Viacheslav Polosin is a priest who entered the ranks of high officials in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Men born in Moscow, June 26, 1956, began working for the Orthodox Church in 1980 as a “Reader” (responsible to read the quotations of Scripture in worship).
Graduated from Moscow University, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Sociology in 1978, he later studied theology at a seminary in Moscow. Graduated from there in 1983, was appointed as a deacon Polosin (tasks pelayananan church), and then was appointed pastor.
Polosin had been appointed pastor at several parishes in Central Asia until 1985. He had been head of the church in the city of Dushanbe, but then deported from the territory by the Soviet government authorities as assessed defied Soviet communist rule. He then worked as a part-time translator in the Department of Publishing Office in Moscow diocese.
June 1988, when the persecution of religion by the Soviet government began to subside, Polosin again became pastor of a new church which almost collapsed in the city of Obninsk, Kaluzhsky region. He was performing his duties as pastor until promoted to the High Priest in 1990.
Travel ‘career’ Polosin as religious leaders did not stop there. In March 1990, he was elected as a deputy and a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation, representing the region Kaluzhsky. He became Head of Religious Freedom until 1993, and as long as it plays a role in legislation on Freedom of Religion.
Since 1990, Polosin participated in the founding of the Christian Democratic movement in Russia to take charge of the movement until 1993. At the same time, he completed his studies at the Diplomatic Academy Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and received his MA in political science.
Active in politics, Polosin left the church activities since 1991 because of difficult devote time to activities in the field of politics and religion.
After the Supreme Soviet disbanded in 1993, declined the offer to return Polosin activism in the church as pastor.
He chose to become part-time consultant for the Internal Affairs Department of the Church and became advisor to the state government who are members of the Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations.
After successfully defending his thesis “Dialectics of a Creation Myth and Political Myth” he earned his PhD in 1999 equivalent. After that, he wrote many religious themed articles and issues of religious and political.
One of his book is “State Religion Myth” which investigated the effect of the creation myth on the political developments in society, as well as the advantages of the monotheistic ideology to build a country.
Still in 1999, Polosin made a startling announcement. He and his wife returned to monotheism and Islam. Major decision that he marked with the name of Islamic “Ali” in front of his name.
After converting to Islam, Polosin was selected as one chairman of a social and political movements in Russia’s Muslim community, Refakh. He also became editor in chief Muslim Newspaper, published in 1999. In 2003, Polosin elected as President of the Journalists Union of Muslims of Russia, as well as an adviser to the Council of Muftis of Russia.
Joseph Burke was raised in New York. Most of his life he lived as Catholics, ranging from Catholic school to university. However, when he was already understand a little about Islam.
“My father had traveled to Malaysia several times, so he had Muslim friends,” he said. Sometimes Joseph’s family to accept them as guests.
Joseph has always had an interest to see the outside world, witnessed the cultural diversity, as well as religious differences. It was curiosity that led him to learn some basics of Islam while embracing Catholicism.
“I was prepared to take courses in religion and I know the basics of Islam. But I do not really understand much until I went to Indonesia,” ungkapya. “It was the first time I moved and lived in Muslim-majority country,” he admits.
Joseph studied electricity in college and 2 years after that he came out and joined a team of energy experts from General Electric as a technical field. He began to frequent travel abroad to work on power projects and build power plants.
The first time to Indonesia in 1994, he went to in order to work on the establishment of power plant projects. In Indonesia, he admitted that he enjoyed meeting with local people. “They are people who are very friendly and very open and excited to be involved chat with you because you are different,” she said her experience.
Living in Indonesia he began to learn about Islam. Two years later, 1996, he pledged his Islam. I married shortly after that, we traveled again, then settled back in New York in 2002 after a short stay in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Thailand as well.
Why is he interested in Islam? “I have a deep understanding of Catholicism. I think that led me to Islam is a logical nature. As an engineer, I really appreciate something that is logical,” said Joseph.
“That’s what I feel when I talk about Islam and lived among Muslims. I feel the same fraternity that they are for and it really encouraged me anyway.” said Joseph.
When he went to Australia and Malaysia after becoming a Muslim, he studied Islam more deeply. “I take classes and learn from others, and how they brought to me is really piercing and create awareness that as this is the right way.”
After embracing Islam, Joseph Burke admitted his family were so surprised. “But I think they can understand my decision,” he said. Joseph’s family has an open mind and they always respect all people, especially the monotheistic beliefs.
“I think they looked at me to worship based on the way I believe and they appreciate it,” he said. But Joseph also feels the need to explain to his family why he decided to embrace Islam. “Maybe that would get rid of skid also understanding that we have in the United States about Islam, and their exceptional very supportive.”
Now Joseph is not only a Muslim, he was active in Islamic activities and organizations. Today he became director of one branch of the Council on American-Israel Relations (CAIR) in the U.S.. “We, part of the advocacy group for American Muslims, are basically trying to try to remove some slippage understanding while helping Muslims in the case of freedom or civil rights,” said Joseph. “We’re trying to bring Muslims to sit down with U.S. society and introduce them to the wider community.”
When plunging preaching, he and his colleagues are always working mengkui carrying Islam to the American taste. The struggle for the rights and freedoms sipili Muslims is the main activity. “Every Muslim who was discriminated against because they are good Muslims in the workplace or government agency, we try memantu them. Now we are dealing with several such cases.”
Although he admits discrimination against minorities is often encountered, but one big thing that he acungi thumbs up life in America is the law on religious freedom and accommodation to worship according to his religion, especially in the workplace.
“But the problem, many workers did not know this and we make them understand what it’s like what forms of worship and accommodation of religion, such as praying or hijab or beard for men. We continue to socialize it to make sure they understand and they may ask for this right in workplace, “said Joseph.
In another sense, many Muslims are facing problems at work because the boss would not let them pray, scarf, or even grow a beard. “That’s what happened, such as wearing hijab in a work environment that has a uniform policy. But the law on our side and that’s what we try edukasikan,” said Joseph.
Adventurous spirit brought Osman Andrew Young traveled to explore exotic places around the world, met with a variety of people including those who according to Osman as the “best people”.
For Osman, Islam is not a stranger because he had studied the history of Arabic at the University of St. Andrew, Scotland. His trip to various places in the world, not only introduce further in Islam but also introducing the art of calligraphy which he elaborated until now.
At the age of 18 years, Osman had to travel overland along the North Africa. He visited Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Without the provision of good Arabic, without the provision of money and not knowing what to do, Osman has always met with the people who helped him, and touched by their kindness in his heart, so sometimes he stayed for days at a place.
“One time, in a village in the interior, several small children who for days my attention, emerged from a house and brought food,” said Osman.
Experience suggests that he personally experienced during travel to Muslim countries in North Africa, is the first contact with the Muslim community.
Osman is very interested in the ancient writings that he met in every way, from the ancient Greek letters, letters hieroglyphic Egyptian and Arabic forms of the letters which he had seen during his adventures in North Africa. His curiosity was so great to be able to understand the foreign letters, especially letters of the Arabic alphabet.
“Although I am not too familiar with the Arabic letters, I still remember the letters that had studied the history of Arabic. Therefore, when I studied classical Arabic, I could easily memorize Surat Yusuf. I do not understand its meaning, but I am very interested in the beauty of the sound of words the letters of the Koran, “said Osman.
Finished college, Osman had moved and lived in London, but only six months. He feels isolated physically and emotional, his soul is not connected with life in the city. He then read the ad about the opportunity to work in Egypt. Osman took the chance. He headed off to the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
On the way to Cairo, OSMA had stopped briefly in Sudan. Already she saw as a country that most of its territory is desert, but there he met with people whose attitude is warm and friendly.
“All the people are Muslim. They pray and behave well. They are simple people, and wear traditional Muslim dress,” said Osman who is often invited to eat into the house residents. Muslim communities in Sudan friendliness make him feel at home as at home. He compared life in Europe which he said masyarat individually and sometimes rigid.
“In Sudan, the behavior of people who either creates openness that can accept you, no threat. You will feel safe there,” said Osman.
In 1984, Osman during the five-day trip to the mountains of Jabal Mara in Darfur. He climbed mountains, and visited the villages that were located up to many hours on foot from one village to another. Osman witnessed the extraordinary beauty of his way to Jabal Mara.
“Not just the beauty of the landscape, but here, in the middle of a very remote area, you could see a farmer who prayed alone. The sight made my heart was touched, this person does not show off in worship. Darfur is an amazing place and very interesting,” he said.
He also witnessed other visitors whose numbers approximately 50 people, always perform prayers together. At night, when Osman sleeping in his sleeping bag, he heard the faint of people read the prayer.
However, an unforgettable experience when he did climb into the mountains of Jabal Mara, when she met someone who knew when he ate at a small shop. The stranger then took Osman to a small cottage. He gave his place to sleep for Osman, while the stranger sleeping on the floor instead. In the morning, on awakening, Osman saw the stranger was praying with khusyuknya.
After a stopover in already, Osman arrived in Cairo, Egypt. In the State of this pyramid, Osman met with the community of converts who advised him to take part in the event of Al-Quran reading and recitation. Initially, Osman did not pay much attention to that suggestion. New year later Osman follow that advice.
During the previous year, Osman as drawn from life and the world because I was busy thinking and writing. Osman train his flexibility by doing yoga, meditation and spending time with membaca.Tapi sometimes he still feels his soul is empty. Osman then discussing with a friend over the phone, which again suggests Osman to join the show read the Quran and remembrance, and Osman finally agreed.
“The timing is right for me. I see people come together, to run over and sit on the road. With a little nervous, Osman met with two big men dressed in shalwar khamis (suit trousers and long shirt typical of Muslims) and turban in his head. The two men were warmly welcomed Osman.
Osman still remember the first time he attended the event which suggested his friend, he joined the prayer, and afterwards, Osman so enjoyed reading the Quran and remembrance. “I feel like to hear something so familiar to my ears. The voices seemed to chime in and bring a very strong impact for me,” he added.
“It’s hard to explain, very beautiful and amazing. Even in the part they dwell for a moment, I seemed to see the light that encourages feelings of my spirituality. I feel like coming back to the show,” Osman continued.
He completely re-assembly and diligently follow the Quran and remembrance, until really felt he had found Islam and decided to become a Muslim. While following the assembly, Osman also studied calligraphy. He was very eager to learn calligraphy. “This is a wonderful way to express thoughts, ideas and feelings,” he said.
Calligraphy eventually become part of Osman’s life now. “My heart was adrift since it first came to the assembly that the Quran. At the same time I discovered Islam, I found my identity, and the ability of the continued rise in beautiful calligraphy,” said Osman. (Ln / IG)
My name is Christina Morra and was born into a Christian family. I have three brothers and three sisters. We stopped going to church when I was six years old. We believe that it is better to read the Gospel at home because we can not find the church with doctrine can we obey, so we better stay home. I am convinced that the religious attitude of the family that caused me to embrace Islam. I also believe that the journey to Islam began when I was newborn. One case that I learned in Islam is the concept of nature. This means that every child born in a state of purity, free from any sin. Therefore, we can call a child or baby as a Muslim.
Only a mother who taught her bapaknyalah to be a Jew or a Christian. I was so interested in this Islamic belief because I agree wholeheartedly. The fact that Muslims are trying to come back in a state of purity and become the best person can be right in my view.
I got to know Islam from some of my Muslim colleagues on the internet. Not all of my Muslim friends, but Thank God I’ve got some good Muslim friends. Previously I did not know anything. Only, I am reminded of a Muslim who worked with my father. At that time I learned to say “hai”.
I was attracted to this person who looks gentle and peaceful, and dressed completely in white. Slowly a new me that greeted the children is a good deed.
I once wrote an article related to the inclination and my interest to learn about different cultures and humanity. When I learned in high school. The article got the attention of our tutor. My English teacher also praised the article. When the time passed, my relationship with Muslims is also increasing. I became more interested in learning about Islam.
While in college, I took a religion course. Unfortunately, the material presented does not provide much information about Islam. I feel to be learned is Islam. Therefore, I took a course of classical Islam. I also learned the Persian language because it is so interest to learn the language. Cool with interest that I struggled to make me decide not to continue studying the field of architecture.
My good friend, Ehsan, one whom I knew through the internet, is a good friend to learn the Koran. I am asking a lot of issues relating Islam to him. He came from Iran to see me in America. We met in Texas. I also met with Iranian citizens crowded in there.
“The past is a problem then. I’m not a ‘kid’ again. I am now a ‘man’, the nickname ‘Evil Man’ did not seem to wear, but that’s part of my past,” said Carino Robinhood Fernando Padilla, actor Filipina who had been idolized by many people in the era of the ’90s through the film-action movie that starred.
Better known by the name of Robin Padilla, past the man who was born of Protestant Christian family, was dark even though his life as a famous actor wallowing in luxury. But the popularity of luxury and it’s a plunge into the world of night full of sinners. He was trapped in the lives of street thugs and drugs, thus making its popularity had declined.
The actor who was nicknamed “The Bad Boy of Philippine Movies Action” for his role as a member of a cold-blooded gangster in a film, the police have to deal with the Philippines because of football that has been categorized terjangnya criminal. In 1994, Philippine police arrested him and Padilla was convicted on charges of illegal possession of firearms. The court sentenced him to 21 years in prison, but in 1998 he was released.
Past experience in prison was a life-changing Padilla. He became acquainted with Gene Gallopin, a Muslim and human rights activists to Muslim minority communities in the Philippines. Robin began to know Islam from the long discussions about religion with Gallopin who is also a convert, so Robin decided to convert to Islam and used Islamic name Abdul Aziz.
Islamic actor born in Manila, Philippines, 23 November 1967 is not much revealed by the mass media, so many fans were surprised Padilla who really know their idol actors turned out to have become a Muslim.
Shortly after Padilla bersyahadat, named his wife Liezl, also converted to Islam. Couple converts were blessed with five children, began life as a Muslim family. Padilla is still continuing his career as an actor, but after becoming a Muslim, he also did a lot of socio-religious activities.
Activities in the field of religion, made Padilla repeatedly exposed to bias. He was even accused of having an affair with the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim group in the Philippines who is identified as a radical and terrorist groups. But for Padilla, there may be bias it is a challenge for him to live a life as a Muslim-majority country was Catholic pendudukanya.
Padilla also formed an advocacy agency to help the Filipino Muslim community. He has been appointed as an ambassador for Malaria Eradication Movement by the Department of Health Philippines because gait Padilla organizations in tackling the outbreak of malaria in the country.
Padilla also managed to collect a fund of one million pesos kegiataan Fililpina in raising funds to build a Muslim cemetery in Norzagaray town, Bulacan province.
In education, Padilla mewakafkan his land in Fairview Park, Quezon City to establish educational institutions of madrasas for Muslim children preschool age.
“The students will get to read Al-Quran lessons from teachers selected. They will live in a dormitory in the same location, shall be exempt from school fees, books are given free, including boarding fees, “said Padilla.
The idea to establish madrasas came after he visited the islands of Basilan and Jolo in southern Philippines, which is part of the Mindanao region, an area in the Philippines is predominantly Muslim.
“From my visit to Mindanao, I found the root of the most pressing issues in there. The lack of education makes kids retarded Muslims there,” Padilla said.
At the beginning of its establishment, there are only five teachers at the school, who have undergone training on international Islamic schools in Turkey. Padilla said he actually wanted to hire teachers, local university graduates, but the costs were more expensive.
“When the foundation management Fountain International School in Turkey to hear the plan we set up Muslim schools in Manila, they declare willing to help provide training for teachers free of charge,” said Padilla.
Asked about the conflict in Mindanao between the Philippine government and Muslim community, Padilla said, “I saw the short-term solution to resolve the conflict in Mindanao, the Philippine military withdrawal from the territory. Throughout the military forces still exist, there will be no peace in Mindanao, “he said. (Kw / TT)
There are wise words that say, one good example is more powerful than a thousand suggestions. Wise words to describe that to give an example by showing a good attitude and behavior, will leave a deeper impression on other people, than if we spit a lot of words and give advice.
That’s what Michele experienced, women from New York, who knew and eventually attracted to Islam because he was impressed with the character of the man who now became her husband. Muslim men were not only teaches etiquette and hygiene, but also gives a real example on Michele through everyday behavior.
“He just told me many things about Islam, but I’m the one who then started reading Islamic books sent by the father-in-law of Pakistan now. That’s what I initially wanted to find out what it is Islam, “says Michele Ashfaq who previously embraced the Catholic religion.
Before getting to know Islam, Michele admitted through a phase of life that are not targeted. He was puzzled what else to do but raised as a Catholic, but believe in their religion and pray. In the confusion, Michele had moved the congregation, he follows the pilgrims Baptist Church along with his grandparents.
“When I was 17 or 18 years, I experienced a strange event. He was in pernjalanan to the Catholic church when it was suddenly as if someone had whispered to him not to go into the church, “says Michele.
Since then, he began to feel reluctant to come to church. Once arrived, he would be late to church, or there are things that make it off go to church.
“When I studied back, was incredible that they happen for a reason. At that time I was in a state of binging and do not know anything about Islam. My people are naive and do not know anything about other religions. All I know, that time I lived in a very remote town in southern West Virginia with my grandparents. And I live just round the church-house, the house-church, “said Michele.
As described above, Michele know Islam from Muslim man from Pakistan who is now her husband. Next, Michelle learned about Islam from books he read.
Michelle was deeply impressed with the simplicity of Islam. “Islam is simple and easy. That’s what drew me to Islam. I can read and understand the Quran. In stark contrast to when I was at church, we were not advised to read the Bible or books to be understood. We were just told to listen to just what diceramahkan pastor. At that time, I’m a just a lot of asking questions, “added Michele.
Two things he asked seriously when it is about confession of sin and why he should believe in Jesus as savior. He still remembers how her mother forced her to meet with the pastor at the church and to confession as did the Catholics in general. For Michele, it’s very strange tradition. “For what I came to a man and confess my sins. I knew he was pastor, but he’s not my father! “Said Michele. At her age when she was a teenager, he felt the tradition that is not true.
Then, about the conviction of Jesus as a savior for Catholics. Michele questioned what about the followers of Prophet Abraham, the people who existed before Jesus came. “If they told me if I do not believe in Jesus, then I’ll go to hell, then what about the people before Jesus existed? Though Abraham was also a prophet and has also had a follower, “says Michele.
That’s two big questions about Catholic doctrine, and he was not ever get a satisfactory answer and reasonable. From the spiritual side, it makes Michele frustrating situation.
“But the moments that most makes it frustrating is when he did not meet with my husband. I really do not know what I should do, do not know where to worship, time was running very slow, and I ask God, why all this happened, why I so can not be going back to church, I never even dreamed of goal to become a nun, “said Michele.
Anxiety was answered when Michele Michele explore Islam. He said, “When you study the religion of Islam, it feels like you’re learning how to live life as human beings,” said Michele, another thing that answers all the anxiety Michele is memberkan charity or prayer requests.
From start to convert to Islam until now, 12 years Michele has embraced Islam. Mothers who are blessed with three children and worked as a first-grade teacher in North Carolina states that Islam has brought a distinct change for him.
“It’s hard to explain with words about the difference that I experienced after converting to Islam. I felt peace in Islam, is extraordinary. I have a direct relationship with Allah, “says Michele.
“But the biggest difference is the time to read Al-Quran. Al-Quran contains instructions and advice, if you have any questions there are answers in the Quran. (Oi)
this Chinese guy did not expect her hatred of Muslims embrace Islam to bear fruit. In his eyes at that time, Muslims are nothing more than a group that gave him and his family a bitter experience.
Steven was angry and determined to reciprocate. He studied Islamic philosophy, understand the ins and outs of that religion, and debating with anyone who is a Muslim. Until finally, Steven discovered the truth of all he had learned.
Steven berislam 11 years ago, when she was just 19 years. Truth of Islam which led to the religion of God, rather than admiration in anything or anyone. “I learned (Islam), not inspired by anything,” he said.
In fact, he claimed to hate the Muslims at that time. 1998 riots saw as a form of facial imaging which is a predominantly Muslim Indonesia. “It was a bitter experience for Chinese citizens. At that time, I lost several relatives who were killed because massacred. “
A few years before the national crisis, when Steven was sitting in elementary school, his parents sent him to Catholic boarding up late grandmother’s will. A teenager, he followed the teachings of the Catholic seminary to deepen. There, the philosophy of Islam to be one area of science be explored.
Post-traumatic events of 1998, Steven mempertekun pendalamannya of Islamic Philosophy to pay for his anger. “I certainly could not retaliate with violence is a physical war, especially by killing. Because of that, I was determined to beat back their creed, “he growled.
Thus, Steven studied Islam for ‘revenge.’ Blessing pendalamannya, he was always ready and confident to argue with any Muslim who met. “Another weakness of Muslims found in those days, when most of them unable to answer fundamental questions about their own religion,” he said with concern.
Steven continues to equip themselves. He continued to study, until finally know that the true teachings of Islam. Muslim hatred he had felt did not prevent him to accept the truth of Islam.
“All who taught Islam properly. Seeing the Muslims who do not behave well, I see it as a mistake that comes from them. They do not behave according to Islamic teachings, “he said.
The figure was boned man looked down at the middle of the northern corridor mushafnya at Salman Mosque in Bandung. At first glance, a man named Nur Rahman Hakim (32 years) it seemed like most of the congregation who is charging time to recite after ‘Asr.
When spoken to, spoken Islamic scholar graduate of Medina, Saudi Arabia was also fluent reciting Koranic verses. But when examined, there is little pressure typical of the eastern part of Indonesia in his voice every time Nur pronounce the sound ‘e’.
Brown skin and lateral line also implies that the firm faces muasalnya from distant regions. ” At first my name is Thomas Consesao,” said the man was born in East Timor. Name he held for a dozen years, before moving to become a Muslim.
Nur emigrated early in the process is not privileged. He did not remember the exact date when the creeds say for the first time. ” Islam in junior high, it’s 1992 or 1993, “he said as he tried to recall. At that time, the Government of Indonesia was held in the provincial military operations into the 27′s.
TNI instructed that all East Timorese religious re-register. Nur teen who likes to try new things is to propose to my father, mother, and his brothers to ‘try’ to register themselves as adherents of Islam.
Proposals received without much consideration, although they could have put back the old religion as an identity. Initially, her family embraced Catholicism, but also still strong local practice animism.
Before the military operation, Nur said, there are no indigenous Muslims in Los Palos, the capital of the eastern districts of Timor Island. The new Islamic identity was widely introduced by the soldiers who served there. In addition, even associate Nur Muslim figure with Suharto that his picture in the classroom.
” The Muslim president, so it’s great, “he said with a chuckle. Finally, the family joined the ranks of hundreds Consesao converts to give shahada in the mosque led Ustaz Attaqwa Subhan, Los Palos. Conscious of his religious knowledge is shallow, Nur diligently every day to recite the The only mosque in the Los Palos.
He was eager to walk to the mosque from his home in the village of Natura, although the distance is three kilometers apart. This routine lasted for about three years. In those days, worship Nur rudimentary. Because not understand that prayer should be five times a day, he was just performing routine Maghrib and Isha prayers.
Read the Koran was stumped because there is no modern learning systems such as Iqra method. Yet he often listened to lectures to increase knowledge of religion. On a dark night, the guidance is up to Nur. Real picture of Resurrection, which he often heard in the lecture, present in detail a detail in front of him.
At that time, he was sitting in class III SMP. In the dream, she cried uncontrollably then horrified to wake up. “I found myself crying, I was a wet blanket.” After that, he had azzam will study Islam seriously.
Techniques to take your lessons with a complicated system of Baghdadi he devoured immediately. Within four months, Nur was erased Juz Amma rote. He also won the second championship race as Los Palos tahfiz held to enliven the Ramadhan.
Regardless of the many controversies associated with the figure of Harun Yahya’s works, but some of the works of Harun Yahya has made a lot of people woke up and began to study Islam, one of which was called Ron Mastro who became interested in Islam after reading one book by Harun Yahya.
And follows the journey of Ron Mastro found Islam:
My name is Ron Mastro, and I want to tell you today how I was interested in reviewing and converted to Islam after reading the works of Harun Yahya.
When I was a kid, I was raised a Christian in the United States. I went to church every Sunday and I went to Sunday school, just like other American kids do. But when I was ten or eleven years, I stopped going to church, because I could not find the answer I was looking, and it makes me sad, not the explanation I received from the church can not satisfy me.
In my teenage years, I have left all religions together. Even so, I have never done something “bad,” but I forget the Lord, sya forget that God exists and God loves all mankind.
In the early thirties, I moved to the capital city of Prague in the Czech Republic, a beautiful city full of stunning architecture and a lot of fun.
One day, when I was on my way home, I stopped at the train station, and at the train station there is a small bookstore. I found a book in English titled “Matter: The Other Name for Illusion” by Harun Yahya. That I finally bought the book.
I brought home a book and started reading. And when I read this book, I realized that many of the questions I have on the youth could be missed. What is the nature of reality? What is truth? These are questions that can not be answered for me in my years as a young man.
Long story short, the more I explore the books that I read made a lot of things that begin to make sense to me. I began to understand and grasp things at a much higher level than before.
Curiosity with Islam managed to make my holy book the Koran. So, I started reading the Koran (translation, of course) from the first chapters. And when I finished reading it, a few days later, in my heart I realized that I have dealt with the truth. Alhamdulillah.
I realize that the Koran is really the word of God as revealed through the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. It answers so many questions I have; questions about Jesus, the question of Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel and many of the other great prophets of God, peace be upon them all.
And I began to realize slowly to gradually open my heart so that the way Islam is the true way to know God, and Islam is the true religion for mankind.
Today I live in Germany, I have a good job, I am very pleased with what I have, I am very pleased with what I do. I prayed every day, and I know even if I have done bad things in the past, God will forgive me for my sins.
Indeed, Islam is a religion for all humanity, and Islam really are all from Allah, Alhamdulillah. (FQ / oi)
Jason Perez dreamed he would die before he turned 21. His dream came true. A former drug dealer on the streets on New York, Perez says “Jason” died when he became Muslim. Now known as Hamza, the Nuyorican rapper and family man spreads the message of Islam through his music.
The movie New Muslim Cool documents Hamza’s journey: moving from New York to Pittsburgh, educating his family about his new-found faith and raising his children Muslim in post-9/11 America.
The following interview is taken from Islamicbulletin.com:
I personally went to see “The New Muslim Cool” screening in San Francisco, CA. Although I did not meet Brother Hamza Perez at this screening, I was honored to have met him previously at Latino Day in a San Francisco masjid – Masjid Al- Sabeel on Golden Gate Avenue. So naturally, I was very much looking forward to this awesome screening. I believe “The New Muslim Cool” is a first of its kind. Not only are we inspired by Brother Hamza’s spiritual journey to Islam, but with his life, his mission, and his music to reach Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
My personal favorite quote from the trailer of “The New Muslim Cool”, “You are a single dad, now you’re married, so you’re a married man, you’re Muslim, you’re American, you’re Puerto Rican, you’re from the hood, you’re an artist, you’re a rapper… sounds like America’s worst nightmare!” For many American Muslims around the country, he is the exact opposite – Brother Hamza is on a mission for our future.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself – where you were born and your background.
A: I was born in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in a housing project across the street from a Masjid. My mother began to raise me there. After I got a little bit older, we moved to Puerto Rico, and thereafter we moved back and forth between Massachusetts and Puerto Rico.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your religious upbringing.
A: Yeah, my mom was Catholic. But, my grandmother in Puerto Rico was Baptist. During my 1st and 2nd grades, I was in Catholic school.
Q: Can you tell us about your conversion to Islam.
A: I had an Ecuadorian friend named Louie. We grew up together, and then we got involved in selling drugs together. I kept searching for happiness as a young person but I couldn’t find it. I tried the life of the streets and drugs but that just made me more depressed. Even though we made money, it did not give us the taste or satisfaction of happiness. So, you know, we came real like down. One day, he walked by the masjid, and he was sitting on the steps and began rolling up a joint, and a Muslim brother approached him and asked him what he was doing there and started talking to him about Islam. And he ended up becoming a Muslim. We knew this mosque because we grew up down the street, but, like I said, the Muslims never came out to our community, so the only thing we knew about them is that they killed goats. So, in the community, they were known as that’s the place where goats are killed. So we were familiar with the building but not really with what goes on inside. Louise ended up becoming Muslim and was missing for 40 days. He went with Tabligh Jama’a (the community of teachers of Islam). We were from the streets, you know. We were Latinos; we didn’t know anything about Tabligh Jama’a. All we heard was that some Pakistanis and Arabs had kidnapped him. What the heck was he doing with them anyways? We are all Latinos.
Sometime later, I saw this Muslim brother I went to school with. He was African-American. I saw him in the store, and it was like, “Yo Yo man, you know my friend Louie?” He said, “No man, I don’t know any Louie. I know a Luqman.” I started laughing at him. I thought he was talking about some Jamaican stuff. So I told him to tell Luqman that I’m looking for him. So one day, I was smoking and I was with the people sell drugs with, and Luqman came dressed all in white with a sheikh named Iqbal. We were playing dices, drinking, smoking. He was with a Pakistani brother from Tabligh Jama’a. And I saw that both of them had nur (light). They had like this spiritual light. I could see the transformation in him. I knew that something seriously had happened in his life. So I left the other people who were drinking and smoking and walked towards them. So, right there, the sheikh asked me if I believed that there was only one God. I said, “Yes.” And then he asked me if I believed in the Prophet Mohammad (Salla Lahu ‘alaihi Wa-Salaam – Peace on him) was His Messenger. I had heard of the Prophet Mohammad (Salla Lahu ‘alaihi Wa-Salaam), but I saw the light in the character and face of my friend Luqman, so I believed it. So I took Shahada (testament to faith/conversion to Islam) right there in the middle of the street. My brother then took the Shahada.
Q: How did your parents react to you accepting Islam?
A: My family was initially upset. But it has been tempered by gratitude that my brother and my new faith has gotten us off drugs and away from other dangerous pursuits. They loved it – I mean, my family loved it. My mom loved it. She thought it was very positive. I immediately begin to take care of her. I would help her out in the house. I would go out and do stuff for her. I wasn’t like that when I wasn’t a Muslim. And then, after I became Muslim, my brother became Muslim. Then one of my friends became Muslim. Over 55 people that we knew became Muslim. We went back to the same places we used to sell drugs and put up a sign that says, “Heroin kills you and Allah saves you!” So, you know, a lot of them were impacted by Luqman’s Shahada and the wave of Shahadas that took place.
Q: Did you ever encounter any problems with your acceptance of Islam?
A: At first, since I was a brand new Muslim, I thought I should listen to any Muslim and what they told me. I really had no direction. Some people taught me to look at other Muslims and to criticize other Muslims by the length of their beards and by the length of their pants. And then my criticizing of people became long, and my remembrance of God became short. I started to lose the sweetness that I had when I first became Muslim and a year of listening to certain Muslims examining the faults of other Muslims, and I had to go through, like, a big transformation. And it wasn’t ’til I started sitting with traditional scholars that I began to spiritually heal myself from the disease of looking at people’s faults.
Q: Do you see any similarities between Islam and the other religions in your background?
A: Yeah, of course. It’s all connected. The thing about my religion before is that it was really blind following. I knew who Jesus was, I saw images that were attributed to him, but I didn’t really know about Jesus besides Christmas, and the verses that we read were directed to us by the priests and the pastors. I became a way better follower of Christ when I became Muslim.
Q: What impact has Islam had on your life?
A: Islam has opened up my eyes to my own faults. Before, I had this thing called nafs. I didn’t know about nafs. Islam made me realize that, in the streets, you’re always looking for enemies who are out to get you. And Islam taught me that, in order to find my enemy, all I had to do was look in the mirror. I also began to reach out to prisoners, using my faith and struggles to inspire them. My work also leads me into surprising alliances with ministries of other religions that, like my own, seek to build a road to redemption from the nation’s jails.
Q: What was the most difficult thing to change and how long did it take you?
A: The most difficult thing to change… I think it would have been the whole woman issue. Yeah, because I went straight cold turkey – women, you know, marijuana, everything right overnight. Right after the Shahada, I went and took a shower, everything was cold turkey. I had a lot of girlfriends, and the next thing you know my girlfriends saw me walking down the street in a white dress. I was a good guy to them before becoming Muslim, and they just could not understand why they couldn’t touch me, why I could not talk to them anymore. I wish I could have been more educated back so that I could have maybe explained stuff better. But, Allah is The Best of Planners, you know. A lot of them respect it. The people I went to school with, I stay in contact with them on Facebook. I have like this daily class that I do with all of my non-Muslim acquaintances that I grew up with.
Q: Did any of your friends or family members become Muslim?
A: Over 55 people that we know became Muslim. My grandmother and my aunt took Shahada. My brother took Shahada. My cousin took Shahada. Then my aunt took Shahada on a Sunday and then she died on a Tuesday. My whole street crew that I rode with became Muslim, except for one person.
Q: How did your mother react to your acceptance of Islam?
A: My mother brought us up in Catholic schools. She worked two jobs to do that. …It was kind of confusing for her, but she accepted it. They would ask her, why is your son wearing that dress? She would say, “I don’t know, but just leave him alone. My kids are all drug free now, they don’t drink and they don’t smoke!” They changed their life and they are doing good.
Q: How are your holidays with your non-Muslim family?
A: Of course, I don’t celebrate them. Certain holidays I choose to stay away, like Christmas. I give my family their respect for their holidays, and they really respect my holidays. So, my mother does not get my kids gifts for Christmas, she gets them gifts for ‘Eid. On holidays like Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving, I know they are not from the Sunna, but I look at it as … for my family, so I go to their houses, but I don’t get too caught up in the moment. I make sure I treat my mother good all year round. So, every day I see her, I treat her like it is Mother’s Day. My brother and I have learned to make traditional Puerto Rican halal food like arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) with halal chicken. There is a store in Pittsburg where we can get halal meat. I think we’ve figured out to make lots of traditional boricua dishes halal-style, even mofongo (fried green plantain mashed in a mortar and shaped into a ball. Traditionally it was seasoned with fresh garlic and pork cracklings. New versions are stuffed with seafood, chicken, or vegetables).
Q: Has she seen a change in your way of dealing with her and your life?
A: Yeah, big time. Before I did not have patience with her. I read a book about the rights mothers have over their children and I became really scared that Allah might Punish me if I don’t treat my mother right. There is a story of a Sahaba that he was dying and he could not take his Shahada and the Prophet Mohammad (Salla Lahu ‘alaihi Wa-Salaam) asked him, you know, say it, say it. Then the Prophet Mohammad (Salla Lahu ‘alaihi Wa-Salaam) said, is there a problem between you and your mother. So, the Prophet Mohammad (Salla Lahu ‘alaihi Wa-Salaam) called for his mom, and they reconciled and then he was able to say the Shahada. So I fear that if I don’t treat my mother good and my grandmother good, and the woman in my family good, that Allah might block my tongue from saying the Shahada.
Q: What do you think is the most important aspect Islam has to offer Americans and Latinos.
A: The most important aspect Islam has to offer is the true connection with Jesus Christ and the conquest of self. Once you begin to recognize spiritual diseases, there are ways Islam provides for you to fix yourself. You can become a better father, and become a better person. And that is really big in Latino culture…family.
Q: Exactly. Could you tell us a few things about your new movie and your plans for the future?
A: “The New Muslim Cool” is a documentary about my life, after I made hijra from Massachusetts to Pittsburg. I learned to have a lot more respect and understanding for people who choose to follow organized religion, whether it’s Islam or Christianity or Judaism (or another path). And we all definitely changed by working so closely together for three years, learning to accept more and more that we can all be so different and yet have so much in common. All of us on the crew and production team – Muslim, Jewish, Christian, atheist, Latino, black, white, South Asian – gained new friendships and deep new levels of trust for each other. Maybe that can be on some microcosmic level what we could do as a society or even a world, if we could just be able to see each other as fully and completely human despite coming from different religions or cultures or economic classes.
It is about the work that I do in the community with the young members and the work that I do in the jails. Our mosque was raided by the FBI. They never really gave an excuse why they raided it. Since we had given lots of Dawa in our neighborhood and treated our non-Muslim neighbors, good we did not even have to speak. Our neighbors came outside and spoke to the media on our behalf. So, it was very positive. We feel like the raid from the FBI was really from Allah.
Q: And your visits here in California, I heard that you had a great success on your visit to the school in Pacifica, could you talk about that?
A: Oh, yeah, that was amazing. I have never experienced youth so open to change and so open to Islam. We just connected on a humanity level. That’s something that Islam has broken me out of the chains of. Latinos – we give lots of labels…If someone’s fat, we call them gordso, if someone is skinny, we call them flaco; if they’re black, we call them negro. We always have these titles and labels for people. Islam has allowed me to look past people’s skin and the physical and look at them as souls and opportunities to get closer to God. So we just connected on a humanity tip, on a young people level…from one young person to another young person, and it was an excellent vibe.
Q: How about singing your music, how about your music career…could you tell us a little bit about it?
A: Yeah, we got two new albums about to come out and one just came out in February. It’s available on iTunes. And, you know, we have nice non-Muslim fan base and a Muslim fan base. We try to do the music to address certain issues that we face as people, so our music has a positive message to it. I am trying to take my message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music. In Islam there are diseases of the heart like conceit, jealousy, envy, arrogance, hate, our pride. So, I wanted to explain this to the people who I grew up with in the streets. I knew these people in the streets, so instead of me saying their names, I put it in a poem; I said the diseases of their hearts. So, this is a story about them without saying their names but saying their diseases. So, it goes:
There was this kid named Jealousy
Who had gun weaponry
Whoever lived life better than him, He was his enemy
He walked the street like a centipede.
Frustrated with his destiny
Living life like a dark legacy
He had a brother named Envy
Whose pockets were empty
He had a forty caliber with a clip that hold twenty
They made a plan to rob a drug slanger
They ran into a drug dealer named Anger
Known for his short temper by gangbangers
And new cars and new clothes on the hangers
They shot anger and left him dead in the street
They left a witness Anger’s girlfriend conceit
Conceit picked up the phone and talked as she cried
She called up a big drug dealer named Pride
She told him that Anger had died
And that she had seen Jealousy and Envy with her own 2 eyes
Pride picked up the phone and called his main man Hate
They looked for Jealousy and Envy ‘Til the night got late
The found Jealousy and Envy coming out the liquor store
They shot ‘em dead and left them bleeding on the floor
These are the diseases of the spiritual poor
And the Deen of Allah be the only true cure
Q: Jaka-lahu Khair, Brother. Thank you for your time. May Allah Reward you. As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum.
A: Wa ‘alaikum Salaam.
Just stayed one month in Saudi Arabia, where he was treated well in an atmosphere of religion, an American businessman who is also a pilot, Richard Patterson, converted to Islam.
Richard, who is now named Abdulaziz, has a company that provides services to help critical care and has a wealth of $ 50 million, and two private planes and two helicopters, which are used for special medical flight.
Richard arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in fulfilling a contract with the Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Societies, to train students in providing emergency relief in the air.
During his stay in Saudi Arabia three people from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da’wah and Guidance invites Richard out for dinner. All three Saudis are also members working in the project “Guide Me to Islam” (Lead I Towards Islam), talking with Richard about Islam and the essence of true Islam.
“I came to Saudi Arabia for the affairs of commercial transactions. I was so happy to make the best decisions of my life to God, to declare myself to Islam,” said Richard aka Abdulaziz, during the ceremony of conversion to Islam.
He praised the Saudi clothing and described it as comfortable and beautiful clothes.
When Abdulaziz in his country (America), he always used to hearing negative things about Islam through media channels, which aims menjelekan image of Islam.
“Just read about Islam is not enough to understand Islam. Meeting with these people represent and reflect the true spirit,” said Abdulaziz.
He considers himself lucky to find Islam through Muslim friends who accompanied him and discovered in Arabia that Islam is the religion of truth and tolerance.
“Muslims and Saudis kind, humble and open to others,” said Abdulaziz, adding that he felt they were like his own family, and never felt diasingi or mistreatment of them.
For Abdulaziz, the most interesting part of Saudi society is that they are a religious people, who help others to know the religion as part of their everyday lives.
“I wish I could bring all my friends to Saudi Arabia so he could experience what I find and change their view of Islam,” he said again.
Abdulaziz called on fellow Muslims so that employers can invite other foreign businessmen who converted to Islam.
Abdulaziz criticized the attitude of Muslim businessmen who are not serious business associates invite their foreign, to enter the noble religion of Islam. “We can provide books about Islam to the delegates during the business meeting to help clarify the true image of Islam today to someone else,” said Abdulaziz.
A teacher who became translators Abdulaziz, Esam Abdul Razzaq said that celebrities and key figures play a bigger role in their communities to show a certain image.
“Successful people have credibility among members of their community, because they are considered important. Therefore, when they choose to embrace Islam, would trigger the curiosity of others, who want to know more about this religion,” said Abdul Razzaq more. (Arn)
About 13 years ago, Steven Eric Krauss is a young man most responsible. In 1998, young people who are undergoing periods of college was hit by uncertainty. In his heart grew a doubt the truth of religion was embraced since birth, Protestant Christianity.
Both parents Krauss is a Protestant Christian. Although born of Protestant families, but seldom admitted Krauss worship as did the followers of that religion. He was away from the activities of worship, because of her religion as an institution, does not give anything in life.
”It’s hard to find any kind of religion that I can use for everyday life, “he wrote in an article titled My Journey to Islam – How Malay martial arts led a theologically dissatisfied American Protestant to Islam. Since adolescence, Krauss are already feeling not satisfied with the teachings of Christianity.
He said the religion of his parents were weaker and less able to shed some light on the divine and the relationship between man and God. “In my opinion, the Christian philosophy that relies heavily on a strange relationship with Jesus, who is God, but also human beings,” he said.
Krauss claimed to have difficulty accepting that a Christian worldview can not pray directly to God, but rather in the name of Jesus. ”Why did God have to take shape as a human being,”he said. These questions are then encouraged to seek better answers about God. He was more looking for the spiritual value of a religion.
Came later when I was in junior college, he shared a room with a Jew who is studying the martial arts. Pencak silat learned that his friend is the kind of martial arts that exist in Malaysia. When the martial arts are very close to the teachings of Islam.
Each time, the young Jewish home, she always told Krauss about the uniqueness of silat and spiritual dimensions of existing wealth. From these stories, finally Steven was intrigued. One Saturday morning, he chose to go with a friend of one room in a martial arts training sessions.
Although initially he had not realized that his heart was thrilled with Islam, Krauss acknowledged his first martial arts training on February 28, 1998 that’s what drove him to become converts. When he met with Cikgu (teacher in Bahasa Malaysia) Sulaiman.
The martial arts teacher that introduced him to Islam. Whereas before, that religion has never occurred at all in the mind Krauss. Feeling increasingly interested in martial arts, he also devote more time to practice and meet with the teacher.
He and his roommate was also a teacher came to the house of Solomon to learn more. Ever, in the summer of 1998, they spent time with the family of Solomon. Every day, he was in contact with a Muslim family. He saw the way they worship, and the lifestyle of a true Muslim.
The result, his knowledge of silat and Islam even more. According to Islam a religion that became part of the life of adherents, it is different from that separate Christian daily life with religion.
initially, he felt alien to Islam. Especially when he was still adopts a liberal and not very interested in things that are dogmatic. However, over time, it is regarded as a dogma in Islam, it turned out to be a submission to God. A way of life that is run by its adherents.
It took one and a half years, or more precisely on July 30, 1999, Steven bersyahadat. He later took the name of Islam, Abdul-Lateef Abdullah. He realized that American culture and then come be a challenge. The country’s culture is very accommodating Adi-nafus worldly lust.
In America, happiness is not far away from consumption and what is already possessed by the material. The market system is the benchmark of American society. However, instead focusing on the Islamic way of living a healthy and positive. Islam could be the answer for social problems. This is what distinguishes Islam with other religions.
”Islam also provide the knowledge, explanations, and guidance of every aspect of life (physical, spiritual, mental, financial, etc.). Only Islam gives a clear purpose in life,”said Abdul-Lateef Abdullah.
Since becoming a Muslim, he finally realized that Islam really can be hold in life. Whatever is done adherents is a great way to always remember God. Way of life Islam allows its followers to keep doing it every time, starting from waking up to go back to the contest.
With the remembrance of Allah, the Muslims are able to get away from all kinds of actions and behaviors that are less healthy and less likely to be useful. They are very focused on the energy provided by God. ”By remembering God we become stronger and healthier in every aspect of our lives and we will be spared from thoughts and behaviors that are not good,”said Abdul Lateef.
Similar to the experience of other converts, he admitted that he had to adjust his life to the Islamic way of life. He was grateful, given facilities to cope with it all. So, Abdul Lateef can still live among the people of other Americans, but still holding fast to the teachings of Islam.
So it is with his family. When first informed of his decision to convert to Islam, his family and close friends began to ask many questions and very concerned with his life. However, they just do not see the decision as something negative. With the long and deep, eventually they can understand.
It was truly captivated by the truth and perfection of the religion of Islam
Ramaha, standing among a group of women in the mosque Manoa, Hawaii, who pledged Creed in Arabic. He testified take it there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Some managers of mosques across the country say they witnessed an increase of people who converted to Islam to four times. The increase has actually occurred since the September 11 tragedy occurred, when stories about Islam jumped, originally from the backyard to the front pages around the world.
Ramaha now entering his Islamic faith in his life as a Navy staff (AL) United States (U.S.) in Pearl Harbor began in July 2002. He does not wear the hijab while working as a dental hygienist, but he admitted that he would wear hair coverings when entering the mosque.
In the early days of Islam, when her husband, a Marine, stationed away, he admitted that he has been unable to perform the five daily prayers in Arabic reading in full, without the help of her husband. But the one that makes Islam convenient for him because he could practice the belief that according to his ability, do not demand perfection when he was still learn them one by one.
Heather’s husband, Mike is a Palestinian man who was born a Muslim and raised in San Francisco. But, that’s no reason that made her turn to Islam. “Mike never even made me embrace Islam,” said 33-year-old woman. “He said, if you want to do it, you alone must find out, but whatever your choice, I would still love you,” said Heather.
After embracing Islam, following Heather step is to find a way to explain his faith to his family in California. He realized, almost all information about Islam comes from the movies on TV, one of which he remembers, entitled “Not Without My Daughter”. The film tells the story of an American woman, the husband of Iranian origin who continue to persecute and fight for their children.
“Previously I could not find a way to tell them without making angry,” he said. “I was in the beginning have not been able to tell my father. I said I went to the mosque, but has not said if I had converted to Islam,” recalls Heather.
Sometimes he was asked why he chose that religion is seen some people hit a woman. Answering these types of questions, he said people often confuse religion with their cultural traditions. “Great in the U.S., the Islamic faith do not mix with the culture like in the Middle East for example,” he said.
Heather is the first in the family joined the church. At age 5 he was friends with a pastor’s daughter, then a Christian followers. The whole family joined him later.
Up to now she still diligently go to church. But Heather, he claimed to always strive to understand the Christian view of Holy Trinity. Finally in March 2001 he took a world religions class online from the University of California.
“I have been a Christian for 18 years,” I’m Heather .. “But I found many holes in that religion. (Islam) would open up so many ideas of truth. I feel in my heart this is the right religion for me,” he said.
As a next step, he took an introductory class on Islam in Hawai’i after the September 11 tragedy. He began to read the Qur’an and find some sort of ‘click’ in his heart. He also converted to Islam shortly after that.
“I always felt something was pulling me out there, if I did not follow, it arises the void,” he said. “The only thing that makes me complete when I have a religion, one God to worship me, where I can pray to Him.”
Finding peace of mind and contentment make me to know Islam, and because of this I started to read books these days of Islam and Alhamdulillah I am a Muslim, said Ms. Khadijah, a British Muslim convert formerly known as Giant Fox Craft a confidante reveals the interview with a correspondent for an Indian daily, Siasatnews.
He said, as a Muslim, he wanted to serve the welfare and prosperity of society, because the Muslims away from social activities because of lack of effort to alleviate poverty of the Muslim community.
Khadija’s mother told her that he did not have contentment when he lived as a Catholic Christian family, though he has all the freedom and luxuries in his family.Khadijah who came from England said that before embracing Islam he spent his life of luxury, she spends her time singing and dancing, but despite all this, he felt no satisfaction in his heart.He said his condition to his friends. Meanwhile, he met with some Muslim friends who persuaded him to convert to Islam.
Khadija’s mother who is a teacher said, when he was studying Islam she felt a strange change in his life. He started learning the basic principles of Islam, after which he felt satisfaction that he has been looking for since many years.He said he aspires to establish a modern orphanage in the city of Hyderabad and other cities in India for poor children and orphans. (Siasat News)
As a rapper, in early Islam, Abd al-Malik was upset when I heard Islam is not in line with his chosen musical art. In his autobiography, titled Sufi Rapper (2009), Abd al-Malik said the French rap culture born in the context of racism and xenophobia (fear of foreigners in excess) are widespread.
He lived in a ghetto (the neighborhood immigrant minorities) in France. “When I was a student, I often see politicians saying ‘We are all French,’ but I never saw a black man was on television. There was no French politician who is black, “he said.
He still remembers how he criticized the lack of opportunities for immigrant children, as well as the climate of poverty and crime in their homes. This was further exacerbated discrimination that occurs in various ways, also abuse by police. Therefore, when it became popular in the 1990s, criticized rap music as an art that glorifies violence and heightened racial tensions.
Before embracing Islam, he was named Regis. Born in Paris on March 14, 1975 under the name Régis Fayette-Mikano. In 1977, a bloody small Regis Kongo parents take them back to their home country and live in Brazzaville (the capital as well as the largest city in the Republic of Congo). Régis spent his childhood there, before he and his family returned to France and settled in the district of the ghetto called Neuhof (southern city of Strasbourg) in 1981.
When Regis enters adolescence, her father had left home. Since then, his mother struggled alone to raise and educate his children Regis. And since then also, Regis began to grow into petty criminals.
In a harsh new environment, without a father, Regis learning to meet the limitations and deficiencies that he found at home. From the petty crimes he did, he continued to grow into criminals who managed to establish dominance with some friends.
He grabbed and stole the car, in order to generate money that can not be obtained from the home. In that condition, Regis serving three life roles at once. He was a child who struggled to maintain his family life, students who excel in school, and a wily street criminals.
Regis chose to channel the frustration of rap music, also spoke and expressed social criticism of all that happened. Inspired by American rap in the 1980s, Abd al-Malik joined a group of relatives and friends and create a New African Poets, abbreviated as NAP.
In the middle kekritisannya, Régis enamored of the Black Power movement and idolize Malcolm X as a black Muslim hero who had dared to oppose injustice. For him and a number of young immigrants in France at that time, Islam offers an identity that is challenging.
Obtaining knowledge about Islam from Muslim preachers who preach in the streets. At the age of 16, Regis decided to convert to Islam and changed his name to Abd al Malik. For several years thereafter, with the Muslims, he toured France for calling young men to go to the mosque, and lengthen the beard grow, and stop drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
Some time involved, Abd al Malik saw that the popular doctrine in the French ghettos are explicitly not something hard. However, he said in Sufi Rapper, is a fanatical teachings encourage young immigrants to lampoon all things secular, modern and westernized. “And that just deepens our sense of alienation,” he said.
That’s where he re-discovered in his inner turmoil. As a teenager, Abd al Malik feel the sincerity and spirit of Islam as great as his desire to rap, an art that must he insult and stay away. “Because rap music is modern, and his westernized.”
Abd al Malik caught in the paradox that until a few years. “That hurt,” he said. It is increasingly becoming a pain because he committed crimes to finance his music and became a drug dealer. “These actions were not very religious.”
Until finally, one day, Abd al Malik went to a local criminal leaders and ask for a loan. After that, holding a garbage bag full of money, Abd al Malik sat down and cried alone in her apartment.
Inner turmoil that prompted him to gain a deeper understanding of faith. In that quest, he received an answer from mysticism, contemplative branch of Islamic Sufism.
He met a spiritual teacher from North Africa who taught that the essence of religion is love and awareness of the spiritual nature of every human being. “So, Islam is a religion of love. Islam is peace with yourself and others,” he said.
He came to the conclusion, that the position of Islam as a religious minority with a minority within Islam itself. “And it’s not the real Islam.”
Paradigm shift that expands the view of Abd al Malik on rap music and its role through the arts. He began writing songs for his solo album, and brought the message that called for racial understanding. One song, “12 September 2001,” is a request to separate politics and religion. An other song, “God Bless France,” describes the evolution of his personal hatred of patriotism.
In his autobiography, Abd al Malik wrote that in his music, he was just trying to translate the language of the heart. He decided to leave the hard rap and began collaborating with various musicians to develop a new sound that blends jazz music, singing, and poetry criticism that is aesthetically pleasing.
When the rapper continues to create another ‘angry music’ and – some of them – were accused of inciting violence, Abd al Malik stick with his choice. Rather than criticize the French system, Abd al Malik pushed the country to live in accordance with the ideals of democracy. Through his music that has won numerous awards, he pointed out that Muslims do not have to stay away from things modern. “Especially if we could do something with it.”
This book is a compilation of the numerous narratives about the lives, experiences and previous beliefs as well as Islamic impressions and reasons of different lucky women, belonging to all walks of life, as to why they reverted to Islam. Darussalam has already published one book from the same compiler on the same focus that was very much appreciated by the readers. We hope this study will help those non-Muslims women whose concepts are not clear about Islam, and those people who are working in Da’wah field.
Abdul-Malik Mujahid, General Manager
Table of Contents (of the Book)
1. O Muslim Women – Allama Iqbal
2. Why Islam is my only Choice? – Aisha Cassana Maddoz Nablisi (USA)
3. From edge of despair to glory in Islam – Aesha Lorenz Al-Saeed
4.African Missionary finds Truth in Islam despite unbearable hardships – An African Missionary
5. Islam has done me a world of good – Aisha Ong
6. Everybody desires world peace, well, there is nothing which will better accomplish that than the festival at the end of the Pilgrimage at Arafat!!! – A’isha Wen tworth-Fitz-William
7. Why I embraced Islam – Begum Amina Lakhani (Ohio, U.S.A)
8. Islam: My own Choice – American Muslimaa
9. This is the story of how I became Muslim. – Amirah
10. American woman’s search ends with the Qur’an – Hanan Abdullateef
11. Her intellect brought Amnah to Islam through Arabic. – Amnah
12. Islam religion of tolerance, good behavior, love and mercy. – Ann Rockfeller (A British Physician)
|13. Why I Embraced Islam – Asyia Abd14. Got the guidance from Allah! – Ayishah Hassan Jacoueline Ruth Pugh
15. Islam Changed My Life – Bahria Amanullah
16. The Choicest find: Islam – Bar’rah Islam of (TalaseaNew Britain)
17. I was totally convinced by the Truth of Islam – Bushra Finch
18. Our Daughter’s Choice: Islam! – Carol L. Anway
19. Islam is a blessing to Me – Chi Mei-fong
20. Muslim prayers sing nothing but God’s Mercy and Greatness! – Carol L. Anway
21. Journey to Faith! – Emily B. Assami
22. Fatima discovers the true spirit of Islam – N. Hashim
23. Why I embraced Islam – Fatima Heeren (West Germany)
24. Islam: Our Choice – Fatima Martin
25. My Transformation to Islam – Fitra (Osaka Muslim Union, Osaka, Japan)
26. Suddenly I felt safer on the street!. – Georgina Noueiri
27. How farcical could be Media Images – Md. Karim Ghazi (formerly Gain Chand Ghosh)
28. I have found Dignity for Women in Islam. – Hina Begum Ghazi, formerly Vinitha Gupta
|29. Islam: Our Choice – Huda Khattab30.I found true freedom in Islam – Ibnantu Adam
31.My years in a Mission School. – Ida Yezmin Bachtiar
32.I was dong things that are normally done by a Muslim! – Jane Nader
33.Heart of a Muslim. – D. Jacqualine Cosens
34.Impressions of Hajj. – M. Janes (U.S.A.)
35.Conversion to Islam my own Choice!. – Jemima Imran Khan (Pakistani Sportsman’s wife)
36.Faith in Allah is a big advantage! – Jewellee
37.In Search of Truth – Josephine Ivy janeezko
38. Religion of New Millennium! – Dr. Kamala Surrayya
39.The Hijab – Katherine Bullock
40.My story from Christianity to Islam – Khadija Zafar (Washington, USA)
41.Khairunisa dedicates herself for Islam in Germany – Muslehuddin Ahamad
42.I was never convinced with the concept of ‘Trinity’ in Christianity! – Khalida Hamilton
43.How did I come to Islam and Why? – Laure
44.How I Embraced Islam – Lee Cooper (UK)
|45. Islam led A British couple to the Right Path – Leila Rajab46.The Call to Islam: A revert’s Tale – Maimuna (formerly Joan Dixon)
47.Islam: My Personal Experience! – Mardijah Aldrich Tarantino
48.I have Finally found Peace in Islam – Maria Esther Roman (former U.S. Model)
49.Allah opened my heart to the Truth and guided me to seek knowledge! – Mariam Velasco
50.My Heart felt Strong especially as I read the Holy Qur’an!. – Mariola Laila Szczesny
51.Ramadhan: The First Fulfilling Days – Mariola Laila Szczesny
52.Convert devotes Time for Dawa – Jannah Felesmenia
53.Beauty of Salat brings Canadian lady to Islamic fold – Maryam Fisher
54.Behind the Islamic veil – Maryam Wannaenburgh
55.What led a Hindu woman to Islam – Mona Panicker
56.Blessings of Islam! – Nadia Shaukat Ali (U.S.A.)
57.Why Islam – Nishani (previously Indrani)
58.My journey from the Darkness of Unbelief to the Light of Islam – Natassia Kelly
59.How I chose Islam? – An American Woman’s conversion story
|60.I am a Muslim woman – Rabi?a K. jabbar61.Proud to be a Muslim woman Hijab a liberator; not an enslaver – Rosina Samadani
62.When minds are ventilated by liberty and rationality. – Sabiha Khan (formerly Carole Botes, South Africa)
63.I realized that what I had searched for Was Islam! – Shahin Gulam
64.I seemed by some mysterious Agency to be brought to Islam! – Saida Miller Khalifa
65.Hajj is the supreme and profound experience, which cements the Brotherhood of Islam! – Sakeenah Catherine Quicker Al-Beiruti
66. Discovering faith; belief in Monotheism draws Hindu lady to Islam – Dr Salma K. V Vijayalaxmi
67. Truth of Islam forced me to embrace Islam! – Dr. Salama Siddiqui (written by Muhammad Haneef Shahid)
68.My Experience as a Muslim female in a Western Society – Samia Itani (Student, University of Western Sydney)
69.I Found Myself – Sara BTE Muhammad
70.It seems that I have always been a Muslim! – Lady Zeinab (Evelyn) Cobbold
U.S. filmmaker who has a Jewish father and Christian mother today decided to convert to Islam.
But Sean Stone, 27, son of Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, insisted the switch did not signal him abandoning the faiths of his parents.
He became Muslim on Tuesday 14 February 2012.
‘The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with,’ Mr Stone told news agency Agence France-Presse.
‘It means I have accepted Mohammad and other prophets,’.
The Princeton University graduate appeared in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in 2010, Nixon in 1995 and JFK in 1991 – all worked on by his dad.
‘The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with. It means I have accepted Mohammad and other prophets’.
Artist from Australia is starting to explore Islam in 2002. All started from his visit to Muslim countries to enrich his artistic inspiration.
“I’m very inspired by the old towns such as Granada, Fes, and Damascus. Experience was enriched horizons of thought and open up my creativity, Thank God,” he said.
Peter Gould, the artist, fell in love with the design elements and artistic traditions of the Middle East who have been hundreds of years old. “I shoot a lot of things and trying to absorb the details. Calligraphy, the domes, tiles, arches, and the bright colors are amazing. It’s really amazing. “
“I am compelled to put everything I saw into the work and combine it with graphic design projects and works of art that I made,” said Gould. For him, Islamic art has an extremely rich spectrum.
His admiration for the design of Islamic art coloring curiosity about Islam, the religion which he knew from a Muslim friend who had met only. The new color which immediately fills the hearts of his art was once the heart of the artist to establish bersyahadat in the same year, ten years ago.
Peter Gould was born and grew up in the middle of a non-Muslim family in Sydney, Australia, and spent his time there. Graduated from Sydney Technical High School, Gould was a student at the University of Technology in Sydney and explore the art of design.
When he was 19 years, through one of his friends, Gould knew a Muslim female South African nationality. Behaviors and traits of a girl named Inshirah Khan had met only brought forth a great curiosity in Gould, about the Muslim and his religion.
“He is a smart woman, and very patiently answered my questions. That made me even more curious, “Gould said in an interview. Of the Muslim friends, Gould continued to seek out and slowly understand Islam. He also began attending lectures and reading some books about Islam.
When the greater curiosity about Islam, Gould began to be careful. Especially in the family, given that none of their background or had any contact with religion being studied at that time.
“I put my own interest in, and for a year hiding under a pile of magazines Koran my guitar,” said the man who has been blessed with two daughters had.
Gould recognizes the efforts of Islam, and the explanation of many Muslim friends who helped him understand Islam, led to an important conclusion in his mind. Gould believes Islam is the most logical and beautiful manifestation of the two sentences creed. “The woman has now become my wife, thank God,” says the founder of Creative Cubed Pty Ltd is.
About the biggest factor that makes Islam accept, Gould describes the religion of Prophet Muhammad brought that provides the complete guide to living life. In addition, he found that the Koran, the Muslim book, is a document that contains all that phenomenal.
Interesting things about Islam in the eyes of Gould is a rejection of materialism and individualism, as is the case in Western countries. “Islam is really a beautiful philosophy. I find many things through the principles of universality, “said Gould.
Mustafa Davis was born and raised in the bay area in northern California. He is now known as a filmmaker and artist of the world. As an artist, Davis loves beauty. And the beauty of the most beautiful smile in his eyes is a simple, sincere man, who took him to Islam 16 years ago.
It all began on a Wednesday in the month of May 1996, Davis met a friend on his way to campus. Belakangan Davis knew he and man named Whitney Canon is learning French in the classroom sama. Then, knowing that Whitney is an artist and musician seems, Davis often spent time with him after that, especially in the chamber music hall piano in college.
During one semester, by way of sneaking, he and Whitney spend time in the room, and playing music or talking about spiritual matters there. On a Wednesday in the same year, with one of his friends, Whitney Canon (now Muslim), Davis was eating sushi at a Japanese restaurant near campus. On that occasion, Davis presented a confession that he was tired of life she lived.
“I want my life back on track,” he wrote in a note in his Facebook account, Becoming Muslim in America (reprinted by isamicsunrays.com in an article entitled Becoming Muslim: Five Words That Changed My Life). According to Davis, his lifestyle at that time away from success, and the only religion that might change his life. “I have to go back to church,” said the former adherents of these Catholics.
Whitney suddenly asked if he ever thought about Islam. Davis replied “no” and told Whitney that Islam is the religion of the Arab or black separatist movement. From a lot of information and events, Davis only has a negative stigma about the religion in his brain. “Besides, I have never seen a good and devout Muslims at the time,” he said.
Found a negative response from Davis, Whitney then tells the story of her brother who converted to Islam. Of her sister, Whitney (who was not a Muslim) said that Islam is not just for Arabs as well as a universal religion. Whitney then asking new questions in Davis, “Do you know Muhammad?”
Davis claimed to only know one person with the name of Muhammad, that Elijah Muhammad (one of the main leaders of the Nation of Islam). Whitney went on to explain there is a man named Muhammad who is the true prophet of Arab origin. “You’ve got to know him,” said Whitney.
Hearing the word “Arab,” Davis was not interested to enter into further discussions about Islam. He then end the conversation and move it to where it works, because Davis worked at night.
Home from work, Davis stopped by a bookstore to buy a Bible. As he passed a row of shelves themed “Eastern Philosophy,” Davis outlook suddenly fixed on a green book. The name “Muhammad” written with gold embossed on the cover. “I stopped, thought for a moment, and took the book off the shelf,” he said.
Davis excited curiosity when I read the small headline in the paper MUHAMMAD: His life based on the Earliest Sources. “The word” source of the earliest “menggelitikku because I’m very aware of the theological debate about the number of errors found in the Bible. The fact that bothers me, “said founder and Mustava Davis Media Cinemotion this Incorporation.
Davis opened the book and with some difficulty trying to read a lot of spelling words in Arabic. “Four or five sentences that I read mentioned the word” Koran “a few times,” he said. Arabic spellings are difficult to justify it and then felt his understanding that Islam is the religion of the Arabs. Davis then returned the book to the shelf.
When moving left, the gold writing on the cover was pulled back view of Davis, so he turned back to the book. At that time, he saw another book called The Koran, and the thought of some new words that he read in a book called Muhammad.
After retrieving and opening it at random, Davis faced with the first page of Surah Maryam. “I read chapters from beginning to end and feel my body shiver when I read a detailed explanation of the birth of Prophet Jesus (Isa as) is amazing,” he said.
“I do not think that Muslims believe that birth is amazing, and that they do not believe in Jesus as the son of God. As a Christian, I could never accept the claim that God has a son, “he added. Davis cried with a translation of the Koran in his hand. He decided to buy the book, forget the purpose to buy the Bible, and leave the bookstore.
The next day, Thursday morning, while walking toward the campus, Davis passed a small booth Senegal belonged to a man who sells crafts, purses, and stuffed Africa. He was busy with shoppers when Davis approached a booth and see a wallet. When the customers left, the black man approached Davis with a friendly smile.
“His smile was something that had never found before. I can only describe that smile was full of light and love, “Davis writes with great amazement.
Khadim was a man named Davis greeted, “Hi, my brother, how are you?” And continue with another question after Davis answered, “Brother, are you a Muslim? You look like a Muslim. “
Not yet finished with a smile of admiration Khadim, Davis made was surprised by the question. He replied that he was not a Muslim, but only buy the Koran on the night before they met. Khadim smile growing. He approached Davis and gave him a hug as she kept saying, “It’s very beautiful, my brother. It’s great. I’m happy for you. This is a sign from God. You make me so happy, my brother. “
Wonder Davis has not ended. When entering the time of midday, Khadim asked for his help to keep his booth while he prayed. Davis is willing and missed two classes that day. “I’ve never found the person he was as sincere, who smiled at me, hugged me, and said he was happy for me.”
As with Khadim’s, a student approached Pakistan and Senegal that greeted him. As Khadim, he thought Davis a Muslim, and happy to hear Davis had read the Koran. He then offered himself to accompany Davis offers a look around the mosque. And Davis accepted his offer.
The next day, students were picked up Davis and brought him to a mosque belongs to the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara California after the first he invited Davis to lunch at his house. On arriving at the mosque, Davis greeted about 40 men who greeted him with a smile.
After sitting down and join the men, Davis was asked if he knew anything about Islam. She described the Koran had bought and delivered the things he knows about Islam through the book. “Then one of them asked me if I believed in the Prophet Muhammad and without hesitation I said ‘Yes.’ I asked if I believe that Jesus is God or son of God, I said ‘No’.”
He went on to explain many things about Islam at Davis; angels, the books of Allah, the day of judgment (yaumul reckoning), and many others. After giving that explanation, he asked if Davis believe any of it. Davis again said “Yes,” then he said, “That is what Muslims believe and you believe it. So if you want to become a Muslim? “
Davis again said ‘Yes’ without doubt. The man then led her to read the creed. “I remember that day on 17 Ramadan 1416 H,” he said.
For lovers of English football and Spanish, of course recognize the figure of Nicolas Anelka. 33 year-old striker has downs competition in the Spanish La Liga and the Premier League while playing for five English clubs and Real Madrid. But, there are striking differences from the current figure of Anelka was with Arsenal and Real Madrid in the late 1990s to the present Anelka.
Yes, Anelka is known as an explosive player and fussy. But that was then and he has now changed. Changes that appear once when it was put together the Chelsea Blues. What is it Anelka? Why now he is more thoughtful and quiet?
In an interview with the media in English, French striker to answer all his changes because he had converted to Islam.
“Islam helped me be calm, centered, and have high moral,” said Anelka was quoted as saying R-islam.com.
“I love being a Muslim, a religion of peace, and I learned a lot from Islam,” the converts who have the name of Islam, Abdul Salam Bilal Anelka’s.
Earlier, Anelka had to hide the identity of Islam to the public. Unlike his counterpart in the French team, Franck Ribery who always prayed when the game starts. Anelka was silent and completely hide his Muslim identity.
“For me, religion is a personal matter, need not be disclosed to the public,” said Anelka, who is now the interpreter knocked on the origin of Chinese Super League team, Shanghai Shenhua.
Then, when people already know his identity as followers of the teachings of Muhammad, Anelka started to change his attitude and tend to be more prudent. Since when Anelka converted to Islam? Apparently, kepindahanya to Turkish club, Fenerbahce, after Manchester City in 2004 to strengthen the cause. In Turkey, he is believed to utter two sentences creed.
At that time, Anelka guidance to embrace Islam after direct contact with the Turkish culture. Since then, the former Paris Saint-Germain striker was beginning to show its Islamic identity.
On the eve of the new year when he was 17 years, Susan Carland make some resolutions, and one of them is “to find out about other religions” in addition to the embrace of Christianity Baptist since childhood.
When she reveals that one resolution on the mother, the mother she loved replied casually, “I do not care if you marry a drug dealer though, but not marry a Muslim.”
At that time, the religion of Islam was not included in the priorities of religion who want Susan to learn, let alone thinking about marrying a Muslim. “Islam looks hard, sexist and foreign,” said Susan.
But two years later, at age 19, she became a Muslim. He spoke two sentences creed of his own accord, without the influence of anyone, including the influence of a man. Then Susan’s mother’s reaction to seeing his daughter converted to Islam?
One night, Susan’s mother said that he made the pork slices for dinner. Tonight was the first time Susan’s mother knew her daughter had become a Muslim. Susan’s mother called ‘victims’ of Islam. “But mother gave me a hug, though he was crying,” said Susan. A few days later, she decided instead to wear the hijab.
During the 8 years of Islam, relations with his mother Susan was experiencing hard times. But now their relationship began to improve. His mother even bought her scarf so often and send gifts to children during Eid al-Fitr Susan.
Susan completed her studies up to PhD level. He did research on the challenges facing women in leadership problems seasons. Susan is now a lecturer and tutor at the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, for the field of gender studies, youth and the sociology of religion.
“I love Islam and Muslims, without a doubt. People who are most admirable and most inspiring I have ever come across is the Muslims, and it helps me not to withdraw completely from society,” said Susan.
Susan married a Muslim man in February 2002. He held his wedding at the Melbourne zoo. Her husband was a lawyer named Waleed Aly, who also serves as the executive board of the Islamic Council of Victoria. Aly, the Egyptian Muslim descent who were born in Australia was also a lecturer at Monash University and worked at the Global Terrorism Research Centre.
“When I embraced Islam, I and Waleed has not been met. I’m still alone. We decided to get married a few years after I became a Muslim,” said Susan.
Asked about his spiritual journey after converting to Islam, she revealed that she felt an intellectual freedom. “I started to go in the Muslim chat rooms on the internet. I am acquainted and establish communication with several Muslim women who were studying at my university. They patiently answered my questions,” said Susan.
He continued, “When I let the religion speak for itself through its traditions, through the clergy and the sacred text, to resist what is written by journalists at the tabloids and the appalling behavior of Muslims, I find that Islam is a religion of peace , egalitarian, socially just and beautiful balance between the spiritual and intellectual. “
Susan preach Islam by making Salam Cafe television program that aired nationally by the Australian television network. He received many awards for the program that made it. Susan is also frequently invited as a speaker at churches, schools, business organizations, community organizations and even the Jewish community. He was active in various research institutes. No wonder if he ever elected Muslim toloh Australia in 2004, and get a prize of $ 2,000 which he donated to various charities, both Muslim institutions and non-Muslims. (Kw / oi)
- Islam, Irigaray, and the retrieval of gender
- Boys will be Boys
- The Harsh Reality of Women’s Rights
- The 12 Basic Rights of Women in Islam
- The Rights, Ideals and Roles of Women in Islam
- Women and True Education
- Advice to Husbands, From a Husband
- Marriage in Islam: Considered from a Legal Point of View
- The Unhappy Wife
- I am a Muslim Woman
- Elevation of Women’s Status
- A World Where Womanhood Reigns Supreme
- Status of Women in Islam
- More Rights of Women in Islam – Liberation
- 117 reasons for The High Status of Women in Islam
- Setting the record straight – Muslim Women HAVE RIGHTS!
- Women & Islam: Separating Fact from Fiction
- The Voice of Women in Islam
- The Distorted Image of Muslim Women
- Do we want Gold or Glitter?
- Islam & The Feminist Movement
- Enough Already!!
- During Menstruation
- Gender Equity
- Taliban’s policy on education of women
- October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Women’s Rights: The American Disappointment
- Aishah…The Mother of the Faithful
- The life of Aishah – a role model for all women
- Women in a Qur’anic Society
- Qaradawi on Free-Mixing of Men and Women
- Women in Dawah
- In Recognition of Women
- Muslim Women and Community Life
- Man and Woman – A Comparative Study
- Sexism and Islam
- Online Book: Power Sharing Islam
- The Rights, Ideals and Roles of Women in Islam
- Obedience in The Taming of the Shrew: An Islamic Perspective
- Islam on Role Differentiation
- A Tribute to Mothers
- Women and Economics
- Advice to Husbands from a Husband
- Women & Work
- Can a Woman Hold a Position of Convicting Males?
- A Case for Home-Schooling
- Women and Sports
- An Islamic Perspective on Women and Sports
- Role of a Muslim Woman as a Mother
- Home, Sweet Home
- Quranic Verses about Hijab
- Basic FAQ on Hijaab
- Hijaab – An Effective form of Dawah
- The Veil as a Political Metaphor
- A lesson to be learned
- The Veil Is Not Oppression, It’s Chic, Say Muslim Women
- Unveiling Afghanistan: The Bush Administration cares about women’s rights (as long as there aren’t any pesky women around)
- British Consulate rejects Passport Photo with Hijaab
- A Muslim Woman’s Victory over UK Home Office: Guidelines changed
- Hijab Activism – Every Public Moment becomes Dawah
- In Defence of Non-Hijaabi Sisters
- Hijab Battles Around the World
- Anti-Hijab Discrimination: Some Legal Advice
- 10 Tips for Muslim Activists to Deal with Hijab
- The Question of Hijab and Choice
- Banning Hijab in Canada: It can Happen Anywhere
- You Don’t Have to Wear That in Canada
- The Fear of Hijab
- The Face Veil is not Obligatory
- The War of the Women
- Tug of War: Decisions By A Muslim Hijabi Woman
- The woman who can get by without her looks
- A Chinese American Non Muslim Woman Experiments with Hijaab
- Agonies Of Muslims In Veils
- Object of Despair
- Hey Barbie DOLL!!
- Cover your head, not your brains (by 4 Danish women)
- My Body is my Own Business
- “When I Covered my Head – I opened my mind”
- The Hijab is an ATTITUDE – not Fashion!
- Sumayyah’s Road to the Hijab
- Wearing the Hijab for the First Time
- The Dress of a Muslim Woman
- A HILARIOUS article about Various Types of Hijab
- Lowering our Gaze
- The Modest Clothing Site: For modest women of all religions
- Christian HeadVeiling Resource Page
- Polygamy – Definition and Guidelines
- The Prophet’s Plural Marriages
- Who Practises Polygamy?
- Polygamy when Financially Insecure
- Polygamy: Degradation of Womanhood?
- The First Wife and The Second Wife
- Never say Never: A Story of Polygyny
- Awakening: A Story of Polygyny
- What Polygyny has done for me: Letter from a Daughter
- Date Rape
- Not Without Her Make-Up
- When a Woman looks in the Mirror
- For ever After…Really?
- Fair Ladies for the Altar
- Do you want freedumb or freedom?
- Good Advice On Rape Prevention
- Is Looking Pretty the New Taboo?
- Sex sells. As usual – have the woman sell it
- Little Justice for Rape Victims in South African Judicial System
- Why is Ally McBeal perpetually unhappy?
- Women’s Rights: The American Disappointment
- Life and Society without Hijaab
- Oppression faced by American Working Women
- American Mommys, could you adopt these babies?
- Domestic Violence in America “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Injustice & Distortions:
- Domestic Violence
- Authority and the abuse of power in Muslim marriages
- Forced Marriages
- Are there more women than men in hell?
- The Excellence of Raising Daughters
- American Mothers…could you adopt these babies?
- Black, Female and Muslim – stuggling as a triple minority
- The Media and its Representation of Islam and Muslim Women
- Muslim Women: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
- Female Circumcision: 2 articles
- Shattering Illusions: Western Conceptions of Muslim Women
- The Taliban and Women
- The Women of Afghanistan: Whose Concern Is It, Anyway?
- In strong defence of the Taliban
- Comments on the Petition for Women in Afghanistan
- An Agenda of Disdain: Cultural Imperialism and the Western Media View of Afghanistan
- Women In Pakistan are Falling Behind!
- Reviews of “Nine Parts of Desire” by Geraldine Brooks
- Women are ABUSED, even mutilated – in the name of Islam
- Why are SO many Women Converting to Islam?
- Why more Women are converting to Islam
- Why British Women are Embracing Islam
- Former US model finds Hajj an Overwhelming Experience
- A new spiritual path for two women
- Muslim Women in Japan
- Marriage Leads Many Japanese Women to Islam
- Basic bedroom fiqh
- Turning Sex Into Sadaqa
- Sexual Relations Between Husband & Wife
- Sex – a means of keeping the heart pure
- Human Sexuality and the Shariah
- Sex Is Good For You
- More about Sex & Islam
- Is your Ghusl Correct?
- Sex Education for Kids
- Circumcision may prevent AIDS
- Medical benefits from circumcision (male)
- Female Circumcision
- Taking pictures whilst naked or having intercourse
- Reading sexual advice in books on Internet
- Learning about abortion and veneral diseases
- Abortion of babies with genetic diseases
- Is In Vitro Fertilization Allowed?
- Masturbation: Halal or Haram?
- Mutual Masturbation between spouses
- Advice for one who wakes up masturbating
- Masturbating to avoid pornography
- Drinking one’s wife’s milk during foreplay
- Oral Sex
- Family Planning
- Pornography: How to Deal with it
- Date Rape
- Reproductive Issues
- Flirtation and Love Affairs
- Lowering our Gaze
- Islamic Perspective on Homosexuality
- Private Schools Promoting Homosexuality
- Homosexuality. The Cost to Society
- A Divorced Woman Using a Vibrator (Artificial Penis)
- Qaradawi on Free-Mixing of Men and Women
- Anal Sex
- Transplanting Testicles
- Sterility Operations
- MTV’s VJ Says NO to Sex!
- Cool story about Abstaining
- Tesco pill will ‘increase’ teen sex
- Oppression faced by American Working Women
I was a conservative Christian — even had a website , http://www.sharissa.conservative.com(which no longer exsists) so anyway — one late night, June of 2001 ,-I was up late in a Christian chatroom on AOL. And I met a guy in there, who I knew , knew a lot about God. And we started talking about God and things. So then I asked him,”Are you a Christian?” Thinking surely the answer would be , “yes”. but it wasn’t yes. It was “no”. Then I asked him was he ever a Christian, and he said,”Yes, I was once a Christian”.
So I was astonished, and I was like, “well,Why aren’t you a Christian any longer?” And he told me exactly why(and I forget his exact words)
But I know he said that the Creator, isn’t His creation,nor apart of His creation. He doesn’t PROCREATE, so He has not ,sons,daughters,wives,ETC. Therefore, He begets, nor was He beggoten,-None are comparable to Him. He alone is the Creator and Sustainer of the worlds. There is only one God. ETC. ETC.
So then I was like,”wow, okay “…then I asked,”what religion are you now?” And he said ,”I am a muslim.” .. So then I was like wow ,okay cool, you know. And I said well you believe in just one God, and that Jesus(as) was only a prophet of God. And he said,”yes”. So then later own though the week he Instant Messaged me — but even though what he had said to me spoke truth to me, and he seemed like a real nice & smart person.
I was always “busy”, or “doing something”, didn’t have enough time” ETC. ,ETC. I felt I was Christian and that I needed to grow more in my faith as a Christian. And when I was online
I would ignore him to talk to my Christian friends online.. or to read a Christian website ETC,ETC. Then one night I guess, I was just plain bored. So the guy Instant Messaged me. And we started talking, and he asked me ,”Have you ever read the Qur’an”? And I was like,”what the heck is the Qur’an?” Because
I heard of the Qur’an before , but I always seen it spelled “Koran”. So then he told me to go to the “life-koran” chatroom on AOL. And so I did. And he told me to ask them what the Qur’an was , and ask them any other questions I might have. And so I asked them what the Qur’an was. And then I met a person in there named Jamaal, and he Instant Messaged me the next day , and over the course of the summer, Jamaal taught me about Islam when I was online.
And Islam started to make real sense to me(acually it made since when i met the fiirst muslim to me) So then it was August ,and school had started, and after school started I didn’t really chat too much about islam, I didn’t go into the chatroom that much, I wasn’t online as much ETC. But I would talk to Jamaal when I would see him online. And so then here came September 11th. And WHOA, another reason to learn more about Islam. (by the way I suggest the website ISLAMDENOUNCESTERRORISM.com, and I say to you that killing innocents, is AGAINST the very essence of Islam) So I started to go into the Islamic chats more. And then one day in October me and Jamaal had a pretty good conversation on Islam. Then after that I wanted to be a muslim so bad. And I asked him HOW DO I BECOME MUSLIM? And he was like, well it isn’t that simple–you have to take shahadah. And So he explained to me what shahadah is. And basically,Shahadah- is the profession of faith of a muslim, that is when he/she says,”There is no God ,but God- And Muhammad(peace be upon him) is messenger of God.”And so then I started reading more of the Qur’an online. Then one day in early November Jamaal asked me was I ready to take Shahadah, and become a muslim. And I was like,YES ,YES, I been ready . And so on November 3rd, 2001, (it might have been the 4th because I was up until 4 that morning) Anyway I said Shahadah.. …”THERE IS NO GOD ,BUT GOD -AND MUHAMMAD(PEACE BE UPON HIM) IS THE MESSENGER OF GOD” And I was a muslim at that moment, and I felt so much at peace — like I had the pressence of angels around me (which I’m sure I did). And that is my story.~~~
~*May God guide us all to the straight path, to the truth. Ameen.*~
The purpose of this page is to provide a brief introduction to Islam and its beliefs.
To any non-Muslims who are visiting this page, I encourage you to take the time to learn more about Islam. Talk to Muslims and read what they have written. There are more than 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and as many as 6-7 million Muslims in the United States. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States and in the world. There must be something about it that is appealing to a lot of people, and satisfying to a lot of people! Don’t just take the word of the media on it, read and learn for yourself and make your own decision.
Note 1: To learn more about the 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, visit my World of Islam page.
Note 2: To see a different kind of example of Islam’s diversity, check out my Links About Latino Muslims; learn about Latinos who are converting to Islam.
Note 3: Learn why The Nation of Islam is Not Islam. The name may be the same, but the beliefs are totally different.
For many years I was an agnostic and whenever I read anything about religion written from a Christian perspective, it didn’t reach anything in me. I thought that because I didn’t believe in the Christian concept of God I might not believe in God at all. It was as I studied and learned about Islam that I saw how wrong I was. What is most appealing about Islam to me is its purity, its simplicity, and its common sense. You don’t have to be a theologian or a learned scholar to understand its basic doctrines: what could be easier to grasp than “There is no god except God“?
The Quran teaches us that monotheism is part of the “fitra“, an Arabic word which means “the way God has created us” (see Surah ar-Rum verse 30). About this, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and the blessings of God be upon him) said, “Every child is born according to the fitra then its parents make it a Jew, a Christian, or a Zoroastrian“. Today we could add “or a Hindu, a Buddhist, an atheist, etc”. Recognition of God’s oneness is part of our innate human nature, it is just that we clutter it up with doctrines and ideas we have created.
The Quran also teaches us that we have only to look at the world around us to see the signs of God’s handiwork. In literally hundreds of verses, it points to some feature of the natural world and says “these are signs for those who think” or a similar phrase. When we look at a beautiful work of art, do we imagine that it came into being randomly and by chance, or do we know that there must be an artist behind it who designed it and created it? We know that there must be an artist, of course! So how is it that we look at our beautiful world, which is beautiful on the largest scale (solar systems, galaxies, etc) and the smallest scale (cells, atoms, etc), and which we as humans could not even begin to replicate no matter how we tried, and we think that it came into being randomly and by chance? If you said that about a painting or another work of art, people would think you were irrational, even mad. So why is it that when it is said about the universe we live in, it is called “scientific”? Surely the beauty and design of the world we live in point to One who desinged and created it.
So Islam teaches us that monotheism, faith in God alone, is something that is innate to us as human beings, something we know instinctively, and it is also something that we can easily rediscover by looking at the world around us. What is more simple or natural? Islam also teaches us that the fundamental error of human beings is forgetfulness or heedlessness. Even though we have been given this knowledge as part of our inborn make-up and even though it is easy to re-affirm through looking at the created world, we are still easily distracted by our own fancies and the caprices of our minds into forgetting.
It is in order to counter-act this tendency towards heedlessness that God sends prophets, messengers from Him, with a reminder to us. The Quran tells us that God has sent a messenger to every nation of humankind. He would not leave anybody without His guidance! Unfortunately, our heedlessness is so great that we have forgotten or corrupted the messages that were sent to us. It is for this reason that God has also sent a Scripture for us to keep by us and to read in order to remember. This Scripture is the Quran. It is a message for all the world, teaching us about God, about the world that He has created, and about how He wants us to live.
If you didn’t know that Islamic beliefs are like this, then you definitely owe it to yourself to study and learn more. How can you say that you reject Islam, when you don’t even know what it’s about?
Islam does not have a complicated theology like Christianity does (3=1?, 100% human and 100% divine at the same time?), although some of the most sophisticated thinking on theological issues has been done by Muslims. There are only six articles of faith, which are as follows:
1) God. There is no god except God. God is ONE. He has no parents, no children, no associates, no partners. Nothing is like Him. The famous “99 names” are names of His qualities. These include The Real (al-Haqq), The Alive (al-Hayy), The Powerful (al-Qawiyy), and The Good (al-Barr). Everything we have we owe to God: our existence, our life, our ability, our goodness. If He ever stopped sustaining us, we would vanish into non-existence at that instant. If a person provided you with everything that you have, your shelter, food, clothing, money, etc, wouldn’t you be utterly thankful to that person? Wouldn’t you want to do whatever you could to give back to him for it? Wouldn’t you feel that if he asked you to do something, you should try to your utmost to do it, just because he deserves it from you? So why is it that when God has given us far more than any human being ever could, we scorn Him and act ungratefully to Him, and refuse to do what He asks of us?
Note: The name Allah is just the Arabic word for God and is used in the Arabic Bible
Aside: Please see An Introduction to Islamic Monotheism to learn a bit more about how Muslims think about God.
2) Angels. We’re not talking about those syrupy New Age angels people seem to be so enamored of these days, nor of cute little babies with wings and bows and arrows (?), nor of pale, sighing maidens with wings. These are God’smessengers. Certainly there is Gabriel, the angel who brought the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). There are also the two angels assigned to each human being to record his or her deeds (see Surah al-Infitar verses 10-12 and Surah at-Tariq verse 4); the angels who question each soul in the grave (mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad); the angel of death (Surah as-Sajda verse 11); an angel who is the gate-keeper of Paradise; angels placed in charge of meting out the punishments of Hell (Surah at-Tahrim verse 6); and angels of battle (Surah al-Anfal verse 12). This is just a brief summary. The angels will descend in ranks on the Last Day of this world as a sign of the imminence of the Judgment (see Surah al-An’aam verse 8 and Surah al-Furqan verses 25-26). The angels are God’s chosen way of sending His commands into the world, and of taking reports on the fulfilment of these commands. Thus it is obligatory for every Muslim to have faith in angels as part of having faith in God and His ways.
3) Prophets. Notice the plural. The testimony of faith one makes to become a Muslim includes in its second part “And Muhammad is a Messenger of God“. But in fact, it is obligatory for a Muslim to have faith in all of God’s prophets. Those the Quran has named include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elijah, Job, Jonah, Zachariah, John (the Baptist), and Jesus, plus of course Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The reason for God’s sending so many of His messengers has been discussed above. It is also important to understand that the Quran confirms certain details of the history that is told in the Bible (although it makes certain corrections to that history.) In short, the first stage of God’s plan was to send messengers to every nation. The second stage was to send a scripture to a single nation who would show the way. This nation was the Children of Israel and the scripture was the Torah. But this was not the end of the story. Nor was the universal religion that God established to replace Judaism meant to be Christianity, much less in its modern, Trinitarian form. No! Jesus was a human being only, and a prophet and messenger of God sent to the Children of Israel to prepare them for the coming of the last prophet. The third stage of God’s plan is the revelation of the Quran, a scripture for all humankind. Thus Islam has a similar but rival vision to Christianity. It is not some weird “cult” believing in some strange god named “Allah” (Allah is just the Arabic word for “the one God”, even as the French call Him “Dieu”, the Germans “Gott”, etc. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians use Allah when they talk about God). It is the culmination and perfection of the same religious tradition that for Jews and Christians began when God singled out Abraham (p.b.u.h.) and his descendants. If there is any one thing that I hope people come away from reading this with, it is the understanding that Islam’s history is familiar not foreign.
4) Scriptures. Notice again the plural. Muslims of course believe in the Quran, but we also believe that God revealed the Torah to Moses (p.b.u.h), the Psalms to David (p.b.u.h.), and the Gospel to Jesus (p.b.u.h.). Are the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel that are known today the ones that were originally revealed? Even Christian and Jewish scholars don’t seem to think so anymore. Here’s another interesting fact: Did you know that the coming of a prophet like Moses (p.b.u.h.) with a new scripture is promised by the Torah? Read Deuteronomy 18:15-20. Not only was this prophecy delivered by Moses, but the Children of Israel are specifically commanded to obey the new prophet. And did you know that Jesus (p.b.u.h.) promised a prophet to come after him, with the explanation of all things? Read the Gospel of John especially 16:7-15. Not only was this prophecy delivered by Jesus, but the Christians are specifically commanded to obey the new prophet. The only prophet who has come who is like Moses and brings a scripture like the Torah is Muhammad, with the Quran. The only prophet who has come at all after Jesus is Muhammad. So why do not the Jews obey their own scripture and accept the prophethood of Muhammad, and why do not the Christians obey their own scripture and accept the prophethood of Muhammad? The fact of the matter is, if you truly obey every commandment in the Torah, you have to accept the prophethood of Muhammad, and if you truly obey every commandment given by Jesus, you have to accept the prophethood of Muhammad. Read these passages without any preconceived notions. If possible, read what it says in the original language (Hebrew for Deuteronomy, Greek for the Gospel of John) so that you are not instead reading the interpretation of the translator. You will find that these passages are quite clear and unambiguous.
Note: To check out some resources for learning more about the Quran, visit my Quran Page.
5) The measuring out. This is from the Arabic phrase “al-qada wa al-qadar” which is usually translated to mean “the divine decree and the predestination“. But qadar actually means “to measure out“. God has measured out every thing. He has measured out the sustenance in the world, and He also measures out what He has given us, the span of our life, the amount of our goodness and our evil, the things that happen to us. The question of predestination versus free will is a challenge in any religion and is certainly beyond the scope of this simple introduction. Rather than get into it, I will simply mention two of the most frequently used phrases of Muslims. One is “inshallah” which means “if God wills“. It is used whenever a statement about the future is made. For instance, “Next I am going to discuss Judgment Day, if God wills”. We all know that very often things do not go as planned. I could be interrupted by anything from a telephone call to an earthquake and never get back to writing my introduction. What we have willed does not always happen. What God has willed does. The second phrase is “mashallah” which means “what God has willed“. This is used in two ways. One is a statement of acceptance of whatever happens, e.g., “I didn’t get the job. What God has willed”. The other is as a compliment of something good. In this sense it might be interpreted as “What a good thing God has willed”. For instance, “What a beautiful flower that is! What a good thing God has willed”. By the use of this phrase, we acknowledge that all things, both bad and good, happen according to God’s will. I think the two phrases “inshallah” and “mashallah” provide a simple, practical demonstration of how Muslims think about “the measuring out”.
6) The Last Day. This refers to the last day of this world, aka Judgment Day, aka The Day of Resurrection. The Day of Judgment and the Hereafter are essential beliefs. Muslim thinkers sometimes talk about three “roots” of belief, which are monotheism, prophecy, and the judgment. Monotheism and prophecy have already been discussed in the essay above and in the articles of faith devoted to them. Judgment Day and the Hereafter are crucial too. They are a necessary aspect of God’s justice. Judgment Day isn’t for God to discover our good and our evil. He already knows it. He is delivering His judgment to us, so that we can know it. Now, we all know that things happen in this world that aren’t fair. Innocent people suffer. Evil seems to go unpunished. These are the results of our free will, and through them God tests us. Will we still remember Him when times are rough? How would it be a fair test for us if He stepped in every time somebody did something wrong? Think about it. Religion’s answer to the question of the existence of evil has usually been that it is a result of God’s justice regarding our free will. But at the same time, it isalso an essential component of His justice that the good will be rewarded and the evil punished. The Hereafter is necessary because it is there that the reward and punishment will come. Moreover, as the Quran says, the Hereafter is “better and more abiding” than this world. The suffering we may undergo now will seem as fleeting as a nightmare when we look back at it. So will the pleasures and joys of the things of this world. But the pain of Hell will last forever for those whom God condemns to it, and the joy of Paradise will last forever for those whom God admits to it. In this way, the reward of the good truly is a just recompense for what they worked, and the punishment of the evil likewise. This is part of God’s design and plan for us and belief in it is an essential part of having faith in Him and His ways.
Above, I have given a very brief introduction to the six articles of faith of Islam. These are what define a belief as Islamic rather than being of some other religion. There are also five practices which define the Islamic religion. These are known as the “five pillars” because they support the foundation of Islam just as pillars support a building.
1) The Shahadah. Shahadah is an Arabic word meaning “testimony” or “bearing witness“. The Shahadah is therefore the testimony of faith that every Muslim must make. It is the necessary ritual for conversion to Islam. It consists of the following statement in Arabic, “Ashhadu an laa ilaha ill’Allah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah“. This translates as, “I testify that there is no god except God, and I testify that Muhammad is a messenger of God“. The Shahadah is repeated in the daily prayers (see below) and therefore is said many times a day by observant Muslims. It may be said that any person who recites the Shahadah is a Muslim; however if he or she does nothing else they are a lapsed Muslim. We can also say that by bearing witness that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a messenger of God, it necessarily means that we are bearing witness that the Quran is a message from God – a messenger is defined by the message he brings. And since everything we have is due to God, we should necessarily desire to obey what He tells us. Therefore, by bearing witness that the Quran is a message from God, we are also stating our willingness to obey the Quran to the best of our ability. It is in this way that obedience to the Quran becomes obligatory on Muslims even though it is not one of the five pillars. Rather, the five pillars are the forms of worship that have been prescribed for Muslims.
2) The salat. Salat is an Arabic word meaning “prayer” or “blessing“. It refers to the prayer service through which Muslims praise God. The salat is to be offered in a fixed form, at fixed times during the day. Muslims also offer spontaneous prayers for their needs. This is called du’a which means “calling (on God)“. However, the ritual prayer, or salat, is an essential part of Islamic observance. The five prayer times are dawn, mid-day, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. Being able to complete the salat at its appointed time is very important to observant Muslims, and is often a concern on the job. The salat must be offered in a state of ritual purity and facing towards Mecca. It involves standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting, and recitation from the Quran and praise and glorification of God, as well as the recitation of various other ritual phrases. Although many people may feel that ritual, fixed-time prayer must be a burden or joyless, most Muslims feel that it is a good “time-out” from a busy day to get in touch with what is really important, and that it is easier when the form is fixed so that you don’t have to decide on the words each time. To learn a bit about the salat, see Manner of Performing Salat.
3) The zakat. Zakat is an Arabic word whose root meaning is “purification“. It refers specifically to purifying one’s wealth by giving a portion of it to help those who are less fortunate. The zakat is due on that wealth which is “hoarded” for one year; that is, on money that is not spent towards meeting one’s needs. There is a sort of “standard exemption”; what this means is that if your income equals your expenses so that you have no money “hoarded” then no zakat is due, and if your income exceeds your expenses by this “standard exemption” or less than it then no zakat is due. It is only on your surplus wealth above the “standard exemption” that the zakat is due. For cash (including precious metals and the like) the rate of the zakat is 2.5%, or 1/40 of the surplus. Besides the zakat, spontaneous giving to the needy is strongly recommended; it is called sadaqa.
4) The Ramadan fast. Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is purely lunar and each month begins at the sighting of the new crescent moon. It thus lasts for 354 or 355 days, while a solar calendar (such as the Gregorian calendar used in the West) is 365 or 366 days long. Because the lunar calendar is shorter, a given date, such as the first of Ramadan, will fall 10 or 11 days earlier according to the Gregorian calendar each successive year. Over a period of 33 years, it will cycle through all the seasons and come back to where it started. The lunar month is 29 or 30 days. Observance of the Ramadan fast entails refraining from any kind of food or drink, and (if you are married) from sexual relations between dawn and sunset. Especially in northern latitudes, the fast may be relatively short when it falls in winter, and quite long when it falls in summer. Over a lifetime, therefore, a Muslim experiences both easy fasts and difficult fasts and it balances out. For the year 2001, Ramadan is predicted to start on November 17. The fast is a marvelously spiritual experience. It requires discipline to maintain the fast when you are aware that only God will know if you keep it or if you cheat. It is often the most difficult at about the three-week point, then becomes easier near the end. I have also found that there is a wonderful sense of community to know that Muslims all over the world are observing the fast at the same time.
Aside: I have a section on my site devoted to Ramadan, which includes some articles for non-Muslims.
5) The hajj. Hajj is an Arabic word meaning “pilgrimage“. It refers to the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This is obligatory on each Muslim once in a lifetime, but only if one is financially capable of the journey. I have not yet made the hajj. The most interesting thing about the hajj is that the rituals are not about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or events in his life, but instead they commemorate events in the life of the patriach and prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his family. The hajj takes place in the Islamic month of Dhu’l-Hijja, during the eighth to twelfth days. Millions of Muslims from all over the world gather each year. Read the impressions of Malcolm X about the hajj.
So far I have attempted to provide a brief, simple introduction to Islamic beliefs and worship practices. God willing, this should refute some of the more outlandish ideas that are sometimes put forth about Islam, such as that it is not a “real religion” or that it is a “cult” about the foreign god “Allah”. However, there are some serious concerns that many people may have with Islam and that a sincere Muslim must address. In two words, these are terrorism andwomen. I would like to say a few words about each in turn, God willing.
In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, I have posted several special links.
- My Condemnation of the Terrorist Attacks
- Some Quranic Verses on Jihad
- What Islam Really Says: Killing the Innocent is WRONG!
- Other Muslims Condemn Terrorism
It is especially difficult in the wake of the attacks to write about the issue of Islam and terrorism, yet it is perhaps even more necessary than before. What these people did IS NOT ISLAM. No sane person could ever believe that God has allowed much less “commanded” such an abhorrent act. Whoever did this must be deranged, psychotic. Please do not rush to judgment or condemn all Muslims, or Islam, because of this act. I have provided some links above showing what Islamic sources and what individual Muslims really have to say about what happened.
But we need to look at the larger issue. Why do some Muslim individuals commit violent acts? And why is there such a pervasive idea that violence and terrorism are somehow Islamic? These questions are worth your careful reading and serious and thoughtful consideration. Each is discussed in turn.
1) Muslim groups are not the only ones who commit violent acts. Equally notorious, at least to their own people, are the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in Ulster, the ETA Basque separatists in Spain, the Shining Path guerrillas of Peru, and the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, to name just four. The conflict in Northern Ireland is specifically defined by the religion of the two sides, Catholics versus Protestants. Yet we do not attribute the acts of these groups to Christianity. Instead, we recognize that those who give the name of Christianity to it are distorting their claims, and that they have political motivations instead. We cannot have a double standard that assumes that all violent actions committed by Muslims or even given the name of Islam are in fact commanded by Islam, and that ignores any political motivations that these Muslims may have. The Palestinians, the Chechens, and the Kashmiris are all engaged in political struggles against what they perceive as oppression by, respectively, Israel, Russia, and India. This is just the same as the IRA, who perceive oppression by Great Britian, and the ETA, who perceive oppression by Spain. The very least we can do is give the Palestinians, Chechens, and Kashmiris the same thoughtful consideration that we do the causes of the IRA and the ETA. Don’t just go by what you read or see in the mass media. See what human rights groups such as Amnesty International have said about the conduct of Israel, Russia, and India. Are all Muslims terrorists – or may some be freedom fighters?
Aside 1: Read Understanding Terrorism, by John M. Gates, a military analyst. This article discusses what the proper definition of “terrorism” is, whether some “terrorist groups” are actually national liberation movements, and whether states can inflict terrorism on their own citizens. Also see The Politics of Terrorism, by William Pfaff.
Aside 2: View official statistics on global terrorism against the U.S. by region and on domestic terrorism in the U.S. by group. The Middle East and Muslims are not as high on the list as you would think.
2) Some violent acts committed by militant Muslim groups cannot be justified even by their struggle against what they perceive as oppression (such as the horror that occured on September 11). These acts are committed against people not involved in their situation, or against innocent civilians including children. There can be no excuse for these acts (read my Condemnation of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001) and no moral Muslim could ever make such an excuse. Are you aware of criticism by Muslim leaders of terrorist acts? (visit my Muslims Condemn Terrorist Attacks page) Have you read what they say and what sources they quote to assert that such actions are not permissible under Islamic Law, and are certainly not commanded by it? (read my articles Some Quranic Verses on Jihad and What Islam Really Says About Killing the Innocent) There are over 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. The number of terrorists is an infinitesimal fraction of this. More than 99% of all Muslims have no connection whatsoever to terrorism and have never taken any sort of violent action as part of a political struggle. If asked, most of them would roundly condemn terrorism. Those who have the knowledge could cite the sources of Islamic law to prove that all such terroristic acts are forbidden in Islam. Why are such voices not sought out? Why this relentless focus on the 0.001% of Muslims who are engaged in terrorism and depiction of them as typical without any consideration of the lives and beliefs of the other 99.999%?
Aside 1: I have written A Field Guide to Islamic Activists, which provides a brief survey and history of contemporary Islamic movements and how “militant Islam” fits in. I encourage you to read this and to learn more about the context of the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.
Aside 2: Read some interesting perspectives by Western journalists on the September 11 terrorist attacks and what political motives might have led to them.
Terrorism by Muslims is indeed a problem. So is the way it is all too often depicted in the West. In this depiction, all Muslims and indeed Islam itself are tarred with the actions of an very tiny minority of extremists. No attempt is made to determine if the actions of these extremists are in fact motivated by politics rather than religion and it is just that they think religion makes a good-sounding rationale for their actions. This double standard has to end. You have never met me and you do not know anything about what I have done, and of my beliefs you know only the little that I have written here. If you think that I must be a “fundamentalist” or that I advocate violence just because I have told you I am a Muslim that is prejudice. You have pre-judged me, because of my religious belief. There can be no fair and productive discussion of terrorism until there is an end to the prejudice that assumes that Islam is by its nature terroristic or that all Muslims advocate violence. To learn more about anti-Islam prejudice, visit my page of links on stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims. Worst of all, this kind of prejudice can all too easily lead to violence taken against innocent Muslims. See A Month of Backlash for reports on the backlash against Muslim and Arab-Americans in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Also: Read Faith and Terror, by Robert Malley. Is it “Islamic terrorism”, or “terrorists who happen to be Muslims”?
Another good article is America’s New Crisis: Understanding the Muslim World, by John L. Esposito. The author is a noted scholar of Islam.
Almost as pervasive as the association of Islam with terrorism is the idea that Islam is a religion that is uniquely oppressive of women. Again, it would be folly to deny that some men and some societies injure women and give the name of Islam to it. However, there are again some issues that are worth your thought and consideration.
1) More or less all Muslim countries are part of the developing world. When we look at the situation of women in Muslim countries, we should compare it to other developing countries, not to the wealthy, developed West. What is the status of women in China, or India, or sub-Saharan Africa, or Central and South America? Are some women in these countries abused by their fathers and husbands? Are they subjected to cruel or oppressive practices that are called “traditional”? And what is this due to? Their religion? Or their hopeless poverty? There is another double standard at work here, and again it attributes everything to Islam and negates the idea that there could be any other motivations for the actions of Muslims. Given that women in desperately poor families and desperately poor societies are frequently oppressed and abused, why are the oppression and abuse in Muslim countries uniquely attributed to Islam, and the socio-economic factors are ignored?
2) Sometimes also the ways of a conservative religion are treated as “oppressive”. If you want to see sexism, look at the status of women in Orthodox Judaism, or traditional Christianity. In the former, men pray every day, “Blessed is God…who has not made me a woman” (see a discussion by a Jewish feminist of this at The Role of Women in the Synagogue) while in the latter women are unequivocally declared subordinate to all men (1 Corinthians 11:3) and to have been created for the benefit of men (1 Corinthians 11:9). You owe it to yourself to study both the Bible and the writings of traditional Jews and Christians. You will find that Islam is far from alone in conservative ideas about women.
Note 1: To read an interesting study of the place of women in traditional Judaism and Christianity and how it compares to the place of women in Islam, read Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judeo-Christian Tradition.
Note 2: Also, you can read an interesting comparison of Islam and Judaism at Maidens and Warriors, by Israel Shamir. The author is an Israeli Jew.
Despite the points I have made above, some aspects of Islam are treated as uniquely oppressive, such as polygyny (i.e., the taking of multiple wives, more commonly known as polygamy) and the hijab or modest dress.
Concerning polygyny, a few points should be made. First, the sex ratio is the same in Muslim countries as in the rest of the world, i.e., one man to one woman. This fact alone means that polygyny must necessarily be limited – there aren’t enough women to go around for it to be very common! The vast, overwhelming majority of Muslim men have a single wife. Second, Islamic law requires a man to treat his wives equally in terms of his money and his time (see Surah an-Nisa verse 3 and also verse 129 of the same surah). Only a wealthy man can afford to support more than one wife even if there were a surplus of women. It should also be noted that Muslim men are limited to four wives even if a given man could support many more than that. The Quran also warns men “You will not be able to be entirely just among your wives, even if you are vigilant” (Surah an-Nisa verse 129) and says “if you fear that you will not be just [to two, three, or four wives], then a single one only” (Surah an-Nisa verse 3). In short, polygyny is a concession to human nature and is limited both in practice and under the law, rather than being something that is commanded or even encouraged for all men or that has no restrictions on it. It must also be noted that polygyny is mentioned in the Bible. It was practiced by Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon, among others. It is specifically legislated for (Deuteronomy 21:18-17). Jesus mentions a wedding of a man with ten women without any condemnation (Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13 – read it!) while Paul places restrictions on polygyny only for priests and bishops (see for example 1 Timothy 3:12). Clearly, Islam did not “establish” polygyny, which was already well-known, but instead regulates it.
Note: To read about polygyny and Christianity, see my page on Polygyny in Christianity.
Then there is the hijab. Feminists in the West decry the treatment of women as sexual objects and the use of scantily clad women to sell products or the expectation in our culture that a woman must look like an actress or a model. Yet when a Muslim woman decides to take her sexuality out of the picture, somehow this is seen as a great oppression. Another thing that we value in our culture is individuality and standing up for what you believe. Yet when a Muslim woman goes against the tide by wearing her hijab, and does it to stand for what she believes, this is again seen as some kind of great oppression on her. In a culture where primary school girls are starting to dress like Britney Spears (see Britney Brigade from Time Magazine) and a woman’s cleavage seems to jump out from every other ad, for a woman to cover all of her body except her face and hands takes a lot of strength and self-confidence. The sheer amount of attention that is given to the hijab suggests that women are still very much judged by how they dress. Last thing: a man in his business suit covers everything but his head and his hands, and his hair is short and plain in style. Isn’t a Muslim woman who covers all of her body, and who makes sure that her hair is not a decoration, doing the same thing? Why not encourage women to be equal to men in their business dress?
Note 1: Read my message to non-Muslims about anti-hijab discrimination. This vilification of hijab needs to stop.
Note 2: Is there such a thing as “Christian hijab”? Read my article on The Veil in Christianity to learn more about this forgotten commandment of the Bible.
Note 3: Read my response to the question “Why Do You Dress Like That?” to learn more about the rules governing hijab.
Note 4: To learn more about the issue of hijab and its place in Islam, read On Veiling…
Note 5: Read about young Muslim women and why they choose hijab at Hijab: This Is My Struggle. This is a great article and gives a real feel for why Muslim women love hijab.
Note 6: The rules and restrictions that the Taliban impose on women are not only not part of Islam, they are actually anti-Islamic. In an interesting article, The Social Degradation of Women is a Crime and a Libel on Islam, written in1927, the British convert and Islamic scholar Mohammad Marmaduke Pickthall discusses very similar rules that were being imposed in India. This article still reads well today. Pickthall discusses why the total seclusion of women and the preventing them from obtaining an education are contrary to Islamic teachings.
As a final comment on the issue of Islam and women, I would like to draw to your attention the fact that Islam has some surprisingly positive things to say about women. I have compiled a list of Quran verses that describe the value of women in God’s sight, the reward that women can expect in the world and the Hereafter for their actions, and the responsibility of women under the law, all as they compare to the value, reward, and responsibility of men. Check it out. You might be surprised at what it says. You can find it at: Men and Women in the Quran
Note 1: Also learn about the exalted position of mothers in Islam at Mothers in Islamic Teaching. Did you know that the person with the greatest right over a Muslim man is his mother?
Note 2: Is “Islamic feminism” a contradiction in terms? Not according to many Muslim reformers. To see some examples of Muslims who seek to advance women’s rights while remaining true to Islam, visit Muslim Women’s League,Karamah, and Kamilat. Also, here are some good articles written from a similar perspective:
- Gender Equity in Islam
- Ideals and Role Models for Women in Islam
- On the Position of Women in Islam and Islamic Society
- Status of Women in Islam
- Women in a Quranic Society
Read some non-Muslims’ opinions on why people should seek to learn more about Islam at:
- An Appreciate Look at the Spirituality of Islam
- A Christmas Palm Tree: Learning about Islam’s Commonality with Christianity
- Islam and Christianity
- Islam Has a Purity and Energy That Christianity Has Lost
- Islam: Misunderstood Throughout the World
- Islam: The Next American Religion?
- Muslims are Good Folks
- A Place Apart: A Meeting with Islam
- The Power of God’s Word As Found in the Koran
- Reviving the Openness in Islam
- Understanding Islam
- The West, Mediterranean Islam and The Search for a New Beginning
Some other resources
1) Visit my page of Books about Islam for Non-Muslims.
2) See some sites on Islam created by ordinary Muslims.
3) Interested in becoming a Muslim? Visit my converts page.
The materials on this page are written by Al-Muhajabah. You may copy, display, or distribute these materials for non-commercial purposes as long as you give me proper attribution as the author.
REVERTING TO ISLAM: A JOURNEY BACK TO Allah
Al-Salamu Alaykum, My name is Maryam al-Mahdayah – I was not born with this name, but chose it when I converted to Islam (in 1992). My Christian birth name is Maria (Mary in English, Maryam in Arabic). I would like to share with you my personal story of converting to Islam, with the hope that this story might bring with it a better understanding of Islam.
My story is organized into different life-periods:
- Growing up Christian (early years)
- Turning away (teen years)
- Searching for Truth (the twenties)
- The Opening (the thirties)
- Coming Home (the forties and forever)
GROWING UP CHRISTIAN — EARLY YEARS
I was raised in the Catholic tradition. I went to Catholic elementary school, learned my Cathechism, received my First Communion, received my Catholic name (after a saint), went to confession, all the important steps to growing up Catholic. I tried my best to be good, and I was (I was too afraid of some terrible retribution from God if I wasn’t) and throughout these years I developed a substantial feeling of guilt (for what, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was guilty of something).
The nuns who taught me seemed harsh, and I couldn’t understand why these ‘brides of Christ’ were so tense and angry. In the summers I would travel south to visit my mother’s family – my grandfather was at one time a Baptist minister, and my mother was raised in the Baptist tradition. (Because my father was Catholic she had to convert to Catholicism in order to marry him). So, when I went south, I went to church and Bible school, and sang Christian songs around the antique organ – my aunt would play, and my cousin and I would sing with great feeling.
These were good times, and this part of my Christian upbringing was more enjoyable and comfortable. And so the years passed. I spent the school year at home, and summers in the south. My religious life was much of a double life. Looking back, it seems that the only thing the Catholic and Baptist traditions had in common was a foundation in Jesus (peace be upon him). Beyond that, they were two different worlds for me.
TURNING AWAY — TEEN YEARS
I didn’t have an easy childhood, and the family problems grew in severity to the point where one day, I came to the conclusion that there is no God (or, at the very least, if there was a God, He wasn’t there for me). I remember that day, laying in my bed at night, waking up to that reality. I suddenly felt a great vacuum within myself, but, I told myself, if that’s reality, then I have to accept it. At my level of understanding, that was my reality.
As my teen years progressed, I started searching. By this time, I was no longer required to go to church (in our family religious practice was non-existent by then), so I decided to seek the truth myself. I remember reading about Jesus (pbuh). I had a very strong feeling about him, and even felt connected to him in some way. But I could never accept his manner of death (how could someone so special and close to God die like that???). That seemed a tragedy beyond description. And so I developed my own opinion and belief that Jesus (pbuh) was in fact a real person, did in fact live on this earth, was in fact a very special person with a very special mission, but beyond that, I didn’t know. Eventually I gave up on the idea of Christianity entirely, because too many things didn’t make sense.
SEARCHING FOR TRUTH — TWENTIES
As I entered my twenties, I felt a tremendous need to find the truth, to still the restlessness in my heart and soul. I was introduced to Buddhism, and since it seemed to come close to what I was looking for (at least there was a clear logic to it), I joined. In many ways it did help me feel better, but to me it seemed to be missing something (what, I didn’t know at that time).
Over the years, I drifted away from Buddhism as well. It was becoming more of a burden than a comfort in my life. During this time I traveled to Egypt for business, where I met my husband, who was raised in the Muslim tradition. Still involved in Buddhism, I tried to convert him. He patiently listened, and I believed I was succeeding, but I know now that he would never have converted.
THE OPENING — THIRTIES
So I continued, became more uncomfortable with Buddhist practice, went back to Egypt to get married, came back to the USA alone and eventually returned to Egypt to live with my husband. We were there together for a year, a wondrous, healing and unforgettable year. By now I was in my early thirties. I had just arrived in Egypt to really start married life, stressed out to my limit, feeling very much that I had arrived with my last breath. I had been separated from my husband for over a year (my job kept me in the USA, other concerns kept him in Egypt).
We kept in touch all during this time, but it was so difficult and stressful that I lost a great deal of weight. I was described as looking anorexic. I wasn’t aware of this until one day I happened to see myself in the rearview mirror of a taxi. I saw my neck, with bones extending. At first I didn’t realize that was me – when I did, it was quite a shock. I looked at myself with new eyes – my hands were bony – I was beginning to look like a living skeleton.
During this time my husband was talking to me – quietly, patiently – explaining not about Islam, but about believing in God. He told me that it didn’t matter which religion I chose to practice, as long as I believed in God. I argued with him over and over that there was no God (and Buddhism supported this belief) and over and over he explained that there IS a God and gave me details of the signs of God, the qualities of God. He explained how God is very much with me, and talked to me about God from the perspective of Islam, emphasizing throughout that I did not have to be Muslim – just believe in God. Being a stubborn person, I still resisted outwardly, but inwardly, a small window of hope began to open….
My husband asked a friend to bring me some books about Islam. I was surprised he would do so, because I was still “not interested in hearing about God” – sometimes emphatically so. So he left me with the books: an English translation of the Qur’an, a book about all facets of Islam and a book from the Sufi perspective. My interest was slightly piqued, but I dismissed it. I put the books aside, and later went to bed.
That night, I had a dream. In this dream, I was somewhere, surrounded by glorious white light. In the background, I heard beautiful music that sounded like Qur’anic reading. I saw the face of a sheikh, wearing a white hat with a red band. Behind me was a golden, spiralling staircase. All these images were suspended in this wondrous white light. This light was brighter that anything I had seen in waking life, but the brightness didn’t hurt my eyes. It was pure, heavenly whiteness. Then I looked down, and became aware that I was covered all in white, in the Muslim fashion. Beautiful white flowing dress and head covering. All the while, I kept feeling a tremendous joy pouring out from inside me, and I was filled with this same white light from within. In front of me to my left was a child, about 5 or 6 years old, facing forward so I could not see the face. I didn’t know if it was a boy or girl, but I knew this was my child. (At the time, I was physically unable to have children). This dream had a profound impact on me.
Although it was 7 years ago, I can still remember it vividly in detail. When I awoke, I related this dream. Not knowing its significance, I told my husband about it because it was so vivid in my mind and didn’t make sense to me. I had never had this kind of dream before. When I finished telling it, my husband said, “This is the kind of dream every Muslim wishes to have”. But why me? I didn’t believe in God, denied His existence (passionately at times), and had no interest in Islam or becoming Muslim. He explained that God was telling me something in this dream and I was very lucky. He also told me that God was close to me. That surprised me. (Interestingly, this dream did not have a dreamlike quality, but in fact gave me the feeling that I was looking at things to come.) After this dream, I decided to open the books about Islam, and find out more about this religion…
COMING HOME — FORTIES AND FOREVER
I read about the principles of Islam. They made sense to me, with no contradiction. The descriptions of the Islamic way of life, the roles of men and women in society as complimentary rather than competitive were so logical. After reading this I understood that what I felt instinctively about myself as a woman was, in fact, true to my real nature. Rather than feeling demeaned, I felt uplifted, not only as a woman, but as a member of the human race. I started to feel my true self, for the first time in my life. I began to have the sense that I was coming home. I read the Qur’an. Although not in the Arabic original, I found that just reading the verses in English filled me with a tremendous sense of peace and quiet, in a most gentle way. The verses themselves answered many questions I had throughout my life, but could never get a clear answer to. Reading the Qur’an, I began to realize that this book must be the work and the word of God, because of its impeccable logic and its effect on me. I learned that this is one of the qualities of the Qur’an, a certain “barakah” or grace that has a very calming effect on the human soul.
Shortly afterward, I had surgery with the hope that I may be able to have a child. The surgery went well, but my chances for having a child were still slim to none. By this time I was reading the Qur’an regularly and trying to learn more about Islam. I asked questions constantly and immersed myself in the atomosphere of Islam – I loved hearing the daily prayer calls on every street and one day asked my husband to take me to Al-Azhar, world-renowned center for Islamic learning, to visit the mosque. I had seen this mosque on TV and felt curiously drawn to it. So one day we went. It was quiet; I walked around, read the Qur’an, sat quietly for a while. It was a nice peaceful time, and we left. About halfway down the street, I stopped and looked down – I wanted to make sure my feet were touching the ground, because I couldn’t feel the sidewalk underneath my footsteps. I truly felt I was walking on air….this is the effect of Islam on me – the feeling of lightness was translated literally.
I had so many unusual experiences during this time, many just momentary things, that I truly began to believe in my heart that God was, indeed, with me and close to me. The best of all in the human sense was that the following year we had a beautiful daughter – truly a gift from God. Even the doctor who had performed the surgery was amazed. This was the first time ever for her to do this kind of surgery, and she had no way of predicting the outcome, except that the chances were small. (God was with me even then).
We moved to the USA and our daughter was born in the autumn, 4 months after our arrival. The following year we went back to Egypt so my husband’s family could meet this wonderful addition to our family. Before we left, I decided it was time to officially become Muslim – God had shown me so many signs, that I knew this was the clear path for me. And so, back in Egypt, I went to Al-Azhar to declare, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Messenger.”
Now I’m in my forties and looking back through my life, particularly the last 10 years, I see the hand of God in all the hundreds of incidents and events along the way. As one always searching for the Truth, whether good or bad, I have found, through personal experience, that God is THE ONE REALITY. We need only to open our eyes, ears and hearts to recognize the Truth:
[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ” We shall show them Our signs in the horizons and in themselves, till it is clear to them that it is the truth. Suffices it not as to thy Lord, that He is witness over everything? Are they not in doubt touching the encounter with their Lord? Does He not encompass everything?” [Sadaqa allahu alazim]
(Qur’an XLI:53-54 / Distinguished)
Discovering Islam has been like discovering treasure – a treasure of unlimited value. Because of Islam I have found myself. Through concrete experience I have found that God does exist; that He is kind, loving, merciful and ever-watchful over me. I have found clarity, meaning and clear direction in my life. God has given me so much, including a family beyond my dreams, a family that resonates perfectly with the deepest desires of my heart and soul, as only He can provide in the most perfect way. I have peace of mind and spirit only when I drink deeply of Islam and the Qur’an, a wondrous healing drink that only God can provide in the most perfect way. The greatest gift from God to me is that He has touched my soul and let me feel His gentleness, loving kindness and mercy. By the grace of God, I am becoming al-mahdayah, the rightly guided one. In order to become the best, the most productive and most compassionate human beings we can be, God has sent us His final message to mankind in the most perfect way – the way of Islam, the way of peace. My personal experience with Christianity left me feeling empty for so long that I could not acknowledge its value.
However, Islam teaches us that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all come from God, each with a message sent from God, and therefore all are worthy of respect. Although born into Christianity, Islam is the true path of my soul. Because I am now firmly grounded in my relationship to God, I find that I can appreciate other traditions as well, from the perspective of Islam. There is no more conflict within, because I have come home.
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being,
the All-Merciful, the All-compassionate,
the Master of the Day of Doom.
Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for help
Guide us in the straight path,
the path of those whom Thou hast blessed,
not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who go astray.
[Sadaqa allahu alazim]
(Qur’an 1:1-7 / Al-Fatihah)
by Maryam al-Mahdayah from USA/EGYPT, email@example.com
My name is Ericka, I live in the United States, I am a housewife and I am 27 years old.
I am of Mexican origin and born and raised in a “Catholic” atmosphere, my family so far is somewhat “devout” in the traditions surrounding this “religion”.
About three years ago by invitation of a girlfriend, I visited a “Christian” church, they were Evangelists, they seemed very similar to me in that time and assisted me many times and I understood many things among them the discipline to read the Bible and although I did not always understand it at least I took the ideas to study for the following class on Sunday.
On one occasion the Reverend made an affirmation that Muslims “hated” Jesus and that they worshipped another God who was called Allah. I decided to investigate ISLAM to confirm what he said. To my suprise I met Muslims who loved Jesus as much as Christians (we who wait for his coming), and that Allah means God in the Arabic language and it is another way for us to speak of Him as if the Americans worship another God that is called God, or the Italians do when they say “Dio”, etc. I investigated and I realized that in effect Jesus is not God as people now affirm the Christian belief in it, because the same person Jesus prayed to the same God, just like us.
I investigated the origin of the Bible and its authors and discovered that it has many contradictions and unknown authors and some are Jews and other single famous ones and some of the authors didn’t even know Jesus but nonetheless wrote what he said.
I resisted it in the beginning but I began to see the truth with my own eyes because it was sad to think that my so sacred and well-regarded book, which to me was the word of God, was distorted.
I prayed to the All-powerful God that guided me and let me see the truth, that He guided me to worship Him without worrying about the consequences.
One of my major doubts was what if the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was not prophesied in the Bible, because if the Bible said that, it was truth.
I encountered many proofs of it and my heart already felt the correct guidance, so I commenced to read on about Islam.
I discovered that the Koran is the pure word of God and this one is not corrupt, I discovered that it is a right and logical religion with all the answers for this life and the other, it is a religion of peace and of delivering yourself wholly to God, with blessings for the believers.
After much time thinking, I wanted to be Muslim and one day I went to my husband, who is also a Muslim and he helped me to say my testimony and when I did I felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders, I felt free, clean, and with much faith, since then I wear my veil and obey the living God peacefully, armored with the faith of which each day Allah gives us because everything in the earth He has already given it, because Islam is not a single religion but a way of life.
I have not had any major changes, my family has accepted it, and I am very happy.
Note: You can read sister Ericka’s introduction in Spanish
What was your first religion?
Were you observant in it?
Did you belong to a particular sect or denomination?
When and why did you start thinking to change your religion?
When I started reading the Bible and couldn’t understand it. When the Rev. at church said that Muslims “hated” Jesus and worshiped another god named Allah. I though that if a person like him “teaching” us was ignorant enough not to know the very basic about other religions, he must not be qualified to “guide” anyone, mis-informing people about others, what guarantees me that won’t mis-inform me about his own? So I started reading about Muslims and Islam, my husband is a born Muslim, so I went to him and asked him everything I was concerned about, I also attended the Mosque sometimes for non-Muslims classes, I also asked some knowledgable Christians about ISLAM, they knew nothing, when I asked about Christianity they knew very little.
What concerns did you have with your previous religion?
The main concern to me was to know, the origin of today’s Bible. I found many contradictions whithin itself that it cannot be the word of God. The founder of Christianity, Paul, gets more credit that Jesus himself and he doesn’t even keep his stories straight about his so claimed conversion. The fact that he was not a follower of Jesus in the first place is enough for me to not trust his writings. The fact that he was a Jew and of the “chosen people”, and “converted” to being not chosen. The fact that Protestants are always critizicing Catholics, but yet do the same in a very “holy” way, listen to music, even sing at church, they celebrate the sweet 15 just like Catholics do, drink alcohol in very small quantities at church just like them. So I thought, what is the difference here if they are doing the same. They even do concerts and other celebrations that within Christianity and Biblical rules are not suppose to be done!
What other religions did you study?
I knew a little about, Judaism, Buddhism, but I did more searching about Islam.
What pros and cons did you see in the religions you studied?
Judaism worships just one God, the other one is a peaceful religion, without the same God. The covering of my hair was at the beginning the excuse of not accepting Islam, but it was weak. The other was the language, other than that everything was great to me..
What were your criteria in making a decision about which religion to follow?
Everything, is a religion of Justice, love, peace, fairness and closeness to the Only God. The blessing of worshiping God directly and feel closer to Him. To know that my sins as a non-Muslim would be forgiven and that, that was my new start, my chance to live my live with sense and purpose. It offered me a new life and a great understanding of everything around it. Islam offered me a new way of life.
Were there any external factors which influenced your decision?
Yes, the lack of respect for women today in almost everywhere in the world, as wives, as daughters, as mothers and most of all as women. They are used as sex objects, sales products, and motives of sin basicaly. Husbands cheating on their wives, mothers abandoning their babies, teenagers having no respect for their bodies by fornicating with so many parters, wives don’t respect their husbands, divorces, suicides, child abuse, domestic violence I could go on, and on, but all of this because they don’t have fear for their Creator, they have no love for themselves, they don’t believe about the rewards in paradise or the punishment in hell, therefore they don’t care where they will go. They don’t have faith, because they have no God.
What religion did you choose?
ISLAM, MASHALLAH… Because it gives me a complete way of life, a chance to get closer to God. A chance to recieve His blessings, and a chance of live in the hereafter. It gives me peace and light to see the path I need to follow. It gives me faith and trust in my Creator, and most of all it gives me the guide to be happy here in this life. It lets me see the reason of creation, the logic behind it and the purspose of it.
Did you have any problems after your conversion?
MashAllah, I haven’t had any, whatever I get, won’t be seen as such, but as a chance to get stronger in what I believe.
How would you advise others who are studying Islam?
To study with and open mind and heart, seek the guide of God to see the truth regardless of the consequences. To take the time to find out what they are followed and by who. To take the time to balance the positive and the negative with proofs and logic. I would advice to ask instead of making assumptions If so, make sure they are asking the right person, (for Islam ask a muslim.. etc…)
Are there any other points you would like to make?
Dear reader, don’t be afraid to know about Islam, at least to understand it and not criticize it, only if you know you will understand and if you understad you will respect. Don’t give up in your search, and ask Allah (God) for guidance.