by A. Kristine Scott
My conversion to Islam this past December was not an extraordinary occurrence by any means. I had been referred to M.E.C.C.A. by Imam Khalid Latif and began learning about Islam through directed readings. The more I read, the more I realized that the monotheistic view of God I have held since a young age, despite sitting through countless church services, is actually in accordance with the teachings of Islam. Similar to many Black American kids in my generation my understanding of Christianity on an intellectual level was that Jesus had died for my sins and my own baptism was an act of faith proclaiming that my soul was henceforth protected. The messages of the Bible were interpreted through inimitably captivating sermons every week to provide a means of spiritual fulfillment while overcoming the countless peculiarities of life in America. I was fully aware that anyone living outside of those teachings would end up with some serious explaining to do when their time was up.
Lessons of redemption and the value of living in accordance with the word of God have sustained my family throughout the generations. My freedom of choice is possible because of the sacrifices made through faithful hard work and a refusal to ascribe to a self-defeating and stunted world view. Being in this skin means that my cultural background is a syncretism of ancestral traditions, forced conversion to the Christianity practiced by those who purported chattel slavery as the predestined life of Blacks, vestiges of Islam practiced by men and women transported from West Africa to the United States and improvised cultural adaptations meant to preserve the human spirit.
I am obligated to honor that background. However, the concept of a triune Godhead, never reached me on a personal level. I had a sense that there was something else for me to discover and that it was indeed a pressing matter. I felt as though the way I practiced my faith was lacking something. I became increasingly dissatisfied with my own half-steppin’. Loosely translated this implies inconsistency and an absence of true and wholehearted effort. After taking my Shahada this past December I have prayed for my steps to be guided in accordance with what has been ordained for me and and I seek to keep that in mind as I continue making my way in life.