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Oct 9, 2008

A new muslim story

Sister Sabiha

I’m the only revert in my family and most of them don’t even know it yet. I’ve always felt drawn to this path.

“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.”(2:256)

My religious upbringing? Sunday school with my grandparents (who my mother and I lived with at the time) until I was 5. Then my “father” decided that he did want visitation rights and so began my trials. Every weekend subjected to beatings, verbal abuse, molestation and eventually rape. My father’s grandmother trying to teach me how to read Tarot, using me as the medium during séances, trying their hardest to turn me away from God.

And they did. I was broken, I thought surely if God allows them to do these things to me then he must have abandoned me if he ever existed at all. I cried out again and again, but the only response I ever received to my tears and pleas was “You’re so pretty when you cry.” from my father and his family.

For many years I felt abandoned and lost. Many ask me why I didn’t just tell my mother what they had been doing to me, but its the same reply you hear from most victims. I was being threatened. I was told that if I said anything to my mother that, oh no they wouldn’t kill me or her, but that she would kill them. That her killing them would send her directly to hell and eventually they started to say that if she killed them because of what I said that I would go to hell because my baby brother would be forced to grow up without a mother.

So there I was, lost in family and in faith. In the news I’d hear of another criminal accepting Jesus and getting basically a get out of jail free card. What kind of religion is that I asked? Would accepting Jesus give my father a one way ticket to Heaven, just because he said he was sorry? Did Christianity give people a pass to sin? It seemed that way to me. How could I accept the Bible as the word of God faced with this idea? Well, I couldn’t and I never have.

I started to seek out other religions, I couldn’t follow the paths of my family. For a long time I was a “pagan” (even though I only ever had one god), trying different rituals to see if it would make the pain go away. Will this ritual make the memories go away, make the nightmares stop? They never did.

I found my way to Islam eventually though. In school we had a class called “World Religions”. The teacher was a Baptist Christian, didn’t really paint the best picture of Islam, but he didn’t outright talk down about it. I took it upon myself to ask critical questions, the other kids were content with just breezing through the course for an easy “A”, but I couldn’t just sit there and accept everything he was telling us.

I went home and asked similar questions to my mother, told her the things he was saying. She told me he was unfounded and incorrect. She encouraged me to seek out the truth and in doing so I ordered my free Quran. It didn’t come for weeks, but when it did I couldn’t have been happier.

It was beautiful, the calligraphy on the cover was incredible, but the words inside where even greater. From the very first Surah I knew this was the truth. The unchanged word of God, unlike the many versions of the Bible.

Around this time though I was going through a lot of turmoil, at home and at school. On weekends and weekdays. I stopped my religious searching for a number of years, still feeling depressed and broken. Eventually though I came back to Islam, probably through one of the more obscure channels.

It was my “Paganism” that lead me back to the right path. I had begun researching religions again, this time comparing all kinds of religions and if you would believe, one little question really pushed me right back to Islam.

“Can non-muslim women wear hijab?” I asked this on a multi-faith forum, to which one reply directed me to for the answer. There I received such wonderful answers, such kindness, respect. It overwhelmed me. Seeing others talk to each other like they are a part of a larger community, brothers and sisters, brought together through faith. I couldn’t turn away, I still can’t. I’m an almost constant lurking on those forums. I learned so much about Islam through the people there, through their kindness, their words, their willingness to help a non-muslim. It was astounding. I’d been to many Christian forums before and the moment I had mentioned I was not a Christian I was told how I was going to burn in hell if I didn’t convert right there on the spot.

Not there though, no. One of the first replies was the quote from the Quran that I have at the top of this page. That there is no compulsion in religion, God has made truth stand out from error.

Alhamdulillah, it was the kindness and compassion, to someone who wasn’t even a part of Islam from members of that community that Allah lead me back to his path.

Jazak Allah Khair Sunniforum Members, you truly are my brothers and sisters in this beautiful thing we call Islam.