Sunday, May 01, 2011

My Reversion to Islam

*This note was originally posted by me on my Facebook profile on Wednesday, November 3, 2010.

Dear All,

I came across this note and it belongs to a person on facebook. i don't know him directly and i got a chance to access this note through someone else on my list. I have removed the name of the person since i have not asked his permission to share this note. This note was a sign to me from my Allah, it reminded me of the biggest blessing that Allah has granted us, the blessing of Islam. I am grateful to Allah for His blessing and I pray He gives me the strength to forever strive to be a true Muslim. It is indeed He who guides us and without His guidance we would surely go astray. So forever blessed are we to have found the true path and there can be no one more unfortunate than he who has found this path but failed to walk on it. Allah make us not of the Zalimun and those who transgress, make us from amongst those who fear their Allah and seek repentance and beg forgiveness for their sins. Make us your thankful slaves and grant us patience and help us lead a life of piety and righteousness. Ameen

May Allah bless this man and forever keep him on His path. And may He show his parents the true path and keep all those who are dear to him safe from the evils of this world. Ameen

My Reversion to Islam

I'm writing this because I get asked so many times how i came to islam, and writing about it on facebook chat doesn't give it any justice because facebook chat is not that good. Ok, so I grew up in South Manchester in England, mainly around fallowfield and Chorlton, I didn't even know what a muslim was till i was around 9 years old. I went to a catholic school and so obviously there were no muslims there, one day after school when I was on the way home there were loads of females wearing headscarves so I said to my mum, 'Where are all these nuns coming from?' My mum laughs and tells me that they aren't nuns, but they are infact muslims and that we were driving past an islamic high school for girls. I thought nothing of muslims, I just didn't care really, I mean I was only 9.

I would go to church on sundays with my great grandmother but it was boring and I'd always fall asleep...I still knew nothing about muslims. But then 9/11 happened and all of a sudden muslims were everywhere, always on the news and people started hating them and talking about them. I didn't really have an opinion, I was annoyed that the twin towers were destroyed because I liked them but still, it didn't affect me because I was only 11 at the time. A year later I went to highschool, and the school I went to was full of muslims, I got on well with them, many of my good friends were muslim so I learnt bits and bobs about islam from them but i was a catholic and i liked my religion. We studied islam abit in religous studies in our first few years of high school but nothing ever grasped me, none of my friends ever talked to me about it or seemed to practice it much infront of me, only when ramadan came they would fast, which I could appreciate because christianity has its own little version of fasting. Also eid...the muslims would all be off for eid and the school would practically be empty.

Anyway, when I was in year 10 (age 14-15) my dad bought me a bible stories book, very big book and very easy to read (I still do sometimes). As I read it I fell more in love with christianity, I learnt all about the prophets and I would read bits of the book every night, sometimes I just couldn't put the book down, there were mistakes in it here and there but I would just ignore them and carry on reading. I also wanted to start going to church again (by myself now as my grandmother was ill) and so I went once and thought it was the most boring thing ever, but going to the church did teach me good  manners and respect so in that aspect I'm glad I went but holy moly it was boring. I decided not to go church but just pray at home...I would pray at home just before I went to bed every night, I didn't do wudu because you don't in christianity. I used to read the 'Hail Mary' which is a prayer to Mary (alayhis salaam)  but I stopped because I didn't want to pray to a human, I thought I should pray to God, so I started reading 'Our Father' which is quite a nice prayer that goes like this:

''Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass, against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.''

It's not a bad prayer when I reflect on it now, abit wrong islamically but probably the best prayer for a christian to read. But then one day whilst I was still 14, my brother tells me he has become a muslim. Gosh was I shocked, a little annoyed, and extremely confused. My muslim friends at school were quite happy about it, my brother had just turned 18 and he told my mum who at first wasn't too happy but got used to it. He didn't tell our dad straight away because I think he may have been frightened. Not long after this my mum became pregnant so me and my brother had to share a bedroom. We started discussing religion alot and he would be praying infront of me and putting the turban on infront of me. When we would discuss our religions, he would show me big mistakes in christianity but I couldn't attack islam because I knew nothing...even if i had known all there was to know about could i poke holes in a perfect religion?? I would start researching islam, not because I wanted to become one but because I wanted to know what I was dealing with. Wow was I was so similar to christianity, yet so different aswell.

I still wasn't thinking of becoming a muslim, but I started seeing things abit differently, whenever I would read the bible stories now, I couldnt ignore the mistakes in them, and I hated how they made sense in islam. I started to see the brotherhood between muslims, and I noticed nearly all muslims were practicing, even the ones who didnt practice islam much would still  practice more than nearly all christians I knew, this also annoyed me. I had gone into college by now and my brother had gone to university, he had started growing a beard and always going  to the masjid, using the miswak, wearing the jubbas ect.

When I was 17 and just before i was about to go into my second year of college i went to Ibiza with a friend, which for those of you who dont know is all about 'partying and alcohol.' So, I'd be drinking alot and having a good time, getting drunk, chasing girls, eating bacon, having 'fun' as it's called.

Towards the end of the holiday I started thinking that I didn't like alcohol, one night me and my friend almost got into a fight whilst drunk over a girl in a bar, we spent about 60 euros in a few hours on alcohol that night, that girl ended up throwing up on my shoes which was abit annoying, we were so drunk that we decided to take a little short cut over a cliff, which was dangerous when we were clear headed, let alone so drunk. We managed to get back to the hotel  in one piece, and soon after we were throwing up and then passed out. We woke in the morning with a pain that only my revert friends may have experienced, to try and explain it to the muslims who have never experienced a hang over may be difficult but i'll try. Imagine feeling really dehydrated, your breath stinks badly and you have a damp t-shirt full of vomit and sweat, you have such a bad headache that any noise louder than a whisper brings excruciating pain, also you feel paralyzed, you don't want to can't move. And then you try and remember what happened the night before..but you can't, you finally manage to get out of bed, drink alot of water, have a shower, get dressed and get some food in your belly. You're feeling abit better...but then you start remembering the night before, and you wish you had amnesia again.

After this, I never looked at alcohol the same way, i realised what it can do to can turn the best of men into the worst buffoon. After the holiday and back in college, ramadan had started and the unity between the muslims was great, they may not know it, but i saw it, I heard it, i felt it. During ramadan I was bored and looking for a movie to watch at home, I found 'the message' in my bedroom and put that on. For those of you who don't know it's about the life of the prophet Muhammad (sulAllah alayhi wasalam) and it was beautiful, I know it was a film...but ive watched hundreds if not thousands of films and id never had a feeling like that in my heart after a film before. I decided to go into sujood like how I saw the muslims in the film doing it, and I prayed to God.

I said 'O Lord, I don't know if you're trying to guide me to islam or if its right that I should stay a christian, i'm confused and I can't make the decision, I need a sign, so please just give me a sign.'

A few weeks after this, I woke up one morning and I knew..I knew I had to become muslim..not I thought I did...but I knew, I was scared, and to be honest I was annoyed, I knew i'd have to sacrifice alot. I told a few close friends and my brother..the look on my brothers face was amazing, never have I seen happiness like it, and never again on this world will I see happiness like it.  I didnt become muslim straight away because I needed to make sure that it was the right thing to do, its a big thing to decide to do, its not 'switching religions' it's switching life styles.

A friends father very kindly offered to take me to the masjid he goes to so that I could learn about islam and I gladly accepted the offer, they gave me a nice 'welcome to islam' pack full of small books about islam and a few dvds. Eventually I decided it was time to convert, I told my mum...  it was a most frightening experience, I will try and paint you a picture to share with you what it is decide you need to tell your mum but every ounce of your body wants to hide it, but you have to!  So you plan it all out, it's all you think about, the time're sweating and shaking with nerves, you walk upto your mum, not knowing what her reaction is going to be...will she smile...will she cry...will she shout, you have no idea, you find the right words to say, and you say them...'mum, im going to become a muslim...just thought you should know'.  And its over, you feel so much lighter and relieved. Thankfully my mum was ok with it, having seen my brother become one, infact these days shes very helpful towards me regarding my religion, she reminds me of Abu Talib.

So, on January 8th 2009, at the age of 17, I became a muslim and I got straight into it, learnt surah fatiha, wudu and started praying as I should, quit the pork, alcohol and haraam food and it was good, I felt happy..the real happy. But a month later I told my dad, my brother had already told my dad and it hadn't gone down too well, as expected my dad didn't take it well when I told him either, and we fell out (don't worry we're fine now - he got over it) so for a while that was bad. Ok so i'd been a muslim for a few months now but unfortunately I started geting abit too arrogant and comfortable being a muslim...complacent is probably the best word to describe it. I hadn't become like my brother, I was muslim but I wasn't being as good as I could and I couldn't really care, I just thought being muslim was good enough, sure i'd still pray and not drink or eat haraam but I could do alot lot more.

I don't want to  delve in to what I did, those who know me know how I was and those who don't..don't. After I finished college and started my job I met a very good muslim man, a very close friend now, and just by observing him whilst at work, and talking to him it inspired me to become a better muslim. My brother alhamdulilah got married in September 2009 and he has a baby daughter on the way mashAllah, I was hit with a difficult trial in November/December 2009 and  alhamdulilah since then i've realised how important islam is and I always try my best to better myself, but the story never ends, we should all always be trying to better ourselves and never think we're doing enough. Don't take anything for granted.

Anyone who managed to finish this note, I would like to request one thing from you, pray for my family to be guided to islam, especially my mum, jazakumAllah khair people. :)

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