For weeks afterward I would start crying for no apparent reason. I’d be riding on the bus and have to turn my head towards the window and pretend I was looking out so that other riders wouldn’t see the tears escaping my eyes.
When we were in a restaurant, I’d have to use my napkin to dab the tears welling up in my eyes before the other diners noticed and wondered if I was some kind of a nut.
I was Christian then and I cared. And I was devastated. I couldn’t understand how a religion could promote such violence, as the media was saying Islam did. It made no sense to me. So I decided to find out for myself. One way or another I wanted to know the truth.
Because of my partial blindness I was limited to information from the Internet. Finding books about Islam in Braille or ink print that was large enough for me to read was impossible. I was able to use a computer because I had magnification software installed so I could enlarge the font on the screen to a size that I could read.
I did searches and I began to read about Islam. I went to web sites that taught the basics of Islam, and I joined Muslim women’s e-groups where I was able to ask and get answers that I confirmed through further research.
I’ve always been a sceptic. It’s always been hard for me to believe something that I didn’t understand. I was never one to believe something simply because someone said it was so. I had to know it in my mind as well as in my heart.
While studying Islam I learned that the God Muslims worship is the same God as that of Christians and Jews. The God of Abraham and Moses. I found that Islam doesn’t promote or condone hatred of non-Muslims, nor does it condone the killing of innocent people.
By studying Islam I found the answers that the media wasn’t telling us and I came to know that Islam is the True Religion. Alhumdulilah! I read a lot of convincing evidence, but the things that proved to me that there is a god, and that Islam is the True Religion and that that the Quran is the Word of God, were those in the Quran itself. The things that are of a scientific nature. Things that have been discovered by scientists only in the last 100 years. The only one who could have known those things 1400 years ago was God.
For example, one day I was at a web site that was about some of the scientific proofs in the Qur’an. One of the verses in the Qur’an tells about the death of our own solar system.
Al-Rahman 37-38 “When the sky is torn apart, so it was (like) a red rose like ointment. Then which of the favors of your lord will you deny?”
There was a link that went to the NASA web site.
When I clicked the link I had no idea what was going to be on the next page, but what I saw took my breath away. Tears came to my eyes. I knew – if I had had any doubts left – I knew at the moment, that Islam is the True Religion of God. Mash’allah!
The page the link took me to showed what looked like a red rose. It was the “Cat’s Eye Nebula.” Which was an exploding star 3000 light years away. It had been photographed with the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists say that it is the same fate that awaits our own solar system. Muslims refer to it as the “Rose Nebula.” It had been described in the Qur’an 1400 years ago. People back then had no way of knowing about it. Only God could have known.
On September 12, 2002, the day of my birthday, scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope found a second Rose Nebula. A gift from God to all mankind. This time the scientists called it by its rightful name, “The Rose Nebula.”
After accepting in my mind as well as in my heart that Islam is the True Religion, I knew that I was already a Muslim and the only thing left to do was to profess my faith.
I looked in an Internet directory for mosques in my community. I called the one in the next town and told the person who answered the phone that I wanted to convert to Islam, and asked him when I could make my Shahada (Profession of Faith). He told me to be there at 4 p.m. on Saturday when the Imam would also be there. I told him that I ride the bus everywhere and it wouldn’t be running late enough for me to be able to get back home and so could I come earlier? He said not to worry; someone would give me a ride home. I arrived as scheduled, and as God had scheduled, I began my new life. Mash’allah!
I have since come to realize that on that day, the greatest event of my life occurred. I had always thought that the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me was the day that I married my husband. But I now know it wasn’t. The most important day of my life was the day I made my Shahada and accepted Islam as the way of life God intended me to live. It was the day I acknowledged that Islam is the way to salvation, to Heaven, and I made a choice to practice it.
I can’t say my converting to Islam thrilled my husband. He believed what the media was saying about Muslims and the religion. He didn’t like it that I went to the masjid [mosque] several evenings a week and left him home alone to be bored. One night after he was finished complaining about me going to the masjid yet again I sat down a few feet away from him and I calmly told him, “I will never ask you to practice a religion you don’t believe in. I love you too much to try and force that on you. But I do want you to learn about Islam so that you will at least understand what it is that I believe.” I then stood up and went into the bedroom and finished dressing to go to the masjid. I kissed him goodbye and I left.
When I returned home I found his whole attitude had changed. He was bright and cheerful. That night, before going to bed, he began to learn about the beautiful religion of Islam.
My husband began going to the masjid with me. While I studied with the women, he would talk with a man and ask him questions. At home he read things on the Internet, and books that he had borrowed from the masjid. We would discuss different things he was learning, and when a reporter on television would relate the latest lie or myth about Islam I would point it out to him and explain the truth.
When the day came and he told me about how some aspect of Islam was to be practiced, in a “know it all” tone of voice, as if it were a fact, something that I myself didn’t know about, I asked him to tell me “How do you know that???” and he replied, “Because it’s in the Quran!!” I was stunned! He believed! Alhumdulilah! He knew that Islam was True! Mash’allah! If it was in the Qur’an, as far as he was concerned it was true! Thirty-six days after I publicly professed my faith in God and His messenger, Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, my husband professed his. Mash’allah! We had an Islamic marriage ceremony the same evening. I cried when my husband made his Shahada. I knew we would be in Eternity together!
A month before, a man at the mosque had asked me what I thought the chances of my husband converting were. I didn’t want this man getting his hopes up, or expecting more of me then I could deliver and so I bluntly told him, “Zero.” I said, “I can’t imagine someone so dramatically changing their beliefs after having believed something else for 70 years.” But 14 days before his 71st birthday he embraced Islam as his religion and his way of life. Alhumdulilah!
In the Muslim community we have found another family. We have found friendship, love and acceptance that were taught in the Christian religions we practiced at different points in our lives, but that we felt never actually existed among most of the members of the churches we went to.
Most of the Muslims in our area are immigrants, but we have found no intolerance of Americans whether they are Muslim or not. We were both welcomed into the family of Islam the very first time each of us went to the masjid. We’ve always felt welcome and accepted.
Since embracing Islam we have found direction and purpose for our lives. We have found the meaning for our existence. We have come to realize that we really are here only for a short time and that what comes afterwards is far better then the fleeting pleasures that this world has to offer us.
I have found a sense of security concerning life after death that I had never known before. We have both come to see the problems that we once saw as being major as actually being opportunities to grow. We thank God for what we have, as well for what we don’t. God knows best.
Today we are Muslim. We still care about 9/11. I still cry when I think a little too much about the events of that day. My husband still remembers the people jumping from the buildings. We wish all we could say about that day was where we had been when we “heard” that the WTC had been attacked. But we did see it happen, and it was the most devastating thing to ever happen in our lives. But from tragedy came victory. From death has come the knowledge that we will have life after our death. And it will be spent together.