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