As a Muslim convert, I’m always fascinated to hear other people’s conversion stories. It’s interesting to see the different paths that Allah guides people to Islam. Of course, there are the most famous stories from some of the Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)). How Umar Ibn al-Khattab’s (May Allah be pleased with him) heart was softened upon hearing the Qur’an being recited. How Salman al-Farsi (May Allah be pleased with him) travelled far and wide searching for the truth, and finally found it in the Message of Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
The most famous conversion experience in modern times is Malcolm X’s transition to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. It was most notably documented in his autobiography, which illustrated his drive as a consummate truth seeker. His journey took him through the so-called Nation of Islam, and eventually to true Islam. This is a path that many African-Americans would tread after him, including some of the most notable da’ees (callers) in America today.
Two common paths for finding Islam are that of the truth seeker and of the person who has hit “rock bottom”, and often a combination of both. The truth seeker is one who is always questioning his reality and the religion and values (or lack thereof) of his/her family and society. He/she is the type that takes belief and doctrine seriously, and asks enough questions to lead to the conclusion that only strict monotheism can suit both the heart and the mind.
The person who has hit “rock bottom” is not necessarily in an apparent state of crisis, although sometimes that is the case. He/she may appear to be happy and functioning, but inside the soul yearns for deeper meaning. This person may be cruising along, partaking in every worldly pleasure, but still feels an unexplainable emptiness and a yearning to be closer the their Creator. Some people experience these feelings after some major loss, while incarcerated, or in a transitional phase in their lives.
My journey to Islam was certainly a combination of both of these paths. I found myself at a spiritual dead end (or so I thought), and on a sincere search for truth . Allah gradually guided me with many signposts along the way.
YouTube has many conversion stories, and below are two that stick out to me. The first video is of a Romanian brother named Jibreel and the second is of former Christian youth minister, Joshua Evans. My path shares much in common with both of these brothers, and their narratives give insight into the thoughts and feelings of the Muslim convert.