Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My life- How I came to Islam- part 1

My life- How I came to Islam- part 1

In the name of Allah Most High, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Quite a few people have been interested in knowing my life story and how I got to where I am now.
I'm not anything, but I write this to show that I have been blessed Alhamdulillah. This is the first part of the series insha'Allah, covering different aspects of my life.
There hasn't really been a 'conversion' story in my life, I didn't turn from a life of girlfriends, drugs etc to a life of praying etc. But I can say that I started praying regularly when I was about 13 Alhamdulillah, thanks to my granparents and parents, especially when I went to umrah. Because I saw that people around me would pray, and my grandparents believed strongly in Islam and it affected their life positively.
My grandfather, though he was in much pain from cancer, would have much faith in Islam. He would say “Allah and His Messenger are with me” when he would tell his family to go to another event without him (since he was too ill).
I remember vividly how when I was quite small, I used to read about what's happening in Chechnya in the war, and I would do dua for them. And my grandfather was of those who went all the way by car to bosnia to deliver aid when bosnia was being destroyed by war. So my concern for others and the want to help them arose from a young age.
I tended to be different at school to most people, like being more quiet, not swearing, thinking much over things, and so on and so I grew up to not be afraid of other people"s views or fashions (I think this was a gift that Allah Most High gave me through family and perhaps natural influences). This meant that Allah Most High bestowed upon me a wonderful lesson. And that is that I didn't feel a compulsive need to follow other people, or care about other people's opinions, or to fall for peer pressure. So He saved me from the crimes of most youth, such as adultery, gangs, drugs, nightclubs, alcohol and so on. This even if everyone around me (like at university) would engage in them.
But then again being different wasn't the total reason for me being able to hold fast to my religion in the face of the fitna around me.
From early on I had a questioning mind that sought to be rational, and tried to come up with reasons of things, and not to blindly follow. So when I applied this to what the people my age were doing, I realised why I shouldn't do what they were doing. I also watched as they suffered the harms of what they did, and that reinforced within me how wise the religion of Islam is.
Furthermore my family gave me a good understanding of Islam, and because my parents sent me back to Pakistan (from the UK, for O levels), I went to one of the elite Pakistani schools. There I developed more of my knowledge of Islam in the Islamic module. But I also saw how the students there were following the western lifestyle, and the principal tried to westernise us, and I saw the harms that were caused by this (such as the gang culture, falling of morals and character etc). Again this showed me why the Islamic way of life is the correct one.
But there was one other profound influence, the same that affected the likes of Imam Ghazali and most scholars in the Islamic world, and that was Sufism, the science of the heart in Islam. Some of my family followed Sufism, and going to their gatherings gave me a deep sense of happiness, peace and meaning that I did not get from the dunya. It proved to me the worthlessness of the dunya and made me seek Allah Most High even more. So I did not need the life of sin to give me happiness or pleasure or meaning. The remembrance of Allah Most High reinforced my belief that I only need to depend upon Him, and not on people. Furthermore Allah Most High strengthened my Iman/belief in Him as He bestowed miracles/karamat upon Sufis that I knew.
My fondness of reading meant that I read lots of books that inspired me, and really opened my eyes to many different ideas and aims, and increased me in knowledge Alhamdulillah. It made me not to be gullible to things, and encouraged me to by critical of things.
Even though I went through all that, I did come across an intellectual crisis, where I sought to investigate and scrutinise every belief system and sect that I could find, so that I know certainly that what I'm following is the truth. And I did that through reading many books and articles and watching many talks, and debating with many people, and Alhamdulillah I realised that the path and beliefs (of Sunnism, also meaning the Quran and Sunnah) I followed was blessed and the correct way. I thus received intellectual certainty. Islam has had such a profound affect upon me since I have found that it is the best system for mankind, and that it is the best solution for the world’s problems, whether economic, political, spiritual, intellectual etc.

So when I was at university, and I saw wrong being committed by some claimed Muslims, such as the Paksoc, I sought to correct it, whilst believing in the truth that I had (all praised be Allah Most High). Even though I was criticised for that amongst the liberal 'Muslims', I did not feel afraid of them. Rather I felt obliged to fulfill my duty to Allah Most High to help them sincerely.
My wanting to be president of the paksoc was not for some vainglory reason, nor to fulfill desires by organising haram social, nor for CV (job) purposes, but to call people to Allah Most High.
However I lost the elections, but that was known already, and I fulfilled my duty of nasiha (sincere advice), and I continued working with the Islamic society (ISOC) to help Muslims at university. And the ISOC was where I met the best and funnest people of university alhamdulillah and a new family was born. They served to increase my knowledge and Iman, especially when I met some students of knowledge and sheikh Imran Sulayman, may Allah Most High bless them and increase their reward ameen! They were not people who are fake friends, but they had sincerity that is rare in this day and age, and can't be found amongst non-practising Muslims. That is because they had Allah Most High, and that is a great source of serenity.
I noted that Muslims who nominally follow Islam, or follow a liberal or modernist version, such Ramadanites, are normally plagued with doubts, arrogance, can't avoid sin, don't put much priority in praying, and have many diseases etc. Seeing the affects of sects upon persons is important in knowing the effectiveness and soundness in belief. It helped me find which belief system had the most profound influences upon people.
I do not regret my time at university, and I am very happy that Allah Most High preserved me from the sins that many of the students engaged in, such as bars, clubbing, adultery etc. It helped keep my sanity and allowed me to look at things from a more objective view point, and with clearer thought and see the beauty and wisdom of Islam.
Perhaps the closest thing I've come to a conversion is when I left music. AstaghfirUllah I did listen to non-Islamic music when I was younger, but then I was reading a book and it spoke about music in a segment of the book. It quoted the hadith about molten lead being poured in the people who listened to music on the day of judgement. I also read about the hadith on music making hypocrisy grow in the heart.

These (and other authentic hadiths of Prophet) and the fact that pretty much all scholars declare non-islamic music (like if it talks about immoral stuff like love of girlfriend or boyfriend, filthy language, sex etc)  as haram, made me abandon music, and turn towards the Islamic kind, never once regretting it Alhamdulillah. I found so much peace in Islamic music that I never found in any non-Islamic music. I thought why sin when listening when I can earn good deeds by listening to Islamic music and the Quran?

Now I am learning through life as I live the life of an auditor, travelling often 4-5 hours everyday Alhamdulillah it gives me the chance to see the feebleness of this world, and gives me the chance to read books more. I feel strongly that there is a life greater than this, and so I hope that Allah Most High leads me to a sheikh that is guided and will take me to Him!
Everything good that has happened to me is from Allah Most High.

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