This is a relevant disclosure to those among you who may have only recently begun to read this blog. I converted to Islam (from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) in January, 2007. I came to Islam after becoming disenchanted with Christianity, as I perceive it being practiced in the U.S. I read some very compelling books which discussed Islam, and the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
As wonderful as much of the Bible is, the more I read, the more I questioned. The more I questioned, the more I came to conclude that what has evolved over the years into Christianity has blinded me (and perhaps many of its followers) from being followers of the way of Jesus.
So I gave up on Christianity (but most assuredly did not give up on Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, the fisherman, the healer, the teacher, the story-teller, the man who walked among the "dregs of society" radiating love and compassion.
The more I learned of the Prophet (PBUH), the more impressed I became of his integrity, honesty, courage, loyalty, leadership, and military acumen; especially those historically documented conquests of villages and cities -- conquests made with the spilling of no blood. What an example!
To be a muslim means many things: first that one publicly state (both in Arabic and the native tongue, English, in my situation) that:
"I do declare and attest that there is no God but Allah,"
and further that
"I declare and attest that Mohmmaed is His Prophet."
In the moment I made my declarations, I found myself weeping with joy, engulfed by an inner equanimity, open to the receiving Allah's benificence, and embraced by the entire Muslim community (ummah). I knew I was where I belonged, and great physical discomfort was immediately relieved; I could relax, and take in this new love, this new acceptance, these new brothers and sisters.
I have no American-English words to describe this experience except those here presented. Unless you have felt what I have felt, I would not dare to presume that you would understand, nor believe one ward I have typed. But that if you have experienced it, you will have not doubts, and surely, will nod your heads having shared the common experience of how one's world has changed, the way one sees it, the way one understands it, the way one feels about it.
Blessings upon you all.
Peace be unto you, and upon your houses.
May you walk all your days ever knowing, ever comforted, that Allah, Creator of all the Worlds, knows you, and will grant unto you moments of the profoundest joy and delight, the unflinching courage to acknowledge your faith, and to know always, that you stand shoulder to shoulder with those who too have made these proclamations.