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I Knew I Was Lost, I Asked For Guidance

They listened to me patiently, and then I too listened to them. They did not try to explain any complicated issues, they just read to me from the Quran.

First they read in Arabic, then in English. It was the chapter of Maryam (Mary). I listened in silence. The sound was so tranquil – something independent from the reader, something that contained the ability to touch hearts, remove the obstacles we place in front of ourselves, and redirect us towards light, guidance, and that constantly elusive element of life called happiness. I cried. I could not find words to explain my tears and all I could say was, “It’s beautiful.”

I Was Finally Home

The beautiful sound of the Arabic recitation of the Quran and then the plain and direct language of the English translation struck a chord within me.

The beautiful story of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and his miracle birth to the virgin Mary was a marvel of simplicity. God, or as I learned to call Him, Allah, had sent Prophets and Messengers since the beginning of time – Prophet Adam (peace be upon him), Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all) and many others.

They all came with God’s message: to eschew all worship except the worship of the One True God and to submit to His Will. Such is the meaning of Islam. A Muslim is one who bows to the Will of Allah refusing the worship of anyone or anything else while seeking to establish piety on earth.

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The simple story of Jesus (peace be upon him) and his pious mother. The fact that he (peace be upon him) was a special and wondrous creation; that Allah, the Almighty said “Be” and it was. A miracle birth! No need for an intermediary!

One God! One truth! One way of life! One path! I was home!

Our Free Will & Accountability

I learned that prayer is strictly between the individual and God, and that each person is held responsible for the actions they have sent forward. No one can bear the sins of another, not even a parent, child, or friend.

Thus Jesus (peace be upon him), is loved and revered as a Prophet and Messenger of Allah; for his righteousness and closeness to Allah. I learnt that Muslims believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) will come again to the earth and that all the confusion about his origin and role will be wiped away.

Each and every human being on this earth will be held accountable before Allah, the Almighty on the Day of Judgment; it is up to us to obey or disobey our Creator. A famous saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was that, if we turn to Allah He will turn to us. If we approach Allah by a hand’s span, He approaches us by an arm’s length, and if we go towards Him walking, He rushes towards us.

To Church One More Time

I knew deep within myself that I had reached the place of light that I had sought for so many years. I was twenty-two years old. I had been a missionary since I was seventeen.

In my heart, I left the church the moment I heard the Quran. But I decided to go to the church one more time to publicly announce in the monthly “testimony meeting” the following Sunday that my life had taken a new direction and I wouldn’t be seeing them again, but that I was glad to have known them and wished them all well.

My leaving the church caused something of an uproar in my family and community. Deep down I knew I was alone in life. Family and friends could come close to us but no one really knows us or can help us except Allah. Indeed, we are born alone, will die alone and will stand for judgment alone. I had always felt alone. I was right.

The loud and often hostile reaction of people is easy to confront when one remains in a state of reliance upon Allah, the Almighty.

I considered myself a Muslim but had a long way to go, much to change and much to understand. I felt like a young child who had just taken her first steps. I knew with conviction that Allah was the One to whom I’d always prayed but it wasn’t until that time that I knew His name and reality. I spent the next five years rediscovering my life.

As I read the Quran in English, I knew that all the things I had ever thought or felt were contained in a book that existed before this world came into being.

Grateful for His Guidance

How deeply grateful I am that Allah has guided me to Islam, despite the propaganda and hype that abounds this world concerning it. Indeed, Allah, the Almighty, will never allow His message to stop, and He will rescue those who have fallen prey to this life if only they turn to Him with sincerity.

What Hands May Do

Spirals of day and night

Coiling upon each other

In rays of light

Moonbeams cheer a weary world

Hiding the ugliness of man’s hands

Which the sun will soon disclose

The mind of man stretches o’er

Time and space

Encompassing past glories and present hopes

Hands clothed in wonder

Snatch sand from the ground

Which runs like water through fingers

That entreat the Power on High

To send forth rain

Clouds drifting on high

Driven like slaves

Shield us from the sun’s harsh rays

Giving life to a parched earth

Once fulfilled

Those same hands assault goodness with evil

Relishing in the power and strength

Provided by the rain

Stretching and snatching all within

Their reach

Grasping for more until the grave

Swallows their desire

Only then do hands lie still

That once pleaded

Then ignored the One Who gave

That once misused power

Forgetting from where it comes

Day and night turn on each other

Unmindful of where and when we fall

Light and dark continues

‘Till the day we see what

Our hands have sent before.

(From Discovering Islam archive)

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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.