June 8, 2010

My path to Islam

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! I found this the other day and thought I would post it. I think it echoes what many other converts say; they were dissatisfied with their previous religion, had no comfort/trust in it, etc. Anyway read and enjoy!

A'salaamu alaikum brothers and sisters. I hope this finds you in the best of health and iman. Here is a somewhat condensed story of my conversion to Islam for those who might be interested. I had been raised Christian (Southern Baptist to be exact) and as a small child I had an amazing grasp of what God was, masha'Allah. As I grew up, I was very dedicated to church but was often the only one in my family who attended. They encouraged me to go but just did not attend themselves. As I entered my early teens I began questioning Christianity.

One of my big problems was it's reliance on feelings. It seemed I was never quite "emotional" enough. If I wasn't caught up in a zealous bout of maniacal crying, testifying to the amazing love of Jesus Christ, then I obviously wasn't feeling the Spirit. I thought religion should have a bit more dignity. Also I questioned the Trinity and why, WHY, did God have to allow Himself to die on a cross just so I could gain repentance. I also was bothered by the Christian view of women, marriage, and heaven. Hmmm, seems I had alot of problems! Since Christianity was the only religion I had been exposed to I didn't bother trying to look at others. I mean, I knew being an idol-lover wasn't for me but I didn't check out Judaism or Islam. I became a "conscientious objector" to religion and the idea of God in general.

It wasn't long before I began to consider myself an agnostic, with no clear idea or purpose for my life. However, there was NEVER a time that I did not miss having faith. I felt a hole was in my life but instead of trying to figure out what was missing I just ignored it. Let's fastforward about 17 years. I had been thinking more and more about the deeper issues but really was at a loss still. Then, Alhadulillah!, within the space of three days I met 3 different Muslims from 3 different areas of the world. All of these people, though they had divergent backgrounds, cultures, and even madhabs, showed me such a pure vision of Islam in their lives. I began to think....hmmm. Billions of people can't be wrong.

I started reading and thinking and talking and yes, even attempting to pray again. To be honest, a big "selling point" for me was the Islamic view of women and family, as well as the Qur'anic validation of the natural sciences. I had requested some brochures and booklets from an organization online and of course I was very interested in all of the women's issues. I found a perfect sense to what Islam preached, from the segregation policy between the sexes to the beautiful view of marriage, children, and relations between a husband and his wife. These things all hit a chord in me...I knew instinctly this was just RIGHT. I saw in the Qur'an, very imperfectly at first, an absolutely flawless way of life contained within it's holy pages. SubhanAllah!

After having solely online interaction with these 3 and reading on my own, I thought it was time to branch out, meet some Muslims in person, and maybe, just maybe, ask some questions and get some answers. Long story short, I was put in contact with two wonderful sisters in my city, subhanAllah. They met with me once a week for several weeks, answered questions, sent emails, and just in general kept up with me masha'Allah. I finally felt ready for the BIG step which was attending the local masjid. A day before I went I met up with another sister who also became a beloved friend and she went through the salaah with me. I was soooo glad I did! Otherwise, I would have been really lost that first day at Jum'ah.

In the parking lot of the masjid the sister (who is now my best friend!) helped me put on my hijab. Now, there was no pressure from these sisters to become a full-time hijaabi. Of course, they observed hijab but only after they had been Muslim for a while. I was told not to feel pressured, that the decision would come in time. When I entered the masjid that day (and all those afterwards!) I felt such a sense of peace, of community. And when the time came for salaat I cannot explain how I felt, standing shoulder to shoulder with these devoted women, all prostating themselves before the One and Only god, Allah. I felt the bond of the Ummah, subhanAllah.

When it came time to leave that day, another extraordinary coincidence took place. I stayed longer at the masjid than intended and had to leave straight from Jum'ah to go get my sons from school. Now, before I ever agreed to attend the masjid I made certain I believed the shahaada in my heart. And before I let myself acknowledge the truth of that statement, I made sure I knew what I was getting myself into, so to speak. I am not the type of person to pick and choose what I will believe; it's all or nothing. So I was well aware of the significance of my hijab. As it was, I did not have time to go home and remove my hijab.

I got in my car, realized the time and drove to get my sons. I know all the sisters expected me to remove my hijab once I got to the parking lot but I could NOT remove it. It felt like a sacrilege to consider removing it. At that point, not because of a modesty issue (although, alhamdulillah!, it is very much a part of me now) I could not take it off because I truly believed Allah required it and I felt it would be cowardly to remove it. If I had taken it off then, to me, it would have been like saying, "Well thanks for all the blessings in my life, and thanks for leading me to Islam and stuff, but I don't think I will do as You say." So I did not remove it, masha'Allah. And I can say I have grown stronger in my iman for doing so. Had I removed it, and started that precedent, no telling how long it would have taken me to move into that next phase. Allah knows best and He knows how my mind works and this was exactly what I needed to do.

Alhamdulillah, now I am concentrating on learning more and more about this beautiful deen and trying to daily improve my practice of Islam. I try to engage in activities that strenghten my iman and avoid those that do not. Make du'a for me, sisters and brothers, that I continue to grow and strive for the pleasure of Allah subhana wa ta'ala. Wa salaam... Sr. Jeanna

I converted to Islam in Feb. 2006 alhamdulillah! Ma salaama ya'll!

1 comment:

LivingForOneGod said...

Thank you very much again for letting me post. I did have another mp3 by a Mr. James White from explaining first what Christianity really teaches and why he is a Christian. And yes like the other videos show he does do respectful high class scholarly debates with other respected Muslim apologists and scholars. He also has been studying Arabic for awhile and the Qu'ran and Hadiths.
It also sounds that for being a Southern Baptists church, it was more of a Pentecostal or Charismatic churches you went to. I'm afraid many if not most base their church services on "feeling" instead of good, scholarly expository preaching and Biblical study. As a good Christian would say, we're supposed to believe in something because it's TRUE not because it "feels good" or helps us in this life. So again:

I'll Stop posting links for awhile so don't totally bug ya lol