Sunday, 3 July 2011

100 Things to do Before I Die

    1. Get on TV
    2. Learn to ice skate
    3. Put a message in a bottle and throw it into the ocean
    4. Skydive
    5. Give a lot of money to someone in a poor country
    6. Write a book
    7. Eat something weird and exotic
    8. Spend a night at a "haunted house"
    9. Go on a pilgrimage
    10. Teach someone how to speak French
    11. Teach someone how to read
    12. Start a school in a foreign country
    13. Visit a country by myself without speaking a single word of the language
    14. Be lost in a forest
    15. Go on a year-long tour of America
    16. Sleep inside a tent
    17. Give a speech to more than 1,000 people about Islam
    18. Help someone convert to Islam
    19. Stay up all night talking to someone
    20. Learn to juggle
    21. Travel to Antarctica
    22. Climb a mountain
    23. Swim in the middle of an ocean
    24. Spend a night with a tribe in the Amazon
    25. Live in poverty for a month to know what it's like
    26. Ride an elephant
    27. Ride a horse
    28. Speak Arabic fluently
    29. Speak Japanese fluently
    30. Dive with a whale shark
    31. Go snorkling
    32. Visit an active volcano
    33. Own a parrot
    34. Spend a whole day in a jungle alone
    35. Teach English in a foreign country
    36. Stand at the north or south pole
    37. Go hiking in a desert
    38. Learn to speak in a funny accent
    39. Hug a random person off the street
    40. Give lots of money to a homeless person
    41. Go skiing
    42. Eat and drink only chocolate for a whole day
    43. Bungee jump
    44. Zipline
    45. Learn to drive
    46. Be alone on a beach
    47. Own a horse
    48. Own a giraffe
    49. Live in a flat
    50. Adopt a child
    51. Write a meaningful letter to someone
    52. Build a treehouse
    53. Go camping
    54. Live in a foreign country for a month
    55. Own a golden retriever dog
    56. Teach a dog tricks
    57. Read the Qur'an in Arabic
    58. Memorise the Qur'an
    59. Teach someone to speak Filipino
    60. Save a life
    61. Talk someone out of suicide
    62. Be published in the newspaper
    63. Be famous for something good
    64. Talk to a prisoner and change their life
    65. Learn to be a happier person
    66. Learn to say all the prayers correctly
    67. Sponsor a child in Africa
    68. Get married
    69. Shave my hair off for charity
    70. Have at least two children (make sure one is a girl)
    71. Adopt a child
    72. Write a bunch of confessions in a book then burn it
    73. Become an active goer of the mosque
    74. Tell my parents I'm Muslim
    75. Get contact lenses
    76. Get through Ramadan and actually fast correctly
    77. Have a wikipedia page about me
    78. Be famous as a blogger
    79. Learn to cook
    80. Be an examiner and give away free marks to students
    81. Read a foreign language novel
    82. Write an autobiography
    83. Start a social revolution
    84. Take pictures of me every day for a year and see the difference
    85. Learn to forgive
    86. Learn to speak Italian fluently
    87. Learn to make the perfect pizza
    88. Learn to make the perfect pasta
    89. Live in Italy
    90. Live in Canada
    91. Make a snow angel
    92. Be in a film/play/TV programme
    93. Go on a MASSIVE rollercoaster ride
    94. Visit a zoo
    95. Spend a night at the beach
    96. Memorise many hadiths
    97. Lie down in the middle of a field on a sunny day
    98. Get licked in the face by a dog
    99. Climb a tree to get a cat
    100. Become a better Muslim

    What are your list of things to do before you die? :)

    Saturday, 4 June 2011

    Another Shahadah Poem!

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I love poetry so much, here's another poem about my shahada!

    A new born baby boy is brought unto the glorious world,
    a bundle of joy, a bag of tears, a jar of laughter.
    Unblemished - pure - innocent.

    In such a way is a revert brought unto to the glorious community,
    a new life with challenges to encounter,
    epic quests to accomplish,
    journeys to undertake,
    and smiles to make.
    Piece of cake.

    Officially Taken Shahada!

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I consider myself to have three birthdays. Three, why? I have my real birthday (as in when I was born), the day I decided I was going to be Muslim, and the day I actually went to the mosque and took shahada.

    Ever since the day I decided I was going to be Muslim, in my heart, I was already Muslim - I was already a revert. But I only made it official last week. Masha'Allah it was an amazing experience, not only because I reverted, but also because it was my first time at a mosque.

    It was a fun day.

    To get an excuse of leaving the house, I told my parents that I was going to watch a film in Burton (which I did, after taking shahada) with some friends. (It's true!)

    I went to Burton on the bus with my friend Ed, an agnostic who wants to learn more about Islam. On arriving to Burton, as with most voracious teens, we set off to find somewhere to eat. Subway!

    I very nearly decided to get the Subway Melt (my favourite sandwich from subway); unfortunately, it contains bacon, and I chose otherwise. Much later, with a lot of help (basically a 20 minute conversation) from TheSisterWhoSmiles who was on Google Maps at her house, while Ed and I were being guided by her via phone. JazaakAllah kheir, TheSisterWhoSmiles, for your excellent navigational skills!

    Then we found the mosque. It was around 2pm.

    I was very scared to enter because I thought it was prayer time, and we did not want to cause  any disruptions to the prayer. So I asked TheSisterWhoSmiles when the prayers would start. I believe I must have said "the asr prayer" which is obviously later in the afternoon. I thought she said that the prayers won't start until the afternoon, but what I did not realise that the zuhr prayer was why there were a lot of people coming into the mosque!

    So Ed and I walked in, thinking that there were no prayers happening. I got in to the place where you take the shoes off - but there was no one there. Then someone walked in. I asked where the imam was, explained why I was there, etc. Then suddenly he took me into the wudhu room, and began to instruct me to perform wudhu, which I gladly did. It turns out that he was the junior imam at the mosque.

    What a blessing... to walk in the mosque just before the imam does. Allah subhana wa ta'ala does work in wonderful ways! SUBHAN ALLAH!

    Then Imam Zia led me to the prayer room, and I followed the actions of the brothers there, praying the zuhr prayers. It was beautiful, very peaceful... and very awkward! I wasn't totally sure whether I was doing the right actions, etc. but it went well.

    Later on, after a length sermon in Arabic (which I could not understand, to my dismay), the head imam called me to the front of the congregation, and he asked some questions, and then I took shahada.

    After lots of talking, and many of the congregation leaving, I had a chat with the imams and they gave me lots of books about Islam, and they also gave me a copy of the Holy Qur'an! :)

    So grateful...

    Anyway, I wrote a poem about the day's proceedings:

    A beam of light shines, blinds
    stirs me from my sleep.
    The rusty mind creaks, bends,
    unravels mysteries, upon mysteries.
    All my life waited for this...

    one moment
    one chance
    one time

    to break out, step out of line,
    and into a new one,
    the line leading to the circle of the...

    one life
    one cause
    one God.

    The path of truth begins...


    and the truth quest for...


    commences. The ship of life beckons
    and I must embark on a journey;
    I depart.
    Take the plunge.


    Saturday, 28 May 2011

    Islam and Homosexuality

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    As much as I love Islam, even before I reverted, I knew there were certain concepts that I was not going to readily agree with. Being the insistent, inquisitive and obstinate teenager that I am, I usually need an explanation of something before I accept it happily. Of course, when I got into Islam, the issue about Homosexuality (and indeed, other LGBT sexualities) never popped into my mind - I was too busy learning how to pronounce words in Arabic!

    It's a bitter topic. And it's one I do not want to talk about, as it seems to be a facet of Islam that non-Muslims do not like. However, it is one that we must discuss, rather than placing a taboo on it.
    In Islam, it is indeed true, that homosexuality is a sin.
    The reason and the punishments for such a sin raise many questions, however.

    Most Muslims would look towards the Qur'an, and refer to God punishing (by killing) the people of Lot (alaihi salaam) for committing the sin of homosexuality.
    "And We sent Lut when he said to his people: What! do you commit an indecency which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people... And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the guilty." (Surah 7:80-84)
    Of the Muslims who refer to this quote, some would say that it means that homosexuality is a sin, therefore homosexuals must be killed just like God killed the people of Lut, pbuh.

    Other Muslims may see this Hadith: "Muslim blood can only be spilled for adultery, apostasy and homicide." They may say that this means that homosexuality must not be punishable by death, whereas others will treat homosexual intercourse as adultery, and therefore must be punishable by death.

    Muslim scholars differ in opinion too. Some Muslim scholars recommend the death penalty, others recommend whipping, basing their opinions on several hadiths. Other Muslim scholars believe that those hadiths are not genuine, and that only God has the right to punish homosexuals, based on the Qur'an.

    But you can see the picture - there is no single, united view. However, I believe that there should be, if we are going to get anywhere; the problem is that there are many schools of Fiqh (religious law), and those schools should get together, and decide on one view - otherwise we'll end up being like Christians with denominations that one can pick and match according to one's views, and, obviously, sexuality.
    I don't want that for Islam.
    Here is my take on the issue. The first question that popped into my head when I read about the issue is whether it is the state of being homosexual that is the sin, or whether the sin lies in the homosexual intercourse. Yet again, there seems to be no clear-cut definition. Most people seem to conflate one with the other, and it is obvious that there is a difference.

    But let's talk about the two possible answers. If, say, the sin lies with the sexual intercourse, then it makes perfect sense. God made humans who could be gay so that they are tested their whole life, and it's an opportunity for their iman, their faith, to grow. Makes sense to me!

    However, if the sin lies with being gay, then I have a problem with this reasoning. I read from an article, which does not sound scholarly, that being gay is a choice made by people, and that it is a sin to be gay, because we, as humans, have the free will and ability to choose what we want to think, and who we desire to love.

    Well, I can tell you right now - no one ever chooses who they fall in love with. Whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, lesbian or transsexual, no one picks and chooses who they love.

    Furthermore, many hundreds of species of animals have been documented to show homosexuality. Animals do not have free will, and so the author of the above argument is clearly wrong. God would not allow someone to be gay, only to say that being gay is a sin - that is similar to the Christian view saying that people are all born with a sin (which is refuted in Islam). There is also plentiful evidence that gay people are born gay, or developed in early childhood, from MRI images, that show a similarity in the brains of gay men, and straight women. Brains don't just change in adulthood, especially something as significant as the brain structure and how it works.

    Having friends who are gay, I hate it when I hear Muslims (or somebody who believes that homosexuality is a sin) say that they pity gay people, and that they should be treated with tolerance. I hate it because gay people are just people. People should never be defined for who they love, but rather, their actions.

    Pitying gay people shows that those people feel that they stand on a morally higher ground simply because they love the opposite sex. Treating gay people with tolerance shows that those people do not treat people EQUALLY.

    When it comes to issues like these where there is a lot of discordance, I believe that we should look to texts that are specifically the word of God, in this case - The Holy Qur'an. I think the Qur'an's references to homosexuality mean that only God should be able to punish gay people, and that we should not punish them, either through death or prison or whipping. I'm sure gay people get enough trouble through prejudice, never mind being dropped off the top of a building and stoned to death.

    My view is that we will all be judged individually on Judgement Day, and there should be no need to punish, especially kill, someone who still has a chance to show, through their actions, that they deserve to be in heaven in the afterlife, especially if they are Muslim.

    I am not condoning homosexuality - but I do believe that a unity in Islam's belief in the issues should be realised, and that Muslim homosexuals should be equally treated and helped by brothers and sisters in our ummah to be on the straight path (forgive the pun!).

    Allah Hafiz!

    PS: Please let me know what you think - post a comment below!

    Friday, 27 May 2011


    Assalamu Alaykum.

    The dear Qur'an asks us,
    "Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it?" (Surah 50:6)

    ...and so I looked up at the sky, remembered the picture above made by TheSisterWhoSmiles, and wrote:

    An all-encompassing blanket rages
    tonight. Its silken texture belies
    its fury. Sometimes, it stands still, and ponders
    the story of life, then falls.
    Other times, it wavers - and a quick blow
    drags its own life away...
    f a d e s
    into clearer, azure skies.


    Friday, 20 May 2011

    A Letter to All Christians Out There...

    Dear Christian,

    I used to be Christian a long time ago, but as everyone knows, a lot can change in such a small space of time. And so can you too! When you've been in something like Christianity for so long, you begin to see flaws and discrepancies that make you realise that the good in something isn't actually that good at all.

    My pet hate with Christianity is that the Bible is written by men (or possibly women!).

    We, the human race, are not perfect - it even says that in the Bible. Over time, throughout history, the Bible has been changed: bits have been cut out, bits have been added in, and bits have been rewritten and now, it's been translated in hundreds of languages, and the many different styles of English that we have today. Some Christians take the Bible literally, others pick and choose what they like, interpreting it how they like, disregarding what they like - so called "Burger King Religion," because its followers have their way.

    This can only mean one thing. The Bible is inherently flawed, and that what people are following is not necessarily God's word, and basically, they're fitting religion into their lives, not fitting their lives into religion.

    "Ask not what religion can do for you - ask what you can do for religion."

    If you said to your boss, "I'm going to do things my way, and you're going to have to fit in to my schedule, but I still want to get paid, and I want a two-hour lunch, and I want Monday mornings off." What would your boss say?

    Similarly, why are Christians reading the Bible, and applying only some of it to their lives, or if they follow it literally, why are they applying something written by flawed men. Besides, its meaning would be diluted due to the many translations.

    In contrast, the Holy Qur'an (in Arabic, of course) has not change since it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, pbuh. Because the Qur'an should only be read in Arabic, its meaning would not change, and so you can apply all of it to your life as the infallible word of God.

    Another thing I don't like about Christianity, is the Bible quote:

    If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    Basically, this is saying, kill anyone who doesn't worship God.
    Whereas in the Qur'an, it says:
    "There shall be no compulsion in religion." (Surah 2:256)
    Of course, Christians would say that this quote should be taken in the context in which it was written. So, does that mean I can completely disregard all the rules that is said in the Bible because they're 2,000 years old?

    The fact that the Qur'an specifically disallows killing people, believer or disbeliever also says a lot about Muslims. In the Qur'an, it says that if you kill someone, God will look upon you as though you have killed the whole human race, whereas if you save someone's life, God will look upon you as though you have saved the whole human race. Obviously, the Muslim terrorists extremists have got the completely idea of defending the faith.

    Even Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said that the best way of defending the faith is through words and NOT violent actions. The Qur'an does state that as a last resort, if a Muslim cannot leave a land that is oppressed by non-Muslims and Islamophobes, then BUT ONLY AS A LAST RESORT, can one defend himself. But only to escape persecution. This doesn't mean hijacking a plane and killing INNOCENT people.

    The biggest argument against Christianity, paradoxically, is the trinity and Jesus "Christ". The trinity is, as you probably know, the three "sides" of God: God the Father (in heaven), God the Son (Jesus, who also happens to be his son, but also himself - wonder what genes he has?) and God the Holy Spirit (God in spirit form who comes to Christians, and gives them faith, strength, etc.). There is only one God. That is something both Christians and Muslims agree on. But why three sides? God does not need three sides of him to express himself, and surely that would be polytheism? God would not have a son because God is not human - God is God.

    The Muslim prophet "Isa," pbuh, is the one that Christians call "Jesus," and it makes sense that he is a prophet, not God. Even the Bible doesn't say that Jesus is God.

    But my point is that, if we Muslims and Christians believe in the same God, per se, why can't we just have the standard of the one book with the word from God that is written as God wanted it to be written, and not a book written by people?

    Why have the trinity of God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit? God is all-powerful: he does not need to be three things at once to fill his duty.

    Why follow a religion which commands you to kill those who do not believe? Why?

    So if you have seen these "flaws" in Christianity, and think that Islam is a better way of life and will lead you onto the straight path, or if you're just interested in learning more, then read about Islam! I'm sure you'll find a lot of sense in Islam, and so explore, discover and search for the truth, just like I did, my dear Christian.

    I hope that God leads you onto the straight path. :) If you take one step towards ALLAH he will take two steps towards you, and if you walk towards Him he will run towards you.

    So SPRINT towards Him! ;)

    Yours in faith,

    Nasir Al-Din

    PS: If you are Muslim, do pass this letter onto your Christian friends! :) Allah Hafiz!

    Saturday, 14 May 2011


    Assalamu Alaykum.
    With the pressure of exams building up, and arguments with parents sparking off every now and then, each day becomes such a struggle. It becomes harder to worship Allah swt, and to thank him for the good things in life, when every day feels like there are only bad things. Then I read this story. I hope you find something from it:

    Abdullah would say Alhamdulillah to everything that would happen to him, whether good or bad. One day, while hunting, the King accidently shot his finger and Abdullah responded with his normal, "Alhamdulillah." This upset the King he jailed Abdullah to which Abdullah again responded "Alhamdulillah." Soon thereafter, the King went out hunting again by himself. He strayed into tribal enemy grounds and was captured. The tribe was about to sacrifice him before they realized he was missing a finger. Knowing well that they should not sacrifice an incomplete human being, they released the King. Ecstatic, the King knew that his misfiring the other day saved his life. He went back home and freed Abdullah. Afterwards, he asked Abdullah, “I understand now why the loss of my finger was something worth saying "Alhamdulillah" over, but why did you say it when I jailed you?” Abdullah responded, “Had I been with you that one day instead of in jail, I would have been sacrificed, since I have all of my fingers!"
    Bad things never really happen. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "The affair of the believer is amazing! The whole of his life is beneficial, and that is only in the case of the believer. When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him." We can all learn from our bad times, and at the same time, because of our perseverance amidst suffering, our sins will be forgiven insha'Allah.
    Allah, subhanahu wa ta'aala, says in the Qur'an “But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not” (The Holy Qur'an, 2:216). Therefore, Brothers and Sisters, always be optimistic and respond with "Alhamdulillah" and remember that everything happens with you is for GOOD. It's About sabr (patience) and sukr (gratitude). Remember, always smile and say Alhamdulillah.

    So right now, say Alhamdullilah and SMILE! It's a sunnah! ;D

    Prophet Muhammad, sal allahu alaihi wa salaam, said: "And your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, your removing of stones, thorns, and bones from people's paths is charity, and your guiding a man gone astray in the world is charity for you."

    Wherever you are, whether you're suffering or not, remember, Allah knows.

    Allah Hafiz!

    Saturday, 7 May 2011

    Birthday and Bin Laden?!

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    The picture above was made by TheSisterWhoSmiles, jazaakAllahu kheir for the Birthday messages and the presents!

    I know this is a bit late, but it was my birthday on 2nd May, the same day that Bin Laden died. I remember waking up to a bright morning in England, my eyes blinded by the light. And then I received a text from a (Muslim) friend saying that Bin Laden had died. So I googled. Obviously, the news of his death was plastered everywhere. Somehow, it seemed a bit surreal to me, so I jumped out of bed, and asked my parents... who were laughing and joking about his death.

    Just a bit morbid? I mean... "Happy Bin Laden Death Day"?!

    Since I don't know many Muslims, I'm not sure whether to take his death as a cause for celebration. Is it haraam to "celebrate" someone's death, terrorist or not?

    From my perspective, it's good that he's dead. He gives the 99% of hardworking, good Muslims a bad name. His leadership led to the death of many. In the Holy Qur'an, it says "If anyone has murdered a human being, it is as if he has slain the entire human race." It's good to know that Allah swt will judge him, and the rest of us, accordingly.

    However, I don't think people should be overjoyed by his death. To me, it seems a bit harsh that people are partying about his death but I am not condoning his actions.

    Anyway, I had a good birthday, and somehow managed to stay away from alcohol! Alhamdulillah! At least I woke up to a morning with one less threat to the world.

    Allah Hafiz!

    Tuesday, 3 May 2011


    Assalamu Alaykum.

    Pork. Don't ask me why I like it - one of those things that tempt me from becoming a good Muslim. Sometimes, I awaken to the succulent smell of bacon in the morning. At school, the sizzle of the pork sausages being cooked tickle my taste buds. In the evening, pork meatballs with the spaghetti. I'm surrounded by it. And I can't help but eat it sometimes, albeit with an "astaghfirullah" afterwards.

    Why is pork SO GOOD?!

    That pork is haraam is one of the "rules" that I stumbled over before reaching the light of Islam. I often wonder why pork is haraam, but then I read an article about how pigs eat their own faeces and that they're generally dirty creatures. I suppose we wouldn't want the level of cholesterol and saturated fat in pork, not to mention possible salmonella scares, food poisoning, etc.

    The only problem with it being haraam is it makes Islam difficult to "sell" or to introduce to non-believers who think that because Islam has this rule, it is suddenly "stupid", when, really, it has a good reason for it. If the body is clean, then so is the soul, this is why we make wudu before we pray.

    I'm glad that God knows what is best for us. May Allah swt keep me away from pork temptation. Allah Hafiz!

    Sunday, 1 May 2011


    Assalamu Alaykum.

    Before I converted, I found it really stupid that Muslims pray 5 times a day. In Christianity, you pretty much only pray if you felt like it, and of course during Sunday mass (which many Christians do not attend anyway). In Catholicism, you pray during mass, confession, pray the rosary every night, pray the Angelus three times a day, pray before meals, pray after meals, etc. But I hated it. Praying was a drag. Here's an example of a Catholic prayer and I'll explain why it was a drag:

    "Bless these Thy gifts, O Lord, which we are about to receive. Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen."

    This was what I had to say at Catholic school before every lunch. If one didn't say it, you were deemed as "evil" or whatever. But why would you ask the Lord to bless the food? Most people just mumble their way through it with their eyes fixated on the vegetarian lasagne that they have, and probably a fork in their hand too. The Muslim equivalent is WAY better:

    "Bismillahi wa 'ala baraka-tillah. (With Allah's name and upon the blessings granted by Allah (do we eat)."

    This makes much more sense. It is a dedication to Allah swt that we do things in his life for Him, through him, and it reminds us that all His blessings are from Him only. The Catholic equivalent is somewhat flawed. "Through Christ our Lord we pray." Through Christ? So you have to pray through Christ, to get to Lord, but Christ is also your Lord anyway? Makes no sense. But hey, that's another topic. See my thoughts on Christianity.

    What I really wanted to talk about is the importance of prayer (I suppose this is to remind myself that I need to keep praying, otherwise I'm missing them, and I'm sinning).

    The second Pillar of Islam is Salah. Because it is obligatory, it means that every time you miss the five times of praying, it is a sin. If you were a Muslim, you may think that just being a Muslim and believing in God is enough to get you into jannah? Hardly. Only Christians think that believing in Christ is enough.

    A Muslim, by definition from the Arabic, is one who submits oneself to Allah, or one who seeks wholeness. Something like that. I'm not an expert, so don't take my word for it. ;) Allah wills us to pray five times a day in order to commit ourselves to him, to seek wholeness and to submit ourselves to Him, and Him only. Prayers are there to remind us that everything Good comes from Him.

    One of the major reasons for praying is that it is a way to ask for forgiveness. Praying five times a day is likened to taking a bath. But it just so happens that we sin all the time, and so we need to take a bath, otherwise we'd start stinking, wouldn't we? :') I suppose that's why wudu is obligatory before praying too! Another important reason is to strengthen our relationship with Allah, and act as a way of communicating to him, especially to thank him. The prayers are a way of bringing to mind once again what our purpose is on this world. Prayer strengthens eman (faith), our relationship with Allah and our dependence on Him.

    Imagine this. The Day of Judgement comes. The world is turned upside down, and you are suddenly at the front of the queue to speak to God, and tell Him your life story. He asks, "Why didn't you pray five times a day?" What will you say then?

    This quote from Muhammad Ali made me realise how important praying really is:

    "I don't smoke but I keep a match box in my pocket. Every time my heart slips towards sin, I light a match and place my palm over it. I then say to myself, oh Ali, you can't even bear this heat, then how will you bear the unbearable heat of Hell-fire?"

    May we all remember to pray and give thanks to our Lord. Allah Hafiz!

    Friday, 29 April 2011

    How Atheism Nearly Cost Me My Life

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    Imagine being hunted. You cannot see your attacker, but you know that the attacker will catch up with you. So you run anyway. Run. You reach a crossroads, and you do not know which road to take. You pick any, it doesn't matter to you, because the attacker will catch up with you. At some point, you slow down, and you forget about the attacker. But then, later, you'll remember the chase. And you'll keep running, and running, and running. Until you're so tired that you don't even care about what's going to happen to you. So you stop. You say, "There's no point in this running, if the attacker is going to catch up with me anyway." And in the end, the chase ends, the attacker catches up, and the attack is vicious.

    The attacker represents death.
    The chase represents life.
    The crossroads represent decisions you make throughout life.

    That is how I felt when I was an atheist. In case you're Muslim and never had the chance to experience what it is like to be an atheist, then I thought I'd tell you. Atheism, to me, is synonymous with despair and hopelessness. Why?

    Because there is no God.

    Which means, life after death does not exist.
    Which means, no matter how sinful you are, it would not matter to you.
    Which means, the temptations (e.g. drugs, alcohol, extramarital sex) are extra tempting.

    And the temptation is so strong, once you are hooked, you cannot stop. You indulge into a sinful, wicked thing, and you want more. And you do not stop because there is no God, and it does not matter.

    That is what atheism was like for me.

    There was a period in my life where I went through depression, and I once tried to kill myself. Astaghfirullah. Alhamdulillah, it did not work. I did it because I was selfish. I did it because I did not care about anyone, and there was no incentive to lead a better life. I did it because death was a way to stop the bad things from happening.

    Getting to know God solved a lot of questions for me. It solved, first and foremost, how I am here, why I am here. It solved why suffering occurs. Religion has taught me that suffering was a way for me to become a better person, to learn from my mistakes, and also a way to overwhelm and counteract against the sins I keep on committing (see reflections on suffering!).

    Atheism nearly cost me my life.
    Islam has given me a rebirth.

    Islam has given me the chance to become a new person, see the light and the truth, become happier, and lead a better life. I leave you with these quotes to help you through times of sacrifice and suffering. Allah Hafiz!

    "Verily, with hardship comes ease." - The Holy Qur'an

    "It is He Who has created death and life that He might try you—which of you is best in deeds; and He is the Mighty, the Most Forgiving." - The Holy Qur'an

    My Muslim Name

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    As you might know, Muslim reverts can pick a Muslim name, that may be with a meaning to which they are attached. My birth name means "God of War," and no doubt, I did not want to go by in the Muslim community with a name that not only has violent connotations, but also commits the sin of shirk (idolatry or polytheism).

    My name "Nasir al-Din" is not official, however, since I do not want to bother changing my name on my passport.

    Google time. At first, I wanted to choose a name that sounded like my real name, however, none of them had a meaning to which I related. I read about the "abd - (name of Allah)" format, but I figured that it was way too long for me.

    I asked my (only) Muslim friend at the time what "Nasir" meant, because my Mum's friend's friend was called "Nasir," and I googled it too. Then I found out it meant "Defender." My Muslim friend suggested "al-Din" as a last name to accompany "Nasir." Then all the pieces fit together.

    Nasir al-Din.
    Defender of the Faith.

    I love having this name. Not only because it is a chance for a new identity in Islam, but also because of its meaning. I have always loved to defend what I truly believe in, and when I was Christian, I believed that God called on me to help people understand religion, and to help bring people towards Him, and be the catalyst.

    The new name has also helped me become more open about Islam, and helped in my introduction to new brothers and sisters in the Ummah.

    I leave you with this quote from the Holy Qur'an:

    "He is God, the Creator, the Maker Who shapes all
    forms and appearances
    His are the most beautiful names.
    All that is in the heavens and the earth
    extols His limitless glory
    and He is the Mighty, the Wise."
    (Quran Chapter 59:24)


    PS: Leave a comment below and tell me about your Muslim name and what it means to you. Allah Hafiz!

    What I (Will) Have Given Up for Islam

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    As my Muslim friend (TheSisterWhoSmiles) reminds me all the time, being a Muslim is not state of being - it's a process of becoming. No matter how much of a sinner we are, we can always make conscious decisions to become a better Muslim as part of our spiritual Lesser Jihad.

    "The best jihad [struggle] is the one who strives against his own self for Allah, The Mighty and Majestic." - Hadith

    I've given up many things for Islam, and am currently in the process of giving up some more things. Being brought up in an Islamophobic family, there have been major obstacles which I had to fight to become a better Muslim.

    Here are some of my personal obstacles:

    Alcohol. My father loves it and its various forms: beer, wine, vodka, whisky, etc. Every now and then, he buys a new brand of alcohol, and he expects my mother and I to try some, and I do, sometimes. Most of the time, I make an excuse about studying for an exam. I haven't told my parents that I have reverted, mainly because I am still living with them and I do not want any arguments. But insha'Allah I will tell them in the future. I have vowed that I will not drink alcohol, but I think this is going to be one of my greatest struggles.

    Pork. I love(d) it. Bacon, Sausages, Pork Pies - very British, and very delicious. Islam, however, forbids it, as it is "unclean" and is destructive towards the soul. I still sometimes eat pork, even after my reversion, maybe once or twice a month. Astaghfirullah. I hope that by the end of this year, I will be pork-free, insha'Allah. Besides, it's high in cholesterol.

    Swearing. My mother loves it. I hear it all the time from my mother, my friends (and enemies), and, of course, songs and movies often contain it. These influences have surrounded and it hurts that I cannot escape from it fully. Being trapped in a profane world is not very... conducive for a moral soul. Sometimes, I swear accidentally without realising, and it is a constant reminder of my sins, and things for which I have to atone.

    Forgetting to Pray. My excuse is that I've never been to a Mosque, because there isn't one anywhere near where I live, and neither are there many "properly-practising" Muslims. Because of this, I just forget to pray, and when I remember, I forget the Arabic, but I carry on in English nevertheless. Someone please teach me how to pray properly?

    Not Fasting. Since my parents don't know I was Muslim last Ramadan, they made sure on several occasions that I ate breakfast and dinner. Lunches at school were difficult, but I tried as much as I could. Insha'Allah this Ramadan will be much, much easier.

    Disrespect to Parents. Unfortunately, this happens all the time, due to disagreements. Astaghfirullah. I pray that this year will be a better year for my family.

    ... I'm sure there are many more, and I hope anyone reading this could give me any tips on how to become a better Muslim. :)
    "Say: 'I seek refuge in the Lord of Daybreak from the mischief of His creation; from the mischief of the night when she spreads her darkness; from the mischief of conjuring witches; from the mischief of the envier, when he envies.'" - The Holy Qur'an (Surah 113)

    Allah Knows

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    Such a beautiful song from one of the best Nasheed artists! Hope you find some consolation or inspiration from this song. Allah swt does know!

    "Verily, with hardship, comes ease." - The Holy Qur'an

    Thursday, 28 April 2011

    Ishq-e Majāzi: Love for Allah's Creation

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I have found this Tumblr post that has really inspired me. I hope it will inspire you too, no matter whether you're Muslim or non Muslim: Ishq-e Majāzi
    "for those of you ask for signs have We not shown you enough already? look around you. look at the stars, look at the sun, and look at the water. these are the signs of the people of knowledge."

    10 Things That Frustrate Me About Atheists

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    1. Supposed Intelligence - If they're so intelligent, why aren't they think about where we came from and why we're here in the world. Humans don't just come out of nothing, ex nihilo with no creator.
    2. Scepticism - All atheists ever do is be cynical about religion, point out the negatives, belittle it, say that religious people are idiots and stupid, etc. I'm sure you've come into contact with an atheist asking you all sorts of questions like "Who made God?" Even Surah 112:3 answers this question. "He neither begot any nor was He begotten." Maybe the atheists should read scriptures before they ask stupid questions like that.
    3. Superstitious Beliefs - I must admit that not all atheists are superstitious, and maybe some Muslims are. But seriously? Black cats, Friday 13th, the number 13, breaking mirrors, walking under ladders, four-leafed clovers? And you call us ignorant?
    4. Mocking Theists - Theists are always usually hardworking, honest, charitable, etc. Believing in Allah/God means that we try to do good. So don't mock us. The whole idea that we believe in God and we try to do good, and only do good, and apologize for our sins, and be charitable is so that we don't go to hell. Don't mock our good ways.
    5. Close-mindedness - Science changes all the time. Religion doesn't. Atheists might think they're rational and scientific, but if they want to be true "scientists" or believing in science, they should be open-minded, which includes not refuting that God does not exist.
    6. "I'm right, you're wrong" Attitude - Speaks for itself. Atheists seem to think there's no other way life could have ever come about and God could not possibly exist because. Because what?
    7. Disrespect - Laughing at us when we say, "God willing," or "Praise the Lord!", even when it is sometimes slightly enthusiastic, is SO disrespectful. Our belief does not affect your life. The fact that we worship God does not affect your life.
    8. Ignorance - I'm not insulting atheists. But they simply have no idea about religion. They haven't read the Bible, the Qur'an, the Torah. So how could they ever hope to make a proper decision?
    9. Selfishness - This is not true for all atheists. But let's say something good happens to a Muslim, for example he passed an exam. First thing he says? Alhamdulillah! He is praising the Lord, and thankfulness is an important trait. An atheist has no reason to be charitable, hardworking and thankful.
    10. "We're all going to die anyway, so why should I bother doing anything good in my life" - I hear this all the time as an excuse to sleep all day, binge drink, smoke, have sex, eat as much as they want, waste taxpayers money, etc.
    If you are an atheist reading this, and you believe in the Big Bang because the world's expanding, and you think that the Qur'an was only written by ignorant and unscientific people many, many years ago, then I leave you this:
    “It is We Who have built the universe with (Our creative) power, and, verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.” - The Holy Qur'an (Surah 51:47)

    PS: I have nothing against Science, in fact I'm a bit of a "scientist" myself. ;) Have a good day, and may Allah keep sending you His blessings.

    Why "The Big Bang Theory" Is Flawed

    Assalamu Alaykum.
    Atheism. A word to me synonymous with ignorance and arrogance, I associate atheists with an unwarranted temerity to criticize religion. I find it ironic that atheists think that religious people are ignorant and arrogant. Suffice to say, this debate will carry on forever.
    Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder men from the Path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. The
    n they will be overcomed. And those who disbelieve will be gathered unto Hell. (Quran 8:36)
    I used to be an atheist, but not for long. I am naturally inquisitive, both in scientific fields and philosophical fields. A long time ago, Science's explanation of the Big Bang and the creation of life seemed to me as a great explanation. Just visualise it!

    A sudden explosion lights the dark sky (which you would not be able to see, since space wasn't supposedly created then), and suddenly all the energy and mass needed in the world to make the world is created. Then, all of a sudden, just by a small chance (0.000000000000000000000000001% chance), the earth forms at just the right temperature, the right distance from celestial objects, the right molecules to support life. Then suddenly, all of these molecules just randomly, JUST BY CHANCE, somehow sparked and arranged themselves in a way that it becomes a molecule that replicates itself, and somehow after thousands millions of years, it formed humans.


    I don't buy it.

    Imagine someone telling you this: "A salvage yard on the south side of town blows up and all the metal pieces fly into the air and fall back down in one place forming a brand new Chevrolet Caprice car, and the motor is running."


    "An explosion occurs in a forest and the trees go flying into the air and then suddenly they combine with some flying cloth to make a beautiful chair and then it lands in a furniture showroom complete with matching table and lamp."

    You'd think they're crazy.

    No one has ever seen before human times. No atheist can say, "I have seen the Big Bang and human evolution take place."

    Creationism, on the other hand, has a lot of evidence in the form of scriptures, revelations and The Holy Qur'an.

    Say those without knowledge: "Why speaketh not Allah unto us? or why cometh not unto us a Sign?" So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike. We have indeed made clear the Signs unto any people who hold firmly to Faith (in their hearts). - The Holy Quran (Surah 2:118)

    The theory of human evolution stemming from single celled organisms is also preposterous. Although there has been some evidence that some organisms evolve, or more accurately, adapt to their environment (like antibiotic-resistant bacteria), there is no evidence about single celled organisms having the capacity to change into multi-cellular organisms, and into humans.

    And another thing, it still doesn't solve the question of why humans can think and communicate effectively, and be able to make amazing technology. If evolution was so real, then why aren't dogs talking to each other, why aren't birds chatting on Facebook (oh yeah, because they're tweeting instead), why don't elephants have huge skyscrapers?

    It doesn't take a million brain cells to work out that Allah made us, and gave us our gifts. Alhamdulillah!

    Tuesday, 26 April 2011


    Assalamu Alaykum.

    Recently, I received a text from a Muslim friend. I thought I'd share it with you:


    Sometimes, Allah breaks our spirit to save our soul.
    • He breaks our heart to make us whole.
    • He sends us pain so we can be stronger.
    • He sends us failure so we can be humble.
    • He sends us illness so we can take better care of
    • He takes something away from us so we can learn the value of everything we have.
    Trust Allah, love Allah, Allah is the greatest.

    Subhan'Allah! This text makes me smile so much! I take a lot of meaning from this, and I'm sure you will too.

    Before reverting, I was involved in a relationship that ended on the worst possible terms. I felt broken, and emotions were cluttering my head, but looking back, I realised that if the emotions had not flowed from my tears, and if my "spirit," as it were, had not been broken, then I would be so detached from the world, and emotionally impassive.

    The emotional pain I felt after the break up made me into such a stronger person. I have learnt a lot and I have become more determined and resolute in ambitions, as opposed to drifting along, not knowing what to do.

    Physical pain, too, features in my interpretation of this poem. When I first started playing guitar, my fretting fingers would be in constant pain, but I was steadfast. The calluses that have built up over months and months of playing not only has made sure that I no longer feel pain when I play guitar, but I can now also hold hot cups without feeling much pain. Masha'Allah!

    Failure in one of my exams has definitely put me back on humble ground, and I am glad that Allah has sent me failure; I would have grown proud and not only lost friends, but lost my relationship with Allah (swt).

    Illness - been there, done that. I've had heart disease, tuberculosis, sinusitis, etc. Allah, if I don't know how to take care of myself by now, keep them coming. Notice the sarcasm there... I wonder if being funny or sarcastic in a funny way towards Allah is haraam. I mean, I'm sure He knows what I mean. ;) But that's besides the point.

    Allahu Akbar! :)

    5 Reasons Why I Reverted From Catholicism

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I want to start off by saying this post is not meant to be an insult towards Catholicism, or Christianity in general. This post represents my views on Catholicism and why I reverted to Islam.

    1. The Triad - WHAT THE HECK?! I just don't get it. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. I can't comprehend a God having three forms. People say it's just like water being able to form ice, water, and gas. No, because I'm pretty sure if you burnt Jesus, he doesn't turn into The Holy Spirit (or The Father). Call me ignorant, but this doctrine just confuses me. What's more, who do we pray to? The Father? The Son? The Holy Spirit?
    2. One God: Allah - Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah says it all. Why have three forms of God? God is God. How can you become the ruler of a nation, if you somehow recreate yourself, step down, become one of your servants, die, and then proclaim yourself God? Islam's one God: Allah is the main reason why I reverted to Islam.
    3. God Punishes Us - Some Catholics, including my relatives, believe that God punishes during our lifetime. Why? Sending people earthquakes, violence, volcanoes, etc. is not going to help us learn from our mistakes, anyway there's an eternity of hell afterwards for those who deserve to be punished.
    4. The Bible - The Bible, though it is "inspired" or "revealed" to us by God/Allah, the Nazarenes, who were the early Christians, changed and wrote their own parts to it, unlike The Holy Qur'an which is unchanging, and hasn't changed since Allah (swt) revealed it to The Holy Prophet (pbuh).
    5. The Holy Qur'an - Such an amazing book. I love that The Holy Qur'an is less likely (than The Bible) to be misinterpreted. Many Christians think that The Bible should be taken allegorically. I think a holy scripture such as The Qur'an should not be taken allegorically, and that's what it should be like. Otherwise, people can twist the sayings of our Lord.

    The Two Wolves

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I want to share this story that I read a couple of weeks ago:

    The Two Wolves

    A grandfather was teaching his grandchildren about life.

    He said to them, “A fight is going on inside all of us - it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

    "One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies.

    "The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth.”

    The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,

    “Which wolf will win?”

    The man replied, “The one you feed.”

    I think about this story a lot, especially when I think about my actions. Its meaning shouts out to me every time I metaphorically feed the wolf that represents evil.

    We all have our struggles. Our souls are hungry, and we must feed it the right nourishment. I like to nourish mine with a great helping from The Holy Qur'an, a pouring of prayer and a splash of smiles.

    What do you feed your inner wolves?

    Be Patient in Adversity

    Assalamu Alaykum.
    "Be patient in adversity, for verily, God will not let deny the reward of the righteous."
    - The Holy Qur'an, 11:115

    Beautiful. This verse gives me the strength to face all adversity, and the patience with which I live my life. I hope that this verse helps you too. Life is not easy - we all know this. But with the help of Allah (swt), we will keep climbing insha'Allah.

    A Muslim friend of mine once likened the rewards of Allah to two gifts, with equal values: one gift is a big box of challenges for us to face, and the other is in a small box, at the bottom of the bigger box. We open the box of challenges first, and only until we have emptied it can we see the box of rewards.

    Just as every night is followed by a bright day, Allah says in the glorious Qur'an:
    "Verily, with hardship comes ease."
    May these quotes inspire you to become a better Muslim, as they have inspired me.

    The Muslimah Soapbox: Let the Tests Begin...

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I want to share this blog to you, written by an American Muslimah who discusses controversial topics in order to educate infidels non-Muslims. Enough of the jokes! This is proper serious: The Muslimah Soapbox: Let the Tests Begin...

    In this blog post, she talks about the tests that new Muslims and Muslims alike have to confront and attempt to pass. I say "attempt" because these tests are tests of faith. I take here a section of what she wrote:
    "Allah SWT will test His followers in so many different ways. At times, it may feel so overwhelming and difficult but remember who was tested the hardest of all: His prophets. Whenever I think that my tests are difficult, I remember the stories of Issa AS, or Musa AS, or Muhammad SAWS. Put yourself in their shoes!"
    This is so true. These tests, for me, have come in many manifestations. This may sound funny, but I really, really miss BACON. If you've never tried it, you just won't know how actually DELICIOUS it is (to me, anyway). I know it is haraam. But my mouth still waters at the sight of it. Once, I was tempted to buy a bacon sandwich at school. Ridiculous as it sounds, but I thought I actually heard my stomach WHIMPER for BACON.

    Another time was when my Dad asked me to try some wine that he had recently bought from Tesco during Tesco's Wine Festival. My Dad is an Islamophobic atheist and so I could not tell him why I refused his offer. Needless to say, I made up some excuse about studying on a clear head, when really, I meant "worshipping on a clear head." That incident was obviously followed by an Astaghfirullah.

    Profane language is rife among teenagers my age, and having lived with such Godless atheistic people, I cannot help but slip out some words occasionally too often. Astaghfirullah usually ensues, and it hurts me that sometimes I cannot control what I say, especially after stubbing my toe (which is also a common occurrence). Insha'Allah I will be able to control what I say.

    But as with all our adversities, our reward will come in time.

    I leave you with this:
    "When Allah subjects you to adversity, He is opening your eyes to reality. Allah is allowing you to change you bad habits, to appreciate life, to give you the opportunity to repent for past sins, and correct your future actions, to raise your status in the hereafter, and Allah is showing you his love and power. By testing you, Allah is purifying your heart."

    After Every Rainfall Must Come a Rainbow

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    This is a beautiful song that has built up my strength throughout my struggles. I hope you find meaning in it as I have. The song, dedicated to the Pakistani flood victims, is called "After Every Rainfall Must Come a Rainbow" by Outlandish, a band made up of two devout Muslims, and a devout Catholic. This just goes to show that Islam does not hate other religions.

    I cry my heart out, let it all go, 'cause after every rainfall must come a rainbow.


    10 Things That Scared (And Still Scares) Me About Islam

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    I hope to word this blog very carefully. I'm sure that all reverts out there will agree with me that there are things that petrified horrified worried me when I first began Islam. Here is my list:

    1. Terrorists Extremists - After 9/11, the media has never ceased to "Muslim-bash." There is not a week that goes by without a picture of the typical stereotypical Muslim guy on TV: Asian, black or greying hair (the whiter the hair, the more official the dude is), long beard, piercing eyes, etc. You get the picture. And it's not fair on the 99% of the Muslims who believe in peace, hence we greet people with "salaam." I find it difficult to completely immerse myself in Islam when I hear stories about suicide bomb plots, anti-gay revolutionists, women-bashers, etc. To any non-Muslim out there, we're not all like that.
    2. Pronouncing things wrong - I can't even say "Assalamu Alaykum" correctly and with a tinge of Arabic, how do you expect me to say "Alhamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin"?!
    3. Head chopping - With regards to Shariah Law, I actually love the idea of "an eye for an eye." If you kill someone, you should be killed but only if the heirs of the victim say so (they heirs of the victim have a right to demand the murderer to be executed). I love that the heirs of the victim can waive that right as an act of charity. Love it. But I am so scared of committing a sin that I did not know of, and then suddenly my hand is chopped off, I'm lynched and dead. Insha'Allah that won't happen!
    4. Jihad - I am actually still a little scared of this one. Every non-Muslim person perceives "Jihad" to be an excuse to kill non-Muslims because God says so. I'm scared that if I go to a Muslim country they'll think I'm a non-Muslim and just kill me. Relinquishing rational irrational fears sure is difficult! Jihad, by the way, is a term used to refer to the struggles of a person to become a better Muslim (Greater Jihad). Lesser Jihad is the holy way argument thing. Most Muslims are only involved in Greater Jihad!
    5. Women bashing - I have no idea where I got this notion from. Astaghfirullah.
    6. Jesus is not real - Having lived as a Christian for a good few years of my life, having Jesus out of my life was like piercing a hole through me. Then Islam's "Isa" filled that hole up again.
    7. Faith bashing - I always thought that Islam is intolerant of other faiths. Guess I thought wrong.
    8. Brainwashing - I thought that Islam aims to brainwash everyone to become Muslim. Then I found "There is no compulsion in religion." Subhan'Allah.
    9. Punishment from God - I once had the CRAZY idea that God, or rather Allah, punishes us during our lifetime with earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. But it turns out, that doctrine is only held by the Catholics.
    10. Homosexuality is a sin - This still worries me. I know some gay people and I don't want to see them as nothing short of sinful, evil people.
    There is my Top 10 list of things that worry me about Islam. I'm sure there are still some more swirling in the back of my head. Is there anything that worries you about Islam? Let me know as a comment below!

    From Atheism to Catholicism to Islam

    Assalamu Alaykum.

    My religious views have changed a lot from when I was much younger. That's for sure. I remember being very cynical about religion. This was largely down to being such a geek and reading a heckuvalot of Science textbooks, and not a lot of religious teachings. And, of course, the parents.

    But I suppose my father could not help being so anti-religious. His life story is arduous, and Allah (swt) sure did test his faith. Unfortunately, he has failed to see the opportunity. May Allah forgive him. My mother was not much 'around' in my first 10 years of life, and she certainly never communicated to me her religious views. Only the occasional, "We'll pray to God," which is common in Christian Asian families. (In the past, I never really understood the exact meaning or purpose of prayer.) She came and go as she worked in the Middle East, as a nurse. Oh and by the way, I was born in Oman, in the Middle East.

    Then I went through a phase of being very Catholic. And I mean 'very'. I hung on to every word of the sermons at school, went to confession, took the 'Holy Bread' and 'Wine', which if you did not know, is meant to represent the body of Christ, which Christians eat to celebrate God's covenant. I remember reading the whole of the Bible at some point, or at least a huge chunk of it. Then praying the rosary, which is a series of prayers specifically made to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Jesus' mother), in order to ask Holy Mary to intervene in our situation in our daily lives. Yes, it does sound bizarre, and almost funny, to be praying to God's MOTHER?! If you want a lesson on Christianity, talk to me some time, but I'm quite confident in leaving behind the prayers towards God's mother (and all the Saints, etc., etc.)

    A few years later, maybe when I was 12 or 13, I demoted my Catholic views to a more liberal 'Christianity'. This helped me a lot more because God ceased to become this creature that punished you for doing wrong things as He is in Catholicism. He, instead, became this kindly God, referred to His son and himself as 'Jesus' (which, by the way, still confuses me), come to save you from Hell, but ONLY if you believe in him.

    Then it was only a chance encounter with a Muslima during a school trip that we were discussing faiths. I asked. I nagged. I persisted. I was greeted with nothing but answers, complete with quotes from The Holy Qur'an and an explanation of such quotes. My eyes were opened to Islam. And from that moment of epiphany, I have realised that Allah (swt) has led me to the gates of Islam. Masha'Allah.


    Assalamu Alaykum.

    Hi and welcome to this blog!

    I am a recent revert to Islam, coming from a Catholic background. My mother is a Baptist, and my father is a baptised Roman Catholic, but he is an atheist. I went to a Catholic school for a good few years of my Primary Education, and a year of a Church of England Primary School. Then I was later plunged into a non-religious school, surrounded in the tide of atheists and agnostics that I call my classmates.

    It is difficult being a revert. My parents are firm Islamophobes (and for this reason I have not yet told them, although I will insha'Allah). For years, I have been cultivated into feeling nothing short of hate, anger, repulsion and animosity towards Islam. Suffice to say, this is due to a long and well-worn family history.

    I remember a funny incident that occurred when I was much younger - I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. I had a huge argument with my father, who was a then constant source of disagreement. After a dreary sermon about the qualities of a good son, I promptly replied that maybe I should just convert to Islam so that he can just hate me all he likes. Little did I know that a few years or so later, the voice of Allah will call me towards Islam, alhamdulillah.

    Forward a few years in time. I am sitting in my bedroom, reading the Bible, questions in my mind swarming like flies. The bedside lamp is on, once in a while flickering, as though it were blinking. But my eyes were unblinking. It stood, riveted to the words of the Bible, soaking up words, thoughts, images. Then I picked up my (English) copy of The Holy Qur'an, and did the same. This time the lamp did not flicker. The night was still.

    Then I made the decision that has changed my life for the better.

    This blog starts here as a way of me communicating and expressing my struggle to become a better Muslim, and I hope that people who read this not only will be willing to help me (Jazaak'Allah if you are!), but also to relate to my stories of everyday life as I try to climb, and keep smiling.

    Here starts a new chapter in my life.

    I hope it's a good one.