This article is a conversion story submitted by one of our Guest Contributors, Layla.
Before I converted to Islam, I had no interest in religion. Never in a million years would I have imagined myself to be a religious person. If someone told me that one day I would be a pious Muslim, I would have laughed. As a kid, my parents had us attend Sunday school at a Lutheran church every week and we would go to church on Christmas and other Christian holidays. The kids memorized the names of chapters in the Bible in Sunday school and everyone sang songs on Christmas. To be honest, nobody in my family enjoyed attending church, but I respect and appreciate that they tried to do what they thought was right and wanted us to believe in God. It’s not that we didn’t want to be religious people, it’s just that we never learned anything valuable in church... singing songs didn’t bring any of us closer to God. As I got older, we slowly stopped attending church except for on Christmas Eve, and eventually we just stopped going altogether. I attended my friend’s Catholic church when I was a little older, and seeing statues of saints being prayed to, people confessing their sins to a stranger in a booth to forgive them, and people eating wafers and drinking wine that was supposed to represent Christ’s flesh and blood was odd to me. I realized why my mother who was raised Catholic left the sect as soon as she moved out of her parents’ house. From this point on, I felt like religion was just not for me. Being raised in a predominantly Christian country, you are brought up thinking that Christianity is the only religion…. That if you believe in God, then you have to be a Christian. Whenever I heard the word “Islam”, it seemed so foreign to me, I assumed it was a cultural religion practiced in the Middle East and only people from that region believed in it. It turns out that that most Americans and other Westerners also believe that. Most Americans, including myself were never taught that Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religions, along with Christianity and Judaism, which believe in the same God and most of the same prophets and messengers. When I got a bit older, I lived in New York City, surrounded by people from many different backgrounds and faiths… completely opposite of the suburb of Philadelphia that I grew up in.
Out of curiosity, I started learning about Islam and even Christianity, since I had never really known about what the faith actually taught despite being raised Christian. The main difference that stuck out to me between Islam and Christianity was that in Islam, you worship God alone, there is only one God. In my heart, I always knew that there was only one God. I did not think Jesus was God, or a third of God, like the Christian faith preaches. I learned that Islam taught that Jesus was actually a prophet, as he even says himself in the Bible, and not a God. And when I thought about it logically, I knew that a man who was killed could not be God, because God is not a human being, and he most definitely cannot die. The more I read about Islam, the more interested I became because it was so logical and free of contradictions. I was so amazed to learn that the Quran, Islam’s holy book revealed over 1400 years ago to a man who could not read or write, contained so much scientific knowledge about Earth, mankind, space, and more, that modern scientists have only been able to discover recently with modern technology, and that so many scientists worldwide have converted to Islam for just that reason. I remember getting chills (and I still do to this day) from the information in Islam I read that no human could have possibly known 1400 years ago. This was a clear sign to me that this information was sent by God. While I was in New York I was lucky enough to meet a Muslim whose father taught Islam, so he had a lot of knowledge about the religion.
He taught me so much about Islam and I was also able to get answers for all of the questions I had. I learned that Islam was the most peaceful religion I could have imagined, and that murder, terrorism, and suicide are harshly condemned and disallowed, contrary to what the media portrays. The more he taught me and the more I read about Islam, the more I realized that Islam was the truth. I don’t like to consider Islam a “religion”. To me, the word religion always meant a set of morals one chooses to follow because they agree with it. Even though Islam had the highest set of morals I had ever found, such as taking care of the needy, orphans, kindness and justice to women and animals (the list goes on and on), I would not have converted to Islam and changed my life to only have a high moral compass. If I converted to a religion, it had to be for one reason, that it was the absolute truth, backed up by science, proof, and logic. I was completely convinced that Islam was the truth. My thirst to know the truth about God, creation, and myself was quenched. It is very evident why Islam is the fastest growing religion in with the world with the highest number of converts, despite the media’s negative portrayal of it. Ever since I became a Muslim, I no longer feel a sense of emptiness in my life, I no longer wonder why I am here or what I’m supposed to do. If the whole world turned against me it doesn’t matter, God guided me to the truth, and I feel so grateful. Alhamdulilah.
Welcome to our "Convert/Revert" section. This section of Striving For Clarity is dedicated to articles and stories geared towards those who chose to enter Islam later in life. If you would like to contribute to this section, visit our Guest Contributor page.