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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

I Am a Muslim Because of 9/11

Ms. Drugge, my 8th grade math teacher, was explaining that the model we were dissecting was called a parabola. In an instant, our vice principal ran into the room and exclaimed that our country was under attack. Little did I know that this Sept. 11 morning would define the rest of my life.

In the wake of the attacks, my feelings of anxiety and concern soon turned into intense nationalism and pride. Aspirations for Harvard and Stanford took a back seat as I looked up the entrance requirements for West Point. I wanted to be a part of the solution. An American flag was placed alongside my Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Michael Jordan posters. I could not sit on the sidelines as my country was attacked. I soon realized, however, that my nation was not the only institution that was attacked that grim morning.

As the days turned into months, the attacks of 9/11 settled in. The news would describe the terrorists as Muslim men from Muslim countries with Muslim beards and Muslim intentions. I became more cognizant of my environment and how my peers perceived my faith. When my mom would pick me up from baseball practice, I noticed uneasy eyes directed at her headscarf. During Ramadan, when I fasted through lunch, friends began commenting on how I was “terrorizing my body.” Our country was uniting together against a common enemy, and I became the enemy because of the faith in my heart.

The next years would be the most challenging of my life. As a 13-year-old, I wanted nothing more than to fit in with my surroundings. Being a devout Muslim certainly wouldn’t help. I instructed my mom to pick me up 15 minutes after practice was over so my teammates wouldn’t know that she wore a head scarf. During Ramadan, when I fasted, I went to the library instead of the lunchroom, hoping to go unnoticed by my classmates. I was ashamed of my Islamic identity and felt that others couldn’t see me as an American because of it.

These experiences forced me to reflect on my faith. Being born into this faith would not be enough; I would have to believe in it. If I didn’t, Islam would be tucked into a corner of my life, away from the sight of others. The more I read, challenged and questioned, the more I was propelled to become the best citizen I could be. To care for those in need, to positively contribute to my community, and to sponsor equality and justice, Islam made me into a better American.

Years after 9/11, I learned in math class that the bottom-most point on a parabola is known as an inflection point — the point where the slope of the line goes from negative to positive. Sept. 11 was my inflection point, without which I would not be the Muslim I am today.

9/11 Sparked My Interest in Islam

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

9/11 Sparkled my Interest in Islam ! 

My name is Justin Peyton and I am a 29-year-old African American fromPhiladelphia,Pennsylvania. I grew up in a loving, two-parent, middle-class household with three siblings.

Growing up, my family and I self-identified as Christians, but we were never members of a church, nor did we attend Sunday services or other activities. The extent of religious expression in our home was celebrating Christmas.

Nevertheless, both of my parents set definitive boundaries for good conduct and character to which I was expected to adhere. Given the state of marriage and family in American society today, I am grateful to God for this blessing.

In addition, my parents’ interest in the histories and cultures of other regions of the world created an environment of general tolerance, respect, and admiration for people whose customs and beliefs were different from my own. Both of these factors would greatly contribute to my future acceptance of Islam.

If I had to identify one single event as the starting point for my journey to Islam, it would have to be the tragic events of 9/11. (Now before anyone gets spooked, thinking that I’m a radicalized American convert and forwards this story to the FBI, give me the benefit of the doubt and continue reading.)

After months of seeing very unflattering media coverage about Islam and Muslims, it occurred to me that the negative portrait being painted did not coincide with the experiences I had with Muslim classmates, neighbors and others, growing up in Philadelphia.

It also occurred to me that despite knowing Muslims, I had never actually bothered to take the time to learn about their faith.

So, with the open-mindedness instilled in me by my parents, I decided to research some facts about Islam in order to reconcile the apparent disparity between my personal experiences and media coverage.

Being a college student at the time, the first place I went for information is the Internet, and I eventually settled on one particular website that was geared primarily toward non-Muslims.

Over the course of several months, I progressed from reading introductory articles on the basic belief and practices of Muslims, to more in-depth topical pieces on belief in God, His prophets, His books, Judgment Day, and so on, as well as reading about practices like prayer, fasting, hajj, and so on.

Spurred to learn more, I went to a local bookstore,  purchased a copy of the Quran, and began to read. I could spend pages listing which information struck me most and why, but suffice it to say that everything that I read made intrinsic sense to me.

After a few more months I decided that reading and learning about Islam on my own was not enough, so I searched to find any nearby mosques.

I contacted the closest mosque, which was about 45 miles away, spoke to their president, and arranged a time to visit and discuss Islam with local Muslims.

On the appointed day, I showed up and spent a great deal of time talking to a very helpful brother. Unbeknownst to me, the information he shared permeated my heart.

During my second visit, in late summer of 2002, it dawned on me that I believed that Islam was the truth, so right then and there, I took my Testimony of Faith and spent the whole weekend at the mosque learning what was necessary for me to perform the ritual prayers on my own when I returned to school.

That community was wonderful, and had I stayed in the vicinity, I am sure that I would have received a lot of support adjusting to my life as a new Muslim. But that was not to be.

Prior to the events of 9/11, I had developed an interest in the military, and continued discussions with local armed forces recruiters, concurrent with the exploration of Islam that would lead to my conversion.

Within two month of accepting Islam I also signed papers to join the Marine Corps, and that winter, after graduation, I was off to boot camp.

Looking back on that part of my life, I am grateful for the skills I gained and experiences I had during the course of my service. But in retrospect, the timing between these two events was less than ideal.

I found that as a new Muslim, the nature of military life was not conducive to helping me find my bearings in this religion. For instance, the pace and schedule of entry-level training made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for me to fulfill basic tenants like praying the prayers in their allotted time or fasting Ramadan.

Even after leaving training, I was located in an area of theU.S.with no Muslim community, which prevented me from developing my faith. It wasn’t until some three years into my service that I met another practicing Muslim service member who would be able to teach me both about Islam and how to navigate military life as a Muslim. May God reward him for his efforts.

After completing my military service in the summer of 2007, I moved back toPhiladelphia, became an active member of a local mosque, and was blessed with the ability to obtain a job at the local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a non-profit civil rights and advocacy organization for Muslims.

The two years I spent as a part of the Philadelphia Muslim community and an employee of CAIR-PA was a tremendous learning experience that really spurred my development and whetted my appetite for more.

And that leads me to where I am now, an Islamic chaplaincy student at Hartford Seminary inConnecticut, pursuing its combined Masters of Arts in Islamic studies, Christian-Muslim relations and Graduate Certificate in Islamic chaplaincy.


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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Why Grand Daughter of Priest/Pastor Accepted Islam ?

I was born and raised in the bible belt here in America.

My great great grandparents, my great-grandparents, and my grandparents, as well as my sister’s husband were all preachers of christianity. I was raised in a strict pentecostal home. We went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

In the church they would speak this tongue and say it was holy ghost or holy spirit.

My sister and all I knew there had recieved this holy ghost but no matter how hard I cried, nor how hard I begged God for this gift I never recieved it. I saw them run around the church and worship at the altar, and I never felt the urge to run with the spirit.

At 14 yrs of age I became pregnant and the preacher got in front of the church and used me a example of a sinner.

He condemned me to hell and said I had no business there with the people of God. That Jesus didn’t accept me. I walked out of the church and have not gone back. I moved away from God.

I had thought if God does not forgive me for this what sense is there to pray. If my soul is destined to hell already why try anymore?

For years I believed nothing. Times got harder for me and I started crying out to God yet again. This time I didn’t pray for the gift of holy ghost, I prayed for guidance, that he would lead me to him and the truth.

As I was telling a friend one day on how lost I felt, how I wanted to love God, and how I wanted God to accept me in heaven not send me to hell, my friend says to me

” I know you are not muslim, but for your sake of sanity and peace, please read the Quran”

If only just for some peace. At that time my mind was tortured, I was emotionally a wreck. 

I wasn’t going to read the Quran, I had been told Islam was the home of Anti-christ and that Islam was evil. But it kept on my mind to read the Quran..

I thought well my friend is not evil and it could not hurt to read it. I searched all the stores in my hometown and no Quran. So I searched online.

I found on www.quranexplorer.com .

I started reading the Quran and saw no evil, nothing that I had been taught about the bad in Islam was in the Quran.

I was amazed to learn that Allah was the same God of Jesus(peace be upon him). I read about Muhammed (peace be upon him) and learned he was not an evil man, but a good man.

Everything I had been taught about Islam and prophet Muhammed by the church were all lies.

[Amazing]

So I started looking up things on Islam in addition to reading the Quran.

I hid what I was doing from everyone I knew, even deleting my history on the internet. I believed the Quran where I always doubted the bible. This was amazing to me.

I thought to myself I actually love God. Allah will forgive my sins. I still have the chance for heaven. Many emotions went through me.

The day I took my shahada was the happiest day of my life. I will never be able to explain the feeling of peace and acceptance I finally felt after a life of confusion and helplessness.

For anyone who has ever thought they were meant to go to hell, they would understand this feeling. I immediately went to prayer, teaching myself the prayers, immediately took to the hijab.

The day I took my shahada, I announced to my family I was now muslim. It has been hard for me.My children’s father tried everything to get me to turn against Islam. Once he saw I would not turn from Allah, he wanted to know why.I talked to him and told him all I had learned. He converted to Islam too,

Many spit on me, call me a non-american and terrorist, I was physically attacked. Some of my family has disowned me.

My mother thinks it is a phase I’m going through but still defends me.

My sister refuses to let me speak of Islam at all, and makes a point to say ” thank you jesus and jesus loves you” in front of me and my children. In times like this I just smile, ignore, or say “sorry you feel the way you do” I realize that if I resort to anger then it will confirm people’s belief that Islam is bad.

My son took it all the hardest because of his loyalty to my mother and sister, but I am proud to say all four of my children have now took to learning the prayers.

May Allah guide me in teaching them.

I know all there is about the holy bible, I have read it, been taught it all my life. It contradicts itself.

The Quran speaks truth and I hope that many realize this before the doors of heaven close on forgiveness.

[Sister Aisha]

Admin Comment:  Oh My dear sister in Islam,

I cant stop my tears by reading your story…

We’re proud of you, in fact approx 1.68 billion Muslims are proud of you ..  The most best thing is The ways by which Allah guide people is truly amazing. MashaAllah.. SubhanAllah! 

May Allah bless you and reward you highest place in Jannah

Ameen 

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Converting to Islam – the white Britons becoming Muslim

As 22-year-old Aisha Uddin recites Surah Al-Fatiha – the first chapter of the Koran – at home with close friend Sameeah Karim, she may stumble over one word but otherwise the text is perfectly recounted.

Aisha Uddin: ‘It’s a change I’m happy I’ve made’

But unlike Sameeah, 35, who has Pakistani heritage and grew up reading the holy book, Aisha is newer to it: she used to be called Laura and only converted to Islam two years ago.

She is pale and has bright blue eyes; originally from Birmingham, until recently she dressed like many other young white British women.

“Before it was the jeans, the hoodies, loads of make-up,” she says.

Now Aisha wears a long black jilbab (a long flowing over-garment) and a cream-coloured hijab (headscarf).

“For me now, obviously it’s a dramatic change, but it’s a change I’m happy I’ve made, because now I don’t have to prove myself to anybody out there.”

Aisha took an interest in religion at school – and started quietly visiting her local mosque to find out more.

“Islam caught my eye and I wanted to look further into it – the people, the culture – and I carried on studying it and studying it, even after school. Living in Birmingham, I was surrounded by the religion.”

She says she spent years finding out more about Islam before fully committing to the religion, changing her appearance and starting to pray five times a day.

“Life’s changed dramatically, I was a rebel before, I was always getting into trouble at home, going out and staying out – not trying hard enough at school.

Regents Park MosqueConversions at Regent’s Park Mosque in London happen on a weekly basis

“Then when I became Muslim, I sort of calmed down. I wanted to stay at home studying on the internet or reading books. And I’m more happy than I was – I’m proud of who I am, I’ve got a certain identity.”

Aisha is one of a growing number of white converts according to a new study by Swansea University for the charity Faith Matters.

Using a number of sources, including a survey of more than 250 British mosques, census data from 2001 and conversion figures in Europe, the researchers estimate that there could be as many as 100,000 converts – of all ethnic backgrounds – in the UK. This represents an increase on an estimated 60,000 converts in 2001.

For an insight into the experiences of Muslim converts, the researchers spoke to 120 – mainly young, white women.

Many converts – like Aisha – reported experiencing hostility from their families. She says her parents thought her conversion represented a rejection of her upbringing.

Support network

“My family they weren’t too happy about it, [saying] why change your identity? Why cover your hair? Why dress the way you dress?” says Aisha.

Sarah JosephSarah Joseph converted to Islam when she was a teenager

“Being in a society where there’s so much bad press around… but if you actually get to know these people, they’re the friendliest people ever. I’m proud to be Muslim, I don’t care what my family say.”

Aisha does have a wider support network now. She has recently had a traditional Asian wedding to a British Bangladeshi man and lives with her in-laws.

She also has a lot of friends, also converts, who she met at new Muslim groups.

Aisha pores over pictures of all the women lined up in their different coloured headscarves at her wedding.

“That’s Lailah, that’s Hanan, that’s Mary… Sameeah’s the only Asian one,” she laughs.

At Regent’s Park Mosque in central London there are many white faces among the crowd for Friday prayers.

Conversions happen here every week – largely on a Saturday, and they are mostly women.

Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, is a recent convert and prays there.

One London imam, Ajmal Masroor, says the findings of the study come as little surprise to him. He says in his experience around three-quarters of converts are women.

‘Personal journey’

“Many people are looking for a spiritual and fulfilling lifestyle rather than the hedonistic, materially-driven one that we have around us,” says Imam Masroor.

“They find an answer in Islam. Women are hard-wired to reflect and think and take things more seriously, even from a young age.

The hijab was and very much is about the search for inner beauty”

Sarah JosephMuslim convert

“This has been going on for the last 20 years and more so since 9/11. People are curious, so they go to the book rather than the distorted media headlines.

“They learn that Islam is fulfilling as a personal journey as well as a collective conscience.”

Sarah Joseph sits in her office studying the latest edition of Emel, the Muslim lifestyle magazine she edits.

She converted to Islam as a teenager and has adopted the headscarf, saying she was looking for something with more meaning.

I’d grown up in a model agency and I’d been surrounded my whole life by external beauty, and the hijab was, and very much is, about the search for inner beauty,” she says.

Despite the difficulties, Sarah says British converts have a vital role to play in explaining two sides – Britain’s Muslim and non-Muslim communities – to each other.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

An American Millionaire Becomes Muslim

Mark Shaffer, an American attorney and millionaire has declared his Islam in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, 17th October 2009. Mark was at that time on a holiday in Saudi Arabia to visit some famous cities like Riyadh, Abha and Jeddah for 10 days.

Mark is a well-known millionaire and also a practiced lawyer in Los Angeles, specializing in cases of civil laws. The last big case he handled was the case of the famous American pop singer, Michael Jackson, a week before he passed away.

A tourist guide who accompanied Mark for 10 days in Saudi Arabia, Dhawi Ben Nashir told: Since he set foot for the first time in Saudi Arabia, Mark already started to ask question about Islam and Solat. As soon as he arrived in Saudi, Mark stayed in Riyadh for two days. While in Riyadh, Mark was very interested in Islam. After moving to Najran, we went to Abha and Al-Ula. There, his fascination on Islam grew more obvious, especially the time when we ventured out into the desert.

Mark was amazed to see three Saudi youths who were in our group in Al-Ula, performing solat in the expanse of the very wide desert. A very fantastic panorama indeed.

After two days in Al-Ula, we went to Al-Juf. As soon as we arrived in Al-Juf, Mark asked if I could get him some books on Islam. I then obtained some books on Islam for him. Mark read all those books. The next morning, he asked me to teach him how to perform solat. I then taught him how to pray and take wudhu (ablution). Then, he joined me and performed solat beside me.

After solat, Mark told me that he felt peace in his soul. On Thursday afternoon, we left Al-Ula heading for Jeddah. He looked very serious throughout the journey reading those books about Islam. On Friday morning, we visited the old town of Jeddah. Before the time for the Friday prayer approached, we went back to the hotel and I excused myself to go for the Friday prayer. Then, Mark told me: I would like to join you for the Friday prayer so that I can witness myself how the Friday prayer is like. So I answered: welcome…

We then went to a masjid which was not far from the hotel where we stayed in Jeddah. Since we were quite late, I and many other jamaah had to pray outside, as the number of jamaah was overflowing. I could see Mark observing the jamaah, especially after the Friday prayer was completed, when everybody was shaking hands and embracing each other with radiant and happy faces. Mark was very impressed with what he saw.

When we return to the hotel, Mark suddenly told me that he wanted to become a Muslim. So I said to him: Please have a shower first. After Mark took the shower, I guided him in saying the kalimah of shahadah (declaration of faith) and then he prayed two rakaah. Later on, Mark expressed his desire to visit the Masjidil Haram in Makkah and perform solat there before leaving Saudi Arabia.

In order to fulfill his wish, we went to the Da’wah and Irshad office in the area of Al-Hamro’, Jeddah, to obtain a formal proof of his conversion to Islam, so that he would be allowed to enter the city of Makkah and Masjidil Haram. Then, Mark was given a temporary certificate of his conversion to Islam. As a number of group members who participated in Mark’s visit to Saudi Arabia had to go back to America on Saturday afternoon, Al-Hamdulillah, Ustadz Muhammad Turkistani was willing to send Mark to the Holy Land of Makkah that same morning.

Regarding Mark’s visit to Masjidil Haram, Ustadz Muhammad Turkistani narrated: After Mark obtained his temporary certificate, we straight away departed heading for the noble Masjidil Haram. When he witnessed the Masjidil Haram, he face looked radiant and it emanated an extraordinary happiness. When we entered the Masjidil Haram and witnessed the Ka’bah for ourselves, his happiness increased. By Allah, I could not express that scene with words. After performing the tawaf around the noble Ka’bah, we performed the sunnah solat and went out of Masjidil Haram. I could see Mark very reluctantly wanting to leave Masjidil Haram.

After Mark declared his Islamic faith, he had the chance to express his happiness in Al-Riyadh Newspaper saying: I could not express my feeling at this time but I am being reborn and my life has just started… then he added: I am very happy. This happiness that I am feeling could not be expressed in words especially when I visited the Masjidil Haram and noble Ka’bah.

Regarding his next step after his conversion to Islam, Mark explained: I will learn more about Islam, I will delve deeper into this religion of Allah (Islam) and come back to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.

As to what impelled him into converting to Islam, Mark explained: I have already had information about Islam, but it was very limited. When I visited Saudi Arabia and personally witnessed the Muslims there, and saw how they performed the solat, I felt a very strong drive to know more about Islam. When I read true information about Islam, I became confident that Islam is a religion of haq (truth).

Sunday morning, 18th October 2009, Mark left the Airport of King Abdul Aziz Jeddah heading for America. When filling in the immigration form before leaving Jeddah, Mark wrote ISLAM as his religion.

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