I grew up in the United States, Philadelphia Pa. I was
raised as a Christian in the Baptist Church. My mother made me go to church
every Sunday and on that day the only music that was allowed to be played was
Gospel. I never liked church very much, it always seemed to me, to be a place
for a fashion show. You had to wear you very best outfit and sit and check out
everybody elses as they came through the door. I would see people nudging each
other as they seen the people come through the door and gossiping about them or
looking at them with their noses in the air. I noticed some were very
uncomfortable about what they had on,because they knew they would be discussed
after the service. I never liked that atmosphere.
Then it came time for
the service, now was the preacher's time to show out. He would start slow and
easy with the preaching and it would build up as he went along. Soon he would
grab the Bible and start preaching and jumping up and down, sweat running
everywhere. The people would get happy with him and start shouting and carrying
on. And it never failed, when the people became excited like that, that they
would pass around the money container,and out of being so fired up they would
give all they had without even thinking about it. I never could understand why,
when the preacher got excited, so did they. It never hit me like that, and I use
to wonder why.
So I use to go home and start reading the Bible. I was
sure I would find my answer in there as to why I wasn't like the rest of the
Holy people. I really thought I wasn't doing something right. But as read the
Bible, I never noticed any of their people in there ever jumping up and down and
getting happy. I remember reading when Jesus was betrayed by one of his
disciples named Judas and he(Jesus)went behind a mountain to pray. I can
remember thinking, who is God (ASTAGHFIRULLAH) praying to? I knew something was
wrong then. So I asked about this to my mother and grandmother and they would
tell me he is praying to the Father. Well that threw me into total confusion and
I went on that way until I was a teenager and concluded that church just wasn't
for me. So I never was a religious person.
I use to notice the Muslim
sisters walking along or on the bus, they stood out to me, I wanted to know what
they were all about, but I didn't know how to approach them. I had a friend and
she told me to greet them with assalaamu alaikum. So I said the next time I see
a Muslim sister I would say that. She told me the Muslims have a book called the
Holy Quran and that they don't eat pork. Neither one of us understood why they
covered like that, but thought it was kind of neat. It made them stand out, and
they always carried themselves so well.
One day I was on the bus going
downtown and a Muslim sister got on the bus, and I greeted her with
assalaamualaikum and she greeted me back,so I asked her where could I get a copy
of the Holy Quran and she told me. The very next day I went and got one. When I
started to read this book, it gave me a good feeling, I could understand it and
I couldn't put it down.
I decided to go into the military and I took the
Quran with me and continued to read it and told my army buddies about what it
said. This continued for three years and I re-enlisted for two more years and
went to Texas. My roomate was a Buddhist and I use to see her do her thing at a
little box and she would chant and ring bells in front of candles. I told her I
was interested in Islam and about what I was reading. One day she went out and
when she came back she handed me a sheet of paper and said: Maybe you would be
interested in this. It was about Islam and where they met at on Fridays. I took
it and threw it in my locker.
About a day or two later I decided to go
to this place and see what Islam was all about. I went and listened to the
khutbah and liked very much what I was hearing. He was talking about the people
and their behavior,and how the women dressed, and sex before marriage. It left a
good impression on me and the sisters were so nice to me. They didn't try to
convert me, but they invited me back. So that next friday I went back again and
again I love the khutbah, what he was saying was a reality, it was true. The
sisters told me they would be having a picnic at the park that next week and
would like for me to join them and I accepted the invitation.
week arrived and off to the park we went. We arrived in the afternoon and I
watched while the brothers covered the ground with white sheets. I thought to
myself, this is where we will sit and eat. While the sisters and I were sitting
on a bench a brother got up took off his shoes and stood in the middle of the
sheets, put his hands up to his ears and started singing (at lest that's what i
thought) and I said to myself: What on earth is he doing? I asked the sister
close to me what was he doing and she said this is a call to prayer. Then I
watched them as they made the Sunnah prayer. While one was standing up another
was bending over and yet another had his face to the ground. I sat and observed.
When they all had finished another brother came and called again to prayer, but
this time everybody got up and made lines like we did in the army. One man was
in front, while all other made were behind him in rows, just like we did in
formation. The women were in the back farther away. And they started to pray. I
had never seen anything so amazing in my whole entire life, I was so overwhelmed
when I saw that.
I knew right then and there I wanted to be a Muslim.
When the day was over I told them I would come back the next week and I did, but
this time I told the sister I wanted to be a Muslim and they told their Imam and
I took the shahadah. That was the happiest day of my life. All the sisters
hugged me and congradulated me, I felt like I had been lifted into a new world
and I never felt any difference until this very day. Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil
May Allah (SWT) guide us all to accept His decree. May Allah
(SWT) make us all strong in following, practicing and accepting this great deen
in its entirety, and may Allah (SWT) give us the strength, faith and support to
fight our desires. Ameen!!!