and he would sit in on jumu'ah, and attend a few talks. I always got the feeling that he was on the verge of becoming a Muslim, but he just needed a little nudge. At the same time, he told me he had spoken to his parents about Islam and had received a harsh reaction from them.

    Then, about 2 years into uni, we had our Annual Dinner and i was able to hook him up with one of the invited speakers for two hours. I'm sure he benefitted from that.

    A year later I finished uni, and he stayed on because he had 2 yrs remaining in his course, and we fell out of touch. I didn't have his email address or a contact number. And i used to pray to Allah that i could find him again.

    One day, a couple of years later, after work as i exited the train station, i heard a soft voice saying "Kash, is that you?"

    It was my friend. He told me he had become a Muslim in secret. Recited the shahada by himself, reading from a book.

    Masha'Allah Alhumdulillah

    However, he kept his conversion a secret from his family, and this was difficult on him.

    He would later tell me that he would sometimes question his own sincerity in becoming Muslim. Then he would remember that he would wake up in the early hours all alone, and silently make wudu and pray Fajr, and he would find comfort against the whisperings of shaitaan in this because it was a testament to his sincerity. Why else would he be waking up at 4 o clock in the morning and praying secretly except out of sincerity?

    Qadrullah wa ma sha'a fa'al. We fell out of touch again.

    But i soon met him again, and now he told me that his family knew he was a Muslim because he was giving da'wah to his sister and she blurted it out in front of them. They were very resistant at the beginning but very slowly accepted his decision. But now he faced two dilemmas.

    Number one was that his parents wanted him to marry a Hindu girl from India; they would not even entertain the idea that he marry a Muslima! He knew that marriage to a Hindu was expressly forbidden in Islam. But check this out... he said to his parents, i will not marry a Hindu girl because its haraam. However, in Islam marriage isn't Fard, but obeying parents is, so i will remain unmarried to please you and out of obedience to you!

    Masha'Allah. May Allah reward him.

    Allah softened his parents hearts until they said to him that he can talk to one of his (Hindu) cousins and if she is willing to convert they are happy to see him marry her.

    .....

    Do you remember that i said he faced two dilemmmas? Well, the second was that alhumdulillah, his younger sister went ahead and converted too. The problem was that his parents didn't know about this at all, and they wanted her to marry another Hindu cousin. The marriage was planned for a few weeks time. So my friend discussed the situation with his sister and they agreed that he would speak to her husband-to-be about Islam. If he accepted, great, and if he didn't, then she would announce her conversion publically and refuse to marry him.

    To cut a long story short, my friend and his sister with their families went to India for the marriages, and my friend converted his wife-to-be, converted his sister's husband-to-be and converted another relative.

    As far as i know, they're living happily ever after here in the UK, alhumdulillah. Only problem is that i lost his number last month when my phone broke!

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    Interview With Abi Lee-carter - A 20 year old Convert To Islam



    Interview With Abi Lee-carter
    A Convert To Islam

    Abi Lee-Carter
    Aged 20
    Student in a London University; studying Human Biology
    Muslim for 6 weeks


    In my experience of new converts to Islam I find it quite amazing the transformation of one's thoughts, opinions, and behaviour, in fact a whole transformation of one's perspective in life. Abi Lee-Carter is far from the ordinary….she exemplifies how thinking can take someone a long way…

    I am Ruji Rahman, aged 20, a student in London studying Biomedical Science. It was interesting to meet a new Muslim over the summer who attended some of my lectures at university and is studying in the same year. In fact I was more impressed by Abi's change in almost everything, particularly her pre-negative views about Islam.

    It cannot be gone unnoticed the negative image presented about Islam specifically Islam's treatment of women which has been rampant in the media creating an 'Islamophobia' in society. I thought it would be interesting to interview Abi Lee-Carter who in the midst of all propaganda has warmly embraced Islam.

    What interested you to Islam?

    Before University I had never met anyone Muslim. I was Christian and, like many people I know, only went to church for weddings, christening and funerals. I believed in God but my religion didn’t feature in my life.

    One of my flat mates in University halls was a practicing Muslim and was my first insight into Islam. Islam fascinated me because of its 'controversial nature'; people seem either passionately for it or fiercely against it. A year later, I got free booklets and leaflets about Islam and a free copy of the Qur’an during Islam Awareness week at my Uni.

    I read about Islam with an open mind (though slightly skeptical), but was impressed that I could get a comprehensive and rational answer to the questions I had: How did I get here? Why am I here? And where am I going? I was surprised to find an insight into my own life in the Qur’an and that caused me to do some serious self- analysis. I realised my priorities were misplaced, but was pleasantly surprised that a lot of my own strong beliefs were also features of Islam. The more I read, the less skeptical I became. Islam is so unique because it deals with every aspect of human life. It’s decisive and and, unlike a lot of religions, does not contradict itself. It’s a religion that asserts the truth and then proves it! How many other religions can do that?

    I felt enlightened (excuse the cliché, but its true!) and over time, decided that Islam was the truth and a way of life that I wanted to be a part of.

    How has Islam changed your life?

    It goes without saying that things are really different once you become a Muslim.

    “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Surah 5:3)

    The Qur’an and the Sunnah (what the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did, said and approved of), provide us with a definitive guide for our entire life. It’s not just a case of good vs. evil or halal vs. haram because humans have Free Will. By calling myself a Muslim, I willfully submitted my life to the Will of Allah. As daunting as this sound, it really has changed my life for the better. This way of life that covers every aspect including my conduct within society, socially and at home, it even advises me on finance and politics. I was so indecisive before and acted too often on impulse. When asked why, my usual reply was “I don’t know…I just did it.”

    Nowadays, I am conscious of all my actions and I do try to make everything I do purposeful. Being a Muslim means I have a Fear of Allah– not fear in the sense that I am scared, but that I’m continuously aware and mindful that Allah (SWT) knows everything that goes on. We are reminded in the Qur’an that, “Allah is Well- Acquainted with what you do.” So, I find myself (often subconsciously), thinking about the immediate consequences of my actions as well as the future (when I’ll be called to account for them on the Day of Judgment).

    The more obvious changes are that I pray 5 times a day (which isn’t actually as hard, inconvenient as it sounds) and I cover my hair and wear the Islamic dress when I go out. I don’t feel the need to go clubbing every night or sit in front of the TV all day because I actually prefer to be more productive with my time. Im very rarely bored nowadays- in fact Im run off my feet and having so much fun because there are so many things to get involved in. I am more conscious of my health and am trying to maintain it and take advantage of my youth and my fitness by doing what I can- while I still can.

    At long last I have focus and have definite goals for every aspect of my life and that’s a relief because I know what I’m working towards and the everyday things I do are more exciting now. I’m contented (the strongest and truest form of happiness) because I appreciate everything I have (even the little things), so much more now and that’s the greatest feeling. I worry less because I am confident that Allah (SWT) has provided me with everything I need.

    I am more considerate of other people and a lot less selfish. Im trying to be more helpful and more patient with my parents because Islam has made me value all they do for me, and it's hugely improved our relationship with each other.

    Since becoming a Muslim I have met the most amazing people and received such warmth and kindness. I’m now part of a community that accepts me regardless of my age, race or background and I feel comfortable being around them.

    How did people respond to you converting to Islam such as your family?

    Al hamdulillah, I’ve been so lucky! The first family member I told was my brother. His words were “Really! That’s cool!” which was a fantastic confidence booster. My biggest worry was telling my parents and it took me a while to actually break the news. It was important to me that they accepted my decision. I told my mum first and she was slightly shocked, I had let her know that I was reading about Islam beforehand, but reading and actually becoming Muslim are two very different things. My parents were worried about how others would react towards me because the view of Islam in the World is such a negative one at the moment and my mum was worried about me taking it all “too seriously”. The Islamic dress code was also an issue at first as well because they thought it was unnecessary and a bit “extreme”. They are getting used to it now and they are very supportive of me. I teach them what I can about Islam to help dispel some of their misconceptions and that helps a lot. They comment on the positive changes they’ve seen in my personality and behavior. My actions rather than my words have proved to them that I am earnest and Islam isn’t just a ‘phase’. My friends were shocked and a bit freaked out at first but they’re getting used to it and they respect what I’ve done.

    What advice would you give to someone who is interested in Islam?

    So many people have so much to say about Islam and it can get very confusing. I found books and the Internet helpful. But be cautious of what you read on the Internet because it’s not all accurate - make sure statements are backed up with proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Reading is helpful but I found the best way to find out about Islam is by speaking to practicing Muslims. Visit a mosque (call first if you can), I found the larger mosques are great and people are more than willing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if you think they're stupid), because as Muslims we know that there is no shame in religious questions. Most importantly, as a new Muslim sister once said to me, “keep your mind and heart open” that way you’ll find out everything you need to know and don’t be disheartened if you have a negative experience because sincere Muslims will be more than willing to help you.

    It has been quoted by many that the Muslim Woman is forced to wear the headscarf and Jilbab (Islamic dress). Do you share this view?

    In a word, no! I wear khimar (headscarf) and jilbab (over- garment) and no one forced me into it. I’ll admit, it wasn’t an easy decision because the pressure to look good in this society is so great.

    Women are evaluated on their outward appearance; your hair, your figure your dress sense (or lack of it) are all under continuous scrutiny. Meanwhile market tells us what to wear, what we need to buy or which treatments would best improve our looks. After purging and preening ourselves to distraction, we allow society to tell us how we compare against the ever-changing ‘ideal’.

    Unfortunately, we allow the way we look, and what people think about our appearance affect the way we feel about ourselves.

    Modest dress is a requirement in Islam for both men and women equally. In the case of women, the Qur’an states “ O Prophet tell your wives and daughters, and believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons; that is most convenient that they should be known (to be Muslims) and so as not to be annoyed…”(33:59). Muslim women wear the khimar (headscarf) and Islamic dress because Allah (SWT) has instructed us to do so. We don’t wear it to make ourselves look ugly or to bury our beauty but to redeem respect by worshipping the One who created us.

    In the West most men regard women as highly sexual objects and women unwittingly fall prey to stares and comments even molestation. The headscarf and Islamic dress prevents this; if they are judged it’s for their conduct, personalities and mind, not bodies.

    Let’s suppose Muslim women were being forced to cover… how do you explain thousands of Muslims around the world who are protesting for the right to wear the hijab, our right to obey Allah (SWT), our right to be respected for our character and intellect and our right to control what we choose to show of our bodies and to whom?

    Muslim women around the world are taking to the streets in their thousands. In London, 2000 people marched outside of the French embassy; women protested in Jordan, and more than 1000 teenage Muslim women marched in Beirut calling for France to overrule its ban. This struggle is nothing new. Women have been protesting for the right to wear the hijab in Turkey in the 90’s with sisters being sent to prison for merely attending peaceful demonstrations.

    These educated and articulate sisters have decided to wear the head scarf and Islamic dress in submission to Allah (SWT) and to liberate themselves from an image obsessed society, but they don’t get a mention in the popular media and so the myths are kept alive.

    It’s superficial and irresponsible to assume that any woman who wishes to keep her body private is oppressed or has been forced against her will.

    What is your opinion on the common labels associated with Muslims, such as "terrorist", "fundamentalist", "extremist"?

    To be frank, I think that governments and the media need to start using the dictionary and thesaurus more often to broaden their vocabularies. You can’t pick up a newspaper without reading these phrases. It’s amusing that all you need to do to create a new buzzword is add ‘-ist’ at the end of it and then use it to describe Islam.

    I can’t stand this sudden ‘one-size-fits-all’ attitude that’s been adopted when describing Muslims or anything even vaguely Islam-related. A dictionary-defined terrorist as someone who ‘advocates intense fear as a means of coercion’ and also describes a person ‘who panics and causes anxiety’. I would therefore, be correct in labeling alarmist military officials and world leaders as terrorists because of the fear of Islam they brought about. The words used depend on the motives behind what is being said, and this is what it boils down to.

    Nowadays people assume that because a Muslim believes the Qur’an is the word of Allah they are “fundamentalists” and “extremists”. Ignorance breeds fear and the people in ruling positions fear the power of Islam so they use emotive labels to create and maintain rampant Islamophobia. I sympathise with the despair of the Muslim people; and this goes for many Muslims. People are only allowed to hear one side of the story and I think it's important that the average Muslim finally has a say. We're really not all bad…you just have to converse with us.

    What was your view about Islam and its treatment of women before you converted to Islam?

    To be honest, I believed most of the negative things I was told by people who claimed to know about Islam. This was firstly because I had never met or interacted with any Muslims, and secondly, because I was under the assumption that Islam was something that a non- Muslim could never possibly understand, so I didn’t bother trying.

    I’m not ashamed to admit that my view of Muslim women was a negative one because I know better now. It wasn’t that I thought the women were bad people, I just felt so sorry for them! I saw them as vulnerable people, completely subordinate to men, with no rights and prevented from having their own opinions! I was told that their lives were terrible; usually being one of 4 wives and probably facing frequent physical and mental abuse, which they accepted as the norm. I had heard stories that women were not allowed to get an education because that was exclusively reserved for men and that Muslim women to all intents and purposes were enslaved.

    Has your view changed in any way?

    That goes without saying or I certainly wouldn’t be a Muslim now! My previous views were due to ignorance. The biggest amendment I’ve made is that I thought I’d have nothing in common with a practicing Muslimah (female Muslim) but that’s just not true. All the sisters I have met have become my friends and are similar to me and even some of my non- Muslim friends; we enjoy the same pastimes, share views on life and political issues (Islamic and otherwise), in fact we share views on a lot of things.

    I’ve found Muslim women to be among the most strong- willed and informed women I’ve come across. I am genuinely impressed by their natural proficiency in critical assessment of situations and those who haven’t gone into higher education show the same sharp intellect as the highly academic people I know. I think it's because Islam encourages us to use our minds more, so our brains are constantly being stimulated and Islam gives the woman the right to seek an education, to have a political voice, views and opinions. In my opinion Muslim women are strong, have a voice, self- confident and self- respecting and should be used as a positive example for all women.

    What is your view on the common impression non-Muslims may have that Islam oppresses the woman, and gives her no voice or role in society?

    It’s just a shame that such damaging and dismissive views of Muslim women have saturated public (mass- media driven), opinion. It aggravates me that people don’t take the time to educate themselves about Islam and then claim to be experts on the affairs of Muslim women.

    How can a religion that earnestly elevated the status of women, giving them control, more than a thousand years ago, awarding them rights that non- Muslim women could only dream of, be oppressive? Islam gave women the right to divorce (although always seen a last resort), even before Christian women in the West. As well as that, a Muslim woman has the right to negotiate her own terms of marriage, including the right to accept or reject a marriage proposal without any pressure so there goes the myth that Islam condones forced marriages.

    Islam gives women the right to financial independence –she can earn money and spent it as she wishes, and still has right to be supported by her husband for all her needs. Most significantly, Muslim women have the right to be identified as thinking individuals, rather than being sex objects, they are respected and appreciated.

    When the Prophet (PBUH) was asked who among us deserves the most care and respect he replied “your mother (and he repeated this three times)” which goes to show the high esteem and impotence of a woman’s role in society. It is women who produce and nurture a strong and upstanding community and in Islam, this integral role is recognised, honored and rewarded. Yes, sadly some Muslim women are oppressed by men in some parts of the world today but not under the instruction of Islam.

    Many have highlighted the oppression of women in Islam due to women's lives in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. What is your opinion on these states and whether they reflect Islam?

    I think it’s important to realise that cultural opinions have no relation to, or superiority over true Islamic teachings. These states do not reflect an Islamic caliphate in any way. I won’t claim to be an authority on what goes on in the countries you have mentioned but I do strongly disapprove of some practices. When I read how women are brutally abused by their husbands, or prevented from leaving the house, or denied an education and prevented from carrying out day to day tasks like shopping and driving (all things that we take for granted) it disturbs me.

    No one would deny, (not even Muslims) that in a lot of cases, the things that go on in these Muslim majority countries is inexcusable and especially when they are carried out in the name of Islam. Islam prohibits all of these actions and they directly violate the rights awarded to women by Islam. Sadly, for many people Islam is a culture as opposed to a religion and way of life. Often, in Muslim countries Islam is passed down through generations and authentic Islam falls prey to deletions and additions from other cultures leaving a nation or a large section of society confused. They follow what they assume to be Islam, but actually ignorant of the fundamentals of true Islam and its rules of governing a state. You only have to take a sneak peak into the Islamic history to see how women were protected, honored, given the right of education, the right to vote for a caliph, the right to work, and a significant role in society. During the rule of Umar ibn al-Khattab as a caliph, a woman named Shifa was a market judge who was empowered to pass judgments on violations of the public right. This is the true representation of Islam and its rights given to women in society.

    My simple reply is that Islam is perfect; humans, on the other hand, are not!

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