I Asked 10 Converts Why They Chose The Faith Of Islam

I Asked 10 Converts Why They Chose The Faith Of Islam

Islam is home to more than 1.8 billion followers and is the second largest growing religion. This made me curious as to what made Islam so intriguing?

Being a born-Muslim it is often difficult for me to imagine the sacrifice and the strength of those who have converted to Islam. I wanted to open my eyes up to the lives and perspectives of those converts so that I could appreciate my religion to the fullest. So I embarked on a mission in which I reached out to multiple Muslim converts/reverts and asked them what they found so fascinating about Islam.

"I converted to Islam a year ago, it was a spare of a moment decision. I was looking for a purpose [because] I was feeling lost [and] had many unanswered questions about life. So I walked out on [my] faith and took my shahada the same day.

I didn't know what I was getting myself into but felt like I had nothing to lose [because I had already] been through a lot in my life and wanted to go down a different path. [My] path [has] been a little bumpy, but I continue to strive as I learn. I got the desire to learn more [about] Islam [which] gave me meaning. It answered many questions I had.

Life started to make sense... I continue to seek knowledge, and [I am] happy I chose Islam. Before I became Muslim, I didn't claim [any] religion; I just believed there was a god [which is why I had] many questions... I questioned everything that was being taught to me and wanted proof that many could not provide. I refused to be a blind sheep following other blind sheep. I wanted answers and clarification, so I walked into Islam with the intent to seek knowledge, I am blessed."

Yaz'meen Fawz Muhami

"You should know that one house, car etc. can't be built without a man. Then how [is] this large beautiful universe created without Allah, if anyone has [this mindset] than that person will not choose any other religion."

Fawad Ahmad Marwat

"I converted to Islam October 2016. My path to Islam is a long story, but to keep it very short and simple, after I [did] my own research on Christianity, I denounced that religion. Yet I felt that the religion of Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was [still] the correct one. I was attracted to Islam due to a situation pertaining to my city, and I was watching the actions of an Imam, and how he reacted when the town treated him very unkindly. To see someone respond with love even when faced with nasty people, I knew that is the type of people and the type of religion I wanted to surround myself in."

Jessica R Parham

“I can honestly [say] the Quran [made me come to Islam]. I have [seen] some people who call themselves Muslims, and Subhan Allah, [I've always wondered] how they [could] call themselves Muslims when they treat [other] human beings [so unfairly], [because of] that I studied Islam. I was so disappointed [in those “Muslims”].

I felt let down [I] didn't know who to trust, [so] I isolated myself with just the Quran...after living 9 months in a mosque, I began slowly to trust [others] again, and by the grace of Allah have since met the most amazing people. I [have] never stopped believing. I also [asked] Allah to forgive [those Muslims who treated me unfairly] because they have not yet come face to face with Allah...so May Allah have mercy on them. I think Allah was testing me, to see if I would turn away from him.

[I didn't even have] a penny and just [had] the clothes on my back... I just cried and prayed, cried and prayed. Subhan Allah. Allah took away my thirst and some of my pain. And through that suffering, I didn't commit one sin. Alhamdulillah. Subhan Allah after a while people came from everywhere with food and clothing, I couldn't believe my eyes, and I thought I've earned my wings. Amen.”

Noor Mohamed

Here we see an interesting contrast between how each individual viewed Muslims before they accepted Islam. From this we can tell that it is not a person or any Muslim that guides someone to Islam, rather it is Allah who chooses whom he wants to guide and when he wants to guide them.

"I came to Islam 7 years ago Alhumdulilah. I was raised a Christian, but I was very confused about many aspects of the faith. I’ve been on a search for God my whole life. I asked my questions to priests, ministers and pastors among different sects of Christianity, and none of them could give satisfying answers. Their answers would go in circles.

Finally, I met a Muslim in a place I worked, and he started talking about his religion. It intrigued me, and I asked more questions. His answers seemed so simple and clear, and he seemed so sure of his answers. I asked him where he learned these things and then he gave me my first Quran. I began reading it and I would ask him questions. Everything began to make sense Alhumdulilah.

One day, it was like a jolt of lightning, and I knew instantly that this was the path I was meant to be on. I took shahada in April of 2011, and I’ve been so grateful ever since Alhumdulilah."

Sara Benamara

“I was introduced to Islam the first time as a little kid, I had a neighborhood friend who was Muslim, and I watched them pray once because I was over, and it was time. That changed me; ever since then, I had studied extensively about Islam. I never felt good in my Christian faith.

What ultimately did it for me was after a terror attack, I went to my local masjid for a tour and Jumu'ah. I felt complete and utter peace in the prayer hall, I nearly cried sitting in the row with my brothers. I had never felt so at peace in a religious establishment. I prayed that day for the first time in many years.

I got a Quran that day, and I’ve been reading it daily since. Every time I go to the masjid, I just sit in the prayer hall for a bit and just relax. Islam is so peaceful and loving. I have only ever seen love and acceptance at my masjid. Now I am studying to be an imam!”

Oliver Kercher

"My wife is Greek Orthodox. I was raised Catholic. The hijab and niqab have an Allure that eventually captivated me, and so I wanted to learn more. I was mesmerized...I was too respectful to approach any hijabi. I listened to Islamic speakers [,and] Muslim [nasheeds]. One cannot deny the Sensuality of Islam...Tis Allure, Sister"

Muhammed Abdullah Khaliq

"For me, I love how accepting and open Islam is. I love the fact [that] it spreads equality and a healthy, clean lifestyle. The call to prayer is beautiful and captivating. The Oneness with Allah during prayer is powerful. InshAllah I will learn [even more] as go."

Cassie MacLennan

"My family is from Irish Catholic background, and we have always practiced our faith by weekly church visits on Sunday and attending Catholic school. After my father passed away, we could no longer afford Catholic school, and I went to public school. Faith was no longer a daily influence, but rather the effect of a broad spectrum of religious, social and economic interests ...Throughout college, I met people of various faiths, but few were devoted to the extent that it changed their lives.

While missing the closeness of prayer in my Catholic school, I was no longer seeking the life of a nun which is what I imagined was the only path that people who are truly devoted to God could take. I wanted to achieve a disciplined life. Did I need to join the Peace Corps, the Air Force or some remote research station? I became saddened as college ended and bills mounted that the purpose of college was ultimately just to achieve a better financial situation status.

At this time, I began a daily prayer to God to give me a life of true meaning. I wondered about my faith, those involved in other Christian denominations, my Jewish friends and some Buddhist teachers and friends. I did not find the basic teachings of Christianity to differ enough to bother to change denominations. Religions that denied the existence of Mary and Jesus or the history of prophets seemed historically unjust.

After a year of this, graduation and new professional experience, God guided me to the Muslims, and the mosque I drove by for years. God guided me to Islam, all praise and thanks to Him. Eloquent and clear books explaining that the message of God and His Prophets never change, but rather that man changes the message throughout time. I accepted Islam on a basic knowledge of prophets, and the belief that God is alone and is the only one to be worshiped and therefore the only one whom prayers should be directed to.

The idea that Jesus and Mary were, in fact, more devout to God than I ever imagined. By rejecting the idea that they should ever be worshipped wiped away years of confusion and rekindled the love of the beauty of their stories that held me close to them as a young person. Learning that each nation had a prophet and that God had always sent guidance to his people, the detailed clarity of the knowledge of death and the afterlife detailed in the Quran and the clear rulings about what can and cannot be carried out in this life gave me the structure I had always craved. Rather than man-made rituals as I found in the Catholic Church, the rules for behavior and worship are clearly articulated and reliably sourced back to God as the origin.

People often want to ask converts was it hard to give up XYZ. The reality is that so few things are prohibited for a Muslim while all beneficial things are allowed. I’ve heard people dismiss the temptation of Adam, peace be upon him, he was just forbidden one tree with an entire garden to choose from. Yet we will self-destruct ourselves for alcohol and drugs with the most outrageous advertising budgets.

It seems so clear that this path is risky and the harm outweighs the benefit, yet it is packaged in a way no one can see through it except the one who is seeking God’s peace. God will then replace this desire to fulfill the demands of peers, society, advertisers, governments and corporate success with contentment in yourself and your situation. Remarkably, after that, but true to His promise, is that my financial comfort for the past 23 years has been more than it ever was throughout all of the struggles with materialism and the efforts to achieve it."

Kareemah Swift

"The Mercy of God, praying directly to God vs. a mediator, scheduled prayers throughout the day and fasting at prescribed times...this is why I love Islam"

Geneva OConnor

The responses I got were overwhelming and astonishing. I learned that there are so many people in our community alone who have stories waiting to be heard. I have also found that regardless of whether you are born a Muslim or not you should hold the same reverence and passion for Islam as those who have just entered the religion.

Sometimes, when you are born a Muslim, you tend to overlook the simple miracles and beauty of the faith. However, it is upon further understanding and contemplation of one's faith that that can all change. I encourage each one of you reading this to go out in your community and support new Muslims and listen to what they have to say.

Cover Image Credit: giphy

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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.

Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry - what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children-- just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 A.M because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.

Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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33 Verses From The Holy Quran That Will Light The Torch For You At Your Darkest Times

Light your torch and know that Allah is leading the way.

You're at an all-time low. You've officially exhausted all possible outlets, but still, you find yourself sinking deeper into your own despair. You may feel alone and helpless, to say the least.

To be completely honest you don't even want to search for help or a way out anymore because what's the point? You just want to accept your situation and live the miserable life you were given.

If you've reached this stage, then know that Allah has already been waiting for you since the beginning, but you overlooked him. Depression and self-deprecation isn't the way to go, especially for a believer. Focusing on the issue won't make it go away, instead, it'll feed it. Flip your focus on the only one who can provide you with a solution. Light your torch and know that Allah is leading the way.

1. O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient 2:153

2. Indeed, after hardship, there is ease 94:6

3. I entrust my affairs unto God. Truly, Allah is aware of His servants 40:44

4. And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. 25:63

5. Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near! 2:214

6. And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. 2:155

7. Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful." 39:53

8. By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path. 5:16

9. And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor you would then be helped. 11:113

10. Call upon me, I will respond to you 40:60

11. And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness 8:33

12. So remember me; I will remember you 2:152

13. And He has made me blessed wherever I am 19:31

14. And whoever puts all his trust in Allah (SWT), He will be enough for him 65:1

15. If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor] 14:7

16. And He found you lost and guided [you] 93:7

17. It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know 2:216

18. My mercy embraces all things 7:156

19. My success can only come from Allah 11:88

20. And the they planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners. 3:54

21. The good deed and the bad deed are not the same. Return evil with good 41:34

22. Allah (SWT) does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear 2:286

23. Did he not realize that Allah is watching? 96:14

24. Hold firmly to the rope of Allah 3:103

25. Do what is beautiful. Allah loves those who do what is beautiful 2:195

26. Indeed, my Lord is the Hearer of Supplication 14:30

27. And Allah is the best of providers 62:11

28."...and He is with you wherever you are" 57:4

29. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception 3:185

30. Sufficient for us is Allah, and He is the best Disposer of affairs 3:173

31. Say, “It is Allah who saves you from it and from every distress then you [still] associate others with Him 7:204

32. If you are grateful, I will give you more 14:7

33. If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there that can help you? And in Allah (alone) let believers put their trust 3:160

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Charl van Rooy

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