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.

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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.

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!