I am a new Muslim woman from Richmond, VA. I had never even met Muslims before last year, and had no idea that there was an Islamic center in my own city. However, at that time, I was very interested in Islam, but I could find nothing to read.
I read encyclopaedias and any books I could get my hands on, but they were all written by non-Muslims. They said that Muhammad wrote the Quran in the 7th century, that Muslims worshipped the black stone, and that Islam bred hatred towards women.
They also said that Muhammad copied the Bible, that Islam was spread with the Quran in one hand and the sword in the other, and implied (if not stated directly) that all Muslims were Arab. One book even said that the word “Allah” came from al-lot, the moon god of the pagan Arabs. These are just some of the lies I read.
Then, one day, two Pakistani Muslim women who were also wearing Hijab, came to my college. I befriended them, and then I started asking them all kinds of questions. I had already left Christianity when I was 12, so I felt no challenge to my personal beliefs. I was a biology major and had basically no religion.
I was amazed at what they told me, and I realized that all of my previous knowledge was lies. Then, I came home for the summer. I got my own apartment and started working at 7-11. While I was working, a black woman with a Hijab came in the store. I asked her where she worshipped and when she told me there was an Islamic center on the same street I was working on, I was amazed.
I went the next day, but no one was there. So I went the day after that day, which happened to be Friday, and found some people there. A man told me to come the next week at noon so I could meet some of the ladies. But when he said “noon,” he meant “dhuhr,” not 12. I didn’t know that.
So I came at 12 the following week, but no one was there. For some reason, I decided to wait, Subhan-Allah. And wait I did, for an hour and a half, but Friday prayer is at 2pm, and finally I meet some people.
A lady there gave me a copy of Maurice Bucaille’s The Bible, Quran, and Science. When I read it, I knew that I wanted to become a Muslim. After all, I was a biology major. I knew that the things in the Quran had to be from Allah, and not from an illiterate, uneducated man.
So I went the next week and took shahaada (accepted Islam) When my dad found out, he went crazy. He came to my apartment and tore up everything in it, including my Quran. I called the police, and they came out. But they refused to help. They said “Don’t you think he’s right?” and so on. So I fled to Nashville, TN.
I have continued to talk with my dad, though, because the Quran says to honour your parents (it does not distinguish between a non-believer and Muslim parents, and because I remember the story of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. He hated Islam so much that he used to beat his slave girl until his arm grew tired.
Alhamdu Lillah, Allah has rewarded me for my efforts. I saw my father for the first time this summer, he accepted it without too much commentary. I think he realizes now that he can’t bully me into renouncing Islam.