After 20 years, I am still being asked how I came to Islam? What made me want to convert?
Contrary to what a lot of people think, I did not convert for a man. This is a common stereotype, but my journey started much earlier.
I was raised as a Catholic, went to Sunday services, and Sunday school. As I got older, the Trinity and the Bible were confusing to me. I couldn’t get logical answers to the questions I had.
These confusing thoughts distanced me from the church during my teenage years.
While in college, I had taken Introduction to Religious Studies and Introduction to Eastern Religions classes. I remember learning how the three monotheistic religions were different from one another but was not taught how they all came together.
To me it made the most sense that Islam brought everything together.
After learning that, it just seemed logical, after growing up Christian, that Islam was the next step to learning more.
Islam answered all the important theological questions I had logically. It was the logic of Islam that appealed to me as well as Islam’s way of life. To follow a religion is to live it.
Growing up Christian, I knew a lot of people who attended church on Sundays, Easter and Christmas services, but the rest of the year were not really living the way I thought Christians should. I loved the thought of praying five times a day and taking that time out to be with God. The remembrance of God never stops.
Every action throughout the day is started with a dua.
What a lovely way to live your life, I thought. I had not seen this in Christianity.
While attending college, I had the idea in my head, as most women do, that I wanted it all. I want to be educated, have a successful career, be married, have kids, a house, 2 cars, and a dog. The ideal “American Dream.” However, as I got out into the work force, my values started to change.
I saw what these working women had to do first hand. It was a struggle to work, run home to get the kids, cook dinner, run a household etc. It was this reality that I grew up in as well. Both my parents worked my entire life.
There was one summer vacation when my Mom was home with me. She had been “let go” when her company downsized, and decided to spend the summer with me before returning to look for another job.
I loved that summer and spending time with my Mom. I didn’t think “having it all” as a working woman was all that necessary.
It appealed to me that in Islam, women had the role of caretaker and encouraged to be at home to raise children and take care of her husband. It is seen as virtuous and rewarding from God, especially in fast changing times where divorce rates are high and children are out of control.
I believe this is because the role models our children need are busy working outside the home.
So after learning and researching about Islam, I felt I needed to be Muslim and that was the right path for me. I said my shahadah about 20 years ago. It was challenging for quite a lot reasons I won’t go into here, but another follow-up question I get asked is about what my family thought.
Alhamdulillah, my parents were accepting of it. To help them understand what I believed in, I gave them an Introduction to Islam book, which gave an overview about Islam. My Mom said she was glad that I was worshiping the same God that she was.
My mother was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools, and never knew a Lutheran until she was in high school. Those were just the times when she was growing up. It is easy for someone to think Allah sub haana wa ta’ala was another God, but once that was understood, it has led to a life-long learning process and dialogue, which I am happy to share with them.
I am grateful every day that Allah sub haana wa ta’ala chose to bring me to the straight path. Subhanallah.
Originally posted 2016-07-31 23:54:19.