Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Conversion Story

It had been promised and even requested so here it goes.My journey to Islam was very simple. It started with a question that sprang up right around my Baptism "Can someone please explain the Trinity?" The question was essential for it irked me to no end. What purpose did it serve. How was it integral with all that went on in the Universe. How did it play out in everyday life, In Creation, In destiny. What was the purpose of this Triune GodHead? The answer when asked to any of my parents, clergy, friends, experts all resulted in nothing but utter babbling and confusion so I did what every other Christian does just accepted it and had faith. Thus my faith in Christianity remained until the 80's.

In the 80's I was in high school at the height of the budding hip-hop era. Break dancing was all the rave and I was right there engrossed in the music. Afrocentric beats and defiant end of racist oppression lyrics were common place. Then enter a beautiful light in hip-hop with a glorious trend of historically educational rap. KRS One leading the pack, Poor Righteous Teachers, X-Clan and the unforgettable Public Enemy. It is here in the politically vibrant lyrics of public enemy that led me to the Deen or at least planted the seed for my path. A singular verse played over and over again "Farrakhan's a prophet and I think you oughta listen to, What he can say to you, What you ought do, follow for now..." The words stuck and the research began. The flea market was the door to leather Africa emblems sold by Koreans and the Tape man. The Tape man had all kinds of stuff from mix tapes and all other kinds of copyright piracy to Farrakhan and Malcolm X tapes. Without the hip-hop driving sales this type of historical memorabilia would have never sold. It was here that I began looking for the Farrakhan tapes and buying them. I bought his stuff and Malcolm's talks. They were so vibrant and full of life. They filled the void that is so lacking in young black youth. His topics were on point and inspired action. I was then prompted to purchase Black history books written by blacks to fill in yet more gaps. It was a beatiful time in my life so much meaning and learning.

It was so simple and it answered the Trinity nonsense. One God, One Humanity, Humanity worships God. Everything else fell into place. Confusion about religion dissipated like ice in the Sahara. Islams philosophy is that God is one without partners and there isn't anything simpler than that. I was still very new in this concept of belief and there were a few technicalities to work out, but beyond this basic concept there was nothing to question. The religious aspect of Islam was still a thing to get under my belt though, but that was to come soon.

One warm summer day I was walking to catch the bus reading Message to the Black Man by Elijah Muhammad when a car slammed on its brakes catching my attention a brother dressed dressed rather dapper ran over to me asked me what I was reading and invited me down to the temple. I agreed and made preparations to go down and check it out. The Temple if I remember was down off of 12th ave and 54th street somewhere. It was in the hood in what seemed like a converted church. Women in back, men in front all business. The F.O.I had security and it was a event of purpose. Charged with anti white man rhetoric and reasons why the Black Man has been oppressed. Prompting action and suggestions like do something drastic to the trade centers. I can see how these types of venues make it easy for recruitment into complete lunacy. Young impressionable men eager for solutions NOW who are sick and tired of being sick and tired would be duped into doing such acts. I know because I was there. I forget now looking back at it how easy it would have been to get me to do something really stupid. At least on the surface of it.

Anyway on the surface of it everything was nice and proper and very well respected. I felt good about myself, my blackness and my god. However there was one thing missing. Inside of this Temple there were chairs not rugs, service was on Sunday night not Friday, they prayed standing only and not kneeling and bowing and prostrating (don't ask me how I knew but I knew that Muslims had a certain way of praying. So I asked a single innocent question "Why don't we pray like all of the other Muslims in the world?" Then the answer "Well brother you see we are black people here and we don't want to scare our kind with that sort of thing" (paraphrasing) and I thought to myself do you mean to tell me that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth who created this perfect religion for all of humanity that is easy to understand for all and is made to seamlessly fit in with human nature failed? Is it because I am a black man that I need the religion of the Almighty dumbed down and then spoon-fed to me by these self-appointed lackeys? I left immediately out of the temple. Crossed over 7th Avenue to Masjid Al-Noor and attended my first Jumuah. The speaker was Brother Qasim Ahmed and he gave a fiery highly intellectual talk. It was riveting. After the talk the Adhan was called and everyone got up and started making movements. Everyone stood up in even rows, special care was taken to ensure feet were on the line. The iqama was called and then there was silence. Allahu Akbar and then the recitation of Surat Bakarah and then there was the Ameen!! At that point I knew I was in the right place and I was home. Since that moment I have been Muslim every since.

1 comment:

  1. Subhan'Allah! Wow, What a nice conversion story! Mashallah you told it so wonderfully!

    I wish their was a masjid near me. I am the only muslim in this town or rather this whole county. If I was a man, people probably wouldn't notice me and look at me so strange. But since I am a woman and I am all covered, then for sure I get many strange looks. I mean even when I am driving or setting at a red light, if they look in their rear view mirror and see me then they break their necks to turn around and gawk at me.

    But alhamdulillah I am happy to be a muslim even if I do get many strange looks. Maybe it will cause someone to become interested in Islam. Inshallah.

    But anyhow I loved your story. It was a very nice read!