I was born in a small town in the Northern part of Indiana in 1959 to a Puerto Rican, Catholic family.
The second of four children, I questioned and rebelled against everything at an early age.
Contrary to my siblings, I always asked questions and demanded answers to why things happened and how the world existed.
Having been raised Catholic, I was of course baptized and confirmed. However, at the age of seven while attending Sunday school, the instructor during his lesson wrote the word “God” on the board, and proceeded to comment, “God is dog spelled backwards”. I thought this to be an unusual reference, associating “God” to dog.
By the time I reached the age of fifteen, I realized there was more to the universe than what the Catholic Church was teaching. I would see people going against the Ten Commandments, and then confess their “sins” to a man expecting absolution for their sins. They would remain “holier than thou” until the Sunday service was over then revert to their old ways week after week.
I stopped going to church and began my search for the truth. I attended the Jehovah’s Witness Church and the Baptist Church but found no peace. I was searching for a peace that would penetrate deep within my soul, but was unable to find it.
Although an honor student, I did get into a lot of trouble by running around with the wrong crowd. As a result I became pregnant at the age of eighteen and my parents sent me to live with relatives in New York.
My relatives lived on the 18th floor of a sky riser and one evening as the sun began to set, I felt a magic and power in the air. I looked out the window and viewed with awe the horizon, with its vibrant colors, the clouds and the sun setting. At that moment I said to myself, “I know there is something more out there, but what is it? If God is so great then why is mankind not bowing to Him?” I prostrated myself to God and prayed I would find the “thing” that would fill the void in my heart and soul.
Not until two years passed did I encounter Muslim women in their full Islamic dress. I would watch them from afar with curiosity, thinking to myself what were they all about. I would sit outside at lunchtime in front of the building where I worked every day so that I could see them. Little did I know I would one day be amongst them.
I had returned to the Catholic Church wanting a better life and to marry a “religious” man. I was engaged to one of the leaders of the church only to find out he was having an affair with a married woman. As a result I once again became alienated from the Catholic religion.
Six months later, I met and married a Muslim. I still did not know anything about Islam. Although, at the time, he himself was not practicing Islam, he demanded I become Muslim before we were to be married. I accepted, after all I had nothing to lose, I wasn’t practicing any religion. Looking back, I can see this was the door I needed to be opened in order to discover Islam. For the first time in years I had access to books and literature, to Muslim scholars and fellow Muslim sisters, who helped me in my quest.
Once I began having the understanding of Islam, I sat back and said to myself, “So this is what I’ve been searching for all these years.” That was the day I truly embraced Islam and let it enter into my heart. When my aunt found out I wanted to embrace Islam, she sought the advice of Catholic missionaries, who in turn told her not to worry and not try to stop me if I wanted to enter into Islam, informing her that it is a beautiful religion.”
I did not receive encouragement from my now ex-husband. In spite of his opposition, I went ahead with full force into understanding Islam and made it my way of life.
It took years of searching to fill the void in my soul and Al Hamdulillah, with Allah’s guidance I entered into the brotherhood of Islam. I thank Allah for the hard knocks I received at an early age while searching for the truth. Had it not been for these experiences, Allah only knows where I would be today.
Al Hamdulillah, with Allah’s guidance, I was able to raise my daughter as a good Muslimah and give her the gift of Islam.
May Allah bless and guide others in search of the truth, as He has blessed me.