“What happened to you?”
This was usually the first reaction I encountered when my former classmates, friends and co-pastors saw me after having embraced Islam. I suppose I couldn’t blame them, I was a highly unlikely the person to change religions. Formerly, I was a professor, pastor, church planter and missionary. If anyone was a radical fundamentalist it was I.
I had just graduated with my Master’s Degree of Divinity from an elite seminary five months before. It was after that time I met a lady who had worked in Saudi Arabia and had embraced Islam. Of course, I asked her about the treatment of women in Islam.
I was shocked at her answer. It wasn’t what I expected; so I proceeded to ask other questions relating to God and Muhammad (peace be upon him). She informed me that she would take me to the Islamic Center where they would be better able to answer my questions.
Having taught Evangelism, I was quite shocked at their approach, it was direct and straightforward. No intimidation, no harassment, no psychological manipulation, no subliminal influence! I couldn’t believe it. They gave me some books and told me if I had some questions they were available to answer them in the office.
That night I read all of the books they gave. It was the first time I had ever read a book about Islam written by a Muslim, we had studied and read books about Islam only written by Christians.
The next day I spent 3 hours at the office asking questions. This went on every day for a week, by which time I had read 12 books and knew why Muslims are the hardest people in the world to convert to Christianity. Because there is nothing to offer them!
In Islam, there is a relationship with God, forgiveness of sins, salvation and promise of eternal life.
It is interesting to note that there were bishops during the first 300 years of the Church that were teaching as the Muslim believes, that Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet and teacher! It was only after the conversion of Emperor Constantine that he was the one to call and introduce the doctrine of the Trinity.
He introduced a paganistic concept that goes back to Babylonian times. Space, however, does not permit me to go into detail about the subject, but God willing, we will another time. Only, I must point out that the word Trinity is not found in the Bible in any of its many translation nor is it found in the original Greek or Hebrew languages!
My other important question centered on Muhammad (peace be upon him). I found out that Muslims do not pray to him like the Christians pray to Jesus. He is not an intermediary and in fact it is forbidden to pray to him. We ask blessing upon him at the end of our prayer but likewise we ask blessings on Abraham.
He is a prophet and a messenger, the final and last prophet. In fact, even 14 centuries later, there has been no prophet after him. His message is for all mankind, as opposed to the message of Jesus or Moses (peace be upon them both), which was sent to the Jews.
“Hear, O Israel” But the message is the same message of God. “The Lord Your God is One God and you shall have no other gods before Me.” (Mark 12:29)
Because prayer was a very important part of my Christian life I was both interested and curious to know what the Muslims were praying. As Christians we were as ignorant on this aspect of Muslim belief as on the other aspects. We thought and were taught, that the Muslims were bowing down to the Ka’bah, in Makkah.
Again, I was shocked to learn that the manner of prayer is prescribed by God, Himself. The words of the prayer are one of praise and exaltation. The approach to prayer (ablution or washing) in cleanliness is under the direction of God.
He is Almighty God and it is not for us to approach Him in an arbitrary manner, but only reasonable that He should tell us how we should approach Him.
At the end of that week after having spent 8 years of formal theological studies, I knew cognitively that Islam was true. But I did not embrace Islam at that time because I did not believe it in my heart. I continued to pray, to read the Bible, to attend lectures at the Islamic Center. I was in earnest asking and seeking God’s direction. It is not easy to change your religion. I did not want to lose my salvation if there was salvation to lose.
I continued to be shocked and amazed at what I was learning because it was not what I was taught that Islam believed. In my Master’s level, the professor I had was respected as an authority on Islam yet his teaching and that of Christianity in general is full of misunderstanding. He and many Christians like him are sincere but they are seriously wrong.
Two months later, after having once again prayed seeking God’s direction, I felt something drop into my being! I sat up, and it was the first time I was to use the name of God, and I said, “God, I believe you are the One and Only True God.” There was peace that descended upon me and from that day four years ago until now I have never regretted embracing Islam. This decision did not come without trial.
I was fired from my job as I was teaching in two Bible Colleges at that time, ostracized by my former classmates, professors and co-pastors, disowned by my husband’s family, misunderstood by my adult children and suspected by my own government.
Without the faith that enables man to stand up to Satanic forces I would not have been able to withstand all of this. I am ever so grateful to God that I am a Muslim and may I live and die a Muslim.
Truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for God the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner has He, this I am commanded. And I am the first of those who bow to God in Islam. (Quran 6:162-163)