Asalam Alaikum. I testify that there is no God except Allah (SWT) and that Muhammad (PBUH) is Allah's final Prophet and Messenger to all of Mankind. I further testify that the Holy Qu'ran is Allah's word and is preserved in it's original form to this day. Allhumdulliah.
My name is Fareed. I was raised in a conservative Christian family who believed that the Bible was the inerrant word of god. From a young age of about six I went to Sunday school, morning services and Wednesday evening prayer meet8ings. You see I was a fundementalist Baptist and taught the doctrines of that faith. Nothing was more important to me than 'leading someone to Christ'.At the age of 12 I began to fell as though I should study to be a paster and pursued this until the age of 19. At this time I was at a crossroad of faith. I discovered that the church that i loved had become antagonistic towards other denominations and were saying that they had a corner on all bible truth. I questioned this after reading the Book of Acts, where I found a very different church than what I was raised in. I turned away from the church and began experimenting with drugs. was also very involved with music and other vices. I went to the pastor and asked some pointed questions about what i had read and his answrer was that all the actions in the book of Acts was for just the early Christians because they did not have the full canon of scripture. I also raised the question that if Jesus tol;d his Disciples to keep the commandments why weren't we doing the same? I was told that Paul had revealed we were not under the law but free from it. I was shocked! So I began a search foir a group of like minded believers. This led to the Jesus people movemnt of the early 70's. Some of the groups I allied myself with believed in the whole word of god and practiced it daily. But something was still lacking. I saw where Jesus, upon whom be peace, wanted believers to care for thoise less fortunate. So I began a search for a community of beleivers that practiced this.My family and I were eventually part of a 'community' of people that were really living out what Jesus taught concerning social welfare and spiritual discipleship. I was chosen as a wot=rship leader for our Sunday gatherings and eventually taught when the director wasn't present. I also becamr very involved with the radio ministry of this 'ministry' as a DJ.
But, something wa s still lacking. I had no real peace. During High School I had taken a year long course on religion and minorities. during this course we were introduced to many faiths, Mormon, Hindu, Bahai, Buddiam, and Islam. I was intrigued that in Islam the Holy Qu'ran was their center piece scripture and it was unchanged from the time of their Prophet (PBUH) I was given a copy of the t5ranslation of the meaning of the Qu'ran by Pickthal and read it cover to cover. But when my parents discovered I was reading it they threw it away and sent me to our pastor for counseling conderning Islam and it's teachings.
Fast forward to 2006. My family and i began to realize that the 'ministry was changing fromone who worshipped the Creator to one that worshipped the creation. In fact the director has said in one of his sermons that man was put here to be a servant of God's creation. This plus the discovery of some financial misdealings led me away from the 'ministry". I was agian left to begin a search for thr real truth about God his purpose for my life. When I was job hunting in Rolla Missouri, I noticed there were many churches but I was so turned off by this time i would not set foot in any of them. I kept questioning my faith and beliefs and wanted more. By this time My children were all grown and out of the house so it was just my wife and i as empty nesters. We watched a lot of TV and noticed how the news treated muslims. I was appaled at the lack of compassion on the part of the main stream media. I remebered the Qu'ran and it's beautiful teachings and said to myeslf I have to get another copy of it and read it for myself. So in 2008, I took a break from job hunting and went to the Islamic center in Rolla. It was Friday and there was a group oif men standing outside oif the door to the small Masjid. I had just intended to get a Qu'ran and leave, but somehow I asked the question, "How do I become a Muslim?" I was warmly welcomed and invited to attend their prayer service that afternoonj. So as I sat in the back of the Masjid observing the service I discovered that I actually was peaceful and calm. No one wanted to ki,l,l me or cause me harm as the Media had portrayed. Neither was there any mention of anything out of line with my own personal beliefs. I listend intently to the sermon given in english that day by a brother from Nigeria who concentrated on Serving Allah (SWT) and avoiding the ptifalls of Shaytan. There was power in his Khutbah and i was really impressed! Then I obsevered the Prayer. I found myself in awe of men of different nations standing shpoulder to shoulder to worship the Creator of the Universe. Allah.
After the service I met many of the brothers, who, all greeted me warmly. I was invited to come back next week and when they found out that I didn't own a car and lived 30 miles away the brothers set up rides for me to come to the Masjid every Friday. I was given a copy of the Qu'ran in English and some other literature to read at home. I eagerly took the material and went home amd began reading. I found within that Book answers to my questions of some fifty eight years. What the Christian pastors couldn't answer or cover was within the pages of the Qu'ran. I felt a deep need to change my life. Allah was guiding me to Islam!
The brother from Nigeria gave me a mp3 player to listen to some lectures from various brothers and both my wife and I listened intently. We also were given CD's and DVD's of lectures on the basics of the faith. I was like a sponge! I absorbed it like a man who had mot ate for weeks! I was finding many answers to questions that plagued me for years! I discovered that Islam is the truth1
I began to pray and ask Allah's help. I felt so close to him. At first when I did the Five daily prayers, I said it in english because I didn't speak any Arabic. As time progressed I learned the salat in Arabic and taught it to my wife.
On April 18th 2008, I stood in that small masjid and recited the shadah. I was finally hoime!