Monday, May 1, 2000
I am a student in a medical faculty in Istanbul, Turkey. In
your biography you say, "I am converted to Islam from Catholicism."
This very interesting to me. Can you please tell me a little
more about this, and how you learned about Islam?
There are many converts to Islam in
the United States. Usually, when a person converts to another
religion, they study very seriously. I personally was searching
for an alternative to that of the "typical" American
lifestyle because I think I was always very uncomfortable with
the social scene. I believed in God and was raised by my parents
to be moral, hardworking and kind. For me, most American expressions
of religion seemed very diluted from the original Truth which
Allah (swt) had sent to mankind. I was and still am a student
of history. Mankind's relationship with religion through the
ages always interested me.
I attended college during the late sixties
and early seventies. This was a very turbulent time in United
States history. The country was divided over the Vietnam War.
There were atleast four major figures assassinated during the
decade of the sixties: President John Kennedy, his brother Robert
Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and El-Hajj Malik Shabazz
(Malcolm X). The civil rights movement became the human rights
movement and young Americans were desperately searching for Truth,
a system or way of life that would stand the test of time. Islam
answered so many questions for which we were seeking the answers.
So, as people discovered Islam and converted, we were thirsty
for knowledge of this divinely ordained way of life that sought
justice for all people regardless of color, class, or gender.
In the beginning, it was difficult to
find authentic information such as Hadiths, Fiqh (Islamic Law),
and scholarly writings, even basic information on wudu' (ablution)
and Salat. But as time passed, Allah (swt) sent us what we needed.
Reputable sheiks, and other truly learned people came to the
U.S. and were eager to teach us correct knowledge of Islam while
Islamic literature began to increase and flourish such that today,
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the U.S. Of late, at
Eid gatherings for example, speakers have acknowledged the zeal
of American converts for Islam and their dedication to maintaining
its purity. So I am very disappointed (and saddened) when I see
Muslims submitting to racial stereotypes, class differences,
and mistreatment of women. This is not the way of Islam.
This is my story as an American convert
to Al-Islam. My message is that no matter whether you are a convert
or born into the religion, we have certain things in common:
to gain correct knowledge of our Faith in order to attain nearness
to Allah (swt) and to become good examples to others through
I would like to leave you with a few
verses from the Qur'an (Surat al-Hujurat) to contemplate:
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate,
O mankind! We created you from a single
(pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and
tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise
(each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of
Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has
full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (49:13)
Only those are Believers who have believed
in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but
have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause
of Allah. Such are the sincere ones. (49:15)