On a midsummer’s night in 1995 in Alabama, my parents had a daughter. I grew up in a southern baptist household where church was everything. We always went to church no matter what, rain or shine, at home or traveling. It was top priority. I never enjoyed going to church, not because I was a typical teenage kid who wanted to be rebellious or someone who just wanted to sleep in on Sundays, although both did play a part but I despised it because I felt no true or real connection with my so called faith.
As I got older and older, I started obsessing over religion. By 16, I was reading forum after forum, watching debates on YouTube like there was no tomorrow. The more I read and watched, the more doubts grew in my mind. I kept my mouth shut however, as coming out as non religious in a small southern town wouldn’t be the wisest idea.
I managed to make it through high school somehow, still going to church every Sunday and all that jazz. Everything changed when I got to college however. I was out of state, young and free. No parents to monitor me, no rules to abide by, I could finally be myself. I didn’t bother going to the church two minutes away from my dorm even once. Instead, I made new friends, started getting involved in clubs, and of course, going out and partying.
The Life changing Incident
I’ll never forget the night, however, when everything changed. I was drunk out of my mind on a Saturday night and I had gotten separated from my group of friends. I was stumbling all over the bar and somehow managed to get outside and sit on the bench. I couldn’t even sit up straight because I was so drunk. Suddenly a Muslim girl wearing a hijab came up to me with a bottle of water, sat down next to me and asked me if I was alright. Normally, when sober, whenever I saw a girl wearing a hijab, I instantly got put off. Terrible xenophobic and bigoted thoughts would come rushing to my mind. “Why do they wear that?,” “It’s like they’re subjecting themselves to hatred. They’re clearly brainwashed” were just a couple the thoughts that would pop up in my mind.
However, in my drunk state, I couldn’t have cared less and gladly accepted the water, thanking her. She said she noticed me and that she lived down the hall from me. She walked me back to my dorm, tucked me in and even gave me another bottle of water. I was amazed at the kindness she was displaying when I looked back at it. The next morning, I stumbled upon her while being immensely hungover and started talking to her. She was a really cool person and we shared so many interests and hobbies, and I felt stupid because my mind didn’t want me to befriend people who wore hijabs.
I asked her why she helped me and she said that’s just what we do. When I asked who she meant by “we,” she said Muslims. Genuinely curious, I asked why she even bothered to help a drunk, since drinking was against her religion, that much along with no pork was my knowledge of Islam at the time. She said it didn’t matter and that she would’ve helped anyone because that’s just how she was raised. I was honestly so amazed to hear that because I figured Muslims only looked after Muslims, just like how Christians mostly only look after Christians, at least where I grew up.
We kept talking and chilling in each others dorms, and she eventually gave me a copy of the Quran for me to read since I told her I was obsessed with religion but never considered anything outside of Christianity. The feeling I got when I flipped page after page of the Quran was a feeling like no other. Almost indescribable. I felt a real connection, almost like God was speaking to me through the book. I was amazed by the scientific claims, like how could they’ve known about embryonic development in the 600s, before any microscopes?! It was amazing to me. I kept reading and reading for a couple of weeks, researching more and more about Islam.
I was totally convinced. I felt a real connection. I told her how I felt and she told me that if I was serious, that I should go to a mosque and recite the shahada, which the very next day, I did. It was a very emotional moment for me, with a couple of tears rolling down my eyes as I said it. It just felt like such a powerful statement to me. The rest from there on out is history. Nowadays, I’m very much involved in the Muslim student association at my school, setting up information booths and so on. People are always so surprised when they see me, a blue eyed blonde, teaching people about Islam and the Quran but that doesn’t phase me at all. I’m a proud Muslim and my life has changed for the better in all honesty. I don’t drink anymore, I became vegetarian, and I have a very close knit friend circle based on faith alone which is so strong. I pray five times a day, and became a morning person which has helped me become less lazy and lead a more active life.
I just thought I’d share because it’s something I’ve wanted to tell people but never get the chance too. I hope this inspired people who are interested in reverting, since I’m a girl from a small conservative town in Alabama and managed to revert, so that means anyone can.
I think that about sums it up for me, I’d gladly answer any questions if you have any for me.