My Conversion Story
The thing that amazes me the most looking back is how little I knew about Islam growing up. I don't remember even meeting any practicing Muslims during my school years. In fact, I hardly knew even the first thing at all about Islam until I took a course on the history of the Middle East during college.
The course taught me the basics about Islam: that it was a monotheistic religion like Judaism and Christianity and that most of the problems in the Middle East were due to politics not anything about the religion of Islam. That was how things remained until after I had graduated from college.
During the period after I graduated I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go in my life, and I began reading about different world religions, including Islam. As I read and learned more about Islam it became appealing to me, so that I gave up on reading about the other religions and spent my time learning about Islam.
I had been somewhat religious as a child but as I got older I had questions about Christian doctrines like the Trinity. When I would go to church I would just feel empty, like nothing was reaching me. I came to think that I wasn't religious at all.
But when I read about Islam, I began to rediscover religious faith. Islam is so pure and simple. It's how a religion should be. Time and again I would be saying to myself "but I already believe that" or "I didn't think of that before but it makes so much sense".
Over a period of several years, I read and learned more and more about Islam. By 1999, I was spending all my spare time reading about Islam, studying the Quran and even beginning to correspond with Muslims.
It wasn't anything dramatic, it just came to the point that I felt that I needed to make a commitment to this religion that had opened my heart and reached inside of me and reawakened the faith of my childhood. So I took shahada and started praying. It really was that simple.
The time since my conversion hasn't always been easy, but the difficulties have only deepened my faith and taught me more about what it means to submit to God's will. I don't know what I would do without Islam. I don't know where I would be. Al-hamdulillah for Islam!
I want to conclude by encouraging all non-Muslims who may be reading this to take the time to learn more about Islam. Get past the stereotypes you see in the media. Read books and articles written by practicing Muslims and talk to real live Muslims. Then you too may discover the truth and beauty of Islam.