Saturday, 30 August 2014

Canadian Sister Elizabeth's Journey to Islam



My name is Elizabeth, 25 years old from Ontario, Canada and this is my journey to Islam

Before my reversion, I was the talkative and "bubbly" girl. Always laughing and having fun, always the social butterfly. People liked to be around me and I too enjoyed the attention. In fact, I craved that attention. It was interesting to see that even the new me was getting attention too, but not in the same way. People were confused about me practising Islam and people were very curious too. Even today the staring does not seize. People can be so cruel. Even the people who know you, they too can be cruel. Sometimes they are the cruelest of people. Its was hard to see that some of those people who were once so close to me, now viewed me as an entirely different person. All simply because of the clothes I wear. 

 I first started looking into Islam when I was about 13 years old. Something about it just caught my eye and from that moment on, I was hooked. I couldn't stop researching Islam. My teachers would give us an assignment and tell us to pick a topic. You can guess what my topic always was. Islam. I started to realize that despite all the misconceptions I had, I was always convinced with a reasonable answer. No matter what it was, I was faced with surprisingly perfect explanations that I just couldn't ignore. I looked at my family and my childhood and I wondered how my life would be if we were Muslims. I started to compare myself to pious Muslims. "How could I ever be like them?" I told myself. It seemed like it was an unrealistic goal to approach. After years of Islamic studies, I decided that I was ready for the challenge. After all what did I have to lose? I just wanted some stability and happiness in my life.

 Let me tell you a little bit about my family and how I lacked the guidance there in. Maybe this will give you a better idea of me and why I chose Islam. I come from a broken home, no family dynamics, no rules and no love. My sisters and I could run wild and no one even seemed to care. I could be gone for weeks on end, missing school and never even coming home. When I'd return back home, no one would even care to ask where I was or what I was doing. I could do anything and everything I wanted to do and I have never been punished or grounded by my parents, not even once. It was Just complete confusion and pain for so many years. My father was an alcoholic and my mom was addicted to drugs. Astaghfirallah. My sisters and I were so use to our way of life, we didn't question it at first. The pain came as something almost normal. I thought to myself a lot, "life just sucks". I remember many nights of my dad yelling and being violent. Mom was always crying. I can remember all the holes in the walls and all of the bruises left on my mothers face. How could I ever forget that? Three little sisters, stuck right in the middle of an inevitable disaster. We were constantly crying out for him to stop hurting her. Such trauma we endured as children. I started to notice what my family was missing. Obedience to God. How much different could my life have been if I was brought up with religion? This was constantly on my mind. 

 One early morning as my father slept, my mother quickly packed a bag and she grabbed my sisters and I. We were out of the house in such a hurry that I can remember running through the streets in my bare feet. My hand tightly clutched my older sister. "Where are we going?" I asked. My sister replied to me "We are running away". I was sad and confused and I didn't want to leave my dad behind. I didn't know if I could ever see him again. We ended up in a battered woman's shelter and not too long after, I was talking to my dad behind a thick glass window within the prison walls. Life was so hard. My sisters and I moved with our mother from shelter to shelter, until we finally settled down in a little low income community. I started to realize that there were so many people who faced similar problems. So many children lost and confused because their parents were lost in the ways of society. Canada was no exception. People living in their sins with no shame at all. After all, it was completely legal to live in haram. Canada was somewhat condoning this way of life. I realized how life in Canada could be so much better, if we just implemented obedience to God in our everyday lives. During our adolescence, my sisters and I made many terrible mistakes. Searching for the attention of a father figure and looking for love in all the wrong places. The mistakes we made brought us so much guilt and pain. Id cry myself to sleep on numerous nights and in those tears also came some healing. How beautiful it is, the honest cries of breaking hearts. The Confusion and pain still lasted for many years to come. We were turning into our parents. Couldn't we just break the cycle and start our own lives differently? How would I ever begin living a life that I never knew nothing about? How hard could it REALLY be? After years of "living in Haram", I almost found it impossible to break out of the lifestyle I knew so well. I was broken but this brokenness was the feeling of a deep need, a deep desire to submit and surrender to Allah. I was beginning to realize that Only God can help me and without God, I am truly nothing. I had a really long way to go before I could truly know God. I didn't even know where to begin. How would I get started? One night I cried out to Allah. " Oh Allah the beneficent and the merciful, I have wronged myself and Surely only you can help me. Please help me Allah, please please please help me! Remove this pain from my life and show me what I need to do" From that moment on, I began by taking it one step at a time. Here is my beautiful journey into Islam. 

I reverted to Islam on Jan 28th 2012. Wallahi it was the best decision I have ever made! An easy decision to make, considering my circumstances. Being on "the other side" without Islam, I knew first hand the consequences of Living without obedience to Allah. Words cant even describe the overwhelming relief and comfort I felt on that day of my reversion to Islam. I spoke the words "La illaha il allah muhammed rasoul allah" and just then, My body was shaken by an intense spiritual awakening. I bursted out in tears of joy. Finally I found what I have been yearning for all these years. I felt new again and I felt hope. For the first time in my life I actually felt hopeful! I left my past behind me. "Things are looking up now" I thought to myself. I now had a decent a chance at a good life. I started making friends with Muslim woman in my community. I was starting to feel a sense of belonging. Just knowing that there are countless others out there who love me and respect me, and they barely even know me at all. I thought to myself again "wow I have a family now, a big family" and I was only beginning to feel the love that they had for me. I felt so happy to realize that these people care for me and they want the best for me. Anytime I ever needed help in understanding Islam or even if I just needed someone to talk to, there was always a nice Muslim there for me and willing to lift my spirits high. How blessed am I? I truly am so thankful to have had this opportunity. Indeed, Allah has found me lost and he guided me. Alhumdulillah. Alhumdulillah ALLAHU AKBAR! God is great, I have no doubts about that. Minutes after my reversion to Islam, I began to feel the spiritual high. I was so motivated, so enthusiastic and very excited about the new life ahead of me. I put the hijab on that same day, and it was liberating! I didn't have to worry about keeping up with all the latest styles and trends. I didn't have to fit into the expectations society had on woman. I was free. free at last. Hijab changed me. It made me shy and it reminded me everyday that I have great responsibilities.

 One day I was walking through a crowd of teenagers. I watched them all move aside creating a perfect path for me to walk through. Some of them stopped talking with each other, others rushed to hide their cigarettes behind their backs. I walked up to the bus terminals and an old man smiled as he held open the door for me. People were thinking good of me and I was shown such high respect. I now had a reputation to uphold. After lots of hard work and research I began to grow. A few months later I could say my prayers in Arabic and I was beginning to feel even more close to Allah. By then, all my pains and my worries from childhood faded. My heart was healing. I couldn't believe how I was able to almost forget about all my sadness and anger. Any resentment I once held in my heart, was completely erased by love and forgiveness. I began to feel sorry for my family. I wanted them to feel good too and I didn't want them to suffer any longer. "Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they first strive to change what is in themselves" I remember the Quran and what it told me. Then it hit me hard. Id have to share the beneficial knowledge of Islam... if I want the best for my family. They needed to know about the peace I felt in Islam. I had to share this beautiful religion with them and I knew that this would not be an easy task. I started out by giving away Islamic books to my mother and sisters. I offered kind words of advice and I showed them about Islam through my loving actions and deeds. My mother began to be more loving towards me and she was now coming to me for advice and comfort. One day my youngest sister asked me if I can put hijab on her and of course I didn't hesitate one bit. She looked at herself in the mirror with her hijab on and she smiled. " I wonder if I can be like you" she said. I cried with such happiness. I remembered having a similar feeling when I compared myself to the born Muslims. I thought that I could never be like them. I replied back to my little sister " With the help of Allah, You can be anything you want to be. You just put your heart and mind into it". She looked at me with surprise. I don't think that she ever heard such encouraging words before. I can see that My family is slowly getting better and I am still actively giving them dawah. Little by little, I feel like I am making a positive difference in their lives. I can still tell that my family is interested and curious about Islam, but they have yet to fully embrace it. Please pray for Allah to give my family guidance. I think that I have been growing steadily in the deen and each day my faith is increasing in sha allah. Sometimes I rise and sometimes I fall, but i am beginning to see that this is a part of faith. What matters most is that you never give up and you always get right back up and keep on trying. I hope that all the reverts out there who read this will find some comfort and hope. You are never alone, you are loved and Allah is always there for you. **Even in the darkest of places, out can emerge people of wisdom and faith** Sometimes even the best of people can come from the worst places. We all have an opportunity to achieve success. No matter who you are or where you come from, with the help of Allah you can succeed. It may be more difficult for a revert then those born Muslims who have certain advantages. The bigger the struggle the greater the reward. Remember that. It just depends on how much you want it and how far you are willing to go for it. Nothing is impossible with Allah. He can completely transform your life. My life has been transformed and I have Allah to thank for every single blessing he has bestowed on me. I am thankful for all my struggles and all my pains because with out them, I wouldn't be who I am today. Alhumdulillah.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Revert women helps 1000 Belgians to revert to Islam


Veronique Cools, a 25-year-old Belgian convert to Islam, has has helped over 1,000 people who have accepted Islam in the past 8 years.

Cools, who accepted Islam herself at a very young age after being influenced by her Muslim friends and researching into the religion, turned her home into an Islamic center for Belgian Muslims seeking to learn more about their religion.

Saying that she herself had to overcome many prejudices when looking into Islam, Cools then successfully helped her family overcome them too. Now her close family are also Muslims.
'Prejudices stem from not being introduced to real Islam properly,' she said as she was preparing iftar food packets for visiting Muslims to break their Ramadan fasts. 'As Muslims we need to explain ourselves to society a lot better.'

The center now has more than 1,000 members, most of them Belgian women, and is open for all of Belgium's 50,000 Muslims.

(World Bulletin / News Desk

Friday, 20 June 2014

Changing faiths: Hispanic Americans leaving Catholicism for Islam

With more than 50 million Hispanics living in the US, the Latino community is now the country's biggest minority.

While most are brought up within the Catholic Church, a number of them are turning to Islam.

Precise figures are difficult to pin down as the US Census does not collect religious data, but estimates for the number of Latino Muslims vary between 100,000 and 200,000.


Islam is most commonly associated with the Middle East and the Arab world, but the simple truth is that 85 percent of the world's Muslims are non-Arab. Current estimates suggest that one-fourth of the world's population is Muslim (roughly 2.6 billion). When looking at the countries with the largest Muslim populations, most are from the Eastern World: Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Ian, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, China, Syria and Russia. But the prevalence of Islam doesn't just lie in the Eastern world, as new reports are suggesting that Hispanics are converting to Islam.
The Hispanic community is one that has strong roots in Catholicism, but yet BBC reports that the U.S. Census finds that Latino Muslims number between 100,000 and 200,000. BBC reporter Katy Watson spoke with Yousef, a half Colombian and half Ecuadorian. "I was very, I guess ignorant," said Yousef. "And I think what I saw enraged me -- I saw people falling from the towers. In the end, I hated Muslims. My hatred was diminished, it was extinguished really, my learning about Islam. My project I was given to learn about Islam in college. And once I did that, I made the decision to come to the faith."
In fact, in Union City in New Jersey, where more than 80 percent of the population is Hispanic, mosques and Islamic religious centers are popping up. One local mosque has a 30 percent Latino population and classes are held in Spanish to help converts learn more about the Qur'an. "We are a minority within a minority, growing very rapidly," says Nahila, a Mexican convert who works at an outreach center. "I think they're looking for that niche." Nahila goes on to explain that the hardest part of converting for a Latino is the feeling that they are leaving their family.
CNN reports that a 2011 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 2.75 million Muslims live in the United States and in 2008, four percent of America's Muslims identified themselves as Latinos. The vast majority of the Latino Muslim community were found in major cities, such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and the Bronx. As for why Latinos are converting, the reasons are across the board ranging from marrying into the faith, disatisfaction in their birth faith, exposure to the religion during prison or attending interfaith events. One common factor found; however, is that most of the converts switch faiths in adulthood.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

German Brother reverts to Islam

 


My name is Yahya Schroder. 

I am a "European" Muslim. 

I became Muslim when I was 17. 

I am living now in Potsdam, Germany and I want to share my experience with you as a Muslim in a non-Muslim state.
As a convert to Islam, I think it's much easier to follow the deen (religion) than a born Muslim who is been raised up here.

Almost all young born-Muslims I know want to become Germans. For them Islam is only a tradition and they think that they have to give up their tradition (Islam) to be accepted by the Germans, despite the fact that the Germans won't accept them even if they gave up their religion.

I grew up in a little village. I lived with my mother and my stepfather in a huge house with a big garden and a big pool. And as a teenager I "lived a cool life;" I had some friends whom I used to hang around with, do stupid things and drink alcohol like every young German teen.

The life of a Muslim in Germany is quite difficult than one would think especially for me as a German Muslim because when someone asks a German what they know about Islam; they would tell you something about Arabs. For them it's like mathematical operation Islam = Arabs.

They still don't know about our big nation. When I converted to Islam I had to leave my family and I moved to the community in Potsdam near Berlin. I left this huge house and all my material valuable stuff.

When I lived with my mother and my stepfather I had everything; a big house, my own money, TV, Play-station. I was never concerned about money, but I wasn't happy. I was searching for something else.

When I turned 16 I met the Muslim community in Potsdam through my biological father who became Muslim in 2001. I used to visit my father once a month and we used to attend the meetings of the community which were held on Sundays.

At that time, I was interested in Islam, and my father noticed this and told me one day that he wouldn't speak about Islam when we are together because he wanted me to learn from people of greater knowledge so that other people won't say: "Oh he became Muslim just because he's 17 and does everything his father does."

I agreed and I started visiting the community every month and learned a lot about Islam but at that time something happened and changed my way of thinking. One Sunday, I went with the Muslim community swimming and I broke my back twice by jumping in the pool and I hit the ground with my head.

I noticed when Allah wants something; the individual's life can be turned over in one second.
My father brought me to the hospital and the doctor told me:
"You have broken your back quite bad and if you did one wrong movement you'll become handicapped."

This didn't help me much, but then just a few moments before they brought me to the operation room one of my friends of the Muslims community told me something: "Yahya, you are now in the hands of Allah, it's like a rollercoaster. Now you are on the top enjoy the ride and just trust in Allah." This really helped me.

The operation took five hours and I woke up after 3 days. I couldn't move my right arm but I was feeling like the happiest person on this earth. I told the doctor that I don't care about my right arm I'm so happy that Allah has let me survive.

The doctors have told me that I have to stay in the hospital for few months. I stayed for only two weeks there, because I was training very hard. One day a doctor came and said: "today we will try to take one step on the staircase," the exercise that I did on my own two days before the doctor told me.

Now, I can move my right arm again and I was just two weeks there Al-hamdu lillah. This accident changed a lot in my personality.

I noticed when Allah wants something; the individual's life can be turned over in one second. So, I took life more serious and started thinking more about my life and Islam, but I was still living in this little village.

I made a lot of da`wah to my classmates and now I even have a praying room although I'm the only Muslim in my school.
My wish to become Muslim became so strong that I had to leave my family. I left my stepfather, my mother and the luxury lifestyle to go to Potsdam. I moved to my father's apartment which is rather small and I had to stay in the kitchen but it was okay because I had nothing just a very few clothes, school books, and some CDs.

It must sound for you like I lost everything but I am very happy, I'm as happy as when I woke up in the hospital after the dreadful accident. The next day was the first day of Ramadan. The day after this was my first school day in my new school.

In My New School

The day after my first day in school I said Shahadah Al-hamdu lillah. So, everything was new for me, new apartment, new school, and first time without my mother. Like in my school when they first noticed that I am a Muslim they started to make jokes at me. I think this is usual because of what they learned from the media. "A terrorist," "Osama bin Laden is coming," "Muslims are dirty," some people thought I am just a crazy guy. And they even didn't believe me that I am German.

But now after 10 months the situation has changed. I made a lot of da`wah to my classmates and now I even have a praying room although I'm the only Muslim in my school.

My classmates changed from making jokes to asking serious question about Islam and they noticed that Islam is not a religion like the other religions. They noticed Islam is cool! They see that we Muslims have Adab (manners) in dealing with each other. They noticed that we are independent from all this peer pressure, we just keep it real we don't need to be in a special group like in my school.

At my school there are three main groups: the hip hop guys; the punks; and the party people. Everybody tries to be a member of one group, so as to be accepted by others. Except me! I can be a friend with everybody. I don't have to wear special clothes to be "cool." So what happened is that they are always inviting me and my Muslim friends to their barbecue parties.

The special thing on this is that they respect me as a Muslim and even more, they get Halal food especially for me and they have organized two barbecue grills one for them and one for us Muslims!

The people here are very open for Islam.

(Contributed by  brother Yahya on onislam.net)

Thursday, 5 June 2014

American Policeman reverts to Islam


My name is William, and I live in a large Midwestern city in the United States.
I am a typical American in many ways that are reflected in both my professional and personal lives. Professionally, I am a supervisor with a major police department, and I have been in the military, both active duty and in the reserves for the majority of my adult life.
Personally, I live in the suburbs with my wife and child, drive a pickup truck and occasionally wear cowboy boots. I pay my bills, treat my neighbors well, and prior to my reversion/conversion to Islam, I followed my religion in the manner in which I had been instructed.
As I said, my life was that of a typical American, with my main concerns being the little details of everyday life that everyone worries about. Little did I know that my religious beliefs would take me out of the “typical” life that I lead, and that they would instead become a major factor in my life, providing me with a sense of peace and completion that only a short time before I would not have thought possible.
My journey to Islam began with my association, and later friendship, with a man named Nasir. I met Nasir through work in the late 1980’s, and was impressed with his manners and the way that he treated me. I had met very few Muslims, and I was always a little uneasy around them as I was not sure how they would accept me.
Besides having the appearance of a pickup-driving-shotgun-toting-redneck, I was also a Jew, and the combination often seemed to unsettle people. Nasir, however, took everything in stride, and as a result a friendship slowly bloomed. Through Nasir, I really formed my first impressions of Islam and its adherents.
Over the years I watched how Nasir dealt with different situations, and was constantly impressed with the wisdom and patience that he displayed when he was dealing with difficult people or situations. He always took the high road, even at times when I, if I had been in the same situation, would have been tempted to treat the persons differently.
If I asked him why he did certain things, he would tell me a bit of wisdom which guided his actions. Most of these, (I realized later), were direct or indirect quotes from the Quran, which he told me not in a proselytizing way, but in a gentle manner as if he were teaching a child the proper way to conduct itself in the world.
In fact, prior to reading the Quran, I often marveled at how one person could be so wise and knowledgeable! Little did I know that those guiding principles were written down where I or anyone else could read them. I realize now how blessed I am that I was exposed to Islam and Muslims in such a positive way.

Around the winter of 2000, I began to have a serious interest in Islam. I read the Quran, but could not seem to fully understand it. Despite this difficulty, I continued to have a nagging feeling that I should continue, and so I studied other books about Islam. I learned a great deal, but in an academic and not in a spiritual way.
I double checked the dates of many of the modern “discoveries” that had been addressed in the Qur'an, and was astounded at what I found.
Again I attempted to read and understand the Quran, and again I had difficulties. I finally resolved to ask Nasir for help, and then the 9-11 incident happened. Suddenly I had a host of new worries, and I put my questions on hold. During this time period, I had a great deal of exposure to Islam, however very little of it was put to me in a positive manner.
As a police supervisor, I was constantly receiving warnings about perceived Islamic threats, and as an officer in the reserves I was around people who perceived Islam as a direct threat and Muslims as possible enemies. So, to my shame, I continued to wait and kept my studies on the Islamic world to those areas that directly influenced my professional life.
  
Then, in the late summer of 2004, that nagging feeling that had persisted suddenly intensified, and I finally asked Nasir for guidance. He told me about the tenets of his faith, and about the nature of the Quran. More importantly, he told me how crucial Islam was to his life, and how strongly he believed in it, not only as the word of God, but as the way in which man was meant to live.
He and his brother Riyadh then provided me with booklets about Islam that had answers to many of the questions that I had. With this knowledge in hand, I again approached the Quran, and suddenly found that it was not only readable, but that it made sense! I can only think that either I was not mentally ‘ready’ before, or that I simply needed the extra input in order to properly understand and process the information. Either way, I read and re-read everything that I had been provided, and then double checked the facts that had been presented to me. The more I read, the more amazed I was.
I found that the information that was in the Quran would have been impossible for Muhammad to have known had he not been a Prophet. Not only would it have been impossible for a man of his background and geographic location to have known many of these things, it would have been impossible for anyone of his time-period to have known them. I double checked the dates of many of the modern “discoveries” that had been addressed in the Quran, and was astounded at what I found. Not only did the Quran contain information that was centuries ahead of its time, but it did so with details, many of which could not have been known until this century.
I did not receive any new information or beliefs, but was instead capable of understanding that which I had already learned.
I became convinced that Muhammad was indeed a Prophet that had been inspired by God through his angel. Despite this, I still faced a dilemma. Although I now believed that Muhammad was a Prophet, I still was confused about what to do. Everything that I had ever believed was suddenly turned upside down, and I was at a loss for an explanation.
That night I prayed for guidance and understanding. I only believed in one god, but I wanted to know the manner in which I should hold that belief. The prayer was simple, but heartfelt, and I went to sleep full of hope that I would receive an understanding of the situation. When I awoke, I did so with the feeling that I had experienced an epiphany.
Everything was suddenly clear, and I understood how all the things that I had practiced before were simply observances that had been contrived by man in an attempt to follow religious principles that had changed over the millennia. I did not receive any new information or beliefs, but was instead capable of understanding that which I had already learned. I felt exhilarated, happy and at peace, and that morning I said the shahadah.
I told Nasir, and he took me to a nearby mosque for the Friday prayers. At the mosque I was lead to the front by Nasir, and I told the assembled congregation about why I had come there. Then Nasir and the Iman helped me repeat the profession of faith in Arabic.
Although I was a little nervous, the joy I felt upon doing this far outweighed any other feelings that I had. Afterwards, I was welcomed by the majority of the members in a manner that was so welcoming that I can hardly describe it. Most of the congregation shook my hand and welcomed me to Islam, and many of them offered to help me or to answer any questions that I might have. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget.
In closing, let me say that the feeling of peace that came over me is still with me, and although I am still very early in the learning stages, I am happy and confident that I made the right decision. I am still a redneck-looking, pickup truck-driving, typical American.
Only now I am a Muslim American, and with the continued guidance and assistance of people like Nasir and Riyadh, I hope to one day set as good an example for others and they have been for me.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Indian actress Monica converts to Islam

South actress Monica has been converted to Islam religion, today, May 30, 2014. The actress has revealed few images of her in which she is seen wearing the Islam's traditional costume burka. Monica started her career as a child artiste in Tamil cinema and has acted in more than 50 films. She is also the popular face in other South Indian film industries like Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. However it is still not known what exactly made him to opt for one of the biggest religions in the world. The reason behind her getting converted into Islam religion has not been revealed yet. After getting converted into Islam, Monica has changed her name to MG Rehima.
 Monika announced her decision which she claims to be backed by her parents Maruti Raj and Gracy, in a recent press meet. She said that her decision to follow Islam is not based on monetary concern and it is only because she is inspired towards the Islamic tenets.

Monika who has acted in 70 films in all has said she has decided to quit acting in films and will be entering wedlock soon. She also promised to announce her wedding plan soon.