Friday, 17 June 2011

How I came to embrace Islam

How I came to embrace Islam

My name is Khadija and this is the story of how my husband and
I came to embrace Islam.

I can remember standing in the kitchen of the house I lived in
when I was just 7 or 8 years old and looking towards the door that
went outside. I prayed to a god whom I wasn't sure existed and I
begged Him to show himself to me if He was really there. Nothing

I can remember being 9 or 10 years old and writing a letter to
God and hiding it in the heat register in my bedroom, thinking God,
if He existed, would come and retrieve it and answer my prayers.
But the next day, the letter was still there.

I had always had a hard time accepting the existence of God, and
of understanding the beliefs taught in Christian churches. Even
though my parents weren't very religious, and rarely went to church,
they thought it was best that my two brothers and I go. We were
allowed to choose our religion when we very young. I think I was
about 6 or 7, and my brothers were 1 and 2 years older then I. I
chose a Methodist church for no other reason then it was a few blocks
away from our house, and my

brothers chose a Lutheran church because it was also close, and
I hadn't chosen it.

I went to the church until I was 13 years old. I was baptized and
confirmed there when I was 11. I went along with the baptism and
confirmation because all children who were 11 received confirmation,
and if they hadn't already been baptized, that was done at the same
time. Even then I knew that doubts about God and Chirstian teachings
were things best kept to myself.

When I was 13 my family moved to another town with no churches
within walking distance, and my parents weren't eager to get up
early and drive us kids to church, and so our religious training
stopped until I was 15 and my mom suddenly found religion. She began
attending an Assembly of God church, occasionally dragging my dad
along. I went willingly. I had already begun a search for God that
wouldn't end until I was 42 years old.

I remember being "born again". Caught up in the fervor
of the hell and damnation that the minister preached at the Assembly
of God church. I became "high on religion" thinking I
had finally found "Him." Little did I know, but the high
would be short lived, as I again began to have doubts and unanswered

When I was 17 I met the daughter of an assistant Baptist minister
and began going to their church. I had been sexually abused by my
dad from the time I was at least 6 years old and I told the assistant
minister about it. He arranged with my parents to let me live with
him and his family in a type of "private foster care."
My dad paid him $100 a week. My parents also attended the church
for a brief time, until the minister announced on the pulpit that
my dad was a child molester. Before that though, my mom, dad and
I were each baptized at the church.

One day after spending the day with my parents I returned to my
foster home only to find the house empty. Cleaned out. Not a stick
of furniture. We found out that the minister had been caught embezzling
from the church and he and his family had left town in a hurry.
I returned to my parents home and the abuse.

As a result of what that minister had done, what little faith I
had in God was totally lost and I became an atheist. For the next
25 years I would fluctuate between believing, Agnosticism, and Atheism.

When I was 26 I went to 3 months of Rights of Initiation for Catholic
Adults and then was baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic
Church. I had been allowed to by-pass the full year of classes because
I hadn't called the church to inquire about converting until 3 months
before the Easter Vigil Mass when confirmation for adults was held.

I had entered the Catholic religion with the same philosophy that
I had once heard Alcoholics Anonymous has, "Bring your body,
your mind will follow." I didn't really believe in God, or
in the core teachings of the Catholic Church, but I wanted so badly
to believe in a power higher then myself, that I went faithfully
to mass 7 days a week, hoping that somehow I would start to believe.
But after several months, I began to realize that it wasn't going
to happen, and my mass attendance became a once a week thing, then
once a month, until when I was 30 and met the man who today is my
husband and who wasn't Catholic, I stopped attending mass altogether.

I had never told anyone, before my husband, that I didn't believe
in God. I don't think he took me seriously at first. I don't think
he had ever known an Atheist. And he couldn't understand why I would
have been going to church if I didn't believe in God.

My husband is 29 years older then me. We've had a wonderful marriage
for these last 10 years. When we first met, I still

desperately wanted to believe, and kept making him promise me that
"Wen you get to Heaven" he would ask God to give me the
strength to believe, and he if at all possible, he would give me
a sign, one that I couldn't chalk up to my imagination, so I would
know there really was a god. He always promised me he would.

We were living in rural Alabama when I was 32 years old. I developed
ulcerations on both corneas and when they healed, I was legally
blind. Because of damage from infection that had been done to the
tissue that donated corneas would have to adhere to, I couldn't
find an eye surgeon who believed that transplanted corneas wouldn't
be rejected.

I was still searching for God. I was searching for hope of something
better then what this world had to offer. Some kind of

evidence of the chance for existence after death. Some way to achieve

As a teenager I had watched Pat Robertson on the 700 Club, and
as a young adult I listened to faithfully Jimmy Saggert. In my 30's
I watched programs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. All the
while hoping that one of the ministers would say something that
would click in my mind, and I would finally know, "Yes, there
really is a god." None of them ever said anything that caused
that connection to happen, though many said things that confused
me even more.

During the first 10 years after I became legally blind, I tried
attending different churches, Baptist again, Assembly of God

again, non-Denominational, Church of God, Mormon, and even studied
up on Wicca. But I always lost interest after just a few months.
Things the religions taught just didn't add up. There were just
too many things left to faith. Things that had no proof other then
one's faith. I couldn't believe something when the only proof were
some words in a book that in large part didn't make sense.

I remember one night when I was about 35 years old, lying in bed
and praying to God, whom I still wasn't sure existed, and asking
Him that if He did exist to lead me to someone who could help me
to believe. But I found no one.

At age 36 I acquired a braille Bible and started reading it, once
again hoping to find proof of God's existnace. But with the Bible
being so hard to understand, with so much of it not really being
explainable, I lost interest after reading just a few of its books.
At about that time, though still wanting to find God, I gave up
my search. I had become completely disallusioned with religion.

On September 11, 2001 I was sitting at my computer. It was before
9 a.m. and as usual the televsion, which was sitting to my right,
was turned on for background noise. I heard the sound that is made
to notify viewers of an important news announcement. I stopped and
turned towards the TV. A reporter began talking and one of the towers
of the World Trade Center showed in the background. He said an accident
had happened. A small plane had hit one of the towers of the World
Trade Center. I'm legally blind, but I could see well enough to
know that it wasn't a small plane that had hit the tower. The hole
was massive. And I didn't think it was possible to accidently hit
something so big.

As I watched, another plane flew into the other tower. I couldn't
see the plane itself, it was too small for me to see even during
the instant replays with my face practically pressed up against
the screen, but I saw the fireball that exploded away from the building.

I jumped up and ran into the bedroom and told my husband to hurry
and get up because terrorists were flying planes into the World
Trade Center buildings! He immediately got out of bed and came in
to the living room and sat in his recliner and began to watch. It
was about 9 a.m.

As time went by it was announced that a plane had been flown into
the Pentagon and another hijacked plane had crashed in

Pennsylvania. I wondered when it would end? And what in the world
was going on??? At one point the reporter said it looked like "debris"
was falling from the buildings. My husband said it was people jumping.
Something he has never been able to forget. I was grateful that
my vision was to bad for me to be able to make out what even looked
like "debris." The reporter said a part of the first tower
had fallen away from the building. He spoke in a kind of hesitant
voice. Now I wonder if he was unsure of what he was seeing. Because
we later found out that a part of the building hadn't fallen away.
The building had completely collapsed.

A female reporter was crying and a male reporter hugged her. I
was crying too. And my husband hugged me.

For weeks afterward I would start crying for no apparent reason.
I'd be riding on the bus and have to turn my head towards the window
and pretend I was looking out so that other riders wouldn't see
the tears escaping my eyes.

When we were in a restaurant, I'd have to use my napkin to dab
the tears welling up in my eyes before the other diners noticed
and wondered if I was some kind of a nut.

I was Christian then and I cared. And I was devastated. I couldn't
understand how a religion could promote such violence, as the media
was saying Islam did. It made no sense to me. So I decided to find
out for myself. One way or another I wanted to know the truth. Because
of my partial blindness I was limited to information from the internet.
Finding braille books about Islam

in braille or ink print that was large enough for me to read was
impossible. I was able to use a computer because I had magnification
software installed so I could enlarge the font on the screen to
a size that I could read.

I did searches and I began to read about Islam. I went to web sites
that taught the basics of Islam, and I joined Muslim women's e-groups
where I was able to ask and get answers that I confirmed through
further research.

I've always been a skeptic. It's always been hard for me to believe
something that I didn't understand. I was never one to

believe something simply because someone said it was so. I had to
know it in my mind as well as in my heart.

While studying Islam I learned that the god Muslims worship is
the same god as that of Christians and Jews. The god of Abraham
and Moses. I found that Islam doesn't promote or condone hatred
of non- Muslims, nor does it condone the killing of innocent people.

By studying Islam I found the answers that the media wasn't telling
us and I came to know that Islam is the True Religion. I

read a lot of convincing evidence, but the things that proved to
me that there is a god, and that Islam is the True Religon and

that that the Qur'an is the Word of God, were those in the Qur'an
itself. The things that are of a scientific nature. Things that

have only been discovered by scientists only in the last 100 years.
The only one who could have known those things 1400 years ago was

For example, One day I was at a web site that was about some of
the scientific proofs in the Qur'an. One of the verses in the

Qur'an tells about the death of our own solar system.

Al-Rahman 37-38 "When the sky is torn apart, so it was (like)
a red rose like ointment. Then which of the favors of your lord
will you deny?"

There was a link that went to the NASA web site.

When I clicked the link I had no idea what was going to be on the
next page, but what I saw took my breath away. Tears came to my
eyes. I knew - if I had had any doubts left - I knew at the moment,
that Islam is the True Religion of God.

The page the link took me to showed what looked like a red rose.
It was the "Cat's Eye Nebula." Which was an exploding
star 3000 light years away. It had been photographed with the Hubble
Space Telescope. Scientists say that it is the same fate that awaits
our own solar system. Muslims refer to it as the "Rose Nebula."
It had been described in the Qur'an 1400 years ago. People back
then had no way of knowing about it. Only God could have known.

On September 12, 2002, the day of my birthday, scientists again
using the Hubble Space Telescope found a second Rose Nebula. A gift
from God to all mankind. This time the scientists called it by its
rightful name, "The Rose Nebula."

After accepting in my mind as well as in my heart that Islam is
the True Religion, I knew that I was already a Muslim and the only
thing left to do was to profess my faith.

I looked in an internet directory for mosques in my community.
I called the one in the next town and told the person who answered
the phone that I wanted to convert to Islam, and asked him when
I could make my Shahada. He told me to be there at 4 p.m. on Saturday
when the imam would also be there. I told him that I ride the bus
everywhere and it wouldn't be running late enough for me to be able
to get back home and so could I come earlier? He said not to worry,
someone would give me a ride home. I arrived as scheduled, and as
God had scheduled, so began my new life.

I have since come to realize that on that day, the greatest event
of my life occurred. I had always thought that the most wonderful
thing to ever happen to me was the day that I married my husband.
But I now know it wasn't. The most importnat day of my life was
the day I made my Shahada and accepted Islam as the way of life
God intended me to live. It was the day I acknowledged that Islam
is the way to salvation, to Heaven, and I made a choice to practice

I can't say my husband was thrilled by my reverting to Islam. He
believed what the media was saying about Muslims and the religion.
He didn't like it that I went to the mosque several evenings a week
and left him home alone to be bored. One night after he was finished
complaining about me going yet again I sat down a few feet away
from him and I calmly told him, "I will never ask you to practice
a religion you don't believe in. I love you too much to try and
force that on you. But I do want you to learn about Islam so that
you will at least understand what it is that I believe." I
then stood up and went into the bedroom and finished dressing to
go to the mosque. I kissed him goodbye and I left.

When I returned home I found his whole attitude had changed. He
was bright and cheerful. That night, before going to bed, he began
to learn about Islam.

My husband began going to the mosque with me. While I studied with
the sisters, he would talk with a brother and ask him questions.
At home he read things on the internet, and books that he had borrowed
from the mosque. We would discuss different things he was learning,
and when a reporter on television would relate the latest lie or
myth I would point things out to him and explain the truth.

When the day came and he told me about how some aspect of Islam
was to be practiced, in a "know it all" tone of voice,
as if it were a fact, something that I myself didn't know about,
I asked him to tell me "How do you know that???" and he
replied, "Because it's in the Qur'an!" I was stunned!
He believed! He knew that Islam was True! If it was in the Qur'an,
as far as he was concerned it was true! Thirty-six days after I
publically professed my faith in God and His messenger, prophet
Muhammad, my husband professed his. We had an Islamic marriage ceremony
the same evening. I cried when my husband made his Shahada. I knew
we would be in Eternity together!

A month before, a brother had asked me what I thought the chances
of my husband converting were. I didn't want the brother getting
his hopes up, or expecting more of me then I could deliver and so
I bluntly told him, "Zero." I said, "I can't imagnine
someone so dramatically changing their beliefs after having believed
something else for 70 years." But 14 days before his 71st birthday
he embraced Islam as his religion and his way of life.

In the Muslim community we have found another family. We have found
friendship, love and acceptance that was taught in the Christian
religions we practiced at different points in our lives, but that
we felt never actually existed among most of the members of the
churches we went to.

Most of the Muslims in our area are immigrants, but we have found
no intolerance of Americans weather they are Muslim or not. We were
both welcomed into the family of Islam the very first time each
of us went to the mosque. We've always felt welcome and accepted.

Since embracing Islam We have found direction and purpose for our
lives. We have found the meaning for our existance. We have come
to realize that we really are here only for a short time and that
what comes afterwards is far better then the fleeting pleasures
that this world has to offer us.

I have found a sense of security concerning life after death that
I had never known before. We have both come to see the problems
that we once saw as being major as actually being opportunities
to grow. We thank God for what we do have, as well for what we don't.

Today we are Muslim. We still care about 9/11. I still cry when
I think a little too much about the events of that day. My husband
still remembers the people jumping from the buildings. We wish all
we could say about that day was where we had been when we "heard"
that the WTC had been attacked. But we did see it happen, and it
was the most devastating thing to ever happen in our lives. But
from tragedy came victory. From death has come the knowledge that
we will have life after our death. And it will be spent together.


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