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I Found Islam.. “I Found the Qur’an”

Shakeel Malik shares his story of how he converted to Islam. He found a copy of the Qur’an at a Buddhist temple, and then he found the truth, and thus  was guided to Islam. It was the beginning of change.

When he was  Christian, Shakeel acknowledges, he didn’t believe in Jesus, but now as a Muslim he knows he does believe in Jesus.

Learn more about his conversion story from his own words in the video below…

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Source: MercyforMankind.net

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World Converts to Islam 2010

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An American Christian Converts to Islam

Greg was raised in a predominantly Christian family. After finishing high school Greg was introduced to the God in Islam. Watch this video to know how this 23 year old American came to Islam.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Belief in Scriptures

Belief in the scriptures revealed by God is the third article of Islamic faith.We can identify four main reasons for the revelation of scriptures:(1) The scripture revealed to a prophet is a point of reference to learn the religion and obligations towards God and fellow human beings. God reveals Himself and explains the purpose of human creation through revealed scriptures.

(2) By referring to it, ‘disputes and differences between its followers in matter of religious belief and practice or in matters of social practice could be settled.

(3) The scriptures are meant to keep the religion safe from corruption and deterioration, at least for some time after the death of the prophet. At the present time, the Quran revealed to our Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the only scripture to remain safe from corruption.

(4) It is God’s proof against human beings. They are not allowed to oppose or overstep it.

A Muslim firmly believes that divinely revealed books were actually revealed by the Compassionate God to His prophets to guide mankind. The Quran is not the only spoken Word of God, but God also spoke to prophets before Prophet Muhammad.

“…and to Moses God spoke directly.” (Quran 4:164)

God describes true believers are those who:

“…believe in what has been sent down to you (Muhammad) and what has been sent down before you…” (Quran 2:4)

The most important and central message of all scriptures was to worship God and God alone.

“And we sent never a prophet before you except that we revealed to him, saying, ‘there is no God but I, so worship Me.’” (Quran 21:25)

Islam is more inclusive in the holy revelations it affirms than any other heavenly religion in its present form.

Muslims uphold and respect the following scriptures:

(i) The Quran itself, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

(ii) The Torah (Tawrah in Arabic) revealed to the Prophet Moses (different from the Old Testament read today).

(iii) The Gospel (Injeel in Arabic) revealed to Prophet Jesus (different from the New Testament read in churches today).

(iv) The Psalms (Zaboor in Arabic) of David.

(v) The Scrolls (Suhuf in Arabic) of Moses and Abraham.

Third, Muslims believe whatever is true in them and has neither been altered or deliberately misconstrued.

Fourth, Islam affirms that God revealed the Quran as a witness over the previous scriptures and confirmation of them, because He says therein:

“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (the Quran) in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and trustworthy in highness and a witness over it (the collection of old scriptures)…” (Quran 5:48)

Meaning the Quran confirms whatever is true in previous scriptures and rejects whatever alterations and changes human hands have made to them.
Original Scriptures and the Bible

We must distinguish between two matters: the original Torah, Gospel, and Psalms and the present day Bible. The originals were God’s revelation, but thepresent day Bible does not have the exact original scripture.

No divine scripture exists today in the original language it was revealed in, except the Quran. The Bible was not revealed in English. Different books of today’s Bible are at best tertiary translations and different versions exist. These multiple translations were done by people whose knowledge, skill, or honesty is not known. As a result, some bibles are larger than others and have contradictions and internal inconsistencies! No originals exist. The Quran, on the other hand, is the only scripture in existence today in its original language and words. Not one letter of the Quran has been changed since its revelation. It is internally consistent with no contradictions. It is today as it was revealed 1400 years ago, transmitted by a rock-solid tradition of memorization and writing. Unlike other sacred texts, the entire Quran has been memorized by almost every Islamic scholar and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Muslims, generation after generation!

The previous scriptures essentially consist of:

(i) Stories of man’s creation and earlier nations, prophesies of what was to come like signs before the Judgment Day, appearance of new prophets, and other news.

The stories, prophecies, and news in the Bible read in churches and synagogues today are partly true and partly false. These books consist of some translated fragments of the original scripture revealed by God, words of some prophets, mixed with explanations of scholars, errors of scribes, and outright malicious insertions and deletions. Quran, the final and trustworthy scripture, helps us sort out fact from fiction. For a Muslim, it is the criterion to judge the truth from the falsehood in these stories. For example, the Bible still contains some clear passages pointing to God’s unity.[1] Also, some prophecies regarding the Prophet Muhammad are found in the Bible as well.[2] Yet, there are passages, even whole books, almost entirely recognized to be forgeries and the handiwork of men.[3]

(ii) Law and rulings, the allowed and prohibited, like the Law of Moses.

If we were to assume the law, that is the lawful and the prohibited, contained in the previous books did not suffer corruption, the Quran still abrogates those rulings, it cancels the old law which was suitable for its time and is no longer applicable today. For example, the old laws pertaining to diet, ritual prayer, fasting, inheritance, marriage and divorce have been cancelled (or, in many cases, reaffirmed) by the Islamic Law.
The Holy Quran

The Quran is different from other scriptures in the following respects:

(1) The Quran is miraculous and inimitable. Nothing similar to it can be produced by human beings.

(2) After the Quran, no more scriptures will be revealed by God. Just as the Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet, the Quran is the last scripture.

(3) God has taken it upon Himself to protect the Quran from alteration, to safeguard it from corruption, and to preserve it from distortion. On the other hand, previous scriptures suffered alteration and distortion and do not remain in their originally revealed form.

(4) The Quran, for one, confirms early scriptures and, for another, is a trustworthy witness over them.

(5) The Quran abrogates them, meaning it cancels the rulings of the previous scriptures and renders them inapplicable. The Law of the old scriptures is no longer applicable; the previous rulings have been abrogated with the new Law of Islam.

Footnotes:

[1] For example the declaration of Moses: “Hear, O Israel The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and the announcement of Jesus: “…The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Mark 12:29).

[2] Refer to (Deuteronomy 18:18), (Deuteronomy 33:1-2), (Isaiah 28:11), (Isaiah 42:1-13), (Habakkuk 3:3), (John 16:13), (John 1:19-21), (Matthew 21:42-43), and more.

[3] For example, refer to books of the Apocrypha.

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Prophethood in Islam

Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience.

Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience.

Prophethood is not unknown to heavenly revealed religions, such as Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and significance.

According to Islam, Allah created man for a noble purpose: to worship Him and lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and guidance. How would man know his role and the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do? Here comes the need for prophethood. Thus Allah has chosen from every nation at least one Prophet to convey His Message to people.

One might ask, how were the prophets chosen and who were entitled to this great honor?

Prophethood is Allah’s blessing and favor that He may bestow on whom He wills. However, from surveying the various messengers throughout history, three features of a prophet may be recognized:

1. He is the best in his community morally and intellectually. This is necessary because a prophet’s life serves as a role model for his followers. His personality should attract people to accept his message rather than drive them away by his imperfect character. After receiving the message, he is infallible. That is, he would not commit any sin. He might make some minor mistakes, which are usually corrected by revelation.

2. He is supported by miracles to prove that he is not an imposter. Those miracles are granted by the power and permission of God and are usually in the field in which his people excel and are recognized as superior. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three prophets of the major world religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Moses’ (peace be upon him) contemporaries were excellent in magic, so his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians of Egypt of his day. Jesus’ (peace be upon him) contemporaries were recognized as skilled physicians; therefore, his miracles were to raise the dead and cure incurable diseases. The Arabs, the contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), were known for their eloquence and magnificent poetry. So Prophet Muhammad’s major miracle was the Qur’an, the equivalent of which the whole legion of Arab poets and orators could not produce, despite the repeated challenge from the Qur’an itself.

Again, Muhammad’s miracle has something special about it. All previous miracles were limited by time and place; that is, they were shown to specific people at a specific time. Not so with the miracle of Prophet Muhammad; the Qur’an. It is a universal and everlasting miracle. Previous generations witnessed it and future generations will witness its miraculous nature in terms of its style, content and spiritual uplifting. These can still be tested and will thereby prove the divine origin of the Qur’an.

3. Every prophet states clearly that what he receives is not of his own, but from God for the well-being of mankind. He also confirms what was revealed before him and what may be revealed after him. A prophet does this to show that he is simply conveying the message that is entrusted to him by the One True God of all people in all ages. So the message is one in essence and for the same purpose. Therefore, it should not deviate from what was revealed before him or what might come after him.

Prophets are necessary for conveying God’s instructions and guidance to mankind. We have no way of knowing why we were created. What will happen to us after death? Is there any life after death? Are we accountable for our actions? These and so many other questions about God, angels, paradise, hell, and more, cannot be answered without direct revelation from the Creator and Knower of the unseen. Those answers must be authentic and must be brought by individuals whom we trust and respect. That is why messengers are the elite of their societies in terms of moral conduct and intellectual ability.

Hence, the slanderous Biblical stories about some of the great prophets are not accepted by Muslims. For example, Lot is reported to have committed incestuous fornication while drunk. David is alleged to have sent one of his leaders to his death in order to marry his wife. Prophets, to Muslims, are greater than what these stories indicate. These stories cannot be true from the Islamic point of view.

The prophets are also miraculously supported by God and instructed by Him to affirm the continuity of the message. The content of the prophets’ message to mankind can be summarized as follows:

a) Clear concept of God: His attributes, His creation, what should and should not be ascribed to Him.

b) Clear idea about the unseen world, the angels, jinn (spirits), Paradise and Hell.

c) Why God has created us, what He wants from us and what rewards and punishments are for obedience and disobedience.

d) How to run our societies according to His will. That is, clear instructions and laws that, when applied correctly and honestly, will result in a smoothly functioning, harmonious society.

It is clear from the above discussion that there is no substitute for prophets. Even today with the advancement of science, the only authentic source of information about the supernatural world is revelation. Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience. The first is too materialistic and limited; the second is too subjective and frequently misleading.

Now one might ask:

How many prophets has God sent to humanity?

We do not know for sure. Some Muslim scholars have suggested 240,000 prophets. We are only sure of what is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an, that God has sent a messenger to every nation. That is because it is one of God’s principles that He will never call a people to account unless He has made clear to them what to do and what not to do. The Qur’an mentions the names of 25 prophets and indicates that there have been others who were not mentioned to Prophet Muhammad. These 25 include Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). These five are the greatest among God’s messengers. They are called ‘the resolute’ prophets.

An outstanding aspect of the Islamic belief in prophethood is that Muslims believe in and respect all the messengers of God with no exceptions. All the prophets came from the same One God, for the same purpose: to lead mankind to God. Hence, belief in them all is essential and logical; accepting some and rejecting others has to be based on misconceptions of the prophet’s role or on a racial bias.

The Muslims are the only people in the world who consider the belief in all the prophets an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them), and the Christians reject Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Muslims accept them all as Messengers of God who brought guidance to mankind. However, the revelations which those prophets before Muhammad brought from God has been tampered with in one way or another.

The belief in all the prophets of God is enjoined upon the Muslims in the Qur’an:

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered. (Al-Baqarah 2:136)

The Qur’an continues in the following verses to instruct the Muslims that this is the true and impartial belief. If other nations believe in the same, they are following in the right track. If they do not, they must be following their own whims and biases and God will take care of them. Thus we read:

And if they believe in what you believe, then they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. This is God’s religion and who is better than God in religion? (Al-Baqarah 2:137-138)

There are, at least, two important points related to prophethood that need to be clarified. These points concern the roles of Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) as prophets, who are usually misunderstood.

The Qur’anic account of Jesus emphatically rejects the concept of his ‘divinity’ and ‘divine sonship’ and presents him as one of the great prophets of God. The Qur’an makes it clear that the birth of Jesus without a father does not make him the son of God and mentions, in this respect, Adam, who was created by God without a father or mother.

Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust, them said He unto him “Be”, and he was. (Aal `Imran 3:59)

Like other prophets, Jesus also performed miracles. For example, he raised the dead and cured the blind and lepers, but while showing these miracles, he always made it clear that it was all from God. Actually, the misconceptions about the personality and mission of Jesus found a way among his followers because the divine message he preached was not recorded during his presence in the world. Rather, it was recorded after a lapse of about one hundred years. According to the Qur’an, he was sent to the children of Israel; he confirmed the validity of the Torah, which was revealed to Moses, and he also brought the glad tidings of a final Messenger after him.

And when Jesus son of Mary said, “Children of Israel. I am indeed the messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be the praised one. (As-Saff 61:6)

(The “praised one” is the translation of “Ahmad”, which is Prophet Muhammad’s name.)

However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. They plotted against his life and in their opinion, crucified him. But the Qur’an refutes this opinion and says that they neither killed him nor crucified him; rather, he was raised up to God. There is a verse in the Qur’an which implies that Jesus will come back and all the Christians and Jews will believe in him before he dies. This is also supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The last Prophet of God, Muhammad, was born in Arabia in the sixth century C.E. Up to the age of forty, people of Makkah knew him only as a man of excellent character and cultured manners and called him Al-Ameen (the trustworthy).

He also did not know that he was soon to be made a prophet and receiver of revelation from God. He called the idolaters of Makkah to worship the one and only God and accept him (Muhammad) as His prophet. The revelation that he received was preserved in his lifetime in the memory of his companions and was also recorded on pieces of palm leaf, leather, etc. Thus the Qur’an that is found today is the same that was revealed to him, not a syllable of it has been altered, as God Himself has guaranteed its preservation. This Qur’an claims to be the book of guidance for all of humanity for all times, and mentions Muhammad as the last Prophet of God.

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Source: iiie.net

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

Latino Americans Are Eagerly Absorbing Islam

Latino Americans_Texas

“Islam brings about a clear sense of asking for forgiveness or repentance directly to God, without having an intermediary.”

Growing up was rough for Jaime Fletcher in Houston. He moved from Colombia to Texas when he was 8. In high school, kids splintered off into ethnic gangs. One day, he says an African-American gang leader attacked him.

“And so I just fought back, and because I beat him, beat up the gang leader, by default, they thought it was another gang. And I was the leader,” Fletcher recalls.

Fletcher says being in a gang became a matter of survival. He saw friends get shot and thrown in jail.  He says when he got a little older, he got caught up chasing women, driving fast cars and drinking too much.

“One night that I was with a friend of mine who I’d grown up with, after leaving a club and drinking, we were sitting outside of his house. He looked at the liquor that he had in his hands and he said, ‘I can’t believe I’m still doing this.’

“And I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘I can’t believe I’m still doing this after having gone to Makkah.’ And I asked him, ‘What is Makkah?’ And he said, ‘It’s where the House of God is.’

“And that was strange for me. He said, ‘Islam is the true religion of God.’ And I said, ‘Well everybody says their religion is the truth.’”

Like most Latinos, Fletcher was raised in a Catholic family, but he says his parents also encouraged him to find his own truth. After briefly studying Christianity, Judaism, Taoism and Buddhism, Fletcher came to believe Islam was, in fact, the true religion of God.

Between Islam and Christianity

He converted and now goes by the name Mujahid Fletcher. He says Islam incorporated the family values he liked from Catholicism, while getting rid of one big disadvantage: confession to a priest.

“Islam brings about a clear sense of asking for forgiveness or repentance directly to God, without having an intermediary,” Fletcher says.

That holds great appeal for many Muslim converts, says Katherine Ewing, a professor of religion at Columbia University.

“There are frustrations with the structure of the Catholic Church, the hierarchy. A number (of Catholics) say that they’re kind of bored with the mass, that it doesn’t seem related to their everyday needs,” she adds.

Ewing says Islam and Protestantism are addressing those voids for many Latino Catholics.

Upward Trend

It’s difficult to estimate how many Latinos in the US have converted to Islam. Ewing puts the figure somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000. Still modest numbers, but Ewing says there’s a clear upward trend.

Latinos aren’t simply being pushed away by the Catholic Church, many Latinos have been pulled toward Islam, especially since September 11th, says Ewing. She says after the hijackings – and the immediate backlash against Muslims – Muslims began to reach out to outside communities to explain who they were. And many non-Muslims grew more curious about Islam.

“Maybe they saw it (Islam) as this terrorist organization and wanted to find out more about why Muslims would become terrorists,” says Ewing.

“They started to do Internet research, or to read the Qur’an to find out if it really advocated violence. And many, as they did that, actually saw Islam as a peaceful religion, as something that had more familiarity than they expected. They also found some of the beauty of the tradition as they explored further.”

Maryam Masjid, Texas

Maryam Masjid community in Sugar Land, Texas

That’s what Mujahid Fletcher found, and he wanted other Latinos to find this too. Problem though: Islamic texts aren’t easily accessible in Spanish. So, Fletcher began doing translations and making audio recordings of the verses.

Eagerness to Learn

Fletcher now runs a company called Islam in Spanish. He and his father, who also converted to Islam, have recorded more than 500 CDs and 200 cable access TV shows about Islam.

“The end goal with Islam in Spanish is to educate Latinos about Islam worldwide,” he says.

I visited Fletcher at the Maryam Islamic Center, his mosque in Sugar Land, an affluent suburb of Houston. The large mosque looked like something you’d find in the Middle East or Turkey – an attractive building with high, arched entrances, pillars and two minarets. There are reminders you’re in Texas though: Young boys were playing basketball on a court in front near the parking lot.

There were about 100 people at the evening prayer the night I went. Fletcher counted himself as the only Latino. Fletcher says Latino Muslims are spread out in small pockets in big cities like Houston.

I also met Daniel Abdullah Hernandez, an imam at a mosque about 30 minutes away in the city of Pearland. Hernandez, a Puerto Rican-American who was raised Catholic, was also a gang member. He says he got drunk a lot and spent a lot of times at clubs. He says Islam helped turn him into a responsible husband and father.

“In the beginning, people think it’s a phase. My mother, after two years of seeing my transformation, she became a Muslim,” Hernandez says. His father and brother converted as well.

Together, the family visited Egypt to study Islam, a trip that cleared up any doubts they had about becoming Latino Muslims.

“Me and my family were feeling that we were going to be lonely during the holidays,” he says. “And that first year, we’re sitting with other Hispanics breaking bread and eating, and we were all amazed.”

For most Latinos though, Catholicism is more than just a religion, it can be about cultural identity. Even non-devout Latinos can have Virgin of Guadalupe altars set up in their homes. So while Islam, or other religions, may be replacing the Catholic religion for some Latinos, replacing the cultural connection to the Catholic Church, could be much harder.

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Source: pri.org

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

Islam Fastest-Growing Religion in Ireland

By: Maggie Armstrong

Islam Fastest-Growing Religion in Ireland

It is estimated that up to 500 Irish people convert to Islam every year.

Islam is Ireland’s fastest-growing religion, with the number of Muslims recorded in the 2011 Census – 48,130 – expected to reach 100,000 by 2020. In a country where only 34pc of approximately 3.8 million Catholics attend Mass, many people are drifting away from religion. But a small number are finding that Islamic beliefs and practices, which allow for a peaceful and community-oriented life, fit their spiritual needs.

Growing Community

It is estimated that up to 500 Irish people convert to Islam every year. There is no official register and no baptism – to convert you simply have to recite the Testimony of Faith (Shahadah) in front of two Muslim witnesses.

While more women convert than men, and most conversions are for marriage, people can have very personal reasons for converting – or reverting as it is known in the Islamic faith, in which it is believed that everyone was born Muslim.

Ireland has a thriving Muslim community. Building begins next year on what is set to be the biggest Islamic cultural center in the country, in Clongriffin on Dublin’s northside. There are mosques and dedicated primary schools in each of our cities. And unlike the situation in France, there is no policy against Muslim girls wearing the hijab (veil) to school.

Support for converts is offered by the Muslim Sisters of Eire, an organization run by Irish Muslim women, and at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh, Dublin, where theologian Dr. Ali Salem teaches a course for new Muslims.

“When people revert, they can be very enthusiastic,” says Dr Salem. “We teach a moderate understanding of Islam, and we also teach them (converts) how to change their lives gradually.”

Aishah (formerly Liza) Caulfield (36, crèche worker)

I come from Irishtown in Dublin 4, born and bred Irish. I became interested in Islam around 12 years ago.

My lifestyle wasn’t typically Irish on the social level. I wasn’t going to nightclubs and I wasn’t into drinking. I always wondered if there was a group of people out there who had a quieter lifestyle, a faith that matched how I lived my life.

I was missing a piece of the puzzle, and I was always searching. I already fitted this religion – I just needed to find it.

Through research I kept coming across Islam. I wasn’t very outward about it at the beginning. When 9/11 happened I thought, “Right, maybe not now, but I’ll continue looking”. I took the Testimony of Faith (the Shahadah), three years ago and got married last year to a Muslim from Mauritius.

My dad said, “It’s about time”, when I took the Shahadah. My family bought me hijabs and my dad was like, “I’ll get you one of those Qur’ans.” He was very hands-on. He’s a staunch Catholic, goes to confession every month and Mass every Sunday. He’d be praying morning and night.

I’m definitely happier. Islam is a quieter, more peaceful way of life. There’s a great sense of unity – our prayer times change day-to-day as the sun rises and sets. Everybody who’s Muslim, a quarter of the inhabitants of the world, is facing Mecca and praying at the same time. That is a very powerful and sacred feeling, putting your face to the floor and submitting to God.

The one big change is wearing the hijab. I wear it because it’s a sign of my devotion to God. It shows humility with my husband and with the male members of my family. For me my beauty is my hair and my body, and that’s not for everyone.

I also wear it because one part of my faith is to discuss Islam with non-Muslims. If I’m in the supermarket and someone hears my Ringsend accent, they’ll ask, “Oh, how long are you here, love?” And I’ll reply, “Actually, I’m Irish”. It’s a way of sharing your faith with people, of saying: “Don’t be afraid of us – we’re all human, we all come and go the one way.”

I always dressed modestly. I was never comfortable with showing the figure off. We’re living in a society where people feel threatened because I choose to not show my body, whereas you have girls as young as 11 or 12 who take it to the extreme.

You should be valued for your soul and your personality, not because of how much of your body you show – that’s private, and that’s my beauty.

People often look at Muslim women and think we must feel oppressed. I, for example, when got married, I was given a dowry (mahr) which is a right of the woman in Islam.

You’re going to hear negative stuff in the media – “Oh, the poor Afghan women” and that – but I often say to people: “Please, don’t confuse culture with the faith itself.”

Bridget Darby (68, retired hotel manager)

I was born in Trim into a Catholic family. In the 1950s you were brought up in the fear of God and told, “You’ll be punished, you’ll go to hell”. It was the culture and you did what you were told.

When I was 18 I went to England to study nursing. I met an Englishman in the Royal Air Force. I was at a very vulnerable time and I fell in love with him and we got engaged. He wasn’t a Catholic, so he and I had to have some religious instruction.

One day I showed up by myself and the priest asked me, “Have you got your dress?” He went from the dress to say, “Have you got new underwear?” I tried to answer as best I could, cringing on the edge of the seat. I got out of that office immediately, shaking.

I made myself a promise: that after we married I wouldn’t walk into a Catholic church again, and I never did. We got married, had a child and were stationed in Cyprus and Australia. We got divorced after about 15 years, and in 1985 I went to America. I still had no religion, but I was a good person – I believed in God.

In 2006, I went to Cairo for a vacation. That’s where I was formally introduced to Islam. I had leased an apartment and the owner asked if I would like to visit her ranch outside the city. She picked me up – her husband was driving. She’d asked me to cover appropriately because her farm workers hadn’t seen a Western woman before.

I got in this car, scrunched into the back, and she asked me if I believed in God. “Yes, I do,” I said. Then she asked, “Do you believe in one God?” I said I did. She got really excited and started babbling in Arabic to her husband. She had me reciting, “Mohammad is the prophet and there is only one God”, by the time I got to her house. She was wonderful.

She explained to me about the five pillars (obligations) in Islam. She walked me around her farm and showed me the area where she prayed five times a day.

I walked over to the river and was bathing my feet in the Nile. I can’t describe the feeling, to see the peaceful, respectful way they went about their lives. I had this idea that it was a terrible religion, but by the end of the day I was so taken by it – and I don’t do things on the spur of the moment.

All the years that I’d not been recognizing any religion, trying to survive by myself, I used to feel that someone was guiding me. I realized when I accepted Islam that God was with me anyway.

I’ve been back in Ireland a short time and I haven’t gone around waving a banner that I’m a Muslim. I know that people are afraid of the religion. You don’t see peace, you see violence. The media tells you that al-Qaeda bombed America and brought down the towers, so you tend to stereotype.

A lot of the restrictions are cultural – some are not Islamic. I now have a purpose. I have a belief, I have faith, I have new friends. It’s a sense of security to believe in God. I pray five times a day, but sometimes I miss it. I have the Qur’an by my bed. Islam is very much in your heart. You don’t have to stand on the street and wave the Qur’an. What I have is beautiful for me.

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The article is taken from  Irish Independent with slight editorial modifications. 

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My Path to Islam: It’s about Sincerity & Persistence

nature flowers

Religion is the only one stable you can have in life. So whenever you have any hardships and difficulty in life you should go to your God.

I converted to Islam in October 2007. I was raised a Catholic. I used to teach Catholicism, and I was not so much reactive in the church.

I started to have questions about life I went to the church for my answers and I was met with a lot of resistance. I decided to take my time in knowing about different religions. I started studying Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism , Jainism and, eventually, Islam.

My life has been very different after converting to Islam. It has been one of the most beautiful things that can ever happen to me but it has also brought its share of hardships. My family since I’ve accepted Islam doesn’t speak with me.

As a result, they have taken my daughter from me. I have suffered a lot, I’ve lost my job, I can’t attend school anymore because I’m not able to afford it financially though I was one of the top students in my school.

In life nothing is stable. You can have money, you can have family, you can have anything and all can go in the blink of an eye. But religion is the only one stable you can have. So whenever you have any hardships and difficulty in life you should go to your God.

And going to the church and being told ‘that’s the way it is’, ‘because God said so’, and ‘you shouldn’t question that’, was not acceptable for me.

If I need answers where am I going to find them then?

Being Catholic you believe that there’s the trinity in it (the religion), that Jesus is son of God and he is God, etc. It’s when you can take your mind out of it and look at it, it doesn’t make sense. But it is hard – when for so many years you have this as your faith; this is what you defend and what you’re dedicated to, to take this step back and kind of be open-minded about it.

For me, it took time. I started it for a long time, I had a lot of misconceptions about what Islam was. I even hated Muslims.

I thought all Muslims should die, and in my mind that anyone who is Muslim was they shouldn’t exist; why are they here? They should go back to their countries. You know I had the common American idea of what Islam and Muslims are. But that was my own ignorance following the media.

At this point I read often…

What happened to the sister? Why the change of Heart?

Learn more about what questions the sister had and what answers she have found and how? What did Islam gave here, and how have it contributed to all aspects of her life?

Watch the sister telling her touching and inspiring story her…

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Categories
Conversion Stories New Muslims

Happiness Like I Never Felt before: Former French Rapper Diam’s

French rapper Diam’s talks about her conversion to Islam

“I discovered a religion of wisdom, of nonviolence, of peace, of sharing, of kindness; the religion of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Salomon and of all the prophets.”

Four years after she converted to Islam, French Rapper Diam’s explains why she decided to take this amazing step that changed her life. In an interview with the French channel TF1, she explains that Islam has brought a lot of meaning to her life.

“I became a normal woman. When I wake up every morning, I know that I have to improve myself,” she said.

“When you carry God’s love in your heart, you are fulfilled.”

She went on to say that she was not built for stardom, clarifying that the life of stars made her miserable. “I tried very hard to have fun in the parties, but, I was not built for that. I believed in the dream of becoming a star, but it was just an illusion,” she said.

Connection with God

The turning point of her life was when she was with her Muslim friend Sousou. When Soussou went to do her prayer, Diam’s asked her if she could pray with her.

“When I prayed with her and I prostrated, I felt being connected with God,” she explains.

When she went on a trip to Mauritius, she took the Qur’an with her in order to read it: “It was a revelation, I was intimately convinced that God exists,” she explained.

“The more I was reading, the more convinced I became.”

Concerning her decision to wear the veil, she explained how it all came step by step. She was not ready to wear I at the beginning, but when she learnt more about Islam, she grew convinced that she needed to wear the hijab.

Hostile Reaction

When the press and her entourage discovered that she converted to Islam, she explained, as she was filmed coming out from a mosque, the press lashed out at her.

Some went as far as accusing her of becoming a danger for all her young fans. She deplored the confusion that the media created about the story of her conversion to Islam.

“I lost my team, because nobody trusted me. When a young girl converts, people say that either she is indoctrinated or her husband forced her to do it, as if I did not have my intellectual independence as if people knew that I was a woman with a weak personality or no character,” she added.

Her veil stirred controversy, especially that she had never explained what led her to change her path. She highlighted the intolerance of the French society and how it is far from being benevolent towards her when she decided to convert to Islam and how she went through tough moments after her decision.

Answering the question if it was complicated to live in France while being a veiled woman, she explained that although France remains a country that promotes freedom, people are not that kind towards her: “France remains the country of freedom since I can still wear my veil, but people’s prejudice and nastiness, make one tired,” she said.

She deplored the fact the French press and the public opinion accused her of becoming a ‘danger for the youth’.

“Is this danger, to advocate peace and be a nice person, and have a family life?”, she wondered.

“I wonder if I people would have said the same to me had I ended up like Amy Winehouse,” she added.

Religion of Peace

She criticized the people who defame Islam without having any knowledge about it and the amalgam between Islam and extremism:

“There are some people who are ignorant and they should refrain from talking. When we talk about something, we have to know what we are talking about,” she said.

Regarding the accusation of extremism leveled at Islam in Western countries, she emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace.

“That is not what I discovered. I discovered a religion of wisdom, of nonviolence, of peace, of sharing, of kindness. It is the religion of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Salomon and of all the prophets. Why do people make it look like that? Under no circumstances can we find it normal that innocent people are killed in terrorist attacks.”

“I am very happy to the point that I have happiness in my heart that nobody can take away, neither through taking pictures nor attacking me, I have faith,” she concluded.

_________________________

Source: Morocco World News

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Categories
Conversion Stories New Muslims

Ireland’s Muslims and the Quest for the Truth

By: Maggie Armstrong

Islam in Ireland

It was a search of something; a search for knowledge and a search for the way. It’s Islam that brought me here.

Philip Flood (60, community worker with drug addicts)

I’m from Ringsend in Dublin, and I’m a Muslim 12 years now. I was a Buddhist for five years before I started to learn about Islam. I had been on a 12-step programme for addictions – alcohol and drugs. I was single at that time and I was never well enough to have a family. I worked part-time on the docks.

The 11th step on the programme was to search “through prayer and meditation to improve your conscious contact with God“, and I started to look at all the different religions through that. I got a higher power into me there.

Most people go back to the religion they were brought up in, but I was never happy with that. I never felt right with the Catholic teachings. My mother and my father were Catholics. I made my ‘First Holy Communion’, Confirmation, went to Mass, was an altar boy. I had and have good friends, priests and nuns. But I didn’t believe, especially with Jesus on the cross. I never felt it was right. I believed in Jesus okay, but not in the cross.

I went for a walk one Friday evening on Sandymount Strand and I met a Muslim couple there, from Libya. I was with the Buddhists at the time and I was telling them about Buddha and his teachings, and they started telling me about Islam. They brought me home to their flat, and we were discussing the different things.

I used to visit them, have a cup of tea and that. They brought me to the mosque. A few weeks before that I had bought a Qur’an in a Pakistani shop in the city centre where I used to buy food, and I could understand the Qur’an more when I was discussing it with them.

When I heard the adhan (the call to prayer) I think my soul connected with that. There was something very spiritual about it, and there were no statues in the mosque.

When I came into Islam I started to study the life of `Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him). I found that made more sense than the Catholic teachings. `Isa was just a prophet; he wasn’t God.

My Life as a Muslim

My family was just happy. They saw the change in me. I married a Muslim woman and have two young children. Part of the Islamic life is to get married and to have children. I went to Morocco on a holiday and I met my wife. About a year after that we got married and she came here. Our two kids are Mohammad and Isa (after the baby Jesus).

I pray five times a day, so that keeps me spiritually well. I visit the mosque as often as I can on Friday for prayer. God has made it easy for me – I don’t have to work on a Friday. I have a television station at home, the Arabic station, and I watch Mecca and Medina, the two holy places in Islam. I get a lot of peace from watching that.

I listen to the Qur’an on a daily basis, even just a small piece, and I read a bit of Islamic literature. I learned a lot of meditation methods with the Buddhists, so I do that quite a bit. It’s the way I live now, and I have the responsibilities of being a husband and a father. I live as best I can on a spiritual basis.

Rasheed (formerly Olegs) Tucs (33, sterile processing technician)

I’m from Latvia. I converted to Islam in 2010. My generation was raised to a certain extent in the Soviet Union. It was a system with its own ideology, in which religion was marginalized. People were discouraged from taking part in any kind of religious services. We were raised in a very rational environment.

In 2006, I met a woman who I fell in love with and I proposed to her. She told me that she had a condition as she was Catholic. She said, “The only way I’m going to marry is in church”. And I said, “I love you, I will do it for you”. It was a bit complicated to become a Catholic, but it gave me a new perspective on the world. My world had been very materialistic, very scientifically oriented.

We got married and the love story continued. But my wife became quite seriously sick with malaria. I started to pray, not like a Catholic because I didn’t care much – it was just a perspective, not a faith. I started to ask someone, something, to make her live and to make us go on. Thank God, she got well. This was the first time I really prayed.

We were going on holidays to Latin America and we had to change flights in Istanbul. On the plane, I got a severe eye infection, conjunctivitis. In two hours I couldn’t see anything. In the middle of a flight, it’s a bit scary.

We had to disembark in Istanbul and go to the doctor. I woke up in the early morning and heard something nice, which was the call to prayer. My antibiotics had worked, my eyes were clear. Then you start thinking, ‘What is it?’ I did a bit of research into all the religions, because I had a whole new perspective for seeing things. During this time, Islam was the message which seemed to me without conflict.

My wife is still Catholic and I’m a Muslim – it doesn’t disturb us. She prays her way and I pray my way. But our prayers, they go to the same place.

Duplin Mosque

Dublin Mosque, Ireland

You have to conform to certain standards. In Islam, it’s said that the only purpose of humans is to worship God. At first you may think that worshipping God is praying five times a day. But actually, worshipping doesn’t mean only praying – it means being a good custodian of the planet. Recycling, buying local or fair-trade food is a way of worship because you are doing the right thing.

A very sensitive issue would be the prohibition of alcohol and all the mind-altering substances. In Islam, it’s said that God has given us a mind and an ability to think and an ability to make a decision, so if we deliberately impair that, we are denying the gift. I used to drink. Eventually, this wish to have a drink or a cigarette, it wore off.

I consider this time as being in search of something; a search for knowledge and a search for the way. It’s Islam that brought me here. I was an embryologist in IVF clinics in Nairobi, and the work was not compatible with the religion, so we had to look for something else.

In Ireland, there are a number of local mosques and cultural centres. In Latvia, there is only one mosque for the whole country. People are good here. Ireland is very friendly to outsiders. In Latvia, people from other societies are still looked at with great suspicion.

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Source: independent.ie.

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