Amina, Ex-Christian, USA
I was born in Canada to Christian parents from European descendants. I was raised in Canada for the first several years of my life. Then my parents became missionaries. We moved all over the U.S.A. and Europe, while my family tried to make people become Christian. Finally we moved to Jerusalem. There I discovered so many things about life. I never knew what was a Jew or a Muslim before this, but I soon learned. I remember the first time I visited the Old City of Jerusalem and I saw Muslims for the first time.
I was fascinated by their culture. I soon found myself attracted to the Old City more and more. I made many friends there. I went to a Christian school that was first located on the Jewish side of Jerusalem but was later moved to the Arab side. I found my self going to school with these Muslim people. My parents soon forbid me to be their friends, or to even talk to Muslims, because she said they were filled with demons. At this time I was very young, a teenager, but I still never believed her. I saw no demonic actions from these warm hearted people. I made many friends, and I snuck away to visit them. Soon my mother found out and beat me. I was told I also had demons for loving these people. Soon after this my mother threw me in the street to live.
I lived in a boarding school after this and worked to pay for my schooling. Eventually, my family left Jerusalem for Canada. And I was left all alone in Jerusalem. After 3 years I went to Canada to visit my family. They were less than hospitable to me, their own daughter. I was told I was demon possessed and thrown into the street. I stayed in Canada for 3 months. I felt lost and alone. I went back to Jerusalem and got a job in the Old City and moved there. I worked for an Arab family who helped me and took care of me, even more than my own family.
Everyday I felt my self drawn to the Large Majestic Dome of the Rock. I would go there and sit in the gardens listening to the call to prayer. As I watched the faithful Muslims gather for prayer, I felt a longing in my heart. I wanted this, this peace of heart that most seemed to have. Despite the Intafada, the torture, and killing, that happened to them everyday, they had peace. Peace of heart. I saw many horrible things in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza.
And I heard the world cry for peace!!. But always for the so called “poor Jews”.
I hardly ever heard a cry for the poor children trying to defend their mothers and sisters from rape and torture. These people had the bravest hearts I have ever seen. Small children would corner soldiers toting guns in a corner, with just stones as their weapons. I hope one day to have one quarter of their bravery. When I moved to Canada I met some Muslims here from Lebanon.
They seemed to be able to answer all the questions I had. And If they didn’t have the answers, they said they could find them by asking scholars of Islam. I was very impressed by this because they were not afraid to say I don’t know. They never lied to me or tried to fool me. There is no shame in saying I have to ask. In fact this proved to me their honesty and love for this religion. I was told by many people that women are oppressed in Islam. So of course this was a major concern of mine. So I asked questions of them concerning this.
They explained to me that women are precious, like the most valued treasure. They also explained to me that men are not better than women and women are not better than men, they are just different. Different in feelings, thought, and emotions, among other things. They also told me that in Islam, there is no prejudice at all, and in fact being prejudice is against Islam. Muslims do not judge a person on their skin color, place, status of birth, male or female. The only way a person can be better than another is if they are a better Muslim. And this makes sense because we cannot help our birth place or to whom we were born. The same as a murderer or a rapist cannot be placed on the same platform as a man who has been good all his life.
I asked these people to explain to me all about the fighting and so called terrorism that is going on in this world. And the answer they gave me was, there are people who practice Islam and people who do not. The fault is not with the religion, but with the people who disobey the religion. And besides, we do not know all the circumstances of what life is like, other than our own. I didn’t really know how one becomes Muslim and they explained the belief of Muslims to me. And here it is, as it was explained to me and to all Muslims dating back to the first Prophet, Adam, peace be upon him:
1. God is One Indivisible.
2. God does not resemble any of his creations.
3. God exists without a place.
4. God has no beginning.
5. God has no end.
6. God has the attribute of hearing.
7. God has the attribute of sight.
8. God has the attribute of Kalam (speech)
9. God has the attribute of Will.
10. God has the attribute of Power.
11. God has the attribute of Knowledge.
12. God has the attribute of Life.
13. God does not need anyone or anything.
When one looks at the belief of Islam it becomes so logical and obvious. It is logical to believe that there is only One God. For example, If someone said there were 2 gods and one wanted a person dead and one wanted a person alive, a person cannot be dead and alive in the same time, so one of these so called gods would be weak, and anything weak does not deserve to be worshipped.
Let me explain to you what is the definition of perfection, because when I heard this, it all made sense. Perfection is something that does not change and has no flaws or weaknesses, because if something changes, it either changes for the better or for the worse. And if something changed for the better, that means it was bad and then became good. Nothing changes and stays the same. And if something changed for the worse, this means it is no longer perfect. So God is Perfect. God does not change. Anything that is weak does not deserve to be worshipped. When we say God exists without a place we mean that everything other than God is a creation. And all creations have a beginning and a possible ending.
Therefore all creations need One to give them their beginning and ending. Some people do not think about the extent of the creations. Place, time, light, imagination, thoughts, as well as all the humans and animals are creations, among many many other things. For example, a place is a creation. It has dimensions or a body just like the other creations. And they need One to give them their shape form and dimensions. Therefore we say that God exists without a place before God created place, and since God does not change, then God exists without place after God created place. How totally logical!! So this is the correct and Logical belief in God. And this is the belief of every Muslim on this planet no matter where or when he or she lived.
When Islam is practiced accordingly, it is a beautiful sight. I hope I have shed some light on those who have questions about Islam. You are also welcome to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any other questions. I ask God to show you the right path, or to keep you on the right path.
If one wants to become Muslim, it is very simple. All you need to do is say [La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah] “I believe there is only One God (Allah), and Muhammad is the last Prophet and Messenger of God.” One says this loud enough for themselves to hear. You don’t need to go to a mosque or a person in order to become Muslim, but after you become Muslim, go and learn more about Islam from a Mosque. They will be happy for you, no matter where on this earth you are. And they will help you as much as they can.