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by Amina Cisse Muhammad

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    Posted: 08 March 2005 at 8:57pm
Topic: WHY I AM A MUSLIM (1 of 2), Read 111 times
Conf: Islam: How I Became Muslim
From: MissNomad
Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2003 06:35 PM


By Amina Cisse Muhammad

I cannot say how well my story represents those of the estimated
over three million Americans of African descent who have converted
to Islam in the last few decades, but I would guess our stories
share common threads.

As a child born into a Christian family, the granddaughter of a
Baptist minister and his very devout wife, I was required to attend
Sunday School and church services every week. Although I always
accepted the existence and omnipotence of a Supreme Being, I always
had problems with the concept of the Holy Trinity upon which present
day Christianity is based. I can remember sitting in church and
feeling shivers go up and down my spine at the mention of the
Almighty; yet, I was ambivalent, if not suspicious, when Jesus
Christ (Prophet Isa, AS) was elevated to the status of the son of
Allah, or even Allah Himself.

Equally disturbing to me was the hypocrisy I observed amongst
members of the church congregation I belonged to, and in American
society in general. Despite Christian and American ideals of
equality and brotherhood, the disdain with which people of color and
the poor were, and still are to a large degree, held was very
obvious to me. That an unequal distribution of wealth formed the
basis of capitalistic societies was obvious as well. The subsequent
exploitation suffered by the disadvantaged masses at the hands of an
advantaged few deeply troubled me and led me to become a "champion
of the oppressed."

While studying Sociology in college in the 1970's, I was required to
read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, which he co-authored with
writer Alex Haley. Except for an occasional mention of "Moslems
spreading Islam by the sword" in the Euro-centric textbooks used by
my primary and secondary school teachers, and one or two encounters
with followers of the Nation of Islam, my knowledge of Islam prior
to reading this book was practically nil. The book had a profound
impact on me, particularly the last few chapters where Malcolm X
related the events that led to his discovery of true Islam.

Malcolm was one of time's greatest spokesmen for the cause of the
oppressed. For twelve years, as a follower and minister of Elijah
Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, he taught that the
condition of African Americans was the result of evils committed
against them by Whites, whom the Nation of Islam regarded as devils.
Because of his teachings, Malcolm was labeled a Black racist who
incited riots and violence among poor Blacks. However, before his
murder in 1965, Malcolm was blessed to be exposed to true Islam when
he made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 and witnessed equality and
brotherhood amongst Muslims with white skin, blonde hair and blue
eyes; Muslims whose skin was the darkest of dark; and those whose
skin color was of the many different shades in between. During this
pilgrimage, Malcolm X became Al Hajj Malik Al Shabazz.

I identified with Malcolm's analysis of the condition of African
Americans, and I shared his frustration and anger over our four-
century long exploitation. I was also deeply moved by his account of
his pilgrimage where he was introduced to the Islam practiced by
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) over fourteen centuries ago. This pilgrimage
altered Malcolm's attitude toward Whites, and it broadened his
perspective on life from one focused on the personal circumstances
he had encountered as an African American in his immediate
surroundings to a global perspective that allowed him to identify
with all of the world's oppressed peoples. The remaining less-than-a-
year of his life he spent working to have African Americans identify
with their long lost brothers and sisters in Africa spiritually,
culturally, and politically.

Al Hajj Malik's story, along with events occurring at the same time
in my personal life, prompted me to search for a belief system that
was relevant to my life as a young African American female one who
recognized a Supreme Being and so accounted for the many otherwise
unexplainable phenomena that we observe and experience each and
every day. A belief system that was practical and could be utilized
in my day-to-day living. A belief system that preached unity, love,
and brotherhood, and was being practiced faithfully by those who
professed to be its adherents.

I started my search by attempting to better familiarize myself with
what I already knew I began reading the Bible from cover to cover
and I resumed going to church (I had stopped going when I left home
to attend college). I even visited the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom
Hall (one of my older sisters was a Witness) in Greensboro, NC where
I was attending school. However, my doubts regarding Christianity
did not subside and the void in my life remained unfulfilled.
Finally, I decided to pour my heart out to Allah and ask Him to
guide me on the Right Path.

Around the same time, I met the man who would later become my
husband. We were in a Philosophy class together. He had already
embraced Islam, and I felt a certain unexplained attraction to him.
As time went on, he began to tell me about Islam and the pieces in
my life began to fall into place.

A significant analogy that I can remember being told by someone
during this time was that of a person drowning in a river. Despite
the fact that a river's current is very strong, much stronger than a
human's strength, it is the natural impulse of a person drowning in
a river to try to swim against the current. The feat being
impossible, this person will likely soon tire and eventually drown
from fatigue.

However, if this person submitted to the flow of the river and
allowed it to carry them along, perhaps along the way, a rock or
tree branch would appear that they could grab onto and save
themselves. In the same way, I was told, as humans we quite often
resist the natural order of things the Divine Laws and Decree of
Allah and we perish. However, if we were to submit to that natural
order indeed, to Allah not only is our salvation possible, it is

Although I wrote to my parents one day to inform them of my interest
in Islam and assure them I would not make any impulsive decisions,
it was that very night that Allah sent those individuals to me who
would offer the final persuasion that Islam is definitely
that "submission to the natural order of things." The peace that I
felt when I uttered the Khalimat Shahadah Ashhadu an La ilaha ill
Allah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasul'ullah has been sufficient
to keep away any doubt, during the past almost 24 years since I
embraced Islam, that this was the real thing. Allahu Akbar!

I must say that, unlike some converts to Islam, I never faced bitter
opposition from my family. However, they have made several attempts
to re-convert me to Christianity. I can remember my oldest sister
asking me once if I did not feel strange (hence, obviously wrong)
that everyone else in our family considered themselves Christians
when I did not. She shook her head in amazement when I replied that
I often marveled at the fact that Allah had chosen me out of all of
them to become a Muslim. Allah is Most Merciful! Although I
constantly pray that He makes them all Muslims, if there can be only
one Muslim amongst us, I am grateful that it is me.

Though they all profess Christianity, my observation is that
Christianity does not have nearly the impact on their lives as Islam
has on mine. One example of this was in 1988 when my husband
suddenly passed away. My younger sister who had also become a
Jehovah's Witness, said that she did not see how I could be as
strong as I was, and that if it had been her, she probably would
have fallen apart. The others were amazed as well. Couldn't they see
that it was Islam that gave me the perspective that nothing,
absolutely nothing, happens except by Allah's will, and that even
though as humans, in our shortsightedness, we fail to see the good
in so many things, Allah Almighty surely knows best?

When I compare Muslims to Jews and Christians, I use the analogy of
slices of a cake. If we consider the cake to be Truth, since Jews
accept some of the Prophets of Allah (but not Prophet Isa or Prophet
Muhammad, Peace be upon them) and parts of His Scriptures to
mankind, we can say that they have a slice of the cake. Christians
accept Prophet Isa (although as the son of Allah or even Allah)
although they reject Prophet Muhammad (SAW), so we can say that they
have an even larger slice of the cake. However, as Muslims, we are
blessed to accept all of the Prophets of Allah and His uncorrupted
Scriptures to mankind so we have the entire cake. Allah is Most

Islam has brought peace to my life. Islam has taught me to more
completely submit to the Divine order of things. It has given me
purpose and direction in life, and so has filled the void I once
felt. Islam has given me the vehicle by which I have established a
personal relationship with my Lord and Creator, and by which I can
continually move closer to Him. Islam has given me a practical and
useful framework in which to conduct all of my affairs; hence, it
encompasses all of my life the physical as well as the spiritual
and intellectual. The Muslims I have encountered in the last 24
years have not been perfect (no human being is), but they have come
closest to practicing what they profess to believe and what they
preach than the adherents of other faiths that I have encountered in
my life's time.

"On this day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my
favor onto you, and have chosen for you as your religion Al-Islam"
(Holy Qur'an, Sura'tul Maida (5), Ayat 5).

I thank Allah for Islam and for allowing me to be a Muslim. Allah is
Most Kind!

Edited by administrator
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Joined: 25 February 2005
Location: United States
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2005 at 9:53am

Assalama alikumwarahmatulla

Mashalla, sister. Alhamdullilah, Allah (swt) has given us sisters like you. Be strong, and be patience.

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