I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and both my parents were born in Hong Kong and I thought that I would be the last person on this earth to ever follow a religion, let alone become religiously devoted (Alhamdulillah, Allah guides whom He wills!) …I had always been a very carefree-materialistic-social-“crazy” kind of person. I never believed much in any kind of religion though I followed my parents in Christianity, Buddhism, then later I tried Christianity again…but nothing really made sense to me and every time I tried to learn more about religion, I just ended up being distracted and looking at fashion magazines instead. I always thought that religion was some kind of secret cult that was out to get people and to corrupt their minds (lol, Subhana’Allah!) and I thought that religion was an excuse to make money and cause wars. But of course I was ignorant and arrogant beyond words. I made these assumptions without ever researching about religions and I just based it on what the media said and what celebrities followed. I was extremely materialistic and thought that being rich was the answer to all my problems.
Fast forward some…and a year before I took my Shahadah (testimony of faith to become a Muslim) .. I had been leading a very detrimental lifestyle. I was more free than a bird and I set no limits on myself and all morals and virtues were stripped away from me and my vocabulary. Deep down I knew I wanted good, and deep down I would be crying out for help..but I thought the show must go on , and I need to hide my sorrows by doing things that would make me fit into society and seem “oh-so-cool”….my lifestyle was unhealthy and all over the place, I had no direction in my life and I thought that I would just live each day by the moment until “my calling” came right into my lap…I disrespected people and most of all I disrespected myself. I would cover up the pain by always putting on a show and showing people that I was this “happy-go-lucky-didn’t give a care in the world” kind of person. Many events happened in my life that finally made me fed up with myself and with my lifestyle. I hated who I was and I hated all the people around me. I just wanted to escape and get out. I had spent nights in my room just crying inside and asking if there was something out there to help me, to save me from this unhappiness, this torture, from this feeling of emptiness and a life without purpose.
Then I was saved. My Lord, the Almighty guided me. Now the most amazing thing with all this…is that most people who convert to Christianity or any other religion don’t take their newfound faith as seriously as many Muslim converts. If you watch youtube videos of Muslim preachers who were hardcore Christians, Buddhists, Hindu’s etc…you will see the passion in their voices, the tears of joy in their eyes, and the sincere devotion to their new faith. Islam, it changed my life and it saved me from my own self. I met some Muslims where I had been working and one day I saw a documentary about Hajj on National Georgraphic- my eyes lit up and I was like wow, I want to go there! I learned that you had to be Muslim to go there and so the 30 second interest letft me shortly after.
A few months later, a few things had sparked an interest in my search about Islam. I began to do a lot of research, and develop a keen interest in the beloved prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and all the beautiful Mother of believers. I was feeling very stressed and empty at this point in my life and I tried to read the Qur’an and though the old english translation was quite difficult to comprehend at the time (i suggest the translation by Muhsin Khan) so I tried to listen to the recitation instead. It was the beautiful recitation of the Qur’an that reached deep into my heart and turned that switch on. I am so grateful for this gift of Islam because it truly brings me satisfaction.
We all must know that religion is never something that you get into because of someone else, especially Islam, and I say “especially Islam” because this religion has many sacrifices of the self that you must give up once you become Muslim. Becoming Muslim requires a LOT of strength, courage, and confidence; it requires a lot of dedication and conviction and a lot of determination. Wearing the hijab, praying 5 times a day at it’s allotted time, not beautifying yourself for other than your husband, not mixing and flirting with random strange men, cutting out dirty music and disgusting habits, eating halal etc….all this is not done to please people…but it is done to please the one who created you! Being a Muslim is not your once a week “church gathering” or that “annual fundraiser for cancer”…it is constantly worshiping your Lord every minute of every day, it is constantly giving charity to the poor, to your family and doing good deeds to earn the reward of your Creator, earning the final reward, the Paradise of eternity. It’s deeper than just the surface things that this material, temporary worldly life has to offer.
When you choose to devote yourself to the ONE TRUE GOD OF THE ENTIRE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH AND THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE…you devote yourself to His Commands, and His Prohibitions. You obey everything He has commanded for His creation. Why? Because we should Love our Creator and we should strive to please Him and meet Him on the Day. Afterall, who knows us better than our Creator, right?
I had NO idea what Islam was all about before and nobody ever told me about it and I just assumed it was the religion that Indians and Pakistans followed, astughfurAllah- May Allah forgive me) but I had not fully accepted the truth until March of 2011, I am not the type to air out my personal life with the online pool of strangers (like half the online bloggers do…may Allah guide them), so I will not go into details with that, but do know that after I became Muslim, I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the light of Islam…I feel like the thanks and gratitude could never be enough for my Lord, Allah.
This religion, often misunderstood due to the mass media and because of individuals who have nothing better to do than to take out their hatred for politics and their bitter outlook on life towards innocent people, is not the religion of war or terror. Do not judge the book by it’s cover (i.e- the Qur’an) and if you have never read the Qur’an or the exegenesis of it, then please don’t go around spreading your ignorance to other people. Keep your mind open and away from the media, it will really do you some good. You can’t base a religion on a minority of people who have a wrong, misinterpreted idea of the religion. This is not correct and if you conclude that Islam is a just a religion of war and terror because of them, then pity yourself that your years of tuition did you no good at all. Remember, ASK a Muslim what Islam is, don’t go asking someone who doesn’t even know anything about the religion and that includes NON-PRACTICING Muslims (aka- Muslims by name).
Islam, take it from me and from all the other billions of Muslims around the world, it truly is the religion of peace. Islam does not dismiss desires, but it disciplines them. If it was a war of terror than where and what are the other half billion of Muslims today ? Don’t be a follower and follow the majority of uneducated individuals out there who bash Islam and blame Islam for every single thing. Terrorism is not a religion and should NEVER be associated with ANY kind of religion. If I could look past all that misinterpretation and misunderstandings that the media spits out (and mind you I was soooo obsessed with the media and believed almost everything I read, saw, and heard) then you should definitely approach Islam with an open mind. Seek the authentic sources and don’t go to Christian haters who preach nothing but falsehood about Islam. It is because they know it is the truth that they only say the things that they do to mislead you and give themselves an excuse to take the easy way out. They can’t stand the thought of leaving what their forefathers practiced and most importantly they can’t leave or give up their attachment to this worldly life and their carnal desires. OPEN UP YOUR MIND, it will set you free! Islam is the perfect, Muslims aren’t, so don’t-get-it-twisted!
Thanks for reading this and I hope that my experience can help open up your mind to the right religion, and if you aren’t really a practicing Muslim but stumbled upon this page, may Allah allow you to benefit from my posts and my journey as a Muslim , Ameen.