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July 16th, 2006
leena_salim @ : My conversion
Salam. My name is Leena Salim. I converted/reverted to Islam on September 16, 2005. I had wanted to be a Muslim since March 20, 2003. Does that date sound familiar? It was the day the American troops invaded Iraq. I decided then to read the Qur'an. I wanted to know the truth about Islam. My friend Afza was a Muslim and she was so different from bin Laden and the Muslims shown in the media. All it took was reading Surah ALFatiha and I was entranced. As I continued, I was amazed at how wrong the media was. Those people may have been horrible, but the religion of Islam was truly beautiful. I almost made the most rash decision of my life. I almost reverted that same day. However, thanks to logical thinking, I realized that I needed to attend a service t the masjid before I could officially convert. I continued my research for three years. At the same time, I was studying Mormonism, my former religion, at seminary for high school students. It caused me to see all of the blatant contradictions within the four Mormon works. Even still. I forgot about my desire to convert until April of 2005 when I met Fatma, a pen pal from Yemen. While we were talking, she asked me why I didn't convert to Islam. I realized that I didn't know why and the desire to go to the masjid and convert came flooding back with even more strength. So, I asked my friend and chemistry tutor Amina to take me with her to the youth group. I still remember the hadith: "Fear Allah wherever you are. Follow a bad deed with a good one and it will wipe it out. And behave to others with a good behavior." I desperately wanted to go again. But every week, the group got canceled for one reason or another. On July 15, I had made my decision. I would become a Muslima. But I wanted to say shahaada at the masjid with Amina as one of my witnesses. That didn't happen before I went away to have independence training with other blind students. Finally, I had to do something. For starters, I had been called by the mormon church to be a counselor for my class. My position didn't mean much, but it meant I'd have to go to hurch more. Second, the leader of the women's youth group there wanted me to do baptisms for the dead. This is exactly what it sounds like. How could I make people mormons, dead or alive, if I didn't believe it myself? So, I called Amina. Amina called her friend Sumaiya who called her brother who called his American friend. The support system was absolutely incredible. Through this system, I was invited to a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina on September 16. Sumaiya arranged for a woman from the community to pick me up. Her name was Ghada and she was very kind. When we arrived, Abeer, another sister, met us. Immediately, she asked me if I wanted to learn to pray since it was time for maghrib prayer. I was shocked at how she treated me like a normal person despite my blindness. She taught me how to pray and we discussed topics of religion at dinner. She is still one of my closest friends. After we ate, an imam came and spoke. He reminded me a little of James Earl Jones. He talked like a minister, but wasn't telling us to come to Allah. He talked about how all faiths needed to work together in peace to help the victims. He also mentioned that he was a Christian revert to Islam. I had to talk to him. My parents wanted me to wait until I was 21 to convert, but I didn't want to wait. When I went to talk to him, he was hurrying to catch his flight back to Virginia. But he took the time to talk to me. He said that maybe I should keep it a secret from my parents for a while. I agreed and he led me in saying shahaada. Abeer, Sumaiya, and Sumaiya's brother were my witnesses. They cried and I laughed. I was on an emotional wave for about a week. That same week, I won a scholarship and got my first lead in a school play. I started praying. I still pray in English but I know my prayers are still valid. I'm working on the Arabic. Insha'Allah I will be better at it soon. My parents know now. I gave a speech on my conversion and tied for first place. That's how they found out. I fasted for Ramadan alhamdullilah without any trouble. I am trying to wear hijab as much as possible now. It makes me feel stronger and more confident. Oh. And Leena is the name I chose when I converted. I was actually going to choose Asiya until right after I said shahaada. I am thankful to Allah for all of the guidance and I am so thrilled by the great support of Islam. My friends from the masjid are like family to me. Even though I moved away from that specific masjid, I always keep in contact with my brothers and sisters there.
Current Music: Garth Brooks
April 25th, 2006
floatingpetals @ : French Coach Troussier Affirms His Conversion to Islam
Tags: conversion stories
French Coach Troussier Affirms His Conversion to Islam*
By Oumnia Guedda**
Apr. 19, 2006
The French former coach of the Moroccan football team, Philippe Troussier (now Omar) has affirmed that he has converted to Islam along with his wife Dominique (now named Amina), MAP news agency reported.This story first appeared on MoroccoTimes.com. It is republished with kind permission.
Troussier, 51, who coached South Africa and Japan at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups respectively, said that “my conversion to Islam is a way of harmonizing my faith with my host country, the Morocco that I love and which loves me as well. It is an act of love and respect.”
The French coach performed the prayer on Friday and attended a ceremony to celebrate his conversion. The ceremony took place in Rabat where the couple lives.
Troussier pronounced the shahadah (Islamic declaration of belief: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger") before two witnesses, according to the website mekkaoui.net.
Omar and Amina
Philippe and Dominique Troussier are now Omar and Amina. The news was no surprise for the friends of the French coach, since he has always shown a particular interest to Islam.
Troussier told the press that he feels uneasy since the spread of the news, adding that his conversion is personal and he did not seek to reveal it.
In an interview with Afrik.com, the coach said “the information was spread behind my back; I think that one of my friends leaked the news.”
As some sources reported that Omar and Amina Troussier have adopted two Moroccan girls, the French coach told Afrik “it is not adoption, but I have two children under my roof, I do protect and educate them. They still contact their family.”
The Moroccan French language Daily, L'Opinion, hailed Troussier's conversion, describing the event as “a magnificent and wonderful surprise.”
The paper said “as Muslims we are happy to see such a strong and well recognized personality as Philippe Troussier become part of this religion of peace and tolerance."
"Welcome Omar and Amina to the Kingdom of the All Powerful, the Kingdom of the Truth," it wrote.
**Oumnia Guedda is a Moroccan journalist. She works in MoroccoTimes.com
April 4th, 2006
floatingpetals @ : On My Way to Becoming a Lutheran Minister
Tags: conversion stories
On My Way to Becoming a Lutheran Minister
By Jamilah Kolocotronis**
November 14, 2005
|Her novel Echoes discusses problems that the new Muslims face.
I sat in my night class, in my first semester at the community college, daydreaming as usual. I thought about my future and wondered where it would take me. Suddenly I had a revelation. I wanted to become a minister. I wanted to devote my life to spreading God’s Word.
Two years later, in 1976, I transferred to a state university two hundred miles away from home. Still pursuing my dream, I immediately contacted the pastor of the local Lutheran church and told him I wanted to help in whatever way I could. For my first assignment, he sent me as his representative to a welcoming picnic for new international students. At that picnic, I met my first Muslim.
I learned that Abdul-Mun'im came from Thailand. He had a nice smile, and he was polite. As we talked, he often mentioned God.
That seemed very strange to me. I had always been told that anyone who was not a Christian would go to hell. I wondered how someone who believed in God, and had good manners, could be condemned to eternal punishment. I felt sorry for Abdul-Mun'im. So I set out to convert him.
I invited him to attend church with me. He came, but he brought his copy of the Qur’an. I was so embarrassed. After the service, he told me a little about Islam and the Qur’an. I had never heard those words before. I had heard the word “Muslim,” but only in a negative sense. During the 60s, many whites across America believed that Black Muslims planned to overthrow white American society.
Over the next two years I stayed in contact with Abdul-Mun'im, and a few other Muslim men, through my involvement with the International Club. I continued in my crusade to convert them, and remained steadfast in pursuing my goal of becoming a minister.
In the 1970s, many churches refused to ordain women. I received a letter from one seminary informing me, in no uncertain terms, that women were “not allowed to speak in church.” It’s in the Bible, in one of the epistles of St. Paul. I wondered if the passage had been revealed by God, or simply reflected the personal bias of Paul.
Anyway, times were changing. I found a Lutheran seminary which accepted me. After graduating from the university, I packed up and headed to Chicago to begin my training for the ministry.
I had some very positive experiences in Chicago. I got along well with my two roommates, and made other friends. I studied Latin with a Polish priest who couldn’t hide his excitement when he learned that the newly-selected pope was Polish. I listened to lectures by scholars at the nearby University of Chicago, and even landed a job dusting the apartment of one old professor. I heard Handel’s Messiah performed in an old cathedral by a professional choir. I soaked up the atmosphere of life on the Southside of Chicago.
But my studies were disappointing. One professor told us that while Christian scholars had determined that the Bible was not infallible, we should not tell our parishioners this. When I asked questions, I was told to “simply believe.” Then there was the seminary social life–parties, drinking. I packed up and left Chicago after one semester, extremely disillusioned.
My parents, though disappointed, welcomed me back into their home. I decided to spend some time searching.
I knew that Muslims did not believe in original sin. I had a baby sister, born a few days before I received my undergraduate degree, and I watched her. I tried to see the sin in her. But I couldn’t, because it wasn’t there.
While trying to decide my next course of action, I signed on with a temp agency and took secretarial jobs. Some of my assignments were in downtown St. Louis, a long bus ride away from my parents’ suburban home. I used my commute time for reading.
One day I walked into a bookstore and bought a paperback translation of the Qur’an. I had a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion, and a semester of seminary training, so surely I possessed the skills I needed to expose the errors in the Qur’an. Then I would be able to persuade my poor Muslim friends how very wrong they were.
I read, looking for mistakes and inconsistencies, and found none. I became impressed when I came to Surat Al-An`am 6, verse 73.
When I was a little girl, attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, I learned about how God created the world. “God said, ‘Let there be light’,” the Bible says. “And there was, and it was good.” Be, and it is. I started to wonder if Allah was the same God I had always worshiped.
I paid closer attention after reading that verse. For the first time, I wanted to know more about Islam.
I decided to return to my old university to study for my master’s degree in Philosophy and Religion. I began attending some of the Friday prayers, just to observe. I also continued to go to church and eat ham and cheese sandwiches. I wasn’t ready to become a Muslim. But I felt adrift. I needed answers.
I searched in earnest. My Muslim friends at the university clarified some issues, such as how Jesus could have been born of a virgin and not be divine. I wrote a paper for my one of my classes in which I explored the concept of “logos”. In the Bible, the Gospel of John, it says, “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This verse is often used to support the divinity of Jesus. So I explored the concept, tracing it back to ancient Greece and the writings of Plato. I studied the evolution of the doctrine of the Trinity, researching the various Christian opinions on this issue before it was codified at the Council of Nicaea in 325. I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. I had many questions, and I needed to know.
I studied other religions also. I read the Bhagavad Gita, examined the life and teachings of Buddha and talked about peace with Baha’is. I needed to find the truth.
By the summer of 1980, I had come to appreciate many of the teachings of Islam. But some things still bothered me. One of the greatest was the need to make ablutions before prayer. God should be accessible at all times, I thought. Why did Muslims feel the need to perform a special cleansing ritual? I couldn’t see the logic in it.
On the night I accepted the necessity of wudu', I was ready to accept Islam. I walked over to the small mosque near the university, on the night of the nineteenth of Ramadan, and told the men there about my discovery. One of them, Adel, gave me shahadah.
It took a few days, but I started to feel at peace. I had been searching for so long. I felt as if I had been treading water, and I finally found land.
But my struggles weren’t over. For one thing, I had no idea about hijab. The three men who were present at my shahadah were from Jordan, Egypt and Thailand, and they told me nothing about it. In those days, most of the women in their countries didn’t cover. On the day before `Eid I traveled with them to a larger town, and they took me to the apartment of a Sudanese woman. Soon after my arrival, she handed me a robe and a scarf and told me to put them on. I was stunned. She was very nice, though, so I did as she said.
When we returned to our small town, I took off the robe and scarf. That was not for me. It was hot—this was in August—and I felt strange. And, besides, I didn’t want one of my professors to know that I was a Muslim. I knew he would be displeased.
My next challenge was trying to figure out how to tell my parents. Three weeks after my conversion, I wrote them a letter. I tried to explain my struggle and years of searching. They were shocked. They hoped I was just going through a phase. They worried that I had joined a cult. They didn’t understand. But they never turned their back on me.
A few months after my conversion, I began to wear the scarf. First, I wore it to keep my ears warm on winter mornings in northern Missouri. Then one day, after being treated rudely by one of the men on campus, I decided to wear it full-time. My professor wasn’t happy, but he didn’t say too much.
Seven or eight months after my shahadah, I met another student who was interested in Islam. She already knew something about it, and wanted to learn more. We talked and talked. One night she told me she was ready. I gave her shahadah.
All during this time, I kept in contact with Abdul-Mun’im. He was one of the three present when I made shahadah, and he helped me adjust to my new faith. A month after my conversion he left to pursue his doctorate in Indiana, but we continued to write. When I told him about Sr. Aisha’s conversion, he invited both of us to travel with him and his friends up to Ann Arbor. A brother and sister with a large family hosted Aisha and me. Community members gave us Islamic clothes and books. We felt very welcome.
In the spring, Abdul-Mun’im invited me to apply to his university. I was accepted, and they offered me a doctoral fellowship. In the summer, Aisha and Fauzia, a Pakistani sister, helped me move to Indiana. They stayed there with me during Ramadan. At the end of Ramadan, Aisha and Fauzia moved back to Missouri. Abdul-Mun’im asked me to marry him.
We have been married for twenty-four years. We have six sons and, in sha' Allah, we will soon have our first grandchild. During most of our years together we have worked to establish and strengthen Islamic education.
Even though I have been a Muslim for twenty-six years now, I still feel new. My Arabic lessons stopped after my first son was born, and even though our youngest is now ten I have not returned to them. I have continued my studies in Islam, but I never feel I know enough.
I do know that I will always be an American. My early years had a huge impact on my life, and America will always be my country. I did try, for the first twenty years, to blend in with the immigrant culture, but I realized that I was denying who I really was. I can’t turn my back on my first twenty-three years.
One aspect of my conversion which my family still finds puzzling is my willingness to renounce, as they see it, the feminism of my youth. It is true that I no longer seek to become a religious leader. But, in Islam, I have found a fuller expression of what it means to be a woman. I do get irritated when brothers from other countries try to impose their cultural beliefs, suppressing women and not allowing us to be heard. When that happens, I only need to turn to the Qur’an or remember the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Even though some Muslims degrade women, Islam elevates us.
I am still learning, and still struggling to be closer to my Creator. And I am still working to integrate my American self with my Muslim self. Life is a journey, and I’m still on the road.
** Jamilah Kolocotronis
is a writer, teacher and the mother of six sons. Originally from St. Louis, she attended one semester of Lutheran seminary before becoming disillusioned. She accepted Islam at the age of twenty-three.
She and her husband live in Milwaukee, where he is principal of Salam School. Jamilah teaches part-time and writes novels about American Muslims. Her latest novel is Echoes.
Shahadah in Ramadan [He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in truth. On that day when He says, Be, it is.]
March 6th, 2006
floatingpetals @ : GI turns to Islam to find God
San Francisco Chronicle Online
GI turns to Islam to find God
When U.S. Army Sgt. Matt Fernandes landed in the desert ahead of the invasion of Iraq, he knew little about the country and virtually nothing about Islam.
But he grew intrigued by the hospitality and generosity of the Iraqi people and began to reconsider his beliefs about them and their faith. The more time the Oakland native spent in Iraq, first fighting his way north to Baghdad to seize the airport and later fighting insurgents, the more he questioned his own faith and theirs.
When his time at war was over, Fernandes would eschew Catholicism and become a follower of Islam.
World War II journalist Ernie Pyle wrote the famous axiom, "There are no atheists in foxholes.'' But even Pyle wouldn't have guessed that 50 years later there would, according to the Army, be nearly 1,700 soldiers of Islamic faith wearing the khaki, green and camouflage-brown uniforms of the U.S. military.
It should come as no surprise that faith and salvation were on the minds of more than a few soldiers when Fernandes, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, arrived in Saudi Arabia before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
At the desert base, a U.S. Army Ranger chaplain filled a bathtub with water and urged soldiers to be baptized as born-again Christians. More than a few did it.
Fernandes, now 23, wasn't among them. Although it was a time of tension and uncertainty among the troops, he didn't feel faith embraced under fire was true faith.
"I felt it was wrong to become religious just because something bad might happen,'' he said. "I didn't want to be pushed into that."
And so it was that Fernandes took his unrepentant soul into battle, seeing combat, often bloody, in at least half a dozen places from Ramadi to Baghdad. No one in his unit was ever hit or injured, but they did their share of killing.
When his unit returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., in January 2004, Fernandes learned that his father, Jerry, a lifelong and devout Catholic, had converted to Islam 14 months before. The elder Fernandes had begun exploring the Islamic faith when the war began because what he heard on television and read in the papers about Muslims didn't jibe with his personal experience.
The father's religious quest intrigued the son, who started spending weekends with his father in the tiny town of Lititz, Pa., learning about Islam. He accompanied his father to the mosque in nearby Lancaster, where he met other people of the Muslim faith.
The more he learned, and the more people he met, the deeper his faith in Allah grew. By July 2004, the younger Fernandes had made the conversion. And the more he took to Islam, the more changes he saw in himself.
He stopped going to the bars outside the base, and he bypassed the strip clubs as well. It's not that he ever drank heavily or visited the clubs frequently, but many soldiers do, and he wanted no part of it.
Instead, he whiled away the hours in school, or volunteering at the animal shelter.
As Fernandes delved further into the study of Islam, he started keeping a copy of the Quran and other books about Islam in his quarters. He also spent a lot of time with two other soldiers who had converted to Islam. His fellow soldiers soon grew suspicious.
Fernandes never made a public announcement of his religious conversion, but the guys in his unit put "2+2 together pretty quickly,'' he said. While no one ever openly criticized him, his conversion did put some distance between Fernandes and the men in the squad he led.
"I never had the feeling that they wouldn't back me up, but they kinda looked at me like a traitor,'' Fernandes said.
Before Fernandes left for his second deployment in December 2004, he told the U.S. Army of his change in faith. It prompted a visit from an army chaplain.
"He wasn't trying to bring me back to Jesus or anything like that, but he referred to me as a soldier of Islam,'' he recalled.
Fernandez, who had earned an Army Commendation Medal after a fierce battle in the town of Samawa, didn't respond. He had always been spiritual, but the contradictions he saw in Christianity led him to seek the answers to his questions elsewhere. He found them in Islam.
"I do believe in God and I've always been a spiritual person, I just don't believe in the Christian version of God," he said.
Faith is not a question of national loyalty, but a search for salvation. It's a journey everyone takes, and something everyone hopes to find. Fernandes found it in the most unlikely of places, at the most unlikely of times.Tags: conversions
January 26th, 2006
bodhicide @ : My Story
Oh, and I might as well tell my story. I grew up quasi-observant Baptist, became atheist/agnostic, then went to Buddhism, studied a lot of religion in general without labelling myself anything, been interested in converting to Islam for the last year or so, and finally made the jump and took the Shahadah last Friday at the masjid. My main reason for converting is Tawhid, and I have always found the trinitarian doctrines of mainstream Christianity illogical. Also, Islam is such a beautiful religion that it seemed like I would be depriving myself of something if I didn't. I feel very free.
bodhicide @ : Valid Salat
I just recently converted to Islam, and I am currently still learning salat. I have been doing the five daily, but since I don't know all the Arabic yet and I often make mistakes, are my prayers considered valid?
October 1st, 2005
geekizm @ : What can you do in ONE MINUTE? [x-posted]
What can you do in One Minute?
A Great opportunity while we are still alive is to plan and act for tomorrow; invest one minute of your daily supply of 1440 minutes and reap benefit which no business can offer. Invest 15 minutes and multiply the rewards. We all know that Allah's promise is absolute truth and we should seek it and act according to His guidance.
1. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Fatihah 7 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Some scholars said that the reward for reading al-Fatihah is more than 1400 hasanahs, so if you read it 7 times you will, by the permission of Allah, gain more than 9800 hasanahs - all of that in one minute.
2. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Ikhlas (Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad) 20 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Reciting it once is equivalent to one-third of the Qur'an. If you read it 20 times it is equivalent to reading the Qur'an 7 times. If you read it 20 times in one minute each day, you will have read it 600 times in one month, and 7200 times in one year, which will be equal in reward to reading the Qur'an 2400 times.
3. You can read one page of the Book of Allah in one minute.
4. You can memorize a short aayah of the Book of Allah in one minute.
5. In one minute you can say La ilaaha ill-Allah wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu'l-mulk wa lahu'l-hamd wa huwa ala kulli shay'in qadeer (There is no god except Allah alone with no partner; to Him be dominion and praise, and He is Able to do all things) - 20 times. The reward for saying this is like freeing 8 slaves for the sake of Allah from among the sons of Isma'il. ( Read more...Collapse )
September 15th, 2005
hijabi19 @ :
Woman makes shahadah - at 97 YEARS OLD!! WASHINGTON DC NOV 26
Al Hamdulillah. It is only Allah who guides and whomever Allah guides none can lead astray. Al Hamdulillah.
I had the distinct priviledge of giving the shahadah (testimony of faith) to an elderly woman (97 years old) this past Friday, Al Hamdulillah.
Bismillah Rahman Raheem
Salam alaykum dear beloved:
Al Hamdulillah. It is only Allah who guides and whomever Allah guides none can lead astray. Al Hamdulillah.
I had the distinct priviledge of giving the shahadah (testimony of faith) to an elderly woman (97 years old) this past Friday, Al Hamdulillah.
Some of her children (daughter, grand daughter, great grand daughter) have already accepted Islam in the past. But it seems no one could get this kind and gentle woman to make her shahadah, due to some misunderstandings about the concept of Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them.
After reviewing a number of our CDs and tapes and visiting our website, they became convinced that if it was possible for me to talk with her, she might better understand and accept this message of monotheism, inshallah.
I was pleased to be in their masjid this past Friday (Nov. 26, 2004) for Jummu'ah khutbah. Afterwards, we did a special program for the women and the focus was on the prophets, peace be upon them.
After a 20 minute discussion, she was most pleased to say her shahadah in front of three generations of her own decendents. Al Hamdulilah.
Keep on praying for us and sending our links to others - that is what makes it happen.
Taken from: http://www.IslamTomorrow.com
September 7th, 2005
geekizm @ : ISGH for Katrina victims!
As salaamu alaikum.
Anyone who would like to donate(clothes, food, money, etc.) to the victims of Hurricane Katrina can do so at Islamic Society of Greater Houston.
ISGH (Islamic Society of Greater Houston)
phone number: 713-524-6615
They need your help!