Women converts
Women converts

Angel, Ex-Christian, USA

Every Muslim has a story about their journey to Islam.  Each one is interesting and curious to me.  God truly guides who he wants and only who he wants.  I feel so blessed to have been one of the chosen.  Here is my story.
I always believed in one God.  My entire life during hardship, I asked God for help even as a child.  I remember crying on my knees in the kitchen, screaming and crying all around me.  I was praying for God to make it stop.  Religion on the other hand never did make sense.  The older I got, the less it really made sense to me.  People thinking they were the negotiator between you and God.
I felt the same about Jesus, [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him].  How does it work that this man would save us all from our sins?  Why do we have the right to sin just because of him?  I refused the bible in all of its versions, believing something translated and rewritten so many times could not to be the real words of God.  Around the age of fifteen I had given up on the idea of finding God.
Growing up, my family was the average American family.  Everyone I knew had similar problems growing up.  My dad was a hardworking blue collar alcoholic.  As time progressed his condition worsened, and so did his perversion.  Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and fear made an imprint on my childhood that would reflect the rest of my life.  He passed away when I was in the sixth grade.  My parents had divorced by then.  I was the youngest of eight children.  My mother would go to work to support us, and I was home alone a lot.
Here I was, one of those kids who pull from society, who scare people when they walk into a room.  I began wearing black clothing and the dark makeup.  I listened to gothic music and fantasized about death.  Death seemed to be less of a fear and more of a solution to this growing problem.  I felt alone all the time, even around friends.  I tried to fill the gap with cigarettes, then alcohol, sex, drugs and then anything that would take me from my own thoughts.  I tried to kill myself at least fifteen times.  No matter what I tried this pain inside of me never seemed to subside.
I was in college when I became pregnant with my son, I feared for my son’s health and could not dream of giving him away.  I worked endlessly to provide for my son.  Squeezing all the pain and anger into my heart, I changed my life some.  By this time, I trusted no one.  Three years later, I started to date again.  I got engaged.  I truly wanted to have the something more.  As with all of my past experiences, my world came crashing down.  I was 25 and pregnant with my daughter and ended the relationship with my fiancé after he repeatedly cheated and physically hurt me.  I had no idea what was next.
During this time I was working for a Pakistani guy who was Muslim.  I never watched the news or even cared really what was going on.  Being Muslim to me was no different than any other religion.  As time moved on I became friends with several Muslim men.  I began to notice something dramatically different.  They had these unquestionable morals.  A devotion to God in a way that required them to pray five times a day.  Let alone the fact that they did not drink or do drugs.  For my generation this was old school morals, maybe like those your grandparents might have followed
When my daughter was born, you can’t imagine my surprise when one of these guys came in and brought gifts.  I was shocked stupid.  He held her and spoke to her.  I had never seen men behave this way over a baby.  The kindness only increased with time over the next four months.  I can’t express the love that was shown to us.  Slowly my interest in their religion grew.  I was curious as to what kind of religion could instill these kinds of values into people.
I was sharing a home with seven people when one night I decided to borrow my roommate’s computer.  I was too afraid to offend my friends by asking them questions, so I turned to the internet.  The first site I opened was http://www.islam-brief-guide.org.  I was dumb founded.  It was if a black cloth had been lifted from my body, and I swear to you that I had never felt so close to God.  Within twenty-four hours, I took my Shahadah.
To this day the majority of my time is spent on research.  For the first time in my life something had stopped the anger, and the pain.  I truly felt the love and fear of God.  God had replaced the pain inside of me with his light, and faith in him.  Since my conversion, God has truly blessed me.  God gave me the strength to quite smoking, drinking and have not used drugs in almost two years.  I am married to a wonderful Muslim man.  He has taken my children and made them ours.  I have something that I always wanted - a family, [all praise is due to God].

Akifah Baxter, Ex-Christian, USA

I have always been aware of the existence of God.  I have always felt that He was there.  Sometimes that feeling was distant, and often times I ignored it.  But I could never deny this knowledge.  Because of this, throughout my life, I have been searching for the truth of His Plan.
I have attended many churches.  I listened, I prayed, I talked to people from all different faiths.  But it seemed that there was always something that didn’t feel right; it felt confusing, like there was something missing.  I’ve heard many people in the past say to me, “Well, I believe in God, but I don’t belong to any religion.  They all seem wrong to me.”  This was my feeling exactly, however, I didn’t want to just let it go at that and just accept it.  I knew that if God exists then He wouldn’t just leave us with no direction, or even a warped version of the truth.  There had to be a plan, a “true religion.”  I just had to find it.
The various Christian churches are where I concentrated my search, simply because that is what I grew up with, and there seemed to be some truths in some of their teachings.  However, there were so many different views, so many conflicting teachings on basic things like how to pray, who to pray to or through, who was going to be “saved”, and who wasn’t, and what a person had to do to get “saved.”  It seemed so convoluted.  I felt I was near giving up.  I had just come from yet another church whose views on God and the purpose of our existence, left me so completely frustrated because I knew what they were teaching wasn’t true.
One day, I had wandered in the bookstore and I went over to the religious section.  As I stood there gazing over the vast array of mostly Christian books, a thought occurred to me to see if they had anything on Islam.  I knew virtually nothing about Islam, and when I picked up the first book, it was solely out of curiosity.  But I became excited with what I was reading.  One of the first things that struck me was the statement ‘There is no god but God,’ He has no associates, and all prayers and worship are directed to Him alone.  This seemed so simple, so powerful, so direct, and made so much sense.  So from there I started reading everything I could about Islam.
 
Everything I read made so much sense to me.  It was as if suddenly all the pieces of this puzzle were fitting perfectly, and a clear picture was emerging.  I was so excited my heart would race any time I read anything about Islam.  Then, when I read the Quran, I felt like I was truly blessed to be able to read this.  I knew that this had come directly from God through His Messenger [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him].  This was it, the truth.  I felt like all along I had been a Muslim but I just didn’t know it until now.  Now as I start my life as a Muslim, I have a sense of peace and security knowing that what I am learning is the pure truth and will take me closer to God.  May God keep guiding me.  Ameen.

Viviana Espin, Ex-Christian, Ecuador

 
My name is Viviana Espin.  I am 21 years old from Ecuador.
Life always has good and bad moments.  Sometimes when I think about the past I feel a deep hole of pain.  I’d like that things would have been different, maybe to have a normal family, maybe caring parents.  I don’t know, but I am sure everything has a reason.
My childhood was so hard, my father was a violent man, my mother was very submissive, we had financial problems, and many other things that were influencing my brother and my own mental health.  In my childhood, my mom used to teach me at home some vowels, some words in English, and other things, I became so good at learning that at the age of 4, my mom decided to send me to school.
My parents sent me to study in a Catholic school.  My mom liked it because she liked me to get good faith in God and also a good education.  My father liked it too because this was one of the best schools in the city we lived in, and he always had been arrogant and vain so he liked to be proud with his friends telling them were I was studying.
Since the beginning, I was younger than my classmates, so they used to abuse me.  They used to put bubble gum in my hair and steal my things, throw my food in the garbage and many other things.
As I was the youngest, the principal of the school decided to take care of me.  So in the break time I didn’t spend it in the yard with the other kids.  I used to spend this time in the office of the principal or the secretary of the school.  By the way, since it was a Catholic school, almost all the teachers, principal, and directors were nuns.
I started to get very close to them and they also started to appreciate me so much, that they started to let me stay with them in their homes, which already was in the land of the school.  They had their house beside the school building inside the same perimeter of land.
I already was different than the rest of my neighbors and kids of my age.
My parents were divorced when I was almost 8 years old, this by far was one of the most traumatic events of my life. When I spend so much time alone in a closed place, my mind starts to fly and I start to think about things that sometimes I don’t find answers to.
My mom became more religious, but she started to control me so much.  Sometimes it was good, and sometimes it wasn’t.  I grew up always with fear, insecurity and doubts.
 
I started to appreciate the calm places with less noise around, but in a way to be in touch with nature.  Those were the only moments I liked to be alone.
The only place in which I used to find that, was with the nuns.  The school had a big green yard, so I used to lay on it and enjoy looking at the sky and feeling the wind covering me.  This felt so peaceful.
The nuns appreciated me so much and I enjoyed the time with them.  I also felt that the only way I could have an escape from the problems of my home, was through seeking refuge in God.
At the age of 12, I told my mom that I liked to stay in the convent with the nuns of my school and be one of them.
My mom got upset and said that she was happy that I wish to be close to God but at the same time she said that her wish is that I give her grandchildren someday, so she didn’t let me join the nuns.  It was already my last year with the nuns.
After the negative answer from my mom, I decided to get closer to God, study and understand better what the Bible says.  After I started to read it consciously, I realized that it has many things that didn’t make sense, many contradictions, and in some parts there were things that seemed to me as if the idea was not complete.  So I got the need to know where was the rest, and the answers to my inquires that, in my view, were not clear, nor logical.
I started to read books about religions, and the Internet also was so helpful to search.
I found information about Judaism, Buddhism, Agnosticism, Hinduism and Christianity itself, and different sects and so on.  None of them satisfied my logic.  I already was not interested in searching about Islam because of all the bad things I heard about it.  But at the end, I decided to check out Islam to see what it is all about as my final option to try to find a logical answer.
The Trinity was never clear to me.  So when I started to investigate into Islam I saw the answers to many of my questions.  Islam made sense to me, it answered my question about the number of Gods, it clearly stated in the Quran that there was only One.  This answered my questions about Jesus.  I understood that the Bible had been changed and no longer was in its pristine form and I felt that finally I had found the truth.
I read briefly about  Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and I found him very close to Moses.  Why shouldn’t I believe in a last messenger from God when he had the same message that all the other prophets came with? All this made me feel that finally I had found the real religion.
I was perhaps 17 or 18, I don’t remember, when I told my mom that I had the wish to change my religion and become Muslim.  I told her that I liked to go to the Islamic Center at my city and learn more. My mom got upset and she said that only Christian people can live in her home, and if I was seriously thinking about changing my religion, I should leave the house.  So I told her that I was only kidding to make her forget the issue.
 
She contacted my aunt, and my aunt brought me a book against Islam.  I read the book and it scared me and left in my mind fears and doubts.  So I stopped the idea of becoming Muslim but also I didn’t like to go back to Christianity because I already didn’t feel comfortable with it before.
My mom changed her religion from Catholic to Evangelic, after a miracle with one of her brothers.  He had cancer and doctors said that he was not going to live more than a week maybe one month.  Two years passed since then and my uncle is still with us.
The day when my mom decided to convert I already tried to talk to her about Islam again, and I asked her to come with me to the Islamic Center to ask about the doubts and fears from the book.  My mom was so open that day and she accepted.  But that was in the morning.  At night, she went back home as Evangelic and with a very strong conviction about it, so for me it was impossible to talk to her about Islam again.A few months after this I met a Muslim who I got married to shortly afterwards, after this I moved to Egypt to be with him.
The two biggest dreams of my life were to come to Egypt and to marry a good man who loves me, cares for me, and be romantic, the charming kind of prince that I am sure all girls dream about when they are children.  But I always thought that I was never going to  see these dreams come true.  Because on one hand, of my financial situation would make it impossible to travel to Egypt and on the other hand, I didn’t think that the man I wished for could be anywhere in the real world except my dream.
God gave me all what I wished.  But honestly, I was never grateful for all that He gave me.
After coming to Egypt, I still was not sure that I wanted to convert.  My new husband introduced me to a wonderful lady with the knowledge, the patience, and the faith.  Her name was Raya.  She helped me better analyze my situation and clarified all the doubts and misconceptions I used to have about Islam.
Finally I took the Shahadah on Saturday August 30, 2009.  I took the Shahadah only because I was convinced about the existence of One God and that Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was his last Messenger and Prophet.  But I said that I was going to start practicing when I feel it’s the right time.  They agreed with me and at that time I didn’t have the intention to start a real learning soon.
The following Monday everything changed.  My husband and I got into a really bad situation which was my fault, and he divorced me.  I felt that my world was crushed in pieces.
In my despair I didn’t know who else to ask for help other than Raya.  Since that day she has been giving me her support and has taken me as a daughter in her home.
My mom used tell me that humans never learn until bad things happen.  This is very true.  All the problems with my husband made me feel the need to search for help in Allah (God) and ask him for forgiveness.
I am just in the starting process but I have the real feeling that I want to serve my Lord and be grateful to him.   I started to change my way of dressing and now I wear hijab, and I feel I want to change all my life.  I want to prove to God, to the man I love and to myself, that I am a new person now.
After the divorce, thank God, my husband has given me a light of hope that with God’s help we could be back together soon.
 
Now I need to get strong in my religion and he needs time to forgive me.  In all ways, I hope that at the end of this year God gives me the strength that I need to accept any decision from Him.
It was a lesson that has changed all my life for sure.

Sophie Jenkins, Ex-Catholic-Protestant, UK

 
I was born into a lower middle-class English family; my mother was (and is) a housewife and my father worked at an electronics firm (he is now a lecturer in electronic engineering).  My father came from a Catholic background, and my mother from a Protestant one.  They had both shared a short spell in the Quaker church in the early 1970’s, but by the time I came along, they were strong atheists and religion was never mentioned in our house, let alone practiced.  My parents had decided that if we wanted to be religious when we grew up, they would support this.
From a young age, I believed in God, despite not being brought up with this belief, but still I got the feeling that what they were teaching in the Christian school I went to was not right, somehow.  I didn’t believe in Jesus or the Holy Spirit, it all seemed false, but at school they told us this was the only right way, all other religions were wrong, so I was VERY confused.  When you’re a small child, you assume adults are always right with no exceptions: what they say, goes.  Still, I could not let this go, so I probably, quite wisely, decided to keep my belief in only one God private.  I felt guilty for believing something that was ‘wrong’.  I felt ashamed and I hoped and prayed that I would stop being a heretic soon.  When I was young, I was exposed very much to the fear of ‘Islamic Fundamentalism’, especially with the Salman Rushdie affair at the front of people’s minds, I was very frightened of the Muslims in general.  There were two Muslim children at my primary school, but they kept their beliefs to themselves, except for the fact that the younger child Ali refused to pray in Assembly.
I had always prayed for God to show me the right way, I always turned to God for help.  There was no doubt in my mind that God existed  by the time I was 11 or 12 years old, and in high school I began to realize that perhaps my belief in one God wasn’t wrong.  At this time, I had not really heard of Islam, all I ‘knew’ about it was that it was a violent religion that treated women like dirt.  We were actually taught in SCHOOL that Islam was spread by the sword (in other words by violent and forceful means), that women in Islam were chattels symbolized by their dress, and that Muslims worshipped Mohammed (Salalah Alaihi Was Sallam).  I was really disgusted, every time I saw a Muslim lady when shopping in Manchester (there are few Muslims in my area) I thought, ‘how can you do that to yourself??  I was really incensed.  They did teach us one true thing though, that Muslims believe in only one God, which was something I honestly did not know before then.
I looked into all manner of other religions, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, but they all appeared so man-made and contradictory.  However one day, I don’t know what hit me, but I just felt I had to check whether what I had been taught was true or not.  I was also curious because I had been told Muslims believed in one God, and I wanted to see if it were true or not.  I saw a book called ‘Elements of Islam’ in the local library, and secretly I took it out.  I turned straight to the section on Muslim women, and I was absolutely astounded by what I read.  It was contrary to what I had been taught about Islam and women, and better than anything else I had ever heard of.  I didn’t doubt what I read, I knew it was true, I knew deep in my heart that all of my prayers had been answered.  Islam was the truth that I had been searching for all of my life!  Still I felt bad for feeling this, the old guilt from my primary school days came creeping back; how could I believe in this ‘wrong’ religion?  I tried to find evidence to ‘prove’ to me that Islam was not the truth, but it was impossible: all books that said negative things about Islam, I already knew they were lying.  All books that said positive things about Islam, I knew they were telling the truth.
I decided I must be a Muslim, although I couldn’t come to terms with it, and I didn’t tell anyone.  I read every book I could get my hands on, I got a translated copy of the Quran from the library but I couldn’t understand it, it was all in Middle English.  This didn’t put me off - I knew it was only a translation, and what I did gather from it, I liked very much.  I knew Islam was for life, that there was no turning back, so I really had to make sure.  I ended up studying for two and a half years before chancing upon a chat room in January 1997 that was to change my life.  It was the chatroom at [a Muslim website], and the people there were very helpful.  The second time I went there I took Shahadah (declaration of faith that makes One a Muslim) in front of people from all over the world.

Amber Acosta, Ex-Catholic, USA

Why did I become Muslim?  I can clearly remember the day I officially converted at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, I came right from the state of Connecticut (US), but what lead up to that day remains as a somewhat subconscious, yet continuous quest for God.
As a child, I was always sure of religion and God, but never in the way it was presented in Catholicism.  I could never grasp how God could be three (with the Trinity), how we could pray to many people such as Jesus (peace be upon him), Mary and assorted saints, the concept of original sin, how priests could just “forgive” your sins, or why there were hundreds of completely different bibles.
Consequently, these are just a few of the things that anyone, including priests, could ever address or even explain.  It was amazing that I went to church and religious education but came out without knowing exactly what I should be doing to be a good Christian.  I learned I was supposed to be “good,” “giving,” “caring,” “merciful,” and many other desirable traits, but there was never any practical application for how I should go about doing that.
Without knowing it then, I was searching for a way to connect with the One God I knew and always prayed to, as well as a structure from God that would teach me exactly how I should be carrying out my life.  But life went on, and with pressure from my family and objection from me, I went through the initiations into the Catholic Church.  Up until college, religion was nothing more to me than a bother on Sunday mornings.  God though, was still present.
I happened to go to a Catholic college and thought I would give Catholicism one last chance.  I wanted so desperately to reach God.  I tried my best once again to find my way through the only means I knew possible and it did not work.  I finally renounced Catholicism, so that meant it was time to explore other options.
Catholicism and Christian denominations were out because of my previous troubles with them and so was Judaism because of its disbelief in Jesus.  Although I had issues with Christianity, I was always sure Jesus had a powerful message to humankind — the message of worshiping one God.  I could never understand how Christians ended up worshiping Jesus himself.  I felt sure that he would have never wanted that.  This left me with one more option — Islam.
I happened to be familiar with Islam through previous travels in Egypt, so I was open to the possibility of this faith.  It was not alien to me, although at the time I did not know any Muslims other than a friend or two in Egypt.
I began reading the Quran and searching for information on Islam through the Internet.  I remember my first feeling about the Quran was that I knew instinctively it could never have been written by a human hand; it was simply beyond that.  This was in sharp contrast to my reading of the Bible, which seemed like just a collection of stories written by a man.  This love of the Quran’s words and the fact that there was and is just one, unchanged Quran since its revelation to Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was not the only thing that impressed me.
I felt good about everything I learned about Islam.  This feeling meant a lot, so I kept digging, learning, and liking.  Most importantly, I found answers to my two main religious issues of the past (only wanting to worship one God and structure).  Islam is strictly monotheistic in that Muslims worship of God alone without any partners, and the Quran and Sunnah (the sayings and actions of the Prophet [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him]) give a complete way of life to follow.  I finally knew exactly what I had to do to be a good Christian, I had to become a Muslim!
During the last two years of college, I held the beliefs of Islam, not really sure what to do with them in a Catholic college environment.  I knew in my heart that I was Muslim, but I did not know how to break that news to family and friends.
After college, I was offered an internship in Egypt and happily returned.  I made many good Muslim friends, including my husband-to-be, who helped me officially convert and learn so many things that are important in the religion.  I was lucky to have all the wonderful support I received.
It was not easy telling people that I was Muslim.  Although some people were glad I found a religion I loved, I have not always received congratulations or even polite responses, but I have become strong because of it.  I can defend my faith and I thank God every day that I am Muslim.  I remember growing up confused about God and religion.  I finally feel complacent and simply happy each day that goes by because I now understand the truth.
 
For more, visit: http://www.islamreligion.com/category/63/stories-of-new-muslims/