This article was conducted in interview form to make it easier for the brother to answer questions about his journey to Islam. Questions will be highlighted in italics.
ZH: Tell us about yourself. Your background, where you are from and what religion you grew up with or the religion of your household?
Maxwell: As of today, I am twenty years old. I grew up and still live in the Northeast part of Tennessee in the United States. My whole family and almost all of my coworkers are Christians, and some of them are agnostics and atheists.
I was raised in a Christian family, the Southern Baptist denomination. I’d say that their devotion was just about average. When I was just seven years old, I made the decision to be “born again”. For the next thirteen years or so, I held that faith until I forsook it, and shortly after that I found Islam, Al7amdulillah.
ZH: Tell us about your journey to Islam? How you first discovered it, what you did to learn more about?
Maxwell: It really started with me getting an interest in philosophy. The Problem of Evil bothered me for a while. If you didn’t know, Christianity has a very unsatisfying answer for that problem. I took an introductory class to the study of religion, and this class was a more objective look at things. It didn’t really touch on Islam very much at all, so I was still in the dark about Islam at that time.
I ended up with a few Muslim discord friends who were in the perfect states to be able to reach me about Islam. None of them I knew in person. Then I joined a Muslim discord server. I started asking questions. It seemed that all the questions I had asked in Christianity were being answered by Islam:
How can God be three and one at the same time? Muslims say, “He isn’t.”
How can evil exist if God doesn’t create evil things? Muslims say, “He created all things.”
There are other things, but these are some of the big ones. The doctrine of the Qadr of Allah was something that really resonated with me. I had come to that conclusion already, but Islam affirmed it long before I had even been thought of by mankind.
YouTube was another huge inspiration to me. People like Nouman Ali Khan, Yusuf Estes and I couldn’t tell you how many revert stories I watched on YouTube; and I never once found something that troubled me for very long. I never had to accept any answer similar to, “It’s a mystery.”
ZH: How did you eventually decide Islam was right for you and how did you eventually convert?
Maxwell: Eventually, after asking God to guide me, I had learned enough to know that my questions would eventually be answered no matter what they were, and knowing that Allah (3aza wa Jal) loves those who try, I decided to say Shahadah alone at first, but after I sought out the masjid, I went in on a Friday… nervous as I’ve ever been. I said Shahadah with the imam as a witness. The khutbah was about “la ilaha illla Allah” (I still remember). And there it was, I was a Muslim. My life since then has become increasingly less angry and much more peaceful in general. I finally have trust in God again, but this time, without associating partners.
ZH: What advice do you have for any other people on a similar path to yours?
Maxwell: My advice would be to first ask God for guidance. If he guides you, you can’t go astray. If something arises that plants some doubt in your mind, or otherwise shakes your path, stick with it, analyze the situation; usually when someone makes a claim that Islam is wrong, it’s not as thought out as you first think it to be.
Don’t just accept things on faith alone all the time. If someone makes a claim, verify it. If you have a question, ask the question. And try to solve the problem in your own mind. If you’re trying to understand God and the religion he has given us, and it is for his sake, insha’Allah it will please God and you will be rewarded.
But do all of these things for the sake of praising the creator of the heavens and the earth.
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