Conversion Stories New Muslims

Blake Ferguson Converts to Islam

NRL Bad Boy Blake Ferguson prays at Zetland Mosque

“He’s got the colour back in his face. He wants to be a better person but he’ll still have his faults, like we all do.” (Mundine)

NRL Bad Boy Blake Ferguson Converts to Islam En Route to a New Life

Professional and once unsettled rugby player, Blake Ferguson, has apparently found the road.

After a life full of thorns, setbacks and anxiety, troubled rugby league star has found his road to rehabilitation, true salvation, peace and tranquility via Islam.

At Zetland Mosque, Sydney, on Friday the National Rugby League (NRL) bad boy have taken the Shahadah (Declaration of Faith), hoping it will help him put his career and whole life back on track.

He converted to Islam by the help of his fellow Muslim boxer Anthony Mundine.

The State of Origin star was photographed praying beside Mundine, who also helped rugby league superstar Sonny Bill Williams convert to the Muslim religion five years ago when Williams was going through a difficult period in his life.

For all his showmanship and madness, Mundine is a deeply religious person who genuinely cares for Ferguson and wants to help him realize his enormous potential in the NRL.

Ferguson declined to comment on Friday saying: “It’s private. I can’t talk about it, I’m sorry.”

Ferguson has previously made many failed attempts to give up alcohol – which is prohibited for a Muslim to drink.

Mundine revealed that the sacked and now unemployed Canberra Raiders star had been asking him about converting for almost six weeks.

“He’s thought about it and it’s a commitment he wants to make,” Mundine said. “But it’s up to Blake to speak about it when he’s ready.

“He’s just looking forward to changing his direction in life. At the moment he’s in good space – no drinking, no drugs, no parties.

“He’s got the colour back in his face. He wants to be a better person but he’ll still have his faults, like we all do.”

A New Start

Blake Ferguson and Anthony Mundine (on the right) praying at a Sydney mosque.

After a life full of thorns, setbacks and anxiety, troubled rugby league star has found his road to rehabilitation, true salvation.

Ferguson’s rugby league career has been in limbo for several months after he was dumped by the Raiders over a number of off-field incidents.

Another prominent Islamic sportsperson, boxer Billy Dib, congratulated Ferguson on Twitter on Saturday, writing on: “Proud of you my brother, so happy to see you taking the right steps to resurrect your footy career.”

Ferguson replied: “Thanks brother.. very hapoy with where im heading.. hooe your well.”

Dib then tweeted “all is well my bro, getting ready for the big fight inshallah.” to which Ferguson responded with “yeah my brother goodluck inshallah”.

Ferguson has had a troubled year in the NRL and is currently facing charges over the alleged indecent assault of a woman at a Cronulla nightspot. That matter is still before the courts.

Many of Ferguson’s misdemeanors have been alcohol-related, which makes his religious conversion such a significant step.

The Roosters’ Kiwi superstar Sonny Bill Williams, another close friend of Mundine’s, has said his Muslim faith has made him a better footballer. Ferguson will be hoping for a similar result.

Ferguson worked as a laborer after leaving Canberra but still hopes to return to the NRL. He was supposed to have had his first professional fight on the undercard for Mundine’s aborted fight against Mosley on October 23. He will enter the ring as one of the curtain-raisers for the fight night at All Phones Arena on November 27.

The player, who was once earning $400,000-a-year, is living at Mundine’s Hurstville home with the boxer and his mum.

He is now a $1 million-a-year superstar in NRL and rugby union.


Source: The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald


Conversion Stories New Muslims

Sonny Bill Williams: Islam Made Me the Man I Am Today

Sonny Bill Williams

“It’s made me become content as a man, and helped me to grow. I’ve just got faith in it and it has definitely helped me become the man I am today.”

It was in the cave of Hira’ that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the first revelation of the Qur’an. For rugby’s original wild child Sonny Bill Williams, meeting a Tunisian family who lived with their five children in a one-bedroom flat in the south of France proved pivotal to his conversion to Islam.

The New Zealander’s unshakeable belief in the Almighty has proved to be the making of one of the island nation’s most gifted, and controversial, sports stars.

“I was real close with them, and I saw how happy and content they were. And to see how they lived their lives, it was just simple,” Sonny Bill Williams, a prodigious rugby talent, professional boxer and tattooed poster boy, tells CNN’s Human to Hero series.

“One thing I’ve learned over my career is that simplicity is the key. On the field, off as well.”

“I’ve become a true Muslim,” added Williams. “It’s giving me happiness. It’s made me become content as a man, and helped me to grow. I’ve just got faith in it and it has definitely helped me become the man I am today.”

The Williams of today does not visibly bear the scars of the 15-year-old who was thrust into the unrelenting drinking culture of one of Australia’s top rugby league clubs and shamed by national media after being caught in a compromising position with a model.

A man who quit that scene, walking out on his contract to take up a lucrative offer to switch codes and join a French rugby union club, requiring a substantial compensation payout.

A man who rejected a reported record $5 million deal to stay with Toulon and returned to Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud) to follow his dream of playing for the prestigious All Blacks, but found himself a fringe figure for 2011’s long-awaited World Cup triumph on home soil.

He’s been battered in a boxing ring, criticized for landing another big-money deal in Japan, and is now back in the sport where he’s most at home.

And still controversy follows him.

World Cup Mission

This weekend Williams will continue his bid to become the first player to win the World Cup in both union and league, as the Kiwis take on Australia in the final.

His mere presence in the squad caused a storm, as he only made himself available the day after it was named, reversing his earlier decision. It meant one unlucky player had to make way.

“I thought I was doing a good thing, you know, staying true to myself,” says the 28-year-old, who had just completed a triumphant return to Australia’s National Rugby League competition, winning his second title and subsequently deciding to extend what had initially been planned as a one-year stint with the Sydney Roosters club.

“Then obviously there was a bit of a falling out, because one of the players was taken out of the squad, one of the young boys, and I just got absolutely hammered.

“And it just made me think, you can’t please everyone, you know? If you go about trying to please everyone, there’s going to be endless struggles.

“As long as you are happy with the man you see in the mirror, it’s all that counts I guess.”

The Battle Within

When Williams, who stands at 6 foot 4 inches and weighs in at 17 stone (108 kg), looks at himself in the mirror, it is surprising to hear him admit to vulnerability.

“My toughest opponent is probably myself, I guess, mentally,” Williams says in his quiet voice, a gentle contrast to his powerful physique.

Stripped to his trunks in the boxing ring, you can see the rippling muscles and elaborate tattoos that have made him a pinup.

“Overcoming the mental struggles that you have out on the field, it’s been probably the biggest one for me. The reason I feel so mentally strong now is because of boxing and going through those tough times,” he adds.

“I’ve always had battles inside my head where I had to think where I was going to go.”

Fighting Fit

Williams is close friends with fellow Muslim Anthony Mundine, a former Australian rugby league star who became a boxing champion and has helped the Kiwi fulfill his ring ambitions.

Williams’ last fight, back in February, earned him the little-known WBA International Heavyweight title, and some punishing blows from South African journeyman Francois Botha in a reduced 10-round bout.

“Every sport has helped me excel in another. Boxing has given me the mental strength to know that I can face anything on the field, without a doubt,” he reflects.

That sixth fight is likely to be his last for a while, as he focuses on his rugby goals. Rugby is a de facto religion in New Zealand, a country where the gods play with an oval ball and where institutionalized faith is losing ground with its general populace – just over 50% said they were Christian at the last completed census.

He is back playing the sport that is perhaps closest to his heart; his dad played it, and his mum’s father was a renowned coach in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, where he grew up.

Family means everything to him. His parents are separated, but he brought his father to Sydney with him and sees his mum when he can. He has bought both of them houses.

“My mother and my father were really big on manners,” Williams recalls.

“Almost to the point, you know, that when I got a bit older it made me a bit too shy, I never said anything out of turn. But they’ve molded me to the person that I’ve become.”

He’s always been competitive – even if it meant finding a short cut to finally beat his older brother “the biggest influence on my sporting career”  in their regular childhood running races – and he had been pegged as a future athletics champion before choosing rugby league.

“I’ve always loved sport. It’s funny, it’s all I ever thought I was good at. Whatever sport was there, whatever ball I could pick up, whatever bat I could try, I’d give it a crack.”

Finding the Key

Williams became the youngest player to be signed by an NRL team, winning his first Grand Final as an 18-year-old with the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2004, and was the youngest to represent New Zealand’s Kiwis league side.

“I grew up as a Christian, like many Polynesians do, and moving to Australia suddenly when I was 15, I learned a lot about Muslim faith,” he says.

It was in Toulon where, having fled Australia under threats of lawsuits from his jilted employer, his conversion to Islam was realized.

Having to adhere to the rule of Ramadan fasting has given him a new perspective on some of the things we take for granted.

“When you do Ramadan and you go for the whole month, you’re that much more appreciative of being able to eat food and drink water – that’s what it’s designed to do,” he says.

But faith in the divine can only do so much, he says, the rest is up to you.

“To be the best you definitely have to have some God-given talents, but you also have to have the drive and the will and the dedication,” Williams explains.

Simplicity is the key and I just try to keep things as simple as I can. But I never lose that one thing that’s got me there; that’s drive, working hard, doing all the little things, ticking all the boxes.”

“Blessed and forever grateful to the Most High”, Sonny Bill Williams said on his Twitter account (@SonnyBWilliams).

The Next Challenge

Having switched allegiances so often, Williams finds himself having to work hard to earn acceptance, which means trying to break some of his own habits.

“I’d like to be a bit more trusting, letting my guard down a little bit more. I’m too serious sometimes, bro, as you can tell,” he acknowledges, before breaking into a big grin.

“And in a team environment sometimes I’m too intense, you know, sometimes I’ve got to sit back and just relax. Just chill out. But it’s just how I’m made. I’ve always been competitive.”

Williams admits he would be tempted to try another of rugby’s formats, Sevens, which will make its Olympic debut at Rio 2016.

“That would be a dream come true. If I had the opportunity to give it a crack, I definitely would,” he says.

“But there’s so much talent in New Zealand that it’s probably almost a distant dream at this stage.”

Whatever he decides to do after his new Roosters deal ends next year – he has hinted he will return to union ahead of the 2015 World Cup – it’s a fair bet that Williams will succeed.

He has won titles almost everywhere he has been, and that has been driven by something deep inside him.

“I just don’t want to fail, to be honest. I don’t want to let my family down, I don’t want to let myself down,” Williams admits, falling back into his earnest, serious tone.

“That’s probably the biggest thing I fear. I’m confident as a man, these days, and I know what I can achieve if I put my mind to it.”




Conversion Stories New Muslims

A Colombian Young Woman: Islam Brought Me Back to Life

The most important thing is that I have God in my heart and He has given me love, happiness and peace.

The most important thing is that I have God in my heart and He has given me love, happiness and peace.

Sometimes is hard to accept other people’s decisions, but we have to respect it. Lately I went to celebrate a special date for Muslim people. As always it was a beautiful day and one more day I had to be grateful with the sisterhood that I’ve found here in Irvine. I did a speech about why I reverted to Islam.

At the beginning, I didn’t know what to say. I said to myself, “What can I say? I’m shy.  I don’t speak English well!” But I decided to say what my heart wanted to say, and after that I feel that my words couldn’t stop there. So, that’s why I am writing this. First, it’s hard for me to say in public why I chose to revert, because my friends and family don’t support my decision. But I am going to do this.

My name is Maria Clara Castellar. I live in Cartagena, Colombia. I am 21-years-old, and this is my story.

First Hearing of Islam

This story begins last year in my second semester of the year at my university. I was taking a class with one of my favorite teachers and in one of her classes she spoke about Islam and other issues of Islam as a subject. After that, I was extremely interested in Islam and I didn’t know why.

I started to read and was surprised to see that the page described the religion of Islam as a religion of peace, and a religion in which you can find God, love and happiness. When I learned this, I admit that something in me found an answer to a question I’d been asking myself for many years. I’d been looking for God in my life. I’d been looking for Islam.

My family is Catholic and I spent my life following the conservative traditions of the Catholic religion. I attended the church and assisted in the Catholic school for six years to become closer to God, but I couldn’t feel him in all of those years. I admit that I was completely lost.

One day, one of my friend told me about an opportunity to do volunteer work in other country. I signed a paper and quickly got my mother’s permission. I was interviewed, and that was all it took. Soon I found myself preparing to do volunteer work, but I needed to choose a country. I considered going to Egypt, but I needed to contact people. So, I searched until I found a man who works in a volunteer organization.

After contacting him, he offered to help me go to Egypt and complete my volunteer work. The man told me he could find some work for me, but I decided I couldn’t accept it because my mom wasn’t willing to let me go there. Instead, I went to Brazil, but my friendship with him never finished. We began speaking every day, and he fully introduced me to Islam as a religion, not just as subject in school. He taught me many new things.

Searching for the Truth

After that, I decided to read everything I could find about Islam and chose to do my final paper on the topic as a final step to receive my graduation. My mom bought me a lot of books about Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), books explaining Islam, and most importantly, my first Qur’an.

I tried to read it, but there was difficulty. I spoke with the director of my university about my plans, and became more encouraged to learn and read more. My director sent me new material and recommended me an interesting book to me called, “The Girls of Riyadh”. I had a lot of information, but something was still missing.

In 2013, this year, I decided to learn English and French, and did everything necessary to go to Canada with a friend of mine. Unfortunately, the embassy wouldn’t allow me to do this. I was so upset with myself because I didn’t get permission, and I hated the idea of not being allowed to study abroad. My mom said to me, ” Calm down.  Everything happens for a reason…God knows.”

And yes, she was right.

After that I decided to go to the United States, although this wasn’t my first choice.  I wanted to go to another country less like USA, but I came here because it was easy and because I could study here with my Columbian friend, and live in his mother’s house.

My mom assisted me in everything, and  in less than one month I got my student visa and left to study at Irvine. I didn’t choose Irvine because I wanted it. My mom chose it because it was the closest city to Huntington Beach, where I was going to live.

The weekend that I arrived in California, I went to a city close to Huntington Beach because of a market place there. In the corner I found  four men giving da`wah, I stopped there and they give me information about Islam, books Sometimes is hard to accept other people’s decisions, but we have to respect it.


Finally, on February 25 I began my class in Kaplan International Colleges- Irvine – USA. I was bored to study here, but soon I began to like it. I met a lot of Muslim and non-Muslim friends. I didn’t say my intentions about Islam until I met a beautiful person who taught me even more about Islam,  and this person actually helped me to revert to Islam on May 28, 2013.

After many days I spoke with her again and told her I was completely sure to take my Shahadah (Testimony of Faith). She and her husband took me to the masjid, and I repeated the words after her. They congratulated me, and we celebrated with some Arabic food.

When she took me home, I took a long shower and I cried because I knew that my life changed in that moment. I had been wrong. My destiny had been to stay here. God brought me here, and I felt guilty because I hadn’t trusted in Him in the beginning, but Alhamdulillah! God gave me the opportunity to begin again, and I remember feeling alive -feeling like I was born again- and absolutely, I was born again.

The first person I told about reverting to Islam was my mom. As always, she supported me! My mother offered her congratulations, and I couldn’t help but wonder why she would be congratulating me? I couldn’t understand her words, but I think that she was happy that finally I found God in my heart.

What It Means to Be Muslim

I am a Muslim girl, and I’ll always be a Muslim girl. It doesn’t matter what people say about me, or about my decision. The most important thing is that I have God in my heart and He has given me love, happiness and peace. That is something that will never change. Islam is not a religion of terrorism. It isn’t anything bad. It’s the religion of the one true God; my religion.

Now my life is better than before. I have a lot of beautiful people around me. I have sisters. I have brothers. I have a family! I’ll always be grateful with all I have now and everything I’ll have in my future.

Islam has completely changed everything in my life. I am better person. I’m kinder and I’m lovely with my family, my friends and above all always grateful and in love with Allah!  Alhamdulillah.

Thank you to my admirable mom, sisters, sisters and brothers who help guide me and help me as a new Muslim!


Source: The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald


Conversion Stories New Muslims

My Journey to Islam: Muhammad Ali Led me to Islam

Yahya, a 46-year old Filipino, has embraced Islam since he was 27.  His family belongs to the Committee of the Church and his brother is a priest.

Before Islam he was following Jesus Christ but not the real Jesus; the son of Mary and the Messenger of Allah he believes in today, but the doctrine of the Catholic church.

His love for boxing and for Muhammad Ali made him name his child after the Muslim boxing champion; Muhammad, knowing nothing about the meaning of the name.  And that’s where his journey to Islam began.

Learn more about his interesting story from the video below…


Source: Islam The Ultimate Peace