This video was transcribed by Reading Islam Team.
My name is James, 28 years old. I’m half Palestinian half English.
I grow up in a Muslim life in Abu Dhabi and I studied at university in the UK. I embraced Islam 5 years ago.
I was Christian but, as majority of people, not practicing religion. One of my friends goes on into his religion and I noticed changes like he stopped hanging out and he would do his prayers…
I eventually asked him “what are you doing?” and he talked to me about Islam. I had curiosity to know so I watched videos and I believed that this is real, this is true. There is nothing wrong with that… it’s clear, it’s the correct answer for things in life… it gives me a purpose.
I know all this but I don’t want to be Muslim. I don’t want to change my life, I don’t want to have to change my friends… whatever the reason.
But slowly, slowly events happened in my life and I suddenly started praying. So I decided that “ok I won’t to be a Muslim but just pray saying God just guide me, show me the right way”.
So I’d wake up in the morning and do prayer and asked God to show me the way. I did that for months.
There would be days when I’d wake up and didn’t pray, I’d feel something missing from that day, I’d feel that something really nice about the prayers, meditations… just feeling good for the day.
After that there were some events that happened. I told my family that I want to be Muslim. They said:
“Are you crazy?”
I said: “Why?”
They said: “Because you know Muslims… you can’t convert etc.”
There were some complications with the family… the police came and visited me because they thought I have been brainwashed.
They questioned me for a while and I’d come to know later that my anty called them.
They realized that there is nothing wrong with me, I just want to change a different way of life. So they apologized.
Two days later I decided to take shahadah.
I knew in my heart that it was right, I couldn’t deny. I knew that it is the truth. Whatever way I tried to find something wrong with it but didn’t find any… there is nothing wrong with religion… I was just scared, I just make excuses… and I guess that happened as result of me to delaying.
Everything in life is hard. You have to go through it and become much stronger.
I had many concerns of course family and friends. Obviously family don’t want to hear these things about you.
Some friends may say “he’s changed, we’re not going to be friends”. But actually you find that they get belong over quickly, people move on by quickly, and actually people love you and respect you after you’ve done it and you go to that initial tough stage.
When I embraced Islam it did effect me in the sense that I had a duty now, I should pray, I should be good…
Islam is giving me a purpose and reason to get up in the morning everyday to work hard and it’s giving me peace even if the stuff goes wrong I keep trying, I keep going.
You do have concerns of practicing Islam, especially when you live in a western country like the UK or wherever… there are many mosques, if you stick with the right crowd, you’ll find it much easier…