Posted by: Abrahim | 28/01/2009

Aref

Islam: My Chosen Religion

by

Aref

As for those who believe in Allah, and hold unto Him,

them He will cause to enter into His mercy and grace,

and will guide them unto Him by a straight road.

Qur’an 4:175

Why Islam?

We are in the unique situation of having intelligence to be able to ask ourselves

“what is the purpose of my existence?” We have free will to seek and follow the

truth. By seeking and following the truth we can find a purpose to our existence

and achieve inner peace.

I have chosen Islam (which means submission to Allah) as my truth to “what is

the purpose of my existence?” I continue to follow Islam, and further journey along

its path, the straight path to the Truth. Allah is the Greatest.

How did I find Islam?

I was introduced to Islam through my intention of marriage to a friend whose

religion was Islam. Therefore, it could be said that love introduced me to Islam.

But ultimately it was a greater love for God, that I accepted Islam. All praise be to

God.

What is my background?

I am an Australian man, 27 years old. I was 26 years of age when I publicly

accepted Islam. I spent 9 months prior to that studying Islam, before accepting it.

Prior to Islam I did not ascribe to any particular religion, but as with most

Australians, I had a weak background of Christianity. During my upbringing I was

never baptised, never attended church and never taught any particular beliefs.

However, I was still taught good conduct and virtues, despite no firm religious

guidance. As with most Australian children I looked forward to receiving chocolate

eggs at Easter (Easter Bunny) and new toys at Christmas (Santa Claus) from my

parents and relatives.

My exposure to Christianity as a child was mostly outside the family household. I

attended a Religious class, one year in primary school, and can recall the stories

of Abraham and the Sacrifice, and the story of David and Goliath, being taught – all

these stories are also mentioned in the Qur’an.

I received a children’s Bible as a gift at one time, and during my early high school

days I received a pocket-book of the Psalms, which was handed out to all the

students.

As a child I can recall several occasions, when I felt troubled, asking the help of

God. In later years my belief in God was dimmed, over-shadowed by the

day-to-day routine of work, study, and sleep.

Learning Islam prior to my conversion…

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a

niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining

star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of

the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it.

Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to

mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things.” Qur’an 24:35

Islam was to be my guiding light. Islam strengthened my soul, increased my faith

in God, and changed the way I viewed the world.

However, the study of Islam prior to conversion, was difficult in my case. This

was made difficult with world events, society, work colleagues, friends and family

seemingly against Islam. Each morning after waking up I would ask myself, “Why

go through all the hardships to become a follower of Islam?” But this was simply a

test and could only be answered by being a follower of Islam.

Therefore, I started reading several articles on Islam, followed by reading a

translation of the Qur’an. I

wanted to witness first hand what the Qur’an was all about, and then form my own

opinion.

I was fortunate, that during this time I knew another Muslim brother working for the

same company. I am grateful to him for helping in all matters concerning Islam. I

can recall a problem I had with establishing prayer at work, and how the brother

offered advice, and a prayer rug, giving me the confidence to perform prayer in

this place.

My first visit to a mosque was a positive experience. The mosque was an old

house that had been converted. It was unique and felt very welcoming. While at

the mosque I listened to a discussion on Islam and then observed the procedure

of a person reverting to Islam – it was a relatively simple procedure. Muslims at

the mosque were friendly and helpful and not at all forceful.

The day I publicly accepted Islam…

“And Allah summoneth to the abode of peace, and leadeth whom He will to a

straight path.” Qur’an 20:25

My acceptance of Islam was not a spur of the moment decision. It was a serious

decision based on more than nine months of considering Islam. I did not know

everything about Islam, but agreed with those fundamental beliefs of Islam, that I

knew about.

I officially converted to Islam on the 26 July 2002 by taking the oath (known as the

Shahadah) in front of many witnesses after the Friday congregation prayer. Early

on that day I felt nervous but was sure of my conversion to Islam. Walking to the

mosque, prior to conversion, I can recall noticing the nice weather and feeling a

sense of confidence, peace and certainty. All praise be to Allah.

How did Islam change my previous reasoning?

Prior to my conversion to Islam I would ask myself “Why am I not given direct

knowledge for the purpose of creation?” After accepting Islam, my mind opened to

the truth. We are given intelligence, free will, and five senses to seek the answer

in the signs of creation. Islam explains that creation is a sign of God, that our

purpose is to worship (prayers and actions) Allah. That life is a test, and that our

good and bad deeds will be brought before us, after our death, on Judgement Day.

As a scientifically minded person, prior to conversion to Islam, I believed that

science “explains” everything. After accepting Islam, my mind opened to the truth

that Allah created science. The Qur’an confirms today’s scientific knowledge,

something that was not available to the people at the time of it’s revelation.

With so many religions and the possibility of distortion, prior to conversion to Islam

I would ask myself “Why must I follow a particular religion?” After accepting Islam,

my mind opened to the truth that Islam confirms previous scriptures, confirms the

Oneness of God, and its message, preserved in the Qur’an, is identical to what

was revealed to the final prophet – Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

and has not been altered in anyway since.

Advice for people considering Islam

It is with great sadness that I see Islam, the religion of peace, being associated

with many misunderstandings and misconceptions, deterring people from

Muslims and Islam. I encourage people to make their own judgement after seeking

knowledge about Islam. This is best expressed in the words of Al Tufayl ibn ‘Amr

al Dawsi, a nobleman of great poetic talent, prior to his conversion to Islam:

“Woe to me! Am I, the intelligent poet, the mature man, to fear that I may not

distinguish between the genuinely beautiful and the really ugly in human

discourse? Shouldn’t I go to Muhammad, hear all that he has to say, and apply my

own judgement? If I find it good, why shouldn’t I accept it? And if I find it evil, surely

I shall avoid it.” [p119, “The Life of Muhammad”, Haykal]

Note:

Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him) is the final Messenger of Allah,

and is the most respected in Islam; who revealed Allah’s message in the form of

the Glorious Qur’an, recited to him by the angel Gabriel.


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