|Written by Sakina bint Erik Marx|
|Sunday, 15 July 2012 18:20|
In these modern times, there are stories of converts joining Islam over the Internet. However, experience has shown that it often requires a face-to-face meeting with one, or a group, of inspirational Muslims, to prompt a convert into actually taking the plunge and joining the religion.
Sometimes, we converts to Islam get tired of answering the question of why we became Muslim. So, in this month’s column we discuss the who; the people we as converts met who inspired us and helped anchor our hearts upon the faith.
“The first Muslims that I met generated discussions about the differences between Christianity and Islam. I was quite impressed not by the Muslims themselves but by the ideology and Islamic principles such as the simplicity, yet depth, practicality and regularity of prayers. Once my interest was provoked I started attending Islamic classes. That’s where I met a Muslim woman whose heart was lit up with the love of Allah. There was so much peace around her, mashaAllah (praise be to Allah)! I used to go to her house and spend time with her and her beautiful daughter. She was so accepting and encouraging, I could tell her all my troubles because I fully trusted her loyalty and wisdom. You could see that Allah was at the centre of her life. She truly inspired me to become a practising Muslim. Although I have moved across the ocean from where she lives, I still think of her and I know that I would be welcomed in her house at any time.”
- Female, converted five years ago
“For me, meeting a Muslim was kind of like a culture shock. I had known this (Muslim) brother for a while and could visibly see that we were different nationalities but it wasn’t until Christmas time came around and I asked what he was doing for the holidays that I realized the major difference between us. It was a total shock for me to hear what his beliefs were as I was only 12 (years old) and thought everyone else was Catholic like me. The shock then led me to learn more about Islam and read the Quran. Although I was so young, I immediately felt that Islam was the right religion, I was just too scared to take the step on my own and felt that my family would never accept it. So, it wasn’t until about 10 years later before I fully entered Islam. I can’t say that it was the brother’s actions or manners that interested me in Islam, as he was not practicing. It was just hearing about the difference in beliefs that sparked an interest to learn on my own. After I became Muslim I was a bit scared to meet other Muslims in person as I was shy and scared to be judged for not wearing the hijab (head scarf). After meeting some great sisters those worries quickly faded and I became motivated to learn and practice more and more.”
- Female convert
“The first time I met a Muslim was 6 years ago. He was nothing that I thought a Muslim was. I thought he was going to try and recruit me into his secret militia organization. I thought he was going to try and brainwash me with propaganda. These ideas came from television sensationalism of course. I was very surprised when this failed to happen which peaked my interest even more. As I began to meet with him to discuss religion, much to my dismay he was very polite, sincere, compassionate, and understanding. These are not characteristics of a terrorist. He never once insulted or attacked my religion, he never called me an infidel, and he never said I was going to Hell. Today he is a very dear brother to me, and I would do anything for him.”
- Male convert
“Among the first Muslims I met was a sister who hosted Islamic classes at her home. I was told by a young woman at the Dawah Centre (this woman’s) address and the time (of the classes). However, when I went to her home, I had woken her. Since I had not attended before, I didn’t know that her class had been cancelled that weekend! I turned, embarrassed and ready to go back on the bus home, but to my surprise she invited me in! I wasn’t yet Muslim so I had a lot of questions which she entertained, and she was patient and hospitable, offering me some breakfast as our children played. My first visit with a Muslim was certainly a seed planted in my heart, and I accepted Islam at one of her gatherings shortly thereafter.”
- Female convert
“Journey Towards the Light” is a column that tells the stories of local converts to Islam with a view to offering support to other new Muslims, and also educating our brothers and sisters born into the faith about the trials and tests that are unique to being a convert.