You have the pure media image of what they put on the news, like Muslims as terrorists fanatics.
They go around with the Quran in one hand and a gun in the other one.
Women are forced to cover up, they are oppressed and slaves to their husbands, ... arranged marriages, and all of these things.
This is what the media is pushing about Islam.
This is maybe what intrigued me to start off with. I was trying to find out what are these people, why do they call themselves Muslims and what is Islam? ...
Our Creator Knows us Best
Muslims were saying that Islam is not about extremism, oppression, backwardness or barbarianism. It's something that we as human beings are recognizing our Creator, the existence of our Creator, and that He knows us best. For example, if you give the analogy of someone who makes the computer, he is the best one who knows how the computer works. So if I want to know how the computer works, I'm not going to go to the one who makes the microwave, I'm going to go to the one who makes the computer because he is the one who knows how that computer works.
So likewise, we as human beings once we recognize the existence of our Creator, and we can do that by looking around at our reality and proving to ourselves that this world and all that's in it didn't come from nothing. Once we prove that, then we have to understand that our Creator is the one who knows us best, not His creation. So why should I go to another human being and ask him how should I live my life? Why should I go to John Major or President Bush and ask him how I should live my life? He as a human being is not going to know any better than I'm how I should live my life. Only my Creator is going to know how I should live my life in every small detail.
I think in a way, the media attack on Islam is what attracted people to know Islam more. So the media shot itself in the foot. The more they attack Islam, the more they attack the so-called "fundamentalists", the more people want to look into Islam and want to find out more about Islam in terms of "What's this terrorism? What's is this fanaticism?". So it was that kind of thing which motivated me to look into Islam.
It's also because of my background as a Christian that I was never very comfortable with the idea that Jesus was the son of God. It just didn't make sense to me, and the trinity also that God is one and one is three and all these different types of things. So when Muslims started to explain to me that we believe in Jesus, we believe in Moses, but we don't believe that Jesus is the son of God, he was simply a prophet. He brought the message to mankind and this message was the same as Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) brought; basically that there's one God and we should worship Him.
|I started looking more and more into society. The more and more I looked, the more and more I became disheartened|
So this started to begin to make sense, but my problem was that the Muslims although they have that understanding, they were not taking it further. Islam to them was just five pillars. It was just about praying five times a day, even if they didn't do it. It was just about fasting in Ramadan even that most of them didn't do it. It was just about paying Zakah even though none of them ever did that. It was just about going to Hajj once in a lifetime. It was just about believing in God and believing in the Prophet. And I didn't want that. I mean I could get that kind of spiritual fulfillment from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or Sikhism. All these religions and ideas give you this kind of spiritual fulfillment and satisfy your spiritual instinct.
Crime in Society
But I was studying the law, and the more I was studying the law- I was very much into the criminal aspect of the English Law- and looking into the cases, I was looking more into the society; Why are people committing these crimes? Why are people abusing children? Why are people doing drug abuse? Why are people becoming alcoholics? Why are people raping? Why are people murdering. There must be a reason...
I couldn't accept the philosophy which says that individuals are purely bad and society is not responsible for their behaviors. So I started looking more and more into society. The more and more I looked, the more and more I became disheartened. I think at the time I actually decided to become Muslim was when the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger - James Bulger case took place; a small 2-year-old boy who was devastatingly killed by two 10-year-old boys. It's the society which is producing these children, and it's the children that are going on to doing these things.
At that time, the church was saying it's not our responsibility. The government was saying it's not our responsibility. The society was saying it's not our fault. But it was the society's fault. You got the whole video taping showing that like 30 individuals saw them doing this to the 2-year-old boy and they didn't do anything. Because this is the kind of mentality that British society or western society is pushing "If it is not in my benefit to intervene, I'm not going to do anything about it. If I see a person drowning, I'll get my clothes wet so it's not in my interest." Maybe this is a bit crude but that is the kind of mentality that people in the West have.
Also, no one has any faith in the judicial system. If you talk to someone who has committed a crime, all of them would say "I never thought I would be caught", so you don't even think twice about committing a crime. They don't think they will be caught by society or by the system. And they certainly don't think that there will be anything after this life or that they will be held accountable for what they have done. Why shouldn't they do these things?
I Wanted Another Way of Life
|They come to Islam because they want another way of life. They are sick and tired of the way they have been treated in this life|
The more I looked into this kind of mentality that people had, the more I told my colleagues in college "I don't want to be part of this society. I don't want to have anything to do with it". I wanted another way of life. I wanted something which is going to give me a way to live my life which would be in harmony with my intellect and my emotions and my instincts, not just like one of my instincts. I didn't want to have this state of mentality like going to church on Sunday feeling really nice, singing hymns and going back home and to college or university and going back to living in this corrupt and miserable and depressing society. I didn't want that any more.
Many people will think "Ah, you are British?", and when I say no I'm English, I'm from Britain, I was born here, I was brought up here, I converted to Islam when I was 21, ... and then they would say, "Oh you fell in love with an Arab man?", their immediate reaction. This is complete and utter nonsense. Many people are converting to Islam not because they fell in love with Arab or Pakistani men. They come into Islam because of the intellectual conviction of Allah and the Quran revealed to the Prophet. They come to Islam because they want another way of life. They are sick and tired of the way they have been treated in this life, the miseries of the so called western civilization.
They always refers to Islam as backward and oppressive, but the reality is that western society is backward, western society is oppressive, and Islam is really in fact liberating us by making us conform only to the rules of Allah the Almighty. I didn't convert to Islam because I fell in love with an Arab man. I came to Islam purely because of intellectual conviction. And I spent my first two years of being Muslim as a single woman. I didn't want to get married at that time. I wanted to reach a very high understanding of Islam before I made a commitment to a fellow human being, and that Muslim whoever I decided to marry also had to have that understanding of Islam, and not just out of wanting to have a British passport for example. I should be very careful about choosing who I marry that we have to have this pure understanding of Islam as an ideology and a way of life.
It's really shameful that the people believe what they say in the media...