Monday, September 11, 2006
Angela Collins: Why I decided to submit?
Angela Collins: Why I decided to submit?
I accept that I cannot control the events that occur in my life or in the lives of others.
Islam is the only religion that communicates total submission to our Creator, the Creator of all people and of all things. As a Muslim I know that everything I do first begins with an intention and then I must transform that intention into an effort in order to carry out what has already been decreed. This wisdom defines my path to be a better person to myself, my family, my community and to all of my brothers and sisters here on earth.
In essence Allah (the one God) opened my heart, Islam gave me the direction, and now I live to serve out the guidance lent by my Creator for happiness here on earth and if Allah wills, in the hereafter.
While religion is a resource to help guide ourselves to good behavior through our spirituality, there is no prerequisite that it should be far fetched in mental comprehension.
I am a recent convert. Catholicism is the religion followed by my forefathers. At the age of 14, I refused the trinity concept and narrowed what I saw as a complicated tale of 'three in one' down to 'two in one' and started attending a Baptist church.
Throughout my life, I have searched for understanding, but when it came to my faith I truly was confused about why God would come as a human being and would allow himself to die for the sins of only those privileged enough to believe in his (or his son's) crucifixion. I found this explanation extravagant and shared my doubts with pastors and scholars who gave every effort to communicate the Christian belief to my understanding. I asked myself: "Why would my religion need to be so complex?" When I reached adulthood, I decided to make it very simple. There was just one, our Creator and that was it. No other explanation could rationally make sense.
I see Islam as a religion that came to clarify the errors of human beings who changed the original word of God to fit their interests. Islam is simple: God is God. God created us and we worship God and God alone. God sent Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (PBUH) to deliver his message to guide all people. In Islam, Jesus is the only prophet who never died which is why he is the only messenger who will come back before the Day of Judgment to lead the people of the books: [the Torah, the Injeel (Bible) the book of Psalms and the Quran]. The Quran is the final book that has never been altered to fit the changing interest of people throughout history.
Islam confirms that you are not awarded passage into heaven just because you say you are Muslim. And you may not go straight to heaven just because you believe that God is monotheistic. You go to heaven based on your intentions and actions following the message taught to us by the messengers themselves and confirmed by the original books of God. Heaven is not an exclusive club for those who merely follow what their fathers taught them. Instead it is your responsibility, especially as a Muslim, to constantly search for truth, understanding and to read and think. After reading every chapter in the Quran twice and taking detailed notes, I believe that this masterpiece could only have come from my Creator. Without a doubt the author of this book knows more about me than I know about myself.
It is no secret that Islam is seriously misunderstood and disliked by many here in my homeland, the United States. My conversion to this "controversial" religion has my family and friends puzzled. It is my sincere belief that Allah led me to Islam by enhancing my passion in exploring unfamiliar perspectives through foreign travel. I have a genuine interest in building bridges with all people everywhere rather than promoting my own ideology as the only system that can work for all people.
While culture shock is a mild term to express the drastically different life styles of Muslims in the Middle East, I saw great beauty in the generosity of people, the cohesiveness of families and the immediate acceptance of a girl so foreign in her ways. Even so, in the present I face a culture shock within my own predominantly Middle Eastern Muslim community. I do understand the challenges a Muslim born into their religion faces to dissect their own culture within it. After finding myself in Islam, I am able to adhere to the teachings supported by the Quran and Hadiths while also managing to bypass the cultural manifestations taught by Muslims born into their religion. Islam is multi-cultural and is a system that can be adopted in any environment at any point in time.
I can confidently say that if Allah had not breathed Islam into my soul, I would have never found Angela. Well, today, here I am: Angela, a Muslim American: the soul who persistently searched for her Creator and has found the Creator of all that is in the universe and beyond, in Islam.
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