Without fail, my parents used to bring us to church every single Sunday, we used to practice and celebrate all the holidays, …and the religious events. My parents would fast on Fridays.
I actually went to a Catholic school my entire life, so definitely very well-versed in the Catholic faith. But the one thing I will say is even just growing up I did know a lot about the faith, but I was never really brought to think about why I was particularly doing things, or you wouldn’t really think very deeply into theology particularly.
When I finished High School, and I started going to post-secondary education at college, university, that’s when I finally actually started thinking a little bit about my faith. Maybe it was the rebellious sense in all of us when we finally become somewhat independent, we want to be our own person, but definitely it was a little bit more than that.
I remember just going to school, and it was the first time in my life actually intermingling with people that were not of the same faith group, just because going to a Catholic school all my friends were Catholic, I was a good girl, I never really went out a ton, so I can’t say that I really had a lot of friends outside of my faith group. But when I actually went to college, university, I actually for the first time interacted and met Muslims as an example.
That kind of made me think of my faith in a greater sense. Like I remember just going to church and thinking – for the first time in my life – like we are not supposed to be worshipping idols, so why do we even have statues inside the church that people are praying towards?
Or if we were supposed to be praying to the One God, why are we praying to the Virgin Mary? Or why are we praying to other people and saints when God is the Creator of all things, and God is the All-Mighty?
In that sense, I just kind of raised a lot of questions or started thinking simply about trinitarian issues, and the fact that if Jesus was praying, who was he praying to if he is God? Or why would he be in need particularly? A lot of these things no matter who I talked to wouldn’t have a great resolution, just to name a couple of other things. Like if God is Eternal, then how could God die?
I really could not just wrap my head around a lot of these issues, and the more research I did, the more I realized that a lot of these theological issues came after, and that the pure Christianity was actually Unitarian, but it was the later kind of editions that would change the faith to make it what we know it as today, particularly, meaning kind of a Pauline Christianity. But I won’t get into that.
So generally, at that point that was when I was questioning a little bit more, but I really didn’t have much of a solution, I just had questions. I started looking into agnosticism, just because I figured if Christianity is wrong, and all of these other religions are “polytheistic”, and I can’t really accept that, there are other polytheistic ways of thinking, I didn’t really want to be involved in any of these, and I really never found another monotheistic solution. But at the time, I was not really looking much into religion.
But then I got to a point when I actually got into a discussion about religion with some Muslims, when I was at school, and I really did not know much about their faith to be quite honest. I had all the stereotypical kind of ideas as to what Islam actually was: the fact that it was terrorist mongering and a violent faith, and they just want to convert everybody by the sword, or intolerant they just want to kill everybody that did not agree with them. Very shallow kind of ideas as to what this faith was.
But the more I started asking questions about it, the more I was finding myself strangely attracted to this religion, basically because of the fact that they believed in the existence of the One God, they believed in God’s Oneness, they believed in God’s eternity, Ever-Lastingness, but without all the mental confusion. It was basically belief was broken down into the fundamentals, and it was something that everyone would be able to digest without actually having to do any mental gymnastics.
So, long story short, I started looking a little bit further into Islam, not really wanting to particularly accept it as my religion, but still attracted to it nonetheless. I started taking religious studies course where I actually was able to look at Islam from an unbiased kind of scholarly perspective, and again I found myself kind of being attracted to it because of its rationality and the fact that Islam could meet kind of belief and science half way. It was rational, but it had proof at the same time, it wasn’t just asking you to believe without any questioning or proof whatsoever.
So then again, looking into the Quran I found the exact same thing. You know, Allah would command His servants to question, or think about things or ponder about things, and that was something that I definitely was not used to previously with the Bible, and something that was very attractive for me. Actually pondering and meditating about my religion it kind of gave me peace in my heart that I was really again becoming very attracted to, but again I wouldn’t accept Islam as my religion until I was entirely sure about it.
Reading more into the Quran, I was finally able to put Judaism and Christianity into perspective, particularly looking into the role of prophets. Jesus is seen in Islam as a prophet, and not being divine. And again if you look at the Bible from a Quranic perspective, you will see again all of these proofs in the Bible, the fact that Jesus peace be upon him, attests to the Oneness of God, and never anywhere in the Bible does he ever claim divinity. So reading into the Quran it was slowly kind of answering questions for me.
You know when I went bring up all of these horrible arguments I would see online to people of faith that were actually well-versed in their religion, I would always find some kind of resolution. Whenever I had a question about Islam I would always thought it would be kind of a breaking point, and this is the reason why I can’t particularly believe in this faith, but it always ended up being the contrary. Along my journey, I was probably looking into Islam for maybe about two years or so, and it was continuously the same thing where it was working for my benefit and not on the contrary. And basically whenever I would see all these negative comments online, or get all these negative comments from people or even myself argue with people, it would just bring me to gather more knowledge about the religion, and actually got me to a point where I was very comfortable, accepting Islam for what it was, but I still didn’t make that final step of affirming my faith.
And then I found just one very last final driving point that brought me to actually accepting Islam when I was actually very close to accepting Islam, I was doing an internship in Edmonton, I was at school at the time, this was coming to an end, and I was on my way back to Calgary, where I would actually be living with my older sister for the first time in many years, because she had actually been in Edmonton for university and I was in Calgary, it was the very first time I would be living with her in years.
And I just remember her one morning, it was actually in the middle of Ramadan, I wasn’t practicing or anything yet at that point, I was still looking into Islam, but I heard like some crazy rustling noises and business going on in the kitchen, and I was like was is this?
What is going on?
And it was really early in the morning, and then I found my sister in there eating a bowl of cereal, and like she had all this food around her. And I kind of questioned her as to what she’s doing. And I realized at that point that she was trying to attempt to fast, so everything kind of came together at once, and I realized that at the same time when I was looking into Islam my sister was also, even though we were separately living in completely different cities, and didn’t talk about religion whatsoever, and we were actually going through the exact same thing.
So that actually brought me to appoint where I was feeling more comfortable in my decision to potentially accept Islam, and my sister and I we ended up actually going to a lot of religious lectures and lesson together, and kind of furthering our knowledge together, and searching together. And we got to a point a few months later where we actually ended up attesting and affirming our faith in Islam together, and saying our Shahadah Al-Hamdulel-Allah.
And since then it has been about four years. Since then, my life has changed dramatically, for the better. Finally, as a person I feel so whole. You know, before Islam I would go to bed at night and I would honestly not be able to sleep, because I felt like I was purposeless, and I felt like extreme fear of what was going to happen to me. Am I just like this lump of flesh and I am just going to die and rot in the ground? I just really felt like unfulfilled and I felt like there was just no purpose for me.
But in my life now, I can say that every single moment of every day I feel like I’m accounting for it, and I actually have a purpose, and our purpose it to worship the Creator and devote our life to the Creator in the way that He has outlined in the Quran, very simply speaking.
Anyways, that’s my story. I’m going to keep it short, and leave it at that, but In-Shaa-Allah I hope any of you out there perhaps benefited from this story, and I hope to be of service to anybody with any questions about Islam whatsoever. I would love to kind of dispel any myths and use my knowledge I’ve gained in the past couple of years to maybe inspire you guys in some way or at least provide you with some knowledge or answer any of the questions that you’ve been burning to have answers to.
But for now, As-Salam o Alaikom.“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.”
(The Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, 2: 256)