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odyssean

Getting To Know Me...

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I generally don't mind talking about myself, since I'm both something of an extrovert as well as a frequent participant in a number of online forums. But, well, this is odd and something of a first for me.

 

See, I'm a 30-something Caucasian male born and raised in New England. I was raised Jewish but have come to see that as more a culture/tradition than an active religious identity for myself. Instead, I'm fascinated by Islam.

 

This fascination comes from some very obvious sources: my spouse, my academic studies, the post-9/11 environment, etc. But, for a very long time now, I've thought about converting.

 

That's mostly why I'm here -- I'm trying to sort out my motives for considering conversion, where it leaves me with Judaism, and what sort of Muslim I can/will be. I live a fairly secular life and don't foresee a radical change in lifestyle; rather, I'm trying to work through how I see myself and how I identify myself.

 

So, wow, there's the whole big thing. Have I come to the right place to chat this through?

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PropellerAds

Hello Odyssean. Welcome to Islamic Forum. You should find many resources and eager voices to help you with your considerations of Islam. Thanks for joining us.

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I generally don't mind talking about myself, since I'm both something of an extrovert as well as a frequent participant in a number of online forums. But, well, this is odd and something of a first for me.

 

See, I'm a 30-something Caucasian male born and raised in New England. I was raised Jewish but have come to see that as more a culture/tradition than an active religious identity for myself. Instead, I'm fascinated by Islam.

 

This fascination comes from some very obvious sources: my spouse, my academic studies, the post-9/11 environment, etc. But, for a very long time now, I've thought about converting.

 

That's mostly why I'm here -- I'm trying to sort out my motives for considering conversion, where it leaves me with Judaism, and what sort of Muslim I can/will be. I live a fairly secular life and don't foresee a radical change in lifestyle; rather, I'm trying to work through how I see myself and how I identify myself.

 

So, wow, there's the whole big thing. Have I come to the right place to chat this through?

 

welcome, brother

i believe you are just in the right place,

i'm not westerner to help you in life styles, while sure you will find many here to help in that.

 

while my point will be, you almost finished half of your life time, just like me.

what did you think, you did achieve for your self, so far?

what do you like to achieve in the next half? in other wards, what is your main goal in life?

 

may Allah show you the truth way.

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Hello Odyssean. Welcome to Islamic Forum. You should find many resources and eager voices to help you with your considerations of Islam. Thanks for joining us.

 

May I now post in other forums? I want to ask others about any experiences they have with conversion, but each time I try to do so, I get the error message that my post is "too long."

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Are you trying to post with a link? I think that might be your problem. Try posting only text without links or images and it should work. Here are some of the restrictions new accounts are under:

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/show.php/showtopic/2081.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/show.php/showtopic/2081.html[/url]

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while my point will be, you almost finished half of your life time, just like me.

what did you think, you did achieve for your self, so far?

what do you like to achieve in the next half? in other wards, what is your main goal in life?

 

may Allah show you the truth way.

 

Those are some excellent questions, Ahmad, and I appreciate your posing them to me.

 

In all, I think I have a good life. That is, I'm not turning to Islam out of desperation or to right some terrible imbalance in my life.

 

So far, I was fortunate enough to be born into a loving family and a very comfortable lifestyle. I got a rather good education, and I have enjoyed the highs and lows of life with friends and close ones.

 

I have a fine job, and I get to engage in a number of additional activities that delight me. Additionally, I am relatively healthy with a caring wife and a beautiful daughter.

 

It feels strange to ask for anything more, honestly. Perhaps all I want is to be able to maintain this level of existence -- or, maybe, to have my daughter experience the same life, if not better.

 

I have the nagging feeling, though, that to do that, I need to reorient myself to some degree. That is, I need a system that better frames my thoughts and (relative) insights as I move into the next decades of my life. I think that "system" (if you'll forgive the term) is Islam, but I have doubts as to my devotion and, therefore, the appropriateness of my converting to something I could not absolutely pledge myself to.

 

What I've read of the Qur'an speaks so much of certainty and total commitment. Should I even consider this faith -- which strikes me as beautiful and quite humane -- if I could not keep up "my side of the bargain?"

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Hello, Odyssean

 

"What I've read of the Qur'an speaks so much of certainty and total commitment. Should I even consider this faith -- which strikes me as beautiful and quite humane -- if I could not keep up "my side of the bargain?""

 

Even the greatest of Prophets (pbuh) were afraid of this. Abraham (pbuh) prayed God to protect him and his progeny from idols because the idols had caused a lot of people to go astray. That's the prayer of a man who had smashed the idols of his people to teach them a lesson! Furtermore, he prayed God to make him one who established prayer - and his one of the Messengers of great resolve. This from the Qur'an.

 

The Companions (ra) of the Prophet (pbuh) also were afraid that they wouldn't be able/weren't keeping their side of the bargain. They were scared of being hypocrites, i.e. people who profess Islam but don't really believe in it, although they were really of the uttermost conviction.

 

There are different degrees of faith. The Messengers (pbut) had the highest degree. Some people's faith is not as strong as others but they are believers nonetheless.

 

I think the questions you need to ask yourself is, "Do I believe in God?", "Do I believe Islam to be the Truth?", "Do I believe the Qur'an to be the Word of God?", etc. If yes, then you should convert.

 

What doubts are you having about your devotion?

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I think the questions you need to ask yourself is, "Do I believe in God?", "Do I believe Islam to be the Truth?", "Do I believe the Qur'an to be the Word of God?", etc. If yes, then you should convert.

 

What doubts are you having about your devotion?

 

You frame my quandary marvelously, Younes, and I greatly appreciate your input.

 

I have, I think, three central "doubts," as you put it. First, whether I am converting for myself or I am converting for my household. (That is, my wife is Muslim, and, though she has never proselytized nor harassed me, I know that it would delight her and make the matter of religion easier for our young daughter if I converted.) Second, it's the degree of my devotion that worries me; I am bad at watching my cholesterol, keeping up correspondences, getting on time to meetings, etc. Even the things that I do genuinely believe in, I am lax about. In general, I am comfortable with this, and I like being an easy-going, accepting person. But, in terms of religious devotion, I can't help but see my relaxedness differently.

 

Lastly, there's the issue of lifestyle. I want to be a good person...but I have no aims at being a perfect person. I swear, I sometimes drink, etc. To what degree do these actions undercut my responses to the questions you (nicely) posed. If I say, "yes" to the three questions above, then shouldn't the raw Truth of Islam deter me from these things? Conversely, if I am not deterred, aren't I saying that my answers of "yes" are hollow...?

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You frame my quandary marvelously, Younes, and I greatly appreciate your input.

 

I have, I think, three central "doubts," as you put it. First, whether I am converting for myself or I am converting for my household. (That is, my wife is Muslim, and, though she has never proselytized nor harassed me, I know that it would delight her and make the matter of religion easier for our young daughter if I converted.) Second, it's the degree of my devotion that worries me; I am bad at watching my cholesterol, keeping up correspondences, getting on time to meetings, etc. Even the things that I do genuinely believe in, I am lax about. In general, I am comfortable with this, and I like being an easy-going, accepting person. But, in terms of religious devotion, I can't help but see my relaxedness differently.

 

Well I would venture a guess that you would not be converting for the sake of your household. Your wife has not proselytized nor harassed you, you say. That's what leads to me believe this.

 

There is nothing wrong with being easy-going. However, laxity is not a good thing. The essentials of Islam are quite easy to perform.

 

Lastly, there's the issue of lifestyle. I want to be a good person...but I have no aims at being a perfect person. I swear, I sometimes drink, etc. To what degree do these actions undercut my responses to the questions you (nicely) posed. If I say, "yes" to the three questions above, then shouldn't the raw Truth of Islam deter me from these things? Conversely, if I am not deterred, aren't I saying that my answers of "yes" are hollow...?

 

If you were not deterred from those sins, it wouldn't mean that your "yes" answer is hollow. There are a lot of Muslims who sin, yet it doesn't make their faith in Islam hollow, from an Islamic perspective.

 

You should also know that God forgives every sin except disbelief. Disbelief is the only sin that warrants hell forever. Punishment can be administered for the rest of the sins or God can even forgive them without punishment. So you should prioritize so to speak. I think you should cut those sins things step by step. I think a lot of converts were afraid of the lifestyle changes that Islam brings with it.

 

I think every Muslim deals with the same question as you. It can feel very overwhelming and it is a paradox, but that doesn't stop people remaining Muslim. Last not but least, God is very merciful and we hope for His mercy.

 

I hope that helps somewhat.

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I don't mean to distract from an excellent discussion, but we should try to keep this thread for introductions and welcomes. Perhaps we could start another thread in a more appropriate forum like the Islamic Discussion forum?

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I don't mean to distract from an excellent discussion, but we should try to keep this thread for introductions and welcomes. Perhaps we could start another thread in a more appropriate forum like the Islamic Discussion forum?

 

No problem. I've already started a thread in the Conversion forum, so I'd welcome further discussion there if that seems appropriate.

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