In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

I bear witness that there is no deity worth worship except Allah (The True God and Creator and Sustainer of this Universe) and I bear Witness that Mohammad is His Servant and Messenger, Afterwards, In 1930, Dr. Sir Mohd. IQBAL, the well known Urdu and Persian poet and Islamic Philosopher, expressed the need of publishing a book, in which the stories of all those who had converted to Islam in India be recorded. He said that it would give a new boost to the cause of Islamic propagation. He was asked, if there are not already books that express the logic and truth of Islam and are they insufficient, the noted scholar said: “Yes they are more than sufficient, but you would get so many new points from such a book that you will be amazed. I think there are different ways to impress the heart and mind. Many times brain rejects the most potent of the arguments, but the hearts gets impressed by a very small incident or some very small point and grads the mind also. Conversion to Islam is al related to brain as it is to the heart. A muslim missionary must know what are the darts that affect heart. There are so many tales of unbelievers coming to Islam thru out the history. We see a person standing firm on his religion for many decades, yet a small point and a small acts of kindness, sweeps him away from his feet and he makes the most momentous decision of his life. You have many logical arguments to prove the truth of Islam, but if you go to a new Muslim and ask him, what impressed him about Islam and what were the points which impressed him. If you have in book form, stories of a large number of such people, it would be a very powerful tool in the hands of Muslim missionaries. Many new arguments of truth of Islam will come out, which might not be available in the vast Islamic literature we have” So many books have been written for past few decades on the true stories of new converts of Islam. I have compiled about 250 of them and abridged them to be between 60008000 words for ease or reading and to be posted in many shared channels on Internet and distribution thru e-mails etc. People might agree or disagree with some of points mentioned here. But these are personal experiences and personal reasons of these people who accepted Islam of their own free will. Some of them suffered much about this new faith. What kept them firm to their faith varies from one person to another person. I pray to Allah to accept this effort and make it useful for those who read it and share it with other people. M.U. Qidwai Jubail, Saudi Arabia

PS: These are stories of New Muslim Women’ only which are presented separately from the combined list of New Muslims and was posted recently on SCRIBD. Now they are presented in Book Form for ease in reading.

Story # 1 Why I Became Muslim? ASIYA ABD, AUSTRALIA I have always, since developing an ability to think deeply, believed in the existence of a single Creator, on whom every thing that exists is dependent. Though my parents are Buddhist, from the age of 13, I have steadfastly prayed to the creator and asked for guidance every day that I can remember.. Being schooled within a Christian environment, I naturally identified myself as a Christian. Sadly my knowledge of Islam was minimal. I perceived it as a bizarre religion, limited only to a few underdeveloped nations, most of which were in ME. It endorsed a suppressive life-style, particularly for women. Muslim women I presumed were inferior, a passive domestic slave, bashed often and forced to compete among four or more of her husband’s affection. I got all these ideas from hearsay and TV documentaries shown in our country. As I entered University, I came into contact with quite a number of Muslim students from various backgrounds. I was drawn to them and developed a curious inclination to learn and understand more about their religion. I observed how content they seemed and their openness and warmth towards myself and each other. I gradually became fascinated with Islam and thru a process of education, developed a greater respect for it than by beloved Christianity. I was stunned at how wrong my previous conceptions had been and became particularly overwhelmed at various entitlements, equality and acknowledgement Islam provided for women. I wanted to know everything about Islam and …by sheer grace of God, I at last understood the faults of Christian theology and of the concepts which I previously accepted. At Midday on August 1994, before over 20 witnesses, I recited the SHAHADA and became a Muslim. I shall never forget the bliss of that day and how much my life is turned around in only a year’s time. I have been often asked what it is like to be a revert and of the difficulties I must endure… I do not want pity, but I give few examples. The initial period was by far the hardest. Family disputes took place almost daily, I was showered with verbal abuse, ridicule and threats…On many occasions my room was torn

apart…there have been times when I was locked out of home and forced to abstain from dinner as pork was deliberately served…Even to this day all my mail is opened. I cannot perform my prayers until I am sure no one is around… I must defend the Muslims and Islam portrayed on the media and fight against the stereotypes. However I do not claim to have a miserable life. I am more content and at peace now than I ever have been….From this religion, I have gained a profound insight into the operations of human behavior and sociology. (Abridged) Source:: Islamic review (Quoted in DAWAH INT. PAK. NOV 1996)

Story # 2 Why I Became Muslim? MRS. ARCHANA AMIT (MOMINA TABASSUM), LUCKNOW INDIA. It happened on 29 Nov. 2003. I was on a bus going from Kanpur to Lucknow. In hurry, I did not keep enough money in my purse. I had my little daughter in my lap. When the conductor came and asked for money, it fell short by 6 Rupees. I was at loss to say anything. The conductor was shouting at me to pay up or get down immediately. Every one else was silent and watching me intently. Suddenly a gentleman from the front seat asked the conductor, what was reason for all this shouting, he produced a 10 Rupee note and gave a it to conductor to settle the amount. When the bust stopped at Lucknow, I proceeded to thank the gentleman, he was of the age of my father, he consoled me and said that these things do happen and then he even paid me for Cycle Rickshaw fare to reach to my home (which I intended to walk initially). When I reached home, I told my Husband AMIT, what transpired in the bus. He asked me why I had not taken the name or Tel. number of the gentleman, so we could repay him and express our gratitude. I was always on the lookout, whenever I went to market, so as to see the gentleman somewhere. One day I found him out and pointed to my husband. We met him and expressed our thanks for his kind acts… When I asked him to accept the money which he spent on me, he initially refused, but accepted on our insistence on the condition that we must visit him at the earliest. We went to his house and for the first time I felt that I had come to my brother’s house (I had no real brother or sister). His wife welcomed me and we had lots of talk and a wonderful meal. When we parted, his wife gave me a packet to be opened after reaching our home. It contained a dress from me and one for my daughter too, Well after that AMIT was always looking forward to meet him…whenever he returned he would relate to me some act of kindness which the gentle man or his wife did to poor (irrespective of his being Muslim or Non Muslim. A strange change was coming on us. We removed all the photos and Idols from our house and stopped going to temples altogether. AMIT was getting some books from the gentleman which both of us were reading with interest. Finally one day, we asked him, how long will we continue like that? He asked us to wait for some more time. What if our time of death came? Asked AMIT and the gentleman became very quite. So after four months, we were transferred from Lucknow to Ghaziabad and we decided to start a new life in a new city. We became Muslim, I took the name, AMINA TABASSUM, AMIT became ABDUL KARIM & our daughter SAMTA AZIM.

We still have very good relationship with the gentleman (who was indeed a Doctor from Azamgarh) and we visit each other and exchange gifts. Some times I think…what would have happened to me if I had enough money to pay for my ticket on that fateful Nov month of 2003? Was it coincidence or was Allah making provisions for me? (abridged)

Story # 3 Why I Became Muslim? The Introduction and Decision (Testimony of Aminah Assilmi) "I couldn't be a Muslim! I was American and white!" I was completing a degree in Recreation, when I met my first Muslims. It was the first year that we had been able to pre-register by computer. I pre-registered and went to Oklahoma to take care of some family business. . Now, you need to understand that while I was attending college and excelling, ran my own business, and had many close friends, I was extremely shy. My transcripts actually had me listed as severely reticent. I was very slow to get to know people and rarely spoke to anyone unless was forced to, or already knew them. Well, back to the story. The computer printout held one enormous surprise for me. I was registered for a Theatre class... When I entered the classroom, I received my second shock. The class was full of 'Arabs' and 'camel jockeys'. Well, I had never seen one but I had heard of them…There was no way I was going to sit in a room full of dirty heathens! After all, you could catch some dreadful disease from those people. Everyone knew they were dirty, not to be trusted either. When I told my husband about the Arabs in the class and that there was no way I was going back, he responded in his usual calm way. He reminded that I was always claiming that God had a reason for everything and maybe I should spend some time thinking about it before I made my final decision…For the next two days, I prayed for guidance. On Thursday I went back to the class convinced that God had put me there to save those poor ignorant heathens from the fires of hell. I proceeded to explain to them how they would burn in the fires of hell for all eternity, if they did not accept Jesus as their personal savior. They were very polite, but did not convert. Then, I explained how Jesus loved them and had died on the cross to save them from their sins. All they had to do was accept him into their hearts. They were very polite, but still did not convert. So, I decided to read their own book to show them that Islam was a false religion and Mohammed was a false God. One of the students gave me a copy of the Quran and another book about Islam, and I proceeded with my research. I was sure I would find the evidence I needed very quickly. Well, I read the Quran and the other book. Then I read another 15 books, Sahih Muslim and returned to the Quran. I was determined I would convert them! My studies continued for the next one and half years.

During that time, I started having a few problems with my husband. I was changing, just in little ways but enough to bother him. We used to go to the bar every Friday and Saturday, or to a party, and I no longer wanted to go. I was quieter and more distant. He was sure I was having an affair, so he kicked me out. I moved into an apartment with my children and continued my determined efforts to convert the Muslims to Christianity. The, one day, there was a knock on my door. I opened the door and saw a man in a long white night gown with a red and white checkered table cloth on his head. He was accompanied by three men in pajamas. ….His name was Abdul-Aziz Al-Shiek and he made the time. He was very patient and discussed every question with me. He never made me feel silly or that a question was stupid. He asked me if I believed there was only one God and I said yes. Then he asked if I believed Mohammed was His Messenger. Again I said yes. He told me that I was already a Muslim…. We continued talking. Later, he explained that attaining knowledge and understanding of spirituality was a little like climbing a ladder. If you climb a ladder and try to skip a few rungs, there was danger of falling. The Shahadah was just the first step on the ladder. Still we had to talk some more. Later that afternoon, May 21, 1977 at Asr', I took Shahadah. However, there were still some things I could not accept and it was my nature to be completely truthful so I added a disclaimer. I said: "I bear witness that there is no god but God and Mohammed is His Messenger" 'but, I will never cover my hair and if my husband takes another wife, I will castrate him.' I heard gasps from the other men in the room, but Abdul Aziz silenced them. Later I learned that he told the brothers never to discuss those two subjects with me. He was sure I would come to the correct understanding. When I first started to study Islam, I did not expect to find anything that I needed or wanted in my personal life. Little did I know that Islam would change my life. No human could have ever convinced me that I would finally be at peace and overflowing with love and joy because of Islam. How Islam changed my Life When I first embraced Islam, I really did not think it was going to affect my life very much. Islam did not just affect my life. It totally changed it. Family life: My husband and I loved each other very deeply. That love for each other still exists. Still, when I started studying Islam, we started having some difficulties. He saw me changing and did not understand what was happening. Neither did I. But then, I did not even realize I was changing. He decided that the only thing that could make me change was another man. There was no way to make him understand what was changing me because I did not know.

After I realized that I was a Muslim, it did not help matters. After all...the only reason a woman changes something as fundamental as her religion is another man. He could not find evidence of this other man...but he had to exist. We ended up in a very ugly divorce. The courts determined that the unorthodox religion would be detrimental to the development of my children. So they were removed from my custody. Friends: Most of my friends drifted away during that first year. I was no fun anymore. I did not want to go to parties or bars. I was not interested in finding a boyfriend. All I ever did was read that 'stupid' book (the Qur'an) and talk about Islam. What a bore. I still did not have enough knowledge to help them understand why Islam was so beautiful. Employment: My job was next to go. While I had won just about every award there was in my field and was recognized as a serious trend setter and money maker, the day I put on Hijab, was the end of my job. Now I was without a family, without friends and without a job. In all this, the first light was my grandmother. She approved of my choice and joined me. What a surprise! I always knew she had a lot of wisdom, but this! She died soon after that. When I stop to think about it, I almost get jealous. The day she pronounced Shahadah, all her misdeeds had been erased, while her good deeds were preserved. She died so soon after accepting Islam that I knew her 'BOOK' was bound to be heavy on the good side. It fills me with such joy! Rather than try to tell you about how each person came to accept Islam, let me simply say that more members of my family continue to find Islam every year. I was especially happy when a dear friends, Brother Qaiser Imam, told me that my ex-husband took Shahdah. When Brother Qaiser asked him why, he said it was because he had been watching me for 16 years and he wanted his daughter to have what I had. He came and asked me to forgive him for all he had done. I had forgiven him long before that. Now my oldest son, Whittney, has called, as I am writing this book, and announced that he also wants to become Muslim. He plans on taking the Shahadah as the ISNA Convention in a couple of weeks. For now, he is learning as much as he can. Allah is The Most Merciful. True, Allah has tested me, as was promised, and rewarded me far beyond what I could ever have hoped for. A few years ago, the doctors told me I had cancer and it was terminal. They explained that there was no cure, it was too far advanced, and proceeded to help prepare me for my death by explaining how the disease would progress. I had maybe one year left to live. I was concerned about my children, especially my youngest. Who would take care of him? Still I was not depressed. We must all die. I was confident that the pain I was experiencing contained Blessings. (Abridged)

Story # 4 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: ANJU DEVI (AMINA) RISHI KESH, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born the most idolatrous country of the world (India) in its most idolatrous center (RISHI KESH). My father was running one of the four biggest ashrams in that place. He is well known to Hindus thru out India. I was born on 20 April 1985. I have one elder brother and sister. I got my education in English medium school (run by my father’s trust) and then I did by BSC and this year I shall finish my MSC. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 02. It seems unthinkable that a girl in my situation would ever come or know about Islam, but Allah works in miraculous way. It so happened that one Hindu women with her young daughter came to our Ashram, they were lured to a secluded spot and both mother and daughter were raped by employees of our Ashram. This incident shocked me to the core, I told my father that our Ashram should be burned along with us for allowing this to happen. I stopped going to prayers in the Ashram. 03. One night I dreamt that I am being chased by two SADHUS and I am running for my life and honor. I saw a mosque with doors opened, I entered there and one Muslim Scholar said to me, not to worry as now I am safe. When I wake up, I decided that my honor is a t risk in the Ashram and I must look for Muslims to save me. I decided to phone someone at random, if it was picked by a Hindu, I shall remain Hindu, if it was picked by a Muslim, I shall become Muslim. 04. I prayed to God sincerely to guide me which is truth and best for me. The random number that I dialed was picked up by a Muslim. He said that he lived in a village in MUZAFAFRNAGAR. I told that I want to become Muslim. He asked about my whereabouts and said how a girl with my position could live with them.

I told I will live with every one if they take me out of here….he then introduced me to Maulana Kalim and he told me to recite Islamic creed on phone itself. Then he asked me to come to PHULAT, so I could be taken care of. 05. I was married to the son of that Muslim man whom I phoned than I went to Meerut and completed all official formalities needed for change of religion in India. I was very happy with the family of Maulana and my in-laws. They were poor but they treated me more than their own daughter. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 06. My father reported my absence to the local police and some one informed them of my presence in My new place. Police came and arrested my father in law. I asked him to jump from the vehicle as I have to face lone what came next. 07. I was tortured by my family members and even by ladies police to come back to Hinduism. I had read the incidents of early Muslims how they were tortured for their faith and how they stood firm. My own mother tried to strangle me , my brother beat me, I was also poisoned, but Allah gave me strength and I told that I accepted Islam by own free will. You can kill me, but you cannot take away Islam from me and now I am married to a Muslim and I will never marry to another man. D. How I saved my Islam: 08. In the end, they could not turn me away from my faith. My father consulted the members of his Ashram and they told that such a girl cannot live in the Ashram. It is best if she be quietly sent away to her in-laws and to forget the whole episode. Accordingly my father asked my father in law to take me away. They came to a mid way place and I was handed over to them. The whole village came out to receive me and I was given much honor that day. E. My Missionary activities: 2. On Parents. 09. I am in contact with my father and he phones and some times come to meet me. I have not yet presented Islam to him, but I am praying Allah to open their hearts for Islam. It all depends on Allah’ will 3. On Family members / Others. 10. When I was being tortured one of my aunt took pity on my situation. She told me to stay firm and said that surely my religion is truth.

I was much impressed by that and while I was coming, I asked her to become Muslim too to save her from the hell fire. She recited Islamic creed in front of me, Alhamdolillah. F. Present Situation: 11. I am living in village and very busy in teaching Islam to women there. It has made a lot of difference and many women have started to pray regularly and work their lives in Islamic way. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 12. I heard Maulana to say that Allah has decided to enter Islam in every house, hut or skyscraper. If Muslims do not fulfill their trust, then Allah is not handicapped because of these Muslims. He will get His work done one way or another. By people who are not in the fold of Islam now.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of June 2008

Story # 5 Why I Became Muslim? AMIRAH , USA The first time I seen a Muslim was while I was in college at the University of Arkansas. I will admit that at first I stared at the women in their different clothing and the men with the towels wrapped around their heads and wearing night gowns. But the first time I had the opportunity to know a Muslim lady that I felt comfortable in asking questions, it started a thirst in my heart and soul that will never be quenched. I was born in Arkansas to Christian parents…I was raised here all my life on a farm, where you get up in the morning, milk cows, feed the chickens and do the rest of chores. My father was a Baptist minister…the town that I lived in was completely white raced and all Christians. So I had never been exposed to any other culture or religion. But I had been always taught that we were all created equal in the eyes of God, and that there was no difference in race, color, culture or religious practices. Later I discovered that this was easy for them to preach as long as they stayed closed minded. I will never forget her, she was from Palestine and I could sit for hours listening to stories about her country and the culture. But what intrigued me most was her religion, Islam. This lady had an inner peace around her, like no one I had ever seen… My friend did every thing she could to convince me that Islam was the only true religion that would take me to heaven and that it was not just another religion. It was a way of life. My friend graduated six months later and returned to Palestine. She was killed two weeks later outside her home. I was devastated, it was like a part of me had died with her.. After I left college and returned to my country, I did not have the honor to be around Muslims any longer. But the thirst had never left nor had my love and desire for Arabic language… Then in the spring of 1995, Allah brought someone into my life. This person was such a wonderful example of what a Muslim should be and what Islam was about that once again I started to ask questions. I was even taken to my first visit to Mosque. For 8 months I studied everything he could possibly find me and read and listened to tapes. Then on Feb. 15, 1996 I officially embraced Islam….

When I embraced Islam, my family first tried to have me committed to a mental hospital, when that did not work, they completely disowned me. They did make calls to me to tell me that they hoped I rotted in hell…Yes this hurts, even though my family and I have many differences, I love them deeply. The last time I spoke to my family was two days after the bombing in Saudi Arabia. My uncle and cousin were killed in the bombing….my family called be to tell me that their blood was on my head and all my terrorist friends…I cried for days, but my faith stood strong… Then some one painted my car side with Slogan TERRORIST LOVER…during the night I heard gunshots and they broke all my windows and killed all my pets…Police told that unless I give positive identification, they are helpless… Then I was once attacked in a Parking lot, I was beaten, my writs was broken and some ribs fractured.. The town I live in is a very small and there is no other Muslim even close. The nearest mosque is 120 Miles away… I am not writing this story in the hope of gaining pity. I do ask that every one continue to pray for me, and every one reading this story be rest assured that Allah will never let you down. But the injustices and prejudices that we Muslims face in United states has got to come to an end… (Abridged) Source:: Islamic Voice Feb. 1998, p22

Story # 6 Why I Became Muslim? AMINA JENIAT, USA I was born in LA state of USA in 1956. My parents were devout Catholics, we later moved to Florida where I completed my education and joined modeling profession. I got married and had three children. Our financial position was very good and apparently I had no worry in the world so to say. But I was not feeling happy, I was missing something. In my childhood days I was attracted to religion and had memorized many passages of the Bible. I left modeling and joined University to do further studies, I was 30 years at that time. In my class there were many African American and many Muslims also. I had very bad opinion about Muslims, and used to equate Muslims with hate, violence and terrorism. I thought may be God has commissioned me to save these wretched Muslims. But I used to observe that these Muslim students were different from other students. They did not mix freely with girls and would shun any party where alcohol was to be served. Whenever I used to explain to them beauties of Christianity, they would smile and keep quite. I was frustrated in my efforts to convert any of them. Then I thought, let me study about Islam, then I would present to them the mistakes of Islam. On the outset, I did not notice any of the qualities with which Christian writers and priests associate Muslims with. I started reading English translation of Quran. I was surprised that it provided answers to all question which rise in the mind. On the other hand Bible leaves many doubts and questions unanswered. I studied more about Islam and discussed it with Muslims students, I discovered that Islam really is totally different from what is projected in Western Press and Media. When the truth was manifest to me, I declared my new faith on 22 May 1977. Now my trial period started.. My husband who loved me left me and I had left to parent the two children….I lost my job because my firm did not like my conversion to new faith….then US family court decided that if I want to parent my children I have to leave Islam and come back to Christianity!! I had to surrender custody of my children. I had only one support in this period of trial….My Allah ….My God….I used to prey him all the time, to help me overcome all these trails and give me a way out. I busied myself in the missionary work of Islam and soon married a Moroccan Muslim, who was Imam in a local Mosque and used to recite Quran in a most beautiful voice and manner. Well I gave birth to a son from this new marriage, who is now 10 years old and very handsome….

I have established many Women study circles where we discuss the rights and duties which Islam gives to women. Many US women are wonderstruck when they discover how much honor, right and protection Islam provides to them. I praise Allah that he has blessed me with converting many Women and men to Islam. One last word….My old family is coming closer to Islam….the eldest son accepted Islam and took the name Farook. (abridged)

Story # 7 Why I Became Muslim? ALEXANDRA (FATIMA) KRICKLER, AUSTRIA I was born into a Roman Catholic family in Austria, my mother was a firm believer, my father was an atheist and had no respect towards religion From a very young age, my mother told me about God and I developed a deep love for Him .. Growing up, I turned into a rebel, My parents had little control over me and were unable to provide me with guidance. At the age of 15, I traveled to Turkey and this was my first contact with an Islamic culture. I loved the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and I spent hours there just relaxing.. After completing my A-level, I decided to continue with my education and join university. I was not sure what subjects to take but I decided to take Social Anthropology and Arabic. During my studies, I received grants which allowed me to travel to Egypt and Sudan and gather data for my PHD thesis about the colloquial Arabic of Khartoum and Omdurman. During these stays in Muslim countries , I felt very much at home. I loved the way people cared about other people even in crowded cities like Cairo. I felt very close to Islam and I was longing to become one, but only after I changed for the better. After finishing my Ph. D. I left Vienna and went to Sudan…from there I took a train to Cairo and then went to Jerusalem. I went to see a person who lived at Mount of Olives and there I decided to become Muslim. My parents were not delighted at my choice, but did not put hindrances in my path. The most difficult thing was to meet old friends who would find it impossible that I had changed. After another year, I married an English Muslim convert and came to England to live with him and since then we have been blessed with three lovely children by Allah the Most gracious. For me the power of Islam lies in Quran and the example of noble prophet, what convinced me was not a dogma or a set of facts but the sheer power of Islam to turn my life around. An old myth about Islam is that it takes the freedom away from women. ‘What Freedom”? I ask. In my so called free days I was dependent on so many things, from cigarettes to drugs to the attention of men. Only now I feel that I am totally free and respected., dependent only on God and he is the best of friends.

I say that the worst thing you can do is try to convince other people about Islam, as it just shows them that you are not sure yourself and it makes a problem between you and others because people do not want to hear about God or religion, if their hearts are closed. If they ask you, tell them about it, but never indulge in preaching to the ones who do not wish to hear…. (Abridged) Source:: The MWL Journal Jan-Feb 199, p23-24

Story # 8 Why I Became Muslim? BEGUM AMINA LAKAHANI, OHIO, USA When a western women like myself turns towards Islam, the road is long and sometimes difficult…The western culture uses its women towards its own goal. TV Commercials are indented with lessons that teach everyone what they must desire. A slim figure seems essential because the clothing advertised exposes everything on a western woman. There are books by millions, about how to be a sex symbol, how to make friends….the system feeds upon itself. Such was my thinking before coming to Islam. When I approached Islam, first by reading the Quran and then by studying Islam, I wondered at its simplicity. Life in the western culture is so endlessly complicated by false needs and desires. At first Islam seems to be unintelligible to a westerner simply because we are always taught that the life must befilled with self gratification and self seeking pleasure… Islam is more logical yet it contradicts every thing that I was ever taught. When one spends an entire lifetime demanding self-abuse in the name of freedom, the prospect of a life dedicated to Allah, instead of selfish desires, becomes frightening as well as exciting. The mere notion that there is a better way, is difficult to accept, because we are always taught that the western way is the only way….Therefore the first step towards Islam requires courage and conviction. Islam is a total life system that enjoins respect for the purity of life. It insures purity of family life as well as purity of the individual. A woman is a special individual in the eyes of Allah and not just a produce for commercialization….A Muslim woman is a respected member of the Muslim community contributing in a positive way to family and community life… Muslim woman must be stronger and more confident than other woman. To be a Muslim living in western world today is a great responsibility, but the rewards may be blessing for all mankind. I am proud of being a Muslim woman because only in Islam are Allah’s blessings so bountiful… (Abridged) Source:: Yaqeen International Pakistan July 7-22, 1991 Page 47

Story # 9 Why be became Muslims? Mrs. ÂMINA MOSLER (German) Why did I become a Muslim? My son was asking me various questions, and I was unable to answer them. When he asked me, for instance, “Mummy, why are there three gods?” I was at a loss as to what to say because I myself did not believe in trinity, and yet I could not find another answer to convince him. Eventually, it was sometime during the year 1346 [C.E. 1928], and my son had reached a mature age, when, one day, my son came to me, his eyes welling up with tears. He begged, “Mummy, I have been studying Islam. They believe in one creator. Their religion is the truest one. So I have decided to become a Muslim. Join me!” Upon his request, I, too, began to study the Islamic religion. I went to the Berlin mosque. The imam of the mosque gave me a cordial welcome and told me the essentials of Islam. As he spoke, I saw how right and logical his words were. Like my son, I, too, began to believe in the fact that Islam was the truest religion. First of all, Islam rejected trinity, which I had never been able to understand or accept since my youth. After examining Islam thoroughly, I realized the absurdity of such things as redemption, looking on the pope as an innocent being never prone to sin, baptism and many other rites of the same sort, I rejected all these falsities and embraced Islam. All my ancestors were fanatical Catholics. I was raised in a Catholic monastery. I grew up totally under Christian education. Yet this sheer religious education that I had received helped me to choose the true religion that would guide me to Allah. For, all the good things that I had been taught throughout my education I found not in Christianity, but in Islam. I am so lucky to have accepted Islam. Today I am a grandmother. I am so happy because my grandchild has been born as a Muslim. I know that Allah will always guide those people whom He has brought to the right way.

Story # 10 Why I Became Muslim? AN AMERICAN MUSLIMAH (NAME WITHELD), USA I am a 17 year old Caucasian American girl who happens to be a Muslim, not by birth, but my own choice. I converted from Catholicism to Islam 2 years ago I am mainly writing this because many Muslims in America feel that many of our fellow Americans associate our peaceful religion with hatred and slavery of the women! I can say that after intense research for a couple of years on all religions, I felt closest to Allah (God) when I read the Quran and read about Islam, a feeling that Christianity could not give me. That is why I converted. I must admit that it is very hard going from ‘free wheeling’ typical American life style to one of praying, modesty and spiritual freedom. Islam is a fairly simple religion, with a few rules, but the rules you must follow as best you can…. As Muslims we respect and we believe in Moses, Abraham, Jesus, the Virgin Mary and also the last prophet that God sent to the earth… Sadly there are many false rumors about Islam, for some reason or other people tend to prefer these false rumors to the truth.. In fact Islam is one of the first religions to give women equality…You may be wondering why Muslim women wear the scarves to cover their hairs and dress in loose clothing. In the Quran, Allah tells that girls past puberty should cover their beauty and body from men who are not their close relatives…. Did you know that majority of Muslims are not Arab! It is a common belief that Muslims are all Arab. In reality majority of Arabs are Muslims, but many are Jewish and also Christians. Indonesians and South East Asians make up the majority of Muslims, and Islam is one of the fastest growing religion in America… Islam is not the religion of terror, blood or hatred of its women, but a thoughtful. Peaceful, modest religion that gets us closer to our Creator, Allah (Abridged) Source:: The Islamic Voice May 1998 p 22 bailyverous17@hotmail.com

Story # 11 Why I Became Muslim? AMNAH, USA Note: This story is converted from a third person narrative to first person to match with other posts. The events are correct however. I belong to a comfortable middle class family in Southern California. After graduation, I married a Syrian Muslim student and moved to Syria. There I desperately tried to understand Islam and its tenets. I asked those around her about Islam, surprisingly my husband did not like my interest in Islam and even rebuked me. Growing up in America had ingrained upon me that various religions are in fact different paths to reach to the same goal, a person chooses one that suits him, or he does not choose at all. I found the literature on Islam in English insufficient and the translations of Quran seemed baffling, the only way to comprehend was to simply learn the language. The faith came slowly to me, I prayed to God that if He was true, He would make Himself known to me. I realized that Quran indeed was an inspired book and a guidance for whole humankind. The next logical step was for me to accept Islam, but when I realized the responsibilities of a true Muslim, I hesitated. I was torn between the desire to live according to God’s law and the fear that I would not be able to do so. I prayed, fasted and even gave ZAKAT, but I felt that if I did not declare my faith, I will not be held accountable. After two years of Arabic course and another thru private tutors, I could struggle thru reading the Quran with the assistance of dictionaries and commentaries. Gradually I began to understand that we are just as much responsible for what we neglect to do. At that moment, I was ready to declare my faith. I did not knew what would the ceremony would be like, what the Imam would ask me, I tried to prepare myself for many questions… It was so surprising to me that the ceremony was so simple and was over in a few minutes. I had become Muslim after 12 years. Since that time I have done much more study on Islam and have even written some books in Arabic to help Arabic speaking Non Muslims appreciate and make use of guidance that God placed within their easy reach…. (Abridged) Source:: The Islamic Voice, Bangalore, Nov 1996, p18

Story # 12 Why I Became Muslim? AIYESHA ONG, BUDDHIST MALAYSIA I was born as a Buddhist but I was not taught any thing about Buddhism, its teaching or its principals. All I know about Buddhism was following my parents to the temples during festive seasons…We used Joss sticks to prey to the idols, or even colored disks with inscriptions on them. When we prayed, we prayed for our own good, making up a very long ‘shopping list’. In Malaysia, Chinese think they are superior. Most Chinese are either Buddhists or Christians and there is very small minority who are Muslims. These Chinese Muslims are looked down upon. All the Malays are Muslims and Chinese consider them as stupid and lazy. Therefore to associate with any Malays was a terrible ‘sin’. To the older generation of Chinese, Islam is only for Malays, and since all Malays are Muslims, Islam is a stupid religion… Because I was brought up in that society, I also accepted their ignorant way of thought. Because of racial tension in my country, I did not trust any Malays and so my knowledge of Islam was practically nil. I was never a religious person at home, so when I came to England, I became an Atheist. All of my friends were not religious either. All we were interested in was amusement and entertainment, It was after two years in England and one broken marriage that I met a Muslim Malay. He gave me a few books on Islam and in order to please him I read them. I was very suspicious of Islam but I was willing to learn and soon my interest grew. Then one day I came across a copy of the book “Islam our Choice”, I read that book carefully and the feelings of those brothers and sisters expressed in that book made a great impression on me.. What really impressed me most about Islam was its moral teachings. One must dress decently and cover up one’s body. Another aspect of Islam that attracted me was cleanliness, which in Islam is very important. Cleaning after call of nature, and performing WUDU before going to prayer was natural and very wise. Against my parent's wishes, I became a Muslim after six month of studying the religion…I became a Muslim because I believe in Allah as the only God and Mohammad is His prophet….

(Abridged) Source:: The Muslim (London) Oct-Nov 1974 Vol. 12 p 10-11

Story # 13 Why I Became Muslim? ANN ROCKFELLER, BRITAIN Note: Ann , A British physician, worked at the Institute of Clinical Blood Research of London, prior to her marriage to an Egyptian. She shifted from London to Cairo 18 years ago. Although her Egyptian husband was indifferent towards Islam, she found the faith and accepted it. “Prior to my coming to Egypt I knew nothing about Islam, but I was impressed by the good nature of the Egyptian people and their tolerance. When I came to Egypt, I realized the difference in the values that exist in the west and the values that prevail in Egypt and I jumped to the conclusion that Islam was the cause of this difference. Although my husband is a Muslim, I heard no word from him about Islam and I never saw him performing Islamic rituals. My husband did not know that I was performing Muslim, even five years after I had become a Muslim (that is a average Broad Minded Modern Muslim for you – Ed.). When he came to know that I had become a Muslim, he remained indifferent. But gradually and slowly, I was able to influence both my daughter and my husband to become practicing Muslims, and I thank God for that. I regret that Westerners have a totally wrong concept about Islam and Muslims and that is due to what information they receive from the Western Media. I believe that most westerners have no antagonistic attitude towards Islam and they would be ready to accept Islam, if they are provided with correct knowledge about it. I have been trying to clarify Islamic principles to my relatives in England , the best way to preach Islam is to behave well and to implant its values in the hearts of the new generations. The responsibilities of Housewife is therefore very great, my own example with my husband and my sons and daughters is an example. (Abridged) Source:: Riyadh Daily May 15,1998 p9

Story # 14 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: AIYESHA , PANIPAT, HARYANA , INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a Brahmin Family in Panipat, which is known to whole India. I have four brothers and three sisters all elder to me. In my village, there are a few houses of Muslims, but they are very weak economically and also religiously. I doubt if they even know what is Islam. 02. I was educated in my village upto primary level and then my brothers tool me to Ludhiana for further study. I passed High school and then Intermediate from there. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 03. From my childhood I did not like religious rituals of my family. To me they just seemed like dramas, something without any real emotions behind it. I was studying in a Christian Missionary School. They gave us Bible to study, but I was not impressed by it. 04. Once I passed by a mosque, where some religious function was in progress. There were a few book stalls there. I bought some small booklets, that included small biography of prophet Mohammad. That impressed me much and then I read many books on Islam, unless I decided to become Muslim. I left my house and I did not know where to go and how to become Muslim. After asking so many Muslims…. I was finally brought to PHULAT, where I accepted Islam and he gave me my Islamic name. 05. I stayed there for few days and they took good care of me and treated me like one of their family members. I learned about Islam and how to recite Quran. After I had done that Maulana married me to a Muslim from Delhi.

06. He does the business of Import and Export….there were many ups and downs in his business and it seemed that it is the end. But Allah had mercy on us and his business survived. Now it is quite stable and we are happy. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 07. My family members searched for me. They even reported my loss to police. I had written them a letter that I am not running away from house, due to any love affair or things of that kind. I am in search of truth and want to find it. They searched for me and after some time gave up hope. E. My Missionary activities: 2. On Parents. 08. My father had died, when I was young. News reached to me that my mother is very sick, I was very worried that she should not die as a Non Muslim. I told my husband that I want to visit my dieing mother. I went there in full Islamic Hijab. My mother saw me and started weeping…. After some time I told her about my Islam and how good is my husband and his whole family. 09. After much pursuance she accepted them and what more…she read Islamic creed in the dead of night in front of me … she died after a Month as a Muslim. 3. On Family members / Others. 10. I am working on my brothers and sisters. Two of them like us and want to continue our relationship. The truth is , our family members are not so much against us, but it is the local people. F. Present Situation: 11. My husband is very active in the field of Islamic propagation and many people have accepted Islam on his hand. I have two sons and two daughters and they are undergoing Islamic education. I hope that they will memorize whole Quran and be active in the Islamic Missionary works. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims.

I left my home for the search of truth and Allah guided me to the truth. That is my message to all Muslims / Non Muslims.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of August 2009.

Story # 15 Why I Became Muslim? ANNA THOMAS (AMINA THOMAS) KERALA , INDIA I was born in a Pentecostal Christian family in South India. My father was a Roman Catholic, but when he saw so many statues and figures in Church,, and the way they are worshipped, then the way priests and saints are treated, he changed from RC to Protestant Church. He is now a full time missionary of the Church. I was also an active member of Church and was a devout Christian. I was a missionary and member of Health Care Fellowship for Christians. It consisted of those medical people who would work in remote places for propagation of Christianity. During my study of Bible, I was puzzled a bout some of its teachings, Like Divinity of Christ, His Resurrection after death, Contradictions in Bible, what is Word f God OT or NT. If both are world of God, then why Christians do not act on OT teachings? The church teaches to have simple belief and do not think too much. Then the fact that Christianity is being decided in Councils and not on the teachings of Jesus also puzzled me. When God did not allow Abraham to sacrifice his Only Son… then why God sacrificed His Only Son Jesus Christ? I was in this state of mind and knew nothing about Islam, when one of my friend gave me Two Books “Muslim Christian Dialog” by M.A. Nabi and “Choice between Islam and Christianity” by Ahmed Deedat. These two books caused revolution in my way of thinking. I learned that Islam itself means peace and Muslims are not such as described in media. In this condition, I got a job offer from Saudi Arabia and I went there. There I could see a Muslim society in existence and I went on comparative study of Islam and Christianity in a serious way. Despite books, audio video cassettes, talks with Newly converted Muslims helped me a lot. One of them was Khadija Watson from USA who was working in theology department in one of the American Universities. After a long and careful study I got convinced that Islam is true religion. Its scripture is preserved in its original condition and not like Bible which had suffered over the years. I did not know how to prey or fast according o Islamic way, so I preyed to God to help me find the true path. I thought that I will not be able to do one month of fasting as Muslims do, so I tried a few fasts in year 1421 AH. I found that fasting is not so difficult as it seems and I would be able to do it.

Then finally I accepted Islam in Saudi Arabia and Allah has given me strength to overcome all problems that I faced from my family and friend circles. I am thankful to Allah that I am a practicing Muslim today (abridged)

Story # 16 Why I Became Muslim? Testimony of Asiya Abd al-Zahir I have always, since developing an ability to think deeply, believed in the existence of a single Creator, on whom everything that exists is dependent. Though my parents are Buddhist, from the age of 13, to this Creator, I have steadfastly prayed and yielded guidance from every day that I can remember. Yet, being schooled within a Christian environment, I naturally identified myself as a Christian. Sadly, my knowledge of Islam was minimal. I perceived it as a bizarre religion, limited to only a few underdeveloped nations, most of which were in the Middle East, and which endorsed an astoundingly suppressive lifestyle, particularly for women. Muslim women, I presumed, were considered inferior - a passive domestic slave, bashed often and forced to compete among four for her husband's affections, which he could withhold from them all if he wanted to. The majority of these ideas I developed from hearsay, interactions with others I assumed knew what they were talking about and a few documentaries on Iran and Saudi Arabia I watched on television. As I entered university nearly three years ago, I came into contact with quite a number of Muslim students from various backgrounds. Strangely enough, even to myself, I was drawn to them and developed a curious inclination to learn and understand more about their religion. I observed how content they seemed and was very impressed by their openness and warmth towards myself and each other, but more importantly with their pride in belonging to a religion which holds many negative connotations. I gradually became fascinated with Islam, and through a process of education, developed a greater respect for it than even my beloved Christianity. I was stunned at how wrong my previous conception had been and became particularly overwhelmed at the tremendous entitlements, equality and acknowledgment Islam provided for women. I realised the reality of the Islamic lifestyle and the truth concerning that feeble American innovation termed "Islamic fundamentalism". Is it said that any person who possesses the faulty of reason and an open mind should recognise logic and truth when he/she encounters it, and so it was in my case. More and more, literature, signs and evidence were revealed to me, and more and more, my intellect was stimulated and my heart, warmed. I wanted to know everything about Islam and felt already a sense of brotherhood with and belonging among its followers. What impressed me the most was how practical Islam is - how it encompasses a rule and

a lesson for almost every facet of living. And by the sheer grace of God, I at last understood the faults of Christian theology and of the concepts I had previously accepted unquestioningly. At midday, on August 4th, 1994, before over 20 witnesses, I recited the shahadah and became an official Muslim. I shall never forget the bliss of that day and how much my life has turned around in only a year's time. I have often been asked what it is like to be a revert and of the difficulties I must endure. Though I do not wish to dwell on this topic, as pity is not my priority, I shall give some examples of what I have been through. The period up till the end of Ramadhan was, by far, the hardest to get through. Family disputes took place almost daily; I was showered with verbal abuse, ridicule and threats. On many occasions, my room was physically torn apart, books mysteriously disappeared and slanderous phone messages were sent to my friends and their parents. There have been times I have been locked out of home and forced to abstain from dinner as pork was deliberately served. Even to this day, all my mail is opened before I have the chance to do so myself. Apart from my housing and meals, I must provide for myself financially. My readings, as my conversations over the phone are done in privacy. My writings and my visits to mosques or other Islamic venues must always be concealed. I am similarly not able to visit friends very often as I may be "brain-washed" even more. I cannot perform my prayers until I am sure no one is around. Nor can I express my excitement and celebration during Ramadan. I cannot share the joy at knowing yet another sister has put on Hijab, nor can I discuss the lesson I have learned this day or the speech given by an Islamic scholar/scientist. Moreover, I must continually defend the Muslims and the Islam portrayed on the media, and fight against the stereotypes my parents stubbornly maintain. To see their expressions of disgust at myself is almost unbearable. I am now insecure as to my parents affections and constantly worry of how much I am hurting them. Through the entire month of Ramadan, my mother spoke to me not once. I had to hear her say time and time again at how I had betrayed the family. My pleading with her otherwise was to no avail. I am told over and over again that what I have done is unforgivable and if any of our relations or already few friends knew, my parents would surely be outcasts. However, I do not claim to have a miserable life. I am more content and at peace now than I ever have been. My purpose in relating all of this is to try to display the opportunities that many of you have which are so often taken for granted, so little taken advantage of, but so precious to many reverts like myself.

To reflect on these hardships alone would imply I have gained nothing by becoming a Muslim other than pain. On the contrary, Islam has given me already so many vast rewards, I shiver to think of how much more wonderful the gifts of Paradise would be. At the time of my reversion, although I had accepted Islam as being true, I had no idea of the vast internal changes it would incur upon me. Even I am astounded at how much I devour knowledge, how Islam is in my thoughts every waking moment, how compelling I feel my responsibility is to the Ummah and how much more of a Muslim I became every month. … Over the past year, I have developed quite an extensive breadth of Islamic knowledge and have studied ayats of the Holy Qur'an in much finer detail. Not once have I come across anything which would make me doubt the authenticity of the Qur'an and the relevance of Islam for contemporary society, for even one minute. This has been the only religion I have ever been completely sure of and am more sure of each day that I serve. Furthermore, I have established my identity, I am more confident of myself; a stronger woman and person of colour, I am more aware of my existence and more secure in my battles. (Abridged)

Story # 17 Why I Became Muslim? BAHRIA AMANULLAH, USA Allah in His infinite mercy and wisdom created me to be a Muslim of eastern Europe descent living in the US. It might seem strange for a white girl from a small Midwestern town to be Muslim. The toe seem world’s apart. Unfortunately Islam is the most misunderstood religion. Muslims are unjustly associated with terrorism, radicalism and senseless violence. As a Roman Catholic, I was baptized, took my first communion, performed my first confession, attended mass and catechism classes. Early in life I wondered why there were different religions, I had questions no one could answer…I did not understand Jesus, was he a man or God? One summer evening, just before turning fourteen , I climbed on top of the roof of our house, I marveled at the glorious beauty of an animated moon. I wondered how any one could look at such a sight and nor believe in God… At 17 I moved on my own into the city, for several years my life was a nightmare of instability, directionless searching and un-fulfillment. Finally I read the autobiography of Malcolm X, in his life I found the direction I had so desperately searched for. I had caught a serious glimpse of the straight path. By the mercy of Allah it was now in my heart. Malcolm’s letters written from Makkah touched me deeply. The only reason I did not embrace Islam was the interference of my own choice views and adherence to misconceptions of women’s status in Islam. It seemed like a plunge into darkness. I thought it was too strict for me and my arrogantly self righteous liberal views. I came into contact with the Islamic community thru a Radio station called KUCB. I listened to several Muslim personalities on air and became deeply impressed by their strength, courage, commitment and knowledge. I went to station to offer my services… there I met Imam Ako Abdul Samad, the station’s vice president. He selflessly gave time, advice encouragement and offered a clear direction. At last I started asking questions and Imam answered them….my confusion regarding Jesus was now made clear. He was not son of God, God is far above the base reality of human reproduction. Jesus was a prophet a messenger of God. The miracles were performed by God thru him. Now I understood my own inner self regarding abortion. Like many young women, I had been misled into thinking anti abortion stands were a threat to my rights as a women.

Islam put all elements in the proper perspective. The issue is much greater than Roe Vs Wade… My life was forever changed by the simple truth of submission to one Creator. Simple truths are the most powerful. It was all practical. There is only one God. The truth can cut thru the façade of intellectual unreasoning, selfishly motivated denials and lies that I had clinged to…. Islam is not a terrorist society, but a broad community striving for peace, justice and human rights for all in the name of Allah. (Abridged) Source:: Riyadh Daily Nov 6 1998 p8

Story # 18 Why I Became Muslim? BUSHRA FINCH I was brought up as a Christian, much as most people in this country are. I was christened, studied scripture at school and never went to church, except for the occasional wedding and even less for the midnight mass service on Christmas Eve. Whilst I believed much of what I was taught, there were many aspects I found unacceptable, particularly the idea of the Trinity and deification of Jesus. I did however believed in a ‘supreme being’ and that Universe had a Creator… I knew next to nothing about Islam and most of what I had picked up came from media reports of a stern and unforgiving God, Fanatical followers, Terrorists, subjugated women and all the usual negative and untrue images. How wrong and ignorant I was, a few months later I met a Muslim friend. I was very much impressed by him as a person, his attitude towards life and other people. I also remember the way his face would light up from deep within, whenever he spoke about islam. While visiting local library, a borrowed a copy of Holy Quran and two other texts on Islam, much to my surprise, I found myself agreeing with what Iw as reading rather than arguing against it. By the time I had finished reading the Quran, I was convinced that I had found something important and very meaningful. I was embarrassed for my earlier prejudice. I found myself Isolated, as my friends became unsupportive or could not understand. I had no Muslim where I was now living. However I borrowed more books from the library and learned myself how to do ablution and how to perform prayers, I fasted during the month of Ramadan… Where did I go from here? I really could not carry on alone and still I had not made declaration of my faith. As I was worrying about my next step, Allah provided me with the answer. I met a Muslim lady. When I told her what I was going thru, she was wonderful and arranged every thing. Within a week I met Imam, made declaration of faith and adopted my new Muslim name. by Grace of Allah, I was now officially a Muslim. (Abridged) Source:: Islamic Voice, May 1999, p 22

Story # 19 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: BALWINDER KAUR (AIYESHA), FIROZEPUR, PUNJAB, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born on 3 June 1965 in a Sikh family in FIROZEPUR, Punjab. My father was Mr. Fateh Singh who was an educated landlord in the area. I graduated from Sri Gobindsingh College. I was married to a Police Officer. He is now a Deputy Superintendent, we have two sons and one daughter and all of them are studying. I had a younger sister who was very beautiful, she was also married to a police officer. Her husband loved her very much. But after marriage, she was always sick. Despite every effort, her health did not improve. When all medical options were exhausted, her husband took her to many temples and places of worship, but she was not cured. 02. She went to a Muslim lady, who used to practice Islamic system of supplication cure. She got some relief , but that lady told her , that she will become fully OK, but she will have to accept Islam. She consulted her husband, who told her, that he only wanted her health, Muslim or Non Muslim, it did not matter with him. The lady referred her to contact Maulana Kalim Uddin Sahib of Phulat. She talked to him on phone and told that she wanted to come to Phulat to accept Islam. Maulana told her, that she need not have to come to Phulat for that and she could recite KALIMA over phone itself. In fact Maulana almost forced her to recite KALIMA on phone and gave her Islamic name Aiyesha, 03. I was with her that night when she recited KALIMA and her condition immediately improved. Her face was radiant as with inside pleasure. She was very happy and prepared food and fed her husband. After some time she started saying that, I am seeing heaven and all good people are surrounding me…she went on saying that untill she became silent and when we touched her, she had died. B. How and Why I accepted Islam:

04. I was very close to my sister and her face and the ease with which she died affected me very much. I saw her in dreams and she was sitting on a throne and wearing very good clothes. I told my husband that I also wanted to become Muslim for one or two weeks to feel what Aiyesha felt…. When I asked him repeatedly, he agreed for me to become Muslim for a week or two. 05. I spoke to Maulana in Phulat and arranged for my trip there when he will be present there. When I told Maulana my intention to become Muslim for a week or two, he told that Islam is not like a dress that you change every now and then. It is entering the faith for full life. I was perplexed, because I was not prepared for becoming Muslim for life. Maulana then explained fundamentals of Islam to me and what it means to be a Muslim. He also gave me a small booklet “Your trust returned to you” and asked me to study it and then decide.. 06. After some thoughts and discussions, I decided to become Muslim and recited KALIMA in front of him. He congratulated me and gave me the same name as that of my sister. All family members of Maulana treated me like a member of that household. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 07. I came back very happy and told my husband that I have decided to become Muslim for life. First he seemed to ignore me, but when I remained firm on islam and asked him also to become a Muslim, he got annoyed. We had arguments every day, Maulana told me, that I should not have sexual relationship with my husband, but I can live with him in the hope of converting him. I prayed to Allah to open hearts of my husband for Islam whole night. 08. Next day when I asked him to become Muslim, he agreed and accepted Islam on my hand. I was very happy and all my children also became Muslim. Then after some time, my husband was killed in an accident in course of his police duty. This was a very strong trial, but Allah gave me strength to stay firm on my faith. 09. I was yearning to perform Hajj, but I could not go alone. I started working on my brother and asked him to become Muslim. I told him that Baba Guru Nanak had also gone to Makkah to perform Hajj. After some persuation, he accepted Islam and we went to Makkah top perform Hajj.

G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. I would like Muslims to be grateful for the gift of faith which they have. A day with faith is better than one century of life without faith.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Sept. 2006

Story # 20 Why I Became Muslim? CAROL L. ANWAY, USA Note: This is from parents of an American lady, who converted to Islam many years ago. It shows broadmindedness and openness to Islam from those who are Christians. When our daughter married a young man from Iran, we had no idea what it meant to be muslim. It was comforting to us that he was Muslim, because we were a religious family and assumed that before long he would convert to Christianity. They enrolled in a college several hours away from us. Thru telephone calls and occasional short visits we began to notice a change taking place in our daughter. During one weekend about one and half years, she broke the news to us that she had become Muslim. She made it clear that it was not because her husband asked her to do it, she had chosen to be Muslim herself. She assured us hat she was not rejecting us. Our world fell apart, and we reacted with deep grief and loss. It has been 12 years since that day. We have healed from the grief, rebuilt our relationship with our daughter and her husband, and have come to have deep respect for that what she has chosen. I have been impressed with all of her friends, both American converts and those from other countries who are Muslim. A little over two years ago, I started a project to survey American women in the US and Canada who had become Muslim. I distributed Questionnaires at Muslim conferences, advertised in Islamic magazines….and this is our findings: A. Approx. 40 % of women work outside the home either part time or full time. B. 12 % are working toward college degrees. C. 25 % choose to home school, their children of school age. All but two women in the survey were wearing full time Hijab. 90 % of the women in the study are married and reflect successful marriage, …From this survey, I have written a book Daughters of another path: Experiences of American women choosing Islam…. As parents of an American Muslim convert, my husband and me now feel that the two paths are not so different…It has broadened our world to see it thru the eyes of a daughter who has chosen another path. (Abridged) Source:: Islamic Horizons , Sept-Oct 1995, p26-27

Story # 21 Why be became Muslims? Mrs. CECILLA CANNOLY [Rashîda] Austrian Why did I become a Muslim? Let me tell you sincerely that I became a Muslim without even noticing it myself. For, at a very young age I had already completely lost my confidence in Christianity and had begun to feel apathy towards the Christian religion. I was curious about many religious facts. I was disinclined to believe blindly the creed they were trying to teach me. Why were there three gods? Why had we all come to this world sinful, and why did we have to expiate it? Why could we invoke God only through a priest? And what were the meanings of all these various signs that we were being shown and the miracles that we were being told? Whenever I asked these questions to the teaching priests, they would become angry and answer, “You cannot inquire about the inner natures of the church’s teachings. They are secret. All you have to do is to believe them.” And this was another thing that I would never understand. How could one believe something whose essence one did not know? However, in those days I did not dare divulge these thoughts of mine. I am sure that many of today’s so-called Christians are of the same opinion as I was; they do not believe most of the religious teachings imposed on them, yet they are afraid to disclose it. The older I became the farther away did I feel from Christianity, finally breaking away from the church once and for all and beginning to wonder whether there was a religion that taught “to worship one single God.” My entire conscience and heart told me that there was only one God. Then, when I looked around, the events showed me how meaningless the unintelligible miracles that priests had been trying to teach us, and the absurd stories of saints they had been telling us, were. Didn’t everything on the earth, human beings, beasts, forests, mountains, seas, trees, flowers indicate that a great Creator had created them? Wasn’t a newly born baby a miracle in itself? On the other hand, the church was striving to indoctrinate the people with the preposterous belief that every newly born baby was a wretched, sinful creature. No, this was impossible, a lie. Every newly born child was an innocent slave, a creature of Allah. It was a miracle, and I believed only in Allah and in the miracles He created. Nothing in the world was inherently sinful, dirty, or ugly. I was of this opinion, when one day my daughter came home with a book written about Islam. My daughter and I sat together and read the book with great attention.

O my God, the book said exactly as I had been thinking. Islam announced that there is one God and informed that people are born as innocent creatures. Until that time I had been entirely ignorant of Islam. In schools Islam was an object of derision. We had been taught that that religion was false and absurd and infused one with sloth, and that Muslims would go to Hell. Upon reading the book, I was plunged into thoughts. To acquire more detailed information about Islam, I visited Muslims living in my town. …My daughter and I read many other books written about Islam, were fully convinced as to its sublime ness and veracity, and eventually embraced Islam, both of us. I adopted the name ‘Rashîda’, and my daughter chose ‘Mahmûda’ as her new name. As for the second question that you ask me: “What aspects of Islam do you like best?” Here is my answer: What I like best about Islam is the nature of its prayers. In Christianity prayers are said in order to ask for worldly blessings such as wealth, position and honour from Allah through Jesus. Muslims, in contrast, express their gratitude to Allah and they know that as long as they abide by their religion and obey the commandments of Allah, He will give them whatever they need without them asking for it.

Story # 22 Why we became Muslim? Catherine Heseltine, Nursery school teacher, 31, North London 1. “If you’d asked me at the age of 16 if I’d like to become a Muslim, I would have said, ‘No thanks.’ I was quite happy drinking, partying and fitting in with my friends. “Growing up in North London, we never practised religion at home; I always thought it was slightly old-fashioned and irrelevant. But when I met my future husband, Syed, in the sixth form, he challenged all my preconceptions. He was young, Muslim, believed in God – and yet he was normal. The only difference was that, unlike most teenage boys, he never drank. “A year later, we were head over heels in love, but we quickly realised: how could we be together if he was a Muslim and I wasn’t? 2. “Before meeting Syed, I’d never actually questioned what I believed in; I’d just picked up my casual agnosticism through osmosis. So I started reading a few books on Islam out of curiosity. “In the beginning, the Koran appealed to me on an intellectual level; the emotional and spiritual side didn’t come until later. I loved its explanations of the natural world and discovered that 1,500 years ago, Islam gave women rights that they didn’t have here in the West until relatively recently. It was a revelation. 3. “Religion wasn’t exactly a ‘cool’ thing to talk about, so for three years I kept my interest in Islam to myself. But in my first year at university, Syed and I decided to get married – and I knew it was time to tell my parents. My mum’s initial reaction was, ‘Couldn’t you just live together first?’ She had concerns about me rushing into marriage and the role of women in Muslim households – but no one realised how seriously I was taking my religious conversion. I remember going out for dinner with my dad and him saying, ‘Go on, have a glass of wine. I won’t tell Syed!’ A lot of people assumed I was only converting to Islam to keep his family happy, not because I believed in it. 4. “Later that year, we had an enormous Bengali wedding, and moved into a flat together – but I certainly wasn’t chained to the kitchen sink. I didn’t even wear the hijab at all to start with, and wore a bandana or a hat instead. “I was used to getting a certain amount of attention from guys when I went out to clubs and bars, but I had to let that go. I gradually adopted the Islamic way of thinking: I wanted people to judge me for my intelligence and my character – not for the way I looked. It was empowering. 5. “I’d never been part of a religious minority before, so that was a big adjustment, but

my friends were very accepting. Some of them were a bit shocked: ‘What, no drink, no drugs, no men? I couldn’t do that!’ And it took a while for my male friends at university to remember things like not kissing me hello on the cheek any more. I’d have to say, ‘Sorry, it’s a Muslim thing.’ “Over time, I actually became more religious than my husband. We started growing apart in other ways, too. In the end, I think the responsibility of marriage was too much for him; he became distant and disengaged. After seven years together, I decided to get a divorce. 6. “When I moved back in with my parents, people were surprised I was still wandering around in a headscarf. But if anything, being on my own strengthened my faith: I began to gain a sense of myself as a Muslim, independent of him. 7. “Islam has given me a sense of direction and purpose. I’m involved with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, and lead campaigns against Islamophobia, discrimination against women in mosques, poverty and the situation in Palestine. When people call us ‘extremists’ or ‘the dark underbelly of British politics’, I just think it’s ridiculous. There are a lot of problems in the Muslim community, but when people feel under siege it makes progress even more difficult. 8. “I still feel very much part of white British society, but I am also a Muslim. It has taken a while to fit those two identities together, but now I feel very confident being who I am. I’m part of both worlds and no one can take that away from me.”

Story # 23 Why we became Muslim? Catherine Huntley, Retail assistant, 21, Bournemouth 1. “My parents always thought I was abnormal, even before I became a Muslim. In my early teens, they’d find me watching TV on a Friday night and say, ‘What are you doing at home? Haven’t you got any friends to go out with?’ “The truth was: I didn’t like alcohol, I’ve never tried smoking and I wasn’t interested in boys. You’d think they’d have been pleased. 2. “I’ve always been quite a spiritual person, so when I started studying Islam in my first year of GCSEs, something just clicked. I would spend every lunchtime reading about Islam on the computer. I had peace in my heart and nothing else mattered any more. It was a weird experience – I’d found myself, but the person I found wasn’t like anyone else I knew. “I’d hardly ever seen a Muslim before, so I didn’t have any preconceptions, but my parents weren’t so open-minded. I hid all my Muslim books and headscarves in a drawer, because I was so scared they’d find out. 3. “When I told my parents, they were horrified and said, ‘We’ll talk about it when you’re 18.’ But my passion for Islam just grew stronger. I started dressing more modestly and would secretly fast during Ramadan. I got very good at leading a double life until one day, when I was 17, I couldn’t wait any longer. “I sneaked out of the house, put my hijab in a carrier bag and got on the train to Bournemouth. I must have looked completely crazy putting it on in the train carriage, using a wastebin lid as a mirror. When a couple of old people gave me dirty looks, I didn’t care. For the first time in my life, I felt like myself. 4. “A week after my conversion, my mum came marching into my room and said, ‘Have you got something to tell me?’ She pulled my certificate of conversion out of her pocket. I think they’d rather have found anything else at that point – drugs, cigarettes, condoms – because at least they could have put it down to teenage rebellion. “I could see the fear in her eyes. She couldn’t comprehend why I’d want to give up my

freedom for the sake of a foreign religion. Why would I want to join all those terrorists and suicide bombers? 5. “It was hard being a Muslim in my parents’ house. I’ll never forget one evening, there were two women in burkas on the front page of the newspaper, and they started joking, ‘That’ll be Catherine soon.’ “They didn’t like me praying five times a day either; they thought it was ‘obsessive’. I’d pray right in front of my bedroom door so my mum couldn’t walk in, but she would always call upstairs, ‘Catherine, do you want a cup of tea?’ just so I’d have to stop. 6. “Four years on, my grandad still says things like, ‘Muslim women have to walk three steps behind their husbands.’ It gets me really angry, because that’s the culture, not the religion. My fiancé, whom I met eight months ago, is from Afghanistan and he believes that a Muslim woman is a pearl and her husband is the shell that protects her. I value that old-fashioned way of life: I’m glad that when we get married he’ll take care of paying the bills. I always wanted to be a housewife anyway. 7. “Marrying an Afghan man was the cherry on the cake for my parents. They think I’m completely crazy now. He’s an accountant and actually speaks better English than I do, but they don’t care. The wedding will be in a mosque, so I don’t think they’ll come. It hurts to think I’ll never have that fairytale wedding, surrounded by my family. But I hope my new life with my husband will be a lot happier. I’ll create the home I’ve always wanted, without having to feel the pain of people judging me.”

Story # 24 Why I Became Muslim? Changing values: Camill Leyland, 32, pictured in Western and Muslim dress, converted to Islam in her mid-20s for 'intellectual and feminist reasons' The turning point for Kristiane came when she met and briefly dated the former Pakistani cricketer and Muslim Imran Khan in 1992 during the height of her career. He took her to Pakistan where she says she was immediately touched by spirituality and the warmth of the people. Kristiane says: ‘Though our relationship didn’t last, I began to study the Muslim faith and eventually converted. Because of the nature of my job, I’d been out interviewing rock stars, traveling all over the world and following every trend, yet I’d felt empty inside. Now, at last, I had contentment because Islam had given me a purpose in life.’ ‘In the West, we are stressed for superficial reasons, like what clothes to wear. In Islam, everyone looks to a higher goal. Everything is done to please God. It was a completely different value system. 'In the West, we are stressed for superficial reasons, like what clothes to wear. In Islam, everyone looks to a higher goal. Everything is done to please God' 'Despite my lifestyle, I felt empty inside and realised how liberating it was to be a Muslim. To follow only one god makes life purer. You are not chasing every fad. ‘I grew up in Germany in a not very religious Protestant family. I drank and I partied, but I realised that we need to behave well now so we have a good after-life. We are responsible for our own actions.’ For a significant amount of women, their first contact with Islam comes from dating a Muslim boyfriend. Lynne Ali, 31, from Dagenham in Essex, freely admits to having been ‘a typical white hard-partying teenager’. She says: ‘I would go out and get drunk with friends, wear tight and revealing clothing and date boys. ‘I also worked part-time as a DJ, so I was really into the club scene. I used to pray a bit as a Christian, but I used God as a sort of doctor, to fix things in my life. If anyone asked, I would’ve said that, generally, I was happy living life in the fast lane.’ But when she met her boyfriend, Zahid, at university, something dramatic happened. She says: ‘His sister started talking to me about Islam, and it was as if everything in my life fitted into place. I think, underneath it all, I must have been searching for something, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by my hard-drinking party lifestyle.’

Story # 25 Why I Became Muslim? CASSANA (AIYESHA) MADDOZ NABLISI, USA Note: Sister Aiyesha was one of the exchange students, who was sent to Saudi Arabia to attend Shariah College. She had close contacts with many prominent Saudi citizens of Jeddah. She accepted Islam in late 1970 s. Here she tells story of her conversion to Islam My formal education goes slightly beyond the norm, after high school, a got a Bachelor’s degree in International studies, with 2 of 7 years I studied Arabic. I also studied Arabic with private paid tutors. I am a graduate of Naval school and have worked in US navy. I was sent as exchange student to attend Shariah college at Jeddah University….I later earned master’s degree in International Education Development. I came to Islam, taking my SHAHADAH in Northern Nigeria, where I was visiting Inlaws of my second marriage, who was a diplomat in Northern Nigeria. Local people in Nigeria introduced me to Islam, and informed me that it was the most important facet of the historical pasts of people who were taken out of Africa. I was not entirely ignorant of Arabic Quran as during my studies I had gone thru English translation of Quran by Abdullah Yousuf Ali. Some credit to my conversion should go to Elijah Mohammad , thru whom many black people in USA learned about true Islamic teaching as a non racial Universal faith for all mankind… I have visited many Islamic countries and have attended many conference on Islamic and other topics. I have also written many books to teach English language to people whose mother tongue is not English… (Abridged) Source:: Why woman are accepting Islam? Pages 20-25

Story # 26 Why I Became Muslim? Cynthia (Amina) USA Cynthia gained much Media attention during days of President Ford, when she influenced Roberdo, a Mafia don, to shun the criminal activities and join Islam. Her feat considering that she was a physically challenged person was all the more remarkable. She was affected from Polio in the early childhood and confined to a wheel chair. But her zeal and determination never caused this disability to stand in the way, what she wanted to get or do. Let us hear from her own lips her story. People consider me as Handicapped, but I never consider myself as one….How come any Muslim be handicapped? With the Powers of Allah behind him, he can never be handicapped. My own story is proof of it!!! I was born in American Black Christian family. We were Christians only in name and the religion did not mean any thing to us in the real world. Since I was confined to wheel chair, I used to read a lot in my spare job. I was amazed to read as to how Malcolm-X and his friends were able to convince so many drug addicts to shun that habit and come to Islam. I also decided to know about Islam and got some books on Islam and read it. This caused a very positive change in my attitude towards Islam. I decided to visit the local Islamic Mosque. Now this mosque was built and was looked after by another New Muslim from black community. His name was Mohammad Yousuf. I was much impressed by his story and his talks and his zeal in propagating Islam. I read a lot and then convinced myself as to the truth of Islam and decided to join the faith. My announcement of new faith at home was initially ridiculed by my parents and friends. They thought that it would a passing whim. But when I took to Islamic dress code and shunned Alcoholic parties….then they realized my sincerity. I did face many hardships at their hands, but Allah gave me strength to bear it all. I remained firm to my faith despite so much opposition. Then I decided to work in prison and preach Islam to the inmates there. I got much success there and many convicts decided to embrace Islam. While conversing with one of the inmates he told me “Why I do not work on Roberdo”? Who is Roberdo, I asked? "He is the Mafia Don and drug lord for this area" was the reply. So I decided to meet this Roberdo. I reached his palatial villa one evening. The security guard would not let me in….The noise brought Roberto out of the Villa. When he saw me (on wheel chair) he let me in and asked me what I wanted. I told him to leave the evil path and do not spoil the society. He denied everything but on my persistence agreed to give me five minutes every day to hear me out…

Well the five minutes extended to tens and then to hours. In the end Roberdo got convinced and decided to shun the evil way and gave himself up to authorities. This brought lots of fame to me and many media persons interviewed me. I also had visits from many renowned persons including Mohammad Ali. I was really sorry when Roberdo was shot down in prison by one inmate (for fear of exposure to others thru Roberdo)…. So I am not handicapped at all!!! How can be I when Allah is on my side!! This is my advice to all others (abridged)

Story # 27 Why I Became Muslim? CLARA WILLAIMS, MUSWELL HILL , LONDON, U.K. As Christians we are taught to believe that we are born in sin and can only be saved by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason tat we are Baptised and later of confirmed. I tried hard to believe all this but my commonsense refused. It was all childish and seemed an excuse to do as one liked and wiggle out of the consequences, the coward’s way in fact. I could not believe that the babies I saw were sinful and again I found that most of so called sins were just a breaking of community laws and nor God’s laws at all. It was a great relief to find that under the teachings of Quran nothing in itself is right or wrong but only the use and abuse of it. Secondly although the muslim prayers puzzled me at first, yet when I began to study them I realized they were all praise or very nearly so. They sing nothing but God’s mercy and greatness and I am sure that their constant recitation must foster a desire to be more godlike in our daily lives. This contrasts with the Christian prayers, which is constant whine to be saved from the results of one’s misdeeds or for things we think we need. Christians are taught God is a ‘kind father’ who is always listening to our prayers, ready to grant all we wish, if only we ask long and loud enough. I for one, always asked for all I wanted and I have had my prayers answered only to find I would have been happier had I left myself in God’s hands. For my vision was short.. Every day I am learning to love the simplicity and justice of Islam and the wisdom of Holy Quran. I therefore accepted Islam on 21 June 1940 and declared “I hereby solemnly declare of my own free will that I worship one and only Allah alone, that I believe Mohammad to be His Messenger and servant. That I equally respect all prophets, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others and that I will live a Muslim life with the help of Allah” (Abridged) Source:: The Islamic Review Vol. 28, Nov. 1940 p401

Story # 28 Why I Became Muslim? CATHY USA My story of conversion to Islam is very interesting. It so happened that I went on a sale of surplus books at our local library and got hold of one book for a few coins that I had in my pocket. I brought the book home, without even looking at it, displayed it carefully on my table and never even bothered to read it or even go thru it!!! I graduated from High School, in College I selected Arts instead of science and selected a course that dealt with comparative religions. I was taught about major world religions, like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. None of my teachers were Muslims. I graduated from school and went to job market. It was not easy to find a job for female arts gradate in a my country so easily. After a few months of trial I felt frustrated from my job search and kept to my room. While in such a state, I looked again at the book which I had purchased with my own pocket money many years back. I cleaned the dirt and I started reading it, It was about Islam and what more, it was totally different from what my teachers were teaching me in my college. This book was nothing but English Translation of Holy Quran. The teachings of Quran convinced me that it was a true religion and must enter into its fold, I went to local Islamic center and I became a Muslim, which was such an easy thing to do. I joined the missionary activity and soon met an Afghan Boy, we got married and I gave my services to the local Islamic Center. Islam we think is a revolutionary and full of activity. It does not makes it followers idle or take shelter from the world’s problems. I only hope that Allah accept our small services and make us serve Muslims more and more (abridged)

Story # 29 Why I Became Muslim? Rejecting her faith: Writer Eve Ahmed was raised a Muslim Much of my childhood was spent trying to escape Islam. Born in London to an English mother and a Pakistani Muslim father, I was brought up to follow my father’s faith without question. But, privately, I hated it. The minute I left home for university at the age of 18, I abandoned it altogether. As far as I was concerned, being a Muslim meant hearing the word ‘No’ over and over again. Girls from my background were barred from so many of the things my English friends took for granted. Indeed, it seemed to me that almost anything fun was haram, or forbidden, to girls like me. There were so many random, petty rules. No whistling. No chewing of gum. No riding bikes. No watching Top Of The Pops. No wearing make-up or clothes which revealed the shape of the body. No eating in the street or putting my hands in my pockets. No cutting my hair or painting my nails. No asking questions or answering back. No keeping dogs as pets, (they were unclean). And, of course, no sitting next to men, shaking their hands or even making eye contact with them. These ground rules were imposed by my father and I, therefore, assumed they must be an integral part of being a good Muslim. Small wonder, then, that as soon as I was old enough to exert my independence, I rejected the whole package and turned my back on Islam. After all, what modern, liberated British woman would choose to live such a life? Well, quite a lot, it turns out, including Islam’s latest surprise convert, Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth. And after my own break with my past, I’ve followed with fascination the growing trend of Western women choosing to convert to Islam. Broadcaster and journalist Booth, 43, says she now wears a hijab head covering

whenever she leaves home, prays five times a day and visits her local mosque ‘when I can’. She decided to become a Muslim six weeks ago after visiting the shrine of Fatima alMasumeh in the city of Qom, and says: ‘It was a Tuesday evening, and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy.’ Before her awakening in Iran, she had been ‘sympathetic’ to Islam and has spent considerable time working in Palestine. ‘I was always impressed with the strength and comfort it gave,’ she says. How, I wondered, could women be drawn to a religion which I felt had kept me in such a lowly, submissive place? How could their experiences of Islam be so very different to mine?

Story # 30 Why I Became Muslim? EMILLY B. ASSAMI As I read the book “Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin, it seemed that the book separated men of science from men of religion. It made Biblical version of creation outdated. My father did not believe in God and considered Old Testament as book of fairy tales. We have no records, except a few remnants of early scriptures, the meaning gone, their wisdom lost thru countless years and numerous translation. In school we had period of comparative religion, my teacher was so biased against Islam that he always talked ill about it. He lectured us on Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. He would always picture Islam as a decline from the peak of Christian teachings into a collection of rituals which led to the stagnation of Muslim people. Singling out Prophet of Islam, he would say that he was an imposter who deceived his people and led them into wars. Somehow I could not digest all this negative talk about Islam, I wanted to know more about the religion of Islam, about prophet Mohammad and what he said about God. I got so irritated from the one sided criticism of my teacher that I wanted to leave the subject altogether, I asked my father, if there was a way, I could study about Islam and know its real teachings. He asked me to search in school library a book on Prophet Mohammad written by a muslim writer. I tried but I could only fid books written on Prophet Mohammad by Western writers and no one by any Muslim writer. Finally I was able to find a Muslim who gave me Translation of Quran in English by a Muslim and also the biography of prophet Mohammad written by a Muslim writer. I started to read the translation of Quran from the very beginning. I found there were many things I did not understand, but others impressed me. So I decided to continue reading , as I was unable to sleep any way. I continued reading as his my heart was not in it, and suddenly before me were these words “And give glad tidings to the patient, who say when misfortune strikes, to God we belong and to Him is our return” (2: ) . I felt better immediately. My studies convinced me of the truth of Islam and the link it had with Old Testament and Jesus. Now I could find why Western Writers were so against Islam and its prophet. It was their fear of Islam and its teachings that caused all this negative propaganda. From then to come into fold of Islam was a logical and simple step for me. (Abridged) Source::

Story # 31 Why be became Muslims? LADY ZAYNAB EVELYN COMBOLD (G.B.) I am frequently asked why I became a Muslim. I am the daughter of a renowned family, and my husband also is well known and rich. To those who ask me why I became a Muslim, I reply that I do not know for certain when the light of Islam rose in my soul. It seems to me as if I have been a Muslim forever. This is not something strange at all. For Islam is a natural and true religion. Every child is born as a Muslim. If it is left to itself, it will choose Islam, none else. As a European writer observes, “Islam is the religion of people with common sense.” If you made a comparative study of all religions, you would immediately see that Islam is the most perfect, the most natural, and the most logical. Owing to Islam, many complicated problems of the world are solved easily and mankind attains peace and tranquility. Islam always rejects the dogma that human beings are born sinful and that they have to expiate for it in the world. Muslims believe in Allah, who is one. In their eyes, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad PBUH are human beings like us. Allah has chosen them as Prophets to guide people to the right way. For doing penance, for asking for forgiveness, or for praying, there is no one between Allah and the born slave. We can supplicate Allah on our own any time, and we are responsible only for what we have done. The word ‘Islam’ means both ‘to surrender oneself to Allah and ‘to have belief in Muhammad Muslim’ means ‘a person who lives in peace and happiness with all beings.’ Islam is based on two fundamental facts: 1) That Allah is one, and that Muhammad is the final Prophet He has sent. 2) That humanity should be entirely freed from superstitions and unfounded dogmas. The Hajj, one of the (five) tenets of Islam, has a great impact on people. What other religion contains a form of worship as sublime as Islam’s pilgrimage, which brings together hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all four corners of the world regardless of their classes, races, countries, colours and rank positions, and makes them put on the (uniformal garb called) Ihrâm and prostrate themselves with one accord before Allah? It is a certain fact that Muslims’ worshipping together at these blessed places where the great Prophet announced Islam, struggled against Islam’s enemies, exerted himself with great determination and firmness, will attach them to one another with stronger affections, whereby they will try to find solutions for one another’s problems, and they will once again take an oath to cooperate along the way shown by Allah.

Another use of the Hajj is that thereby Muslims all over the world meet one another, know one another’s problems, and teach their personal experiences to one another. All Muslims assemble at the place whereto they turn their faces during their worships at home, and, all in one mass, one body in the presence of Allah, they surrender themselves to Him. Seeing the Hajj once would suffice as an evidence to prove the greatness of Islam. Here is Islam, and I have been enjoying the pleasure and satisfaction of having entered this great religion.

Story # 32 Why I Became Muslim? Convert Find Women's Rights in Islam By Elizabeth Clarke, Palm Beach Post Religion Writer. Wednesday, November 6, 2002 Fourteen years ago, Mimi Ma became an American religious pioneer of sorts: At age 18, the former Indiana boarding school student converted to Islam. Now a West Palm Beach resident, Ma says the decision wasn't difficult, but her life since has not been easy. For starters, her faith cost her, her family. Born in Vietnam to Buddhist parents and raised as a Christian in Africa by her eldest sister and American brother-in-law, she has had no contact with her relatives since her conversion. She also lost a part of her identity. When she swapped blue jeans and T-shirts for head scarves and long skirts, some people suddenly couldn't see past the clothes. And since Sept. 11, few people see her as Asian anymore; they think she's Arab. It is an experience more and more young American women can relate to, as growing numbers join Islam, the faith's leaders say, although they don't have statistics available. "In the past there were more African-Americans coming into Islam," says Altaf Ali, director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Now I'm seeing an influx of white, Caucasian females. This is a very strange phenomenon. It's not anything negative, but it's something that's very unusual, something that's new to our religion." Today, many of those converts will begin their first Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that calls on believers to fast from sunrise to sunset every day in an attempt to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity. Ma and Ali know it will be a tough test for new believers, but they also think they know why many of them have converted: women's rights. Despite stereotypes that portray Muslim women as subservient and silent, many women convert because of the freedom they find in Islam. For years, women converted only for marriage and for their husbands, Ali says. But today many single and married women convert based on their own convictions, especially those teachings about equality. "It's common across the board," Ali says. "They always say they enjoy the respect that is given to them by members of the opposite sex."

Comfort in the Quran Islamic teachings don't dictate subservience for women, Ma says, although some Islamic societies do. Ma found more in the Quran to ease her concerns about equality than she ever found in the Bible. She likes being able to challenge Muslim men, including her husband, whom she married after converting, when they tell her something about women's rights. "I can say, 'Open it up. Prove it to me,' " she says of the Quran. And if they're trying to show that women shouldn't own property, be educated, take leadership in government, vote, control their own finances or do anything else that men do, they won't find the proof in the Quran, she says. The Quran does speak about dress for women, but Ali hasn't found many converts who balk at wearing a scarf to cover their hair and long clothes to cover their arms and legs. Many embrace the idea, he says. "It's easier to undress in our society than to dress," Ali says, laughing. Ma agrees that many find relief in covering themselves. "Women wear the scarves out of modesty, so people see us for who we are and what we do, not as sex objects," she says. "You can have an Islamic society where women are covered and have rights. And you can have a society where women who are very scantily clad don't have those rights. Women's rights was the primary reason Ma herself converted to Islam. Born during the Vietnam War, Mimi left the country at age 4 with her oldest sister and her sister's American husband, who worked for the Foreign Service. Her brother-in-law was sent to Africa to work, moving over the years from Chad to Cameroon to Mali to Mauritania. The family practiced Christianity in the primarily Muslim countries and, according to Ma, held a low opinion of non-Christians. An observant Presbyterian, Ma started studying the Quran and other Islamic teachings at the Midwestern boarding school. She thought it would be simply an intellectual experience, but almost immediately she found something in the faith of the Prophet Mohammed that filled her spiritual needs. As a devout teenager, the Bible's teachings on women and their roles had started to disturb her. She found nothing but equality for women in the Quran.

Family rejected her After just a month of study, as an undergraduate at George Mason University in Virginia, she made the short profession of faith required to convert, immersed herself in Islam -and was immediately rejected by her family. "That's one of the most difficult aspects of converting," Ma says. "That didn't stop me. My concept of God can't be dictated by them." After Sept. 11, she feared for her life and did not leave her Washington, D.C., apartment alone for months. Since she and her husband, Mohammad, moved to West Palm Beach in March, they have encountered a broader range of reactions, Ma says. More intolerance and yet more kindness, too. They considered returning to the nation's capital but have decided to build a home in St. Lucie County instead. They work together as project management consultants. Until the house is finished, they're living at CityPlace, where Ma loves being so close to the bookstore. And as Ramadan begins, they look forward to getting to know the Muslim community here. Ma expects to break the fast on some nights at a local mosque. She also plans to start a Quran study this month. "It's like a self-reformation time, like a boot camp," she says. "It's very rewarding and comforting feeling to know that Muslims all over the world are doing this together: abstaining from these things during the day and then breaking the fast at night." Muslims also try to read the entire Quran during Ramadan -- Ma didn't make it her first year -- and to be kinder to each other. They become more focused on the important things in life. They often give money to the poor. Concentrating at work is the hardest thing to do during Ramadan. But she insists fasting isn't so difficult. It's really just skipping lunch after a pre-dawn breakfast. The reason makes it worth every midday craving, she says. "It's different when you're doing it for God," Ma says. "You're not thinking about food as much. Of course, you do. I fantasize about a chocolate mousse or a bag of chips. But thoughts of a Snickers bar, that leads to God and why you're doing this."

Story # 33 Why I Became Muslim? FATIMA HARRON , WEST GERMANY Shortly after I was born in 1934, it became a fashion in Germany to quit membership of the Church. In fact when I was 11 years old, one girl told me that there was no god at all and she seemed to be an authentic person. The world at that time was far from ordinary, there were bombs day after day, there were fathers who would come only now and then, and there were mothers, who knitted gloves and socks for ‘our poor soldiers’. When the war was over there were strange people who took away our houses and American war films started coming in which melted my heart. I was unable to judge who was right and who was wrong and every thing looked cruel and senseless to me… It was a miracle for me that out of all girls it was I who met a young European who had embraced Islam seven years before. I asked him to tell more about it. I was a great skeptic at that time. Yet when he explained to me the meaning of the word Muslim i.e. one who out of his free will surrenders himself to God’s commandments, something started waking inside me… He explained how everything in the nature was following God’s commands...it was only men who disobeyed God’s laws. It was wonderful logic, the pure common sense. I learned as much as in the books in the following years, small though the stock of unbiased Islamic literature in German Language is. Mohammad Asad ‘s book Road to Makkah made a deep impression on me… I understood the deep meaning behind all Islamic injunctions, it helped me most toward my journey to Islam. While Muslim at heart, I decided that I would try out first whether I would be able to follow the laws of Islam, so I kept fast the most difficult duty as it seemed to me then. I fasted the Month of Ramadan of year 1959, and it taught me that if we do anything for love of God, it is no longer as difficult at it seems. After that I became Muslim, me and my husband saved some money to migrate to a Muslim country and we settled in Pakistan, where my husband was given a suitable position. I used to enjoy all freedom the West offers to women, free mixing of sexes, parties, cinemas, dancing, concert, theatre, swimming, skating…Yet the peace of mind I have after becoming Muslim seems to me an ample compensation for what I have left behind…

The reason why I tell this is that I want my young sisters and brothers to understand that all the tempting glitter of materialism is just nothing when compared precious gift that God bestows on those whom He makes Muslims.. (Abridged) Source:: YAQEEN INT. FEB 7 1992, P200

Story # 34 Why I Became Muslim? GEORGINA NOUEIRI, UK My first in-depth encounter with Islam came when I met Mohammad, a fellow student at university of Swansea. He had arrived in Britain one year earlier from war torn Lebanon. Despite a strong Anglican Christian background, and a secure faith in God, I had unresolved questions of faith, to which Mohammad’s religion seemed to have the answers. I had never understood about the Trinity for instance. Then when Mohammad said that there are no partners with god, it just seemed very pure and beautiful. Islam corresponded with everything I had always felt deep down inside. That Jesus was a wonderful prophet with a wonderful message of forgiveness, but he was not to be worshipped as God. The more I learned about Islam, the more right it seemed to me. But conversion was not easy step to take. I did not know if I had the courage. Then one night when I was talking with Mohammad, I took the courage to say the KALIMA, the declaration of faith in front of him. When I went to bed, I was not sure if I had done the right thing, when I woke up next morning, I knew I had taken the right step. I was well aware of the risk I was taking, Islam is a massive subject, suppose I discovered something I did not believe in? But the more I learned, the more I felt it was everything I wanted to believe in. Later I married Mohammad, but the marriage was not my reason to convert to Islam, we moved to London so that he could continue his studies. There we met many Muslims , and I was exposed to the practices of devout followers. It gave me a desire to adhere more strictly to the laws enshrined in Quran. I also welcomed the Islamic rule of separating the sexes. It leads to a much more peaceful life. The wives are more relaxed because they know that their husbands are not going to be tempted by other women….the precaution gives women an enormous sense of well being when they are together. There is no tension, no showing off to opposite sex. I was brought up in a Western society wanting to be attractive, then vanity started to drive away from me and I became a little purer. I was glad suddenly that I felt safer at streets and I felt happy that men would not whistle at me. (Abridged) Source:: Saudi gazette, April 12 1996, p7

Story # 35 Why I Became Muslim? HANNAN ABDUL LATEEF, USA At the age of 23, I was a divorced mother of two and a college student. Because I had my children at a rather young age. I was just then beginning to enjoy a social life (so to speak)… One night I met these men who clamed they were Hebrews…part of Black Hebrews… they talked about Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac and that the Black Hebrews and not the Jews that we knew were the true inheritors of Yahweh’s promise… As I listened to them I knew there was something out of place in their story, but I could not identify what it was exactly, because of my own poor knowledge of religion at that time… In order to contradict them, I went for looking for Torah in our college library… I could not get a copy of Torah but many other books on topics of religion.. I scanned thru Apocalypse and Bhagwat Gita… I had heard that Quran also would say something about that topic, but there was no Quran in college library other. Thru some friends of my sister, I was able to get a copy of English translation of Quran and started reading it. I read as much of Quran as I could. I was immersed in it….This is what I always thought and believed…what sort of book was this? I read and I cried…I read more and I cried more… That Saturday night I found those Rastafarian people and told them what was missing in their story was Ishmael…the first born son of Abraham…they argued that it was Isaac and not Ishmael who was to be sacrificed. I did not have enough knowledge to argue with them, so I left them on their believes. I had heard about a Black Muslim sect of Nation of Islam….but my study of Quran had convinced me that Islam is not a racial religion at all. One day, I had a knock at my door, and I saw a Muslim man standing and asking me if I wanted to buy some cakes they were selling. I ran and picked up my Quran and I asked if he was following religion preached in that book? He looked surprised but said after a few second “Yes”. Then I asked if he belonged to Nation of Islam…he said once, but now he was following true Islam as Malcolm X did. I went with him to attend their meetings and finally in July 1979, I declared my SHAHADAH in New York city Mosque. I still have the same Quran with me and I still enjoy reading it regularly. I enjoy giving Quran as gift to anyone who expresses any interest in Islam… (Abridged) Source:: Saudi Gazette 12 Oct. 1998 p12

Story # 36 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: HALIMA SAADIA, DELHI, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I belong to a well to do SAINI family of South Delhi. My father is Accountant in Delhi Development Authority. I have three brothers and all of them are working as Officers in different ministries. I did my MA in English and Diploma is Mass Communications and I work as secretary in one of the ministries. I am aged 33 now and very few people know me by my new Islamic name. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 02. Govt. of India established an institute to teach foreign languages to its staff working in different ministries. I was selected to learn Arabic … most of the teachers were Muslims there and they started to teach Urdu to us along with Arabic. 03. My father is very well versed with Urdu language and I also spoke good Urdu, so I did not had much difficulty in learning Urdu or Arabic. One of our teacher Dr. MOHSIN OSMANI gave us some literature on Islam in Urdu and Hindi. That included a small booklet in Hindi named “AAP KI AMANAT AAP KI SEVA MEIN” i.e. “Your trust returned to you” by Maulana Kalim Uddin. I was very much impressed with that book and after that I studied Quran and then I told our teacher that I want to accept Islam. 04. I accepted Islam on his hands and then I used to go to Islamic Mission in NIZAMUDDIN and started learning about Islam and SALAAT from sisters there. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 05. I have not yet declared my Islam to my family and they are not aware of it. This causes lots of inconvenience to me as I must wait till every one is away before I can offer my regular prayers.

D. How I saved my Islam: 06. I am now at a dilemma, when I read Quran it asks us to surrender ourselves to Allah fully and completely and I am unable to do that at present. I am very fond of prostration and I pray to Allah during my prostration to give me strength and make me a Good Muslim. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 07. After becoming Muslim, I cannot marry a non Muslim, so I excused my parents to marry anyone, whenever they bring up this subject. I discussed this with my Islamic teacher and he brought a Muslim boy, who told me that he is ready to marry me….there is no need for me to declare my Islam and he would not mind if I even go to temples once in a while “to maintain the façade”… This reply saddened me and I declined the marriage proposal. 08. I know that Islam wants Muslim women to remain inside house. So I do not like to work outside. I am praying to Allah to grant me a Good Muslim husband, who will relieve me from this office work. F. Present Situation: 09. This is the situation in which I find myself. My only source of strength is My Allah and I always pray and ask Him to solve my problems G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 10. When I see Muslim women in Delhi and other places, I get convinced that they do not value the gift of Islam they have. In many Muslim localities, it is not possible to find out if they are any different from Non Muslim localities. I advise them to read stories of Muslim women in early age of Islam and use them as their ideals.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of April 2004

Story # 37 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: IRAM FROM BIJAPUR / MEERUT, India A. Family Background: 01. My father was Dr, ANIL MODI, he was nephew of Mr. PILOO MODI, the well known Indian socialist leader. We belonged to BIJAPUR, KARNATAKA…. But my father who was a very good physician and had done his MD from USA….shifted to MEERT in UP and bought a good mansion there and started his practice there. 02. I have two brothers who were named TARIQ and SHARIQ by my father….My father liked Muslim way of living very much. He was very fluent in Urdu and he even named his children with Muslim sounding names. 03. I did my education upto 12th standard in BIJAPUR and then admitted to Meerut college in B. Sc. I did not face any problem in my home town, but I found the situation very bad in my new college. Local Hindu boys would teased me and pass bad and fouls comments on me….. I got so frustrated that I decided to forego my education. 04. I noticed however, that there was a Muslim boy in the class, who was different from all these boys. He was alone Muslim boy in the class…. But every one respected him. They would immediately change the dirty / filthy topic they were talking about, once he was near. 05. Every one called him KALIM BHAI (and he was same Maulana KALIM UDDIN at a younger age!!). I used to praise him and his character to my father and he even visited my house … when I told his about Boy’s teasing problem….he solved it in an ingenious way. 06. On the festival of RAKSHA BANDHAN (a Local Hindu festival) he asked me to go to boys Hostel along with 25 or 30 RAKHIS. When we reached there , he called all those boys and asked me to tie RAKHI to their hands (thereby making them my bespoken brothers, so to say). They felt very much ashamed and I got rid of this nuisance.

07. My parents were much impressed….(Later I cleared PMT, the Medical entrance exam and completed my MBBS and MS from London and was employed in SGPGI, Lucknow along with my husband.) B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 08. I decided to learn Urdu from Kalim Bhai , my parents encouraged me, because they thought that knowledge of Urdu is essential in good upbringing. 09. During me learning Urdu, he gave me some books about Islam and hereafter. I got convinced of the truth and I asked my parents, If I can become a Muslim. They told me that I am a grown up now….but I should take such decisions after deep thinking. I decided to accept Islam and on 1st Jan 1974, I accepted Islam in the college library on the hands of Kalim Bhai. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 10. My parents and no one in my family objected on my decision. My name was already a Muslim sounding name, so I did not have to change it. 11. I went to London in 1979 after doing my MBBS and returned from there in 1984 after doing MS. Kalim Bhai chose a very Good Muslim doctor from a respected family as my husband. He was a very good doctor as well as a very good Muslim and I am very happy with him. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children I have three children and they are Muslim by birth, Thanks to Allah 2. On Parents. 12. My father was very impressed with Islam and Muslims, he performed my marriage with full Islamic way and spent lot of money on it. 13. I tried to talk to him about Islam and he was half ready…..but his connections with his uncle PILOO MODI and R.K. KARANJIA, the editor of Blitz made a mental block. But me and my husband kept on asking him and I am thankful to Allah that both he and my mother accepted Islam at our hands.

3. On Family members / Others. 14. I get many patients, both Muslims and Non Muslims in course of our work. I remind Muslim patients about their duties to Allah and I give missionary literature to Non Muslim patients. This is having some affect and many people have accepted Islam because of our efforts, Praise be to Allah for that F. Present Situation: 15. I and my husband, try to read as much Islamic literature as we can, we even have a sizable library at our house… I have read many books published on Islam. During our stay in London, we keep track on latest books released on Islam and we keep ourselves up to date on that. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 16. I would like to convey it to all Muslims and especially women, that they should fulfill the trust which Allah has put on them. A Muslim women also has to share the Missionary activity of Islam as was during the days of our prophet and his companions. The western civilization is thirsty and looking for something like Islam which we have. We should be aware of our trust and responsibility
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of July

2004

Story # 38 Why I Became Muslim? IRENE (AIYESHA) WENTWORTH FITZ WILLIAM U.K. Note: She was a noble British lady born in 1914. She went to Egypt to make a study of Comparative religions. She got so much impressed by teachings of Islam that she became Muslim in 1931. Following her example her younger sister also accepted Islam. She performed Hajj in 1935. Here she writes in one of the magazines. I am going to address more particularly to the Non Muslims who are not as well acquainted with the noble character and life of the holy prophet. The prophet Mohammad’s character and qualities were those which appeal especially to my own countrymen and women, namely courage, loyalty, kindness and greatest generosity to a fallen foe. His courage was exceptional, at the commencement of his great work, he stood entirely alone. His clansman and people of his own tribe were against him, and he fought for his cause against apparently overwhelming odds. It was his courage and faith in Allah that brought him victory. Previous to the days of prophet, the Arabians had sunk to the lowest degree- drunkenness, immorality and idolatry were at their heights. The Kaaba which since the days of Abraham had been used as the House of God was filled with idols of stone and wood…It was a most courageous acts of Prophet to cleanse Makkah of those idols. Mentioning Makkah, I should like to say here that it seems to me a grand thing that the holy cities of Makkah and Medina are again visited by Occidentals as well as Orientals. This is as was in the days of prophet. Every one desires World peace, well, there is nothing which will better accomplish that than the festival at the end of the pilgrimage at Arafat, where all nationalities, Black, White, brown Yellow, all dressed alike, Kings, Beggars, Poor and Rich side by side, offer up one universal hymn of praise to Allah… The prophet banned all intoxicants. He was the first prophet to raise the status of women. Up to that time women had no real status, in fact, the Arabs used to bury their female babies alive. All this the prophet stopped and instituted laws, 1356 years ago, establishing women’s rights, that alas do not exist even today in some European countries.. To this day, In Islamic laws which the prophet introduced, a woman’s possessions, whether money, land or anything else are her own, even her husband cannot lay a hand on them.

There is a great misconception amongst Christians as regards to women in Islam. For example many Europeans have said to me “As per your prophet, you have no souls”. How this fallacy has crept into the Christian imagination is incomprehensible. (Abridged) Source:: The Islamic Review Sept. 1938 Vol. 26

Story # 39 Why we became Muslim? Joanne Bailey, Solicitor, 30, Bradford

1. “The first time I wore my hijab into the office, I was so nervous, I stood outside on the phone to my friend for ages going, ‘What on earth is everyone going to say?’ When I walked in, a couple of people asked, ‘Why are you wearing that scarf? I didn’t know you were a Muslim.’ “I’m the last person you’d expect to convert to Islam: I had a very sheltered, workingclass upbringing in South Yorkshire. I’d hardly even seen a Muslim before I went to university. 2. “In my first job at a solicitor’s firm in Barnsley, I remember desperately trying to play the role of the young, single, career woman: obsessively dieting, shopping and going to bars – but I never felt truly comfortable. “Then one afternoon in 2004 everything changed: I was chatting to a Muslim friend over coffee, when he noticed the little gold crucifix around my neck. He said, ‘Do you believe in God, then?’ I wore it more for fashion than religion and said, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ and he started talking about his faith. “I brushed him off at first, but his words stuck in my mind. A few days later, I found myself ordering a copy of the Koran on the internet. 3. “It took me a while to work up the courage to go to a women’s social event run by the Leeds New Muslims group. I remember hovering outside the door thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ I imagined they would be dressed head-to-toe in black robes: what could I, a 25-year-old, blonde English girl, possibly have in common with them? 4. “But when I walked in, none of them fitted the stereotype of the oppressed Muslim housewife; they were all doctors, teachers and psychiatrists. I was struck by how content and secure they seemed. It was meeting these women, more than any of the books I read, that convinced me that I wanted to become a Muslim. “After four years, in March 2008, I made the declaration of faith at a friend’s house. At first, I was anxious that I hadn’t done the right thing, but I soon relaxed into it – a bit like starting a new job 5. “A few months later, I sat my parents down and said, ‘I’ve got something to tell you.’

There was a silence and my mum said, ‘You’re going to become Muslim, aren’t you?’ She burst into tears and kept asking things like, ‘What happens when you get married? Do you have to cover up? What about your job?’ I tried to reassure her that I’d still be me, but she was concerned for my welfare. 6. “Contrary to what most people think, Islam doesn’t oppress me; it lets me be the person that I was all along. Now I’m so much more content and grateful for the things I’ve got. A few months ago, I got engaged to a Muslim solicitor I met on a training course. He has absolutely no problem with my career, but I do agree with the Islamic perspective on the traditional roles for men and women. I want to look after my husband and children, but I also want my independence. I’m proud to be British and I’m proud to be Muslim – and I don’t see them as conflicting in any way.”

Story # 40 Why I Became Muslim? JENNEFER FYOD , USA Jennifer was born in Dominion Republic. She was 21 and was married with three children… She was just reflecting on what is he purpose of life. Was she born to just live and reproduce and establish some relation ships….The things were such when events of 9/11 happened and we pick up the story from there… My mother in law screamed…”Another plane crashed!!” I moved to TV screen and saw WTC Towers crashing down. I was shocked to the core,! Is it real or am I dreaming, who could do such acts…It was only yesterday that I was shopping in WTC!!! If it were today! May be my time to die has not yet come…but what iis the purpose of my life. After a few days, I heard news about another plane crash, this time AI flight 587, the same flight I took only a week before. This was second incident which reminded me that some how I am being saved….but for what. Then I witnessed that Muslims in US were subject to witch hunt and insults every where. They were taunted, labeled as Taliban and asked to go back. What is the fault of these innocent people, why they should be subjected to these insults? These thoughts created a sort of sympathy towards Muslims in my heart. I entered into a college for some course, which also had a number of Muslim girls. I asked them about why they have to wear scarf and other things about Islam and Muslims, I found that they knew very little about Islam and could not answer my queries satisfactorily. Then I tried Internet….there I got lot of information about Islam. First I wanted to make sure that whether Prophet Mohammad did exist or he was an imaginary personality. I learned that indeed he existed and his life history is preserved in great details. I was surprised to learn that God had sent another prophet after Jesus. That this prophet was last prophet and he had brought message for whole humanity. Islam gave questions to all my doubts which I had about what is purpose of life and why we are here. I decided to join prayers with Muslims in Ramadan of year 2002. The mosque was full of people of every race color and country. It was so different from Church. Every body was greeting each other with “SALAM ALAIKUM (May peace be with you)” At that time I did not know what it meant. I also did not know what they do in prayer. Some one advised me to stand quite and do what others do. I was much impressed to know that all Muslims irrespective of where they live, face towards Kaaba when they prey. This unites all Muslims to a common cause, that also was so different from Christianity.

I decided to wear Muslim scarf as a trial, I found that it gave me a sense of protection, I was safe from hungry grazes. Many people told me why you wear scarf when you are not Muslim? I told it gives me a sense of protection. I was getting closer to Islam, but I was not sure what will be reaction of my family. I tries first on my younger sister that I want to become a Muslim. She told that she would continue to love me, but my parents would be very angry. My father accepted my decision (because he liked my ides on covering up my body), my mother also agreed with my decision after few months. I decided to become Muslim in Jan 2003. I took a bath, wore new dress with Muslim scarf and took a train to local Mosque. I told Imam my decision to accept Islam. Every one in the Mosque became very happy, they all greeted me warmly and asked if I needed any help. I had become a member of Islamic brotherhood!!! That night I slept first time as a Muslim, Id dreamt, as if I was in a beautiful garden, and a very handsome man, with unclear facial features, was greeting me. When I woke up, I thought that person was Prophet Mohammad, but I was told that it could be an angel, because angel of God appear as men with unclear facial features. Allah knows Best (abridged)

Story # 41 Why I became Muslim? Why I chose Islam, by Jemima Goldsmith When Jemima Goldsmith, the 21-yearold daughter of billionaire Sir James, married Imran Khan she embraced not only the world’s most handsome sportsman but also the Muslim faith, taking the name Haiqa. Here, in an exclusive account, she tells how she journeyed from the glamorous society of London to the austere religion of Lahore By Jemima Goldsmith THE media present me as a naive, besotted 21-year-old who has made a hasty decision without really considering the consequences - thus effectively condemning herself to a life of interminable subservience, misery and isolation. Although I must confess I have rather enjoyed the various depictions of a veiled and miserable "Haiqa Khan" incarcerated in chains, the reality is somewhat different. Contrary to current opinion, my decision to convert to Islam was entirely my own choice and in no way hurried. Whilst the act of conversion itself is surprisingly quick - entailing the simple assertion that "there is only one God and Mohammed is His Prophet" - the preparation is not necessarily so speedy a process. In my case, this began last July, whilst the actual conversion took place in early February - three months before the Nikkah in Paris. During that time, I studied in depth both the Quran and the works of various Islamic scholars (Gai Eaton, the Bosnian president Alia Izetbegovic, Muhammad Asad) , thus giving me ample time to reflect before making my decision. What began as intellectual curiosity slowly ripened into a dawning realisation of the universal and eternal truth that is Islam. In the statement given out a week ago, I particularly stressed that I had converted to Islam entirely "through my own convictions". The significance of this has been largely ignored by the press. The point is that my conversion was not, as so many have assumed, a pre-requisite to my marriage. It was entirely my own choice. Religiously speaking, there was absolutely no compulsion for me to convert prior to my marriage. As it explicitly states in the Quran, a Muslim is permitted to marry from "the People of the Book" - in other words, either a Christian or a Jew. Indeed, the Sunnah - which describes the life of the Prophet - shows that the messenger of Islam himself married both a Christian and a Jew during his lifetime. I believe that much of this hostility towards my marriage and conversion stems from widespread misconceptions about an alien culture and religion. Not only is there a huge gulf between the Western view of Islam and the reality, but there is in some cases also a significant distinction between Islam based directly on the Quran and the Sunnah and that practised by some Islamic societies. During the last year I have had the opportunity to

visit Pakistan on three separate occasions and have observed Islamic family life in practice. Thus, to some extent I now feel qualified to judge for myself the true role and position of women in the religion. At the risk of sounding defensive, I would like to point out that Islam is not a religion which subjugates women whilst elevating men to the status of mini-dictators in their own homes. I was able to see this first-hand when I met Imran’s sisters in Lahore: they are all highly educated professional women. His oldest sister, Robina, is an alumnus of the LSE and holds a senior position in the United Nations in New York. Another sister, Aleema, has a master’s degree in business administration and runs a successful business; Uzma is a highly qualified surgeon working in a Lahore hospital, whilst Rani is a university graduate who co-ordinates charity work. They can hardly be seen as "women in chains" dominated by tyrannical husbands. On the contrary, they are strong-minded independent women - yet at the same time they remain deeply committed both to their families and their religion. Thus, I was able to see - in theory and in practice - how Islam promotes the essential notion of the family unit without subjugating its female members. I am nevertheless fully aware that women are sometimes exploited and oppressed in Islamic societies, as in other parts of the world. Judging by some of the articles which have appeared in the press, it would seem that a Western woman’s happiness hinges largely upon her access to nightclubs, alcohol and revealing clothes; and the absence of such apparent freedom and luxuries in Islamic societies is seen as an infringement of her basic rights. However, as we all know, such superficialities have very little to do with true happiness. Besides, without in any way wishing to disparage the culture of the Western world, into which I was born, I am more than willing to forego the transient pleasures derived from alcohol and nightclubs; and as for the clothes I will be wearing, I find the traditional shalwar kameez (tunic and trousers) worn by most Pakistani women far more elegant and feminine than anything in my wardrobe. Finally, it seems futile to speculate on my chances of marital success. Marriage, as Imran’s father has been quoted as saying, is indeed "a gamble". However, when I see that in a society based on family life the divorce rate is just a fraction of that in European or American society, I cannot see that my chances of success are any less than if I had chosen to marry a Westerner. I am all too aware of the enormous task of adapting to a new and radically different culture. But with the love of my husband and the support of his family I look forward to the challenge wholeheartedly, and would like to feel that people wish me well. Whilst I do appreciate the genuine concerns of many, I must confess to feeling somewhat bewildered by all of the commotion. (

Story # 42 Why I Became Muslim? JACQUALINE RUTH (AIYESHA HASSAN) PUGH, BRITAIN Note: Ruth has worked as a civil servant, in London. Now she works a s a Muslim missionary Regent Park Mosque London As a child, I used to enjoy going to Sunday School and I can remember once promising myself that I would read the Bible from cover to cover. Several years later and after marrying and becoming the mother of two children, I decided to go to Church one day and I noticed that I did not feel the same warmth that I had known as a child. There was so much happening in terms of women priests, Homosexuality and various other alarming stories. As a child wherever I did anything wrong or felt in need of God’s help, I would go down to nearest Church and ask God to help me and forgive me. One night, I knelt down beside my bed and recited the Lord’s prayer. I asked God to guide me along the right way, to forgive me and my sins, and that I had lost my faith and strayed far away from the beliefs that I once had. The next day, I decided to go out and buy a copy of Bible and read it from cover to cover. As I was about to buy a Bible, I saw another religious book called the Quran. I put the Bible in place and picked up Quran…I just looked thru it and was surprised to find the Jesus was mentioned there as well as other prophets like Noah, Moses, Abraham and Joseph. I was amazed to learn that Muslims believed in the same prophets as we did, so I bought the Quran and took it home with me. I started to read it and began to realize that the guidance I had asked God the night before was right in my hands. As times passed on, I came to realize that the message in the Holy Quran is for all of mankind and so I became a Muslim straight away. As many of us know, the Gospels were written many years after Jesus, furthermore these gospels have been rewritten many times over the years and consequently it is significantly distorted today. It is now my opinion that if anyone requires true guidance, then they should pray and ask sincerely for His guidance, salvation and forgiveness and in return He will Guide you towards Islam, God Willing. (Abridged) Source:: Riyadh Daily, Aug 1998, p9

Story # 43 Why I Became Muslim? Young, Female and Muslim by Jocelyn Wiener, Times Staff Writer. © St. Petersburg Times. Published October 7, 2002 The first time 21-year-old Rose Munoz deflates the Whoopee cushion; everyone jumps, and then begins to giggle. Rolling her eyes at her vice president's antics, 19-year-old Amal Kurdi, the president, calls the members of the Sisters United Muslim Association back to attention. It is just before noon on Friday, and the young women, most of whom wear Hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering, are simultaneously making their way through an extensive agenda (student-teacher dinner, poetry reading, highway cleanup, beauty tips) and a veritable feast of college student food (strawberries and Cool Whip, Keebler Chips Deluxe, carrots and ranch dressing). One young woman, a recent convert, suggests that SUMA host a dinner for the parents of converts. Rose, who also is a convert, embraces any opportunity to spread awareness about Islam. "We can have different people get up and talk about why we converted, and how we faced hardship with our parents," Rose says. Every year, about 20,000 people in the United States convert to Islam, in addition to those who convert in prison, according to a study conducted last year by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Of these converts, there are more women than men, the majority of them young and unmarried, says Hodan Hassan, spokeswoman for CAIR. They come to Islam because they have Muslim co-workers and friends, because they have Muslim boyfriends, or because they start studying and find they agree with the tenets of a religion that emphasizes modesty and community. In the past year, Muslim women have frequently been called upon to defend their role in their faith. But young women who convert to Islam often face an additional challenge: persuading their families to accept their decisions. Islam insists that people maintain close family ties and show respect for their parents. For those who are going against their parents' wishes merely by practicing Islam, negotiating a balance can prove difficult… Rose did not intend to wear the scarf. But slowly, she started covering her hair with baseball caps. Then she moved on to bandanas. Her Muslim friends assured her that when she was ready to wear Hijab, she would know. The day she put it on, Rose felt liberated.

"I used to dress very provocatively," she says. "People say, "Don't you miss it?' What do I miss? I gained something. I don't get gawked at by random men anymore." Rose says her parents, however, were horrified by her decision to wear Hijab. "You chose your religion over us," she says they told her. "People will discriminate against you. You're making yourself a third-rate citizen." She says her father calls her every time he hears about an attack on a Muslim. By wearing Hijab, he tells her, "You've basically painted a bull's-eye on you saying "shoot me.'" Her younger sister, a 15-year-old high school sophomore who wants to be a movie star, asked her, "How are you going to heaven?" Rose Munoz moves so naturally in her elegant peach-colored Hijab and her matching loose-fitting julbab that it seems surprising her first exposure to Islam took place only three years ago. A friend lent her a copy of the Koran. Rose flipped through it a bit, read maybe five pages, then put it away. Although she had been baptized twice -- by Roman Catholics in New York and Baptists in St. Petersburg -- Rose hadn't felt comfortable in either faith. She was scolded for asking too many questions and gossiped about for wearing tight clothes and partying. By the time she started studying at USF, Rose had long since stopped attending church. She began seeing groups of young women, their hair covered with Hijab, walking together around campus. She started looking for them at the library every Friday. On one of these Fridays, Sept. 3, 1999, a month into her freshman year, Rose approached them. "I really want a "head thing' and to come to the mosque if you guys will take me," she blurted out. Amal, who remains one of Rose's best friends, was in that group. The girls brought Rose home, gave her appropriate clothing, and invited her to join them for Friday prayers at the mosque. "It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen," Rose remembers. "It was so calming and so peaceful. Everybody was bowing down and praying. I'd always been at churches where the front pews were reserved for the people who gave the most money." When the prayers were over, Rose looked at Amal. "I want to convert right now," she said. "Are you sure?" Amal asked. "This is it," Rose answered. She could feel it. Rose's struggle to defend her faith to her family was intensified by the climate of fear that many Muslims experienced in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Despite such difficulties, in the 13 months since Sept. 11, many Muslim groups have noticed an increase in new converts.

"We've seen a surge of interest in Islam," says Altaf Ali, director of CAIR Florida, "and as that surge increases, so does the conversion ratio." Britney Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Durant High School, is one of the new converts. Raised in a Baptist family, the fourth of seven children, she had the same initial reaction as many of her peers in the aftermath of Sept. 11. "I thought we should turn the Middle East into a parking lot," she remembers. But at that time, Britney's family lived next door to a Muslim family, and Britney was friendly with many of the neighbors' children. So she bought The Idiot's Guide to Islam, and started studying. That was in November 2001. After a few months, a friend gave her Amal's phone number. Britney started attending Sunday classes at the mosque. She converted this past August. "I was nervous, dizzy," she says. "This has been the most incredible month of my life." [Times photo: Ken Helle. Converts take classes and study books such as the Sahih Muslim, a collection of sayings and deeds by the Muslim prophet Mohammad.] Britney says that if she could choose to clarify one misconception about Islam, she would explain that women are not oppressed. She says her family has accepted her conversion "pretty well." "It's so opposite from what we hear on the news," she says. "In my world religions class, people say, "Wow, I never knew Islam was so close to Judaism and Christianity.'" Muslim leaders are also quick to dispel many of the myths surrounding the role women play in Islam. Hassan of CAIR says many of these stereotypes arise from the incorrect understanding "that we're voiceless, that it is mandated in Islam that we have no rights, that we're chattel." Sofian Abdelaziz, director of the American Muslim Association of North America, says that Islam emphasizes the importance of women's education. "In the mosque, women are supposed to be active, to teach," he says. "The daughter of the prophet used to teach Islam, even to men." Hassan says actions taken by specific governments, especially Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, have led many people in the West to believe Islam is a misogynistic faith, when in fact those governments are breaking Islamic law. Hassan notes that Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, has a female president, Egypt and Jordan have a higher percentage of female engineers and doctors than the United States, and a larger percentage of women sit in the Iranian parliament than in the U.S. Congress. "There is no compulsion -- and this is in the Koran -- in faith," she says. "You give people the option to cover. If you force them, it goes against Islam." For many young women, the emphasis on modesty is a crucial reason for their attraction to Islam. Just three weeks ago, Arrica Clark's life was, by her own estimation, a mess. "I used to be real boy crazy, wearing those little shorts," says the 27-year-old single mother,

as she sits in McDonald's watching three of her four small children play with Happy Meal figurines. The father of 6-year-old Kashayla and 5-year-old Lonnie sends Arrica some child support. The father of 3-year-old Jamellah and 14-month-old Fatima does not. To make ends meet, Arrica works as a cashier at a local U-Save, leaving the children in government-subsidized day care. Stressed from what she calls "living in the world," she says she used to "cuss like a sailor" at work and scream at her children at home. As a high school student, Arrica had known some Muslim girls and had once tried wearing Hijab. She had taken it off after three days because she was confused. The father of Jamellah and Fatima is Muslim, and had encouraged Arrica to consider Islam. Arrica had only been with her most recent boyfriend for two months when she became pregnant with a fifth child, due in April. Her boyfriend hit her. She kicked him out. A few days later, she went to an open house at the mosque, and said shahada, the prayer for accepting Islam. "I felt like a whole new person," she says. "I felt clean. Men can't holler at me," she adds. "I don't miss that part." Her father, who is Christian, doesn't know she converted. She doesn't think he'd approve. [Times photo: Ken Helle. Amal Kurdi, center, in discussion with Taqwa Aquil, left, and Anna Harbaoui at the end of their Islamic conversion class.] Rose still plays soccer with other SUMA members, still rides horseback, still visits Busch Gardens, still eats pizza and watches movies and dances when she is alone with her friends. What she misses most, she says, is a normal relationship with her family. She believes that, with time, such a relationship is possible. "My mom loves me so much she'll buy me scarves sometimes," Rose smiles. "My grandmother gave me a beautiful, velvet embroidered scarf. They'll respect my prayer, but at the same time ask, "Why are you so fanatical?" In the shadowy side room of the al-Qassam mosque in north Tampa, 10 young women sit in a semi-circle on the beige and brown-striped carpet. A fan whirs overhead, gently stirring the flowing scarves -- ivory, violet, cobalt, sage -- that conceal heads of blond, brown and black hair. Loose dresses, worn for modesty, drape gracefully over bodies thick and thin. It is Sunday, just after noon, and Amal and her friend Taqwa Aquil are leading a weekly class, with support from Rose and Jennifer Valko, a quiet 20-year-old who converted two years ago and is co-vice president of SUMA. The more recent converts, including Arrica and Britney, mostly listen and ask questions. "What if you haven't prayed and it's time to go to sleep?" asks Britney. "I've heard it's better not to pray tired," Rose says. "That's true, but you should take the necessary steps, set an alarm," Amal replies. They talk about the prayer for guidance. "This might sound silly, but I'm a dorky student and I do it before I take a test," Amal confesses. "If I'm all stressed out, I tell myself, I studied, I did what I can, and now I'm just leaving it to him to help me through."

"You know what's cool?" Rose says, looking up. "In the Koran, Allah's mercy is greater than his wrath. All these prayers are really long, but the one for forgiveness is really simple." At 2 p.m., the imam chants the call to prayer. The young women stand in a row, their eyes closed, their heads bowed. Slowly, quiet sounds penetrate the silence of the mosque -- the whirring of the fan, the cries of children outside, the rustle of dresses as the young women kneel, bow, kneel, stand, and the sound of the imam's voice, calling the name of Allah.

Story # 44 Why I Became Muslim? Liberating: Kristiane Backer says being a Muslim makes her life purer Lynne converted aged 19. ‘From that day, I started wearing the hijab,’ she explains, ‘and I now never show my hair in public. At home, I’ll dress in normal Western clothes in front of my husband, but never out of the house.’ With a recent YouGov survey concluding that more than half the British public believe Islam to be a negative influence that encourages extremism, the repression of women and inequality, one might ask why any of them would choose such a direction for themselves. Yet statistics suggest Islamic conversion is not a mere flash in the pan but a significant development. Islam is, after all, the world’s fastest growing religion, and white adopters are an important part of that story. ‘Evidence suggests that the ratio of Western women converts to male could be as high as 2:1,’ says Kevin Brice. Moreover, he says, often these female converts are eager to display the visible signs of their faith — in particular the hijab — whereas many Muslim girls brought up in the faith choose not to. ‘Perhaps as a result of these actions, which tend to draw attention, white Muslims often report greater amounts of discrimination against them than do born Muslims,’ adds Brice, which is what happened to Kristiane Backer. She says: ‘In Germany, there is Islamophobia. I lost my job when I converted. There was a Press campaign against me with insinuations about all Muslims supporting terrorists — I was vilified. Now, I am a presenter on NBC Europe. ‘I call myself a European Muslim, which is different to the ‘born’ Muslim. I was married to one, a Moroccan, but it didn’t work because he placed restrictions on me because of how he’d been brought up. As a European Muslim, I question everything — I don’t accept blindly. ‘But what I love is the hospitality and the warmth of the Muslim community. London is the best place in Europe for Muslims, there is wonderful Islamic culture here and I am very happy.’ For some converts, Islam represents a celebration of old-fashioned family values.

Story # 45 Why I Became Muslim? KARIMA BRINNS , USA I belonged to a Christian family living in IOWA in the Mid West. If you know, Church is very powerful in Mid West and no can live in peace by ignoring Church there. I had a religious bent of mind and used to go regularly to the Church and listen to the sermons. But I had a belief that God is only one, He alone is present everywhere and is Most Powerful. While in Church we practically worshipped Jesus and we could reach God only thru the personality of Jesus. Secretly I believed in only one God. Then I used to listen to all sweet talks in Church, but when I used to come out of Church, I would find a totally different world. How come Church has no influence in personal life of people, why we have to go to Church only on Sunday, that too for a short period and have the rest of week to ourselves? There were many such questions, which would come into my mind and did not get any reply. If I asked priests, they would tell me that religion and intellect are not related. Just believe what is written. Then I was troubled by so many contradictions in various versions of the Bible. When I asked our local priest, he replied “How does it matter, any way?” It was in this state of mind that I graduated from high school and before joining college, I took a tour of Europe. May be I could find some answers to these questions during my tour of different European countries. I was in Spain, visiting ALHAMRA Mosque in Granada, when my I suddenly felt fascinated by the most beautiful calligraphy I ever saw. Pillars and walls were decorated with it. I watched for much time and asked the local guide, what language is this? Arabic he replied. I collected every tourist information in Arabic thru out my tour of Spain and other European countries. In University, I took Arabic as a special subject (I had only two more students in the class), the teachers felt troubled my showing this much attention to this language. I used to do my home work with the Calligraphic pen and even visited Muslim locality in Chicago to get more samples of Arabic righting. In my second year I took Mid eastern studies and attended many lectures where this was discussed. I even attended special lectures on Quran. Once I took the English Translation of Quran to my home for homework, I was so fascinated by it, that I went on reading like a Novel. It answered many of my doubts which I had from my earlier days. It told me as to how to live for other six days of the week.

I went to my teacher, to get more books by the same author. He told me that I was reading the English Translation of Quran, and as per Muslims the author is God Himself and there are no sequels to it!! Muslims believe that this book is preserved as it was revealed and no changes have been done to it. This was a new thing for me. I decided to learn more about Islam and see a Muslim country by my own eyes. I visited Egypt and spent most of my time seeing mosques, Arabic Calligraphy and listening to Quran being recited in most beautiful of all tones. So much so that one day…one Muslim asked me “If you are so much interested in Islam and Arabic, why did not I become Muslim?”. “But I am already a Muslim!!” I told him. He then told me that to be officially recognized as a Muslim, I have to declare my faith in front of two witnesses…I did so and they gave me a certificate…. I kept is along with all other Arabic literature I had with me…..I was Muslim long back….Arabic and Quran had converted me long back (abridged).

Story # 47 Why I Became Muslim? Dr. KAMLA SURAYYA DAS , Kerala India Dr. Das was a well respected poet and writer in Malayalam language. She was born in 1934. Her conversion to Islam in 1999 caused a furor in Indian and World Media. Before her conversion to Islam, she was well respected at all levels, but after her conversion all sorts of accusations were leveled at her. Here she provides her own response to these accusations. Yes, let the world know that I have become a Muslim. Islam which is a religion of peace and love. Islam which is a perfect code of life. Moreover, I have not reached this decision emotionally or suddenly, I have studied Islam with lot of care and consideration for a long time. After my careful studies, I reached to the conclusion that it is Islam which gives maximum protection and rights to women. One of the best part of Islam is that instead of worshipping innumerable gods in Hinduism, I am worshipping only One God, the True God, who is my Creator and Sustainer. I was very much attracted by the Muslim women dress code especially the BURQA (a type of Hijab popular in Indian subcontinent). It saves women from hungry grazes of men. It gives them protection. I was using this dress occasionally for past 34 years while going for shopping, going out and even on some foreign tours. I found that every one respects a women clad in BURQA and no one teases her. Islam has given maximum freedom and rights to women and thru out history, there was no system who gave more rights to women than Islam. She has been given rights as a daughter, sister, wife and as a mother. I do not think that it is slavery for women to reside inside in her house and take care of her husband and children and contribute in making a happy family life. No system can work unless there be some sort of restriction and bounds on one’s action and Islamic system also provides that. It is not Islam but social inequalities which has usurped rights of women. The blame should be placed on these inequalities rather than on Islam. I want to introduce Islam in this new millennium as a living and true religion, a religion which is based on science, reason and logic. I wish o dedicate my talents of poetry in the praise of Allah and His religion. I am now in advance age, but I say that in my experience I never felt the peace and tranquility in my entire life, like what I felt after accepting Islam (abridged and based on many interviews).

Story # 48 Why I Became Muslim? A Revert Story by KIMM HENRY I have been asked by many people to tell my personal story about coming to Islam. .. I have attempted to write my story many times and had become thwarted in my efforts many times over. As a professional writer and editor it seemed to me that the task should have come easy but because of my background I expect stories to read with a certain beauty that evaded each attempt. Growing up religion wasn’t a large part of our family’s priorities. Although I vaguely knew that Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Jesus, PBUH. I never earnestly associated the rituals with religion. My earliest memories involve church. Intermittently between the ages of three and four my mother’ s third husband, Tony, made a big show of Sunday morning services. … In my fifth year my mother along with myself and my brother and two baby sisters moved in with my grandmother after her husband had beaten her senseless in our presence. .. In my eighth year, I was selected along with six other top students from my third grade class, to spend the day at my teacher’s house. The main portion of the day was to be spent bar-be-queuing and swimming but since it was Sunday the morning would start at church were my beloved teacher, who would later die of sickle cell anemia, was the choir director. Incidentally, it was in that same period that I heard the word Muslim. There was a very beautiful exotic lady on the television news. She was wearing a lacy square of fabric on hair of which such luster I had never seen before. My grandmother began railing to no one in particular that they claim to be so liberated yet she’s the queen but can’t even appear on television without that thing on her head…. It was at this time that I also heard the word Jew. I had to research a guy named Hitler because apparently these Muslims wanted to do to me what that guy did to those people. I also thought that Jew was a nationality. Which I learned later was the general consensus of all good white Christians. That same year my mother married a man who apparently married her for her four young daughters. I was just coming into my womanly body and was often the subject of his attention, which resulted in severe beatings that for whatever reasons my mother turned a blind eye to. … It was in college that I first saw a Muslim person in flesh. The word Islam would come many years later. There were no Muslimas in the school that I knew of but it seemed the

tables at the rear of the commissary were reserved strictly for these beautiful exotic young men and their occasional bombshell American consorts … At age sixteen I had become sort of the campus mascot often toting my little daughter to various study groups and commitments. Nick and I became friends with a young man, who I thought was a Muslim, that had bumped into me in the hall one afternoon when I had my little girl in tow and made sweet with her offering her ice cream and such. Eventually I agreed to go out with him. Omar was tall, handsome, and kind. Soon we became a regular couple. .. Just after my nineteenth year, near Christmas time, I was engaged in a discussion with a colleague who was Catholic from Columbia, South America and used the term Holy Days instead of holidays. I began questioning her about this wanting to know what her views and doctrines were. I learned that although Catholic the people from South America have a slightly different version. … On a rainy morning in March in my twenty-seventh year, I read the Quran again and resolved to find out what I was missing. I spent three days tracking down a Masjid was denied entrance into two of them; the first I believe was Nation of Islam, the second I don’t know. I was told that a meeting was taking place within and that if I would go to this place the sisters would help me. Uneasy I didn’t follow the door guards advise. Finally, I found the Islamic Society. I didn’t need to be asked if I wanted to say shahada, I was there to be told what I needed to do. And took the shahada that very day. I returned home feeling light and uplifted. I told my husband what I had done but by now he was as disinterested in my pursuits as I was of his opinions. In reality I suppose one could say that I was weekend Muslim. I lived a secular life at home and attended Masjid on the weekend sometimes toting the children along. One day my little daughter said to me, “Mommy, it’s hard to be nice when everyone is always yelling around you.” She was four years old. I knew that I had to get out. I was divorced in my thirty-second year. Initially I stayed away from the Masjid after my divorce because of the misinformation that I received, renewed and expanded my study of Islam. The summer directly after my divorce was final I visited Pakistan to work on a research project concerning the orphans of Kashmir as well as orphans throughout Pakistan and also spent time in Dubai. Over these years I have come to know that every experience that I have is a part of something so much bigger than me and I feel the strength of Allah’s care not only for me but his entire creation and yet I also feel grave pain from recognizing how difficult it is for the Muslims to come together and fulfill their destinies as the khalifa’s of this earth due to the many and deep divisions in our community as Muslims disenfranchise their brothers and sisters by having the audacity to claim to be the one group that is righteous. .

Story # 49 Why I Became Muslim? Karen's Testimony I was born whole and healthy on July 8, 1960. I was second eldest of what would be seven siblings, which naturally placed me into a life of observation and responsibility, as I began to help my mother with the younger children. My mother, who was herself very spiritual, had converted to the Roman Catholic religion after a miraculous experience early in her adult life, and my father had always been a devout catholic. The churches we attended (every Sunday) seemed always to have been unique and not quite the normal traditional teachings of the Catholic church so that I got a very "universal" teaching of the messages of Jesus with the emphasis being on God and His kingdom in heaven (not on Jesus as God). It was a requirement back in my early days for young girls and women to wear a scarf or some type of head covering when we attended church services. At Catholic School, we girls also were required to wear a specific type of head cover at all times. I went to a Baptist affiliated college where studying the Bible was a requirement. Much to my surprise (and delight), however, "The Bible" was taught as an historical artifact, an archeological piece of literature. The class was taught by an ordained Methodist minister who also happened to be a very learned and well-respected archaeologist. He taught us all about the many modifications and literary styles of the bible, how you could tell that the various books and sections of the Bible had actually been written at different periods over very long stretches of time, and how it has so many different versions now. He told us about how the monks used to edit the texts according to political requirements of the time (and that those original and edited versions have now been uncovered), or how often times words were simply mistakenly translated incorrectly, etc. Needless to say, the class material was a shocking, but enlightening experience. In 1983 I graduated college and received a degree in Special Education. …I spent 2 years teaching before I met my future husband, a seemingly pious, devout Catholic who was not only gentle, kind and giving, but highly intelligent and insightful. Everything seemed perfect, in fact, he seemed to have been "heaven sent". We met in the church where he had been assigned to work for the summer and we came to have many long philosophical conversations about life and family. … Six years after we had been married, and having had to quit work because of the pregnancy, my husband and I agreed that I should stay home to raise the twins. After this the domestic violence and abuse would escalate, despite my constant pleas to God for help, and despite many varied attempts to make the marriage work. ..After several years of this abuse in my marriage and especially after one particular nightmarish event (my 9 month old babies and I almost lost our lives in a car accident the cause of which would have been the drunken and drugged out hands of my husband), I lost my connection to

God and fell into a state of numbness. … Four more years of the worst abuse in my marriage passed before I finally broke free from my husband. Finally, .. I happened to meet a fellow on the internet who I began to have long philosophical discussions with. He was from another country originally and I found it comforting to find that in his country children are raised as I was. After a month of chatting with him and finding that his beliefs were extremely similar to mine, he told me that he is a Muslim. Here I was, 35 years old, and this was my first ever meeting an actual Muslim. All I knew was that cursory coverage of the subject of Islam in the World Religions classes and that the word Muslim was synonymous with "terrorist". Now I was certainly stuck with a mix of emotions! Fear mixed with that famous curiosity, plus admiration for what he was telling me he practices in his life. I had spoken to him just long enough to crave more knowledge. He gave me my first book of Islam, .. That book lead to another, to another, to another and another until finally I found myself trembling from a mixture of emotions. I wanted to say that this was my religion. I decided, too, that before I get into this any further, it was incumbent upon me to see just exactly how this religion was put into practice… The scarves saved me from the painful earaches and so I was wearing one when I entered the mosque for the first time. .. A sister came through the door. I looked at her, she looked at me and immediately I just KNEW it was the woman I had spoken to on the phone. .. they were so happy to meet me, see me there, and invited me to stay and observe the prayers. On Friday nights and Saturday mornings, I began attending classes. …One night I arrived early and found inside the cabinets of the study room a library FULL of books of all sizes and in various languages. My attention was drawn to one particularly FAT book and as I pulled it from the shelf, I realized it was an English translation of the Qur'an! WOW! Great! It was reading the Qur'an that finally gave me the final -- what should I call it? -- that final percentage of doubt removed. Here in the pages of the Qur'an were explanations of dreams I had had, the visions on rosary meditations, life events, thoughts, scientific things, miraculous things, etc. Once I had begun reading the Qur'an (I didn't have to read it all to know this), I was certain that it was an authentic Holy Book, divinely revealed. It was too complete, too sublime, too eloquent, too beautiful to have been from the hand or mind of man without having come first from the only One who could know all this -The next time I went to the mosque, I asked one of the sisters what was involved in converting to Islam. Were there special classes for a specified amount of time I would have to complete? (This is so for Catholicism...I automatically thought it would be so for Islam, or any other religion for that matter). Was there some special ceremony?

I was told that all I needed to do was have it sincerely in my heart and say in front of at least two other practicing and sincere Muslims that "I believe there is no God but God and Muhammad was his messenger". I could even say it in English if I wanted to. The following night, much to my surprise, the mosque was literally filled to the brim with people. It was the eve of Ashura and maybe 1500 or 2000 Muslims had come in from all over California to commemorate that day, that battle, which was so important for the revival of Islam in the world. What a perfect night to take shehadah! I stood there and read in Arabic from a tiny piece of paper I held between my fingers "Ashadu an la illaha Ilallah; ashahdu an Muhammadun Rasululah." I had not heard the actual pronunciation of it, so I was unsure if I had recited it correctly. When I looked up, I saw that everyone was crying. The moderator for the evening was choking back tears as well, and asked that all the sisters come to the front, to the stage where I stood, and welcome me to the family of Islam. All I remember at that point was a sea of women, crying, smiling, kissing me, hugging me, rocking me back and forth, telling me things in their language that I couldn't understand. I was overwhelmed and it was 45 minutes or more before the last sister came up to express her joy and extend the warmth of her heart. I remember the feeling this way: Imagine being in a room with 2000 of your favorite grandmother. One old woman took my face in her hands, kissed my cheeks and through tears of joy and broken English said, "You will be so happy!" And I am... Karen

Story # 50 Why I Became Muslim? UKHT KALEEM ULLAH , PAKISTAN After hearing so many stories from newly converts to Islam, here is one story by a Muslim Women, who re-discovered Islam. This could be the tale of many Muslims who are living in western countries and even in so called Muslim countries. We present this story for benefits of both Muslim and Non Muslim readers. I was a Muslim Girl brought up in USA. My parents knew nothing about Islam and we all were Muslims only in name. My parents never used to prey and even did not knew how to prey. There were no fasts observed in our house. We did not know how to read Quran. My parents would leave for job in the morning and would return late in the evening. They had no time for their children to teach them any thing. In the same way, our brothers and sisters also did not have much interaction. Every one was busy living in his or her individual lives. We grew up in this atmosphere and some of my sisters even got married. I also grew up and after completing my college education joined University. All this changed when our Grandma came to visit us from Pakistan. She was a very pious and religious lady and she literally wept when she saw the atmosphere of our house. She used to remind us about out duties and lives as a Muslim, but none of us had any time or inclination for such talks. She objected on the matter of my dress and clothes in which I used to go to university…..so much so that one day I got really angry and slapped her on her face before I left the house… That day I felt distraught about my behavior and injustice I had done to her….that night I could not sleep. I went to her room late in the night to apologize to her. She was just free from late night prayer….she hugged me and forgave me. Then slowly and slowly I got attracted towards her and her talks. I learned as to how to prey and how to recite Quran. I started preying regularly. I still went to University in Western clothes, but soon I decided to go in full Islamic dress. Well, my first day was not that good. All my friends started making fun of me…they would taunt us and call me names….I was branded as a terrorist….when I entered any room, some one would remark that she should be searched….may be she has a bomb underneath these clothes!! My parents became very angry on me and my Grandma. Then one day we had a party in our home. My parents told me to dress in Western Clothes, otherwise their friend would

make fun of him. When I entered in full Islamic dress…then my father got very angry and beat me and drove me and my Grandma out of the house for good. I borrowed some money from one of my friend and me and my Grandma returned back to Pakistan. It is more than three years since that incident and my parents have never even phoned once to know about our welfare. But I thank Allah that He saved me from that evil environment and I have found true path. I prey to Allah to show right path to my parents and my brother and sisters also. May be my story would be an eye opener to those who are dazzled by the glamour and outside beauty of Modern Western Society.

Story # 51 Why I Became Muslim? Escape route: Former DJ Lynne Ali is happy to pray five times a day ‘The big mistake people make is by confusing culture with religion. Yes, there are Muslim cultures which do not allow women individual freedom, yet when I was growing up, I felt more oppressed by Western society.’ She talks of the pressure on women to act like men by drinking and having casual sex. ‘There was no real meaning to it all. In Islam, if you begin a relationship, that is a commitment of intent.’ Growing up in Southampton — her father was the director of Southampton Institute of Education and her mother a home economics teacher — Camilla’s interest in Islam began at school. She went to university and later took a Masters degree in Middle East Studies. But it was while living and working in Syria that she had a spiritual epiphany. Reflecting on what she’d read in the Koran, she realised she wanted to convert. Her decision was met with bemusement by friends and family. ‘People found it so hard to believe that an educated, middle-class white woman would choose to become Muslim,’ she says. While Camilla’s faith remains strong, she no longer wears the hijab in public. But several of the women I spoke to said strict Islamic dress was something they found empowering and liberating. Lynne Ali remembers the night this hit home for her. ‘I went to an old friend’s 21st birthday party in a bar,’ she reveals. ‘I walked in, wearing my hijab and modest clothing, and saw how everyone else had so much flesh on display. They were drunk, slurring their words and dancing provocatively. ‘For the first time, I could see my former life with an outsider’s eyes, and I knew I could never go back to that. ‘I am so grateful I found my escape route. This is the real me — I am happy to pray five times a day and take classes at the mosque. I am no longer a slave to a broken society and its expectations.’ Kristiane Backer, who has written a book on her own spiritual journey, called From MTV To Mecca, believes the new breed of modern, independent Muslims can band together to show the world that Islam is not the faith I grew up in — one that stamps on the rights of women.

She says: ‘I know women born Muslims who became disillusioned an d rebelled against it. When you dig deeper, it’s not the faith they turned against, but the culture. 'Rules like marrying within the same sect or caste and education being less important for girls, as they should get married anyway —– where does it say that in the Koran? It doesn’t. ‘Many young Muslims have abandoned the “fire and brimstone” version they were born into have re-discovered a more spiritual and intellectual approach, that’s free from the cultural dogmas of the older generation. That’s how I intend to spend my life, showing the world the beauty of the true Islam.’ While I don’t agree with their sentiments, I admire and respect the women I interviewed for this piece. They were all bright and educated, and have thought long and hard before choosing to convert to Islam — and now feel passionately about their adopted religion. Good luck to them. And good luck to Lauren Booth. But it’s that word that sums up the difference between their experience and mine — choice. Perhaps if I’d felt in control rather than controlled, if I’d felt empowered rather than stifled, I would still be practising the religion I was born into, and would not carry the burden of guilt that I do about rejecting my father’s faith.

Story # 52 Why we became Muslim? Blair's sister-in-law converts to Islam, TOI, October 25, 2010 LONDON: Former British prime minister Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth revealed over the weekend that she has converted to Islam. Booth, who is half-sister to Cherie Blair and a Catholic by birth, switched faith after a recent visit to Iran. A human rights campaigner and journalist, she works for Press TV, Iran's 24-hour English language international news channel. News of Booth's conversion surfaced after she was showcased at a rally here under the banner of Global Peace and Unity 2010, attended by several Islamic hardliners. It was a propaganda coup for those who militantly propagate Islam. Booth (43), who has once figured in a reality television contest, told a section of British media, ``I had a delightful experience at a Muslim shrine in Iran six weeks ago. I now pray five times a day and occasionally go to a mosque. And I haven't had an alcoholic drink for 45 days.'' Booth now covers her head and neck with hijab when outside her home (and doesn't rule out wearing a burqa in future), no longer eats pork and reads the Quran every day. She conceded that her decision to convert might create a controversy. ``Every action sparks a reaction,'' she said. Cherie Blair, a practicing Catholic, and her husband Tony, who converted from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism in 2007, were unavailable for comment. Last month, Booth accused Blair of lacking impartiality in his current role as Middle East envoy. Having earlier protested against Britain's involvement in the 2003 United Statedled invasion of Iraq, she said her brother-in-law could not be a balanced negotiator between Palestinians and Israelis because he was prejudiced against Muslims. In a letter published in the Morning Star, a communist daily, she described participating in a rally in Iran where mothers reportedly wept over deaths in Palestinian cities like Rafah and Nablus. "Do you recognise these place names, Tony?'' she asked. `` Israel has massacred children in all these cities in recent years,'' she reminded him. Convert: Lauren Booth, who is Cherie Blair's half sister, decided to convert to Islam after what she described as a holy experience in Iran According to Kevin Brice from Swansea University, who has specialised in studying white conversion to Islam, these women are part of an intriguing trend. He explains: ‘They seek spirituality, a higher meaning, and tend to be deep thinkers. The

other type of women who turn to Islam are what I call “converts of convenience”. They’ll assume the trappings of the religion to please their Muslim husband and his family, but won’t necessarily attend mosque, pray or fast.’ I spoke to a diverse selection of white Western converts in a bid to re-examine the faith I had rejected. Women like Kristiane Backer, 43, a London-based former MTV presenter who had led the kind of liberal Western-style life that I yearned for as a teenager, yet who turned her back on it and embraced Islam instead. Her reason? The ‘anything goes’ permissive society that I coveted had proved to be a superficial void.

Story # 53 Why I Became Muslim? LORENZ (AIYESHA) AL SAEED, USA One day when I was six years old, my parents gave me a shiny quarter, and told me to put it in the collection plate for Church “to give it to Jesus for his work” When I returned the quarter was still in my pocket, because I frankly told my parents that Jesus was not there!! My parents were more amused than concerned… I had descended in a family that had three Christian ministers as my grandparents….I attended al Episcopal Private School, where we studied world religions during our last term. Trinity was a point which I never understood, I felt it was not logical. How could one Father (the Great Spirit), plus His Son (Jesus) and one Holy Ghost all be together as one, inside one being? It was logically impossible, and I had been raised to use rational thoughts to make decision in my life…I continued reading Bible every night with my father after dinner, looking for answers and enjoying stories of historical prophets. In high school I met some more students from the Middle East, who sensing my inner dissatisfaction, asked me if I had ever learned about Islam. I found some books on Islam in school library, including a English Translation of Quran. My grandfather encouraged me to read these books as according to him, Islam contained a good moral code of living.. The more I read, the more my understanding and excitement grew. I found the answers to all my questions and more! At the age of 17 I began regular Prayers (SALAT) and even completed my first month of fasting…That summer I took the train to Bloomington Indiana to attend Muslim students lectures and seminars…I stayed in campus with other Muslims for a week…. I moved to Houston to seek employment….one evening at an international costume party I met a polite gentleman whom I later found to be an intelligent Saudi Student. We married shortly and thru him God has let my dreams come true. We have three children and he has taken me to perform hajj. I am content and satisfied and greatly thankful to the Almighty God for accepting my paryers… (Abridged) Source:: Saudi Gazette 13 April 2001, p9

Story # 54 Why we became Muslim? Aqeela Lindsay Wheeler, Housewife and mother, 26, Leicester

1. “As a teenager I thought all religion was pathetic. I used to spend every weekend getting drunk outside the leisure centre, in high-heeled sandals and miniskirts. My view was: what’s the point in putting restrictions on yourself? You only live once. “At university, I lived the typical student existence, drinking and going clubbing, but I’d always wake up the next morning with a hangover and think, what’s the point? 2. “It wasn’t until my second year that I met Hussein. I knew he was a Muslim, but we were falling in love, so I brushed the whole issue of religion under the carpet. But six months into our relationship, he told me that being with me was ‘against his faith’. “I was so confused. That night I sat up all night reading two books on Islam that Hussein had given me. I remember bursting into tears because I was so overwhelmed. I thought, ‘This could be the whole meaning of life.’ But I had a lot of questions: why should I cover my head? Why can’t I eat what I like? 3. “I started talking to Muslim women at university and they completely changed my view. They were educated, successful – and actually found the headscarf liberating. I was convinced, and three weeks later officially converted to Islam. “When I told my mum a few weeks later, I don’t think she took it seriously. She made a few comments like, ‘Why would you wear that scarf? You’ve got lovely hair,’ but she didn’t seem to understand what it meant. 4. “My best friend at university completely turned on me: she couldn’t understand how one week I was out clubbing, and the next I’d given everything up and converted to Islam. She was too close to my old life, so I don’t regret losing her as a friend. “I chose the name Aqeela because it means ‘sensible and intelligent’ – and that’s what I was aspiring to become when I converted to Islam six years ago. I became a whole new person: everything to do with Lindsay, I’ve erased from my memory. 5. “The most difficult thing was changing the way I dressed, because I was always so fashion-conscious. The first time I tried on the hijab, I remember sitting in front of the mirror, thinking, ‘What am I doing putting a piece of cloth over my head? I look crazy!’

Now I’d feel naked without it and only occasionally daydream about feeling the wind blow through my hair. Once or twice, I’ve come home and burst into tears because of how frumpy I feel – but that’s just vanity. “It’s a relief not to feel that pressure any more. Wearing the hijab reminds me that all I need to do is serve God and be humble. I’ve even gone through phases of wearing the niqab [face veil] because I felt it was more appropriate – but it can cause problems, too. 6. “When people see a white girl wearing a niqab they assume I’ve stuck my fingers up at my own culture to ‘follow a bunch of Asians’. I’ve even had teenage boys shout at me in the street, ‘Get that s*** off your head, you white bastard.’ After the London bombings, I was scared to walk about in the streets for fear of retaliation. “For the most part, I have a very happy life. I married Hussein and now we have a oneyear-old son, Zakir. We try to follow the traditional Muslim roles: I’m foremost a housewife and mother, while he goes out to work. I used to dream of having a successful career as a psychologist, but now it’s not something I desire. 7. “Becoming a Muslim certainly wasn’t an easy way out. This life can sometimes feel like a prison, with so many rules and restrictions, but we believe that we will be rewarded in the afterlife.”

Story # 55 Why I Became Muslim? Muslima, The Former Catholic Missionary (Burundi) The nuns looked so clean and smart in their starched white habits. They looked like the saints in the pictures that hung on the wall of every classroom, that I dreamt of the day I could be like them. I was among two other girls who get excellent grades at the end of the school year and we were asked if we would like to study religion. They thought we were pious for our ages because we liked to spend endless hours inside the church. They didn’t realize that the inside of the church was dim and cold and a welcome relief from the hot African sun. I couldn’t wait to tell my father, who surprisingly said, ‘absolutely not!’ He would not like that kind of life for one of his girls; without husband and children. He enrolled me in another school, which had previously only admitted boys. Besides myself, there was another girl in the Roman Catholic Mission school in Burundi. The years I spent at this school made me quite tough as I competed only against boys. The nuns used excessive force in disciplinary matters. The fact that we were all adolescents might have had a good deal to do with it. Still, it didn’t seem a very Christian thing to do. I was interested in religion and excelled in the study of languages and accepted a full scholarship to a university in Cameroon after graduating from high school. Again, as the only female, I enrolled in the College of Theology. I wasn’t sure where I would go with it, but after a short while, the administration applied for a scholarship in the same College of Theology, but in Belgium. There I would learn how to be a Pastor in the Roman Catholic Church. My language ability aided me quite a bit and my mastery of some of the African dialects attracted them as a good candidate for missionary work. As the years went by, I began to see through the layers of theology and found the superficiality of their teachings. I was not alone in seeing the many contradictions in the New and Old Testaments. To learn that the ‘Trinity’ is mentioned only once in the New Testament was a surprise but when I learned it had been fully established at the Council of Nicea and that it was not part of what Jesus taught, something in my mind clicked. We were shown certain books called the Gnostic Books, which we were told were hidden teachings, I understood that the church was being deceitful and this was disturbing. How

could I believe that this was, as they said, the word of God from A to Z. "The People of the Book know this as they know their own sons; but some of them conceal the Truth which they themselves know. The Truth is from thy Lord, so be not in doubt." (Qur’an 2:146-147) Still I pursued my studies in an effort to be able to help myself and my people some day. "As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou has no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did." (Qur’an 6:159) After graduation from University, I took a position in Nairobi, Kenya. The Church was very anxious to have an African in a position such as this. They had many programmes for women and I was a coordinator for these programmes under the auspices of the World Council of Churches. I handled different aspects of exhibitions, women’s projects, donors, workshops and conferences. I was sent to the regional office in Togo because they are mainly French-speaking which I spoke fluently and the type of projects I knew how to handle were being implemented there. I began to search for the spiritual force that was missing in my life and in Togo I searched through all the practiced religions. When one looks for truth there are many things thrown in one’s path. This part of Africa has many people who practice witchcraft and who claim to have knowledge of the unseen and it was obvious they were just taking people’s money. There is no one with knowledge of the unseen except God. I had been facing much mediocrity from the Church and at the same time I had Muslim friends who were very comfortable in their knowledge of God, who prayed five times daily and who had many virtues. They believed in what they said, in contrast to the Church where you repeat what you have been taught without believing in it. I had never been taught anything about Islam except a superficial introduction so I did a lot of reading about the religion. I cannot say that to convert to Islam was easy; it was very difficult. But when one is searching for the truth there is no way to deny it. The decision was also difficult for economic reasons as I had one of the highest paying professions with many perks. I resigned from my position citing my conversion as my reason and immediately lost my job and salary, housing and medical benefits. I became destitute in one day! My family does not like my Hijab but they admire the moral aspects of Islam.

I helped to raise my brothers and sisters and they are much younger than I, and now to see how much they hate me is almost unbearable. They felt the economic hardship immediately as I did, and cannot understand why I would do such a thing. But with the grace of Allah they too will find the truth of Islam, Insha’allah. I hope and pray that I can use the knowledge that the education in the Church gave me towards the propagation of Islam. The spiritual climate of West Africa is ripe for Islam and there are many projects which need doing. This is what I have been trained to do and so my path is straight and narrow for me now.

Story # 56 Why I Became Muslim? MARCILIA ANGELLO (FATIMA ABDULLAH), ITALY I was born in Geneva in a very devout Christian Family. After completing my primary education I moved to Rome to complete my further study. I joined Arts academy, I was very beautiful to look at, so I got offers for modeling, which I did in my spare time. After completing my graduation, my next target was Film Industry. Because of my looks, my modeling background and my talents, I soon become a famous star in Italian Cinema. I was living with my “Live-in” husband and both of us were very happy and had every thing in the world so to say. But something happened in that period which changed our lives for ever. We had to shoot one of the film on WW-2 in MERCI MATROUH city of Egypt. I was once waiting there when I found a few people going towards a small building in the town. They took off their shoes, washed their hands, faces and feet and then appeared to do some sort of exercise. I watched with interest this act and then it became a sort of habit to me to watch these people performing this act. When I asked someone about it, they told me that these are Muslims and performing their five regular daily prayers. This kept me thinking about the purpose of my own life….I went to Islamic center in Rome and they gave me some booklets about Islam. When I went for more they gave me more finally I got convinced about message of Islam and asked them to join it. I had thought that the ceremony would be long and elaborate and it would take at least couple of weeks, I was surprised when the ceremony was over in a few seconds and I became a Muslim. I had left the film line already, soon I became a volunteer of the local Islamic Center. My Live-in Husband left me even though we loved each other very much. He asked me to see hi from time to time. I soon started visiting him and talking Islam to him….slowly and slowly he also got convinced of the truth and decided to accept Islam. The ceremony was soon over and we became husband and wife once again, this time according to rites of Islam. My husband jokingly recalls that “I never thought becoming Muslim would be so easy, I thought they would demand a few hundred heads of Non Muslims to prove my faith!!!” So in the end it was that scene in a small Egyptian Mosque, which became my reason to come into Islam (abridged).

Story # 57 Why I Became Muslim? Haji Maryam Mohammed Ahmed, American Muslima, She lives only to talk about Islam Note: : Sister Haji Maryam, responded to my call for Volunteers in the main page of www.usislam.org , now we work together in answering many Christians inquiring about Islam and Christianity in a civilized way. If you are a Christian, and want to talk about Islam and Christianity, please contact me or sister Haji Maryam. My name is Maryam and I am an American Revert to Islam from Christianity. I also brought my Mother to Islam. I study only the Quran and Sahih Hadith (authentic books of the doings and sayings of the holy Prophet of Islam) I don't study Muslims because they don't represent Islam. If you would like to know the truth about Islam or have questions about things in Islam feel free to e-mail me anytime. I also have the holy Bible in memory as well being I studied Christianity most of my life, so I can relate to Christians who would like to ask questions. I don't try to push Islam on anyone and I would not make you feel bad for being who you are, Just God knows best! My door is always open, Islam is not for me but all humanity. I live only to talk about Islam, I am available to talk to Christians about Bible and Quran, Email: im_hear_786@yahoo.com Video Haji Maryam Mohammed Ahmed, American Muslima, Yahoo User Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahih_Bukhari/ 360 link: http://360.yahoo.com/profile-zWgi2pwwaKeKia99.p3wXLXs.udm Thank you and God Bless, Sister Haji Maryam Growing up I was an only child and had plenty of time to reflect. I saw my Mothers struggles trying to be "a good Christian" funny thing is when ever she asked meaningful questions she was always turned away. We pounced around from church to church. Never finding what she was looking for. I always new My God and he were very kind to me but I was very lonely growing up I didn’t consider myself a Christian. I just couldn’t believe that the Bible was completely the word of God. I always knew something was missing, something just wasn’t right. I knew the Prophets were real. It was the stories I felt had been corrupted over time.

I only had my God, and I always new in my heart I would someday make God (Allah Subhanna Watallah) proud of me. I was visited by what I believe to be was Angels, they didn’t show themselves. I think they felt sorry for me because I was so sad. I was told one day you will be a big part of something that comes from God (Allah Subhanna Watallah). I was only about seven years old, but it made me cry. I felt safe happy calm. I always used that day as strength when I felt at the end of my rope. Then in October 1998 I was traveling around Europe and on one occasion I was asked if I knew who Mohammed (saw) was. I replied Mohammed Ali the boxer? The questioner laughed at me. I didn’t find it amusing, so I asked him who was this Mohammed then. The man told me he was a messenger. I said messenger of what he said Islam. I had never heard this word before “Islam” I asked what is Islam he said “it’s a religion” (the amazing thing was I had never heard about Islam the entire 25 years of my life). I said like Hinduism or Buddhism? He said NO Mohammed (saw) was the last messenger. I said Jesus (as) is the last messenger. He went on to tell me not only was Mohammed (saw) the last messenger who came after Jesus (as) but he also had a book, the Quran and it is unchangeable unlike the Bible that was rewritten by King James. At this point I was very interested in knowing more but had no time to listen further, but that day was the day a seed was planted in my heart, it grew and grew and even today it continues to grow. I carried on learning and asking questions. For example I saw things in my travels like one morning the people (full of Muslim people) I was staying with all got up for breakfast and my friend was arguing with one of them. He said to him come on and eat with us the man happily said, “No thank you, I’m ok”. I looked at this man and wondered why he is happy not to eat with us. What is this book he is holding in his hands so respectfully? I later learned and realized that morning was the first day of Ramadan and he was reading the Quran. He was the only Muslim that was observing Ramadan. On another occasion I was walking with a friend and there was a group of people walking in the other direction and they called out to my friend and said to him come on come with us. My friend said no thank you I’m fine. I later learned and realized that those people were calling him to pray (my friend of course being a Muslim) couldn’t be bothered. That friend of mine was like a brother, actually he is my brother in Islam, but his faith is weak. Even today he will tell me don’t be a Muslim it’s not a good life. What he doesn’t realize it was because of him I became a Muslim. It was him that asked me if I knew Mohammed (saw). For all he knows Islam might just have saved him from the hell fire. If you bring someone to Islam, then you’re granted Heaven God willing. I had to learn Islam not from Muslim but direct from the Quran and the Sunnet (sahih hadith). After a year had passed I went to the United Kingdom and Asked for a Quran with an English translation. I had not made the choice to convert/revert to Islam yet. But three Imams came to tell me how to respect the Quran. They taught me about “Intention” and “Purification firstly and then talk a lot of respecting the Quran. They said it was

unlike any other book. By time I finished listening to them and had a bath with my intentions. They then handed me the Quran. As the Quran was laid in my hands and everyone left the room, I just sat there crying. From that time on I have been alone. And I have never been happier in all my life. I converted to Islam on July 7.1999

Story # 58 Why I Became Muslim? An African Missionary (Name Withheld), Burundi Note: God guides sincere souls to His true path, irrespective of the circumstances. The nuns looked so clean and smart in their starched white habits. They looked like the saints in the pictures…I dreamt that I could be one of them. I got excellent grades in exams every year and I was asked if we would like to study religion, they thought we were pious for our ages…I could not wait to tell my father, who surprisingly said “absolutely not”! He would not like that kind of life without husband and children for his girl. He enrolled me in another school. Years spent as Roman Catholic Mission School at Burundi made me tough as we competed against boys.. I was interested in religion and excelled in languages…I accepted a full scholarship to a University in Cameroon. I later got admission in Faculty of Theology in Belgium.. My language ability and my mastery of some African dialects attracted them as a good candidate for missionary work. As the years went by, I began to see thru the layers of theology and found the superficiality of their teachings. I was not alone in seeing so many contradiction in Old and New testaments. To learn that Trinity is only once mentioned in New Testament was a surprise.. After graduation from the University, I took a position in Nairobi Kenya. The Church was very anxious to have an African in a position such as this. They had many programs for women…I was sent to regional office in Togo… I had been facing much mediocrity from the Church and at the same time I had Muslim friends who were very comfortable in their knowledge of God, who prayed five times daily and who had many virtues. They believed in what they said, in contrast to the Church. I had never been taught any thing about Islam except a superficial introduction, so I did a lot of reading about the religion. I cannot say that to convert to Islam was easy; it was very difficult. But when one is searching for the truth there is no way to deny it. The decision was also difficult for economic reasons as I had one of the highest paying jobs with many perks.

I resigned from my position citing my conversion as my reason and immediately lost my job and salary, housing and medical benefits. I became destitute in one day! My family does not like my Hijab but they admire the moral aspects of Islam…The spiritual climate of West Africa is ripe for Islam and there are many projects that need to be done. This is what I have been trained to do and so my path is straight and narrow. (Abridged) Source:: Islamic Voice , Feb 1997, p 18

Story # 59 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: PUSHPA BHAGAT (JAMILA), PATIALA, PUNJAB, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a poor family in RAJPURA, PATIALA, in a Bhagat family. My father’ name was Shiv Ram Bhagat, and my Mother’ Somi Bai. We were three sisters. At the age of 20, I was married to a rich family. My aunt thought that by marrying into a rich family, I would be very happy. But my husband was a very cruel man and man of many vices. I was treated no more like a made servant in their house. 02. I some how pulled on and I had two boys and one daughter. I started to open my own workshop for tailoring and darning. Most boys working in my workshop were Muslims. I was impressed by their sense of dress and specially their women as they covered their bodies. So much so that I wanted to accept their faith. They were poor Muslims and told that our Baba will come on such and such day and will make me Muslim. 03. He was of the group that visit graves and do many rites there, I was not knowing much and I also started doing as he was doing. I started facing difficulties from local Muslims and they started objecting to my life style…. My business also suffered and I did not know what to do. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 04. At that stage, I met some serious Muslim brothers and Sisters, who educated me about real Islam and the error into which I had fallen. Then I accepted Islam all of a new and learned prayer and fasting and started to live as a true Muslim should live. I educated my sons and daughters in the Islamic way and one of my son memorized whole Quran, Alhamdolillah. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society:

05. My husband had forgotten about me and my children for close to 25 years. When he got retired, he invested his retirement fund into buying a house and shared it with his son from another wife. 06. Soon his condition deteriorated and I saw his daughter in law treating him like a dog and give her food like a dog. I had pity on him and on the advice of my eldest child, started working on him. He had many vices; drinking alcohol was one of them. 07. I prayed to Allah for his guidance… It so happened that he heard about Islam in a lecture and his heart was opened for Islam. He accepted islam and we were re-married according to Islamic rites. And he has not touched alcohol since that day. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 08. My children were grown up and married when I became Real Muslim. I talked to them about Islam and after some discussions my sons decided to become Muslim. But it was different working on their wives and they were very form in their beliefs. I asked a Muslim sister who was active in missionary activities to come to our house and talk about Islam. 09. My daughter in law was hearing the talk….the sister presented Islam and its teachings is such a manner that Allah opened her heart for Islam. At the end of talk, she decided to become Muslim, Alhamdolillah. 3. On Family members / Others. 10. I take part in Islamic missionary activities and speak to both Muslim and Non Muslim sisters. It is having effect and many sisters have decided to become Muslim after my interactions with them, Alhamdolillah. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 11. My advice to Muslims is that they should share their faith with Non Muslims. There are thousands of Non Muslims who are very much interested in islam. Many Hindus spend their money in building mosques, and other things for Muslims. If Muslims share their religion with them, things will change in India.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged)

Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of July 2008.

Story # 60 Why I Became Muslim? Finding my faith: By Patricia Dunn I'm not the same woman I was at 27 when I told my mother, "Ma, I can't eat the pasta fagioli." (She'd made it with bacon.) I'm not the same woman who lied when she said, "I didn't become Muslim because of Ahmed." …. But today, at 42, and secure in my faith, I can admit that if it weren't for Ahmed -- though he is now my ex-husband -- the word "Islam" would probably still conjure up images of black-cloaked women and melodramatic Sally Field movies in my head. After all, I am my mother's daughter. The day I left my Italian-Bronx neighborhood to go to college, I knew my communion and confession days were over. I was never going to let Jesus stick to the roof of my mouth again. There were too many contradictions for me in Catholicism. …By the time I transferred from Barnard to UCLA, I was a lapsed Catholic who wanted nothing to do with organized religion. But I needed to believe in something. … In the summer of 1988, I interned at the Nation magazine's Washington office. While researching a story about Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American psychologist and founder of the Palestinian Center for Non-Violence, the president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee invited me to go on a student delegation to the Occupied Territories. . The man waited until I gathered my notes and walked off the stage before approaching me. "Brilliant speech," he said. I thanked him, trying not to blush. Extending his hand, he said, "My name is Ahmed." But I already knew who he was. He was president of the Muslim Students Association and, like me, he wrote a column for the school paper, where we were both slotted "on the left." I was a fan. This was a guy who knocked on every door in Islam Vista, in Santa Barbara, Calif., to campaign for Jesse Jackson. But that day, when he smiled a win-me-over smile, I thought the same thing I'd wondered whenever I read his column, "How could a smart, socially conscientious guy be a Muslim? Be a part of any organized religion?" He was a feminist. A feminist Muslim -- wasn't that an oxymoron? As Ahmed and I spent the next several years deepening our friendship -- and eventually marrying -- I returned again and again to those questions. He mostly stood out of my way. I studied Islam in order to debate Ahmed and his belief system, but the more I learned, the more I found how greatly I had underestimated my own ignorance. Mine wasn't a hityou-over-the-head epiphany, but rather a slow and steady stream of aha's.

The feminist in me aha'd when she realized that in the Qur’an God is neither male nor female. The scholar in me aha'd at the various interpretations and schools of thought within Islam, most of which depict the religion as a social and constantly changing belief system, rather than the fixed, dogmatic one the government of Saudi Arabia would have the world believe. The Christian still left in me aha'd when she read in the Quran how those who do good deeds are in God's grace. And the scared Bronx girl in me aha'd at the Quran 's refrain that God is "merciful and compassionate" -- until, eventually, the scared Bronx girl was no more. But it was the social activist in me who aha'd the loudest when she got a deeper understanding of "jihad" (a term that has been grossly misinterpreted in the media). "Jihad" is a word with many meanings, but foremost it describes one's personal and inner struggle to live a just life, a life in which one is obligated to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Wasn't that what I had always tried to commit my life to -- fighting, or, more accurately, struggling, for justice? Who knows? Maybe I would have remained a Catholic if I had discovered the Catholic Worker movement or Catholics for a Free Choice earlier in life -- organizations whose missions emphasize economic and social justice. Maybe I would have remained a Catholic if the one priest who talked and listened to me when I was 13 had done so face to face and not in some dark box (and if he had, along with hearing me confess and granting me absolution, counseled me about surviving adolescence). Then there was the question of Jesus. It had always been hard for me to believe God took human form. But it was as a Muslim that I learned what an incredible prophet he was -- the epitome of the social activist. After years of questioning Ahmed about everything, I found my answers in Islam. But as a convert I had to work for everything I believed. I was constantly translating, not only the language of the Quran, but the rituals too. It was hard to trust that one could have a one-to-one relationship with God, and I still believed I needed an intermediary, some authority, someone more worthy to intervene on my behalf. So I turned to the "real" Muslim, the one born into faith, for all my answers. I made Ahmed my teacher, my priest. While equality was the rule in every other aspect of our lives, when it came to matters of faith, I wanted Ahmed to call the shots. When we prayed, though he encouraged, often insisted, that I lead the prayer, I refused. Ahmed was the authority. Besides, he sounded so beautiful when he recited the Quran in Arabic. I wanted him to give me all the answers, and when he refused, my questions turned into childish badgering: "Are you sure if you swallow accidentally while you brush your tooth that doesn’t break my fast?" It wasn't until my son was born that I truly grew up into Islam. Ali was seven weeks premature, and small enough to fit in the palms of his father's hands. The doctors told us Ali couldn't go home until he was able to regulate his own body temperature. I could

hardly swallow as I watched my son in his plastic incubator, trailing tubes and wires to help him breathe. It had taken years of trying and fertility testing for Ahmed and me to get pregnant: I couldn't believe God would take our son from us now. I felt like a kid again -- swept back in time to age 12, when I'd been convinced God had killed my friend Barbara by giving her leukemia for no reason at all. Desperate for hope, I saw breast-feeding as the one way I could help Ali heal -- but he was too weak to latch on. So on the first day of his life, instead of a newborn suckling at my breast, I nursed an electric pump (on loan from the hospital) to increase my milk supply. Then -- somehow -- the loud methodical chugging of the pump's motor helped to drown out my fear. "In the name of God, the Benevolent, the merciful..." I began reciting the first Sura in the Quran. "...It is You we serve, to You we turn for help..." There, alone in the hospital, I spoke to God for the first time, one to one, with no intermediary. And I understood that the God I was talking to was compassionate and merciful. Two weeks later, Ali began to nurse. The day I took him home in his oversize bluestriped onesie, I knew God had heard me. I'm not the same Muslim I was 15 years ago, but I am still a Muslim. And last week, after all these years, when I told my mother that Ali couldn't eat her baked beans because they were made with pork, her response was the same as ever. "That's ridiculous," she said. Then she mumbled, "Well, let's see what you believe when the next guy comes around." .. I didn't respond. My conversion may have started with a man, but it continues with me, and it's never-ending. (Abridged)

Story # 61 Why I Became Muslim? ROSY CARLOS (SHARIFA CARLOS), USA I was born in a poor Christian family. My parents could not afford higher education for me, so they were advised to enter me into a Christian Mission and they would take care of my higher studies. So I went to California to study in a Christian Mission. All my hopes of higher studies were shattered when I went to that mission, because all they taught was Christianity and Anti Islamic courses. Arabic language was part of the curriculum but the teachers were Christians. It was told to me that purpose of all this Islamic knowledge and Arabic language is that soon I would be placed in one of Muslim countries and work amongst their women for Christianity. If I did my work diligently and achieved some thing remarkable, I would be fixed for life in some well know organization like UNO or its affiliates. I was destined to work in Egypt. Before going there I was shown many films about poor conditions of Egyptian Muslim women and how much they were suffering under Islam. I was full of confidence and my abilities when I landed in a remote Egyptian town and started my mission activities. When I started talking to these poor Muslim women, I found that it was me who was lacking something. Whenever I used to tell them about beauties of Christianity they would counter with some quality of Islam which was lacking in Christianity. Soon I realized that their faith is based on much solid grounds than it was told to us in the mission school. When these Egyptian girls used to recite Quran, I was almost mesmerized…. I visited Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo and talked with scholars there. They told me that there would be a seminar shortly in which many renowned scholars would take place. I was very eager to attend this seminar and ask my doubts about Islam from them. I was much impressed by the simplicity of the event and down to earth approach of renowned Muslim Scholars, so different from pomp and show which Christian Church luminaries display when they visit any where. I talked to these scholars who gave questions to all my doubts. We discussed about the Unity of Islam which is cornerstone of Islam. They gave me very convincing answers to all my doubts. One more thing I noticed that whenever I asked any doubt, they would give answer immediately and without much going round the bush. However whenever they asked me any question, I had no answer or a very far fetched answer.

This convinced me that Islam is the true path and it is preserved in its pristine beauty. While no one can make the same claim about Christianity which was changing with time and is still changing. I then decided to accept Islam on the hands of these scholars and I thank Allah that He guided me to the right path. (abridged)

Story # 62 Why I Became Muslim? SARAH BOOKER, USA I was born in New York and had a very beautiful body. My only aim in life was to look as beautiful as possible. I was constantly busy in buying best clothing, shoes, perfumes and jewelry. I used to exercise regularly to keep by body is best shape and form…but somehow I used to feel unhappy. I tried to solve this “illness” by drugs, dancing and even joining spiritual clubs….but the illness kept on getting more serious. I was in that state, when the events of 9/11 occurred and I discovered that every one in America was turned against Muslims and a “New Crusade” was started. This caused me to get interested in Muslims. Then I joined a social group that was engaged in Women Rights and I became a social worker. During this work I met a senior member who was engaged in providing right and justice to all humans irrespective of their color, religion or background. I was impressed with this attitude and also started helping him in his works. During this work I studied English Translation of Quran. I found it to be totally different from what Western Media had projected it to be. Found that in Quran Allah speaks to humans directly without any other entity between Him and His Servants I got convinced of the truth of Islam and I accepted this faith and bought Islamic dress and Hijab. When I first wore Hijab, I felt that now I am free for the first time.!!! I who felt “freedom” in Mini Skirts, Bikinis and Shirts….found that Islamic Hijab protects me from the hungry gazers who would feast on exposed portion of my body. Those “Admirers” of my beauty were nothing but hunters looking at their prey!!! While I was in this state, it paned me to learn that certain priests and Church groups, so called women rights groups and civil rights groups have started a movement against Islamic Hijab. Some call it backwardness, others call it restriction of female movement and others that it is against National Integration!!! I marvel at the dual standards of these people. They would give the right to women to expose her body….but when she wants to voluntarily cover it, they want to stop it!!! I am still an activist of Women Rights but now as a Muslim woman. I advise Muslim women to know their rights and duties which Islam gives them. They should help their husbands to better understanding and upbringing of their Children as a good Muslim. They should fight for their rights of Hijab. What I had taken as “My Right of Freedom” to expose my body for others was nothing but a form of “Slavery” to Satan and his followers. By going against my own Creator, I could never become free. That is the

advice which I wish to give all my Muslim Sisters who are living in west or Islamic countries. They should not accept that “freedom” at any cost.

Story # 63 Why I Became Muslim? Selma A. Cook , An Australian Missionary’s Journey to Allah For many years I lived alone, isolated in a world of fear and unrest. Some happy childhood memories, times of love and joy were always covered by a cloud of uncertainty; a feeling of being lost but not knowing where my real place was. ..In my isolation, I sought help and comfort in the One Who had created me; I had no doubt that there exists a Creator and Sustainer of all things. I knew this as clearly and as surely as I know the sun rises and sets, the movement of the tides, the echo of a thunder storm and the delicate beauty of a spider’s web. No! This world was no accident! As sure as an explosion in a paint factory could never produce an encyclopedia, I always knew this world has a Designer – the Source of all peace. At sixteen years of age, I prayed as I had always done, knowing that He is so Powerful and All-Encompassing that there was no need to pray in the name of Jesus (peace be upon him). I forced myself to throw off the shackles of Christianity and dependence upon Jesus as a medium between my Creator and myself. I felt a surge of peace and inner quietness. I always felt close to God and prayer was a way of life for me. Deep in my mind, for I could never voice any doubts, I had some misgivings about what I’d been taught about Jesus (peace be upon him): some things didn’t make sense to me, but as a missionary I felt I was calling to God, not to a particular church. I could recognize a harmony and structure in all the nature around me, yet I found an absence of order wherever I looked around people. I learned to love Jesus as a messenger of God but it seemed strange to me, that God would require a sacrifice in order to forgive us. I believed that God was above having any need. I felt I could communicate with Him as I was, without the necessity of an intermediary because, again, God didn’t need any help to hear what I said. I met my neighbors who were Muslims. I thought I would do some missionary work. I always like to remind people about the Creator, goodness, and the existence of truth. What little I knew about Muslims and Islam was colored by the Christian-Judaic doctrine in which I’d been raised. I was taught that Muslims did not believe in Jesus (peace be upon him), that they were ignorant heathens who deserved to be usurped from the land of Palestine. How ignorant I was! They listened to me patiently, and then I too listened to them. They did not try to explain any complicated issues, they just read to me from the Qur’an. First they read in Arabic, then in English. It was the chapter of Maryam (Mary). I listened in silence. The sound was so tranquil – something independent from the reader, something that contained the ability to touch hearts, remove the obstacles we place in front of ourselves, and redirect us towards light, guidance, and that constantly elusive element of life called happiness. I cried. I could not find words to explain my tears and all I could say was, “It’s beautiful.”..

I learned that prayer is strictly between the individual and God, and that each person is held responsible for the actions they have sent forward. No one can bear the sins of another, not even a parent, child, or friend. Thus Jesus (peace be upon him), is loved and revered as a Prophet and Messenger of Allah; for his righteousness and closeness to Allah. I learnt that Muslims believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) will come again to the earth and that all the confusion about his origin and role will be wiped away. I knew deep within myself that I had reached the place of light that I had sought for so many years. I was twenty-two years old. I had been a missionary since I was seventeen. In my heart, I left the church the moment I heard the Qur’an. But I decided to go to the church one more time to publicly announce in the monthly “testimony meeting” the following Sunday that my life had taken a new direction and I wouldn’t be seeing them again, but that I was glad to have known them and wished them all well. My leaving the church caused something of an uproar in my family and community. Deep down I knew I was alone in life. Family and friends could come close to us but no one really knows us or can help us except Allah. Indeed, we are born alone, will die alone and will stand for judgment alone. I had always felt alone. I was right. The loud and often hostile reaction of people is easy to confront when one remains in a state of reliance upon Allah, the Almighty. I considered myself a Muslim but had a long way to go, much to change and much to understand. I felt like a young child who had just taken her first steps. I knew with conviction that Allah was the One to whom I’d always prayed but it wasn’t until that time that I knew His name and reality. I spent the next five years rediscovering my life.

*This story is based upon excerpts from “The Miracles of My Life” by Selma A. Cook. It has been reproduced with the permission and assistance of the author.

Story # 64 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: SHALINI DEVI (KHAIR UL NISAA) THANA BHAWAN, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in THANA BHAWAN which is a village in SHARANPUR. My father’s name is BALI SINGH. I was married to KIRPAL SINGH of PANIPAT HARYANA. I had five children with my marriage. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 02. Since my childhood, I did not like the idol worship. I used to look at the beauties of Flowers, fruits, sun and moon and used to wonder, How beautiful would be the one who created such beautiful things. Muslim traders used to come to our village to sell their merchandise. They would talk about worshipping one True God and the life history of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be on him). 03. Myself and my children used to listen to these stories and they would impress so. So much so that my children started asking me, how good it would have been if we were Muslims. After some months I decided to accept Islam and went to GANGOAH with my children and we accepted Islam there. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 04. My husband and there household were powerful landlords in the village. First they tried to convince me to leave Islam and come back to them, but when I refused, they started beating me.. I suffered a lot at their hands…and one day I said to them, I will die but I will never leave Islam. Then they took away my children and started beating them, one of my husband’s brother took out a knife to kill my children, but my elder son tried to take the knife away from his hand, in altercation, the knife cut the stomach of my brother in law and he died…

05. Police came and arrested my boy, he said that he was innocent….and the knife hurt him by mistake… but they took him and lodged him in the Jail…. Every one in the village started taunting me saying I will never see my boy again. I used to pray to Allah whole nights and ask for the safety and release of my son.. after a few days, my son got bail and I sent him out along with a Muslim missionary group. 06. I used to weep for my other four children also and used to pray to Allah. My in-laws and my husband tried many times to kill my children but Allah saved them every time… I prayed to Allah to send my children back to me as He had done for Mother of Moses… Allah heard my prayer and all my children came back to me one day E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 07. All my children are Muslims, my two daughters got married. They wear full Muslim Hijab and are very happy in their new houses. In fact seeing them doing full Islamic Hijab, many women in their in-laws have also started wearing Islam. 08. I think that Islamic Hijab is a protection for Muslim women, when I was not wearing it, I used to be the target of hungry gazes of every one and I used to KNOW what is the hidden intention of those looking at me. F. Present Situation: 09. I have full faith in My Allah and I feel confident that He will grant me, whatever I will ask from Him. I have seen His help and grace at too many points in my life already. I want to memorize whole Quran…and I want both of my boys to become the Missionary for Islam. That is the best course for them. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. I want every one to pray for me that I am able to fulfill my goals.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of June 2003

Story # 65 Why I Became Muslim? PROF. DR. SUFIA , SWEDEN I was brought up in a devout Christian family, my mother used to us to Church every Sunday. During my studies, I used to get many doubts about Christianity and its teachings, which Church was not able to answer. I joined Oslo University and enrolled in Department of Religious studies. I studied History and Comparative religions. After these studies, I did not have any favorable opinion about Islam. The reason was that most of these books were written by Non Muslims, who had a grudge against Islam. Then some one gave me “DENIYAT” Written by MAULANA MAUDOODI & some books of SYED QUTUB of Egypt. These books answered many of my questions. Then I studied Islam thru the books written by Muslims and studied English translation of Quran written by Muslims. When I was fully satisfied with Islam and its teachings, I went to Local Islamic Center and accepted Islam. After that me and my husband joined and gave our support in the Missionary works of Local Islamic center. We established societies and circles where Muslim women could study and understand Islamic teachings. I also plan to translate Quran in Swedish language. We have in Sweden Muslims from many parts of the world. They speak different languages and have different ethnic backgrounds. Despite all these, they all are united in belief and practices of Islam. Many of them have no proper understanding of Islam and do not present a good example of a Muslim to attract others. Then I visited many Islamic countries and took part in many Islamic Conferences and represented Swedish Muslims there. I performed UMRAH and felt very satisfied. All I can say after visiting so many Muslim countries, that I praise God that I became Muslim before visiting these Muslim countries. If I had known already the real teachings of Islam, before hand, I would have been detracted from accepting Islam by seeing the life style of many of these Muslim Countries. Very few Muslim countries and societies present a good example of what Real Islam is…. I do not want to condemn any one….I definitely saw and met many good Muslim men and women…they are striving to practice Islam and present a good picture of Islam. But the majority is trying to just imitate western style and western thinking in their lives…(abridged)

Story # 66 Why we became Muslim? Sukina Douglas, Spoken-word poet, 28, London 1. “Before I found Islam, my gaze was firmly fixed on Africa. I was raised a Rastafarian and used to have crazy-long dreadlocks: one half blonde and the other half black. “Then, in 2005, my ex-boyfriend came back from a trip to Africa and announced that he’d converted to Islam. I was furious and told him he was ‘losing his African roots’. Why was he trying to be an Arab? It was so foreign to how I lived my life. Every time I saw a Muslim woman in the street I thought, ‘Why do they have to cover up like that? Aren’t they hot?’ It looked oppressive to me. 2. “Islam was already in my consciousness, but when I started reading the autobiography of Malcolm X at university, something opened up inside me. One day I said to my best friend, Muneera, ‘I’m falling in love with Islam.’ She laughed and said, ‘Be quiet, Sukina!’ She only started exploring Islam to prove me wrong, but soon enough she started believing it, too. “I was always passionate about women’s rights; there was no way I would have entered a religion that sought to degrade me. So when I came across a book by a Moroccan feminist, it unravelled all my negative opinions: Islam didn’t oppress women; people did. 3. “Before I converted, I conducted an experiment. I covered up in a long gypsy skirt and headscarf and went out. But I didn’t feel frumpy; I felt beautiful. I realised, I’m not a sexual commodity for men to lust after; I want to be judged for what I contribute mentally. “Muneera and I took our shahada [declaration of faith] together a few months later, and I cut my dreadlocks off to represent renewal: it was the beginning of a new life. 4. “Just three weeks after our conversion, the 7/7 bombings happened; suddenly we were public enemy No 1. I’d never experienced racism in London before, but in the weeks after the bombs, people would throw eggs at me and say, ‘Go back to your own country,’ even though this was my country. “I’m not trying to shy away from any aspect of who I am. Some people dress in Arabian or Pakistani styles, but I’m British and Caribbean, so my national dress is Primark and Topshop, layered with colourful charity-shop scarves.

5. “Six months after I converted, I got back together with my ex-boyfriend, and now we’re married. Our roles in the home are different, because we are different people, but he would never try to order me around; that’s not how I was raised. “Before I found Islam, I was a rebel without a cause, but now I have a purpose in life: I can identify my flaws and work towards becoming a better person. To me, being a Muslim means contributing to your society, no matter where you come from.”

Story # 67 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: SEEMA GUPTA (KHADIJA), UP INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a trading community in western UP on 3 Sept 1984. My father has a grocery shop and is a very nice man. My mother also is a very nice woman. I have two brothers and one sister. I was educated in my city upto BA and then I did MA in sociology as a private candidate. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 02. There are many Muslims living in my locality and we have close relations with them. One of my neighbors were Mr. Khan who had a daughter who was my class fellow. I used to go to her house regularly. She had one elder brother, who was very shy when talking to me. He would never look at my face and when I would talk to him, he would leave the house. I used to comment on his behavior to my friend. 03. Once I said that this is Kaliyug, and that is why there is so much indecency in India and world, and our Kaliki Avatar will come and set the things right. My friend told me, but he has already come and she gave me a small booklet titled “Prophet Mohammad and Kaliki Avatar” written by V.P. Upadhaya, a learned Hindu Scholar. I read that book in the night and was very much impressed by it. In the end there was a list of books recommended for further studies. I told my friend that I need all these books to study. She gave me a small booklet “Your trust returned to you” by Maulana Kalim Uddin. 04. I read that book and I read it to my mother also. She was also very much impressed by that book and asked me to get all the books. After reading these books, I started having visions about heavens and hell and what will happen to me if I died at that moment.

Meanwhile, the brother of my friend, who had gone abroad for job, send me message thru her sister, that if I become Muslim, he will marry me. 05. I got Hindi Translation of Quran, I used to read and my mother also used to read it. Till it convinced me that Islam is the true path and I must accept Islam if I want to save myself. I left my house for Phulat and I stayed there for one week. During that week I accepted Islam and completed all official formalities to register myself at Muslim. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 06. My absence from the house created an uproar and my family accused my neighbor Khan Sahib for kidnapping me. Things took a very nasty turn and a riot was about to happen. 07. Somehow the elders intervened and asked every one to maintain peace. The news reached Phulat and Maulana told me to go back and tell every one the truth. I was afraid as to what will happen to me, but he told me to stay firm and remember what had been done to earliest Muslims. I came back and told every one that I had gone on my own and have become Muslim on my own. This got Mr. Khan and his family to be released from Police station. 08. My family members tried every thing to turn me back from islam. From threats to physical beatings to attempts to poison me … But Allah gave me strength to bear all that and I stayed firm. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 09. My mother told my father that one Dr. from Vijayvada , who has recently converted to Islam from Hinduism is ready to marry me. If we could marry them without any rituals…..no one in the family will know it. So the marriage was arranged accordingly and we came out from my family and the first place we visited was Phulat! 10. Maulana was very happy to see me and told that he was always praying for my safe return. He even said that he was guilty of violating a Quranic verse which prohibited Muslims to return newly converted Muslim women back to Non Muslims. He asked me to pray for his forgiveness!! 2. On Parents.

11. My mother was half converted to Islam when I was there, but seeing my trials and my firmness convinced her to truth of Islam. Later she convinced my father also and both of them accepted Islam, Alhamdolillah. F. Present Situation: My husband has shifted to Delhi and is working in a hospital. He has also qualified for MD and hope to start his study for it.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of April 2009

Story # 68 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: SHAHNAZ, JAMMU, India A. Family Background: 01. I was born on 6th May 1975, to a MALHOTRA Family of Jammu, my father was a lecturer in commerce dept. My mother was a very nice and suffering lady. He became sick since her girlhood and her ill health continued even after her marriage. 02. I had an elder brother, who is 4 year older than me. I was told that when I was very small, my mother took me to a bridge and was almost ready to drop me into the river, a passer by asked her, why she wanted to do it, she told that I have suffered much in my life, I do not want my little girl also top suffer. The man told her, not to do so, as every humans comes with her own destiny. May be I will be very happy in my life. 03. My mother died when I was 5 or 6 years old, my father re-married. My step mother did not treat us good and she was always complaining to my father about our faults. I was subjected to overwork and abuses in home, I tried even to commit suicide by eating overdose of sleeping pills once. 04. Somehow I passed 10th standard, I used to go to temples and ask the idols there when my dark night would end….. now I know how they could respond to me, because they do not hear any pleas and even if they heard they are powerless to do anything. 05. Once when my mother accused me of stealing 1000 rupees from her purse, I decided to leave the house, because I was not sure what she would accuse me of next. I left house with a little bag containing a few pair of clothes. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 06. I boarded a train for Delhi, I boarded a compartment reserved for Military, when the ticket checker came, one of Military man said that she is my sister. I reached Delhi safely. I did not know any one in Delhi, I boarded an omni bus, and I asked two boys, who seemed good to me, to please guide me a girls hostel

07. They asked me to go to their sister’s house, where I was very well received… they asked me to stay for a few days and then I could decide about hostel. While living there, I was introduced to the message of Islam. I was impressed by their good behavior and Islamic teachings seemed so reasonable to me. I accepted Islam at their hands. 08. After some time, these people advertised for my marriage in a local Urdu news paper. It was answered by Maulana JAWED ASHRAF NADWI, whose first marriage was not successful. When he knew of my case, he agreed to marry me and we were married. He was afraid to take me to his house, because of resistance from his family members, so he kept me in a separate house in Lucknow. 09. Then my husband got a Job in Madina Munawwarah, and I reached there on Umrah visa. I stayed back after performing Umrah and stayed many years there, all my three children were born in Madina. I am very thankful to Allah for doing all this to me, and I do not know how can I ever express my gratitude to Him C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: I have explained that in my story. I was indeed rejected by my society and they did not know about me anything for many years. D. How I saved my Islam: 11. Staying In Madina is in itself a great honor. I get so many guests of all ages and every backgrounds. I feel honored to serve old and elderly people and by this I earn their respect, honor and blessings. In my service and specially physical service is very effective to get prays and blessings from elderly and learned scholars. E. My Missionary activities: 2. On Parents. 12. My parents were sure that I must have committed suicide, because they did not make any attempts to find me. After many years, a student from Jammu who came to Medina told my father about me, he was very anxious to meet me.

13. Once when I went to Delhi to endorse my Visa, he came to meet me. He wept on seeing me and expressed his deep regrets about what he and his wife did to me. I forgave him every thing and told him about Islam. He promised to study Islam and take decision. I informed Maulana Kalim Sahib about my father and he is following up, 14. I also talked to my mother on phone and she also wept and asked for my forgiveness for what she did to me. I told her that her poor treatment was indeed the reason of my becoming Muslim. I am regularly praying for her guidance. F. Present Situation: 15. I am very happy with my present life and I pray to Allah to let me die in Madina and I would be buried here… You should also pray the same for me. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 16. I can only request my Muslim brothers, to recognize their responsibility. They should present themselves as an example of good Muslims and they should make this spread of Islam as their life’s mission. If people take the life of our prophet as their ideal, they would not run after these actors and actresses, and sportspersons and others.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Dec 2004

Story # 69 Why I became Muslim? SHIRIN, LONDON UK. I was working in a car garage. Since childhood I had bent of mind to engage in comparative religion. I used to read about different religions. I used to go to church, but some how the teachings and atmosphere there would not impress or satisfy me. So much so that I decided to leave Christianity and join another faith. I was in a dilemma as to what new religion I should join, which should be close to human nature and be true. I discussed this matter with a Jewish customer who was a regular visitor to our Workshop. He was well educated and very serious in his talks. He told me that if I am looking for a true religion, then I should accept Islam. Because Islam is the only True religion. But take care that you should never ask me to became Muslim!! I then started to study Islam with care and slowly the truth of Islam became manifest to me. I met some Muslims who helped me in knowing about Islam and answer my queries. When I was fully satisfied about the truth of Islam, I decided to join it. Now I strive to put into my life teachings of Islam to the best of my abilities. (Abridged)

Story # 70 Why I Became Muslim? Sarah Joseph, UK Sarah Joseph accepted Islam at a very early age, when she was only 16. She was brought up in a typical British Christian family, where there is no special place for religion. Her mother was proprietor of a modeling agency. I have a religious bent since very beginning as was constantly remembering God. I never missed my daily prayers or Sunday Church. My parents were sort of indifferent towards religion and would watch me with interest. By the time I was 10, I realized the dangers that Atomic weapons posed for humanity. I wrote personal letters to Ronald Reagan, Yuri Andropov, and Margaret Thatcher to reduce their atomic stockpiles. I also took part in many Anti Atomic demonstrations. In our house people of all religions were coming and working. So we did not have any religious bias so to say. My elder brother got in love with an Indian Muslim girl and became Muslim to marry her. No one in family objected to it. Well I knew nothing about Islam and Muslims then. But slowly I noticed that I was also getting a bias against Muslims and since “Most Biases are a result of ignorance”, so I decided to read about Islam and get first hand knowledge. The more I studied about Islam, the more I found that it answered most of my questions and doubts which I had about Christianity. The Idea of Original Sin as told by Catholic Church was most repugnant to me, It was a big relief to me when I found that in Islam there is so concept of Original Sin. When I got convinced of the truth of Islam, I decided to join it when I was only 16. My parents opposed this, but when they saw my determination, they gave in and I became a Muslim. Then I met Mahmood, a fellow worker and we soon married. After the events of 9/11 we took a lecture tour explaining the position of Islam against terrorism. My child was only three weeks old at that time and I used to carry him on my lecture tours. Then we started a magazine name “Hope” that was intended to remove the doubts and prejudices that are prevalent against Islam in UK and Western countries. It became quite popular and many Non Muslims read it to know about Islam. I think Islam and Christianity should have a serious dialog between them, only then there can be any hope for peace in the world. I know about both religions, so persons like us can play a big role in such dialogs. (abridged)

Story # 71 Why I Became Muslim? SAIDA PAULA , COLUMBIA (SPAIN) I was born in Columbia, after completing my degree from Columbian University, I moved to Spain. I am a doctor by profession. I was a Roman Catholic, but only for name sake and I never practiced it. Somehow, I got interested in Arabian Culture, their music and their language. I had a special fascination about Arabic Script. The way it was written and the shapes which Arabic Calligraphy took. The same interest prompted me to learn about Islam. Sometimes in 2004, I left a message on Internet that I want to learn about Islam in Spanish, could some one out there help me. I got a reply signed by one Mustafa Mohi Deen asking me if I am interested to read free Islamic literature in Spanish, then please write your Postal address. I was hesitating to reveal my postal address to a total stranger, but after a couple of e-mails….I received a parcel containing some Islamic books. I was very happy to read them. I maintained my connection with the brother and got many books on Islam. I learnt that this man would sent Islamic books in different languages depending upon who asked what. Soon we established a site to help those who wanted to learn about Islam in different languages. I was engrossed in Islamic propagation, without accepting Islam myself. This intrigued many Non Muslims. I told I am still learning about Islam and the time for me to say SHAHADA has still not arrived. But slowly I got convinced that Islam is the only true path and there is so other way for me. I preyed Allah to show me right path and make my faith firm. In 2007, I went to Libya in connection with one sister becoming Muslim. There Allah opened my hearts for Islam and I said my SHAHADA (Declaration of faith) on Internet. Mustafa Mohi Deen and another gentleman being witness to this. When I revealed this to my family, my father congratulated me on taking a right decision, my mother was shocked initially but after some time accepted my decision. Now I am busy in propagating Islam on Internet and by lectures. We tell them that Islam is not what is shown on TV channels. No doubt there are some Muslims out there who do horrible things, but these acts are not as per teachings of Islam. We must get the true picture of Islam. In the end I thank Allah for showing me the correct path. It was His mercy that today I am a Muslim (abridged)

Story # 72 Why we became Muslim? From Times Online, May 29, 2010, (Sheila Rock) 1. It’s a controversial time for British women to be wearing the hijab, the basic Muslim headscarf. Last month, Belgium became the first European country to pass legislation to ban the burka (the most concealing of Islamic veils), calling it a “threat” to female dignity, while France looks poised to follow suit. In Italy earlier this month, a Muslim woman was fined €500 (£430) for wearing the Islamic veil outside a post office. 2. And yet, while less than 2 per cent of the population now attends a Church of England service every week, the number of female converts to Islam is on the rise. At the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, women account for roughly two thirds of the “New Muslims” who make their official declarations of faith there – and most of them are under the age of 30. 3. Conversion statistics are frustratingly patchy, but at the time of the 2001 Census, there were at least 30,000 British Muslim converts in the UK. According to Kevin Brice, of the Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University, this number may now be closer to 50,000 – and the majority are women. “Basic analysis shows that increasing numbers of young, university-educated women in their twenties and thirties are converting to Islam,” confirms Brice. 4. “Our liberal, pluralistic 21st-century society means we can choose our careers, our politics – and we can pick and choose who we want to be spiritually,” explains Dr Mohammad S. Seddon, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Chester. We’re in an era of the “religious supermarket”, he says. Dr Benil Hafeeq K.P Consultant Nephrologist MIMS and IQRAA Hospital Calicut

Story # 73 Why I Became Muslim? DR. SAROJ (SAFIA) SHALINI, INDIA. Note: Dr. SAROJ belonged to a devout and educated Hindu Family residing near Lucknow, UP India. Her father was MD in Cardiology. One of her brother is Reader in BHU Baranasi and another Engineer in BHEL. She competed and cleared PMT (Renowned Pre Medical Entrance Exam) and Completed MBBS from KGMC Lucknow and MD from MA College Delhi. She later did MD in cardiology from AIIMS Delhi and was working there. We pick up the story in one hot summer June day in 2003. I was posted in ICCU Children ward of AIIMS, we had all 8 beds occupied, each child fighting between life and death. As a doctor, I knew that less than 50 % of these would survive. Only one attendant is allowed to stay with each child. I saw one bearded Muslim coming to one of these beds, the attendant left and he read some thing and blew on the child. Then he repeated same thing for all other children. I would have nothing of these…I went to him straight and told “Don’t you know it is ICCU, there are so many chances of Infection…who is your patient…why are you just roaming around the ward…going to each bed?” To my surprise, he remained very calm. He told that I have blood relation which each of these children, They all have been created by one who created me also. What I was reading was nothing other than Words from the Same Creator…” Then he continued “ Don’t you see that sometimes, despite your best efforts, the child dies. Who is the one giving life and death? They are not you nor your medicines” I got interested in his talks and invited him to my cabin, so I could listen to some more. He agreed on one condition, that I would consider each child as my child and world deal kindly with him and his parents or attendants. He told me that my Creator has blessed me to be in a position to help His other creations and I should be thankful to him. He left and I was much impressed by his talks. When I asked from the child’s parents, he told me that he is a very good Muslim and so many Non Muslims have accepted Islam on his hands. I remembered for some time his words but soon got engaged in my own life. I became room partner with another Girl Doctor and moved there. I found that her maid was a Muslim Girl. I asked my friend as to how could she allow a Muslim girl to cook food and take care of house? But she is a very good girl, on so many occasions she had returned my purse intact, without taking any thing from it, my friend replied.

Our talks then drifted towards Islam and Muslim. My room mate told be “The more world media is turning against Islam, the faster it is growing. You see Michel Jackson became Muslim, one Dr. BALBIR Singh in our own Cardiology department accepted Islam and he wants every one to become Muslim. When I called him for consultation about a patient, he told me if you want to avoid going to Hell, become a Muslim” This reminded me of the words which I had heard from the lips of that Muslim gentleman, so I fixed appointment with Dr. BALBIR and met him in his cabin on a Sunday morning. I asked him “When you became Muslim”? He told “Eight or None Years Back” I wanted to know the reason. He told that “Islam is the only true religion which was sent by God to this world. It is the first and it is the last. All prophets preached the same message. If you want to avoid Hell after you die, there is no other way than to accept Islam” I asked him to give me some literature about Islam. He sent me the English Translation of Sermon which Last Prophet delivered on his Farewell Pilgrimage. I was very impressed by the message and specially that women were specifically mentioned there. I wanted to get in touch with MAULANA KALIM UDDIN (the gentleman who visited the ward in 2003), I was told that he would deliver a lecture in Green Park Mosque. I reached there on Auto Rickshaw and when I saw that he was the same gentleman, I bent to touch his feet (as is our local custom amongst Hindus), but he cautioned me against it. I told that I have learned many of your books and I want to become Muslims. He made me Muslim, changed my name from SAROJ to SAFIA, but told me to keep my Islam secret for a while, till the situation changes. But how could I keep my Islam secret? How could I deny the same privilege to others? So I told my close friends about my becoming Muslim. My room partner became Muslim. Her husband also became very close to Islam. I informed my father of my decision. He accepted it but was not very enthusiastic about it. But slowly and slowly, he is accepting it with grace. Now regarding my marriage, my father was trying it for past 6 or 7 years, Many good matches came, but I excused on pretext of my completing my MD. Now this my accepting Islam became a new factor. Then one day Maulana Kalim talked to me about one Dr. Asad Faridi, who was working in PGI, Chandigarh and was perhaps the only Muslim Doctor in Sherwani (a local Muslim dress) and full beard. After some time, we got married and when our parents saw my choice (and the fact that the marriage took place without any dowry and not any financial burden on them, a custom in India), they congratulated me. Now was the tricky issue as to how to announce our marriage to my orthodox Hindu Family, Maulana Kalim solved this problem , by getting both of us jobs in KAA Hospital

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. My marriage and conversion was announced to my family as Post Jeddah affair and “bad effect of living and working in a Muslim country”!!! When I think all of it, I feel that Allah was indeed very kind to me. Otherwise how could I have found truth in those darkness of idol worship and associating others with God. I feel what this modern and technical world needs is Islam and nothing but Islam. It is Islam which can solve the problems of the world. How come we Muslims who hold the solution and salvation for this world, should have inferiority complex? (Abridged)

Story # 74 Why I Became Muslim? SUNEETA (SAMREEN) MUMBAI INDIA. I was born on 9th Dec 1984. I had three brothers and no sister. My parents belong to KANAUJIA caste from DEORIA district of UP. My parents had shifted many years back to Mumbai and my father had a general store shop in Thane District. We had a Muslim family as neighbors, and we had very good relations with them. We would share and borrow things from each other, the difference in our religion would not stand in our way. Some times these people would talk about Islam. I used to listen their talks with interest. Many questions would arise in my mind, but I did not know to whom or to how to get answers for them. Once I asked my Sister in Law, why do we worship all these idols? She did not answer anything. I was following lifestyle of my ancestors, but I was not satisfied, I was in search of truth. It is my belief that whatever the situation be, if you are sincere in your efforts, you will find the truth. The same happened to me, after long study and thinking, I got convinced that Islam is a true religion. I asked my neighbors that I want to become Muslim, they told me that for that I have to change my life style totally and might have to leave my parents. After some time, I met a Muslim boy and wanted to marry him. He told that in order to marry him, I have to leave my religion and become a Muslim. I also wanted that, so I became Muslim on 10th May 2006, and changed my name and we got married soon. The Islamic teachings about hereafter have changed my concept of life….I am still getting more knowledge about Islam to practice it fully in my life (abridged)

Story # 75 Why I Became Muslim? Somayyah From a Bathing Suit to Hijab By Christian Hauser, Islamic Voice Note: SOMAYYAH was educated in a convent and as a teenager worked as a model and in cocktail lounges. Growing up in Ireland and Britain, she tried drugs and liquor land supported alcoholic and sometimes abusive parents. Years later the 25 year old Irish woman moved to the Gulf Arab Emirate of Dubai where, through books loaned by friends, she learned about Islam. “I would go to the beach in my bathing suit and listen to Qur’an on my Walkman,” she said. “One day I was going to the beach in a taxi driven by a Pakistani who had Qur’an on the radio. I got there and put one foot on the ground to get out. “Then I looked at the taxi driver and said: ‘No, take me back home.’ I couldn’t go to the beach and take my clothes off.” Now Somayyah, a school teacher who adopted the name of Islam’s first female martyr, will not leave her flat without covering herself from head to toe in Hijab. Since she converted her family has refused to see her. In interviews, some said they converted because they were disillusioned by changes in their own religious traditions. Others said they were influenced by husbands or relatives or that they liked the sense of community. “I had seen so many changes in the church that unsettled me,” said Kathy Grigg, an American in her mid-thirties whose family supported her conversion to Islam. “Latin was dropped from the mass, women were not only no longer required to cover their heads in church but were permitted to wear pantsuits. Abstinence from eating meat on Fridays was dropped.” “There was no more reverence. But to me, seeing a Muslim pray, to bow down on the ground..”

Bilal Philips, 49, a Canadian who had worked for the Saudi air force religious affairs department in Riyadh and who was well-known as a TV religious presenter, said he belonged to the communist movement in Canada and the United States. “I became fed up. Basically I was searching for something meaningful,” he said of his conversion 24 years ago. Some US military personnel were exposed to Islam when they served in the Gulf war. Philips manned an Islamic information centre in a tent at an air force base in Dhahran. In the six months after the war 3,000 Westerners converted at the centre, 98 percent of them US servicemen or women, he said. They gave up alcohol but wearing Muslim attire and praying five times a day clashed with military duties. “You got out of uniform as quickly as you could land put Hijab back on,” said one convert, Asma Markusson, a former US army reservist who grew up in Illinois wanting to be a nun. As for prayers “I had to catch my prayers when I could.” (Abridged)

Story # 76 Why I Became Muslim? TALASEA (BARRAH ISLAM), NEW BRITAIN USA I can thank none but God that now I am a Muslim. I am fully aware that it is difficult for my Christian friends to comprehend my decision. Why I reject the fiction that Jesus was Almighty God is the result of my long search for the truth about One God. There is no time and space to prove from the text of the gospels that the words of Jesus concerning the oneness of God are a far cry from the language of the Trinitarians. I tried to find the truth about the Oneness of God in Christianity but failed. However I tried to heed the words of Jesus :knock and the door will open, seek and you will find.. (Mat. 7:7). Islam reveals to me the correct concept of Monotheism- that the Oneness of God is absolute and there is no mystery about this truth. Jesus confirmed that when asked of the greatest thing in faith is “Hear O Israel, Lord our God is one God” (Mk. 12:29). I have not the slightest doubt that Jesus and Mohammad (May peace of God be on both of them) are servants of the same true God. The true conception of the Oneness of Allah the Most high is to me light from darkness and confusion. At an early age the incredible Trinity was a bitter pill to swallow with the logical 1+1+1 = 3. During my high school.. anew manner of worship became known to me. My teachers persuaded me to join Christian cultists but my heart said no! Noise, temporal joys and emotional swerves were not my kind of bait. The cultists brag as God will not test their faith, not to speak of Satan. If Satan could test faith of Jesus, who are these cultists compared to Jesus. During my undergraduate years the long accepted ‘pagan’ world opened to me with availability of books on major world religions. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam attracted me. During my readings it occurred to me that I was searching for a religion that defines the absolute Oneness of God. Hinduism and Buddhism lost my favor because of their ambiguous definition of Supreme Deity. Islam’s bold definition of the Supreme deity attracted me strongly; There is none worthy of worship save Allah and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.

A Muslim means one who submits completely to Allah the Most High. Christians submit that jesus submitted totally to the will of Allah, so Jesus was a perfect Muslim. Jesus’ gospel was a forward to the Holy Quran the permanent revelation. Know this truth and you shall be free. Thus I have come to know and accept Islam the straight path. (Abridged) Source:: YAQEEN INT. PAK. SEPT 1987, P119-120

Story # 77 Why I Became Muslim? Ms Tasha http://www.newmuslims.tk/ Assalaamu 'Alaikum Brothers and Sisters,

My name is Tasha, and I recently converted (formally) to Islam on July 7,2004.I had been studying Islam ever since I was in 7th grade. My interest in Islam began when I was invited to iftar for Ramadan by my Seventh grade teacher. And ever since then I was hooked!! I was raised a Baptist, but like so many former Christians I never really practiced Christianity. I rarely if ever attended Church or Sunday school because I just felt so uncomfortable there. My immediate family was the type where we just went to church on major holidays. So I studied Islam and fasted for the Ramadan while I was not Muslim (I knew that my fasts wouldn't count, but it was my situation, perhaps that was Allah subhana wa ta'ala's will). Then finally my sophomore year in high school I got back in contact with my 7th grade teacher and I learned even more. I learned how to pray, I learned (and I am still learning) how to read Arabic, and I had started reading the Qumran (Alhamdolillah what a glorious Al Khitab it is. My favorite Surah thus far is Sura Yusuff). Then I began going to a dars in February (shortly after Ramadan) that she (my old teacher) spoke at for girls 12-18 (which I still attend). Then I slowly increased and I started going to a Lecture or Khutbah on Thursday nights. Then finally on that fateful Tuesday I converted/reverted (what ever people want to call it)!!! It was one of the best days of my life!!! Subhanallah!!! The only problem is that I haven't told any one because I am truly afraid they'll either disown me or try to Deprogram me!!! I had mentioned to my Mother that I wanted to convert when I was a freshman in High School, but I had told her I'd wait until I was 18. And then My grandfather suspects something because even before I converted I spread the "good news" if you will, about Islam and how it cancels out the divinity of 'Isa (aleyhi salaam) and original sin, so he believes that I am brainwashed or what not. But the kuffar are in truth rejecters!!! Then to make it even worse I have a twin sister, she knows that I pray five times daily and that I go to the Masjid frequently and all that, but she doesn't know if I converted or not!!! The only one that knows besides the other Muslims at the Masjid is the Board of Directors at the library at which I work. I just pray that Allah (SWT) gives me guidance and soften their (My families and my friends and my co-workers) hearts, Ameen. Insha'allah , I will survive and increase in my iman. By the way I am 16 and I live in IL.

Also I will be attending the ISNA conference/convention this labor day weekend and I hope that those of you on this mailing list will be attending. And isn't it ironic that when Muslimahs wear Hijab, or when for that matter whatever Muslims people see (no matter what ethnicity you are or whether or not u have been a citizen of the country where in you reside) people don't classify you as an American or as a Mexican or as a German, etc. they classify you as a Muslim (subhanallah). But sometimes, in an Americans case they look at you as if you don't know how to speak English properly and as if you are a terrorists and as if you are an Arab, ironic huh!!! But never the less I am proud of my Muslim identity and insha'allah I will be able to be a good image of a Muslim to the American people and insha'allah I will be able to wear Hijab proudly (once I tell my family) not only when I pray but when I go outdoors too. Wa salaam, Tasha

Story # 78 Why I Became Muslim? TANIDTHEA (UMM AMINA) AUSTRALIA I was born in Australia, once I went to the Muslim Mosque in small town of Armindale and borrowed English translation of Quran for study. While just scanning thru the book, The following verse of Quran caught my eye, that dealt with planetary movements: “And the sun runs the course for a period determined for him: that is the decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, the All Knowing. And the Moon- We have measured for her mansions (to traverse) till she returns like the old (and wretched) lower part of a date stalk. It is not permitted to the sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the day, each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law) 36: 38-40 This made me think, how can Prophet Mohammad, an unlettered man could describe the movements of sun and man in so scientific way? He must be getting these info from God Almighty….so Quran must be the divine book. Now I started studying Quran with much care and attention taking care to implement in my life what I read. Soon I decided to enter into faith of Islam. I tried to convince my husband also about Islam, but despite my best efforts, he continued in his faith. So much so that I gave him choice between me and his religion. He divorced me and I got the custody of my daughter, whom I named AMINA and therefore I am known as UMM AMINA. Soon I met a Muslim from Pakistan on Internet Chat club and I migrated to Pakistan and married him. Australia is a Christian majority country, but Islam is spreading fast there. Many women are attracted to Islam for protection, because it is Islam which gives them real protection and real respect. I am sorry to say that most Muslims living in Australia do not give a good picture of Islam. They do not live according to Islam and are divided amongst themselves. To Muslim women also I request to think about hereafter, The present life will end in a few decades, and then they will have to account for that in the eternal life. Islamic teachings are best suited for all situations in life. They should practice them into their daily life. (abridged)

Story # 79 Why I Became Muslim? Testimony of Um Luqman http://www.thetruereligion.com/umluqman.htm Um Luqman, "Jesus(AS) made sense to me as being a Prophet" Bismillah ir Rahman nir Raheem ( In the Name of ALLAH, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful) As Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu ( May the Peace and Blessings from ALLAH be upon you) all in Islam,

Greetings, This is my story of how I reverted back to Islam. Revert is One who comes back to Islam. We are all Born Muslim, so those who stray and find there way back, ( by ALLAH's will) has reverted. By the time I was born, Islam had already been introduced to my family. My Uncles, (maternal), had both accepted Islam, by the end of the Vietnam war. Masha'ALLAH. And had given both of their sisters, my mother and aunt, dawah -needless to say both of them rejected the dawah at this time. They were not too keen on the idea of telling their parents, (my grandparents-maternal). You see, I came from a very strict Catholic background, and for anyone to convert to any other religion was frowned upon terribly. During my childhood, I always had the questions; Who was God, and Where did he come from. Mind you those two questions permeated my thoughts throughout my spiritual journey. Well, in the cathedrals my family attended, there were these Big, and Massive statues. Oh my, I thought these were the most scary statues I had ever seen. The music was creepy

and the combination of candles and stained glass made shadows look ghastly. Then, I remember having to light candles and go to confession, eat bread and drink fake wine (grape juice)........... ........All of this was very exhausting to me. The Frilly dresses and meticulous and strategically placed bows in my hair, I felt like a porcelain doll - and if anyone touched me or if I moved the wrong way , I could break. Did I forget to mention that I went to 2 different masses, Spanish and English. The Spanish I could barely understand ( parents wanted me to be western-so they only spoke English to me). And the English was to difficult to follow, and after all of that, and after many years ; I still did not know the answer to my 2 questions. As I got older, things changed quickly, here I was about 8 years old or so and my aunt took her shahadah (Masha'ALLAH), and I still didn't know what that meant at that time, only heard the word a few times, here and there. And my mother and father grew apart, and we ( my mom and I) grew apart, I lived with my grandmother , who was still a Devout Catholic, and I still had the dresses and bows. <smile> My mother moved to Georgia, and I was still in New York, going to 2 masses and going to confession, the whole bit. I got a little older and at about age 12, (almost a teenager!!, <smile> ) I moved to Georgia with my mom, and guess what!........ She also took her shahadah, ( Masha'ALLAH) and still I didn't know what this meant. I was devastated. My mother, a beautiful career women, a Muslim. Now, I know that she was the most beautiful women that I knew back then, and even now. I didn't know what to do. I knew One thing , I was not going to wear that head rag, as I called it at that pre teen stage. My mother tried to force me to wear the Khimar (head covering) and the long dress and the long shirts at first, then she realized the more she tried , the more I rebelled. I even ran away from home to my cousins house, (across the street from my school) to get away from my new Muslim mom. As time went on, I develop my curiosity of, Who God was and Where did He come from ,again. So, here I am at age 15 searching for God. I was away from my Muslim mom (living with relatives again - back and forth to New York, visiting my grandma), and I went to a penacostle church. I took the invite from a school friend. I could not connect, so I kept on searching. Now I was 17, had already been to a holiness church (all the "got the Spirit dancing" scared the heck out of me), a Baptist church (to much singing and yelling, not enough preaching), and a non Denominational church (finally found my niche) .

I was "baptised" and saved!! At last, I was no longer a sinner and was a spiritual person, who loved God and His son................... But, Who was He again? and Where did He come from? And now He had a son, did I just realize this?........ Back to square one. I decided to just say no to all the invites and not do anything, as far as religion was concerned. I had graduated from highschool and was in the beginning of my 2nd year of college ,when I met a preacher, a very young one. Just 3 years older than me. He was at the "Other" University, one for all males and it had a Theology program. Well, he gave me a bible, and told me to read certain chapters to renew my faith in God. But Which God, hmmmmmmmmm. I had been fed so much from so many different people, phew! I needed some renewal of faith, but how did I know this was the way. He made sure that he was there to guide me, if I had a question he always had the answer, if I needed clarification, he did it, if I needed some upliftment, he was there. It came a time I accepted his invite to this little church he practiced preaching at. I thought I knew it all, I had my Bible in hand , read it from cover to cover. I was prepared for it all. Or so I thought.......... ....I froze, something would not let me enjoy the service, I couldn't get up and say thank you Jesus (AS) anymore, I could not say Hallaleuah anymore. I got up and walked out, and never returned to that church again. Let me explain, I saw something in that church, I dont know what it was, but it was looking at me as I was looking at it. A few months after that, I had 2 dreams. 2 dreams I will never forget, Insha'ALLAH. To make it short, I dreamt that something was chasing me, and I turned around and said something in a different language. it stopped and ran away. The next dream I had was of my grandmother, (who had died, and taken her shahadah before her death, Masha'ALLAH). I was in her house with a Jewish family, mother and son. My grandmother was in the kitchen cooking, and I was speaking to this Jewish man, all of a sudden, my grandmother left and this Jewish mother was cooking, (I was in a spot where I could not see her), Well, this Jewish guy started speaking, what I think was Yiddish or Hebrew, and he jumped up and disappeared, I was drawn to the kitchen and saw that same thing again, I started to say something in that same language as before , in my other dream. And this time it didn't run, but grew. I said it over and over again, until I woke up screaming. I had to tell this , it is very significant in my reverting, (I think so anyway). Allahualim. I decided once again, not to do anything about religion. I was going to pray directly to

God and see what would happen. So I did, and waited, and waited, and waited. I was now 23 years old, had two children and still did not know the answer to those 2 questions. One day my uncle called me , just to see how I was. I told him about the dreams, and to my surprise, what I had been saying in my dreams was Arabic! I was seeking refuge. And I didn't even know. Masha'ALLAH! All my Uncle said to me was seek ALLAH, go to him and ask Him to guide you. He said this with such earnest, and he is an uncles I love so dearly, one that has never steered my wrong, Should I believe him? Should I pray to ALLAH? ALLAH.? Who was ALLAH? When my uncle gave me the answer, I broke down and cried. This was it, this was the answer I had been looking for , practically my whole life.!! That night I prayed, to ALLAH. About 2 years later, my aunt came to visit me, I was pregnant with my third child, and she asked me do you believe in God, the One God, who created all mankind., ALLAH. I said, Yes. She asked me what do u believe about Jesus (AS), by this time I knew the Muslims believed him to be a prophet of God, so I said what I thought she wanted me to hear and said, He is a prophet. She asked me did I know about the Prophet Muhammad, I told her not much, and she told me all about him. And that is when Jesus (AS) made sense to me as being a Prophet. I was intrigued. But still wasn't ready to make that move. I had too much pride, I could not cover my hair. I couldn't go into a perfect religion, being so imperfect. And what would my friends say? What about my job, what would they say if I covered my hair? Well, during this same week, my aunt and her husband visited me and my family again, we ate , we talked, and then My husband, (who knew a little about Islam) started to ask questions, before I knew it. He took his shahadah! Masha'ALLAH. I was still stubborn, and he never pushed Islam on me. Two months later, the day before my son was born (3 out of 4) <smile> I visited my mother. She had company and of course, she was Muslim. I spoke to the sister ,that I was fond of,. And she said to me, What is stopping you from accepting Islam. Your family, almost the entire family, is Muslim. Do you even know about Islam. I said somewhat, so she grabbed my hand, and I followed her to another room. We sat, and talked, I found out that I did not have to be perfect or never mess up, or free from sin. I still had some misconceptions. And By the Grace of ALLAH, this sister had put them to rest, with just one conversation. She even told me if I could not cover right away, then not to worry, that all I had to do was pray to ALLAH. And cover for Salah, and Insha'ALLAH, eventually I would cover. I could not believe it , to accept Islam, ALL my previous sins forgiveen, wipe clean, a new start?!!, Now THAT is born again. At that moment, I wanted to accept Islam, I wanted to take MY shahadah. It wasn't anything fancy, as I was used to in my previous ventures. My little brother, (a man then but still my little brother) gave me my shahadah, Ashahdu illa ilaiha illallah, wa ashadu

anna muhammadan rasoolu Allah,(I attest that there is only One God, and His Name is ALLAH ,none is worthy of worship but He, and I did all this in front of my mom, my aunt , and the friend. The next day my son was born, and I had a peace that came over me, I still cannot describe today. I have since then grown in my deen, and the knowledge of Islam, and can affirm, that Islam is the TRUE WAY OF LIFE,. AL - Hamdulillah!! Sorry this took sooo long, I became absorbed.

I thank ALLAH, the Most Merciful, for allowing me to be Muslim, and Insha'ALLAH he will allow us all In Islam, to live , worship, and die as Believers, and Submitting Muslims, Ameen. May ALLAH guide us all to His Straight Path, Ameen Oh, I forgot to say, that I did wear my Khimar, shortly after that, Masha'ALLAH. And have since quit that job, and now run my own business. I have progressed from just wearing the khimar, to full Hijab, Masha'ALLAH Wa Alaikumu As Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu UmLuqman

Story # 80 Why I Became Muslim? Yvonne Riddley, UK Note: Yvonne Riddley was BBC reporter, captured by Taliban in Afghanistan before the start of hostilities in Dec 2001. She spent ten days as captive and was released by Taliban just before the start of war. Her later conversion to Islam brought her into lime light once again. Many “theories” for this conversion were put forward, here the lady presents her own story in her own words (This is translated from vernacular, so absolute accuracy as to wordings cannot be guaranteed). Being a reporter made me objective in my thoughts and means. When the UK newspaper and BBC decided to sent me to Afghanistan, I immediately agreed. I tried for Afghanistan visa thru Pakistan, but could not get one. So I decided to enter Afghanistan without proper visa. The mule on which I was riding suddenly changed the route and I found myself alone in a strange neighborhood. The mule was stopped by a young Taliban. My dress and camera gave me away, the camera was taken away and I was made to wait. I was full of apprehension as to what this “Barbaric and Uncivilized” people would do to me, a western and Christian woman, who has entered illegally into their territory. After some delay, a woman came and searched me for hidden weapons etc. This was my first surprise!!! These “Barbaric and Uncivilized” people did not touch me until a woman came to search, while in my “Civilized and Cultured” country, I would be “pawed” immediately without waiting for any woman!! After my “arrest” I demanded use of Satellite phone, when my request was denied (might be for fear of pinpointing their location-Ed.), I resorted to hunger strike. I thought that this “Cruel and Evil” band would care least whether I consumed food or not. It was surprise for me when I started receiving strings of people, of all ages, old and young, male and female, all requesting me to start eating!!! They even offered to bring bear for me if I required that. When I got a temperature, they even called a doctor for me. All this surprised me. Once I was told that Commander of Taliban is coming to meet me, they requested me to behave properly with him. There was a knock on my door, I opened it (I had key to my room!!! Another surprise), the Commander appeared before me. He was dressed in a long gown and had a beautiful face and a full beard. He asked me what I think about Islam. I was diplomatic in my answer and highlighted many good qualities of Islam. “Then why don’t you accept it? “ was the next question. I could not answer this question…so he told me that soon you will be released, but promise me that you will take up study of Islam when you go back. I gave my promise.

Next day, I was taken to another place and I found that many Western Women were prisoners and they were reading Bible. I later learned that these missionaries also entered Afghanistan illegally and were preaching Christianity to Afghanis. What was peculiar, was that Taliban did not do any thing to the Bible and gave it all due respect. That was another surprise for me that these “Barbaric and Uncivilized” people give this much respect to other people’s scriptures (What American Soldiers did with Quran at GITMO and ABU GHARIB is known to every body –Ed.). Many days passed and each new day brought more and more surprises to me. I was able to watch the respect and regard which they showed to women. They never mistreated us or subjected us to any hardship. I was the most outspoken and complaining of the lot. I tried to break as many rules as I could do….the maximum “Punishment” I received was that I was denied use of Satellite Phone which was given to other inmates!!! One thing which I never forgot was the uproar that which open drying of my washed clothes caused. I had also washed my undergarments and put them out in the sun to dry. Soon I was requested to take them inside…I refused….they asked again me to remove them as they could tempt people …I again refused and they gave me Title of “Evil Women”!!! Finally just one day before American Bombardment started, they told me that they would soon take me away from harm’s way and release me near Pakistan Border. I could hardly believe my ears. They are worried about my safety, when their own lives are in extreme danger. …..Soon I was back in “Civilized and Cultured land” and was swarmed by media person, each asking about what happened to me when I was “in Dark and Medieval” age Afghanistan!!! They did not seem to believe me, when I told that I was treated with respect and was not harmed in any way. Well after my release I remembered my promise to the Taliban commander. My studies about Islam opened my eyes and I decided to join the “Biggest Brotherhood” on the face of this earth and accepted Islam in June 2002!!! (abridged)

Story # 81 S Why I Became Muslim? SISTER Zainab Oñez Discovered Islam while training to be a nun. Assalamu alaikum waramatullahi wa barakatuhu! I am Zainab Oñez, 24 years old, single never been married, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Marketing at Holy Cross of Davao College Inc, Philippines. I was a former Roman Catholic and I am one of the working Scholars in SVD or society Verbini Divini, a religious congregation in the Catholic religion for 6 years. Previously, my plan was to become a nun. When I was at the young age of 14, I used to ask myself why many people would have debates about the Christian religion. I had realized maybe God has given one religion to all mankind. When I reached the age of 20, I started to research on the internet and I read about how ISLAM IS A WAY OF LIFE. And I was getting shocked, why was Catholicism not a way of life? I started to research more about Islam because it was my first time to hear about Islam. I printed all the Islamic research that I had found from the internet and showed them to our professor. He was getting angry with me; why I was studying about Islam; Muslims are terrorists; Muslims are bad people; Muslims worship another God. I considered this as a challenge and was encouraged to study more about Islam. After two years of studying about Islam I decided to embrace Islam last February 21, 2006. Alhamdolillah, I am only one Muslim among with our family and I am now working as a volunteer in Dawah Islamic propagation in Davao city. My entire Christian friends were against me in my new Islamic way of life. I don’t care what other people say. The most important thing is that this is my decision and I know that this is the true religion of Allah SWT given to all mankind. That is why I spend my life in Dawah for Muslim and non-Muslim area because this is the true religion of Allah that has given to all mankind. The first big jihad for me is wearing of Hijab and abaya but Alhamdolillah with the help of Allah I got my selfconfidence of wearing in proper attire. Most of Christian friends say, what happened to you Zainab, you look like a ghost but I smile at them, and say you do not understand what you are talking about and it is better for you to study your Bible because even the Bible is very strict for the woman: If Christians read their Bible carefully and understand their Bible, all of them will become Muslims. I am now enjoying making my comparative study of religion and inshaAllah I am hoping to be like Ahmad Deedat a good daeyah or preacher in our Islamic religion. Now, I am always hoping to focus on study in Arabic education inshaAllah if Allah given me an opportunity to study in Saudi Arabia inshaAllah.

Please try to correct my English grammar. I hope that you can understand because I am not really good in English grammar.

Story # 82 Why I Became Muslim? Zainab's Testimony My Spiritual Life: I have been enamored with God since I was young. Like many children, I would stare into the clouds or stars and wonder who, what, where, why, and how was God. Trying to verify His presence, I would set up quasi-experiments to find proof. For instance, setting a glass on a table, and ask God to move it, to prove His existence. … I was raised as a Christian, and as I grew up, I would go to different church denominations, and ask the ministers (Imam), how they knew, for sure, that God existed. Now, I would think, that, this would be, the question, they are asked most often, but as it turns out, they are almost never asked this question, and even more surprisingly, for the most part, they do not appear to like being asked this question… I had other difficulties with Christianity. The concept that heaven can only be obtained through having Jesus as your Savior, with good and bad deeds having no relevance in the scheme of things, was an idea that always defied common sense to me. Theoretically in Christianity, a person who sins all day, every day of his life, will go to heaven if he accepts Jesus as his Savior, one second before he dies. The man that does all good, every day of his life, who does not accept Jesus as his Savior in his lifetime, is sentenced to eternal hell. One day, I met several Muslim sisters, and I felt an instant kinship, unlike any I had previously held. Like myself, they did not date, swear, drink, and the long list of other common vices. It was such a great feeling to meet others, with whom, I held so much agreement about so many matters. I was surprised to learn that there was any other person on the planet so similar to myself. I had no idea such a creature existed. Since this was the second time Muslims had been brought to my attention, I decided that I should at least investigate Islam, so I called a Mosque and went to it for direction. I was given a copy of the Quran and so I started to read. Slowly my focus began to shift from Christianity to Islam. At first I stopped teaching the "Christ as Savior" part in my Sunday School lessons, and opted for morality lessons each week. I did not discuss Islam with anybody because I felt I was betraying all my Christian family and friends, and I did not even discuss it with my Muslim girlfriends because I did not want my decision to have any pressure applied. Slowly, without my actually realizing it, I began to shift my beliefs from Christianity and towards Islam. I

In the following month, I was overwhelmed with the sense that I was home. I felt that what I had been looking for all my life had been found, and for the first time I was home where I belonged. Often, I feel as though I was always a Muslim, My familial response to my conversion: The rude response however was difficult to understand, and very troubling for my family. Their impression of Muslims had been the same as 95% of Americans, that they are crazy terrorists. However, when my family met my girlfriends, they changed their opinion to a positive one. Then, when mean-spirited brothers did their best to make my life difficult, they reversed their opinion. They did this rightly so. I have not written here some of the bizarre behavior that occurred because I do not think it will serve any benefit to Islam. Suffice to say, if anyone else had been in their shoes, they would agree with them. Looking to God for Guidance: Some religious people get angry when I say that God guides me, and claim it is impossible. First of all, the Quran begins by stating that we should go to God for guidance. Secondly, just because they (the angry person) have never had this experience, does not mean it does not exist. It does happen, and I will be happy to try to explain how to get started, as far as I understand it. 1. First of all, remember, that God knows every iota of our intentions. So, we must begin with utterly pure intentions. You cannot want God's guidance for some reason or power, ego, etc. It must be for wholly unselfish reasons. God recognizes the impure heart, no matter how successfully someone might try to disguise it among the general public. 2. You must let go of all the things that you try and control in your life and recognize that God is in control. I think so often God is trying to guide us towards what he wants us to do, however, we are too busy, trying to make things go the way that we want, that we are not able to hear Him. A good way to let go of our control, so that we can hear God, is to visualize a barge floating down a river in front of you. Imagine placing everything you have in your life on that barge as it floats away from you, to God. Image you have no say or input as to what happens to these things, situations, people, etc., and honestly saying to God that you fully accept and embrace whatever it is He decides to do with all of the things in our life. Even if it is the opposite of what you desire - that is a very hard part. Imagine if He decides that everything is best for you, if it is the opposite, of what you are trying to achieve. This is where you have to truly trust God one hundred percent. 3. Next, you must be still and recognize God and all of His attributes. 4. Next, you must be silent and still and just "be" with God. 5. You must not expect anything to happen, because it is the grace of God when He guides you. However, if you do this daily, my experience is eventually something

happens. Sometimes it happens during the prayer, but other times it occurs while you are in the ordinary situations. 6. The thing that happens is that you will sense a strong direction of guidance. You have to learn to distinguish between your own ideas and Gods. The way that I usually know that it is God, is that His guidance is usually the opposite of what I want to do. For instance, since I am not a good person, there are certain people that I do not like, and would not mind if they disappeared from this earth. Sometimes, I will sense God telling me to go to them and comfort them. It is a struggle because sometimes my only desire is to go up and kick them. I remember once I sensed God asking me to pray blessings for my least favorite person on the planet. I could not believe it. I was arguing with God saying, "come on God? Blessings? Can I just pray that he gets in a car accident and suffers pain and becomes very sorry for being so evil." (I told you that I am bad, didn't I?) Anyway, needless to say, He did not find that acceptable, so I pray the way He requested. When I have a strong sense that I need to do something good that I do not want to do, and this action falls in line with all the teachings of Allah, it is usually God's guidance. 7. The way that I confirm that it was God's guidance is that something significant and Godly happens as a result. For instance, the day I prayed blessings for my least favorite person, he made a dramatic turn around in his behavior toward me from that time forward. 8. Again, the key, is all in the honesty of intention. Your intention must be to behave in a pious way, serve Allah and His purposes with no desire for personal gain. Again, I have many interesting stories about this, but I want to limit the length of this. Finally, I would like to ask for prayers from my brothers and sisters in Islam. I have found the transition to Islam difficult and I have encountered a world of problems trying to do Islamic work in the community. I would sincerely prefer a prayer more than a gift of $1,000,000. So to anyone that sacrifices their valuable time and remembers me in their prayers, I will be eternally grateful and appreciate.

Story # 83 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: ZAINAB CHAUHAN, CHURU RAJASTHAN, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in CHURU in a Rajput family on 20th April 1968. My father was principal in a local high school. I did BA from the city and was married on 6th June 1990 in a good family of MP. My husband was NAIB TAHSILDAR and he had been a very good hockey player. In fact he got his job due to his hockey game. We lived in RATLAM and MANDSORE due to my husband’ transfers. Then he was promoted as TAHSILDAR in Bhopal and went there. 02. My husband used to love me very much and everything was fine in our family and we had two children. But all that changed in 2000 when my husband went to live in Bhopal. There was a very handsome Brahmin girl working in his office. She was very hard working and efficient. My husband fell in love with her, even though there was no sexual relationship between them, but he always was lost in her thought. 03. He decided to leave me an marry her….so he left me with my parents and invited her to Delhi to marry her. Since he was already married, so lawyers told them the only way out was them to become Muslim and then get married.. They went to many places in Delhi, but no one helped them. Some one told them the address of Maulana Kalim in Phulat. He reached there but Maulana was not there. But there was Muslim scholar there who asked them to recite Kalima and then married them as per Islamic rites. 04. He also told them that they have to complete official formalities by giving affidavit before a DM. The girl told my husband that when we have become Muslim, we should also read about Islam. She got some book on Islam and read them. The study of Islam opened their heart to Islam and they became Muslims from their heart.

05. Later when they met Maulana and told about their story….Maulana told that it was very unfair to your first wife, you should start working on her and start praying for her right with.. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 06. Slowly the news of his marriage reached to me, I was very angry and sad. My father initiated a case against my husband, he was arrested and spend some days in jail. He got bail but he was suspended from the office duty. My family members made life more and more difficult for him….but his new wife became a staunch Muslim and even started participating in Missionary activities. 07. They consulted Maulana and his wife told him, that now that she has become a True Muslim, she feels that his first wife was a victim. I have no objection, if he goes back to her and divorces me. 08. She phoned me a number of times and begged me repeatedly to come to Bhopal, so we could solve the issue ourselves. Firstly I refused, but after some time, when Is aw no way out, I decided to go there. When I reached there, she told me about Islam and went on asking me to save me from the hell fire…. She kept on working on me, till Allah also opened my heart to Islam. 09. I accepted Islam and I was remarried to my husband according to Islamic rites. She was very happy for me and kept on congratulating me again and again. Soon she told me one Friday that I have seen a dream that I am going to heaven….shortly afterwards she fell sick…and died after a brief sickness. It was strange that second wife is presented in a bad light, but in my case, she became a real boon. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 10. My husband was very much affected by the death of his second wife. In fact he told me that he has now no more attraction left in life. I am consoling hem and send him to Maulana when he feels very depressed. I have brought my children back to Bhopal and then are studying in Islamic schools now. I hope that they become Islamic missionary.

F. Present Situation: We have taken Maulana as our religious teacher and consult him on our situation and religious queries. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 11. It is said in Quran that “If one believes and does good deeds, Allah will make his earthly life pleasant..” We have seen the truth of this Quranic verse in the life of my husband, his second wife and now in my own case!!
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged)

Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of March 2009

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