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Why I Converted to Islam

Submitted by Marjana on Thu, 01/09/2011 - 19:21
Marjana's picture

As far as I am a Muslim now people often ask me about the reason of my conversion. It is a very simple logical question because for a non-muslim it is difficult to understand why a person chooses islam which restricts its followers to enjoy the values of equality and freedom the secular lifestyle suggests. Somehow this question is not so easy to answer. One must penetrate deep his soul, to dig deep himself to understand the main reasons which pushed him to such step.

Refusing from parents’ religion and accepting Islam in a non-muslim country is no doubt a risky and brave action. It is a result of hard self-working, fighting with the social pressure, family pressure and your own fears and hesitation. Accepting Islam in my case was a response to the secularism. May be it sounds a bit ridiculous but my conversion to Islam is based mostly on the protest to the existing social atmosphere in my country and in the world.

I spent my childhood in an ordinary family in a small provincial town of Russia. My childhood covered the period of time when the Soviet Union had just crashed; there was no stability, stealing, corruption, rapidly increasing gap between haves and have-nots. The most important is that there seemed even no hope for something good in the near future. Many people stayed unemployed, those who were employed suffered from low salaries or absence of it at all. The morals were broken, people were desperate.

My father was one who had lost everything after the Soviet Union crash. There was no perspective for him in future. He was a man of high morals and as the new regime suggested the new rules according to which the one was successful who could take government property and treat it as his own. As my father was a man of high morals he was not suitable for this new country organization. His morals were broken as he saw he had no perspectives. He started drinking. He lost desire to live. Such circumstances required plenty of courage from my mother. She had to be strong to keep her family life going and to bring up her children.

Even though I was small and I could not understand the reality of that time, I could feel the general atmosphere. I could see all the worst aspects of alcohol abuse; it was destructive or a person, for a family, for society. Nevertheless my father died soon and my mother could breathe free being relieved of a burden on her neck. Another man married her. My mother often mentions that when I was small I didn’t have a habit to ask questions. I was always an independent observer.

We can say that a family is a society in a miniature. So I saw my mother always tired, always complaining about her destiny, working like a slave;  my older sister full of ambitions and hope for future, ready to move mountains, entering university in a very positive mood; my mother's husband busy with making fortune and showing it up. As I was still small my opinion usually was not taken to consideration and I felt that in this “miniature society” I do not have choice, I only have to listen to what they say and obey.

At that time already I started my spiritual searching because I already asked myself questions about God. My mother said to me that we were Christians, but she could not explain to me anything about God. Simply she did not believe in God. Her husband associated himself with a Christian either, but he used to tell always, “Believe in yourself only”. Their believe was based mostly on communism ideology, on atheism. They thought they were Christians because their parents were Christians, their grandparents were Christians. But their Christianity found its representation only as a cross on their necks. They could not understand it. This generation was a product of scientific atheism, communist ideology.

First time I found myself free of my family influence at university, in another city. There was no more peer pressure, no more family pressure, many stereotypes were broken. In other words this was the beginning of new life, a life of discoveries and searching for the Truth.

As I found myself far from my family and I knew that I have to solve my problems myself then. I faced the reality of life. And every one of us knows that the reality of life today is that “Money Make the World Go Round.” What is the society around us? Everybody cares only about himself. If you expect somebody to do a favor for you that person expects that you pay him for it. No one is interested in helping each other with no profit. Everyone is interested in money. It seems that people forget elementary morals, as if they have never heard the words like kindness and politeness. If they smile they do it artificially; everything around seems artificial, a big fake. The biggest value of today is “to have”: to have a flat, to have a car, to have business, to have clothes: it does not matter what to have, the most important is “to have”. Material investment is priority for modern people. It hardens people and their life, but people are too blind to see the ridiculousness of this system. They just obey it and they do not even think that there are some alternatives to their lifestyle.

It is very difficult to survive in this society. You have a choice either to adopt to it and join the army of the society slaves, or you can protest it and search alternatives. The second variant seems to be madness as it contradicts the existing system; it is like a social death.

However my choice was the social death, with this it meant spiritual and moral birth. I asked myself more and more about the reasons of human existing on Earth. The search led me to religions. I was reading a lot, investigating lots of issues. It happens that I found myself in Islam. When I was sharing my thought with my non-muslim friends i often heard reproaches and laughs about my preferences.

People imagine Islam as a hostile religion which abuses women and gives people no elementary social rights. So often I heard words like, “Are you fool? Are you mad? Do you like to become a slave?” In spite of all anti propaganda of Islam i managed to destroy all the stereotypes about it as I was seeking for knowledge. Knowledge is always the way to the Light of Truth.

Islam with its monotheism suggested me wise and logical answers about all religions, perfect system of social relationship, perspectives of individual development. It was a complete contradiction of what they were telling me about Islam before; it was not that Islam which I could see in TV.

I started searching for Muslims in my region, as I preferred to communicate with them, to see how they live, what is the difference between them and the others. And I found out that there was a big difference. In the society of Muslims there was always a friendly atmosphere. Even the worst of Muslims seemed to have the general spirit of unity. It was like a huge brotherhood where they helped each other, shared things with each other. Muslims seems to be a one huge family, a family which I wanted so much, which I had never had. Even the worst of Muslims seemed to share this general mood of unity.

I faced a new reality again; I have discovered a new world, a new system of social relationship where human relationship was at the centre, not money or property, or prestige. It was completely different of what I faced in “my societies”. So I have associated myself with that new Muslim community which was so welcoming to accept me.

Islam was like a fresh air, like an oasis in a cruel, merciless desert. As I identified myself as a Muslim the cruel sun of the desert was no longer burning me and I enjoyed the fresh air, the fresh water, the green environment and the blue sky. The world became so beautiful, or it is better to say I was able to see its beauty with my eyes opened. The one who discovered the truth would never refuse from it. What a sensible man can leave the green lash for merciless desert?

As I have already mentioned being a Muslim meant social death. There was a fight ahead with the social opinion, with my family and friends’ reproaches and a fight inside myself to overcome social borders. As I announced that I am a Muslim I found out that some doors are closed for me, for example a could not find a job in hijab in my country, some of my non-muslim friends let me down, my mother and her husband treated my conversion as a betrayal. But all these things were no longer matter, as I was a different person, I set my mind free, I saw the world with free eyes.