Abdullah J. Armada
Disclaimer: This convert story has been published on ChallengeYourSoul.com as is, without being edited. It may promote views & ideas not supported by ChallengeYourSoul.com and/or which are not Islamically correct.
Life. The very word conjures up images of events past and present, an infinite phantasmagoria of experiences, memories, and mental predictions, which we all go through.
What exactly is this experience of life? A dare? A quest? A random mix of experiences ending in inevitable, impersonal annihilation? Why does it seem that no matter how hard we’ve tried over the ages, man can’t seem to answer the questions as to where we are from, why we are here, and where we are going? The truth is that humankind has made numerous attempts throughout history to answer these questions and many attempts have come close while others have failed all together. The answer that man has formulated to these questions is religion. Religion and philosophy are attempts to answer these questions in the eyes of humankind. The world today is full of religions and different philosophies, some as old as Hinduism and some as young as Neo-Paganism, and this variety can be confusing to the elite few of my generation who seek the Truth. In an analytical sense, if one were to strip down all the major world religions to their essential core teachings, if one were to eliminate all the superfluous years and centuries of doctrine, dogma, corruption, innovation, etc. one would be left with one pure, pristine answer to the questions posed above. That answer, which everyone seeks, is God. Where are we from? God. Why are we here? God. Where are we going? God. Later, however, there comes another question. Namely, “how do we attain the peace and love we are all searching for?” Well, if the answer to the prior questions is God than it follows logically that in order to achieve the peace and love that God provides one must worship Him correctly. But again we are confronted with the same seemingly unsolvable conundrum, “with so many religions around, how do we know which one is correct?” There is only one answer, one system that has miraculously remained free of the corruption of human hands: Islam. Now, I could of course further elaborate and prove the existence of God, the legitimacy of Islam, etc. but I will opt to leave that for another writing, perhaps, and I will now describe my journey to Islam. I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic and I have attended Catholic schools all of my life, in fact, I still do. By the time I got to eighth grade I decided that the whole Christianity thing wasn’t working for me…call it my pacifistic adaptation of the usual angst-ridden teen rebellion. Essentially, I figured that I had been raised a Christian all my life and thus, in a sense, I had been indoctrinated into Christianity. So, I decided to try something else…some other way of viewing life. In summary, I tried many religions and each one lasted about one year. I was metaphorically caught in the eternal interplay of the spiritual “tennis court” of life. Most recently, I was Buddhist, and contrary to what most people believe, Buddhists do not worship the Buddha…in fact they have no “god”. Well, technically the Buddha never said you couldn’t believe in a “god” he just said it wasn’t required to attain enlightenment. Well, rather than go off on a tangent I will ask the reader to keep the last point in mind. What basically happened was that I started considering the existence of God. After all, it made logical sense to me, though rather than discuss that now, I’ll save it for a later time. Anyway, as I considered God I began to consider Islam because I had always had an incipient interest in Islam. I remember watching a video at school on world religions and I remember being so intrigued by the movements in the prayer, especially sujood…it was beautiful. I remember fighting that feeling inside of myself trying to convince myself that I was happy with the belief system I had. I remember looking at my compass, finding the direction of Mecca, and going through the little parts of the prayer movements that I knew always thinking, “If I were Muslim, this is what I’d do to pray.” I remember sounding out the shahada italicised in my “world religions” book thinking, “This would be what I’d say to become a Muslim.” I couldn’t explain why, but I was drawn to Islam and at the same time I fought that feeling because of fear. After September 11th, my interest was resurrected and with the money I saved I purchased “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam” by Yahiya J. Emerick. The book was amazing as it outlined everything in a comprehensive manner and made me realize that there were many misconceptions about Islam. Later, I purchased “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an” by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. All this time, my interest in Islam grew and I was drawn even closer to it. Eventually, I called the 1877-WHY ISLAM information line, which I had called many times before. Originally, I was calling to ask a question about a verse I had read but I ended up telling the sister I was speaking to about my interest in Islam and the fear I felt because of my family. In summary, this sister gave me the push I needed to overcome my fear and convert (revert). I am eternally grateful to Allah for having put her in my life to help guide me to Islam. At this point, I can respond with confidence that the search, which I undertook to find the Truth has ended in success because the whole Truth, the whole culmination of my search can be summed up in one statement: Ashahadu an la ilaha illa Allah wa Ashahadu anna Muhammadun abduhu wa rasulu. I testify that there is no god but ALLAH and I also testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.