Jesus Is Really a Part of My Life
I began my journey to Islam when I was eighteen. I was very naïve when it came to other religions. I was brought up as a First Baptist Christian. I simply believed what my family believed.
It wasn’t until I met my first Muslim that I started to question his beliefs and my own. I was determined in my own beliefs as a born again Christian and no matter what anyone said, I would never have thought it possible to venture into any other religion and take it as genuine – until I met a Muslim.
I began learning about Islam through conversations, experiences and Muslim women gatherings. I was learning but also debating, questioning and undergoing changes. I started becoming confused, disappointed, and distracted in my own beliefs. I began asking other Christians, which only led to circling around the subject. In reality, they made me doubt my own religion even more. I was becoming aggravated.
I had moved out of my house when I was eighteen, after completing high school. I was given a Quran, which I would read every night. I read chapter Maryam over and over again. I had this notion that if I were to accept Islam, I would be leaving Jesus out of the equation, which was unacceptable. Jesus was a big part of my life and I knew there was no way to deny him. At the same time, I continued reading and trying to understand Islam.
My Muslim friend at the time (now my husband) took me to the college where my friend was studying to be a nurse. She is a Muslimah and when I laid my eyes upon her for the first time, I thought she looked so beautiful! Allah ybarak! She was covered wearing a white scarf, long skirt, long sleeved blouse and sitting quietly at the table doing her work. I was however, in a mini-dress and high heeled shoes and never did I feel out of place as I was sitting next to her. He took me over to her, introduced us, left with her husband for a time at the card catalogue, and left me to discuss Islam with her.
We started talking about Islam, and surprisingly, I agreed with everything she said. She looked so happy, fulfilled and believable. I remember talking to Christians and feeling so dissatisfied with the outcome that it actually made me cry inside. But to actually think, acknowledge and accept belief that was proven and known to millions, was awe-inspiring! I felt so happy. When I went home that night I started to think about the conversations. I met up with her a couple of times after our first meeting and we talked about Islam. I realized that accepting Islam was in no way denying Jesus, but recognizing him as a true Messenger of God. (On him peace)
After that, I spoke with my friend (now husband) about Islam. I remember sitting on the floor frightened, thinking, “How can I say this to him?” When I opened up to talk, I don’t know how the words came but they just flew out. I told him that I don’t believe Jesus is either God or the son of God. My friend just shrugged his shoulders and got up from tying his shoes and said, “He isn’t.” He never pressured me into thinking Islam was the only way, but allowed me to my own findings and conclusions. He left for college and I remember sitting there in awe. I kept saying to myself, “How can he just leave on the biggest day of my life?” But it made me realize how sincere he was in making me understand the truth for myself. I went and sat on the sofa and stared out over the balcony, up to the sky. It was then that I truly believed.
I said my shahadah (declaration of faith) at the Mosque in Daytona Beach, Florida (the same day I got married).
My family, sadly, has refused to acknowledge Islam as the true way of life. I have been trying to convey the message of Islam in every way imaginable for 23 years now, but Allah is the One Who guides. For now, I will never cease to teach them or give up on telling them about Allah’s beautiful message to mankind.
I pray that Allah opens the minds and hearts of my family so they will be able to feel the beauty of Islam and the oneness of the Almighty Allah, like I have. Ameen
Michele Y. Martin, American Revert