Read part 1
Weeks later when, when my parents went out to visit family friends, we were home alone, and I was in my room on the computer and I heard him in his room begin reciting Qur’an. It wasn’t knew to me, being Arab we knew many Muslims, and the sound was somewhat familiar enough that I knew what it was.
I became infuriated and got up to knock on his door. I told him to knock it off and he went quiet for a minute then I walked back to my room and I could hear him again but quieter. I ignored it at first but then it became louder and I went back to his room and opened the door. He was sitting on the ground with a Quran in his hands and he was crying. I became even more annoyed. I went up to him and I started telling him off. I told him what he was doing was pointless. That he was stupid for trying. That every religion was wrong, and I even doubted the existence of God. The first time I ever said anything like that. I always believed in God, even if I wasn’t a devout Christian. I always knew there was a God, but here I was doubting everything.
He just looked at me, with really sad eyes. And he said, “You are wrong. And you know you are wrong. If you were so confident that you were right, you would read the Qur’an and tell me what is wrong with it.” I laughed and said fine. It was a joke. He had to be joking. Everything was wrong with the Qur’an, everything. The things my parents used to tell us about Muslims were all true, I was sure, but now I had a chance to prove it to him.
I said, “Okay, but if I find a single flaw, you have to forget this OK? No more praying, no more reading this thing, that’s it, deal?” He smiled and said it was a deal. I didn’t anticipate what he meant by smiling, I thought it was a nervous smile, I thought I had him worried that I would find a mistake. I was confident I would, the Qur’an was teeming with contradictions, I thought.
I began that night, not knowing that the next two days of would be a turning point in my life. I began with Surah Baqarah. And the first line made me smirk. “Surely this is a book in which there is no doubt”. Ha, I thought to myself, yeah right. I continued to read, only stopping to drink water or go to the washroom or eat. I had questions about a few lines, but I looked them up online and got the explanations for them. Soon enough I reached the end. I couldn’t believe it, I sat there still, for hours, just taking in everything.
My whole thought process changed. I became struck with shame, for so confidently rejecting the Qur’an, but most of all, I was ashamed because I was wrong, and I hated being wrong. I didn’t say anything to my brother. I just avoided him, until two nights later, he came into my room. I was on the computer looking up stuff about Islam. At this point I was still curious, but I didn’t accept. He asked me, “Did you read it?” I said yes. He said “Well?…” I said, “Well what?” He asked me what I thought of it, and I said it was okay.
He knew not to rattle me any further, he didn’t want to rub it in my face that I was wrong, which was so odd of him. Usually he would be all for rubbing it in my face. He loved when I was wrong, I would get so impatient and begin cursing at him when he called me out on being wrong. But he just shut the door and left.
I researched for weeks on end. Mostly about the Prophet (pbuh) and his life. It all made sense to me, but I didn’t want to be a part of it. One night I went to my brother’s room and told him what I thought of Islam. That is was a great religion and it made sense. But that it wasn’t for us, we are Christian and that is final. He said he is not a Christian anymore. He wants to follow the right religion. I admired him for it, but I told him it wasn’t meant to be, because our parents would probably disown him if they knew.
He said something I will never forget. He said, “God gave you this religion, and you are fortunate to have found the truth the way you did, and you are just going to give it up like that because you think you aren’t meant to be a Muslim?” I didn’t respond to him. I just went to my room and said nothing.
Three weeks later, on a Wednesday night he came to me and told me he was going to pray at a mosque on Friday since we didn’t have school, it was a P.D. Day or something, and invited me to come. I rejected his offer, but thought about it for a while. The thought of going there, somewhere we shouldn’t be, around people who might know us scared me. I begged him not to go because if someone recognized him and told our parents we would be in big trouble. He went anyways, but I stayed home. I worried all week about it. Every time my parents called him downstairs my heart would race, thinking they found out. But weeks went by and it never came up.
A month later was Easter weekend for us. My brother and I had both fasted for Easter, but I suspected he didn’t follow it when my parents were not around. Easter morning came though, and we all went to church. I watched my brother through the whole service. He didn’t flinch. It didn’t bother him, he participated in it like it was any other year. But it wasn’t, he didn’t believe in this, and what scared me more than that, is that I didn’t believe it, too. I felt detached from it, like it was just ritual that I did absentmindedly.
I felt like a hypocrite. I told my brother all this that night, and he told me he felt the same way, but that he didn’t feel guilt like I did, for not believing it. He told me he was confident about his beliefs and he knew he was doing the right thing. We talked for hours on end, we didn’t sleep. We just talked about it, about Islam, about our parents, life, his plan, what he was going to do and how he was going to tell them, and I wanted to be a part of those plans, I wanted to tell my parents one day. I wanted them to know about Islam. I realized I wanted to be Muslim, and my brother knew it too, but we didn’t say it. Instead he taught me to pray. It was a slow process, but I claimed I wanted to know because I was curious.
About a month later, we attended Friday prayer on another school holiday. My parents thought we were hanging out with friends. I felt wretched for lying to them, but everything changed when I entered the mosque for the first time ever. I was 18 years old by this time. And after nearly eight months of learning about Islam, I did my shahadah at the mosque, in private with an Imam and my brother and another mosque official after the khutbah, after everyone cleared out. I cried and my brother hugged me. We told the imam about our parents and he promised us if we ever needed anywhere to go that he would provide for us.
I’m 19 now and have been a practicing Muslim for a full year now. My brother and I have still not confronted our parents. We don’t plan to do it anytime soon though, as we are both University students and plan on leaving the city if our parents reject us because we have other family here. Alhamdulilah Islam found me, it has shaped the way I live today, and even my parents recognize the change in both my brother and I, they have said on numerous accounts that we are so much more “mature and humble” alhamdulilah.
May Allah guide them as well. Thanks for listening to all this, I know it’s long but insha’Allah it benefited some of you. Now please share your stories as well! I would love to hear them.