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STORIES OF GENTS CONVERTED MUSLIMS.

 

 

1)           STORY OF SALMAAN AL-FAARISI (RTU)

 

2)           UMAR BIN AL-KHATTAB'S JOURNEY TO ISLAM

3)           CHRISTOPHER SHELTON  BECOMING  MUSLIM

4)           IBRAHIM KARLSSON  Becoming  Muslim

 

5)           MALIK  BECOMING  MUSLIM

6)           MICHAEL YIP  Becoming  Muslim

7)           Rob Wicks  Becoming  Muslim

8)           SAMIR  Becoming  Muslim

9)           YAHIYE ADAM GADAHN Becoming Muslim

10)       YUSUF  MUHAMMAD ANSARI  Becoming  Muslim

11)       YUSUF  ISLAM Becoming  Muslim

12)       YUSUF ALI BERNIER

13)       SHARIFFA  CARLO  Becoming  Muslim

14)       ERIN/SUMAYA FANNOUN Becoming Muslim

15)       HERACLIUS, THE RULER OF BYZANTINE

16)       STORY OF ABDUL MALIK LEBLANC

17)       MARIANO RICARDO CALLE

18)       WILLIAM

19)       KHALIL

20)       RAFAEL (SULEYMAN) CASTRO

21)       MICHAEL DAVID SHAPIRO

22)       DAVID PRADARELLI

23)       VIDEOS

 

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1. STORY OF SALMAAN AL-FAARISI (RTU)

Question :

How sound is the hadeeth about a Christian who, when he embraced Islam, told the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about the story of how he came to Islam.

He told him that he met a number of monks, each of whom advised him to go to another, and the last of them was a righteous man who came out once a year to heal the people, and when he met him he advised him to go to Makkah, and he gave him a description of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “You have spoken the truth, he was the Messiah ‘Eesa”?.

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

The hadeeth which the questioner is referring to is a lengthy hadeeth about the story of how the great Sahaabi Salmaan al-Faarisi (may Allah be pleased with him) came to Islam.  He was a Magian (Zoroastrian), then he became a Christian, then he became a Muslim. That was after he had met a number of Christian monks, the last of whom was a righteous man who had knowledge of the last Prophet. The monk advised Salmaan to go to Arabia, where the last Prophet would appear, and he described the place to him, and it was the City of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) i.e., Madeenah.

But there is nothing in this hadeeth to suggest that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that this monk was the Messiah ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him), rather ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) is in heaven; Allah took him up and he will remain there until the appointed time, then Allah will send him back down and he will support Islam at the end of time. 

The story of how Salmaan came to Islam is a great story, full of lessons and exhortations. We will let the questioner read the hadeeth in full, so that he might benefit from it: 

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abbaas said: Salmaan al-Faarisi told me his story from his own lips. He said: 

I was a Persian man, one of the people of Isbahaan, from a village thereof called Jayy. My father was the chieftain of his village, and I was the dearest of Allah’s creation to him. He loved me so much that he kept me in his house near the fire, as girls are kept in. I strove hard in the Magian religion until I became the keeper of the fire, which I tended and did not let go out for a moment. My father had a huge garden, and he was busy one day with some construction work, so he said: “O my son, I am too busy with this building today, go and check my garden,” and he told me some of the things he wanted done.

I went out, heading towards his garden, and I passed by one of the Christian churches, where I could hear their voices as they were praying. I did not know anything about the people because my father had kept me in his house. When I passed by and heard their voices, I entered upon them to see what they were doing. When I saw them, I was impressed with their prayer and I was attracted to their way.

I said: By Allah, this is better than the religion that we follow. By Allah, I did not leave them until the sun set, and I forgot about my father’s garden and did not go there. I said to them: Where did this religion originate? They said: In Syria. Then I went back to my father, who had sent people out to look for me, and I had distracted him from all his work.

When I came to him, he said: O my son, where were you? Did I not ask you to do what I asked? I said: O my father, I passed by some people who were praying in a church of theirs, and I was impressed with what I saw of their religion. By Allah, I stayed with them until the sun set. He said: O my son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better than that. I said: No, by Allah, it is better than our religion. He was afraid for me, and he put fetters on my legs and kept me in his house.

I sent word to the Christians saying: If any Christian merchants come to you from Syria, tell me about them. He said: Some Christian merchants came to them from Syria, and they told me about them. I said to them: When they have completed their business and want to go back to their own country, tell me about that. So when they wanted to go back to their own country, they told me about that, and I threw off the irons from my legs and went out with them, until I came to Syria. When I reached Syria, I said: Who is the best person in this religion? They said: The bishop in the church. 

So I went to him and said: I like this religion, and I would like to stay with you and serve you in your church and learn from you and pray with you. He said: Come in. So I went in with him, but he was a bad man. He would command them and exhort them to give charity, but he kept a great deal of it for himself and did not give it to the poor; he had amassed seven chests of gold and silver. I hated him deeply when I saw what he was doing, then he died and the Christians gathered to bury him.

I said to them: This was a bad man; he commanded you and exhorted you to give charity, but when you brought it to him he kept it for himself and did not give any of it to the poor. They said: How do you know that? Show us where his treasure is. So I showed them where it was and they brought out seven chests filled with gold and silver. When they saw that they said: By Allah, we will never bury him; then they crucified him and pelted him with stones. 

Then they brought another man and appointed him in his place. Salmaan said: I have never seen a man who does not offer the five daily prayers who was better than him; he shunned this world and sought the Hereafter and no one strive harder than him night and day. I loved him as I had never loved anyone before, and I stayed with him for a while. Then when he was about to die, I said: O So and so, I was with you and I loved you as I had never loved anyone before, and now the decree of Allah has come to you as you see; to whom do you advise me to go? What do you command me to do? He said: O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone today who follows what I followed. The people are doomed; they have changed and abandoned most of what they used to follow, except for a man in Mosul. He is So and so, and he follows what I used to follow, so go and join him.

When he died and was buried, I went to the man in Mosul. I said to him: O So and so, So and so advised me when he died to come to you, and he told me that you follow the same as he followed. He said to me: Stay with me. So I stayed with him, and I found him to be a good man who followed the same as his companion had followed. But soon he died. When he was dying I said to him: O So and so, So and so advised me to come to you and told me to join you, but now there has come to you from Allah what you see. To whom do you advise me to go? What do you command me to do? He said: O my son, by Allah I do not know of anyone who follows what we used to follow except a man in Nasayyibeen. He is So and so; go to him.

When he died and was buried, I went to the man in Nasayyibeen. I came to him and told him my story and what my companion had told me to do. He said: Stay with me. So I stayed with him and I found him to be a follower of the same way as his two companions, and I stayed with a good man. By Allah, soon death came upon him, and when he was dying I said to him: O So and so, So and so advised me to go to So and so; then So and so advised me to come to you. To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do? He said: O my son, by Allah we do not know of anyone left who follows our way and to whom I can tell you to go, except a man in ‘Ammooriyyah. He follows something like what we follow. If you wish, go to him, for he follows our way.

When he died and was buried, I went to the man in ‘Ammooriyyah and told him my story. He said: Stay with me. So I stayed with a man who was following the same way as his companions. I earned wealth until I had cows and sheep, then the decree of Allah came to him. When he was dying I said to him: O So and so, I was with So and so, and So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to go to So and so; then So and so told me to come to you. To whom do you advise me to go and what do you command me to do?

He said: O my son, by Allah, I do not know of anyone who follows our way to whom I can advise you to go. But there has come the time of a Prophet, who will be sent with the religion of Ibraaheem. He will appear in the land of the Arabs and will migrate to a land between two harrahs (lave fields; land with black rocks), between which there are palm trees. He will have characteristics that will not be hidden. He will eat of what is given as a gift but he will not eat of what is given as charity. Between his shoulder blades is the Seal of Prophethood. If you can go to that land then do so.

Then he died and was buried, and I stayed in ‘Ammooriyyah as long as Allah willed I should stay, then some merchants of Kalb passed by me and I said to them: Will you take me to the land of the Arabs and I will give you these cows and sheep of mine? They said: Yes. So I gave them the cows and sheep, and they took me there, but when they brought me to Waadi al-Qura they wronged me and sold me as a slave to a Jewish man.

When I was with him I saw the palm trees, and I hoped that this was the land that my companion had described to me, but I was not sure. Whilst I was with him, a cousin of his from Banu Qurayzah came to him from Madeenah, and he sold me to him, and he took me to Madeenah. By Allah, as soon as I saw it, I recognized it from the description given to me by my companion. 

I stayed there, and Allah sent His Messenger, who stayed in Makkah as long as he stayed, and I did not hear anything about him because I was so busy with the work of a slave. Then he migrated to Madeenah, and by Allah, I was at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master, doing some work on it, and my master was sitting there. Then a cousin of his came and stood beside him, and said: May Allah kill Banu Qaylah! By Allah, right now they are gathering in Quba’ to welcome a man who has come from Makkah today, and they say that he is a Prophet. When I heard that, I began to shiver so much that I thought I would fall on top of my master.

I came down from the tree and started saying to that cousin of his: What are you saying, what are you saying? My master got angry and he struck me with his fist and said: What has it got to do with you? Go back to your work! I said: Nothing; I just wanted to make sure of what he was saying. I had something that I had collected, and when evening came, I went to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he was in Quba’, and I entered upon him and said to him: I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions who are strangers and are in need. This is something that I have to give in charity, and I see that you are more in need of it than anyone else. I brought it near to him and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to his companions: “Eat,” but he refrained from eating. 

I said to myself: This is one. Then I went away and collected some more. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) moved to Madeenah, then I came to him and said: I see that you do not eat (food given in) charity; this is a gift with which I wish to honour you. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ate some of it and told his companions to eat too. I said to myself: This is two.

Then I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he was in Baqee’ al-Gharqad, where he had attended the funeral of one of his companions and he was wearing two shawls and was sitting among his companions. I greeted him with salaam then I moved behind him, trying to look at his back to see the Seal that my companion had described to me. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw me going behind him, he realized that I was trying to find confirmation of something that had been described to me, so he let his rida’ drop from his back, and I saw the Seal and recognized it.

Then I embraced him, kissing (the Seal) and weeping, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me: “Turn around.” So I turned around and I told him my story as I have told it to you, O Ibn ‘Abbaas. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wanted his companions to hear that. Then Salmaan was kept busy with the work of a slave, until he had missed attending Badr and Uhud with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

He said: Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me: “Draw up a contract of manumission, O Salmaan.” So I draw up a contract of manumission with my master in return for three hundred palm trees which I would plant for him, and forty uqiyahs. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to his companions: “Help your brother.”

So they helped me with the palm trees, one man gave thirty small trees and another gave twenty, and another gave fifteen, and another gave ten, i.e., each man gave according to what he had, until they had collected three hundred small trees for me. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me: “Go, O Salmaan, and dig the holes where they are to be planted. When you have finished, come to me and I will plant them with my own hand.”

So I dug the holes for them, and my companions helped me, then when I had finished, I came to him and told him. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came out with me and we started to bring the trees close and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) planted them with his own hand. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Salmaan, not one single tree among them died.

So I had paid off the trees but there still remained the money. A piece of gold the size of an egg was brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from one of his campaigns. He said: “What happened to the Persian who had a contract of manumission?” I was summoned to him and he said: “Take this and pay off what you owe, O Salmaan.” I said: How could this pay off everything I owe, O Messenger of Allah?

He said: “Take it, and Allah will help you to pay off what you owe.” So I took it and weighed it for them, and by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Salmaan, it was forty uqiyahs, so I paid them their dues and I was set free. I was present with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) at al-Khandaq, and after that I did not miss any major event with him. 

Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (5/441). The scholars of hadeeth said: Its isnaad is hasan. And Allah knows best.

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2. UMAR BIN AL-KHATTAB'S JOURNEY TO ISLAM

`Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be well pleased with him), of whom all the Muslims are justly proud, was most adamant in opposing the Prophet (peace be upon him) and very prominent in persecuting the Muslims before he embraced Islam. One day, the Quraysh in a meeting called for somebody to volunteer himself for the assassination of the Prophet (peace be upon him). `Umar offered himself for this job, at which everybody exclaimed, “Surely, you can do it, ‘Umar!”

With sword hanging from his neck, he set out straight away on his sinister errand. On his way, he met Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas of the Zuhrah clan. Sa’ad inquired, “Whither! `Umar?”

`Umar replied, “I am after finishing Muhammad.”

Sa’ad said, “But do not you see that the tribes of Hashim, Zuhrah and Abde Munaf are likely to kill you in retaliation?”

`Umar, upset at the warning, said, “It seems that you also have renounced the religion of your forefathers. Let me settle with you first.”

So saying, `Umar drew out his sword. Sa’ad announcing his Islam, also took out his sword. They were about to start a duel when Sa’ad said, “You had better first set your own house in order. Your sister and brother-in-law both have accepted Islam.”

Hearing this, `Umar flew into a towering rage and turned his steps towards his sister’s house. The door of the house was bolted from inside and both husband and wife were receiving lessons in the Quran from the Companion Khabbab (may Allah be well pleased with him). `Umar knocked at the door and shouted for his sister to open it. Khabbab hearing the voice of `Umar, hid himself in an inner room, forgetting to take the manuscript pages of the Holy Quran with him. When the sister opened the door, `Umar hit her on the head, saying, “0, enemy of yourself! You too have renounced your religion.”

Her head began to bleed. `Umar went inside and inquired, “What were you doing? And who was the stranger I heard from outside?”

His brother-in-law replied, “We were talking to each other.”

`Umar said to him, “Have you also forsaken the creed of your forefathers and gone over to the new religion?”

The brother-in-law replied, “But what if the new religion be the better and the true one?” `Umar got beside himself with rage and fell on him, pulling his beard and beating him most savagely. When the sister intervened, he smote her so violently on her face that it bled most profusely. She was, after all, `Umar’s sister; she burst out:

“`Umar! We are beaten only because we have become Muslims. Listen! We are determined to die as Muslims. You are free to do whatever you like.”

When `Umar had cooled down and felt a bit ashamed over his sister’s bleeding, his eyes fell on the pages of the Quran left behind by Khabbab. He said, “Alright show me, what are these?”

“No,” said the sister, “you are unclean and no unclean person can touch the Scripture.” He insisted, but the sister was not prepared to allow him to touch the leaves unless he washed his body. `Umar at last gave in. He washed his body and then began to read the leaves. It was Surah “Taha”. He started from the beginning of the Surah, and he was a changed man altogether when he came to the verse:

“Lo! I, indeed I am Allah. There is none worthy of worship save Me. So serve me and establish the Prayer for My remembrance.”

He said, “Alright, take me to Muhammad.”

On hearing this, Khabbab came out from inside and said, “0, `Umar! Glad tidings to you. Yesterday (on Thursday night) the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah, ‘0, Allah strengthen Islam with either `Umar or Abu Jahl, whomsoever Thou likest’. It seems that his prayer has been answered in your favor.”

`Umar then went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and embraced Islam on Friday morning. `Umar’s Islam was a terrible blow to the morale of the unbelievers, but still the Muslims were few in number and the whole country was against them. The disbelievers intensified their efforts for the complete annihilation of Muslims and the extinction of Islam. With `Umar on their side, the Muslims now started saying their group prayers in the Haram (Holy Sanctuary).

Abdullah bin Mas’ood (may Allah be well pleased with him) says, “`Umar’s Islam was a big triumph, his emigration to Madinah a tremendous reinforcement, and his accession to the Caliphate a great blessing for the Muslims.”

From : http://www.readingislam.com/

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3. CHRISTOPHER SHELTON BECOMING MUSLIM

My conversion to Islam began in my eighth grade year. There was a Muslim student by the name of Raphael who first told me a little about Islam. At the time he was not so knowledgeable about Islam, but he put the initial interest in my mind which never went away.

In the ninth grade there was another student by the name of Leonard who claimed at one time or another that he was a Muslim but he was more or less a 5 percenter. The one thing he did do was to give me a pamphlet on true Islam which increased my interest in Islam. I didn't hear much more about Islam until my tenth grade year.

That year me and Leonard would sit in the back of geometry class and blame all of the world's problems on white people while we would exalt the status of black people above all other races. At that time in my life I thought that Islam was the religion for black people, but unfortunately the Islam I was talking about was nothing more than black nationalism with a slight touch of true Islam. It was very similar to The Nation of Islam. As time went on I began to see that my black nationalist views and my perception of what Islam was about became tired. It was useless to hate almost all white people and to blame this on Islam. Around the same time I totally denounced Christianity as my religion. I got tired of the unintelligible doctrines and the many contradictions within the religion.

The next year of high school I was conversing with a few students about religion and they told me to buy a Qu'ran so I did. I went to the nearest bookstore and bought a very poor translation of the Qu'ran but it was the first real look into the truth about Islam. Within a few weeks I took on the beliefs of a Muslim even though I hadn't taken shahadah yet. Most of what I was doing concerning Islam was wrong because I never had a chance to go to a masjid because my mother totally forbade it. As time went on I finally got an Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation of the Qu'ran which opened my eyes to so much about Islam.

In the meantime my mother was doing everything in her power to prevent me from embracing Islam. She took me to see her preacher three times which was of no avail. As time passed I began to learn more and more about Islam from various books I could get my hands on. I finally learned how to make salat correctly from one of these books. My mother was still trying her best to make me become a Christian again.

My mother and I would frequently argue about religion until one day my mother had enough and told my dad that I was going to have to live with him. He had absolutely no problem with this. The day after I graduated from high school I moved in with my dad. I can see now that my parent's divorce was actually a blessing in disguise. Their divorce provided me with a place to live in which I could practice Islam freely. My dad had no problem with my interest in Islam.

One day I called the Islamic Learning Center in Fayetteville and a brother by the name of Mustafa told me to come down for the Taleem (lesson) to learn more about Islam. Everybody was extremely hospitable and Mustafa even gave me a ride home. After three weeks of going to Jumuah (Friday congregational prayers) and Taleem I finally took my Shahadah on July 2,1995. Ever since then I have been an active member of the Islamic community. I am also very pleased to say that Raphael (the person who gave me my initial in interest in Islam) got back to Islam seriously and took shahadah a few months before I did. We still keep in touch even though he is in England.

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful

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4. IBRAHIM KARLSSON  Becoming Muslim

I was born in an ordinary, non-religious Swedish home, but with a very loving relationship to each other. I had lived my life 25 years without really thinking about the existence of God or anything spiritual what-so-ever; I was the role model of the materialistic man.

Or was I? I recall a short story I wrote in 7th grade, something about my future life, where I portray myself as a successful games programmer (I hadn't yet even touched a computer) and living with a Muslim wife!! OK, at that time Muslim to me meant dressing in long clothes and wearing a scarf, but I have no idea where those thoughts came from. Later, in high school, I remember spending much time in the school-library (being a bookworm) and at one time I picked up a translated Qur'an and read some passages from it. I don't remember exactly what I read, but I do remember finding that what it said made sense and was logical to me.

Still, I was not at all religious, I couldn't fit God in my universe, and I had no need of any god. I mean, we have Newton to explain how the universe works, right?

Time passed, I graduated and started working. Earned some money and moved to my own apartment, and found a wonderful tool in the PC. I became a passionate amateur photographer, and enrolled in activities around that. At one time I was documenting a marketplace, taking snapshots from a distance with my telelens when an angry looking immigrant came over and explained that he would make sure I wasn't going to take any more pictures of his mum and sisters. Strange people those Muslims...

More things related to Islam happened that I can't explain why I did what I did. I can't recall the reason I called the "Islamic information organisation" in Sweden, ordering a subscription to their newsletter, buying Yosuf Ali's Qur'an and a very good book on Islam called Islam - our faith. I just did!

I read almost all of the Qur'an, and found it to be both beautiful and logical, but still, God had no place in my heart. One year later, whilst out on a patch of land called "pretty island" (it really is) taking autumn-color pictures, I was overwhelmed by a fantastic feeling. I felt as if I were a tiny piece of something greater, a tooth on a gear in God's great gearbox called the universe. It was wonderful! I had never ever felt like this before, totally relaxed, yet bursting with energy, and above all, total awareness of god wherever I turned my eyes.

I don't know how long I stayed in this ecstatic state, but eventually it ended and I drove home, seemingly unaffected, but what I had experienced left uneraseable marks in my mind. At this time Microsoft brought Windows-95 to the market with the biggest marketing blitz known to the computer industry. Part of the package was the on-line service The Microsoft Network. And keen to know what is was I got myself an account on the MSN. I soon found that the Islam BBS were the most interesting part of the MSN, and that's where I found Shahida.

Shahida is a American woman, who like me has converted to Islam. Our chemistry worked right away, and she became the best pen-friend I have ever had. Our e-mail correspondence will go down in history: the fact that my mailbox grew to something like 3 megabytes over the first 6 months tells its own tale. She and I discussed a lot about Islam and faith in god in general, and what she wrote made sense to me. Shahida had an angels patience with my slow thinking and my silly questions, but she never gave up the hope in me. Just listen to your heart and you'll find the truth she said.

And I found the truth in myself sooner than I'd expected. On the way home from work, in the bus with most of the people around me asleep, and myself adoring the sunset, painting the beautifully dispersed clouds with pink and orange colours, all the parts came together, how God can rule our life, yet we're not robots. How I could depend on physics and chemistry and still believe and see Gods work. It was wonderful, a few minutes of total understanding and peace. I so long for a moment like this to happen again!

And it did, one morning I woke up, clear as a bell, and the first thought that ran through my brain was how grateful to God I were that he made me wake up to another day full of opportunities. It was so natural, like I had been doing every day of my life!

After these experiences I couldn't no longer deny God's existence. But after 25 years of denying God it was no easy task to admit his existence and accept faith. But good things kept happening to me, I spent some time in the US, and at this time I started praying, testing and feeling, learning to focus on God and to listen to what my heart said. It all ended in a nice weekend in New York, of which I had worried a lot, but it turned out to be a success, most of all, I finally got to meet Shahida!

At this point there was no return, I just didn't know it yet. But God kept leading me, I read some more, and finally got the courage to call the nearest Mosque and ask for a meeting with some Muslims. With trembling legs I drove to the mosque, which I had passed many times before, but never dared to stop and visit. I met the nicest people there, and I was given some more reading material, and made plans to come and visit the brothers in their home.

What they said, and the answers they gave all made sense. Islam became a major part of my life, I started praying regularly, and I went to my first Jumma prayer. It was wonderful, I sneaked in, and sat in the back, not understanding a word the imam was saying, but still enjoying the service. After the khutba we all came together forming lines, and made the two 'rakaas'. It was yet one of the wonderful experiences I have had on my journey to Islam. The sincerity of 200 men fully devoted to just one thing, to praise God, felt great!

Slowly my mind started to agree with my heart, I started to picture myself as a Muslim, but could I really convert to Islam? I had left the Swedish state-church earlier, just in case, but to pray 5 times a day? to stop eating pork? Could I really do that? And what about my family and friends? I recalled what Br. Omar told me, how his family tried to get him admitted to an asylum when he converted. Could I really do this?

By this time the Internet wave had swept my country, and I too had hooked up with the infobahn. And "out there" were tons of information about Islam. I think I collected just about every web page with the word Islam anywhere in the text, and learned a lot. But what really made a change was a text I found in Great Britain, a story of a newly converted woman with feelings exactly like mine. When I had read that story, and wept the tears out of my eyes I realized that there were no turning back anymore, I couldn't resist Islam any longer.

Summer vacation started, and I had made my mind up. I had to become a Muslim! But after all, the start of the summer had been very cold, and if my first week without work was different, I wouldn't lose a day of sunshine by not being on the beach. On the TV the weatherman painted a big sun right on top of my part of the country. OK then, some other day... The next morning; a steel grey sky, with ice-cold gusts of wind outside my bedroom window. It was like God had decided my time was up, I could wait no longer. I had the required bath, and dressed in clean clothes, jumped in my car and drove the 1 hour drive to the mosque.

In the Mosque I approached the brothers with my wish, and after dhuhr prayer the Imam and some brothers witnessed me say the Shahada. Alhamdulillah! And to my great relief all my family and friends have taken my conversion very well, they have all accepted it, I won't say they were thrilled, but absolutely no hard feelings. They can't understand all the things I do. Like praying 5 times a day on specific times, or not eating pork meat. They think this is strange foreign customs that will die out with time, but I'll prove them wrong. InshaAllah!

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful

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5. MALIK  BECOMING  MUSLIM

First off all, I would like to start by saying that this true story is not for my own fame or admiration but for the sake of my Lord and your Lord Allah. All praises due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful Owner of the day of judgement. I would like to repeat to you something I heard: the journey of a thousand miles has to start with the first step and this is the first part of my journey.

My name is Malik Mohammed Hassan and I have recently converted to Islam. When I was in junior high school I was first introduced to Islam by reading the book Roots by Alex Haley. It taught me a little bit about the strong will that most Muslims possess, myself included. It also introduced me to Allah. I had never heard of Allah in his real form until I read that book and I was very curious. I then started reading about The Nation Of Islam (specifically Malcolm X) and it fascinated me how devoted he was to Allah, especially after he left the self serving Nation Of Islam. Reading about Malcolm made me think about a God who (for a change) did not have any physical form or limitations and, being a totally blind person, it made me relate to these people: the people who Malcolm and Haley referred to as Muslims.

I continued reading what I could about Islam which wasn't as much as it should have been. My reading material was very limited because like I said above: I am a totally blind person and the material available about Islam in braille or on tape was not only very little, but also very general. I believe the reason was that the material that I had access to wasn't written by Muslims and it kind of painted a dark picture of Islam. I think most of the literature written by Christians or non Muslims about Islam tends to do that most of the time. And I didn't know that their were even Muslims in Halifax so I obviously didn't know any. I didn't even know about the local Islamic association until I was already a Muslim.

So, I read what I could until my first year out of high school around the month of May, 1996, when I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to participate in a camp for blind and visually impaired people known throughout Canada as Score. I agreed and sent them a resume and praise be to Allah I was accepted for work.

At first I really didn't want to go but something kept telling me it would be a good idea if I went. So, on June 30th 1996 I boarded a plane from Nova Scotia to Toronto and took my last trip as a non Muslim; I just didn't know it yet.

I got to Toronto and everything at first was pretty normal... It was on the second day that I was there when the journey of a thousand miles first started.

I arrived on a Sunday and on the next day I met the person who Allah would use with His divine power to help guide me to the beautiful Religion of Islam. I met a sister named Rizvana and if she reads this I hope she doesn't get mad at me for using her name.

When I met her, I immediately wanted to talk to her because I liked her name. I asked her of what origin her name was and she told me that it was Arabic; so I asked her if she was Muslim and she replied with the answer of yes. I immediately started telling her what I already knew about Islam which lasted about ten seconds. I started asking her questions and also asking her to talk to me about Islam.

One particular incident that comes to my mind is when all of the workers at the camp went to a baseball game and the sister and I started talking about Islam and missed pretty much the whole game.

Well, anyways, we talked for about three, maybe four days on and off about Islam and on July the fifth if my memory doesn't fail me I became a Muslim. My life has been totally different ever since. I look at things very differently than I used to and I finally feel like I belong to a family. All Muslims are brothers and sisters in Islam so I could say that I have approximately 1.2 billion brothers and sisters all of whom I'm proud to be related to. I finally know what it feels like to be humble and to worship a God that I don't have to see.

For any non Muslim reading this just look at it this way. It's good to learn, but you never know when you will be tested and if you're not in the class at the time of the final exam no matter how much you know you'll never get any credit. So like I said it's good to learn but if you want to get credit sign up for the class. In other words, declare shehada (testimony to faith) and let Allah teach you everything you need to know. Believe me the reward is worth it. You could say the reward is literally heaven.

If any good comes out of this story all the credit is due to Allah; only the mistakes are my own. I would like to mention a part of a hadith that has had a great effect on me and that is:

"Worship Allah as if you see him and if you don't see him, know that he sees you." - Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Number 1

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful

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6. MICHAEL YIP  Becoming  Muslim

June 23, 1996 I was introduced to Islam in 1995 by an Egyptian classmate who arrived in New Zealand the previous year, and who was placed into my Chemistry class. I had no religion before this, though I guess I was a non practicing Christian, since I attended Sunday school when I was young, (but mainly to learn Chinese, my native tongue, rather than religion). In fact I was uninterested in much that was taught to me, however I never at any stage discounted the notion of a higher being (ie. Allah, or God).

Because of my background in religion, I did not know much about religions other than Christianity and Buddhism. My parents are Buddhists, but my knowledge of it was so weak that I did not even know the proper name for their religion until a few years ago. So I was naive when I met my classmate, Muhammed.

During the first few weeks, another classmate of mine kept teasing Muhammed about his religion, asking leading questions and the like. I thus became interested in some of the things that this other classmate, James, was suggesting. So I got talking with Muhammed about this religion called Islam, and we became acquainted quickly.

I requested to see a Quran but did not find the time to read it, during a busy school year. So when the workload became a bit lighter, I went to see my friend's father, who is our local imam. He spoke to me at length about Islam, and planted a seed which in a few months time, with the blessing of Allah, blossomed into strong muslim, alhumdulillah. I took shahada in November 1995.

I am often asked why I came to Islam. The question seems logical, and simple, but in fact, I still find it the most difficult question to answer, even though I have been asked it so many times. You see, I saw many things in Islam that I liked. Included in this were the strong brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, the way fellow muslims looked after each other, and the logic in Islam. The logic in women wearing hijab to deter from that which is haram, the logic in the forbidding of alcohol, which harms more than it ever will heal, and the logic in many other areas of our lives. I have been told that many people who revert to Islam find they fit right in with the religion.

Indeed this was the case with me. Coming from a kafir country such as New Zealand (I have lived here most of my life), it is rare for a person to be good religiously like myself, alhumdulillah, masha Allah. You see, alhumdulillah, I made intentions in my heart never to drink in my life, and never have; I made intentions not to fornicate, even though everyone around me in school was either fornicating or planning to. So you see, alhumdulillah, Allah blessed me from the beginning, and I felt Islam was the next obvious step for me to take in my life.

I decided in November of 1995, with the encouragement with some brothers and sisters on the Internet, to take shahada as a first step in Islam, and then take further steps to learn more about Islam, after all we are all in a constant state of learning about Islam. Alhumdulillah since then I have progressed slowly but surely, learning some surats from Quran during a very busy school year. Allah blessed me with some amazing results last year, alhumdulillah, and now I want to thank my Allah by increasing the time I spend learning Quran and about Islam this year, insha Allah, while I pursue entry into a Medical degree. May Allah give me the strength insha Allah to enter Medical school next year. May Allah help us all to learn more about Islam, and let us all undertake to live our lives in the correct way, and follow the one true and surely straight path, that of Islam. Ameen.

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful

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7. Rob Wicks  Becoming  Muslim

[In the following article, "NOI" refers to the Nation of Islam, which in spite of its name, is a group far removed from Islam. -Ed.]

I grew up Baptist, in a family of ministers, in rural Mississippi. I went to college at Morehouse College in Atlanta, so I was exposed to the NOI, but I had the good fortune to become friends with an orthodox Muslim who explained to me the difference between NOI and Islam, and the lack of knowledge most NOI have of true Islam. Later, after I left school and began working, I got an internet account, and started to study some of the religions of the world. I had never really been a particularly religious person, due to my somewhat scientific nature. I always insist on proof. I started to delve deeper into Christianity, and studied it intently on the Web. I was somewhat disdained however by some inconsistencies in the Bible. I principally was troubled by the Trinity, though. I just did not see it. The one passage I saw as being most supportive (1 John 5:7) was partially forged. When I read Mathew 19:16-17, and Jesus (pbuh) says "Why callest thou me good?, it was clear to me that he was saying that he was not good, and only God was. But most of the Christians seemed to think Jesus was being tongue-in-cheek at this point. I found that I would have to be dishonest to accept this.

Then fortune? smiled upon me. I hit a deer in my car. It was out of service for almost a month. During that time, I was unemployed, but had saved money, so I could live (I also have two roommates). I still had my internet account, and I decided to study more. After I had studied the Biblical contradictions, in addition to the inherent idolatry and unscriptural nature of the Trinity, along with other things, I rejected Christianity as a religion. Even Jesus did not seem to teach it, he taught belief in God. I went a time without any religion, thinking maybe it was all a sham. I have a friend who is in the 5% NOI, and I saw how much he hated religion, and I decided that I did not want to be like that.

I believe that God kept my mind open and my heart from hardening against Him, and I studied Islam. Everything just seemed to fit: a reasoned faith which was very prayerful to keep us on the straight path, yet did not disdain acquisition of knowledge (the preachers back home loved to rail against education, as if ignorance is preferred by God). Islam seemed to be made for me. A good Muslim was the exact sort of person I aspired to be. After another month of study and prayer, I decided that if Muhammad (pbuh) was not a prophet, then there had never been prophets in the first place. The moment of decision came one night when I was reading the Qur'an and I read 21:30, and I read of God expanding his creation. Now, I almost became an astronomer at one point, and I still am interested, and these verses hit me like a sledgehammer. I became fearful of God, and wanted to worship him better.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim

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8. SAMIR  Becoming  Muslim

My conversion to Islam has been intellectual and emotional. My parents have both been educated at the university-level. My mother is a Christian convert (she was atheist), and my father has personal beliefs. My family is rather rich.

Ever since I was very young, I've been interested by political questions. I enjoyed reading history books, although I was confused a little bit between military history and politics. I called myself a communist, but today I wouldn't say I knew what it means. Over time, I learned real politics and sociology, but when the communist bloc fell, I admitted my error and was no longer a fan of the communist states. I became agnostic, and thought that all human beings are condemned to egotism and to ignorance of some questions, like the existence of God. I learned philosophy. I wanted to avoid doing the same mistakes as in the past, and so I refused all dogmas. At this time occured the separation of my parents, and also other personal problems.

To forget all this, I spent a lot of time in laughing with (fake) friends, drinking, and then smoking cigarettes, then hash. I sometimes took hard drugs (heroin, LSD, and some other poisons). Despite this, I passed my baccalaureat (this is an exam that ends four years of college and gives the right to continue graduate level study at the university). By chance, I had to go at the army (we do not have the choice in the country I live in). The strict rules I could not avoid there were a very good thing for me; also, I was tired enough to enjoy simple things as eating and sleeping. Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), my mentality changed.

Back in civil society, I spent one more dark year: I always had the temptation of my bad habits, and I felt that life was very superficial after the big efforts and the friendship of the army. I began feeling the necessity of something else in my life. Then one of my sisters, back from a journey to Syria, gave me a book. This book, written in my language, is a gift she received there. Its author, who had titled it "The Bible, Quran and Science", wanted to show that there are in the Quran some things that were simply impossible for a human being to know at the time the Quran was revealed. Conclusion: the authenticity of the Quran is proved, scientifically proved. The first thing I thought after having read the book was: "Oh! It would be super!" -- I was ready for a change in my way of life.

I bought a translation of the Quran to compare. Before having entirely read it, I had become a Muslim, alhamdulillah. As you can see, a psychologist wouldn't have any problem to explain what he would call my choice. For me, all things come from God and He had written this for me, He had chosen these means to make me accept Islam. Alhamdulillah! What no psychologist can see is what happens in my heart when I read the Quran: faith has little to do with what one feels in front of a scientific demonstration!

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful


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9. YAHIYE ADAM GADAHN Becoming Muslim

My first seventeen years have been a bit different than the youth experienced by most Americans. I grew up on an extremely rural goat ranch in Western Riverside County, California, where my family raises on average 150 to 200 animals for milk, cheese, and meat. My father is a halal butcher [a butcher who slaughters in an Islamic manner -ed.] and supplies to an Islamic Food Mart a few blocks from the Islamic Center in downtown Los Angeles.

My father was raised agnostic or atheist, but he became a believer in One God when he picked up a Bible left on the beach. He once had a number of Muslim friends, but they've all moved out of California now. My mother was raised Catholic, so she leans towards Christianity (although she, like my father, disregards the Trinity). I and my siblings were/are home-schooled, and as you may know, most home-school families are Christian. In the last 8 or so years, we have been involved with some home-schooling support groups, thus acquainting me with fundamentalist Christianity. It was an eye-opening experience.

Setting aside the blind dogmatism and charismatic wackiness, it was quite a shock to me when I realized that these people, in their prayers, were actually praying TO JESUS. You see, I had always believed that Jesus (pbuh) was, at the very most, the Son of God (since that is what the Bible mistranslates "Servant of God" as). As I learned that belief in the Trinity, something I find absolutely ridiculous, is considered by most Christians to be a prerequisite for salvation, I gradually realized I could not be a Christian.

In the meantime, I had become obsessed with demonic Heavy Metal music, something the rest of my family (as I now realize, rightfully so) was not happy with. My entire life was focused on expanding my music collection. I eschewed personal cleanliness and let my room reach an unbelievable state of disarray. My relationship with my parents became strained, although only intermittently so. I am sorry even as I write this.

Earlier this year, I began to listen to the apocalyptic ramblings of Christian radio's "prophecy experts." Their paranoid espousal of various conspiracy theories, rabid support of Israel and religious Zionism, and fiery preaching about the "Islamic Threat" held for me a strange fascination. Why? Well, I suppose it was simply the need I was feeling to fill that void I had created for myself. In any case, I soon found that the beliefs these evangelists held, such as Original Sin and the Infallibility of "God's Word", were not in agreement with my theological ideas (not to mention the Bible) and I began to look for something else to hold onto.

The turning point, perhaps, was when I moved in with my grandparents here in Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange, California. My grandmother, a computer whiz, is hooked up to America Online and I have been scooting the information superhighway since January. But when I moved in, with the intent of finding a job (easier said than done), I begin to visit the religion folders on AOL and the Usenet newsgroups, where I found discussions on Islam to be the most intriguing.

You see, I discovered that the beliefs and practices of this religion fit my personal theology and intellect as well as basic human logic. Islam presents God not as an anthropomorphic being but as an entity beyond human comprehension, transcendent of man, independent and undivided. Islam has a holy book that is comprehensible to a layman, and there is no papacy or priesthood that is considered infallible in matters of interpretation: all Muslims are free to reflect and interpret the book given a sufficient education.

Islam does not believe that all men are doomed to Hell unless they simply accept that God (apparently unable to forgive otherwise) magnanimously allowed Himself to be tortured on a cross to enable Him to forgive all human beings who just believe that He allowed Himself to be tortured on a cross... Islam does not believe in a Chosen Race. And on and on...

As I began reading English translations of the Qur'an, I became more and more convinced of the truth and authenticity of Allah's teachings contained in those 114 chapters. Having been around Muslims in my formative years, I knew well that they were not the bloodthirsty, barbaric terrorists that the news media and the televangelists paint them to be. Perhaps this knowledge led me to continue my personal research further than another person would have. I can't say when I actually decided that Islam was for me. It was really a natural progression.

In any case, last week [November 1995 -ed.]I went to the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove and told the brother in charge of the library I wanted to be a Muslim. He gave me some excellent reading material, and last Friday I took Shahada [accepted the creed of Islam -ed.]in front of a packed masjid. I have spent this week learning to perform Salat and reflecting on the greatness of Allah. It feels great to be a Muslim! Subhaana rabbiyal 'azeem!

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful


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10. YUSUF MUHAMMAD ANSARI

 "Young Man Travels the World to Find Himself - In Prison"

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful


Assalaamu'alaikum! I am posting this story on behalf of a brother who is now serving his term in a prison in Scotland and hence has no access to the internet. He is a brother who takes his belief very seriously and looks forward to correspond with other brothers and sisters for discussions, exchange opinions and ideas. I hope this story would attract attention of visitors of your web site to befriend this sincere brother. - Jamaludin Yaakob

MY JOURNEY TO ISLAM

In September 4 1993 I began a journey that was a childhood dream. I left my home city of Aberdeen, Scotland at 4.10 p.m. with the intention of driving my camper van all the way to Goa, India, and back. Before I undertook this journey I spent a lot of time reading on the countries, customs, peoples and religions which at the very least could give me a basic understanding of the how I should re-act when arriving upon each place.

Although the diversity of the peoples was a task to take on board, it was the diversity of religions that stuck most in my mind. There seemed to be for me an excitement about Islamic countries, which kept coming to my thought.

The journey went well with the exception of a few mechanical problems throughout Eastern Europe. The first Islamic country I was to reach was Turkey. Although I had been there before, I had never been to Istanbul.

I was tired and needed rest. As one would do, I left my camper in a campsite and spent the next three weeks ad-hoc traveling through the center of the city to see the sites. On what was to be my last day in Istanbul I visited the Blue Mosque and the Pink Mosque [probably the Aya Sofia -MSA-USC.]. This, my brothers and sisters, was to be my introduction to the one and true religion of Al-Islam. It was a Friday, and as I recall during 'Asr prayer no one (from the tourists) was allowed in the Pink Mosque. Due to my inquisitiveness I got firstly lost inside the mosque and secondly found myself locked in standing at the back watching the wonderful event of 'Asr prayer unfolding before my eyes. I feel I can never quite express clearly what happened next except to say that I felt drawn, numb and very hot all at the same time. Unwittingly I remembered thinking that this was really for me without questioning why or what this religion was all about. I knew the basic belief was that there was only one God. I believed that all my life anyway. The prayer had finished and all were on their way out. A brother approached me. I felt embarrassed as I apologized for being there when I should not. He smiled and assured me that it was all right.

After leaving the mosque, I went on a walk about heading towards the harbour area. I was standing looking in a window when I felt a presence behind me. I turned around to see the same man I met in the mosque; again he smiled. He told me to wait a moment as he went downstairs in the shop. When he appeared again a few moments later, he handed me a plastic bag and said "Is this what you have been looking for brother?" As I looked in the bag there was a translation of the Holy Qur'an in English. This was when an amazing thing happened. I looked up to thank him but he was gone. The strange thing was that there was no side road, alley or lane for him to simply disappear. Until this day I have never figured out where he had gone.

The journey re-commenced the next day, heading towards Eastern Turkey. I began to read the Qur'an in the evening and felt drawn to visit mosques route. Every time I met Muslim people they were forever inviting me to their homes for meals, etc. Their politeness and good character was what I have encountered before. My head was full of emptiness waiting to be filled with knowledge and I constantly asked questions about Islam. I somehow felt that I had found something that was always there but did not know how to find it and what it was.

Iran was to be the same. The more I traveled the more I felt drawn to the mosques and the company of the people. There was something distinctive about how the people were. At first I couldn't put my finger on it. I came from the West where I had been nurtured into a set of beliefs, values and attitude. The attitude seemed hard to shake off. The attitude that I matter, I am indispensable, I will stand on who I need to, so I may get to the top. Who is God? Does it matter? Money and prestige is more important, is it not? I felt a constant battle as I came from there, but I somehow felt I belonged here.

All the way through Iran I never felt intimidated, in fact, quite the opposite. If I had taken all the many offers of meals, accommodation, etc., I fear that I would still be there, and I would have gotten into trouble with the authorities. My visa was for one week only.

The next country was Pakistan. Here was where things got even better. The people were quite at ease and seemed happy to answer my non-stop questions on Islam. I visited more mosques. I was in more houses in Pakistan than I had probably ever been at home.

Another thing that I have always believed in before embracing Islam was pre-destination. Others may call it fate. This had led me to the next encounter of life with the Muslim people. My windscreen had broken and I ended up searching Quetta for a new one. I was directed to Tradesmen Street. There was where I met Muhammad, a motor body repairer. He kindly let me stay in his lock-up yard for five days until he could locate a windscreen. Everyday without fail he I ate at his house or he brought me food. He took me to meet the headmasters of both a public and a private school. He refused point blank that I should put my hand in my pocket to buy anything. He told me stories of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and other Islamic issues. At times I found it difficult to contain my emotions. I could not believe the hospitality I was receiving.

One occasion sticks in my mind which left me in tears and astounded. I was in Muhammad's house for lunch. There was his family there including around thirteen children. While I taught them a Scottish nursery rhyme Muhammad videotaped us together. Within minute the children who spoke no English, mastered it. When I was entering my van I heard some commotion at the end of the street. There, there were around one hundred children running towards me singing the Scottish nursery rhyme. I was surrounded as the tears ran from my cheeks with joy. It was so beautiful. Here was a stranger in a strange land and they wanted nothing from me except just to stay a little bit longer. I had to go. The following day I visited the local mosque and said my good bye with regret.

On the road to the Pakistani/Indian border I continued to read the Qur'an and still question why these people were being so nice to me but wanted nothing in return. Strange indeed.

As I said before, I was coming from the West where, in the material sense, they have everything. There was me traveling through a land with a house on wheels while around me so many people were living in squalor. If you have never had nothing you do not know what it's like, or, from my point of view, I had never experienced nothing.

My next encounter showed me the simplicity of man in relation to our Creator, Allah (s.w.t.). As I drove the Sindh region in the desert I began to become anxious to find a place off the road to park for the evening. Suddenly I came upon a simple house of clay in the middle of nowhere. I approached the house and knocked on the door. An old man answered. I said "As salaam Alaykum", he replied in kind. I asked if it was ok to park for the night? He spoke no English but acknowledged what I meant.

He invited me for tea. Immediately I became consciously aware of the simplicity of his dwelling. There was nothing which did not have a use, and everything was to a bare minimum. As I recalled the items, there was a staff carpet, a copy of al-Qur'an, a pot and a water skin. We sat on the carpet and drank tea. As he moved to the window, he left without warning with the water skin and a mat in hand. After a good five minutes had passed, I went outside. What I saw next I could only describe as 'the day the world stopped.' As the sun dropped out of the sky below the horizon, there was complete silence. The man in front of me dropped to his knees in total obedient worship to our Creator, a memory that lasts with me until this day.

I made it to India, visited more mosques and made it all the way back unscathed. I thought the people back home had changed, they had not, but I had.

It is so easy to allow yourself to be consumed by the method rather than being the method. Please allow me to elaborate. While in the East, I had accommodation, money and for once in my life, simplicity, empathy and understanding. It is not that I don't have them now. It's simply a different game with different rules and players. I tend to call it the reverse process. In simple terms, to the wonderful creations in the East, God is the important factor. It was to be my downfall back here in the West, trading god for money, or you may call it materialism. It seems easy to say now but for me anything with the word 'ISM' attached should be avoided at all costs.

No! I still had not embraced Islam. Although conscious of what I had learned, I put it on the back burner. The quest for me, which seemed more important, was accommodation, job, flat, and car. All of these don't grow on trees and, really how money becomes available never really mattered. I couldn't find a proper job. My wife who had been my constant traveling partner became just as disillusioned as I did. We had only been married a short time and even getting married to each other was ever shorter on three and a half-month. We couldn't get work; we were tired of travel and extremely tired of each other.

As things got progressively worse as we could not find work or accommodation, things were getting desperate. My wife found an advertisement in the local paper asking for a sauna receptionist. In our naiveté we both believed that a Sauna was in fact a Sauna. At the same time she got the job, I got offered some work dealing and running drugs. The sauna turned out to be a front for prostitution and it was not long before my wife decided to swap answering the telephone for the red light. We both loved the money, we both became drugs users and all seemed fantastic.

This was to be short lived. It tore us apart. We were in a web where there seemed no way out. On the one hand we needed the money to feed our cocaine habit. On the other hand, I got sick of drugs, money, prostitution, in fact, everything. We kept the company of like-minded characters that helped feed the desire for self-gratification. I tried so hard to get off the drugs. In the mean time I tried to get my wife off the prostitution. She seemed by now to love the money more than me. I would sit for many hours staring at this accumulating amount of money before my eyes with total disdain. Little did I realize that all was about to change - first for the worst.

Two weeks before 15 April 1996 two things happened simultaneously. The first thing happened after an encounter to the library. I took a book out on loan called "The Basics of Islam". Inside I found what one says when taking the Shahadah. I was lonely, desperate and searching for the right way. I had no one in this strange city to witness me taking the Shahadah. I therefore had no choice. I took my Shahadah bearing witness to Allah (s.w.t.) four times. I took the piles of money and put it in a jack in a cupboard. I flushed the remaining drugs in the toilet. I felt alive for the first time in a long time, although short lived.

My wife who had become a stranger to me arrived back that evening. I told her of the day's events. This was to be the final acclaim. We spoke little over the next two weeks. I had my plan set that I was going back east. In all this confusion we both plotted a terrible crime and the end result would be we would go together east. Everybody says I am innocent. I was set up, etc. etc. I am not going to say this at all: I am guilty of committing a horrible crime and the consequence of my action has led me serving a life sentence. My wife? She got off and now we are divorced, thank God!

I have now served three years of my sentence and expect to serve a further seven or eight years. You may well remember earlier that I said everything is pre-ordained. I have questioned on many occasions as to how did I end up here. The story says it all. Nevertheless, brothers and sisters, everything has a reason. One might ask what have you done with your time in prison? What is the future of your life? What are your hopes, dreams and aspirations?

Well, I think it goes like this. No man can run riot through the land without taking responsibility for his actions and I feel it is better to be punished in this life than in the hereafter.

When I first came to prison I was in Stoughton Jail, Edinburgh. After being processed where all details were asked for, one of the questions was what religion are you? I replied Islam. I was immediately given a Muslim diet and allowed to go to the Muslim meetings where brothers from outside came to the prison fortnightly. I recalled the first meeting as I walked into the room I held my head in shame. I couldn't stop saying why did I do that. I wept as the brothers gave me support. I by my actions created not just one victim but so many. My victim's family, friends, work associates, etc. have all been affected by my thoughtless actions. I have seen my father turned gray, my mother on anti-depression tablets and my brother too.

I will probably never ever know the real impact of my crime upon my victim, nor do I ever expect forgiveness. I am deeply sorry and ashamed of my actions.

One of the brothers in Edinburgh said to me 'you can't change the past, you can only hope to attain to be a better person in the future.' I took my Shahadah again that evening this time in front of witnesses, back in 1996.

The easy part, which may seem the hardest part, is getting accustomed to nothingness and solitude. That is one thing prison does for a man. It gives you time, plenty of it, to think. My first reaction was to think of what I had lost; not only family, friends, my respect and all of that "ISM' materialism.

Soon I lost the need for materialism. As I sit here now in the concrete tomb, I exchange my coat of materialism for spiritualism. I have embraced Islam fully, slowly, but surely. I am building up a new set of moral and ethical values. I pray five times daily as prescribed in Islam and beg Allah (s.w.t.) for forgiveness.

What have I done with my time you may ask? I have undertaken a home study course in Islamic Studies which consists of twenty booklets on various Islamic subjects, which on completion leads to five O' grades or GCSES. I have undertaken the first year of a degree course in Arabic and Islamic Studies. I read the Qur'an and the Ahadeeth of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) daily. I get immeasurable support from regular visits from the brothers from the Aberdeen Mosque. Why all these you may ask? Well, I believe in Allah (s.w.t.), I believe that good can overrule bad and only through the straight path of Islam can this be achieved.

I want to be an asset to society when I eventually leave the prison, inshallah. I hope that I may have obtained my degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies by then so as I may undertake da'awah work and hopefully get a job teaching Islamic subjects.

My short-term objective is that I may be able to obtain some correspondence with Muslims world wide in the hope that I may be able to give support and hopefully receive some too. My final hope is that I may be able to get another chance of marriage. So, if any of you out there would be interested in correspondence and/or marriage, you can contact me at the following address.

Yusuf Muhammad Ansari

Reg. No 26202,  H.M. Prison, Peterhead AB42 6YY - Scotland

May Allah (s.w.t.) grant you all success in this life and in the life Hereafter, Ameen.

My short resume:

Name              : Yusuf Muhammad Ansari
Age                 : 38
Height             : 5' 7"
Weight            : 11.7 stone
Appearance    : Round face, beard, short hair
Current Status : Life sentence prison
Qualifications  : English GCSE, Information Technology 1 + 2, 
                          Word Processing, Math, 5 GCSE Islamic Studies, 
                          currently undertaking Degree course in Arabic 
                          and Islamic Studies.
Nationality       : British
Caucasian       : White
Marital Status  : Divorced
Children          : 1 daughter (no access or visiting right)
Previous
Employment   : Oil rigs offshore (6 & 1/2 years)
                        : Helicopter landing officer
                        : Derrick man
                        : Self employed house restorer (5 years)

Sincerely yours : Yusuf Muhammad Ansari

Aug. 3rd, 1999

Excerpted from: http://www.islamtomorrow.com/converts/

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11. YUSUF ISLAM

(How I came to Islam - by Yusuf Islam. From Musician to Muslim by Allah's Will)

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful


All I have to say is all what you know already, to confirm what you already know, the message of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) as given by God - the Religion of Truth. As human beings we are given a consciousness and a duty that has placed us at the top of creation. Man is created to be God's deputy on earth, and it is important to realize the obligation to rid ourselves of all illusions and to make our lives a preparation for the next life. Anybody who misses this chance is not likely to be given another, to be brought back again and again, because it says in Qur'an Majeed that when man is brought to account, he will say, "O Lord, send us back and give us another chance." The Lord will say, "If I send you back you will do the same."

MY EARLY RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING

I was brought up in the modern world of all the luxury and the high life of show business. I was born in a Christian home, but we know that every child is born in his original nature - it is only his parents that turn him to this or that religion. I was given this religion (Christianity) and thought this way. I was taught that God exists, but there was no direct contact with God, so we had to make contact with Him through Jesus - he was in fact the door to God. This was more or less accepted by me, but I did not swallow it all.

I looked at some of the statues of Jesus; they were just stones with no life. And when they said that God is three, I was puzzled even more but could not argue. I more or less believed it, because I had to have respect for the faith of my parents.

POP STAR

Gradually I became alienated from this religious upbringing. I started making music. I wanted to be a big star. All those things I saw in the films and on the media took hold of me, and perhaps I thought this was my God, the goal of making money. I had an uncle who had a beautiful car. "Well," I said, "he has it made. He has a lot of money." The people around me influenced me to think that this was it; this world was their God.

I decided then that this was the life for me; to make a lot of money, have a 'great life.' Now my examples were the pop stars. I started making songs, but deep down I had a feeling for humanity, a feeling that if I became rich I would help the needy. (It says in the Qur'an, we make a promise, but when we make something, we want to hold onto it and become greedy.)

So what happened was that I became very famous. I was still a teenager, my name and photo were splashed in all the media. They made me larger than life, so I wanted to live larger than life and the only way to do that was to be intoxicated (with liquor and drugs).

IN HOSPITAL

After a year of financial success and 'high' living, I became very ill, contracted TB and had to be hospitalized. It was then that I started to think: What was to happen to me? Was I just a body, and my goal in life was merely to satisfy this body? I realized now that this calamity was a blessing given to me by Allah, a chance to open my eyes - "Why am I here? Why am I in bed?" - and I started looking for some of the answers. At that time there was great interest in the Eastern mysticism. I began reading, and the first thing I began to become aware of was death, and that the soul moves on; it does not stop. I felt I was taking the road to bliss and high accomplishment. I started meditating and even became a vegetarian. I now believed in 'peace and flower power,' and this was the general trend. But what I did believe in particular was that I was not just a body. This awareness came to me at the hospital.

One day when I was walking and I was caught in the rain, I began running to the shelter and then I realized, 'Wait a minute, my body is getting wet, my body is telling me I am getting wet.' This made me think of a saying that the body is like a donkey, and it has to be trained where it has to go. Otherwise, the donkey will lead you where it wants to go.

Then I realized I had a will, a God-given gift: follow the will of God. I was fascinated by the new terminology I was learning in the Eastern religion. By now I was fed up with Christianity. I started making music again and this time I started reflecting my own thoughts. I remember the lyric of one of my songs. It goes like this: "I wish I knew, I wish I knew what makes the Heaven, what makes the Hell. Do I get to know You in my bed or some dusty cell while others reach the big hotel?" and I knew I was on the Path.

I also wrote another song, "The Way to Find God Out." I became even more famous in the world of music. I really had a difficult time because I was getting rich and famous, and at the same time, I was sincerely searching for the Truth. Then I came to a stage where I decided that Buddhism is all right and noble, but I was not ready to leave the world. I was too attached to the world and was not prepared to become a monk and to isolate myself from society.

I tried Zen and Ching, numerology, tarot cards and astrology. I tried to look back into the Bible and could not find anything. At this time I did not know anything about Islam, and then, what I regarded as a miracle occurred. My brother had visited the mosque in Jerusalem and was greatly impressed that while on the one hand it throbbed with life (unlike the churches and synagogues which were empty), on the other hand, an atmosphere of peace and tranquility prevailed.

THE QUR'AN

When he came to London he brought back a translation of the Qur'an, which he gave to me. He did not become a Muslim, but he felt something in this religion, and thought I might find something in it also.

And when I received the book, a guidance that would explain everything to me - who I was; what was the purpose of life; what was the reality and what would be the reality; and where I came from - I realized that this was the true religion; religion not in the sense the West understands it, not the type for only your old age. In the West, whoever wishes to embrace a religion and make it his only way of life is deemed a fanatic. I was not a fanatic, I was at first confused between the body and the soul. Then I realized that the body and soul are not apart and you don't have to go to the mountain to be religious. We must follow the will of God. Then we can rise higher than the angels. The first thing I wanted to do now was to be a Muslim.

I realized that everything belongs to God, that slumber does not overtake Him. He created everything. At this point I began to lose the pride in me, because hereto I had thought the reason I was here was because of my own greatness. But I realized that I did not create myself, and the whole purpose of my being here was to submit to the teaching that has been perfected by the religion we know as Al-Islam. At this point I started discovering my faith. I felt I was a Muslim. On reading the Qur'an, I now realized that all the Prophets sent by God brought the same message. Why then were the Jews and Christians different? I know now how the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah and that they had changed His Word. Even the Christians misunderstand God's Word and called Jesus the son of God. Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty of the Qur'an; it asks you to reflect and reason, and not to worship the sun or moon but the One Who has created everything. The Qur'an asks man to reflect upon the sun and moon and God's creation in general. Do you realize how different the sun is from the moon? They are at varying distances from the earth, yet appear the same size to us; at times one seems to overlap the other.

Even when many of the astronauts go to space, they see the insignificant size of the earth and vastness of space. They become very religious, because they have seen the Signs of Allah.

When I read the Qur'an further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt that the only answer for me was the Qur'an, and God had sent it to me, and I kept it a secret. But the Qur'an also speaks on different levels. I began to understand it on another level, where the Qur'an says,

“O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves?” (An-Nisa 4:144)

Thus at this point I wished to meet my Muslim brothers.

CONVERSION

Then I decided to journey to Jerusalem (as my brother had done). At Jerusalem, I went to the mosque and sat down. A man asked me what I wanted. I told him I was a Muslim. He asked what was my name. I told him, "Stevens." He was confused. I then joined the prayer, though not so successfully. Back in London, I met a sister called Nafisa. I told her I wanted to embrace Islam and she directed me to the New Regent Mosque. This was in 1977, about one and a half years after I received the Qur'an. Now I realized that I must get rid of my pride, get rid of Iblis, and face one direction. So on a Friday, after Jummah' I went to the Imam and declared my faith (the Kalimah) at this hands. You have before you someone who had achieved fame and fortune. But guidance was something that eluded me, no matter how hard I tried, until I was shown the Qur'an. Now I realize I can get in direct contact with God, unlike Christianity or any other religion. As one Hindu lady told me, "You don't understand the Hindus. We believe in one God; we use these objects (idols) to merely concentrate." What she was saying was that in order to reach God, one has to create associates, that are idols for the purpose. But Islam removes all these barriers. The only thing that moves the believers from the disbelievers is the salat. This is the process of purification.

Finally I wish to say that everything I do is for the pleasure of Allah and pray that you gain some inspirations from my experiences. Furthermore, I would like to stress that I did not come into contact with any Muslim before I embraced Islam. I read the Qur'an first and realized that no person is perfect. Islam is perfect, and if we imitate the conduct of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) we will be successful. May Allah give us guidance to follow the path of the ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Ameen!

-- Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)


Excerpted from: http://www.islamtomorrow.com/converts/

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12.YUSUF ALI BERNIER

(Canadian Catholic Discovers Islam)

“…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion...”   (Holy Qur'an, Surah 5, verse 3)

The Roman Catholic religion is dictated by the Pope from the top down to the priests at the bottom. If a Muslim were to walk into a Catholic church, it would be like walking into a different world. He would find row upon row of pews in which the worshipers sit, stained glass windows with perhaps scenes of the last supper or the Messiah carrying a cross, etc. On the front wall in all churches is the Messiah on a cross and below is an altar where the priest delivers his Sunday sermon. In some older churches, you may even find magnificent statue figures of Jesus, saints, Mary the mother of Jesus and so on. Church services are mainly repetitive rituals, singing, and prayers to Jesus or Mary or God and sometimes to saints. This is the type of world in which I lived and grew up most of my life.

If you were to ask me why I converted to Islam, my answer would fill volumes. However, if you were to ask me what led me to Islam I would have to say, now looking back, that it was my first encounter reading the Bible at the age of about ten. I used to sit bewildered reading the Bible into a tape recorder. After finishing, I would play the tape back in hopes of grasping the meaning of what I had just read, usually to no avail. So on Sundays I watched sermons on television, ordered free Bibles, and donated as much as I could (which could not have been much for a boy of ten) to the television evangelists. I received letters of gratitude and blessings and that made me feel good.

This continued for a year or so until finally I became too frustrated, lost, and honestly bored with the whole process. I tucked the Bible away in my dresser drawer, and I would only refer to it occasionally throughout my childhood and teenage years. I accepted the fact that I would never truly understand the Bible. That is, ironically, until later when I became Muslim. Only then did I begin to gain a complete understanding of it.

What had confused me reading the Bible then was the contradiction between the book and what I had been taught all my life by priests and religious pedagogues. I found that almost every aspect of my belief was shaken or simply did not make sense at all upon referring to the Bible. The very core of my faith, I had learned, was false. This brought me to the point in my life where I was pessimistic and cynical toward religion. I mocked my religion in my teens by going to church chewing gum and halfheartedly participating in services. I would grunt at the mere mention of God or Jesus. I did not know what I believed anymore. The only thing I was sure of was that there was a God. All of my confusion and disenchantment, starting from the age of ten, would ultimately trigger my quest for Truth and finally lead me to the religion called Islam.

My first encounter with Muslim people was through business dealings. Their warm and generous hospitality won my heart. Their loyal remembrance of Allah intrigued me in phrases like, al-Hamdulillah (all Praise be to God) and inshah Allah (God Willing). I have never come upon people in a state of such strong faith before. Their kindness, generosity, and compassionate nature, I would discover later, were all part of being a Muslim. I wanted to be like them. This is what attracts people to Islam; this is what attracted me.

I began to learn the basics of Islam. The more I learned the more I wanted to know. Before long, I was studying Islam through books written by Muslims in addition to reading a translation of the Holy Qur'an. Only a select few knew that I was studying Islam, since I did not want any interference from Muslims and especially from my Christian and Jewish friends. I knew that if anyone was going to guide and aid me in my quest for Truth it would be Allah.

As time passed, my knowledge expanded into realms of Truth hitherto unbeknownst to me. Islam became a powerful force like a magnet drawing me closer and closer to it. Allah was the only thing on my mind during the day, as I drifted to sleep, and the first thought when I awoke. Islam appealed to my intellect as well as my heart, and so my passion grew for it. I eventually learned Surat Al-Ikhlas (A chapter in the Holy Qur'an called Purity In Faith) and although I was not yet Muslim, I began to teach myself to pray using a book and reciting the only Surah I knew. I felt an overwhelming need to prostrate in reverence to the All Mighty to ask for forgiveness and guidance in the way that made most sense to me.

Shortly thereafter, I departed on a holiday taking the Qur'an with me. Four days later, alone in a foreign country, I became severely ill. I was bed stricken for a month each day losing almost a pound of my body weight. Facing my mortality and alone in my agony I remember pleading to Allah not to let me die incomplete. I had not yet converted but I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a Muslim. I was procrastinating trying to learn everything humanly possible. I now believe that this was my wake up call from the Most Merciful. That is to say that life is too short to put things off that you want to do. You never know if tomorrow will ever come.

Two weeks after my return to Canada, al-Hamdulillah (all praise be to God), I converted to Islam. al-Hamdulillah I did not die before saying the shahadah (Bearing witness that there is only ONE God & Muhammad is His Messenger and Servant). Allah is ever so Merciful. He gives people many chances and signs. The part that is difficult is not so much recognizing them, but rather acting upon them with all your heart.

Islam is like a medicine. It changes deviant behavior and soothes the sobbing soul. Islam is the religion of Truth and the Qur'an is the guide for all aspects of life. The Qur'an gave me all of the answers to my questions. It alleviated my confusion and turned it into clarity and understanding. Never did I know that there is a religion that is absolute Truth in its purest form. If all mankind only realized that this truth is the religion of Islam. I pray to Allah to guide all of us to the straight path. The path of all the Prophets of Allah including Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). Ameen.

Excerpted from: www.readingislam.com/

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13. SHARIFFA  CARLO  Becoming  Muslim

Shariffa A Carlo (Al Andalusia)


The story of how I reverted to al Islam is a story of plans. I made plans, the group I was with made plans, and Allah made plans. And Allah is the Best of Planners. When I was a teenager, I came to the attention of a group of people with a very sinister agenda. They were and probably still are a loose association of individuals who work in government positions but have a special agenda - to destroy Islam. It is not a governmental group that I am aware of, they simply use their positions in the US government to advance their cause.

One member of this group approached me because he saw that I was articulate, motivated and very much the women's rights advocate. He told me that if I studied International Relations with an emphasis in the Middle East, he would guarantee me a job at the American Embassy in Egypt. He wanted me to eventually go there to use my position in the country to talk to Muslim women and encourage the fledgling women's rights movement. I thought this was a great idea. I had seen the Muslim women on TV; I knew they were a poor oppressed group, and I wanted to lead them to the light of 20th century freedom.

With this intention, I went to college and began my education. I studied Quraan, hadith and Islamic history. I also studied the ways I could use this information. I learned how to twist the words to say what I wanted them to say. It was a valuable tool. Once I started learning, however, I began to be intrigued by this message. It made sense. That was very scary. Therefore, in order to counteract this effect, I began to take classes in Christianity. I chose to take classes with this one professor on campus because he had a good reputation and he had a Ph.D. in Theology from Harvard University. I felt I was in good hands. I was, but not for the reasons I thought. It turns out that this professor was a Unitarian Christian. He did not believe in the trinity or the divinity of Jesus. In actuality, he believed that Jesus was a prophet.

He proceeded to prove this by taking the Bible from its sources in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and show where they were changed. As he did this, he showed the historical events which shaped and followed these changes. By the time I finished this class, my deen had been destroyed, but I was still not ready to accept Islam. As time went on, I continued to study, for myself and for my future career. This took about three years. In this time, I would question Muslims about their beliefs. One of the individuals I questioned was a Muslim brother with the MSA. Alhamdulillah, he saw my interest in the deen, and made it a personal effort to educate me about Islam. May Allah increase his reward. He would give me dawaa at every opportunity which presented itself.

One day, this man contacts me, and he tells me about a group of Muslims who were visiting in town. He wanted me to meet them. I agreed. I went to meet with them after ishaa prayer. I was led to a room with at least 20 men in it. They all made space for me to sit, and I was placed face to face with an elderly Pakistani gentleman. Mashallah, this brother was a very knowledgeable man in matters of Christianity. He and I discussed and argued the varying parts of the Bible and the Quraan until the fajr. At this point, after having listened to this wise man tell me what I already knew, based on the class I had taken in Christianity, he did what no other individual had ever done. He invited me to become a Muslim. In the three years I had been searching and researching, no one had ever invited me. I had been taught, argued with and even insulted, but never invited. May Allah guide us all.

So when he invited me, it clicked. I realized this was the time. I knew it was the truth, and I had to make a decision. Alhamdulillah, Allah opened my heart, and I said, "Yes. I want to be a Muslim." With that, the man led me in the shahadah - in English and in Arabic. I swear by Allah that when I took the shahadah, I felt the strangest sensation. I felt as if a huge, physical weight had just been lifted off my chest; I gasped for breath as if I were breathing for the first time in my life. Alhamdulillah, Allah had given me a new life - a clean slate - a chance for Jennah, and I pray that I live the rest of my days and die as a Muslim. Ameen.


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14. ERIN/SUMAYA FANNOUN Becoming Muslim

Bismillah Arahman Araheem    April 12, 1998.

My intention in writing my story is that for Allah's sake, I may help someone who is searching for the Truth, to realize that they have found it in Al Islam. I began writing this on Easter Sunday, kind of appropriate, I think. I have been Muslim now for seven years, Alhamdu Lillah (all praise is for Allah, [God]). I first learned of Islam while attending University, from a Muslim friend of mine. I had managed to get out of a very good, college-prep high school believing that the Qur'an was a Jewish book, and that Muslims were idol worshipping pagans. I was not interested in learning about a new religion. I held the ethnocentric view that if since the US was "#1", we must have the best of everything, including religion.

I knew that Christianity wasn't perfect, but believed that it was the best that there was. I had long held the opinion that although the Bible contained the word of God, it also contained the word of the common man, who wrote it down. As Allah would have it, every time I had picked up the Bible in my life, I had come across some really strange and actually dirty passages. I could not understand why the Prophets of God would do such abominable things when there are plenty of average people who live their whole lives without thinking of doing such disgusting and immoral things, such as those attributed to Prophets David, Solomon, and Lot, (peace be upon them all) just to name a few. I remember hearing in Church that since these Prophets commit such sins, how could the common people be any better than them? And so, it was said, Jesus had to be sacrificed for our sins, because we just couldn't help ourselves, as the "flesh is weak".

So, I wrestled with the notion of the trinity, trying to understand how my God was not one, but three. One who created the earth, one whose blood was spilled for our sins, and then there was the question of the Holy Ghost, yet all one and the same!? When I would pray to God, I had a certain image in my mind of a wise old man in flowing robe, up in the clouds. When I would pray to Jesus, I pictured a young white man with long golden hair, beard and blue eyes. As for the Holy Spirit, well, I could only conjure up a misty creature whose purpose I wasn't sure of. It really didn't feel as though I was praying to one God. I found though that when I was really in a tight spot, I would automatically call directly on God. I knew inherently, that going straight to God, was the best bet.

When I began to research and study Islam, I didn't have a problem with praying to God directly, it seemed the natural thing to do. However, I feared forsaking Jesus, and spent a lot of time contemplating the subject. I began to study the Christian history, searching for the truth. The more I looked into it, the more I saw the parallel between the deification and sacrifice of Jesus, and the stories of Greek mythology that I had learned in junior high, where a god and a human woman would produce a child which would be a demigod, possessing some attributes of a god. I learned of how important it had been to "St. Paul", to have this religion accepted by the Greeks to whom he preached, and how some of the disciples had disagreed with his methods. It seemed very probable that this could have been a more appealing form of worship to the Greeks than the strict monotheism of the Old Testament. And only Allah knows.

I began to have certain difficulties with Christian thought while still in high school. Two things bothered me very much. The first was the direct contradiction between material in the Old and New Testaments. I had always thought of the Ten Commandments as very straight forward, simple rules that God obviously wanted us to follow. Yet, worshipping Christ, was breaking the first commandment completely and totally, by associating a partner with God. I could not understand why an omniscient God would change His mind, so to speak. Then there is the question of repentance. In the Old Testament, people are told to repent for their sins; but in the New Testament, it is no longer necessary, as Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the people. "Paul did not call upon his hearers to repent of particular sins, but rather announced God's victory over all sin in the cross of Christ.

The radical nature of God's power is affirmed in Paul's insistence that in the death of Christ God has rectified the ungodly (see Romans 4:5). Human beings are not called upon to do good works in order that God may rectify them." So what incentive did we even have to be good, when being bad could be a lot of fun?

Society has answered by redefining good and bad. Any childcare expert will tell you that children must learn that their actions have consequences, and they encourage parents to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions. Yet in Christianity, there are no consequences, so people have begun to act like spoiled children. Demanding the right to do as they please, demanding God's and peoples' unconditional love and acceptance of even vile behavior. It is no wonder that our prisons are over-flowing, and that parents are at a loss to control their children. That is not to say that in Islam we believe that we get to heaven based on our deeds, on the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that we will only enter paradise through God's Mercy, as evidenced in the following hadith.

Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me."

So in actuality, I did not even know who God was. If Jesus was not a separate god, but really part of God, then who was he sacrificed to? And who was he praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? If he was separate in nature from God, then you have left the realm of monotheism, which is also in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Old Testament. It was so confusing, that I preferred not to think of it, and had begun to thoroughly resent the fact that I could not understand my own religion.

That point was brought home when I began to discuss religion with my future husband at college. He asked me to explain the Trinity to him. After several failed attempts at getting him to understand it, I threw my hands up in frustration, and claimed that I couldn't explain it well because, "I am not a scholar!" To which he calmly replied, "Do you have to be a scholar to understand the basis of your religion?"

Ouch!, that really hurt; but the truth hurts sometimes. By that point, I had tired of the mental acrobatics required to contemplate who I was actually worshipping. I grudgingly listened while he told me of the Oneness of God, and that He had not changed his mind, but completed his message to mankind through the Prophet Muhammad, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him.

I had to admit, it made sense. God had sent prophets in succession to mankind for centuries, because they obviously kept going astray, and needed guidance. Even at that point, I told him that he could tell me about his religion, just for my general information. "But don't try to convert me", I told him, "because you'll never do it!"

"No", he said, "I just want you to understand where I'm coming from and it is my duty as a Muslim to tell you." And of course, he didn't convert me; but rather, Allah guided me to His Truth. Alhamdu Lillah.

At about the same time, a friend of mine gave me a "translation" of the Qur'an in English that she found at a book store. She had no way of knowing that this book was actually written by an Iraqi Jew for the purpose of driving people away from Islam, not for helping them to understand it. It was very confusing. I circled and marked all the passages that I wanted to ask my Muslim friend about and when he returned from his trip abroad, I accosted him with my questions, book in hand. He could not tell from the translation that it was supposed to be the Qur'an, and patiently informed me of the true meaning of the verses and the conditions under which they were revealed. He found a good translation of the meaning of the Qur'an for me to read, which I did.

I still remember sitting alone, reading it, looking for errors, and questioning. The more I read, the more I became convinced that this book could only have one source, God. I was reading about God's mercy and His willingness to forgive any sin, except the sin of associating partners with Him; and I began to weep.

I cried from the depth of my soul. I cried for my past ignorance and in joy of finally finding the truth. I knew that I was forever changed. I was amazed at the scientific knowledge in the Qur'an, which is not taken from the Bible as some would have you believe. I was getting my degree in microbiology at that time, and was particularly impressed with the description of the embryological process, and so much more. Once I was sure that this book was truly from God, I decided that I had to accept Islam as my religion. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I learned that the first and most important step of becoming Muslim is to believe in "La illaha il Allah, wa Muhammad arasool Allah", meaning that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. After I understood that Jesus was sent as a prophet, to show the Jews that they were going astray, and bring them back to the path of God, I had no trouble with the concept of worshipping God alone.

But I did not know who Muhammad was, and didn't understand what it really meant to follow him. May Allah bless all those people who have helped me to understand and appreciate the life of the Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), throughout these last seven years. I learned that Allah sent him as an example to mankind. An example to be followed and imitated by all of us in our daily lives. He was in his behaviors, the Qur'an exemplified. May Allah guide us all to live as he taught us.

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15. HERACLIUS, THE RULER OF BYZANTINE

Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb was rigid opponents of Islam for long time during prophet time, and following is a hadith which is narrated by him, when he was converted to Islam. He was so much against Islam that he wanted to misguide the Christian king, but was unable as he was in a difficult situation. Read his story. In this, although the king was not finally converted to Islam, but by heart he was convinced that prophet Mohammad is the right prophet.

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb informed me that Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a caravan from Quraish. They were merchants doing business in Sham (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan) at the time when Allah's Messenger had a truce with Abu Sufyan and Quraish infidels. So Abu Sufyan and his companions went to Heraclius at Ilya (Jerusalem).

Heraclius called them in the court and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating Heraclius's question, said to them: "Who among you is closely related to that man who claims to be a Prophet?" Abu Sufyan replied: "I am the nearest relative to him (amongst the group)."

Heraclius said: "Bring him (Abu Sufyan) close to me and make his companions stand behind him." Abu Sufyan added: "Heraclius told his translator to tell my companions that he wanted to put some questions to me regarding that man (The Prophet) and if I told a lie they (my companions) should contradict me. By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my companions labeling me a liar, I would have not have spoken the truth about the Prophet." Abu Sufyan's narration continues:

"The first question he asked me about him was;

What is his family status among you?"

"I replied: "He belongs to a good noble family amongst us."

Heraclius further asked: "Has anybody among you ever claimed the same (to be a Prophet) before him?"

I replied: "No."

He said: "Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?"

I replied: "No."

Heraclius asked: "Do the nobles or the poor follow him?"

I replied: "It is the poor who follow him."

He said: "Are his followers increasing or decreasing (day by day)?"

I replied: "They are increasing."

He then asked: "Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?"

I replied: "No."

Heraclius said: "Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a Prophet)?"

I replied: "No."

Hereaclius said: "Does he break his promises?"

I replied: "No. We are at truce with him but we do not know what he will do in it." I could not find opportunity to say anything against him except that.

Heraclius asked: "Have you ever had a war with him?"

I replied: "Yes."

Then he said: "What was the outcome of the battles?"

I replied: "Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we."

Heraclius said: "What does he order you to do?"

I said: "He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to keep good relations with our kith and kin."

Heraclius asked the translator to convey to me the following: "I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family. In fact, all the Messengers come from noble families among their respective peoples. I questioned you whether anybody else among you claimed such a thing; your reply was in the negative. If the answer had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following the previous man's statement. Then I asked you whether anyone of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his ancestral kingdom. I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said and your reply was in the negative. So I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah. I then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And, in fact, all the Messengers have been followed by this very class of people. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing, and, in fact, this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects. I further asked you whether there was anybody, who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and discarded his religion. You reply was in the negative, and, in fact this is (the sign of) true faith, when its delight enters the hearts and mixes with them completely. I asked you whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative, and likewise the Messengers never betray. Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and forbade you to worship idols, and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste. If what you have said is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet and I knew it (from the scriptures) that he was going to appear but I did not know that he would be from you, and if I could reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet."

Heraclius then asked for the letter addressed by Allah's Messenger which had been delivered by Dihya to the Governor of Busra, who forwarded it to Heraclius to read. The contents of the letter were as follows: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. (This letter is) from Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him who follows the right path. Furthermore, I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam, you will be committing a sin by misguiding your subjects.

And I recite to you Allah's Statement: Say (O Muhammad): 'O People of the Scripture (Jews & Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.' Then, if they turn away, say: 'Bear witness that we are Muslims.' "  (Aale- Imraan 3:64)

Abu Sufyan then added: When Heraclius had finished his speech and had read the letter, there was a great hue and cry in the Royal Court. So we turned out of the court. I told my companions that the question of Ibn-Abi-Kabsha (the Prophet Muhammad) had become so prominent that even the King of Bani Al-Asfar (Byzantine) was afraid of him. Then I started to become sure that he (the Prophet) would be the conqueror in the near future till I embraced Islam (Allah guided me to it).

The sub narrator added that Ibn An-Natur was the Governor of Ilya (Jerusalem) and Heraclius was the head of the Christians of Sham. Ibn An-Natur narrated that once while Heraclius was visiting Ilya (Jerusalem), he got up in the morning with a sad mood. Some of his priests asked him why he is in that mood. Hreaclius was a foreteller and an astrologer. He replied: "At night when I looked at the stars, I saw that the leader of those who practice circumcision had appeared (become the conqueror). Who are they who practice circumcision?" The people replied: "Except the Jews, nobody practices circumcision, so you should not be afraid of them (Jews). Just Issue orders to kill every Jew present in the country.'

While they were discussing it, a messenger sent by the king of Ghassan to convey the news of Allah's Messenger to Heraclius was brought in. Having heard the news, he (Heraclius) ordered the people to go and see whether the messenger of Ghassan was circumcised. The people, after seeing him, told Heraclius that he was circumcised. Heraclius then asked him about the Arabs. The messenger replied: "Arabs also practice circumcision."

After hearing that Heraclius remarked that sovereignty of the Arabs had appeared. Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in knowledge. Heraclius then left for Homs (a town in Syria) and stayed there till he received the reply of his letter from his friend, who agreed with him in his opinion about the emergence of the Prophet and the fact that he was a Prophet. On that, Heraclius invited all the heads of the Byzantines to assemble in his palace at Homs. When they assembled, he ordered that all the doors of his palace be closed. Then he came out and said: "O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain, then give a pledge of allegiance to this Prophet (embrace Islam)."

(on hearing the views of Heraclius) the people ran towards the gates of the palace like onagers but found the doors closed. Heraclius realized their hatred towards Islam and when he lost the hope of their embracing Islam, he ordered that they should be brought back in audience.

(When they returned) he said: "What was already said was just to test the strength of your conviction and I have seen it." The people prostrated before him and became pleased with him, and this was the end of Heraclius's story (in connection with his faith). (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

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16. STORY OF ABDUL MALIK LEBLANC

(THE BIBLE LED ME TO ISLAM)

(Taken from International Edition Voice of Islam
November 1998, Page 25)

During my Christian days there were many verses in the Bible that made me question the religion I was following (Christianity). There was one particular verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which says; "pray without ceasing," that lingered heavily in my mind. I often wondered how a person (Christian) was supposed to pray (be in a state of worship) without ceasing? Without any biblical or divine guidance, the only way I thought this to be possible was to always do good deeds and keep the remembrance of God on my tongue and in my heart.

However, I found this to be impossible to do as a human being. But when I was introduced to Islam in 1987, and began to read and learn more about this way of life, I found that Islam provided divine guidance both from God (Allah) and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by which a person could pray (be in a state of worship) without ceasing, if it was the Will of God. 

Whether waking up, eating, sleeping, putting on clothes, being in the presence of a woman, looking at a woman, going shopping, going to the bathroom, looking in the mirror, traveling, visiting the sick, sitting in a non-religious meeting, taking a bath, having sexual intercourse with one’s wife, yawning, cutting you nails, sneezing, greeting people, talking, hosting guests at home, walking, exercising, fighting, entering one’s house, praying and many other acts, Islam and the guidance therein of the Quran, and the acts and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), provided ways in which I could observe 1 Thessalonians 5:17. In addition, it allowed me to be at peace with myself and in submission to the one True God - Allah (SWT).  

This divine guidance of Islam taught me greatly about my duties, responsibilities and birth right to my Creator (Allah), and more about the religion of Christianity as a Muslim, I [By the Will of Allah (SWT)] felt it necessary to share with you how the Bible led me to Islam.

Christianity

Given the fact that there has never been in the history of the Torah (Old Testament) the religion of God to be named after a Prophet (i.e. Adaminity, Abrahamity, Mosanity, etc.), I hope to explain that Jesus did not preach the religion of Christianity, but a religion that gives all Praise and Worship to The One God.

One of the questions I asked myself as I took an objective (second) look at Christianity was; where did the word Christianity come from and was the word ever mentioned to Jesus? Well, I did not find the word Christianity in the Bible, not even in a Bible dictionary. Specifically, I did not find in the Bible where Jesus called himself a Christian. 

The word Christian was first mentioned by a pagan to describe those who followed Jesus. It is mentioned one of three times in the New Testament by a pagan and Jew in Antioch about 43 AD, (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:38 and 1 Peter 4:16) long after Jesus left this earth. To accept the words of pagans as having any value or association with divinity, Jesus or God is contrary to the teachings of all Prophets.  

Jesus prophesied that people would worship him uselessly and believe in doctrines made by men (Matthew 15:9). 

"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." This verse, Matthew 15:9, is further supported by these words of the Quran: 

"And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): "O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say unto men: "Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?" He will say: "Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner-self though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the All-Knower o fall that is hidden and unseen.  (116) Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command me to say: ‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up, You were a Witness to all things” (Al-Ma’idah 5:116-117) 

(This is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world).

I found that Biblical verses like John 5:30, John 12:49, John 14:28, Isaiah 42:8 and Acts 2:22 support the above mentioned verses of the Quran. 

Before leaving the subject of Christianity, I should mention one small point of observation. If Christians are Christ-like, why are they not greeting each other with the words; Peace be with you (Salamu Alaikum), as Jesus did in Luke 24:36. As you may be aware, the greeting from one Muslim to another Muslim is Assalamu Alaikum; a Christ-like saying.

Various Holy Bibles

It is worth mentioning that the Bible references cited might not be exactly as the Bible you are using. There are MANY Bibles on the market that are used by different Christian sects and all of these sects say that their book, though different, is the word of God. Such Bibles are: The Revised Standard Version 1952 & 1971, New American Standard Bible, The Holy Bible; New International Version, the Living Bible, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures used by Jehovah Witnesses, Roman Catholic Version and the King James Version. A special note: I have not found in any of these Bibles where the "New Testament" calls itself the "New Testament," and nowhere does the "Old Testament" call itself the "Old? Testament." Also, the word "Bible" is unknown within the pages of the Bible.

In addition to the many different Christian sects and Bibles, I have learned that there are also different men, not Prophets, who founded these sects and are using various interpretations of the Bible and/or man-made doctrines as their creed. 

I would like to share with you some thoughts that you may not have read or known about the Bible being the word of God. Briefly, let me mention that on September 8, 1957, the Jehovah’s witnesses in their "Awake" magazine carried this startling headline - 50,000 Errors in the Bible. If you ask a Jehovah’s witness about this headline, it may be said that today most of those errors have been eliminated. How many have been eliminated, 5,000? Even if 50 remain, would one attribute those errors to God? 

Let me pose another question: if a "Holy" book contained conflicting verses would you still consider it to be Holy? Most likely you will say of course not. Let me share with you some conflicting verses both in the Old and New Testaments:

II Samuel 8:4 (vs)

II Samuel 8:9-10

II Kings 8:26

II Samuel 6:23

Genesis 6:3

John 5:37

John 5:31

I Chronicles 18:4

I Chronicles 18:9-10

II Chronicles 22:2

II Samuel 21:8

Genesis 9:29

John 14:9

John 8:14

 

Only two contradictions of the New Testament have been mentioned, but others will be referenced when the Trinity, Divinity of Jesus Christ, Divine Sonship of Jesus, Original Sin and Atonement are reviewed. 

How could the "inspired words" of God get the genealogy of Jesus incorrect (See Matthew 1:6-16 where it states 26 forefathers up to Prophet David, and Luke 3:23-31 says 41 in number). Or for that matter, give a genealogy to Jesus who had NO father? See II Kings 19:1-37, now read Isaiah 37:1-38. Why is it that the words of these verse are identical? Yet they have been attributed to two different authors, one unknown and the other is Isaiah, who are centuries apart; and yet, the Christians have claimed these books to be inspired by God.  

I looked up the word Easter in the Nelson Bible dictionary and learned that the word "Easter" (as mentioned in Acts 12:4) is a mistranslation of "pascha," the ordinary Greek word for "Passover." As, you know Passover is a Jewish celebration not a Christian holiday. I think human hands, all to human, had played havoc with the Bible. 

From the brief points mentioned above, and the fact that Biblical scholars themselves have recognized the human nature and human composition of the Bible (Curt Kuhl, The Old Testament: Its Origin and Composition, PP 47, 51, 52), there should exist in the Christian’s mind some acceptance to the fact that maybe every word of the Bible is not God’s word. 

As a side note to this subject, let me mention that some Christians believe that the Bible was dictated to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by a Christian monk, and that is why some of the biblical accounts are in the Quran. After some research, I found that this could not have happened because there were no Arabic Bible in existence in the 6th century of the Christian era when Muhammad (SAW) lived and preached. Therefore, no Arab, not even Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who was absolutely unlettered and unlearned, would have had the opportunity to examine the written text of the Bible in his own language.

The Gospels

If you read Luke 1:2-3, you will learn, as I did, that Luke (who was not one of the 12 disciples and never met Jesus) said that he himself was not an eyewitness, and the knowledge he gathered was from eyewitnesses, and not as words inspired by God. Incidentally, why does every "Gospel" begin with the introduction According to. Why "according to?" the reason for this is because not a single one of the gospels carries its original author’s autograph! Even the internal evidence of Matthew 9:9 proves that Matthew was not the author of the first Gospel which bears his name:

"And as Jesus passed forth thence, He (Jesus) saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He (Jesus) saith unto Him (Matthew), follow me (Jesus). And he (Matthew) arose, and followed Him (Jesus)."

Without any stretch of the imagination, one can see that the He’s and the Him’s of the above narration do not refer to Jesus or Matthew as its author, but a third person writing what he saw or heard - a hearsay account and not words inspired by God. 

It is worth noting, and well known throughout the religious world, that the choice of the present four "gospels" of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were imposed in the Council of Nicea 325 CE for political purposes under the auspices of the pagan Emperor Constantine, and not by Jesus. Constantine’s mind had not been enlightened either by study or by inspiration. He was a pagan, a tyrant and criminal who murdered his son, his wife and thousands of innocent individuals because of his lust for political power. Constantine ratified other decisions in the Nicene Creed such as the decision to call Christ "the Son of God, only begotten of the father." 

Literally, hundreds of gospels and religious writings were hidden from the people. Some of those writings were written by Jesus’ disciples, and many of them were eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ actions. The Nicea Council decided to destroy all gospels written in Hebrew, which resulted in the burning of nearly three hundred accounts. If these writings were not more authentic than the four present gospels, they were of equal authenticity. Some of them are still available such as the Gospel of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas which agree with the Quran. The Gospel of Barnabas, until now, is the only eyewitness account of the life and mission of Jesus. Even today, the whole of the Protestant word, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and other sects and denominations condemn the Roman Catholic version of the Bible because it contains seven "extra" books. The Protestant have bravely expunged seven whole books from their word of God. A few of the outcasts are the Books of Judith, Tobnias, Baruch and Esther. 

Concerning Jesus’ teachings of the Gospel (Injeel), the Gospel writers frequently mentioned Jesus preaching the Gospel: Matthew 9:35, Mark 8:35, and Luke 20:1. The word "gospel" is recurrently used in the Bible. However, in the New Testament Greek edition the word Evangeline is used in place of the word gospel, which is translated to mean good news. My question was: what Gospel did Jesus preach? Of the 27 books of the New Testament, only a small fraction can be accepted as the words of Jesus, and only of the 27 books are known to be attributed as the Gospel of Jesus. The remaining 23 were supposedly written by Paul. Muslims do believe that Jesus was given God’s "Good News." However, they do not recognized the present four Gospels as the utterances of Jesus. 

The earliest Gospel is that of Mark’s which was written about 60-75 AD. Mark was the son of Barnabas’s sister. Matthew was a tax collector, a minor official who did not travel around with Jesus. Luke’s Gospel was written much later, and in fact, drawn from the same sources as Mark’s and Matthew’s. Luke was Paul’s physician, and like Paul, never met Jesus. By the way, did you know that the names Marks and Luke were not included in the 12 appointed disciples of Jesus as mentioned in Matthew 10:2-4? 

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 

John’s Gospel is from a different source, and was written in about 100 AD. He (John) should not be confused with John, the disciple, who was beheaded by Agrippa I in the year 44 CE long before this gospel was written. It should be accepted as a reliable account of the life of Jesus, and whether it should be included in the scriptures. 

Christians, as I once did, boast about the Gospels according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke and according to John. However, if we think about it, there is not a single Gospel according to Jesus himself. According to the preface of the KJV (King James Version) new open Bible study edition, the word "Gospel" was added (see below) to the original titles, "According to John, according to Matthew, according to Luke and according to Mark." 

The permission to call "According to" writings the Gospel was not given by Jesus nor by any other divine guidance. These writings; Matthew, Luke, Mark and John, were never originally to be the Gospel. Therefore, Mark 1:1 can not be a true statement that his writing is the gospel of Jesus.  

It should be mentioned that Muslims must believe in all Divine scriptures in their original form, their Prophets and making no distinction between them: The Suhuf (Abraham); Torah (Moses); Psalms (David); Gospel - or the Injeel (Jesus); and the Quran (Muhammad). It is clearly stated in the Quran 3:3 that Allah sent down the Torah and the Gospel. However, none of these scriptures remains in its original form now, except the Quran, which was sent for all mankind everywhere and for all times. 

In addition to other reasons why the Quran was sent to mankind, as mentioned in 18:4-5 it was sent to warn the Christians of a terrible punishment from God if they cease not in saying: "Allah has begotten a son."

Muslims sincerely believe that everything Jesus (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) preached was from God; the Gospel (Injeel): The "good news" and the guidance of God for the Children of Israel. There is no place mentioned in the present four Gospels that Jesus wrote a single word of his Gospel, nor is it mentioned that Jesus instructed anyone to do so. What passes off, as the "Gospels" today are the works of third party human hands. The Quran (Al-Baqarah 2:79) says: "And woe to those who write the book with their own hands and they say: "This is from Allah (God)". To traffic with it for a miserable price! So woe to them for what their hands do write, and woe to them for what they earn thereby!"

Jesus As the Son of God

Is Jesus the Son of God?  Matthew 3:17 could be used by some Christians to support the divine Sonship of Jesus.  If Matthew 3:17, "And Lo a voice for heaven, saying, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased," is used to support divine Sonship, then there should be no other verse that contradicts or gives equal divine Sonship to another person or persons in the Old or New Testament. However, many references were found in the Old and New Testaments that mentioned someone other than Jesus as having a divine Sonship to God. See Exodus 4:22:

"Israel is my son, even my firstborn." II Samuel 7:14 and I Chronicles 22:10: "...and he shall be my son (Solomon)." Jeremiah 31:9: "...and Ephraim is my firstborn." Also, Psalm 2:7. 

The word "Son" must not be accepted literally because God addresses many of his chosen servants as son and sons. The Jews have also claimed Ezra to be the Son of God. The New Testament Greek words used for "son" (pias and paida, which mean servant or son in the sense of servant) are translated as son in reference to Jesus and as servant in reference to others in some translations of the Bible. 

Further, the term "Father" as used by Jesus corresponds more closely to the term Rabb, i.e. One who nourishes and sustains, so that in Jesus’ doctrine, God is "Father" – Nourisher and Sustainer – of all men. The New Testament also interprets "son of God" to be mystical: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Romans 8:14). This mystical suggestion is further supported with Jesus being called the only begotten Son of God. 

In Psalm 2:7, the Lord said to David:  

"...Thou art my son: this day have I begotten thee." 

Does this mean that God had two sons? Jesus also said that God is not only his Father but also your Father (Matthew 5:45, 48). Luke 3:38 says: 

"...Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the Son of God." 

Who is mentioned in Hebrews 7:3 as like unto the Son of God? It is Melchisedec, King of Salem, as mentioned in Hebrews 7:1. He (Melchisedec) is more unique than Jesus or Adam. Why is he not preferred to be the Son of God? Moreover, Adam did not have a mother or father, but was the first human being created by God and in the likeness of God to exist in the Garden of Eden and on earth. Wouldn’t this give more rights to Adam to be called the Son of God in its truest meaning? 

I would like to share with you an obvious contradiction between John 3:16, Luke 10:25-28 and Matthew 19:16-17. John 3:16 reads:  

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten, Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 

Now let’s read Luke 10:25-28: 

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, what is written in the law? How readest Thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and Thou shalt live. 

These verses tell us that the inheritance of eternal life is for anyone who believes and worships no other God, but the One True God. Luke 10:25-28 agrees with Matthew 19:16-17 which says; 

"And behold, one came and said to him (Jesus), Good teacher, what good things shall I do that I may have eternal life? So he (Jesus) said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? – No one is good but One that is, God. But if you want to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments." 

There is no commandment that says to worship Jesus, but there that tells us to worship God alone. 

In Luke 4:41, Jesus refused to be called the Son of God by demons. Do you think that Jesus would rebuke the demons, or anyone else for that matter, for telling the truth? Unquestionably, no! Jesus rebuked the demons because they were saying something false by calling him the Son of God. Also, if the demons knew that Jesus was the Christ, for Jesus to shut them up because they called him the Christ is a contradiction to Jesus’ mission. 

In Luke 9:20 & 21, Jesus said unto his disciples: 

"But who say ye that I am? Peter answered saying, "The Christ of God, and Jesus straightly charged them and commanded them to tell no man that thing." 

Furthermore, verses like John 3:2, John 6:14, John 7:40, Matthew 21:11, Luke 7:16 and 24:19 confirm that Jesus accepted the title of teacher, Prophet and called himself the son of man in Matthew 8:20, 12:40, 17:9 & 12, 26:24, Luke 9:26, 22:48, 22:69, and 24:7. The most conclusive verse that says Jesus is the son (servant) of man is Mark 14:26 where Jesus is mentioning the Day of Reckoning. Jesus specifically said we would see the son of man, not the Son of God, sitting in the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 

The act of begetting is a physical act and such act is against God’s nature. The Quran 19:35 says:

"It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter He only says to it "Be," and it is." (Maryam  19:35)

The teachings of Jesus as the Son of God were not preached by Jesus nor accepted by Jesus, but were taught by Paul as supported in Acts 9:20: 

"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." 

Did Jesus ever claim to be God or say, "Here am I, your God, worship me"? The answer is no. For there is no single, unequivocal statement in the Bible whereby Jesus himself declares, "I am God, therefore worship me." Virtually all of the more than two thousand verses of the epistles of Paul are his own fabrications to include Romans 9:5 that says, depending upon which Bible you read: 

"...Christ came, who is overall, the eternally blessed God." 

Christians should know that Paul himself mentions his own gospel, not Jesus, in his epistle to the Romans when he says in Romans 2:16: 

"In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." 

In face, the Pauline epistle to the Romans serves as the foundation of today’s Christianity. Thus, it is the Christians whose efforts will be wasted in this life as they think they were acquiring good by their works when they attribute partners to God, as stated in Chapter 18:103-106 of the Quran :

“Say: "Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? (103) Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?" (104) They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight (105) That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest”  (Al-Kahf 18:103 - 106)

Indeed, it is so strange and ironic, knowing that none of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, more than 430 verses, were ever formulated by Jesus. Paul should have made direct reference to the pristine teachings of Jesus, if only the former claim for apostleship by divine inspiration was indeed true. Instead, large parts of his epistles’ Biblical quotations (notably those in the Epistle to the Romans) were taken from the Old Testament – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Hosea. His epistles were, indeed a product of tedious efforts, but that does not make Paul far better than any of the other men who authored the Bible, nor does it make him a Prophet.  

Other practices that were adopted under Paul included the following: the Roman sun-day as the Christian Sabbath; the traditional birthday of the Sun-god as the birthday of Jesus; the emblem of the sun-god (the cross of light) to be the emblem of Christians; and, the incorporation of all the ceremonies which were performed at the Sun-god’s birthday celebrations. 

As I come to a close concerning the position of Christ, I would like to ask my Christian reader bow down and pray earnestly to God and ask Him to invoke His curse on you, your wife, your sons, and your daughters if what you believe about Christ (Christ is God, Son of God or part of a trinity of God) are false. Likewise, I have learned that if you asked a Muslim to earnestly pray to God to invoke His curse on him, his wife, his sons, and his daughters if what he is saying about Christ (Prophet, Messenger of God, A Word from God) are false, the Muslims are firm in their faith knowing that Christ is not God, nor the Son of God and nor part of a trinity of God. This exercise of asking God to invoke His curse on you and your family may sound a bit cruel, but it would prove two points:

(1)   You would know that you are on the wrong path; and,

(2)   It would put you on the right path.

The Crucifixion and Atonement

A very significant event in the Christian doctrine is the Crucifixion of Jesus. Before talking about the many controversies surrounding the Crucifixion, it should be mentioned that it was a gospel of Paul’s which professed the Crucifixion/Resurrection of Jesus (II Timothy 2:8):

"Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel." 

In addition, the gospel of the resurrection in Mark 16:9-20 was already removed from the text by gospel writers in the 1952 edition of the Revised Standard Version and then, for some reasons, restored in the 1971 edition. In many Bibles, if not removed, it is printed in small print or between two brackets and with commentary (See the Revised Standard Version, New American Bible and New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures). 

The traditional biblical account of Jesus’ Crucifixion is that he was arrested and crucified by the orders and plans of the chief priest and Jewish elders. This account was denied in the 1960’s by the highest Catholic Christian authority, the Pope. He issued a statement in which he said the Jews had nothing to do with Jesus’ Crucifixion. 

Did any one of the disciples or the writers of the Gospel see the Crucifixion or the Resurrection? No! In Mark 14:50, it says the disciples forsook Jesus and fled. Even Peter forsook Jesus after the cock crowed three times as Jesus foretold: 

(Matthew 26:75) And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. 

The most likely persons whom may have witnessed this moment in Jesus’ life were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, the mother of Zebedee’s children and other women (Matthew 27:55-56). However, there is no statement or account in the Gospels from those women as to what they saw or heard. 

The disciple(s) found the sepulcher where Jesus was laid down, empty, and made the conclusion that he was resurrected because the disciples and other witnesses saw him alive after the alleged Crucifixion. Nobody saw the moment he was resurrected. Jesus himself stated that he did not die on the cross in Luke 24:36-41, as explained in the following paragraphs. 

Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the sepulcher, which was empty. She saw somebody standing who looked like a gardener. She recognized him after a conversation to be Jesus and wanted to touch him. Jesus said (John 20:17): 

"Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father..." 

Now read Luke 24:36-41: 

"And as they (disciples) thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? And why so thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of boiled fish and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them." 

Does a spiritual or dead body have a need to eat food? Jesus eating of food was to prove to the disciples that he was not a spirit, but rather, he was still alive and not dead. 

Jesus being alive and not dead is further supported in his own prophecy (Matthew 12:40): 

"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." 

Did Jesus fulfill this miracle? Christians would say "yes," because Jesus died and rose three days later according to Luke 24:36 and Matthew 20:19, to name a few verses. However, in line with the miracle of Jonah and according to the Bible, Jesus only spent one day and two nights in the sepulcher, and not three days and three nights as he prophesied. 

Jesus was put in the sepulcher just before sunset on Friday (Good Friday) and was found missing before sunrise on Sunday (Easter). If we were to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the time frame a bit, one may say that Jesus spent three days in the earth, but there is no way and I repeat, no way, that Jesus spent three nights in the earth. We must not forget that the Gospels are explicit in telling us that it was "before sunrise" on Sunday morning that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. 

Consequently, there are some inconsistencies as to whether Jesus fulfilled his own prophecy. Whether he was actually crucified, or if the day (Good Friday) of his alleged Crucifixion is wrong. Another significant point to mention is that Jonah was alive in the belly of the whale. The Christians says, Jesus was dead in the belly of the earth/tomb, and this contradicts Jesus’ own prophecy. Jesus said (Luke 11:30): 

"As Jonah was...so shall the Son of man be." 

If Jonah was alive, so was Jesus. 

One critical event that took place before the alleged Crucifixion was the prayer of Jesus to God for help. Luke 22:42: 

"Saying Father if thou be willing, remove this cup (of death) from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done."  

Jesus’ prayer not to die on the cross was accepted by God according to Luke 22:43 and Hebrews 5:7. Therefore, if all of Jesus’ prayer were accepted by God, including not to die on the cross, how could he have died on the cross? 

In Matthew 27:46, it states that while Jesus was on the cross, he said: 

"Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani (My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?). 

If Jesus said these words, it represents a blatant declaration of disbelief according to all theological authorities. This is a great insult as such words could only come from an unbeliever in God. Further, it is incredible that such words should come from a Prophet of God, because God never breaks His promise and His Prophets never complained against His promise, especially when the Prophet’s mission is understood. It could be said that whoever relates that this statement was said by a Prophet (Jesus), is a disbeliever. 

Muslims believe, as the Quran states, Jesus was not crucified. It was the intention of his enemies to put him to death on the cross, but Allah saved him from their plot. Quran 4:157:

"That they (Jews) said boasting, "We killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah, but they (Jews) killed him not, nor crucified him..."   (An Nisa 4:157)

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://www.missionislam.com/

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17. MARIANO RICARDO CALLE

(Argentinean Mariano Discovers Islam)

An Argentinean young man finds Islam through learning Arabic songs' lyrics.

My name is Mariano Ricardo Calle. I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina, not from the capital but the province. Before I embraced Islam, I was a Catholic Apostolic Roman. I was baptized, entered communion and confirmation.

Since my childhood, I was connected with religion through my mom and my grandmother (her mom). I read the Bible since seven years old. I began reading the Bible for kids in Spanish. My heroes were David, Nuh and Job.

When I was eleven, I prayed every night. Sometimes, I cried while speaking to God. In my adolescence, I fell into drugs until a crisis at twenty one years of age. I have always been searching for the truth.

At twenty four years I began to pray more, so I was praying twenty four times a day, one for Our Father, Two Ave Maria, One Credo and One Glory; under the water in the shower bowing on my knees under cold water (that was because there was no warm water). This I did for a whole year. But that didn't help me too much, but God knows better.

In the beginning of last year, I was studying the Mayan codices, the Atlantis, the pyramid of Kufu, and at the same time I was studying the Arabic language just to know what the lyrics of the Arabic songs meant.

I began to study the Arabic language on my own, with the help of a book from the internet. In two weeks I could speak something, so when I made a test in college the teacher elevated me to the second level. I saved four months alhamdulillah, then I got into university; but I just took two classes. However, I stayed in contact with my teacher, through e-mails.

In the book fair, my mom took two little books for free about Islam. I read them, and the subjects of science mentioned in the Quran, seemed very interesting to me. And, I read about Muhammad and I felt that person was a model for me.

So, one day I left smoking and drinking. I never was a drunkard, but I left completely whatever was related to alcohol. That was my own decision, and I never thought of being a Muslim until the day I said my Shahadah.

I thought of buying a Quran to read something in Arabic and that way, learn faster. My teacher told me that I could get one for free, in the mosque of Palermo (Buenos Aires).

On the same day, I went to the mosque, just to ask for a Quran and I wondered how such a great place could be so empty. I understood that Argentina is not an Islamic country but that this mosque was the greatest in Latin America.

That day in the mosque a man, who would later become my brother in Islam -  Ibrahim, gave me a link to the Quran that I could download from the internet, I later printed it. It was just an hour, and I had the Quran.

I was reading this Quran that I downloaded from the internet, and I printed some pages. The Quran I got was in Arabic and Spanish, that way I could read it in Arabic directly.

Since my childhood I have read the whole Bible twice, and the Gita from India also twice, and now I had the Quran to read, and much better, in Arabic. My first desire was to learn Arabic, but my soul awakened when I began to read the Quran. Maybe it was better because I began to read it in Arabic directly, while I was consulting a dictionary.

Alhamdulillah, I could realise that what the Quran says was the parts that were missing in the Bible. And I remember well, I understood as well when I read it that all that the Quran says could perfectly be the truth I was looking for.

No one spoke to me about Islam, just the searching of the truth that God put in me, led me there. The thankfulness to God I have is very great. The more I read the Quran, the more I realised the book was a revelation from God like the Bible.

Since then, I began to go to the mosque and in two weeks I said the Shahadah, on the 14th of July. Because, I was sure that Muhammad was a messenger of God, like Jesus or Moses.

So, I began to read everything I found about Islam and began to study Arabic in the mosque. I read about aqeedah (creed), tawhid (Oneness of Allah), and I finished the Quran but in Spanish, because I wanted to read everything as fast as I could.

In the two weeks before I said the Shahadah, I was going to the mosque to learn, and I felt that the place was full of peace. I prayed with the Muslims there while I wasn’t a Muslim yet, but I wanted to know how it feels to prostrate in front of God, because I knew that intention was important for God.

So, in two weeks, I learned the whole salah (Prayer). I knew special people there, the people that work there.

I love the Arabic language and I ask God to help me learning it faster. I said the Shahadah with sheikh Nasir from Saudi Arabia; he was there in place of sheikh Hamid.

I continued going to the mosque and then came Ramadan, which was a beautiful experience. I got to know beautiful people and I think that 2007 was my best year. Since I said the Shahadah, I haven't missed a salah.

What was difficult to me was to leave girls, because I had a girlfriend, but I knew that it wouldn't have worked. So, I left her and asked God to grant me a good wife.

I remember that was the first thing I asked God for. And I got to know a woman, the same week I said the Shahadah! She never had any boyfriend, and she was beautiful too. So, I see what God can do. I always have been an obstinate believer, but now, I have no doubts.

I told my mother and father that I now was a Muslim. My mother was a little afraid, but I began to treat my parents better. My brothers didn't say anything, just, a few jokes but I am more of a joker than them, so that was nothing.

I got a job and in my first day I asked my boss for a place to pray, which was not a problem alhamdulillah. So, my life changed to the better, because I began to smile more, and try to act good with everybody.

I continued going to the mosque whenever I could, but since I took college up again, and got a better job, I hardly find time to go. But, I take some books to read like Sahih Muslim.

The reaction of my friends was funny. Alhamdulillah, I always had very good friends, all types of friends; because I always like to learn from everybody. My best friends are Catholic, and practice their religion. They go to mass every Sunday and even more since I became Muslim.

I answered all the questions that they asked. Until this day they have a lot of questions, especially my best friend and his wife, she is from Brazil, and they are Adventist. Also, my other friend who has strong faith; he and his wife are Catholic.

I ask God to help me be an instrument of his religion, to guide my parents and friends but I must not be sad for them, it's fate. Moreover, my youngest brother (I am the big brother) is agnostic. He thinks that I am very bad. I pray for my family. My mom cooks to me without ham. But I have to say that I oppose some things in my family, but what can I do?

I love God; this love is stronger than the love for my family. I love Prophet Muhammad, and I have to love him more than anybody on this earth to be a true believer. And I love this religion, this din, because the best I can do is to adore God.

Actually, I got everything I could ever dream of: I got the best job that I could have, and I am studying again, and preparing my marriage with that girl that God brought in to my life.

Mariano Ricardo Calle works with Mostafa Mohye, Manager of New Muslims Projects in Spain and Latin America, at conveying Islamic Message Society in Egypt

Excerpted from: www.readingislam.com/

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18. WILLIAM

(A "Typical" American Discovers Islam)

Through the Example of a Friend

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As a police supervisor, I was constantly receiving warnings about perceived Islamic threats.

My name is William, and I live in a large Midwestern city in the United States. I am a typical American in many ways that are reflected in both my professional and personal lives. Professionally, I am a supervisor with a major police department, and I have been in the military, both active duty and in the reserves for the majority of my adult life. Personally, I live in the suburbs with my wife and child, drive a pickup truck and occasionally wear cowboy boots. I pay my bills, treat my neighbors well, and prior to my reversion/conversion to Islam, I followed my religion in the manner in which I had been instructed.

As I said, my life was that of a typical American, with my main concerns being the little details of everyday life that everyone worries about. Little did I know that my religious beliefs would take me out of the “typical” life that I lead, and that they would instead become a major factor in my life, providing me with a sense of peace and completion that only a short time before I would not have thought possible.


I am still a redneck-looking, pickup truck-driving, typical American.


My journey to Islam began with my association, and later friendship, with a man named Nasir. I met Nasir through work in the late 1980’s, and was impressed with his manners and the way that he treated me. I had met very few Muslims, and I was always a little uneasy around them as I was not sure how they would accept me. Besides having the appearance of a pickup-driving-shotgun-toting-redneck, I was also a Jew, and the combination often seemed to unsettle people. Nasir, however, took everything in stride, and as a result a friendship slowly bloomed. Through Nasir, I really formed my first impressions of Islam and its adherents.

Over the years I watched how Nasir dealt with different situations, and was constantly impressed with the wisdom and patience that he displayed when he was dealing with difficult people or situations. He always took the high road, even at times when I, if I had been in the same situation, would have been tempted to treat the persons differently. If I asked him why he did certain things, he would tell me a bit of wisdom which guided his actions. Most of these, (I realized later), were direct or indirect quotes from the Qur’an, which he told me not in a proselytizing way, but in a gentle manner as if he were teaching a child the proper way to conduct itself in the world.

 

In fact, prior to reading the Qur’an, I often marveled at how one person could be so wise and knowledgeable! Little did I know that those guiding principles were written down where I or anyone else could read them. I realize now how blessed I am that I was exposed to Islam and Muslims in such a positive way.

 

Around the winter of 2000, I began to have a serious interest in Islam. I read the Qur’an, but could not seem to fully understand it. Despite this difficulty, I continued to have a nagging feeling that I should continue, and so I studied other books about Islam. I learned a great deal, but in an academic and not in a spiritual way. Again I attempted to read and understand the Qur’an, and again I had difficulties. I finally resolved to ask Nasir for help, and then the 9-11 incident happened.

 

Suddenly I had a host of new worries, and I put my questions on hold. During this time period, I had a great deal of exposure to Islam, however very little of it was put to me in a positive manner. As a police supervisor, I was constantly receiving warnings about perceived Islamic threats, and as an officer in the reserves I was around people who perceived Islam as a direct threat and Muslims as possible enemies. So, to my shame, I continued to wait and kept my studies on the Islamic world to those areas that directly influenced my professional life.


Everything that I had ever believed was suddenly turned upside down, and I was at a loss for an explanation.


Then, in the late summer of 2004, that nagging feeling that had persisted suddenly intensified, and I finally asked Nasir for guidance. He told me about the tenets of his faith, and about the nature of the Qur’an. More importantly, he told me how crucial Islam was to his life, and how strongly he believed in it, not only as the word of God, but as the way in which man was meant to live. He and his brother Riyadh then provided me with booklets about Islam that had answers to many of the questions that I had.

With this knowledge in hand, I again approached the Qur’an, and suddenly found that it was not only readable, but that it made sense! I can only think that either I was not mentally ‘ready’ before, or that I simply needed the extra input in order to properly understand and process the information. Either way, I read and re-read everything that I had been provided, and then double checked the facts that had been presented to me. The more I read, the more amazed I was.

 

I found that the information that was in the Qur’an would have been impossible for Mohammed (PBUH) to have known had he not been a prophet. Not only would it have been impossible for a man of his background and geographic location to have known many of these things, it would have been impossible for anyone of his time-period to have known them. I double checked the dates of many of the modern “discoveries” that had been addressed in the Qur’an, and was astounded at what I found.

 

Not only did the Qur’an contain information that was centuries ahead of its time, but it did so with details, many of which could not have been known until this century. I became convinced that Mohammed (PBUH) was indeed a prophet that had been inspired by Allah through his angel. Despite this, I still faced a dilemma. Although I now believed that Mohammed (PBUH) was a prophet, I still was confused about what to do. Everything that I had ever believed was suddenly turned upside down, and I was at a loss for an explanation.

 

That night I prayed for guidance and understanding. I only believed in one god, but I wanted to know the manner in which I should hold that belief. The prayer was simple, but heartfelt, and I went to sleep full of hope that I would receive an understanding of the situation. When I awoke, I did so with the feeling that I had experienced an epiphany. Everything was suddenly clear, and I understood how all the things that I had practiced before were simply observances that had been contrived by man in an attempt to follow religious principles that had changed over the millennia. I did not receive any new information or beliefs, but was instead capable of understanding that which I had already learned. I felt exhilarated, happy and at peace, and that morning I said the shahada.

 

I told Nasir, and he took me to a nearby mosque for the Friday prayers. At the mosque I was lead to the front by Nasir, and I told the assembled congregation about why I had come there. Then Nasir and the Imam helped me repeat the profession of faith in Arabic. Although I was a little nervous, the joy I felt upon doing this far outweighed any other feelings that I had. Afterwards, I was welcomed by the majority of the members in a manner that was so welcoming that I can hardly describe it. Most of the congregation shook my hand and welcomed me to Islam, and many of them offered to help me or to answer any questions that I might have. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget.

 

In closing, let me say that the feeling of peace that came over me is still with me, and although I am still very early in the learning stages, I am happy and confident that I made the right decision. I am still a redneck-looking, pickup truck-driving, typical American. Only now I am a Muslim American, and with the continued guidance and assistance of people like Nasir and Riyadh, I hope to one day set as good an example for others and they have been for me.

Excerpted from: www.readingislam.com/

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19. KHALIL

(The Light at the End of the Tunnel)

Bismallahi ar Rahmani ar Rahiim.

As Salaamu Alaikum. My name is Khalil. I have reverted to Islam, Al Hamdulillah. I became a Muslim a short time before the 9/11 incident in New York. This is my story:

I was born into a Christian family in 1961. While growing up in San Diego, California USA, I was known to be a happy-go-lucky type of kid but had a hard life in my relation with my siblings and with some of the older kids in the neighborhood where I grew up.

Many things in life steered me into different directions, not allowing me to always take the paths I wanted to take. Strong influences from family and others kept my direction to a path that was set by my parents.

Sometimes, I felt like a loaner but inside I wasn't. There were good things and there were bad things in life. Mostly, I was a very forgiving person. All through my childhood I was very trusting and did not keep grudges or bad feelings toward others. My mother always said I was such a good kid and that I never did bad things when I was young.

I was sent to Sunday school for my early years by my parents and also used to tag along with neighbors and my brother and sister to church functions to have fun.

Never did I feel that the clergy were great people because the way the delivery of the sermon was given was so strong, that it put fear in people by the tone of the man's voice and by the delivery of the speech in a sort of yelling of the scripture to the mass. That was the way I saw it in my early years.

Of course, the Sunday school thing being geared to fun type activities for kids made things a bit more tolerable for me. Especially reward by praise when you gave good answers and good work in the child-oriented learning tasks that were given. Praise was always something I starved for as a youth. I felt, I was not praised enough for good things as a child.

Please bear with this next paragraph as it leads into a big change in my life that came afterwards.

In my childhood, my leg was set on fire by my brother at the age of 8 years old. My right leg was severely burned. He sprayed lighter fluid inside my jeans through a hole in the knee of my pants during a childhood mock ceremonial fire dance we were performing for fun.

It was me, my brother and the neighbor kid, Craig. We were fantasizing as if we were native Indians and we just made up an idea and were having fun with a little flame on the toe of our shoes.

Suddenly when I was really into it, my brother had a fit of anger and sopped my leg with some lighter fluid. The flames went up the leg of my pants and down the hole in my jeans and spread inside as it flowed down the skin of my leg.

Well, I never felt so much pain before or after this incident. I had about a year of therapy to heal. Scrubbing the scar tissue from my wounds daily and going through infection after infection. Wow, the pains of the fire were bad but imagine scrubbing it daily up to twice a day to get the scar tissue off and to clean it to prevent infection.

It was a hard time for me, but it led into a good change in my life. Both my parents used to work, so I stayed with my grandparents for most of the time as both parents worked and I had to go to the hospital nearly every day.

I even knew all the words and doctors on a first name basis. Even some of the patients who came in regularly like me. It was as if they all became close friends.

During my stay with my grandparents, I started to become more religious as my grandmother was very religious herself. I went to church more often and I felt closer to God and I wanted to be close to Him.

I had previously stayed away from church for some years. Later on, I even accepted the Catholic faith, feeling it was something to bring me closer to God, I thought. Nevertheless, I started to learn more about religion. I was interested and I always felt there is a higher power that governs us and that helps us in our times of need.

After some time while healing, my leg was getting better and I stayed home again full time, still visiting my grandparents for many of the weekends. In religion, I strayed away little by little until I did not attend anymore.

No one influenced me at home and I now lived back at home and had new interests. I became distracted with other things in life. Still I never felt like I ever forgot about God but I did pray more when there were things I needed protection from, success with, or just simply for things I desired or felt I needed.

During my younger years while growing up I was sometimes following my own goals but mostly I learned to follow others to gain acceptance.

When I got into my early teens I came to a point of rebellion. I took hold of my life in my own hands. I thought about and I said to myself that I was going to do the things I want and not what others wanted me to do for them.

This started with playing a sport, ice hockey, which I had secretly got myself involved in using my own money that I earned from a newspaper delivery job I took.

This idea of playing sports did not go over too well at first, but soon my family became involved in watching my games and I finally had something to be proud of that I did for myself.

I started to do other sports and I broke out of my shell and felt free for the first time in life. I took on surfing and found that it was a great sport, but that was not so agreeable to my father. He really opposed surfing but I still surfed as much as possible. I was happy being with friends and going to functions and doing things others were doing for fun and pleasure.

I stopped playing ice hockey at 18 years old due to an unrelated accident in where my left ankle was severely injured. I was kicked out of my home a few times by my father at different times. I was rebellious for a time and I am sure he was frustrated.

I started to surf as much as I could from the age of 17. I became very fluid in the sport. Sometime after that I did hang around a bad crowd of people and I started to drink alcohol and hang around places I really did not need to be.

I ended up with the wrong crowd for a while. That led into some minor drug abuse and some fist fights as well as other mischief. Life was not as good as I thought it was at the time but I was in denial about it at the time and was thinking I am having the time of my life. How wrong I was in my assessments at that time.

I saw how things were going and I got away from all that negativity. I took up karate seriously and did very well. It was good for me and it taught me a lot of things about my body, responsibility and to respect others. I straightened up and got out of my rut, still not leaving surfing as it was a great passion of mine and was a great way to stay in shape and agile.

I was getting older now and families in the USA typically let the kids move out or get kicked out around 18 or so. I was 20 and not as productive as my father wished so he gave me some ultimatums.

I wanted to go to college but they said they could not afford it. Then if I was living at home and the parents made above a certain amount of money, you had to pay for tuition at the community college.

With no way out, I decided I needed to get out of there in any way I could and I joined the U.S. Air Force to get an education. Nothing really panned out there as my duties were more important to my superiors than was my education. I was always a good performer in any work I did. I had my own jet early in my career and I had a lot of responsibilities.

I was soon married for the first time and had my first son on the way. Two years later, my wife at that time while we relocated and were living in Germany, was cheating on me with another man who got her pregnant.

We divorced soon after the second baby was born as that was when I found out and I could not bear the thought of being with her after that. I was now on my way to getting a divorce… SubhanAllah!

All this misguidance and hardships led to a good thing, however…During the hard times that ensued after finding my wife cheated on me, I started reading the Bible to gain knowledge straight from the source. Being that I was raised as a Christian this was what I thought to be the best source for this knowledge I wanted to learn about.

For Christians, it seems that most of the knowledge is given by sermon by the pastor in the church for their individual meanings or some adaptation of knowledge behind what they spoke of.

Anyways, I did not set out to be a scholar by reading the Bible; but I wanted to learn about God's word and His message to humanity and I wanted to try to apply it to my life and seek forgiveness and acceptance as I felt my life was not going anywhere without God. I also did not want to learn other interpretations so I just read the Bible on my own until I finished most of it.

God answered my prayers in life, gave me protection and gave me things that I asked for on many occasions when I was very much in need. Now, I wanted to do right by God and to do what was my duty: To please God. To accept God deeply. To repent for my sins and for my wrongdoings.

I read in many of my off times and gained a lot of ideology and knowledge from the Bible. Many things I read ended up that I would try to apply to my lifestyle and I made a lot of abrupt changes as I gained knowledge.

As time went on and as I read further, I was surprised and confused as some verses seemed to contradict knowledge I previously acquired. I was getting confused even more. So when I got into the New Testament, it was butchering up all the good things I had learned about in the Old Testament.

I became discouraged and did not read much more and lost my vigor for reading the Bible. I still felt strongly about God and about leading an honest life and to try to do good things in God's eyes. I just did not understand the New Testament.

Many years and discussions with folks and even with myself over the next years came about, but I did not submit to any particular denomination. Every one took something but not nearly enough.

It was if religion was something that was for sale and new faiths had changed things to make it more appealing to its' customers. It seems the church really became a business and used tactics to make one feel guilty if you did not overextend yourself to give loads of money frequently.

Giving seemed to be public and you may feel embarrassed if you only had a few dollars to give when others around you may be giving a small stack of 5's, 10's or even 20's.

Gosh, all the dressing up and the boasting towards how much you can put into the money baskets. That all really made it seem like going to church was made for socializing and trying to portray an image people were really not. Not what I believed in that it should be for praising God and making repentance.

Me, knowing some folks in how they will act all week long and then seem to be so righteous on a Sunday, I couldn't figure it out and then back to the same bad things all the next week till the next Sunday and so on… How can that be?

I guess if the Bible is not really even learned, that people seem to shop for the sect of faith that best fits their lifestyle and way of thinking. It is taught that even the most heinous crimes can even be forgiven on your last dying breath. I however wondered how that can be.

Some years later, I was working in the city school system and while working at a particular high school I found some of the kids seemed different than the other kids in some respects toward their behaviors and how they carried themselves.

Some even wore religious clothing styles to school. Many of the girls wore headscarves (hijab). The sight of this brought me back to my childhood when I remembered how many Christian women came to church wearing head coverings and such back in the 60's and up to the early 70's. That trend seemed to shift away from mainstream since.

Wow, I wondered who these people were, and what was behind all this? I was determined to see what this was all about. I asked some questions that were not too direct to other staff and I found out it was Islam. But, the comments I heard were not good ones so I just kept my individual thoughts to myself and decided to find out more.

About this time I met someone online and they sent me a Quran Translation in the mail. I was told to make sure I keep it clean and to not put it down low, or under things or on the ground, to treat it with respect and to guard it from being soiled or abused.

I read it here and there and I found that the more I read, the more it became interesting and I found that I would sit reading the Quran for longer durations of time. I also found that my frequency to read it was also increasing.

After about 8 months of reading the Quran, many talks with individuals and a lot of soul searching, I went to a masjid (mosque) that was in the area where I lived. After going in, I was greeted by a brother who told me to come back another time as the imam was gone and would return later that day or the next day.

Just after that someone came out of another room and said some words in a foreign language to this individual. It was Arabic. I was then greeted by a third individual and asked if I would like to come upstairs and to sit and talk.

I agreed and I was there for a few hours and made my Shahadah that Maghrib. Al Hamdulillah I took Shahadah. That was Friday Oct. 24, 2000 or the 28th of Shaban1421 A.H. I was 39 years old. Allahu Akbar!

From there a lot of changes occurred in my life. September 11 happened and my marriage ended as a firm request from my soon to be ex-wife at that time. She said she was not comfortable with Islam and felt it was a shame to her family and did not wish to associate with me as a husband.

I felt singled out in work and found opportunities I once had before me were disappearing. I quit my job after some time as I felt harassed.

Five jobs later I feel secure and I am doing well Al Hamdulillah. I am better off and sometimes things that look bad for you are actually good. Al Hamdulillah. Sometimes it is the other way around as well.

Life gives us opportunity and it is up to us to take the messages and go with that and make good out of it. I did and I followed my heart. We all have a gift from Allah (God) that lets us know what is good and what is bad.

Sometimes we listen, sometimes we do not listen. I know that when I do not listen to those feelings and thoughts, I get myself into trouble. I know that when I listen, it has even saved my life on several occasions in my life.

Even when you have no one to turn to, your mind lets you know things that are not obvious. Maybe this is a message to you from Allah through Malaika (Angels). Allahu Alim (God knows all).

All I know is that I even felt this message when I became a Muslim. Al Hamdulillah, I feel life guided me. My pursuit of guidance brought me to Islam.

Insha'Allah (God willing) individuals who are reading my story feel confirmation from it and that it may help them to know that they too made the right decision to revert to Islam; and also that others who read this who have not yet accepted Islam, that they are making the right decision to become Muslims too.

May Allah guide you to the right choice and to make you strong and to never turn away from the truths that you will find in the Quran and the Sunnah. Amen.

Thank you for reading my story. I hope this will show that no matter where you come from, you can do good things. You can be misguided and come back to the better.

Listen to your heart and you will do the right thing. Deep down, we are all programmed to do good. If we loose that, the Shaitan (Devil) has us.

I hope to see you in Jannah (Heaven) when we can look back on this life and see that the purpose here was to work for the afterlife. Nothing else here matters as you will ultimately leave all you have behind except your deeds.

Excerpted from: www.readingislam.com/

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20. RAFAEL (SULEYMAN) CASTRO

(Italian Catholic Finds Meaning in Islam)

I was raised in a non-devout Italian Catholic family. I was baptized, attended Sunday school, and took first Communion. I had a happy childhood – the wonderful world of saints and Trinitarian dogmas protected me from harm, so I believed, and sparked my imagination. But this beautiful reality was shaken at the age of 12 when my mother stopped bringing me to Sunday Mass. She let me know officially that she didn’t believe in Sunday services and that I was old enough to make my own choices about religion. Thus, I was free to go alone to church, as she had discharged her duty as a Catholic mother to teach me Catholicism.

These words left me hurt and disappointed not only with my mother but also with God. How could God have given me a family that had taught me religion out of a sense of tradition rather than inspired by sincere faith? I stopped going to church and I was so disappointed with religion that by the age of 14 I started to forget Him.

By the time I reached high school, existential questions began to harass me. After all, who is able to live without God for long? As I grew up and matured I realized that life is only worth living if it is more than the sum of its parts. I believe that God inspires this realization in many.

But where to look for God? I had a wonderful Indonesian friend who lent me a copy of the Qur’an. However, in high school I was too immature and too brainwashed by Hollywood movies to appreciate its beauties. I only looked out for sentences that I interpreted as hostile towards non-Muslims in order to satisfy and confirm my prejudices. I was blind, biased, and foolish.

At the age of 18, I went to college and became seriously interested in Judaism. I liked it because it was truly monotheistic, unlike the Christianity in which I had lost faith. I studied Judaism for over seven years, and went as far as entering yeshiva. Yeshivas are the rabbinical schools where students wear the traditional black suit, black hat, and study long hours. I appreciated the rigorous learning and brilliant rabbinical polemics; yet today I embrace Islam. Why?

To begin, I saw several Iranian movies that dispelled the stereotypes I had about Muslim culture as backwards and violent. I realized that Muslim countries may not shine today in terms of military powers or on economic rankings, but that Islam offers a world view that is far more respectful of human dignity and human self-sacrifice than any other (I highly recommend “The Colors of Paradise” to readers who really wish to understand what I mean).

Secondly, I understood that Judaism teaches compassion for the Jewish people, whereas Islam sees in every human being a person who deserves to be a Muslim regardless of ancestry or brilliance in legalistic discussions. This is especially apparent in the warmth and hospitality that one experiences in most mosques, whether one is Muslim or not.

Last and most importantly, the beauty and nobility of Surah Al-Baqara moved me to bear witness to Islam. I think that any honest reader of those pages would admit that only an angel could inspire such a beautiful proclamation of God’s wisdom. And that those who are too materialist to admit God’s existence should read through the hundreds of Prophetic Traditions and ask themselves: How could nature/ destiny/chance concentrate so much wisdom in one man without the gift of prophecy?

Thanks to Islam my life has changed. Before Islam I used to lethargically sleep until late-morning at every possible opportunity. Nowadays I wake up for morning prayers before six and live my days far more productively. I believe Islam has renewed my will to live, has given me self-respect, and made me a more generous person. These are three virtues that are hard to find elsewhere. Islam is not withdrawal from the world, nor a worldly conquest in the name of God. In my two months as a Muslim, I am beginning to understand that Islam is a re-conquest of one’s life by surrendering one’s will to God rather than to worldly pursuits. And that is true freedom.

It goes without saying that my conversion cost me some friends and worried my family for some time. Nevertheless, my family eventually grew more comfortable with my decision, and I am glad to say that the new friendships that I made amongst the Muslims have proven invaluable during this period of transition. This along with the new outlook on life that Islam has given me have made my reversion to Islam a rewarding experience.

Excerpted from: www.readingislam.com/

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21. MICHAEL DAVID SHAPIRO

(From Judaism to Islam)

 

Michael David Shapiro went from Judaism to Islam.

I am ethnically a Russian Jew. My quest began when I was 19 years old. I was recovering from my stint with Scientology (yes I was brainwashed into it).

My belief in God was uncertain. My goals in life were to be a rock star. I was living in my Pasadena apartment and working as a secretary. Funny, I know.

One night I was walking to the kitchen, and encountered a dark fellow. I remembered asking him: "Can I keep this vodka in the fridge tonight?" We shook hands and went to sleep. After that point, my life changed drastically…

This dark fellow, a Muslim, was the first Muslim I had ever met. Extremely curious, I conversed with him about his faith. What's this stuff I hear about praying 5 times a day? And about Holy War? Who is this Mohammed guy?

Our talks were accompanied by our Christian roommate, Wade. Together, we created "The Jewish, Christian, and Muslim dialogue sessions". In it, we discovered many differences, and many commonalities.

My interest had then shifted from sex, drugs, and parties, to a massive search for the truth. A search that I had to complete. A search for God. And a search for how to follow him.

In my quest for the truth, I asked myself: "Ok let’s start simple, how many God's do I think are out there?" I figured only one; knowing that a divided God is weaker than One God; figuring that if one God didn't agree with the other, there might be arguments and feuds. One God was my choice.

Once I opened up my mind to the possibility of the existence of God, I analyzed both atheist and theist beliefs. The thing that directed me to the latter was the quote "Every design has a designer". With that in mind, eventually I woke up with certainty that God exists. I can't explain why, I just felt it somehow.

This newfound excitement was accompanied by a sense of responsibility to follow the Creator. The world of religion was my next frontier.

Then I asked myself, "Where do I start?" There are literally thousands of them. I need a way to narrow them down to a just a few. How do I accomplish such a task? "Find the ones that are monotheistic" entered my mind. "Hey that makes sense, since I believe in only One God."

Ok, then. This ruled out Buddhism and Hinduism, both being polytheistic faiths. The major religions I encountered that fell under the title of Monotheistic, are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Well since I'm a Jew, I started with Judaism. One God, some prophets, 10 commandments, Torah, Jewish souls…uh, what: "Jewish souls?"

While doing research this idea was brought to my attention. The story goes, "if a person is born Jewish, then they have a Jewish soul, and they must follow Judaism." Hold on a sec…that's discrimination, isn't it? That's not universal.

So God makes Jewish souls, and Christian souls, and Muslim souls, and Hindu souls? I thought all men are created equal? So, because one is born into a religion that means by the decree of God he must remain in it… even if the person believes it to be false? Hmm…I don't agree with that.

Another thing really bothered me…there is no strict concept of hell in Judaism…then why be good? Why not sin? If I don't have fear of strict punishment, then why should I be moral?

Moving on, I discovered Christianity. Ok, one God, a father, a son, and a holy ghost…one more time: one God, a father, a son, and a holy ghost. Uhhh, please explain. How can all those things be one God? 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 right? So how can you say you believe in only one God?

Explanation after explanation, equation after equation, comparison after comparison, analogy after analogy, I couldn't grasp this concept. Ok let's keep looking here.

Ok, next major doctrine: Jesus died for our sins and he did this because we all are polluted with "Original Sin". So, Jesus Christ, the "son of God", had to be murdered to save everyone from Hell and cure us of our sin "given" to us by Adam.

Ok then, so are you saying that we are all born as sinners? And to sin is to do something wrong, right? Then you're telling me that a one-year old baby is guilty of sin or doing something wrong? Ok that's strange, so based on the actions of one man, all of mankind must suffer? What's the moral of that story? Punish the whole group if one deviates? Why would God create such a rule? That's just not in agreement with my logic.

So Jesus died because he "loves mankind". Hold on, it says in the Bible that Jesus said "father, why have you forsaken me?" So, apparently, Jesus didn't understand why he was being brutally murdered. But you just said he "volunteered" to be sacrificed. Anyway, I couldn't accept this belief. Ok, what's the next religion?

Islam. Islam means submission. The main beliefs are as follows: One God, worship God five times a day, give 2.5% annual charity, fast during Ramadan (to be closer to God and appreciate life…among other reasons) and finally journey to Mecca for Hajj if you are able financially. Ok, nothing hard to understand so far.

There's nothing that conflicts with my logic here. The Qur'an is a book with all of these interesting miracles and timeless wisdom. Many scientific facts only discovered recently were proclaimed 1400 years ago in this book.

Ok, Islam had passed my initial religious prerequisites. But I wanted to ask some deep questions about it. Is this religion universal? Yes, anyone can understand these basic beliefs…no analogy or equation are needed. Does it agree with science? Yes, dozens of verses in the Qur'an agree with modern science and technology.

As I sifted through the countless logical facts that I read through and researched, one thing took my attention the most. "Islam". The name of this religion. I noticed it is written many times in this Qur'an.

However, recalling my prior studies, I didn't remember once seeing the word "Judaism" in the Old Testament or "Christianity" in the New Testament. This was BIG. Why couldn't I find the very name of the religions in those two books? Because, there is no name in these books! Thinking…I noticed that "Judaism" could be broken down to "Juda- ism" and "Christianity" could be respectively "Christ-ianity".

So who is Juda? Or Judah, rather. He was the tribe leader of the Hebrews when God revealed his message to mankind. So this religion was named after…a person. Ok let’s look at who Christ is. He was the person who delivered the message of God to the Jews. So this religion was named after…a person.

So in recollection, we can deduct that the names of these religions are people's proper names attached to "ism" and "ianity". Regardless of that fact, the very names of those religions are not mentioned in their scriptures. I thought that was very odd.

If I went door to door selling a product, and I said "Would you like to buy this _______"? Wouldn't the logical question be: "What is this _____ called?" I would make no money off of a product without a name.

Naming is the very basis which humans identify with objects, both physical and non-physical. If religion is supposed to be practiced and spread to every person on earth, shouldn't there be a NAME for it?

Moreover, shouldn't the name be given to us from God Almighty? YES, my point exactly. The names "Christianity" and "Judaism" were not written in the Holy Scriptures. Humans named them, not God. The notion that God would ordain a religion for mankind to follow without a name is impossible for my mind to accept.

At that point, both Christianity and Judaism lost their credibility as pure, logical, and complete religions, at least from my perspective.

Islam is the ONLY of these religions to include the NAME of the religion in its scriptures. This is so huge for me.

I realized I would follow Islam at that point. I then became a Muslim. I knew the truth. I was out of the darkness. I came into the light… 

Excerpted from: http://www.islamonline.net/

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22. DAVID PRADARELLI

(Finding the Truth)

I came to Islam pretty much on my own. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, but I always had a deep fascination with the spiritualities of other cultures. My Journey started when I desired to have a relationship with my creator. I wanted to find my spirituality, and not the one I was born with. I spent some time in the Catholic religious order known as the Franciscans. I had many friends and I enjoyed prayer times, but it just seemed to relaxed in its faith, and there was, in my opinion, too much arrogance and hypocrisy.

When I had returned back from the order into secular living again, I once again was searching for my way to reach God (Allah). One night I was watching the news on television, and of course they were continuing their one-sided half-truth reports on Muslims (always in a negative light instead of balancing it by showing the positive side as well) with images of violence and terrorism. I decided long ago that the news media has no morals whatsoever and will trash anyone for that "juicy story", and I pretty much refused to believe anything they said. I decided to research Islam for myself and draw my own conclusions.

What I found paled all the negative images that the satanic media spewed forth. I found a religion deep in love and spiritual truth, and constant God-mindfulness. What may be fanaticism to one person may be devotion to another. I picked up a small paperback Qur'an and began devouring everything I could. It opened my eyes to the wonder and mercy of ALLAH, and I found the fascination growing every day...it was all I could think about. No other religion including Catholicism impacted me in such a powerful way...I actually found myself in God-awareness 24 hours a day 7 days a week...each time I went to my five daily prayers, I went with anticipation...finally! What I have been searching for all of my life.

I finally got enough courage to go to a mosque and profess the Shahadah before my Muslim brothers and sisters. I now am a practicing Muslim and I thank ALLAH for leading me to this place: Ashhahdu anna la ilaha ilallah wa Muhammadur rasul ALLAH! This means: "I believe in the oneness and totalness of ALLAH and that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the chosen prophet of ALLAH."

I now also accept Jesus as no longer equal with ALLAH, but sent as Muhammad was sent ...to bring all of mankind to submission to the will of ALLAH! May all of mankind find the light and truth of ALLAH.

 Excerpted from: http://www.islamonline.net/

Videos

How the Bible Led Me to Islam: The Story of a Former Christian Youth Minister - Joshua Evans

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYMKQKSV0bY

I Converted/Reverted To Islam - Brother Ibrahim Killington - My Goal Was To Kill Muslims.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytmhv6AUxwc

Millionaire Gives It All Up For Islam - Ishaq Mustaqim - My Path To Islam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwizWphJyJI

 

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