islamic, social, cultural
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 

 Women Tell of Coverting to Islam 3

Go down 

Posts : 2243
Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: Women Tell of Coverting to Islam 3   Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:50 pm

D. Beatty
My Journey to Islam

My name is Diana Beatty, some call me Masooma
Amtullah but most do not. I am almost 23 and converted nearly 3 years
ago now. I am a college student studying physics and training to become
a teacher. I am a native of Colorado, USA. My father and brother are
electricians. I have only one sibling, my brother, who is 27 and is
married with two young children. He lives just two houses down from my
parents. my mother is a legal secretary for the county attorney's
office. No one in my family before me has gone to college. My father is
an alcoholic and smokes a lot and his habits make the household very
stressful and unhappy at times because he tends to be very selfish and
angry. He is like a living dead man. My mother is bitter about him often
and lives in a loveless marriage, I think. But to most appearances they
are an ideal family. They keep dogs at the house, and that along with
the alcohol makes visiting difficult but I try to go when I can. My
mother says I never go home enough, that is in part because she has few
friends as my father prefers it that way. The family has been through a
lot over the years and at least we have come to a point where we do not
abandon each other even though things are not ideal. I have no children
of my own yet and do not plan to right away but eventually.

When I came to college I met a Muslim for the first time. Only
after meeting some Muslims did I slowly come to realize how ignorant I
was about Islam and Muslims; a lot of what I had learned growing up was
quite erroneous, but for the most part I just never heard anything at
all about it. I became curious about the religion because the good
manners of the Muslims I met appealed to me, as well as the sincerity
and worship aspect of the Muslim prayer. The idea of a religion which
guided us in every aspect of life was something I had been looking for.
I was raised Christian and at the time of meeting the Muslims was quite
religious and studying the bible seriously. But the questions the bible
left unanswered for me, the Quran answered. At first I did not like to
read Quran because of what it said about Jesus not being Son of God and
mention about wars that echoed in my mind what I had heard about Muslim
terrorism and violence. But the Muslims I knew, I took them as my
example of what a Muslim is like and saw that the stereotype I had been
raised with just didn't fit. I wondered how I knew bible was right and
Quran was wrong, especially when so much was similar between them, they
seemed to originate from the same source. I could not believe my bible
study teacher when he said Quran was from Satan and made similar to be a
better deception. Nor could I believe that these Muslims who were in
general far more religious and worshipping of God than the Christians
would go to hell for sure, as I was taught. As I continued my study, I
was able to read the bible in a new light and see contradictions and
even errors and scientific fallacies that before I had dismissed as due
to my failure to understand the Word of God. But these errors and
contradictions were absent in Quran. And what Quran said about God and
our purpose and all these things I found more logical and easier to
understand, and I knew that I believed God would provide us with a
religion that we could understand and that was fair. It was a difficult
time but over a period of several months I studied the two religions and
Islam won out, I became convinced that it was the true religion that
Allah had sent for us and so I reverted. At that time I still was not
sure about everything, I still was not sure about hijab in particular,
and I did not know anything like how to pray etc. but in time I started
to learn.

It was very difficult to conclude that everyone I had ever known,
my teachers, my parents, my grandparents, my friends, my preachers, were
all wrong. It was hard to decide to go against my family and do
something I knew they would hate and would not understand. I was
terrified to make the wrong choice, but Christianity teaches if you do
not believe Jesus (pbuh) died for your sins then you go to hell (at
least so the religious leaders told me), so I was afraid of being
misled. I was afraid that my peers and coworkers and bosses would react
negatively and even that I might be disowned from my family. My family
did hate the choice but did not disown me. Our relationships was forever
changed. Whenever I talk to my mother she complains about my Islamic
dress, that seems to bother them more than anything, and she will send
Christian religious literature to me, etc. When I first put on hijab she
cried for literally a week and was so hurt, she wrote me a letter saying
it was a slap in the face and I was abandoning how they raised me and
trying to be an Arab. They convinced themselves that I was doing it only
for my Muslim husband (I ended up marrying a Muslim man) and so they
didn't like him and wished for our relationship to end. I was told by
family members that I was going to hell. It was not hard to give up the
nonhalal food, the alcohol, to start praying, to wear hijab (after some
initial difficulty), the only thing that was really hard was hurting my
family and being constantly pushed by them.

In this process, I did lose a few who just could not handle the
change but most of my friends did not really mind. Nor did I have any
problem obtaining multiple jobs of my choice in hijab. I am generally
not discriminated against at all on the college campus, although you do
have to get used to stares and a more formal relationship with
coworkers. I find most respectme a great deal for doing what I believe.
It is only my family who has a great difficulty, because it is THEIR
daughter. Well, and men never know what to think when I decline to shake
their hand.

It is difficult to describe to someone who has never felt it how
Islam can change and improve one's life. But Islam changed me totally. I
now have no doubt about our purpose in this world and that I am
following the right path, I have a certainty I never knew before, and a
peace that goes with it. God's plan makes much more sense to me and I
feel I have an idea where I belong. Plus, through Islam, it is rarely an
ambiguous question if something is right or wrong, unlike my Christian
friends who often doubt if they are doing the right thing. I finally
have a hold on the things that really matter and am not lost anymore. I
didn't even really know I was lost before, but when I found Islam and
looked back it was so clear to me that I had been searching for years.
Alhumdooleluh I was guided. Islam also improved my life as a woman in
that I find good Muslim men treat women with so much more respect than
is found in American society that I am raised in. I feel special to be a
woman, before I was always a little uncomfortable as a woman because I
felt my life would be easier if I had been a man because as a woman I
found myself faced with incredible responsibility of working full time
and raising a family and cooking and cleaning and never fitting in fully
to any of those roles. As a Muslim woman I feel freer to look at myself
and choose the path which truly suits my nature and have others accept
that, and I feel like a woman and it feels good; like coming home.
Reverting toIslam feels like coming

Kaci Starbuck
My first
realization about the Christian idea of salvation came after I was
baptized into a Southern Baptist church at a young age. I was taught in
Sunday School that "if you aren't baptized, then you are going to

My own baptism had taken place because I
wanted to please people. My mom had come into my room one evening and I
asked her about baptism. She encouraged me to do it. So, the next
Sunday, I decided to go to the front of the church. During a hymn at the
end of the sermon, I walked forward to meet with the youth minister. He
had a smile on his face, greeted me, then sat beside me on a pew. He
asked a question, "Why do you want to do this?"... I paused, then said,
"because I love Jesus and I know that he loves me". After making the
statement, the members of the church came up and hugged me...
anticipating the ceremonial immersion in water just a few weeks

During my early years at church, even in the
kindergarten class, I remember being a vocal participant in the Sunday
School lessons. Later, in my early adolescent years I was a member of
the young girls' group that gathered at the church for weekly activities
and went on annual retreats to a camp. During my youth, I attended a
camp with older members of the youth group. Though I hadn't spent much
time with them before, they recognized me as "the daughter of a youth
coordinator" or "the girl who plays piano at special occations at
church". One evening at this camp a man was speaking about his marriage.
He told the story about meeting his wife. He had grown up in the US
where dating was normal, but in the girl's culture, he could only be
with her if they had a guardian with them. Since he liked her, he
decided to continue seeing her. Another stipulation is that they could
not touch each other until she had been given a promise ring. Once he
proposed to her, they were allowed to hold hands. -This baffled me, yet
held me in awe. It was beautiful to think that such discovery of another
person could be saved until a commitment was made. Though I enjoyed the
story, I never thought that the same incident could occur

A few years later, my parents divorced and
the role of religion changed in my life. I had always seen my family
through the eyes of a child - they were perfect. My dad was a deacon in
the church, well respected, and known by all. My mom was active with
youth groups. When my mom left, I took the role of caretaker of my
father and two brothers. We continued to go to church, but when visiting
my mom on weekends, the visits to churches became more infrequent. When
at my dad's home we would gather at night every night to read
Corinthians 1:13 (which talks about love/charity). My brothers, father,
and I repeated this so often that I memorized it. It was a source of
support for my dad, though I could not understand why.

In a period of three consecutive years, my
older brother, younger brother, and I moved to my mom's house. At that
point my mom no longer went to church, so my brothers found church
attendance less important. Having moved to my mother's house during my
junior year of high school, I was to discover new friends and a
different way of life. The first day of school I met a girl who was very
friendly. The second day of school, she invited me to her house for the
weekend - to meet her family and visit her church. I was automatically
"adopted" into her family as a "good kid" and "good influence" for her.
Also, I was surprisingly shocked at the congregation that attended her
church. Though I was a stranger, all of the women and men greeted me
with hugs and kisses and made me feel welcome.

After continually spending time with the
family and attending church on the weekends, they started talking to me
about particular beliefs in their Church of Christ. This group went by
the New Testament (literal interpretation of Paul's writings). They had
no musical instruments in church services - only vocal singing; there
were no hired preachers, but elders who would bring sermons each Sunday.
Women were not allowed to speak in church. Christmas, Easter, and other
holidays were not celebrated, wine and unleavened bread were taken as
communion every Sunday, and baptism was seen as immediately necessary at
the moment that the sinner decided to become a believer. Though I was
already considered a Christian, members of this congregation believed
that I was going to hell if I didn't get baptized again - in their
church, their way. This was the first major blow to my belief system.
Had I grown up in a church where everything had been done wrong? Did I
really have to be baptized again?

At one point I had a discussion about faith
with my mom. I told her about my confusion and just wanted somebody to
clear things up for me. I became critical of sermons at all churches
because the preachers would just tell stories and not focus on the
Bible. I couldn't understand: if the Bible was so important, why was it
not read (solely) in the church service?

Though I thought about baptism every Sunday
for almost two years, I could not walk forward to be baptized. I would
pray to God to push me forward if it were the right thing to do - but it
never happened.

The next year I went to college and became
detached from all churches as a freshman. Some Sundays I would visit
churches with friends - only to feel critical of the sermons. I tried to
join the baptist student association, but felt that things were wrong
there, too. I had come to college thinking that I would find something
like the church of christ but it was not to be found. When I would
return home to my mom's house on occassional weekends, I would visit the
church to gain the immediate sense of community and

In my Sophomore year, I spent Sundays singing
at the Wake Forest church in the choir because I earned good money.
Though I didn't support the church beliefs, I endured the sermons to
make money. In October of my sophomore year I met a Muslim who lived in
my dorm. He was a friendly guy who always seemed to be pondering
questions or carrying a deep thought. One evening I spent the entire
evening asking him philosophical questions about beliefs and religion.
He talked about his beliefs as a Shia' Ismaili Imami Muslim. Though his
thoughts did not fully represent this sect of Islam (since he was also
confused and searching for answers), his initial statements made me
question my own beliefs: are we born into a religion, therefore making
it the right one? Day after day I would meet with him and ask questions
- wanting to get on the same level of communication that we had reached
at our initial meeting - but he would not longer answer the questions or
meet the spiritual needs that I had.

The following summer I worked at a bookstore
and grabbed any books that I could find about Islam. I introduced myself
to another Muslim on campus and started asking him questions about
Islam. Instead of looking to him for answers, I was directed to the
Quran. Any time I would have general questions about Islam, he would
answer them. I went to the local mosque twice during that year and was
happy to feel a sense of community again.

After reading about Islam over the summer, I
became more sensitive to statements made about Muslims. While taking an
introductory half-semester couse on Islam, I would feel frustrated when
the professor would make a comment the was incorrect, but I didn't know
how to correct him. Outside of my personal studies and university class,
I became an active worker and supporter of our newly rising campus Islam
Awareness Organization. As the only female member, I would be identified
to others as "the christian in the group". every time a Muslim would say
that, I would look at him with puzzlement - because I thought that I was
doing all that they had been doing - and that I was a Muslim,

I had stopped eating pork and became
vegetarian, had never liked alcohol, and had begun fasting for the month
of Ramadhan. But, there still was a difference...

At the end of that year (junior year) other
changes were made. I decided to start wearing my hair up - concealed
from people. Once again, I thought of this as something beautiful and
had an idea that only my husband should be able to see my hair. I hadn't
even been told about hijab... since many of the sisters at the mosque
did not wear it.

That summer I was sitting at school browsing
the internet and looking for sites about Islam. I wanted to find e-mail
addresses for Muslims, but couldn't find a way. I eventually ventured
onto a homepage that was a matrimonial link. I read over some
advertisements and tried to find some people within my age range to
write to about Islam. I prefaced my initial letters with "I am not
seeking marriage - I just want to learn about Islam". Within a few days
I had received replies from three Muslims- one from Pakistan/India who
was studying in the US, one from India but studying in the UK, and one
living in the UAE. Each brother was helpful in unique ways - but I
started corresponding with the one from the US the most because we were
in the same time zone. I would send questions to him and he would reply
with thorough, logical answers. By this point I knew that Islam was
right - all people were equal regardless of color, age, sex, race, etc;
I had received answers to troublesome questions by going to the Qur'an,
I could feel a sense of community with Muslims, and I had a strong,
overwhelming need to declare the shahada at a mosque. No longer
did I have the "christian fear" of denouncing the claim of Jesus as God
- I believed that there was only one God and there should be no
associations with God. One Thursday night in July 1997 I talked with the
brother over the phone. I asked more questions and received many more
pertinent, logical answers. I decided that the next day I would go to
the mosque.

I went to the mosque with the Muslim brother
from Wake Forest and his non-Muslim sister, but did not tell him my
intentions. I mentioned that I wanted to speak with the imam after the
khutbah [religious directed talk]. The imam delivered the khutbah, the
Muslims prayed [which includes praising Allah, recitation of the Quran,
and a series of movements which includes bowing to Allah] then he came
over to talk with me. I asked him what was necessary to become Muslim.
He replied that there are basics to understand about Islam, plus the
shahada [there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of
Allah]. I told him that I had learned about Islam for more than a year
and was ready to become Muslim. I recited the kalimah... and became
Muslim on July 12, 1996, alhumdulillah [all praise due to

That was the first big step. Many doors
opened after that - and have continued to open by the grace of Allah. I
first began to learn prayer, then visited another masjid in
Winston-Salem, and began wearing hijab two weeks later.....

At my summer job, I had problems with wearing
hijab. The bosses didn't like it and "let me go" early for the summer.
They didn't think that I could "perform" my job of selling bookbags
because the clothing would limit me. But, I found the hijab very
liberating. I met Muslims as they would walk around the mall... everyday
I met someone new, alhumdulillah.

As my senior year of college progressed, I
took the lead of the Muslim organization on campus because I found that
the brothers were not very active. Since I pushed the brothers to do
things and constantly reminded them of events, I received the name
"mother Kaci".

During the last half of my Senior year, I
took elective courses: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Each course was
good because I was a minority representative in each. Mashallah, it was
nice to represent Islam and to tell people the truth about Muslims and

Karima Slack Razi
I took the
Shahadah on September 20, 1991. If you had told me 5 years prior that I
would embrace Islam, I never would have believed you. In retrospect,
Allah's guidance was so subtle yet consistent, that now I see my whole
life as leading up to that moment. It is difficult to encapsulate the
exact factors that brought me to Islam because it was a journey, a
process, that lasted three years. Those three years were both
exhilarating and exhausting. My perceptions of myself and the world
changed dramatically. Some beliefs were validated; others, shattered. At
times I feared I would lose myself; at other times I knew that this path
was my destiny and embraced it. Throughout those years, a series of
aspects of Islam intrigued me. Slowly and gradually, my studies led me
towards the day when I took the declaration of faith, the

Prior to my introduction to Islam, I knew
that I yearned for more spiritual fulfillment in my life. But, as yet,
nothing had seemed acceptable or accessible to me. I had been brought up
essentially a secular humanist. Morals were emphasized, but never
attributed to any spiritual or divine being. The predominant religion of
our country, Christianity, seemed to burden a person with too much
guilt. I was not really familiar with any other religions. I wish I
could say that, sensing my spiritual void, I embarked on a spiritual
quest and studied various religions in depth. However, I was too
comfortable with my life for that. I come from a loving and supportive
family. I had many interesting and supportive friends. I thoroughly
enjoyed my university studies and I was successful at the university.
Instead, it was the "chance" meeting of various Muslims that instigated
my study of Islam.

Sharif was one of the first Muslims who
intrigued me. He was an elderly man who worked in a tutorial program for
affirmative action that I had just entered. He explained that while his
job brought little monetary reward, the pleasure he gained from teaching
students brought him all the reward he needed. He spoke softly and
genuinely. His demeanor more than his words caught me, and I thought, "I
hope I have his peace of spirit when I reach his age." That was in

As I met more Muslims, I was struck not only
by their inner peace, but by the strength of their faith. These gentle
souls contrasted with the violent, sexist image I had of Islam. Then I
met Imran, a Muslim friend of my brother's who I soon realized was the
type of man I would like to marry. He was intelligent, sincere,
independent, and at peace with himself. When we both agreed that there
was potential for marriage, I began my serious studies of Islam.
Initially, I had no intention of becoming Muslim; I only desired to
understand his religion because he had made it clear that he would want
to raise his children as Muslims. My response was: "If they will turn
out as sincere, peaceful and kind as he is, then I have no problem with
it. But I do feel obligated to understand Islam better

In retrospect, I realize that I was attracted
to these peaceful souls because I sensed my own lack of inner peace and
conviction. There was an inner void that was not completely satisfied
with academic success or human relationships. However, at that point I
would never have stated that I was attracted to Islam for myself.
Rather, I viewed it as an intellectual pursuit. This perception was
compatible with my controlled, academic lifestyle.

Since I called myself a feminist, my early
reading centered around women in Islam. I thought Islam oppressed women.
In my Womens Studies courses I had read about Muslim women who were not
allowed to leave their homes and were forced to cover their heads. Of
course I saw hijab as an oppressive tool imposed by men rather than as
an expression of self-respect and dignity. What I discovered in my
readings surprised me. Islam not only does not oppress women, but
actually liberates them, having given them rights in the 6th century
that we have only gained in this century in this country: the right to
own property and wealth and to maintain that in her name after marriage;
the right to vote; and the right to divorce.

This realization was not easy in coming....I
resisted it every step of the way. But there were always answers to my
questions. Why is there polygamy? It is only allowed if the man can
treat all four equally and even then it is discouraged. However, it does
allow for those times in history when there are more women than men,
especially in times of war, so that some women are not deprived of
having a relationship and children. Furthermore, it is far superior to
the mistress relationship so prevalent here since the woman has a legal
right to support should she have a child. This was only one of many
questions, the answers to which eventually proved to me that women in
Islam are given full rights as individuals in society.

However, these discoveries did not allay all
my fears. The following year was one of intense emotional turmoil.
Having finished up my courses for my masters in Latin American Studies
in the spring of 1989, I decided to take a year to substitute teach.
This enabled me to spend a lot of time studying Islam. Many things I was
reading about Islam made sense. However, they didn't fit into my
perception of the world. I had always perceived of religion as a crutch.
But could it be that it was the truth? Didn't religions cause much of
the oppression and wars in the world? How then could I be considering
marrying a man who followed one of the world's major religions? Every
week I was hit with a fresh story on the news, the radio or the
newspaper about the oppression of Muslim women. Could I, a feminist,
really be considering marrying into that society? Eyebrows were raised.
People talked about me in worried tones behind my back. In a matter of
months, my secure world of 24 years was turned upside down. I no longer
felt that I knew what was right or wrong. What was black and white, was
now all gray.

But something kept me going. And it was more
than my desire to marry Imran. At any moment I could have walked away
from my studies of Islam and been accepted back into a circle of
feminist, socialist friends and into the loving arms of my family. While
these people never deserted me, they haunted me with their influence. I
worried about what they would say or think, particularly since I had
always judged myself through the eyes of others. So I secluded myself. I
talked only with my family and friends that I knew wouldn't judge me.
And I read.

It was no longer an interested, disinterested
study of Islam. It was a struggle for my own identity. Up to that time I
had produced many successful term papers. I knew how to research and to
support a thesis. But my character had never been at stake. For the
first time, I realized that I had always written to please others. Now,
I was studying for my own spirit. It was scary. Although I knew my
friends and family loved me, they couldn't give me the answers. I no
longer wanted to lean on their support. Imran was always there to answer
my questions. While I admired his patience and his faith that all would
turn out for the best, I didn't want to lean too heavily on him out of
my own fear that I might just be doing this for a man and not for
myself. I felt I had nothing and no one to lean on. Alone, frightened
and filled with self-doubt, I continued to read.

After I had satisfied my curiosity about
women in Islam and been surprised by the results, I began to read about
the life of the Prophet Muhammad and to read the Qu'ran itself. As I
read about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), I began to question my initial
belief that he was merely an exceptional leader. His honesty prior to
any revelations, his kindness, his sagacity, his insights into his
present as well as the future--all made me question my initial premise.
His persistence in adversity and, later, his humility in the face of
astounding success seemed to belie human nature. Even at the height of
his success when he could have enjoyed tremendous wealth, he refused to
have more than his poorest companions in Islam.

Slowly I was getting deeper and deeper into
the Qu'ran. I asked, "Could a human being be capable of such a subtle,
far-reaching book?" Furthermore, there are parts that are meant to guide
the Prophet himself, as well as reprimand him. I wondered if the Prophet
would have reprimanded himself.

As I slowly made my way through the Qu'ran,
it became less and less an intellectual activity, and more and more a
personal struggle. There were days when I would reject every word--find
a way to condemn it, not allow it to be true. But then I would suddenly
happen upon a phrase that spoke directly to me. This first happened when
I was beginning to experience a lot of inner turmoil and doubt and I
read some verses towards the end of the second chapter: "Allah does not
burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear" (2:286).
Although I would not have stated that I believed in Allah at that time,
when I read these words it was as if a burden was lifted from my

I continued to have many fears as I studied
Islam. Would I still be close to my family if I became a Muslim? Would I
end up in an oppressive marriage? Would I still be "open-minded?" I
believed secular humanism to be the most open-minded approach to life.
Slowly I began to realize that secular humanism is as much an ideology,
a dogma, as Islam. I realized that everyone had their ideology and I
must consciously choose mine. I realized that I had to have trust in my
own intellect and make my own decisions--that I should not be swayed by
the negative reactions of my "open-minded," "progressive" friends.
During this time, as I started keeping more to myself, I was becoming
intellectually freer than any time in my life.

Two and a half years later, I had finished
the Qu'ran, been delighted by its descriptions of nature and often
reassured by its wisdom. I had learned about the extraordinary life of
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); I had been satisfied by the realization that
Islam understands that men and women are different but equal; and I
discovered that Islam gave true equality not only to men and women, but
to all races and social classes, judging only by one's level of piety.
And I had gained confidence in myself and my own decisions. It was then
that I came to the final, critical question: Do I believe in one God?
This is the basis of being a Muslim. Having satisfied my curiosity about
the rules and historical emergence of Islam, I finally came to this
critical question, the essence of being Muslim. It was as if I had gone
backwards: starting with the details before I finally reached the
spiritual question. I had to wade through the technicalities and satisfy
my academic side before I could finally address the spiritual question.
Did I.... Could I place my trust in a greater being? Could I relinquish
my secular humanist approach to life?

Twice I decided to take the shahadah and then
changed my mind the next day. One afternoon, I even knelt down and
touched my forehead to the floor, as I had often seen Muslims do, and
asked for guidance. I felt such peace in that position. Perhaps in that
moment I was a Muslim a heart, but when I stood up, my mind was not
ready to officially take the shahadah.

After that moment a few more weeks passed. I
began my new job: teaching high school. The days began to pass very
quickly, a flurry of teaching, discipline and papers to correct. As my
days began to pass so fast, it struck me that I did not want to pass
from this world without having declared my faith in Allah.
Intellectually, I understood that the evidence present in the Prophet
Muhammad's (PBUH) life and in the Qu'ran was too compelling to deny.
And, at that moment, I was also ready in my heart for Islam. I had spent
my life longing for a truth in which heart would be compatible with
mind, action with thought, intellect with emotion. I found that reality
in Islam. With that reality came true self-confidence and intellectual
freedom. A few days after I took the shahadah , I wrote in my journal
that finally I have found in Islam the validation of my inner thoughts
and intuition. By acknowledging and accepting Allah, I have found the
door to spiritual and intellectual

Back to top Go down
View user profile
Women Tell of Coverting to Islam 3
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Jump to: