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From Phobia to Shahadah – How I Converted to Islam

Last month, Austin Amani, the 19 years old Kenyan guy, made the most important decision in his life when he converted to Islam.

Embracing Islam was not only the most important decision for him, but also it was the most difficult as he grew up in a Christian family that has a very negative view on Islam.

The story started when it was the time for moving to a new school and Austin’s mum started giving him advice and instructions that would protect him in his new society.

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Amani’s family has the negative image of Islam and Muslims portrayed by the western media that presents Islam as a religion of destruction and terrorism. So Amani’s mum asked him to avoid Muslim students.

From Phobia to Shahadah - How I Converted to Islam - About Islam

“She described them in all horrible ways possible and it made me start thinking of them in a strange way, in particular when she asked me to avoid the Muslim boys in washroom because some are gay and they are fond of crowding there a lot.” Said Amani.

In the new school, Amani was following the safety instructions that his mum put, and kept himself away from Muslim students especially in the washroom.

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One day, one of Amani’s Muslim classmates grabbed his attention by his kindness and good behavior.

“This man was the turning point of my life and I called him Mr. FWOW, which stands for ‘First Wonder of the World’, as he amazed me with his behavior, especially when I saw how he related joyfully with everyone and he seemed to laugh without having a worry in thought; he would even be smiling when he was in trouble with teachers.”

What was the Role Did FWOW Play in Amani’s Life?

Mr. FWOW’s behavior had a great impact on Amani’s view on Muslims, so he started to draw close to him gradually, and the first question that Amani asked him was, “What do the Muslim boys do when they crowd at the sink in the washroom?”    

“He told me that they wash themselves before prayer, which is called in Islam wudu. So I started to think of Muslims in a more positive way.”

After that, Amani’s Muslim friend began to bring him some books explaining about Islam and an English translation of the Quran, which he all piled under his bed reading them in secret whenever he locked himself in his room.

“When I started reading the Quran my body experienced a strange form of peace which I had never felt in my life before and my life’s mysteries were answered as well.”

Shahadah in Secret

Amani’s love for Islam had been planted in him like a seed waiting to sprout fruit. He wanted to join a faith that made him happier in his life and helped him live with guidance from Allah.

So, he felt more encouraged to convert to Islam without caring about anybody’s opinion and he quickly decided to go to the nearest mosque in his town to accept Islam and take Shahadah in secret, without the knowledge of any of his family members especially his mum who has the harshest view on Islam and Muslims.

But the problem was that he is really restricted in movement; he stays home unless he is sent to the supermarket, going to church or going for a family outings. So he had to think of a reasonable idea that makes his parents allow him to go out alone.

Officially Converted to Islam

“My time to shine comes about, I asked my parents to pay for me to attend a photography course in town, so I used the chance wisely and this was my once in a lifetime opportunity to go to the mosque in Nairobi town and say the shahadah there”.

On January 6, 2020, Amani accepted Islam and he wishes if he could reveal his Islam to his parents soon. 

Actually, his mum did him a favor without intending to, as the fear that she tried to plant in his heart turned into curiosity that pushed him to ask about Islam and made him interested in observing the behavior of Muslims around him until ultimately he became a Muslim.