ANTHONY GREENE, Ex-Christian, UK

Lanky, blonde, green-eyed, middle aged Abdur-Raheem Greene appears to be a character straight out of a Hollywood movie Ben Hur. The Tanzania-born Britisher embraced Islam in 1988 and has been a dawah practitioner [preacher] in Britain since then. He wears a look that instantly evokes comparison with the popular portrayal of the Prophet Jesus [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] in the imagery of Christian Europe. Greene’s tryst with Islam took place in Egypt where he mostly spent his vacations. He lectured in Bangalore in early October on “God’s Final Revelation.” He spoke to the Islamic Voice while in the city.
YOUR BACKGROUND
I was born to British parents in Darussalam in Tanzania in 1964. My father Gavin Green was a colonial administrator in the still existent British empire. He later joined Barclays Bank in 1976 and was sent to Egypt to set up Egyptian Barclays Bank. I was educated at famous Roman Catholic Monastic School called Ampleforth College and went on to study history in the London University. However, I left my education unfinished.
Currently, I am working with an Islamic media company based in England and engage myself in dawah activities [preaching] including lectures on Islam in London’s famous Hyde Park.
WHAT KEPT YOU FROM OBTAINING A DEGREE?
I grew totally disillusioned with the British educational system. It was thoroughly Eurocentric and projected world history in a way that suggested that the civilization attained its full glory and apogee in Europe. Having lived in Egypt and seen some of the majestic ruins which only archaeologists have access to, I found the West’s interpretation of history totally fallacious. I began a private study of histories of other peoples of the world, various religious scriptures and philosophy. I was practicing Buddhism for nearly three years though never formally embraced it.
Study of the Holy Qur’an immediately attracted me. Its message had a magical appeal and I grew convinced that it was a divine revelation. I believe only Allah guided me, none else. I don’t know what made me deserve Islam.
BUT ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT COULD HAVE APPEALED TO YOU?
I was dissatisfied with Christianity from the age of eight. The concept that was taught to us through rhymes such as Hail Mary! Was not at all acceptable to me. While on one hand the Christians described God to be eternal and infinite they felt no compunctions in ascribing birth of God from the womb of Mary. This made me think that Mary must be greater than God.
Secondly, the Christians’ concept of trinity was puzzlesome for me. The similitude like Canadian Maple leaf being one despite three sections appeared utterly inapplicable.
The crunch came when an Egyptian started questioning me. Despite being confused about the Christian belief I was trying to be dogmatic as most white, middle-class, English Christians do. I was flummoxed when he led me to accept that the God died on the crucifix, thus laying bare the hollowness of the Christian claims of eternity and infinity of God. I now came to realize that I was believing in as absurd a concept as two plus two is equal to five all through my adolescent years.
The West’s prelaid, programmed life intensely repelled me. I began to question if a person has to live a life merely to get strait-jacketed in a rigorous schedule. I found Europeans struggling a lot to enjoy life. They had no higher purpose in life.
The West’s capacity to brainwash its people became plain to me when I discussed the Palestine issue with Egyptians and Palestinians. Several myths-historical, political, economic – were fabricated by the Zionists and propagated unchallenged by the Western media. How could a land vacated by Jews 2000 years earlier be their homeland? I also came to know that existing Jewish people were actually Slavs, not Semites and that Palestinian land was always a green orchard. Israel fabricated the myth of “magical transformation of desert into greenland.”
The American double-speak and hypocrisy began to sink in as I studied the US role in planting and sustaining despotic rulers in Latin America while punishing the Soviet Bloc.
WHAT CONTRAST HAVE YOU FOUND BETWEEN PEOPLE’S LIVES IN EGYPT AND THE UK?
Egyptians were poor, suffered hardships, yet were happy. They left everything in the hands of Allah and forget their miseries when they return home. Prayers help them place their worries before their God. I noticed humility as well as intimacy in Islamic prayers.
But in England I found people shallow, materialistic. They try to be happy but happiness is superficial. Their prayers combined songs, dances, clapping but no humility, nor intimacy with God.
I realized that popular opinion in the West was totally hostage to the Zionist-controlled media. The question of Palestine was one among these. My conversation with Palestinians revealed as to how the West had believed in myths about Israel. First among them was that the Jews had the right to return to their original homeland in Israel. Secondly they conveniently described themselves Semitic while the fact was that most Jews of the world were Slavs who had later converted to Judaism. Thirdly Israel’s economic miracle was theorized to create the economic and scientific myth.
The fact was that I never got to know the Palestinian side of the issue. I got convinced that the people of the West were brainwashed by the media. I found that the US was trying every trick to punish nations indulging in small violations of human rights in the third world but was itself sending death squads into Latin American nations to liquidate their leaders who refused to toe the US line. Such hypocrisy is never criticized by the US media.
HOW DO YOU FIND LIFE AS A MUSLIM IN THE UK?
The Western psyche emphasizes one’s individuality. This is at variance with Islam. Any sincere Muslim feels disturbed. He or she is constantly bombarded by sex and sexuality. Most girls lose virginity by 13 and it is normal for girls to have three to four boyfriends.
The dilemma before Muslims in the West is as to how to integrate with a society so steeped in sex, drugs, drinks and sexual intimacy. And if no integration, then how to save themselves from ghettoization.
Excerpts from an Interview by Islamic Voice, Volume 11-11 No: 130, November 1997

Yousef al Khattab, Ex-Jew, USA

I was born to a Secular Jewish family, and at the age of 18 years old decided to look “deeper” into belief in God.  Like most people, I looked at religion from a view point that was closer to me.  Being that my family was Jewish and I was raised to attend Jewish schools I looked into Rabbinical “Orthodox Judaism”.

In the year 1988 I entered a Yeshiva and started my journey into the Orthodox Rabbinical racist cult.  In 1991 I wed my 1st  wife (then) Luna Mellul now Qamar al Khattab.

She was from the Moroccan town named Tetouan and was attending the racist Orthodox Jewish girl’s seminary known as Breuers or Sampson Raphael Hirsh Bet Yaakov aka Bais Yakov.

1992 bought us the birth of my 1st child Abdel Rahman (formally Rachamim Cohen).

Alhumdulilah[1]  he was then as he is now my pride and joy.  Upon the birth of Abdel Rahman we were living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the Satmar Hasidic community.  I used to see all the lying and cheating, government scams and money laundering using the Synagogue and Yeshiva bank accounts and the poor hygiene of these folk, and was nervous for my new born son not to grow up like these folk.

We tried broadening our horizons and moved to the Ocean Parkway area of Brooklyn, later that year.

1994 till 1998 bought us the birth of 3 more wonderful children alhumdulilah.  Hesibeh, Abdel Aziz (formally Ezra), and Abdullah (formally Ovadia) during these years I tried to convince myself that Judaism was a true path and I just didn’t understand it because I never read the entire set of Talmud and it 3 different ways of understanding it including the “hidden level”.  You see this is the trick in the rabbinical cult, you will not EVER finish learning all the rabbinic text thus u are subservient to the Rabbis (aka Elders of Zion) who will interpret Judaism for you.  During this time frame the Rabbis saw that we doubted there beliefs thus constantly followed our family contacting all new friends and employers etc.  The Rabbis MUST ALWAYS know where you move to and who are your friends.  The Rabbis were starting to be a big nuisance as were the Rabbinical Jews, so seeking a better future elsewhere we loaded up the family and moved to Palestine.  (then like most westerners we were brainwashed to refer to the Jew entity as Israel).

September, 1998 we now arrived in Ghaza [Gaza] , or what the Jewish squatters refer to as Gush Qatif.  Quickly my wife was turned off by the lies of the folk there and my son Abdel Rahman came running home from school one day saying “Daddy, my teacher doesn’t cover her hair properly, her dress is to short, they don’t learn Torah here and all they do is play”!!

Maashaallah[2], my son was very correctl, so with no possessions or money we set off to find a home in the nearby Jew settlement of Netivot in occupied 1948 Palestine.  Shas, a “religious political party” immediately helped us by providing a home and their private school system and my kids went from knowing NO Hebrew to being tops in there class alhumdulilah.  During our stay in Netivot I met a Muslim from UAEm, and we had conversations for about two years where he would ask me questions about Jewish Aqeedah or Jewish creed, and then compare it to Tawheed al Elohiya a part of Islamic Monotheism.  I would then go and ask major Rabbis questions about the Jewish creed and always got 60000 different answers.  The Jews can’t even tell you where there God is based on text; rather they say God is everywhere! (authubilah[3]) One day I decided to go to the Arab souk and buy a translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran in the English language.  Subhanallah[4]!!!!!  I could not put it down!!  Every problem I had with Jews and Judaism was being addressed by Allah the Most High, in the 1st three chapters of the Quran Allah answered most of my doubts about Judaism.  The Quran is firm with the Jews and invites them to a just truth (Islam) to save them from the hellfire their ancestors are currently in.

When I finished reading the entire Quran, I could no longer associate with Jews any longer, thus I was obliged to tell my wife I am a Muslim.  Alhumdulilah within 2 weeks my wife decided to read the Quran and became a Muslimah!!!  Then the kids after her alhumdulilah.  Soon after this we moved to the Palestinian Authority and East Jerusalem where we lived for almost 6 years.

Today 2006 alhumdulilah we live in Morocco

My kids’ alhumdulilah no longer remember Hebrew and their 1st language is Arabic.  All are learning in Islamic Arabic schools alhumdulilah, and we thank Allah subahanahu wa tala [5]  for blessing us with Islam.

C.S. Mathos, Ex-atheist, USA

I am C.S. Mathos. I was born into a secular family on August 1st, 1992, in Pennsylvania. My mom was once a Christian, and as a kid she went to a Quaker church. She went to a church camp, and was literally scared away from her religion due to some priest that preached Armageddon all the time. She remained secular for the rest of her life, really. She was more of an agnostic, not atheistic like I was. To explain, I was surprisingly logical as a child, and reasoned that it was impossible that a god existed. Really, I didn’t care about religion back then. I had an obsession with dinosaurs, and wanted to learn more and more about them. I remember things like a T-rex weighed 7 tons, a Triceratops herd would protect their young by forming a circle, and fight off the predators, and a Veloceraptor was able to run about 75 mph. I was obviously ridiculed when my love for paleontology did not subside. It did go away (somewhat) when I became interested in dragons and such. The insults didn’t affect me very much because I was always in an “emotional shell”, keeping things I wanted to really say in my head. When I did speak, I was most often honest, soft spoken, and didn’t have much to say, because I didn’t trust people, and I liked my imagination better than the real world. Even when 9/11’s attacks came, I didn’t talk much, and didn’t react to it. It didn’t scare me at all; I thought the word “Muslim” was the term for an ethnic group, and I was only concerned about the Iraq war when innocent people were raped in that Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Even then, I just got over it and became annoyed when it was repeatedly appearing on the news. When I did come out of my shell (5th grade), I fought with people about religion and politics. I believed there were hypocrisies in Christianity, which was the only religion I remembered at that time. When I became 13 years old, I really received insults, and took them seriously. I was depressed, my grades were only acceptable, and at that time I wasn’t interested in anything. I decided I needed a religion. I didn’t really search for one, just believed there was one God, and, because of my bitterness, I blamed my problems on Him. I started paying attention more and more to politics, forgot about religion for the most part, and I started reading books on Hitler and WWII. I was really interested in WWII, Nazism, and, increasingly, communism. I was told all my life communism was a failed ideology, but I wanted to learn the other side of the argument: the side of the communists. I picked up the Communist Manifesto, read Wiki articles, looked up Communist Party materials, and I joined the Marxist movement. I saw myself actually fighting for something; a society that is truly free and just, equal and united. I busied myself with the movement, and joined a group. I’m not naming it. I told people I was a communist only when they asked. Boy, you thought someone can be made fun of before I became a communist. Don’t want to talk about it. It’s too depressing. I actually broke down crying at the dinner table because of so much torment by my classmates. I just needed a religion. I tried out Christianity, however I flat out left it. Too many contradictions, sectarianism, and hypocrisy. I looked around, and around, I looked at everything, from Christianity to Greek Mythology. I decided to look at Islam last, since I took into account the prejudices of war and the possibility that I may actually be killed by someone due to following such a religion. I gave up on everything else, and I said to myself: “The last thing you have to go to is Islam. Just get a Quran and read it. Hell, it may be what you’re looking for.” I got the Quran off of a website, and got it in the mail 5 days after it was ordered. It was dark green; so dark green, I thought it was black. It has a beautiful leather binding, gold imprints on it. I started reading it, and I just saw that it was nothing as it was portrayed on TV. I saw that there was only one God, and there was no one else to worship but He. I saw this, and I wanted to join the religion. I searched on the Internet on how to pray, and found the site http://www.islamreligion.com, and I saw “How to Convert to Islam and become a Muslim” on the menu. I decided that writing down how to pray was for later, conversion was needed for me. I needed to submit to God. NOW. I found the Shahada, and I wrote it down. Then, I took the Shahada, and became a Muslim. As soon as I did, I felt the pain in my heart lift, and I felt truly happy. God has been good to me, and I try to pray 5 times every day to him. However, due to the circumstances of war prejudices, other people’s intolerance, and other people’s sectarianism, I have to practice my religion in secret. I pray to God in the morning, noon, sundown, evening, and at 11:00 or 12:00 at night. When I can drive, I’ll drive to the nearest mosque every Friday. My own mother doesn’t even know I’m a Muslim. I’ll tell her when I’m truly ready, or when I’m an adult and live elsewhere, or I’m in college. I pray that God keeps me away from disbelief, and help me become the best Muslim I can be while practicing in secret. If my mom is reading this, try to understand my religion before you pass judgment. Let me practice my religion in peace, without your ridicules and jokes, which are hurtful. I’ve been practicing Islam for a week, I think. I lose track of time. Non-Muslims that are reading this, I suggest you read the Quran and become a Muslim. Peace be upon you, and God’s blessings.

Amber Acosta, Ex-Catholic, USA

Description: A young lady raised and schooled as a Catholic finds in Islam what she was searching for in Catholicism.

Why did I become Muslim?  I can clearly remember the day I officially converted at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, I came right from the state of Connecticut (US), but what lead up to that day remains as a somewhat subconscious, yet continuous quest for God.

As a child, I was always sure of religion and God, but never in the way it was presented in Catholicism.  I could never grasp how God could be three (with the Trinity), how we could pray to many people such as Jesus (peace be upon him), Mary and assorted saints, the concept of original sin, how priests could just “forgive” your sins, or why there were hundreds of completely different bibles.

Consequently, these are just a few of the things that anyone, including priests, could ever address or even explain.  It was amazing that I went to church and religious education but came out without knowing exactly what I should be doing to be a good Christian.  I learned I was supposed to be “good,” “giving,” “caring,” “merciful,” and many other desirable traits, but there was never any practical application for how I should go about doing that.

Without knowing it then, I was searching for a way to connect with the One God I knew and always prayed to, as well as a structure from God that would teach me exactly how I should be carrying out my life.  But life went on, and with pressure from my family and objection from me, I went through the initiations into the Catholic Church.  Up until college, religion was nothing more to me than a bother on Sunday mornings.  God though, was still present.

I happened to go to a Catholic college and thought I would give Catholicism one last chance.  I wanted so desperately to reach God.  I tried my best once again to find my way through the only means I knew possible and it did not work.  I finally renounced Catholicism, so that meant it was time to explore other options.

Catholicism and Christian denominations were out because of my previous troubles with them and so was Judaism because of its disbelief in Jesus.  Although I had issues with Christianity, I was always sure Jesus had a powerful message to humankind — the message of worshiping one God.  I could never understand how Christians ended up worshiping Jesus himself.  I felt sure that he would have never wanted that.  This left me with one more option — Islam.

I happened to be familiar with Islam through previous travels in Egypt, so I was open to the possibility of this faith.  It was not alien to me, although at the time I did not know any Muslims other than a friend or two in Egypt.

I began reading the Quran and searching for information on Islam through the Internet.  I remember my first feeling about the Quran was that I knew instinctively it could never have been written by a human hand; it was simply beyond that.  This was in sharp contrast to my reading of the Bible, which seemed like just a collection of stories written by a man.  This love of the Quran’s words and the fact that there was and is just one, unchanged Quran since its revelation to Prophet Muhammad, may the blessing and mercy of God be upon him, was not the only thing that impressed me.

I felt good about everything I learned about Islam.  This feeling meant a lot, so I kept digging, learning, and liking.  Most importantly, I found answers to my two main religious issues of the past (only wanting to worship one God and structure).  Islam is strictly monotheistic in that Muslims worship of God alone without any partners, and the Quran and Sunnah (the sayings and actions of the Prophet [may the blessing and mercy of God be upon him]) give a complete way of life to follow.  I finally knew exactly what I had to do to be a good Christian, I had to become a Muslim!

During the last two years of college, I held the beliefs of Islam, not really sure what to do with them in a Catholic college environment.  I knew in my heart that I was Muslim, but I did not know how to break that news to family and friends.

After college, I was offered an internship in Egypt and happily returned.  I made many good Muslim friends, including my husband-to-be, who helped me officially convert and learn so many things that are important in the religion.  I was lucky to have all the wonderful support I received.

It was not easy telling people that I was Muslim.  Although some people were glad I found a religion I loved, I have not always received congratulations or even polite responses, but I have become strong because of it.  I can defend my faith and I thank God every day that I am Muslim.  I remember growing up confused about God and religion.  I finally feel complacent and simply happy each day that goes by because I now understand the truth.

Muhammed Umar Rao, Ex-Hindu, Brahmin

God’s grace that I’m blessed with religion of God, I’m Mohammed Umar Rao from India, I embraced Islam 6 years back at the age of 18.  I wanted to share my story with you all perhaps this would make a difference for non-Muslims to really think over to know what is the truth.  I shared my story with two brothers, All praise and thanks be to God, they were convinced that my decision and choice is best, they started reading Quran and also embraced it few days back.

My Background

I come from a middle class orthodox Brahmin family; my parents worked in private firms (Mother: teacher, Father: textile engineer).  My religious education was at my maternal uncle’s place, that’s how I became orthodox and my whole family education was always against Muslims, which was nailed in me deeply.

I was associated with RSS for few years; I always hated Muslims to the extent that in all public functions I wanted to give high volume for music sound boxes to ensure that the Adhaan [Call to Prayer] should not be heard at all.  I used to go round the town visiting all temples to complete my worship everyday.  I was liked, appreciated in family for being orthodox and encouraged to do more.

My Meeting with Islam

In the summer, my mother asked me to work for a Muslim business firm, which I disagreed, because from childhood I always hated Muslims.  My mother stopped forcing me on this; I worked few summers with a non-Muslim so I was able to satisfy my parents.  Later, I quit that part time job because I did not like the job and started concentrating more on studies aiming for a better job.  Meantime, my mother, sisters worked 2 months in part time for this Muslim brother.  They were highly impressed with him.

I always hated this person because I did not like the fact that my people were praising a Muslim whom I always hated.  I was pushed and insulted for not being useful to the family, so I started working for the same Muslim brother though I hated him before going.  After getting in his shop I started hating more because the non-Muslim employees of that shop embraced Islam, I took this challenge to teach him a lesson claiming my religion is true and from there, I started doing comparative study with whatever common sense which God had blessed me then.

By now, in the verge to know more about Islam, I started reading English translation of the Holy Quran (by Abdullah Yusuf Ali).  This changed my entire student life; I was stuck with fear, doubts, I realized the fact that whatever I’m doing is wrong, my religion is all about imaginations/myths and false stories.  I had many questions, doubts like where am I heading to, what should I do?  What is my duty?  Why has the message of truth not reached all of us?  Many questions came to my mind and my entire student life went in this hunt of truth.

I started questioning my parents, people around that who has seen God almighty to paint /make images of God, all answered me that none has seen God which is so true as it is mentioned in many places in The Quran.  Finally, some mythological stories broke my faith down.  The stories of Ganesha, Chamundeswari, Ram, Sita etc. did not make sense to me.  I could no longer imagine them as gods.

When I questioned my parents that Vedas are against Idol Worship and why do we still practice it, my mother scolded me saying we are supposed to do it as our forefathers did it, the next day I read a verse in the Quran, Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2) which reads:

“When it is said to them: ‘Follow what God has sent down.’  They say: “Nay!  We shall follow what we found our fathers following.” (Would they do that!) Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?” (Quran 2:170)

…and:

“That was a nation who has passed away.  They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn.  And you will not be asked of what they used to do.” (Quran 2:134)

When I read this I was shocked to see something which I just questioned my mother last night.  This ayah (verse) hit me right deep inside.  I slowly stopped worshipping idols, and stopped doing Pooja [Editor’s note: A Hindu ritual for prayer], since shirk (Polytheism) is the only sin which will never be forgiven.  I started practicing the teachings of Islam in secret in the beginning.  There were few [themes] from chapter Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2) which [mean that] There are few who accept Islam wherever it profits them and not whole heartedly [and that they] are hypocrites.

Also:

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Quran 5:3)

I realized that for all the questions that I have in my mind, the answers are present in the Quran.

By grace of God, I started conveying message of God at my home with little knowledge I had, I wanted to complete my B.E. meantime, conveying the truth would make it easy in the long run for me and my family, but after my final year of diploma I was pushed to wall, then the time came where I had no choice but to quit my family, my sister also embraced Islam and she joined me.  We had to live out of our house for more than a year without a job or regular source of income.  All praise be to God, God made our ways easy to be firm on truth.

As God says in the Quran:

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.” (Quran 29:2)

Over a period, Alhamdulillah, God opened doors of opportunities for us, I had quit my previous job as I was unable to perform my five times prayer, All the opportunities that came my way were from the mechanical industry which demanded that I work in shift and compromise my prayer.  After quitting that job/mechanical profession for 1+ year, I did not get any job where I can perform 5 times prayer, Grace of God, I started working as faculty for 2000 rupees for a year and now I’m blessed with a better Job.  By the Grace of God, Almighty God has chosen us, there’s nothing more required.

Dawood Kinney, Ex-Catholic, USA

As far back as I can remember as a child, I was always astounded by this universe in which we live; how everything works perfectly.  I used to lie outside at night on my parent’s lawn, staring up at the stars, just amazed at the unfathomable size of the heavens.  And I also used to be amazed at how the human body just ticked along, heart beating, lungs pumping, with no help from me.  And from that early time, I always in some way knew, there just had to be a Creator responsible for all this.

But then as I segued into my teens, it was much easier to succumb to peer pressure, and I lost interest in the Divine and instead devoted my time to alcohol, sex and the immature games of a young male growing up in America.  Growing into young adulthood, my obsessions became money, power, a better house, a faster car, and a prettier woman–all shallow pursuits.

I lived this way for many years, slowly losing control of my life, thinking I was pursuing happiness when all I was getting was more depressed, more confused, and making more and more of a mess of my life.

At some point, my life just sort of spiraled to the bottom and I cracked.  My immediate response was to turn to God, and, having been raised Catholic, it was to that church that I turned.  At the time, I had been divorced and remarried and came to find out that the Catholic Church didn’t want me.  Hurt and angry, but also realizing a need for a spiritual order in my life, I turned to Buddhism.

The Buddhist sect I became involved with followed a Tibetan tradition, where importance is placed on gaining empowerments, which are basically blessings from various Buddhas.  At some point I realized I was not really bettering myself, just running around gaining empowerments, performing elaborate rituals.  All of a sudden, I realized that one of the last things the Buddha said before passing away was not to worship him.  I realized this whole practice was BASED on worshipping not only “the” Buddha, but also all these other Buddhas.  I became very discouraged and reverted to my old ways of indulgence in alcohol and other forbidden pleasures.  And once again, I became very depressed, only this time with emotional side effects that began to manifest in very frightening and self-destructive ways.

When I was a young man, I was very much “into” the music of Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam).  When I heard he had embraced Islam, I was in the U.S. Navy at the time and this was during the “hostage crisis” in Iran.  So, I immediately drew the conclusion that Cat Stevens has become a terrorist, and I kept that belief for many years.

A couple months or so ago, I heard he was going to be interviewed on TV, and I wanted to hear about this crazy man who had left a great life to become a terrorist.  Well, needless to say, I was just floored by the interview, because he was certainly no terrorist, but a soft-spoken, articulate, peaceful man who radiated love, and patience, and intelligence.  The very next day, I began researching Islam on the Internet.  I came across a lecture in RealAudio by a brother, Khaled Yasin, and well, this lecture really put me over the top.

The first one by Br. Khaled is really the one that did it for me, but the other two by Br. Yusef (Cat Stevens) really speaks to those of us who did not grow up in a Muslim society.).  It all made so much SENSE, the existence of God was so SIMPLE to understand!  How could I have been so stupid all this time???

Well, the more I learned the more I was convinced that this was truly the path I had been searching for.  It contained the discipline–physical, mental, and spiritual–that leads to true peace and happiness.  But most importantly, it contains that path to God.  Pronouncing my Shahada was such a CLEANSING experience, and since this time, I have often just … cried and cried and cried.  How wonderful!

I have received such a warm and embracing welcome from all Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world; I take great comfort in this, knowing that, despite any adversity or setback, I am literally surrounded by my Muslim family that will never abandon me as long as I remain Muslim.  No other group of people has ever treated me in this way.

I still have a very long and arduous path ahead.  Accepting the reality of Islam is the easy part, walking the Straight Path is the hard part, especially once one had firmly implanted himself in a society of unbelievers.  But I pray to God every day for strength and guidance, and I just take it one day at a time, trying to improve in Islam little by little each day.

Musa Caplan, Ex-Jew, USA

Prior to my conversion to Islam, I lived my life as a Jew. Although my family was not traditional, I learned Judaism from traditional Jews. I went to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, and an Orthodox Jewish school. I lived, and continue to live, in a Jewish community in the United States where there is little diversity. And considering how much Judaism was involved in my life, I did not have any non-Jewish friends. But about a year ago, I began to chat online quite often and my e-mail list slowly began to fill with more and more Muslims. I developed a strong interest for studying other religions as well as my own. I paid special attention to Islam, for I knew it was a religion not much different than Judaism. We share many similar prophets (peace be upon them all), morals, values, and most importantly, we worship the same God — Allah. Although I knew much about Islam and knew it was a peaceful religion, I cannot say I did not have stereotypes. I was lucky because I knew many Muslims online, one of which was my girlfriend who I consider to be my guide to Islam. She led me to the doors of Islam, and Allah took me through the rest […]

I decided to look deeper into the faith. By doing so I discovered flaws in my own religion. According to the Old Testament, the great Prophet Aaron committed the worse sin possible. Due to pressure put upon him by the people while waiting for Moses to return with the Torah from Mount Sinai, he built an idol.

How could a great prophet possibly commit one of the three sins that are so great that one should prefer death before committing them? In the Quran, Moses comes down and sees the Jews worshiping the Golden Calf. At first he thinks it is the creation of Aaron and is angry at him; later he finds it was other Hebrews who had created this idol. A lot can be learned from this story.

Would a nation of people led by God really be forgiven for such a sin? My view on this story matches the Islamic view that the Old Testament has changed over the years. In the past, there have been many Cohaneem (religious leaders at the Holy Temple) who were corrupt. Couldn’t it easily be possible for them to have changed Judaism to make it easier to observe and less time-consuming in order to make more money with their profession?

Another astonishing factor that led me to Islam is the scientific truth written in the Quran. The Quran mentions the human embryonic development long before it was discovered by science.

“And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, Then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place, Then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.” (Quran 23:12-14)

The Quran also mentions how mountains are formed and talks about the layers of the atmosphere! These are just a few of so many scientific discoveries mentioned in the Quran 1400 years before discovered by science.

Here is one of the key factors that led me to explore my heart to find the truth of life. In Arabic, the word Islam comes from salama which means “to submit”; “purity” and “peace” come from the same root. The person submits to the One, the Merciful, and the Most Beneficent Allah; whereas other religions are named after people: Judaism comes from the tribe of Judea, Christianity from Jesus Christ, etc. Islam is a word derived from a verb; anyone who submits to Allah and believes in all the prophets is a true Muslim. Many of the great prophets mentioned in the Old Testament lived prior to Judaism and Judea; they submitted to God, and therefore they were all Muslims. And we shall live as the prophets lived, for they were great human beings.

Considering my situation of being very young and living in an all-Jewish area, it would be difficult to have my beliefs accepted. My parents and relatives are very respectful, but I am unsure how they would react if it is their own son who reverts to Islam. So for now, I am unable to live out an Islamic life to the fullest, but thanks to Allah, I am able to pray five times a day, I am able to study Islam online, and at least I am openly able to believe in one God and express those feelings. In some ways it can be very difficult. I become more emotional than most people would when I debate something involving Muslims, for example the Middle East. When I talk about Israel, my whole family supports Israel and doesn’t know the truth of what goes on to Palestinians, but I think they should have proper treatment for the Palestinians. And when they talk about this situation, I become easily offended, especially if they bring up the idea that it is “the Jewish Holy Land” and “Promised Land.”

Because I have not yet told my parents of my reversion to Islam, I am unable to attend prayers at a mosque. As I stated before, my area has little diversity and all the mosques are far away. I have never had the opportunity to do Shahadah in front of witnesses although I have said Shahadah for the best witness of all — Allah. When I am 16 in about one year, I will be able to drive to the mosque, in sha’ Allah (Allah willing). The most important thing is to improve the person I am. I try to avoid my friends who do drugs, watch porn, drink alcohol, and steal. It is not always easy to avoid close friends, but I try my best for the sake of Allah. And I hope over time my personality will meet what Allah wishes to see from us all.

When studying Quran, my advice to you is to read it for yourself. Looking at biased websites, you are not able to see the full content of a verse. […]

Through this whole experience I have discovered that I did not find Islam, I re-embraced Islam; nor did I convert, I reverted; and on my ride from darkness to light, it has only made me a stronger, more spiritual, and a better human being. May Allah guide us all to the truth that I was led to.

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad rasulu Allah!