I am a 45-year-old Jordanian woman of Palestinian origin. I was born to a Christian family and used to work as an office manager. I followed Christianity until January 15, 2006, when I converted to Islam, thanks be to God.
I grew up in a Christian family that wasn't very committed to religion. My father was an atheist, although he never tried to influence us or interfere in our choices. My mother was a Christian by birth and tradition, and she brought us up this way.
We went to schools run by nuns. Therefore learning about Christianity was a must, and we had to attend mass on Sunday with the rest of the parish, in addition to a special mass on Wednesday for the students. I never liked the rituals of the mass and never felt connected with God through those rituals, yet I used to practice it with interest because of my conviction that prayer is the only connection with God, the only way to express my appreciation and do my supplications.
Despite this, deep inside of myself, I never felt warm in heart with the process, maybe because of all the festive appearance in the church and its visitors, but also because the method of praying through the priest did not appeal to me. Why did I need a third party to connect me to God, especially when that third party was as human as I was?
Ever since I was a child, we had a Muslim cleaning lady who used to come help my mother in the house. When she prayed, I would watch her with fascination. I often noticed that she shone with faith, even though she was praying alone and not in a house of worship. I once asked her, "Do you feel God close to you when you pray?" She said, "Yes, when you pray, you feel Allah's presence." As simple as her reply was, it touched the core of my heart. Ever since that time, I would envy Muslims when the Adhan was called, thinking they were praying at that time and were feeling the spirit of God close to them.
I grew up with Christianity and stayed like that, sort of accepting it, until my early 30s when I joined the communist party and then stepped away from religion. My thoughts of God brought me close to being an atheist. But I never could deny God's existence as a whole and stayed like that for few years until I quit the communist party. My relation with God was abrupt, and I only went to church for Christmas and Easter and to participate in social occasions.
With time, I started feeling that it was not enough to only believe in God. I was tired of the cut-off relationship I had with Him. So I concluded that I could only strengthen my tie with God by strengthening my relationship with my religion. It was then that the agony started again; every time I came closer to the religion and its teachings, I faced the same questions torturing me.
Who is God?
Is He the Father?
Is He the Son?
Or is He the Holy Spirit?
God-in-one in all those threewas the same answer I always got, but it never convinced me. How could God have a son? And how could He say that son is Him? Why did He need a son to prove that He was God?
Why did I, as a Christian, need to connect with God through Jesus? If Jesus was a prophet, then he was as human as I was, albeit of a higher rank of spirituality. But I didn't need Jesus to connect me with God; after all, he was only God's messenger. But if he was a god, then how could I worship two gods?
I started reading more during these desperate times, trying to come closer to God through Christianity, the religion in which I was born. But then I started to worry, I couldn't accept most of its teachings, especially the basics, and I started to feel that the Bible was not the words of God that He had originally sent down. In the Bible, I found many signs that showed that Jesus was only a prophet sent with a message to finish what came before him.
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11)
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. (John 12:49)
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. (Mark 10:18)
Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. (Mark 9:37)
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
There are also many other examples from the Bible that illustrate how Jesus never claimed to be God, although he always affirmed that he was the son of a human.
So where did the idea of the Trinity come from, and that Christ is God, the son of God? These questions perplexed me for years.
Another important issue puzzled me, namely, why did God have to come down to earth in the form of a human? Why did He have to kill "His son" to take away our sins? Why did He have to bribe us to love Him? Weren't we bound to Him due to our existence and creation? What would be the purpose of our life if we lived without sins? And where is the divine justice in having one person take the burden of others' sins and mistakes?
And if Christ died while on the cross, then does this mean that God died? How could this be?
The only answer I got from people who tried to prove Christ's divinity was their saying that he performed miracles. But other prophets did too! Rising from the dead after three days is something only gods can do, but wasn't Elias carried to heaven on a carriage of light, as narrated in the Hebrew Bible?
I was never convinced with the answers. The only answer that I could believe and be convinced with was coming from my inside: namely that the ideas of salvation and Trinity were added to Christianity for the purpose of convincing people easily of following that new religion, where the idea of one god was not common, so making them three would be easier for people to grasp and that new religion would take away all their sins.
Another important point I questioned was whether the Bible was the words of God. Because there are so many different versions of the Bible, my doubts were raised about its authenticity as the words of God. Thus, I started researching the issue until I heard a debate by Ahmad Deedat with an American preacher. The debate was entitled "Is the Bible the Word of God?" and all the points Deedat raised made so much sense to me. Through Deedat's works, I noticed how so many verses from the Hebrew Bible, which are totally ignored, refer to Prophet Muhammad. From here, my journey to Islam began.
As the attack on Islam in the international arena got stronger, it helped me explore it more. I had heard so many interpretations from within various Islamic factions, which seemed to me to be contradictory to what I learned about Islam from having lived all my life in a Muslim society. So I started digging for the truth and the basis for such interpretations, only to find out the truth of Islam and a religion that can absorb everyone, that calls for the worship of one and only one God, for peace and forgiveness, and that addresses every single aspect of life. These tenets made Islam a more realistic religion for me, as opposed to Christianity, which I found otherworldly for my taste. In addition, there were many other essential differences that I could not accept or comprehend in Christianity.
I found that Islam is a religion that calls for people to appreciate God for what He is and for what they are. There is no need for any mediators with clear-cut instructions to govern the lives of Muslims.
Instinctively, I felt Islam settle in my heart without any resistance, and my mind was at ease. I found myself fitting into Islam as if I were born into a Muslim family. Prayer satisfied me and my need to get closer to God, and I fasted last Ramadan and read the whole Qur'an. I found myself spiritually involved in Islam and accepted it from all angles, I felt so much inner peace in it.
After Ramadan, Christmas came, followed by `Eid Al-Adha, which was a good test of my conviction. At Christmas, I didn't feel any kind of spiritual attachment or connection, while at `Eid Al-Adha, I found myself fasting on the day of `Arafah. I surprised myself on this day, January 9. I couldn't wait anymore. On that day, I pronounced the Shahadah by myself, but I still wanted my Islam to be witnessed. I had to wait until everybody finished their `Eid celebration to be free to witness my Shahadah. On January 15, 2006, I confirmed that Islam was the religion for me, and I pronounced the Shahadah, al-hamdu lillah.
The day of my conversion was one of best days of my life. I was contemplating and studying Islam and was thinking of converting to it, but I had thought that it would take me one more year or so to do that. I didn't want to alter my official papers, so a sheikh advised that pronouncing the Shahadah was enough but that I could do it in front of two other Muslims as witnesses if that would help me. And so I did, two of my best friends came and witnessed my Shahadah, and then I became a full Muslim.
I can't describe the feelings that I felt during the day. I felt so overwhelmed, like someone who had been stuck in a big well and would be saved at a certain moment and couldn't wait for that moment to come.
Once things were finalized and I was officially a Muslim, a big wave of relief, peace, and contentment washed all over me. The first thing I did after my conversion was to prayed two rak`ahs to thank Allah Almighty.