CONVERTISM Stories- From Alistair to Ali

Submitted by Hamid Chaudry- It is built into a man’s instinct to find happiness whether that be in faith or in his desires. Before becoming a Muslim I sought happiness by fulfilling my desires on a day by basis. I started to notice that this “happiness” was only temporary and as soon as it wore off I would have to go buy some more.

Surely, there must be a more sustained purer happiness out there I would ask myself. I was baptised a Catholic at a very young age but was not brought up in a religious environment. When I stayed with my father he would occasionally take me to the Protestant church which I found hard to relate to due to the nature of the reformation. I could not take a religion rooted in Henry VIII’s personal desires seriously.

I started my religious journey at around age seventeen by researching different faiths independently. I researched Judaism but soon realised I would need to have a Jewish mother in order to be accepted by the Jewish community as a whole. I then started to research spiritual religions such as Buddhism. I was drawn to Buddhism by how applicable it was to in day to day life and the concept of equilibrium in everything you do in life.

The only problem was that they did not believe in a God. So when I was in a crisis who would I turn to? Who could I place my trust in? I could not turn to Buddha as he was only a human and had died.

There seemed to be something missing I thought to myself. I would begin to pray informally on my own asking to be guided to the right path which I was unaware of at the time.

Islam first came to when I was fifteen when a colleague in my father’s business handed me the Forty Hadiths. I read it and found it food for thought but did not pursue it further probably due to my emotional immaturity at the time.

At age nineteen a college friend of mine handed me a copy of the Qu’ran to read and this was the start of my true journey. After attending a mosque, learning to pray and reading the Qu’ran over a three month period I decided Islam was for me. I could not find a flaw within the Qu’ran itself and I could not disagree with the logic presented in it.

The directness of the Qu’ran drew me in and helped strengthen my faith. The more I placed my trust in Allah the more guided I became and the more life made sense. Things were no longer chance or co-incidence, Allah influenced everything and accepting this made reality a lot clearer.

The issues brought up in the Qu’ran are as relevant today as when they were written then. Allah’s wisdom will help one deal with day to day reality and its troubles in a moral manner. The Qu’ran is also very spiritual in that it will teach you to appreciate the intangible things in life – deeds, conduct and manners. These are often overlooked in today’s society and we are drawn to the tangible physical objects which we think will bring eternal happiness.

It is my firm belief that due to my pure intention of wanting to be guided; Allah has thus guided me towards the straight way. Everything begins with intention and if you want to seek mental and physical purity, Allah will guide you – provided you have the intention to begin with.

Since becoming a Muslim I am rebuilding my relationship with my parents and extended family. The Qu’ran stresses the importance of a stable relationship with your parents regardless of what has happened in the past.

As a result I am much happier and so are my parents. I will be for there for them until the end due to their sacrifices they made for my in the beginning.

I have also stopped smoking and have refrained from intoxicants since becoming a Muslim as I understand nothing can come between my relationship with God. I am feeling a lot better physically and financially as a result.

Some of my friends are asking me “Do you miss going to the pub on a Friday night?” And my firm answer is to them is “No” as I no longer feel the need to go and drink and switch my mind off temporarily. Allah is providing me with the nourishment I need to overcome to the challenges in life.

The body needs three meals a day and the soul needs five – prayer.

Allah is the strongest light and provides the greatest wisdom. Submission to him will bring true eternal happiness which is sustained unlike physical vices such as alcohol. To those non-Muslims I cannot stress anymore how peaceful Islam is and how beneficial it will be to your life. The vices provided by the market do not even compare and to think otherwise is only oppressing yourself by being a slave to your desires.

Ali

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