Compiled by: Abdurahim bin Mizhir Almalki
Yahya Abdul Rahman Smith
I am from New Brunswick, Canada. I was brought up a Christian but did not seriously practice Christianity until I was seventeen. At that age I became very zealous in my faith. About one and a half years later I attended a Christian college in order to prepare myself to become a minister. After graduating from college I was an assistant pastor for about two years. Over the process of time I became disillusioned with the practice of any faith whatsoever, so I stopped going to church. Although I always believed in God, I was just not interested in any religion at the time.
In 1988 I began university, where I completed my degree in Political Science and Sociology. I continued my studies at the graduate level at the University of Western Ontario in London Ontario, Canada. The University opened up new worlds of knowledge for me which I never considered before. I hadn't attended the university in view of getting a better job but to learn about the world around me.
It was during my stay in London, Ontario, that I became interested in studying Islām. The adjoining college was offering a short, uncredited course on Islām, and I decided to sign up for it with the goal of learning more about the Islāmic faith. Although I had Muslim friends before this, for the most part religion was never discussed. I did not agree with everything that the instructor told me in class, but I still kept going back, as I was very interested in learning more. I was actually disappointed when the course was over. I was elated when I heard there would be yet another course on Islām the next semester, so I sat in on that also with the same instructor.
I can't remember now all the things that were taking place in my mind at that time, but I do remember reading the Qur'ān (in English, of course) and being affected by it very much. I read it on a regular basis and soon become convinced without any encouragement from anyone else that the Qur'ān was indeed the word of God. This is where my gradual transition to the acceptance of Islām began. No one pressured me. No one preached to me or tried to convince me. I was on my own and knew very few people in London to begin with. I began to attend Jumu'ah prayers and Sunday lessons given by the imām. Since Allāh has made me a strong willed individual, I was not very intimidated by my new surroundings, nor did I care then or now what others though.
It was in February of 1993 that I finally took my shahādah, and I have been Muslim ever since. Allāh has blessed me with a Muslim wife to whom I was married on September 21, 1994.