Erin/Sumaya Fannoun

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  1. SALY

    SALY Guest

    April 12, 1998.

    Bismillah Arahman Araheem

    My intention in writing my story is that for Allah's sake, I may help
    someone who is searching for the Truth, to realize that they have
    found it in Al Islam. I began writing this on Easter Sunday, kind of
    appropriate, I think. I have been Muslim now for seven years, Alhamdu
    Lillah (all praise is for Allah, [God]). I first learned of Islam
    while attending University, from a Muslim friend of mine. I had
    managed to get out of a very good, college-prep high school believing
    that the Qur'an was a Jewish book, and that Muslims were idol
    worshipping pagans. I was not interested in learning about a new
    religion. I held the ethnocentric view that if since the US was "#1",
    we must have the best of everything, including religion. I knew that
    Christianity wasn't perfect, but believed that it was the best that
    there was. I had long held the opinion that although the Bible
    contained the word of God, it also contained the word of the common
    man, who wrote it down. As Allah would have it, every time I had
    picked up the Bible in my life, I had come across some really strange
    and actually dirty passages. I could not understand why the Prophets
    of God would do such abominable things when there are plenty of
    average people who live their whole lives without thinking of doing
    such disgusting and immoral things, such as those attributed to
    Prophets David, Solomon, and Lot, (peace be upon them all) just to
    name a few. I remember hearing in Church that since these Prophets
    commit such sins, how could the common people be any better than them?
    And so, it was said, Jesus had to be sacrificed for our sins, because
    we just couldn't help ourselves, as the "flesh is weak".

    So, I wrestled with the notion of the trinity, trying to understand
    how my God was not one, but three. One who created the earth, one
    whose blood was spilled for our sins, and then there was the question
    of the Holy Ghost, yet all one and the same!? When I would pray to
    God, I had a certain image in my mind of a wise old man in flowing
    robe, up in the clouds. When I would pray to Jesus, I pictured a young
    white man with long golden hair, beard and blue eyes. As for the Holy
    Spirit, well, I could only conjure up a misty creature whose purpose I
    wasn't sure of. It really didn't feel as though I was praying to one
    God. I found though that when I was really in a tight spot, I would
    automatically call directly on God. I knew inherently, that going
    straight to God, was the best bet.

    When I began to research and study Islam, I didn't have a problem with
    praying to God directly, it seemed the natural thing to do. However, I
    feared forsaking Jesus, and spent a lot of time contemplating the
    subject. I began to study the Christian history, searching for the
    truth. The more I looked into it, the more I saw the parallel between
    the deification and sacrifice of Jesus, and the stories of Greek
    mythology that I had learned in junior high, where a god and a human
    woman would produce a child which would be a demigod, possessing some
    attributes of a god. I learned of how important it had been to "St.
    Paul", to have this religion accepted by the Greeks to whom he
    preached, and how some of the disciples had disagreed with his
    methods. It seemed very probable that this could have been a more
    appealing form of worship to the Greeks than the strict monotheism of
    the Old Testament. And only Allah knows.

    I began to have certain difficulties with Christian thought while
    still in high school. Two things bothered me very much. The first was
    the direct contradiction between material in the Old and New
    Testaments. I had always thought of the Ten Commandments as very
    straight forward, simple rules that God obviously wanted us to follow.
    Yet, worshipping Christ, was breaking the first commandment completely
    and totally, by associating a partner with God. I could not understand
    why an omniscient God would change His mind, so to speak. Then there
    is the question of repentance. In the Old Testament, people are told
    to repent for their sins; but in the New Testament, it is no longer
    necessary, as Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the people. "Paul
    did not call upon his hearers to repent of particular sins, but rather
    announced God's victory over all sin in the cross of Christ. The
    radical nature of God's power is affirmed in Paul's insistence that in
    the death of Christ God has rectified the ungodly (see Romans 4:5).
    Human beings are not called upon to do good works in order that God
    may rectify them." So what incentive did we even have to be good, when
    being bad could be a lot of fun? Society has answered by redefining
    good and bad. Any childcare expert will tell you that children must
    learn that their actions have consequences, and they encourage parents
    to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions.
    Yet in Christianity, there are no consequences, so people have begun
    to act like spoiled children. Demanding the right to do as they
    please, demanding God's and peoples' unconditional love and acceptance
    of even vile behavior. It is no wonder that our prisons are over-
    flowing, and that parents are at a loss to control their children.
    That is not to say that in Islam we believe that we get to heaven
    based on our deeds, on the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be
    upon him) told us that we will only enter paradise through God's
    Mercy, as evidenced in the following hadith.

    Narrated 'Aisha:

    The Prophet said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately,
    and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter
    Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even
    I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me."

    So in actuality, I did not even know who God was. If Jesus was not a
    separate god, but really part of God, then who was he sacrificed to?
    And who was he praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? If he was
    separate in nature from God, then you have left the realm of
    monotheism, which is also in direct contradiction to the teachings of
    the Old Testament. It was so confusing, that I preferred not to think
    of it, and had begun to thoroughly resent the fact that I could not
    understand my own religion. That point was brought home when I began
    to discuss religion with my future husband at college. He asked me to
    explain the Trinity to him. After several failed attempts at getting
    him to understand it, I threw my hands up in frustration, and claimed
    that I couldn't explain it well because, "I am not a scholar!" To
    which he calmly replied, "Do you have to be a scholar to understand
    the basis of your religion?" Ouch!, that really hurt; but the truth
    hurts sometimes. By that point, I had tired of the mental acrobatics
    required to contemplate who I was actually worshipping. I grudgingly
    listened while he told me of the Oneness of God, and that He had not
    changed his mind, but completed his message to mankind through the
    Prophet Muhammad, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him. I had to
    admit, it made sense. God had sent prophets in succession to mankind
    for centuries, because they obviously kept going astray, and needed
    guidance. Even at that point, I told him that he could tell me about
    his religion, just for my general information. "But don't try to
    convert me", I told him, "because you'll never do it!" "No", he said,
    "I just want you to understand where I'm coming from and it is my duty
    as a Muslim to tell you." And of course, he didn't convert me; but
    rather, Allah guided me to His Truth. Alhamdu Lillah.

    At about the same time, a friend of mine gave me a "translation" of
    the Qur'an in English that she found at a book store. She had no way
    of knowing that this book was actually written by an Iraqi Jew for the
    purpose of driving people away from Islam, not for helping them to
    understand it. It was very confusing. I circled and marked all the
    passages that I wanted to ask my Muslim friend about and when he
    returned from his trip abroad, I accosted him with my questions, book
    in hand. He could not tell from the translation that it was supposed
    to be the Qur'an, and patiently informed me of the true meaning of the
    verses and the conditions under which they were revealed. He found a
    good translation of the meaning of the Qur'an for me to read, which I
    did. I still remember sitting alone, reading it, looking for errors,
    and questioning. The more I read, the more I became convinced that
    this book could only have one source, God. I was reading about God's
    mercy and His willingness to forgive any sin, except the sin of
    associating partners with Him; and I began to weep. I cried from the
    depth of my soul. I cried for my past ignorance and in joy of finally
    finding the truth. I knew that I was forever changed. I was amazed at
    the scientific knowledge in the Qur'an, which is not taken from the
    Bible as some would have you believe. I was getting my degree in
    microbiology at that time, and was particularly impressed with the
    de******ion of the embryological process, and so much more. Once I was
    sure that this book was truly from God, I decided that I had to accept
    Islam as my religion. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but nothing
    worthwhile ever is.

    I learned that the first and most important step of becoming Muslim is
    to believe in "La illaha il Allah, wa Muhammad arasool Allah", meaning
    that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad
    is the messenger of Allah. After I understood that Jesus was sent as a
    prophet, to show the Jews that they were going astray, and bring them
    back to the path of God, I had no trouble with the concept of
    worshipping God alone. But I did not know who Muhammad was, and didn't
    understand what it really meant to follow him. May Allah bless all
    those people who have helped me to understand and appreciate the life
    of the Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), throughout these last
    seven years. I learned that Allah sent him as an example to mankind.
    An example to be followed and imitated by all of us in our daily
    lives. He was in his behaviors, the Qur'an exemplified. May Allah
    guide us all to live as he taught us.
    SALY, Oct 22, 2009
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