Compiled by: Abdurahim bin Mizhir Almalki
I will say right away that I am very young. I am only eighteen, and that fact seems to astound most people. I think it is proof that we are never too young to begin looking for God or to understand His truth.
In my preteen years I was a crusader for Christ. I wanted to convert the world and save souls. I blindly believed everything that was given to me by the Bible and my pastor/youth leader. Then one day I ran across something in the Bible that didn’t sound anything like God I had learned to love and obey. I thought perhaps I was too young to understand and took it to a more knowledgeable Christian, who confirmed that my interpretation was correct. My world fell apart.
I read the Bible, cover-to-cover, and marked along the side all of the things tha were contradictory or ungodly. By the time I got to Revelations, I had a large segment of the Bible marked as invalid. So, thinking maybe I needed to look at it in a historical perspective, I did my history work. There I found even more hypocrisy, blasphemy, and human tampering with the Holy Scripture. What shocked me was the story of the Council of Nicaea where “divinely guided” human men decided which text would be in the Bible and which needed editing.
I never lost my faith in God; I just decided that Christianity was not the right path for me to travel. I felt no kinship with fellow believers. I never felt anything special while attending service except tha I was doing an obligatory service to God. So I wandered faithless, looking for something to hold on to. In my search I found Islam.
I studied Islam quietly, on my own and in secret, for two years. I wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction. I did not want to confuse Islam with the cultures whoclaim to practice Islam while instituting things that are clearly against all that Allah has revealed. I wanted to make the distinction between the religion and the societies that adopted it. That took time and patience. I met a lot of helpful brothers and sisters via e-mail who answered my questions and opened their lives up for me to examine.
I never liked the image that I was handed as to what a woman was. In popular culture we are portrayed as very sexy, lady like, independent enough so that men have no real responsibility toward us or the children they help create, but dependent enough that we are continually in search of a new man. The average woman on the street is honked at, whistled at, and has had her butt or breasts pinched.
In Christianity I was taught that as a woman I should not teach in church or question the authority of any man in public. The picture painted of women in Christianity was one of inferiority. We were supposed to be chaste and silent with children about our feet. In Islam I found a voice, a system that gave me ultimate respect for being a mother and acknowledged the fact that I was equal to man in every way except one: physical strength. The hadith are littered with stories of women who spoke publicly, and Islamic history is full of women who were leaders. It was a theology that I could respect because it respected me.
I had to ask myself if I really wanted to be like all of the people I saw around me. Who was really oppressed? The girl wearing skintight jeans getting catcalls from boys rolling by in cars was not free. She was society’s whore, and she got no respect. I was thankful that my mother had never allowed me to wear such things, not that I ever wanted to, but her disapproval was an added incentive. After examining the position of the Muslim woman and what I felt to be truth in my heart, how could I deny Islam?
Six weeks ago I made the decision to convert to Islam. I did so and have not looked back since. My friends respect it because they see that it has not changed who I am and what I stand for. In fact, it has backed it up. My advice to any woman out there is to ask herself these questions:
What do you want your daughter to believe about herself?
How should she allow herself to be treated?
Is she really born with evil tendencies because she is a descendant of Eve?
How do you want her to feel about her body?
What are you modeling her for?
What image of womanhood are you promoting?
How do men treat you, and how do you allow yourself to be treated?