Today's post is about my conversion to Islam, together with a brief history of my life to add a bit more to the post.
I was born into this Dunya in 1977 into a Christian family .. Well a family that lasted all of 4 months. My parents divorced, my dad didn't want me and my mother couldn't cope with looking after me.
So, my grandparents, also christian, (from my mum's side. They adopted her when she herself was a baby) took me in a raised me .. until the age of 3 when my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was deemed not well enough to look after me.
So, for 3 years I went from one foster home to another, until the age of 6 years old. My dad wanted me back. So, I went to live with my dad, his 2 kids from his new family and his new wife. However, the step-mum didn't like me, the kids (5 and 8) felt I was a threat and it just went downhill. I ended up as a punch bag for my father whenever he had a bad day at work. I also remember (we lived near the seaside) that my dad would take me to a shop and let me choose a bamboo stick with the fishing net at the end. They were really colourful and I always chose blue. Not that I got to use them ... my dad did .. on me .. when we got home he'd remove the fishing net, and then use the bamboo stick on me.
I think my teacher at school knew I was being abused, as she gave me the bible to read with a lovely message (that she'd wrote) at the front.
That was when I started reading the bible.
During the age of 7 years old, my father dropped me off at a children's home and said he'd pop by now and then to see me. I wasn't sure what was going on, but 2 things came of it. I never saw my father again and I never got beat again.
The next 10 years of my life I spent in this children's home. And I have to say it was quite cool having loads of "Aunt's" looking after me. However, there were a few times when I was still young when I would get beat (in a sense) by some of the staff. I didn't understand at first, it was only when I was in my teens and witnessed it happen to the then youngsters. Some staff members would provoke the children (who were from broken homes, or had ADD), and then spend the next hour restraining them. Yeah, some youngsters needed to be restrained but being there a few years I learnt that some staff would come into work with a chip on their shoulders and target children. There wasn't much that I could do until when I was about 14/15 and thankfully it stopped and for the last few years in the children's home I was like a big brother to all the children at the home and the staff had a lot of respect for me.
All throughout this time I continued to read the Bible, and as I got older I became to understand it better and better .. but, I just didn't feel a connection to it. I believed in God, but the Bible just ... did not feel right .. there was something missing. So, around 15/16 I stopped reading the Bible, but I "knew" there was a God, and that we were all created for a purpose, but I believed that it would come to me as I was older... the answer .. that all I needed to do was "wait".
At the age of 17 years old I took social services to Court. Nothing bad, I just wanted my own Independence and sought to be released as their responsibility. At around the same time my grandmother died. At the same time my mother came back on the scene. My grandmother had let her inheritance to me, but my mum wanted it. I didn't want to fight her, so I allowed he to take want she wanted, she disappeared again, and I still had enough to be able to set up renting a place with nice furniture.
Despite my grades at school not being too good, I ended up in an accountancy firm. One of the Partners took me in as a filing clerk, and I've never left, working my way up.
Anyway, throughout my 20's .. I did exactly what I mentioned above .. I waited .. for the true message from God. But, I did it .. literally .. I kept to myself, got home from work every night and sat in front of the TV... waiting for the message of God to land on my lap. I did that for 8 years.
By the time I was approaching 30 I realised my life was passing before my eyes and that I should go out there and FIND THE TRUTH.
At around the age of 25, a Muslim woman joined the firm. This was my first encounter with a Muslim. I was curious as to why she wore something on her head, but never approached her. It was only when I was 28 and she moved into my team (I was her Supervisor), that we got talking ... about Islam and The Prophet (saw). She lent me some books, but they were more about the spiritual side of Islam and although very nice and comforting, they were out of my league and I didn't really understand. So, I left it. But it kept niggling at the back of my mind. So, one day when we were talking I asked her more about her religion and she talked, with a lot of passion, about Muhammed (saw), and I realised that I was already living my life trying to strive for those values that he himself had lived. So, she gave me a book about his life and Sunnah.
AND BAM! The connection hit me so hard. I cried so hard, this man, who I had never met, was my inspiration. I had spent my entire life dealing with people with evil in their hearts that I'd given up on people, just wanting to keep to myself.
The more I read about The Prophet (saw) the connection got stronger and stronger.
I was given a Quran too but I couldn't read it, and it just ended up on my mantelpiece. However, I met the Sister's 5 brothers and they talked about Islam with me and gave me a translated Quran.
At the age of 30, in February 2008, along with 3 of these brothers, I attended a Mosque and took my Shahadah.
I haven't looked back since, Alhamdullilah Islam is a religion of Peace, and love and mercy. I try to take on as many SUnnah's as I can, and Insha'Allah I strive every day to meet The Prophet (saw) in Jannah.