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I saw her radiant face in a mosque that is located on a hill in a small American state, reciting a translation of the Noble Quran. I greeted her and she returned the greeting warmly and cheerfully; we got talking and became good friends in no time. One night, we were on the shore of a beautiful lake, where she related to me the story of her conversion to Islam. I want to share her experience with you, dear readers, so we can deduce some wisdom from it.
The sister, who was a new Muslim, related,
"I grew up in the Jewish American home of a dysfunctional and broken family; after my parents' divorce, my father married another woman. My stepmother tortured and mistreated me a lot; this drove me to run away from home when I was seventeen. I moved to another state where I met some young Arab men who were, as my homeless friends told me, 'generous'. All a girl needed to do was to give one of them a smile and she would find someone to buy her dinner and offer her a cozy place and a comfortable bed to spend the night.
“I followed in the footsteps of my homeless girlfriends, but at the end of each night I would run away; for I did not like such illicit relationships and I hated Arabs. Nonetheless, I was not happy with my life at all and I never felt safe or secure; I was haunted all the time by distress and a sense of loss.
“At this stage of my life I resorted to religion, to relish the sweetness and warmth of spirituality, hoping to find in it the motivation to keep me going in my harsh life; however, I found my religion, Judaism, unconvincing. I found it a religion that does not respect women or humanity. I realized that Judaism is a selfish religion that fosters backwardness; I did not find in it my objective, for I do not believe in superstition or myths, so I embraced Christianity.
"However, in Christianity I found even more contradictions and unbelievable things which Christians were expected to believe in without questioning. I frequently asked questions such as: how could the Lord kill His son? How could the Lord have a son in the first place? How can one believe in three gods and not even be able to see any of them?I was bewildered and perplexed at all these unanswerable questions, so I gave up Christianity, yet I always believed that this universe, definitely, has a Creator. I used to spend my nights thinking and pondering on this thought until morning.
"One bleak and gloomy night when it was almost dawn, I was about to commit suicide due to my state of depression. I hit rock bottom and nothing in the world made sense to me anymore. It was raining heavily that night and thick clouds had gathered, enveloping my universe as if they were imprisoning me. Watching the trees around me, I felt as if the crowding trees were looking at me furiously and the drops on rain were playing a hideous and dull melody, as I peered out of the window of an abandoned house.
"For some reason I found myself praying to God, saying: ‘O my Lord, I know that You are out there… I know that You love me… I am a prisoner… I am one of your weak creatures; guide me to the right path. O my Lord, either guide me or let me die.’ I kept praying and crying bitterly that night until I fell asleep and in the morning, I woke up with a cheerful heart, but I did not know the reason behind this unfamiliar feeling. I went out on my daily pursuit of livelihood. Perhaps I would find a young man to pay for my breakfast, or wash his dishes and earn some money.
"Then, I met a young Arab man and we talked and talked for a very long time. After breakfast, he asked me to go with him to his home and live with him. I accepted his offer and went with him.
“While we were having lunch, drinking and laughing, a bearded young man named Sa’d – as I came to know later when my Arab friend called out his name in surprise – visited us. This bearded young man took my friend by the hand and drove him away. I stayed there shaking; there I was, face to face with a terrorist! However, he did not do anything scary but politely asked me to go home. I told him that I had no home; he looked at me sadly and I saw on his face how he pitied me, and said, ‘Alright, you can stay here for tonight’ – since it was bitterly cold outside – ‘but you should leave tomorrow. Take this money to live on until you find a job.’
"He headed towards the door, so I asked him to stop and said, ‘Thank you! Please stay; I will leave, but I want to ask you a favor: could you tell me why you did what you did with me and your friend?" He lowered his gaze while he spoke to me, saying, ‘It is Islam; it forbids what is unlawful and makes permissible what is lawful. It also forbids sitting in seclusion with a non-Mahram (marriageable) woman and drinking alcohol, and Muslims are enjoined to treat people kindly and adopt high morals.’
“I was perplexed and surprised at his answer; were these the Muslims who were being called terrorists? I thought they carried guns and killed everybody they met; for this was the image drawn by the American media of Muslims. I told him, ‘I would like to know more about Islam, can you tell me?’ He responded, ‘I will take you to a religious Muslim family and I know that they will teach you Islam in the best way.’
“The next day at ten o'clock, he took me to this Muslim family who welcomed me warmly. I kept asking them about Islam and Dr. Sulaymaan, the head of the family, answered me until I was totally satisfied and convinced with everything he said about Islam. At that moment, I knew that I had found what I was looking for: a clear and straightforward religion that is compatible with common sense and I did not find any difficulty in believing what I heard about it; it was the truth.
“That day, I felt ecstatic and savored a sense of bliss when I announced I had embraced Islam, and wore the Hijaab immediately on the same day!
“Late that evening, Dr. Sulaymaan's wife took me to the best room in the house and told me, ‘This is your room and you are welcome to stay here as long as you wish.’ She saw me looking out of the window, smiling with tears running down my cheeks. She inquired about the reason behind my tears. I said, 'Yesterday, exactly at this time, I was standing next to a window, praying to Allaah The Almighty and imploring Him either to show me the right way or let me die. He guided me to the Right Path and now I am an honorable Muslim woman who knows her Lord, her Creator and knows the path that leads to Him; Islam is the path to Allaah.’ Dr. Sulaymaan's wife burst into tears and hugged me affectionately."