I am writing this brief account of my conversion anonymously because my ego desires and takes too much pride in attention.
I was born and raised in the Pacific-Northwest of the United States. My family saw itself as Baptist Christian and so did I for many years. During my early years I had no difficulty understanding and believing God existed and praying to Him often. I did not understand the trinity and I was skeptical of the analogies and explanations. Mostly I just ignored the concept and talked to God.
Adolescence in materialist America was painful. I was very introverted but had occasions of brief extroversion which usually ended in either heartbreak or being grounded/punished by my parents.
After high school I left home for the Marine Corps. I traveled a lot, experienced a lot, but I never really felt fulfilled. After over seven years active duty, I decided to leave The Corps. My long dormant sense of morality was starting to stir as I became politically aware in my early 20’s.
I returned to my childhood hometown to start life as a civilian. I adopted many pursuits and hobbies trying to satisfy my growing spiritual hunger. I even recognized it as a spiritual hunger and investigated many different beliefs. I gave little thought to any of the Christian sects. They all seemed so superficial, hallow, and fake. I knew the Truth must exist. In my conceit I was certain I could find it amidst the haystack of false beliefs.
I began to question every belief, assumption, and philosophy I had or encountered. This led to my quickly plunging into the abyss of moral relativism. I began to doubt God’s existence. Mental problems developed or existing ones became worse. Life started to seem more and more futile. Desperately I pinned hopes on more and more trivial things of the world, hoping for some beacon of direction and purpose. Each subsequent loss of that which is inherently transient produced ever increasing despair and depression. Each loss made suicide more attractive. Relations with friends and family ceased.
One day, in early of 1998, I had a sudden mental image of exactly what I thought one of the pits of Hell would be like for a person like me. It was so vivid! Following that I had the realization of the value and need for fixed objective-laws from an Omniscient God to save us from ourselves. This was revolutionary for my mind.
A few days later, while at work, I realized that the best way to find God’s laws and guidance was to ask God Himself. So, I prayed for the first time in years. I cannot remember the exact words, but it was close to “Dear God. If you really exist please show me what I am supposed to be doing. I have looked everywhere. I give up. I cannot figure it out on my own. Please send me an angel or something to tell me what I am supposed to be doing, amen”
I went to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital after that, believing they would better understand my problems since I am a disabled veteran. They quickly tried me out on several different medications until we found one that seemed to cause the least adverse side-effects. Two weeks later I had a dream.
It was a short but powerful dream during an afternoon nap. In it I was standing in snow in an abandoned city. A voice said this is the future, that the economy is a house of cards waiting for one to be removed, and that I should wake up, turn on the TV news and see the evil attacking the good.
I snapped awake and did just that. CNN was just announcing that cruise missiles had been launched against Afghanistan and Sudan. I yelled at the TV “No, no, what have you done?” As I sat back down on the couch to watch the same voice from my dream spoke again, telling me to go to the bookstore, buy a Qur’an, and become a Muslim. I was too terrified to do anything but grab my car keys and run out the door.
I read the whole book in 24 hours. As soon as I got to Surah 2:285
The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.
I knew I wanted to be a Muslim, that Islam was the Truth, and this was how to be one. So, I told God “I hear and I obey.” The Qur’an felt like the owner’s manual for life which I supposed to get at birth. I do not think I had ever read a book twice before. I read the Qur’an twice my first week and quickly lost count after that.The “voice” I had heard continued for many months. I also continued taking the medication the VA hospital put me on for many months.
I will not go into what all happened next. It, on the surface, seems very sad and discouraging. Even though I believed I was a Muslim and was trying to improve my life and obey and please Allah, I was still very mentally ill.
It is now over eight years later. Allah gives life and causes death. Allah takes the death out of the living and the living out of the death. Alhamdulillah, I received a new life, a vibrant spiritual life in Islam.
We know from hadith that the Messenger of Allah salla Allah’u alayhi wa sallam described this world as paradise for the unbelievers and a prison for the believers. We know that the next life is Paradise for the believers and prison for the unbelievers. Only Allah knows where and how long our time in this prison may be.
Over these past eight years, I have watched the rains of Allah’s mercy falling on hard stony hearts. I have seen miraculous life spring up from what was barren and desolate. I feel truly alive now. I feel more content, peaceful, and fuller then I ever thought was possible.
Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.
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