Assalamu`Alaikum. My name is Mathew.
I'm from France, I'm 22 years old.
I was born in the North East of France, close to Belgium.
From the age of 13, I moved to the South Western Coast. And now I'm studying at university, 4th year. I'm doing a masters of business administration. I'm currently involved in studies at the Victoria University of Wellington thanks to an agreement between my university and this university in New Zealand. I'm going on my study here of the masters of business administration, and I would like in the future to be involved in international business.
My dad doesn't believe in God, and my mom is a Catholic but she doesn't go everyday to the church. So I didn't receive any teachings about religion at the beginning.
How I Knew About Islam
The first teachings about religion was about Islam thanks to my friends and my family and then all the Muslim guys I know from Morocco, Turkey, Algeria and Tunisia. Fortunately, I was living in a place where so many immigrants were living... They were all my friends and I was the only French in the group. We were doing some sport together. This day when I started knowing more about Islam, we were playing football, and a fi sabil Allah (member of a Muslim dawah group) came in the field. And we stopped playing and they started speaking about Islam... It was like that...
At the beginning I was outside the group when they spoke about Islam. Then the fi sabil Allah guy told me to come. And then he invited me to come to the mosque to discover a little about religion, and I came and I started being interested like that. Then I decided to come back and to pray, to ask lot of people about Islam and I was more involved in this religion.
I would say that I was very interested because I didn't know anything. It was surprising to see people for example fasting and not to eat anything (during the day) for one month. I was wondering how they are able to do that. And for example in Ramadan and even different manifestations about Islam after Ramadan, such as Eid and everything like that, it was amazing. Finally I decided to learn about this religion.
Family & Friends
I was very young and they were surprised that my parents agreed to my conversion to Islam. They considered me as their child because they wanted to help me a lot and they didn't want to let me down. They considered me as part of their family. So it was very interesting.
Fortunately with my parents, if I compare to other guys who are trying to convert to Islam, they had a lot of problems with their family, but fortunately my parents were not very hard-going. They let me choose what I wanted to do. At the same time, they wanted me to stay in a safe place and the mosque for them was a safe place because I wasn't in the street insulting people, stealing or fighting with some guys. So they preferred me to stay in the mosque than being in the street.
What Islam Can Offer
|I think that Islam is kind of a cure for needy people|
I think that Islam was a very good thing for me. It taught me a lot about respecting people, my way of thinking and acting in life in general, because Islam as well encourages studying and gaining knowledge. Unfortunately for a few of my friends, they didn't try to be interested or to be involved in Islam, and they finally started to be drug addicted, or started drinking alcohol, ... relationships before getting married, ... And fortunately I managed to find Islam and it helps me a lot in my every day life.
I think that Islam is kind of a cure for needy people. For example, people in prison who try to discover Islam and they manage to be very good persons. Another example is people who were addicted to drugs or to alcohol, they don't manage to find anything to help them, and when they discover Islam they become very pure. That's a very good cure and Allah is the most wonderful doctor you can find to look after you. If you managed to find Him, He will help you a lot.
I would say that given that I became Muslim a few years ago, I never had any problem about being French and a Muslim. But it's true that in Europe at the moment people start frightening about the fact that Islam arrives very quickly to Europe, and that a lot of Europeans try to convert to Islam. In France for example, business, religions and business of the state are separated, so it is very difficult for example for girls they can't wear their headscarf at school it's forbidden, except if you go to university then it is allowed, but before no, it's forbidden.
Islam & the Media
French people in general often believe what the media says about Islam, and that Muslims are terrorists and polygamists and women are secondary, and that is not the case at all. So the French just believe what they hear as they don't try to find the truth by themselves. They don't try to open the books and they just believe what they hear. Fortunately, people around me started understanding that Islam is not as bad as they believe, because they know in my way of behaving with them and my way of being like the fact of being a good student, and that Islam is not as bad as they used to believe.
And for my parents, it was the same thing because I spoke with them a few months ago and we had a very interesting discussion together. They told me finally that to have found Islam was a good thing for me and that I was very lucky to find Islam, even if they were not Muslims at all. So I had the chance to find Islam and I'm very happy at the moment and I hope everything will be OK for me, for the education of my children, and my wife and everything.
I would like to say to people just try to know about Islam yourself. Just open the book. It's not very difficult to read and to learn. You go to the Internet or youtube or something and you find something about Islam and in-sha-'Allah (God willing) it will be helpful for you.
To conclude, I would like just to thank God...