The Right One

by Awa

My conversion story is not going to be a sad story of a soul that was lost in the world and is now found in Islam. No, it’s more a story of making a choice because it was the right one. Simply put, I became a Muslim because it’s right! I grew up a devout Christian Catholic. As a child I loved God. I knew and understood His perfectness. I took my religious schooling very seriously. I just loved to read the bible. The biblical stories just attracted me. The stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, Salomon, David, Joseph, Jonah, Moses etc. (Blessings and peace be upon them all) were amazing to me. The best for me were the stories of Jesus (PBUH). I would read them for hours. I felt devoted to Jesus (PBUH). As I got a little older I learned of Judaism and Islam. I had utmost respect for both religions, but there was something about Islam that captured my interest. I thought of Islam as very humble and respectable. I liked the fact that its followers bowed down so low in complete submission to pray to God. I did not know much else about it beside the prayer gestures, the way the women dressed, the name Muhammad and three Arabic words, Allah, assaalamu and alaikum.

Living in New York city as a young adult exposed me to an array of other beliefs such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Scientology and astrology, but I never waivered. I continued to practice Catholicism with my whole heart. I have to admit during the 911 catastrophe, my interest in Islam peaked a little. I was outraged at how the government, media, and colleagues at work degraded Islam. I could not understand why folks would blame a religion for what a small group of people did. Their bias and lack of knowledge on Islam made matters even worse. I pondered of the numerous times I dealt with Muslims. It was always with utmost respect, kindness, gentleness, and love. My frustration and my travels made me researched a little into Islam. I learned that it was in fact a religion of peace, tranquility, fairness, forgiveness, and faith. Back then I accepted Islam wholeheartedly as a religion of the book just like Christianity.

A few years ago I traveled to a Muslim country in Africa. It was there I met my husband, a devout Muslim. When we first met family and friends knew we were a good match. We talked about our love for God constantly, the importance of faith and deep religious beliefs. We knew we wanted to get married and start a family. We never once discussed me becoming Muslim, but based on what I learned from the holy books, I knew it wouldn’t be the best option to get married while we had different religious beliefs. I wanted us to start our marriage right. I wanted Allah’s blessings and religious devotion in our household. I wanted unity and one faith in our family. So I went back and forth between New York and Senegal to research deeper and study a little more on Islam. I was astonished of my findings. It was like an Aha moment. A Muslim’s life consist of prayer, charity, faith, love for others, compassion, patience, self-purification, peace etc. Those were all qualities I sought-after. Everything was so right at every level. I knew I wanted to convert and the transition would be easy. Being a Catholic and being raised in another country made it easy for me. I loved God. I already dressed modestly and occasionally wore a headscarf. I didn’t drink alcohol nor smoke. I didn’t eat pork. In fact I was a vegetarian, so eating halal food would not have been much of a hassle. I loved praying. I fasted. I was a firm believer in giving to charity. To me everything was easy, except for one major thing, believing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last messenger of God. It wasn’t so much believing it, it was more or less declaring it. I felt if I converted I would betray my Jesus (PBUH). I have been taught for so long that he was the messiah. The promised deliverer! I pondered for months on that part. In fact this part of my testimony is the hardest to write about. I’m still working on accepting that I did not betray Jesus (PBUH). I know for sure if I do what I’m suppose to, I will see him in paradise after his second coming. I will continue to respect and revere him for the rest of my life. Nevertheless after all the great insights on Islam, I returned with the man I love to Africa to take my Shahada and get married. What I know for sure, Islam is a religion of peace and mercy. It is a religion from God. In Islam, my love for Allah will continue just as before and it will never waiver. All the other prophets, may blessings and peace be upon them all, had their appointed time and a message but Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the last messenger of Allah, so this is his time. I made the choice to follow the message that was revealed by Allah to the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It feels right. It is right.

This is my story.