Attracted by Muslim Manners (American sister)
My introduction to Islam first and foremost came from Muslims.
My first introduction to meeting a Muslim person was when I was working in college at a restaurant that was owned by a Palestinian.
I was a waitress and a lot of the waitresses including myself were Americans, while a lot of the pizza drivers and the owners were Arab Muslims.
I thought to myself, “Wow, look at these gentlemen, when they laugh they laugh from the bottom of their hearts, they shake their hands warmly with each other”.
I was very intrigued by an impression like “They are so different”, but in a good way.
Naturally I became interested in Islam just from meeting those people. So I took a class in college about Middle Eastern history.
Then I started to understand more the political background of that part of the world as well as the religious background, and I was so intrigued by learning about Islam from the historical perspective, as well as being around the people I knew who were Muslims and whom I found something different about their hearts.
“Jill, Islam is Logical”!
At the same time I got a lot of help at my class from my future husband, the gentleman who became my husband in the future. His name is Sufian. Sufian always presented Islam to me from a very knowledgeable base, and never emotional.
I was always looking for what’s wrong with this religion. There has to be something wrong with it. So I would question and I would question and he would always say to me “Jill, Islam is logical”. Every single thing that you want to point out as a problem with Islam, like why do women have to cover their hair or why did men take more than one wife, he would always have the logical explanation for it.
Learning the logical explanations for these stereotypical problems that I think westerners see with Islam, when you learn the history behind it or the reasoning behind it you can’t argue. In fact it is the opposite; you see the beauty behind it.
For me Islam was a gradual acceptance. I wasn’t the type of person who would just accept it blindly. I needed to study it on my own and alhamdulillah (praise be to God) my husband was a good teacher for me, but beyond my husband I would take classes.
And I think also becoming friends with other Muslim women and eventually attending the halaqah that I go to, I think fully embracing Islam was a journey for me. And I haven’t fully arrived, but I think again in Islam you never do fully arrive. In Islam, for the rest of your life until the day you die, In-Shaa-Allah you will be progressing and learning.
That’s in short how I became a Muslim.
Crystal Clear Truth (Russian sister)
When I believe in something it must be just clear and big one, not something different. Just one big clear and white fact. Now I found this is one God and I’m happy too much about this. All the women want to feel protected and strong inside. That’s why a scarf makes a woman feel strong and sure all the time about everything.
Women are important to society and in Islam she is more important than anything. All the men in the world must respect women and take care of them. This is very good.
9/11 Sparked My Attention (Russian sister)
The first time that I knew about Islam was through reading a book. Few months later, the 9/11 tragedy took place which highly caught my attention. I started to ask who are those people and what do they want to show to the World through that extreme act?
So I started to study Islam and I discovered that Islam is so bigger and larger than what the media says to us especially western media. So this was the first contact with Islam.
I studied Islam with myself for two years because in my country it’s too difficult to find Muslims to help. After two years, I got a Quran and I read it so fast. I remember that I finished reading it, of course its interpretation in my language, on a Thursday night. I thought like I was making a small shirk because I was putting my parents above Allah.
I didn’t convert at that time because they didn’t like it in terms of wearing a scarf and such things. So I thought tomorrow I will go to the mosque and convert. Then the next day, I took the table’s cover, I put t on my head and I went to the mosque. It was very funny because everybody was looking and wondering what I was wearing, but alhamdulillah I’m a Muslim now.
The position of woman in Islam is very important to me because through the whole of my life I thought the position of women in western countries is so hard.
I was an engineer and I worked like a man and I earned like the third of a man’s salary even if we had to work outside home and inside home taking care of the family. So it was too hard and wasn’t normal. Every person whether woman or man has his/her roles and it’s very important because we can’t take all of the work by ourselves, so we must share this.
A Journey of Spiritual Growth (American brother)
The things that I find in Islam to be attractive have actually changed as I’ve grown.
I’ve been a Muslim now alhamdulillah for over 25 years. My initial attraction to Islam was for instance the sense of brotherhood of humanity.
In the United States, we have a long tradition of racial separation and segregation- which nowadays has kind of dissolved for a number of reasons- but I find that when I met Muslims and later when I traveled to the Muslim world, this absolute disregard for the outward features of human beings whether it be the color or other things, and that mankind was actually united together under a single religion.
When I first embraced Islam, it was something very straightforward and very simple kind of theology and doctrine. But as I’ve grown I started to read more and discover more and taking a more spiritual path.
I now find what I love about Islam is that I see as if I’m standing on the beach of this vast endless ocean, and now when I read the Quran it’s not the same eyes that I read with 25 years ago. It’s this endless sea of meanings with answers for everything. This really amazes me and keeps my himma (zeal) going. So that question has changed as I’m changing and I imagine in the future insha’Allah this may change as well.