So, how does a typical Southern girl come to be Muslim? It’s not a very exciting story, but I’ll share it…
I was born and raised in Texas. We were Christian in name, but that was about the extent of it. Growing up, I was in and out of various churches of differing faiths– Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational. We would stay at a church for a while, attending with zeal. Then, my dad would decide that the church didn’t have “spirit,” it wasn’t “alive,” and we would leave. This was in between bouts of raging against all religion.
Needless to say, I didn’t have a very solid religious foundation. We were forced to read our Bibles and report on our progress, but we didn’t see God’s words put into practice in our daily lives. Aside from that offered by my grandma, there was little in the way of warmth or communication in our family.
After my grandma died, I was a bit lost, lonely, and scared. This also happened to be during my teen years. I began searching for my own brand of truth and salvation. I read voraciously, studying every religion I could get my hands on. At one point, I even learned about shamanism!
Having grown up in a house of bigotry and intolerance, I never even considered studying Islam. I wanted nothing to do with “those” people. So, I searched for years, never really finding the answers I seeked.
Finally, when I was in college, I met my future husband. He was very confidant and sure when he spoke of his religion and his salvation. He talked to me about flaws in the religion of my birth, and much of it made sense. There were questions I had never been allowed to ask, and suddenly he was offering answers.
So, I started reading books about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I read the Koran. I started talking to Muslim women. At first I was disturbed to hear that there are alternate views on Jesus (PBUH), but then I was relieved to hear that maybe he didn’t die on the cross. That made sense to me. Other things made sense, too– the reasoning behind conservative dress, the roles in the family, the obligatory prayers, and fasting. So much of what I heard truly resonated with me, but it wasn’t until I walked into a mosque for the first time that everything “clicked.”
The first mosque I ever entered was completely unlike the churches I had seen. The walls were unadorned. There were no pews. The people were dressed simply, concerned only with prayer and worship. The atmosphere was clear and simple. When I heard the call to prayer, something inside of me felt at peace. Although I could not understand the words, there was comfort in the sounds. There was a beautiful feeling of order, as people of different colors and different nationalities sat together, united in one faith and the belief in one God. As I listened, I felt at home. I left the mosque that day sure that I had finally found my answers. I would become a Muslim.
So… would you care to share your conversion/reversion story?