My Journey to Islam
By Abu Abdur-Rahman
It is ironic that Allah (S.W.T.) has guided me to Islam (the Truth) in United States, where Kufr ideology dominates the society. Especially more so, when I have spent 5 years of my childhood in Muslim dominated societies (countries).
My parents are from Korea, they were raised atheist but in their youth they found Christianity to be the Truth. They hold positions/titles in their church (they were Deacons, but now they have been raised to higher ranking). They had me baptized when I was born, and raised my brothers and I as Christians.
My father was in charge of the construction division of Hyundai Corporation. He lived in many countries overseeing the building and construction projects for Hyundai Corporation. When my father was stationed in Indonesia, our family moved there for Two and a half years. Being an infant at the time, I do not remember much of Indonesia. However, I remember my two and a half year stay in Saudi Arabia very clearly. My father had stayed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for nine years building and constructing for the Saudi Royal family, we (our family) joined him on his last two and a half years in the Kingdom. My experience in Saudi had been a memorable one, I got to experience and see many things. We had a very luxurious life in Saudi, however our experience with the people there in general had been a bad one. My father, to this day, hates Arabs (Saudis, but to my father they are all the same) for his ill treatment by the Saudis during his stay. I remember him complaining how arrogant the Saudis were, and how they looked down upon him with bad manners, how backward they were, how risky it was doing business with them, etc…As for me, I had my own problems. I remember getting into fights with the Saudi kids every other day, my brothers and I could not play in the playground because the kids will start throwing rocks at us if we got close to the playground. With these memorable experiences, we (our family) moved to United States.
I was 10 years old when we came to the Unites States, my brothers and I pretty much grew up in the States. I was Americanized as can be, and even though I befriended many ethnic groups, I did not get along with the Asians, Koreans especially. Needless to say, I did not care much for the Arab kids; I tried to pick on them every chance I got.
I had a very close friend in High School (we will call him A.C. for anonymity), we played football together, and we tried to pull as many pranks as possible when the opportunities presented themselves. A pair of knuckleheads who could not avoid trouble to save their own lives. But through this friendship, Allah (S.W.T) guided a lost soul to Islam (the Truth).
After High School, I moved out of town and went to college. My parents had gone back to Korea when I was in High School, so I was used to being independent (except financially). I reached my peak in terms of misguidance (being lost) while I was in college. The environment I was in was such that it only led me deeper and deeper into misguidance and self-destruction. But I was oblivious to this fact, and even if I did know I probably would not have cared. I was in this state when I received a phone call from A.C., my close friend from High School. He had called to tell me that he had become a Muslim. I did not take it seriously at first, because I knew that he was going through some personal problems at the time. I thought that he was going trough a phase, and he would snap out of it once he cleared his problems. But as time passed, it became obvious that my friend had become a fanatic (so I thought at the time). I started to avoid talking to him, all he would talk about was Islam and we would end up having a religious argument, him for Islam and I for Christianity. It came to a point that whenever he called, I would find an excuse not to talk to him.
Because my parents were in Korea, I did not have a place to stay when I came back to my hometown. I used to stay with A.C. whenever I was in town; his family treated me like a second son (May Allah guide them, Ameen). But after A.C. had become a Muslim, I started to avoid staying with him. It happened so that I came back in town for a break from college. I stayed with another friend of mine from high school instead of A.C. One night, my friends and I went out to a party hosted by another friend from high school, but somehow A.C. found out. A.C. called the place where the party was going on and had asked to speak with me. When I picked up the phone, A.C. told me to stand and wait for him outside. I felt a little guilty because I had been trying to avoid him all break, so I decided to wait for him outside. Some of the people at the party asked me where I was going, so I told them that I was going outside to meet A.C. They decided to come outside with me they were also friends with A.C. when we were in High School. When A.C. pulled up in his car, he did not even get out of the car he rolled down his window and told me to get in the car. I could sense a bit of urgency in his voice, so I got into the car.
A.C. and I spent rest of the night talking about religion. A.C. pulled out a book by Ahmed Didat, and started to ask me things that I could not answer. It was still very early in the morning and we were still discussing religion, when A.C. asked me if I would like to accompany him to the Mosque for Morning Prayer. I consented and we went to the Mosque. There, in the Mosque, as I stood in the back and watched, I saw something which I never saw in any church. As people came in, I saw people of different ethnicity and social and financial status, they lined up next to each other filling the line. I remember saying to myself “that’s something you don’t see everyday”. After the prayer, a Muslim came up to me and asked me if I was a Muslim. I said “No”, and he started to give me Da’wah. He was a very nice person, but unfortunately his Da’wah did not reach me at that time (but eventually I would benefit from his Da’wah). By this time, A.C. and two other Muslims had approached me, and one of them invited us for breakfast. So we ended up at a house eating breakfast, and the brothers started give me Da’wah. We watched a film about three youths who converted (reverted, I should say) to Islam, the host and another brother who was with us were two of the three youths in the film. It was all very convincing, but something was holding me back. I was not ready to accept the Truth yet. A.C. and I thanked the host for the breakfast, and were getting ready to leave when the host gave me a copy of the Holy Qur’an (English translation) as a gift. I thanked him and we parted. A.C. had made me promise him that I would read the Qur’an (English translation), and with that we parted and I went back to my college.
It was not long before I settled back into my usual college life again. A.C. called every now and then to see what was going on with me. He would ask me if I had read the Qur’an (English Translation), and my answer would be “Not yet, but I am going to”. And the Qur’an (English Translation) was sitting on my bookshelf, collecting dust all the while. One night, when all my friends have gone out, I decided to stay in and do some school work. I finished studying early and was left to ponder what to do next. Then I saw the Qur’an (English Translation) sitting on my bookshelf, and I said to myself “Why not, what could it hurt”. So I picked up the Qur’an (English Translation) and started to read. Allahu Akbar, never in my life have I heard a truer speech than the Qur’an.
“This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt; to those who fear Allah.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah #2)
What a bold statement! I said to myself, “Either this book is a lie or it is the Truth”. But as I read, it became very clear to me that there is no falsehood in it. I was not able to put it down, I read and read through the whole night. I was shocked and amazed, I said to myself “This is simply the Truth”. A whole lot of things started to swirl in my head, my parents, my family, my friends, the worldly life that I was so indulged in. But everything became insignificant before the Truth, except for my family, thoughts were coming into my head: “What are my parents going to say? What are my brothers going to say? What if my family disowns me? What if they cut me off (both kinship and financially)? But Allah is the best of planners! Around 6 a.m., I was still reading the Qur’an (English Translation) when the phone rang. I picked up the phone and it was brother A.C., he started with the usual “How are you doing? How is your school? How is your …”. The whole time, I kept quite and said little, brother A.C. sensing something unusual asked me: “What is Wrong?”
How can I deny myself the Truth after finding out about it? “What is wrong?” asked brother A.C., “How do you become a Muslim?” I asked. Brother A.C. was surprised (in a good way I am sure). A.C. told me to repeat after him:
“I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammed (S.A.W.) is His messenger … Ashadu ala ilaha ilallah, wa ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasululah.”
May Allah reward (better than the worldly life and all that is in it) brother A.C. for his patience and efforts, and guide him to the straight path, Ameen.
May Allah reward (better than the worldly life and all that is in it) all the brothers who helped me find the Truth, and guide them to the straight path, Ameen.
May Allah guide us all to the straight path and save us from the Hell fire, Ameen.
May Allah grant peace and blessings upon our prophet Muhammed (S.A.W.), Ameen.
All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds.