Tuesday, 26 April 2011

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.

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