I had a very long road to Islam.
I always believed in God from the time I was a child. My father had died when I was eight and mother had a religious upbringing and was hard working to support me and my sibling. We tried going to church on Sundays as often as we could with whomever we could, and I grew disenchanted with the Sunday school classes.
The first time I ever knew there were actual people who believed in God but were not Christians was on my friends list. A very nice short boy who had inspired me not be so rigid in my thinking was having a conversation with me one day and He said “praise to be Allah.” He talked about the birth of Marry which is not mentioned in the Bible but explained in the holy Qur’an. I was shocked.
At the time I was learning the rules of priest in Orthodox Christianity. I believed in God but I wasn’t sure about my religion. So I had to excuse myself from the conversation. Even then I couldn’t wrap my head around a non-Christian concept of God. I was always taught in Sunday school that other views earned you a ticket to prediction.
Shortly after high school I failed to convince my relatives and mother to explore myself and my thoughts. I was so eager to know about the true God. I met a person as a gift from God to know more about Islam. I asked him for a holy Qur’an, but he refused to give due to the situation with my extended family.
Days passed and I complete my secondary education and again there I failed to finish B.Tech. I started learning life after some cruel raging and nasty conversations. I found myself homeless as I returned “home.” I was angry with God, blaming Him for making me suffer needlessly. It was one year after I sank into my studies again. Fear, anger, hate and suffering became part of my life.
During that year I had mental depression and worried so much about my future. I made friendship with the same person whom I met a couple of years back. I was still searching, not completely certain that Orthodox Christianity was the way of God.
In my life I was always alone, so I loved to stay alone. I received a translated Qur’an to read as a gift and during that time I was also updating my knowledge of the Bible and I took a mental notes of a few things.
When I was doing my degree, I enjoined the mental stimulation there a lot and learned that life is not just a progress but it is to be put in the guaranteed way of living.
At that institution, a Muslim brother inspired me a bit more and I was learning from him but even he didn’t know how beautiful and perfect his way of life was which I found. I’m very glad that he is still there in my life to advise me and help me hold on to religion. He opened my eyes as what I can do to become a Muslim. I always thank God for giving him as a ‘Gift from God.’
During most of the weekends I was forced to visit my mother. I had to keep being the perfect son and keep holding onto the church because I was so well versed in the Orthodox Church but I was still having strong doubts about my faith and was unable to say that in public.
I knew I would never be free from this doubt if I couldn’t have the answer to my questions. So I left the Orthodox Church, and Christianity. It was not a place that was good for spirituality and that was affecting me mentally. The people there were just following culture.
I began wondering again if any religion had the truth in it.
During this time I was still thinking about what I had read in the Qur’an. Deep down, I was afraid to truly study Islam because of my family and I kept it very secret.
Then I wondered to myself, what I am afraid of, really? Why am I living life like this? And, finally I felt like the holy Qur’an has right answers.
There is only One God. We are created to Worship Him alone. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Noah, David, Jesus and Muhammad (May peace of Allah be on them all) all preached the same message about the same God. God is the Creator of all that is in the heavens and the earth, he only deserves to be worshipped not stones, statues, crosses, the sun, the moon, star, temples, animals, saints, priest, movie stars, football stars or religious people.
It took almost two years to learn how to pray to God with the help of Internet. But I made Shahadah.
I am more joyful than ever. I love telling people I’m a Muslim. Some people are accepting, some are intolerant. That, unfortunately, is humanity.
But I pray that Allah opens eyes and hearts of people.