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I Knew I Was Lost, I Asked For Guidance

I always felt close to God and prayer was a way of life for me. Deep in my mind, for I could never voice any doubts, I had some misgivings about what I’d been taught about Jesus (peace be upon him): some things didn’t make sense to me, but as a missionary I felt I was calling to God, not to a particular church. I could recognize a harmony and structure in all the nature around me, yet I found an absence of order wherever I looked around people.

I learned to love Jesus as a messenger of God but it seemed strange to me, that God would require a sacrifice in order to forgive us. I believed that God was above having any need. I felt I could communicate with Him as I was, without the necessity of an intermediary because, again, God didn’t need any help to hear what I said.

As a Christian I had been taught that Jesus was God’s son and that man could only be saved through belief in Jesus. I wondered why God, who was so obviously powerful, would require anything, let alone a son to fulfill His purpose. Why couldn’t the Creator just forgive His creation without an intermediary? I also knew deep within my heart that when mankind stepped away from righteousness, all harmony was lost.

I Kept Searching

I clung to what I’d been taught since a child but I kept looking, searching and thinking.

At school, I learned to be “tolerant.” People said that all religions lead to God. However, instinctively I knew that I knew without any doubt that there was one God, one system of life, one truth, and one path leading to it. There couldn’t be many diverging paths that were so contradictory!

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The Jews hate Jesus, the Christians love him, other religions ignore him and some others do not even know him. Are they all true?

At the end of all these religions is there one God; the Creator who made everything so harmonious in nature? Is this the same God who created the marvels of the universe but also allows all this ignorance and confusion and calls it worship? Such an idea lacked logic, respect for human dignity and mercy from the Creator. One God, one truth, one way. But where was it? I kept looking.

Life changes continually but usually these changes take place gradually and are of a subtle nature, and then, from time to time, intermittent situations pound our lives and make us pause and take new directions. One such vital crossroads confronted me in 1983.

New Muslim Neighbors

I was moving into a new flat and had the choice of two apartments. I was unsure which one to take, so as usual, I prayed and asked. I had a very strong feeling that if I moved into one particular flat my life would change dramatically. I was as a boat cast adrift on the sea, led by the winds and tides but my weight affected the direction of the boat. Likewise, our intentions, decisions, and actions steer the course of our lives.

I met my neighbors who were Muslims. I thought I would do some missionary work. I always like to remind people about the Creator, goodness, and the existence of truth. What little I knew about Muslims and Islam was colored by the Christian-Judaic doctrine in which I’d been raised. I was taught that Muslims did not believe in Jesus (peace be upon him), that they were ignorant heathens who deserved to be usurped from the land of Palestine. How ignorant I was!

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About Selma Cook
Selma Cook has written a number of books including: Buried Treasure (An Islamic novel for teenagers), The Light of Submission (Islamic Poetry). She has also edited and revised many Islamic books.