Reform Jew convert to Islam
I was raised in a reformed home. I attended Hebrew school for 4 years. It was tough. Four days a week after school then the final year before bar mitzvah, on Sundays as well, in order to learn the Haftorah [a section of the Torah].
For the first three years, Me and my friend Steve would get off the bus and head to Rosen’s drug store. There we would eat chips and read comic books until about 6 PM, then head back to the Hebrew school to catch the bus home. The school didn’t say anything as my parents kept paying and in the end I made my bar mitzvah. That was the extent of religion in my house. We, [my sibs] all went through it basically for our grandfather’s sake.
He was a sweet grandfather and I am sorry he did not live long
enough to hear about Islam.
A year before my bar mitzvah, my father remarried. My mother died 3 years before. My stepmother was catholic, so now I made a killing during the holidays. Seriously though, as a reformed Jewish home, (secular for the most
part) with a single parent for four years, I was raised with less than stellar morals. I compare that to what I now have as a Muslim. Actually, I was no different than my close friends, who were all Christians.
Frankly, I don’t know why, but I did not really seek nor
want to hang out with Jewish kids. I
spent most of my weekends before my father remarried with my aunts who were quite Jewish, down to the salami and lox sandwiches, and wise potato chips that would smell up the whole [indoor seating area] of the drive-in we
attended nearly every week. We had quite a reputation. But even though they lived in the Jewish section of the city, I still did not really have close relations with Jewish kids.
Maybe this was the divine plan so I would enter Islam easily.
God knows best. Actually, I did not enter Islam so easily and I had my share of
struggles with my deep rooted lusts and desires. My sister, who is three years
older than me [an we are in the baby boomer age group] became Muslim when she
was about 19 years old. She moved to New York City and there met a Muslim and
over time embraced Islam. That was about 27 years ago
and she is a very seriously committed Muslima to this day, Al Hamdulillah.
She discussed Islam with me whenever I would visit. Finally, they asked me if I would like to embrace Islam. This was during a visit to New York. I was in nursing school at the time. I took the “Shahada” that weekend, which means to declare one’s belief and acceptance of Islam verbally by saying; “Ashadu ala illaha ill allaah, washadu anna muhammadur wa rasulullah.” “I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except for the One True God Allah [Who is Alone and without any partners] and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger and slave of Allah.”
After that, I returned to my city and the next day, life went on as usual. That was not good. But in those days [late 70’s] there was little Islamic information and in my situation at school I was not really looking for any religion. I was so deep into fulfilling my self centered desires that I could not ‘let go and let God’ so to speak. The importance of Islam did not enter my heart nor mind, and nearly 20 years later in repeating this [embarrassing] story so many times, I finally realized why it took me several years too actually embrace Islam. I accepted Islam not for the pleasure and sole purpose of worshipping Allah.
I accepted Islam for the pleasure of my sister and her husband. I love my sister dearly and I have always trusted her completely. When I saw her devotion to Islam, especially after she tried so many other things, I believed what she was telling me, yet, not searching, struggling or questioning life, I did not feel the need nor understand the importance of Islam in ones life. The important point here is that one embraces Islam out of sincere conviction and certainty that Allah is One and Muhammad is the Final Messenger. One should never embrace Islam for any other reason. And Allah says in His Book [Qur’an], “There is no compulsion in Religion.
Indeed the Right path has become distinct from the false path. Those who disbelief in ‘taghut’ [anything else worshipped and called upon other than Allah] and believe in Allah [Islamic Monotheism] have grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break.” Q2:256
Some years later and after some serious foolishness, I found myself rejected by a woman. My self-centered, womanizing, arrogant self could not at all handle it and I suffered terribly for two years. In retrospect the situation
did not call for such punishment, yet, I understand that this “mercy” is what I needed to turn to Allah and finally embrace what I only uttered several years before.
In addiction treatment parlance, this was the beginning of my recovery, and as anyone who works in addiction or has an addiction disorder knows, recovery is a slow and at times, painful process. [I work in addiction.] Today, I am fully committed to living and dying in Islam. I am certain of it based on evidences and proofs and not emotional conviction alone. The only thing I can say is that anything that could take me out of ‘my world’ and away from what I loved so much then make what I loved so much the things now hated my me, then it must be only from God, because I cannot think of anything material that could do that to me.
Allah says; “We will show them our signs in the furthest
regions [of the earth] and in their own souls, until
it becomes clear to them that this is the truth.” Q41: 53
I have learned my purpose through Islam and it is as Allah says in His Book; “I have only created jinn’s and men, that they may worship Me.” [Q51: 56] It puts things into perspective for me.
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