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As for those who strive in Us,

We surely guide them to Our paths (Quran)

Finding Answers in Islam*

Excerpts from "Daughters of Another Path: Experiences of American Women Choosing Islam" by Anway Carol L.:

Some of the women tied to prove Christianity to their Muslim husbands. They sought help from Christian leaders but were frustrated in. their attempts. Some of the women smuggled with letting go of Christianity even though they felt "Muslim." Several religious questions seemed unsettling to them. Whereas Islam tends to "have the!, answers," there is often confusion Christian theology. In Islam there is only one God so how can Jesus also be God, the Muslims ask.

The Bible, viewed by many Christian as being the literal word of God, is also questioned. Muslims emphasize the many changes made over the centuries in the numerous manuscripts that make up the Bible and that it was written by those who only "felt inspired," cam many years after the events occurred. They point out what they led are contradictions in the Bible.

Muslims, are well-versed in their beliefs and are often able to fill in the gaps for the confused person longing or God, answers, for what to do to be at peace. Varying degrees of dissatisfaction with Christian theology as they perceive it is apparent in many of these women's stories. Some of the problems center in the concepts of Trinity, original sin, or Jesus as the Son of God or Jesus as God. Their frustration with some of these ideas helped to open the doom for "new" religious expression.

oAfter the birth of our second child, I decided to go back to church. I was so enthusiastic and went around singing, reading the Bible, and telling my husband how much he should get back to God. With some reluctance he went to church with me and my daughter several times.

One day he said, "I can't go, anymore and I don't want you to take our doughty (either." We had a big fight and were going to split up until we decided that we would take a look at both religions. If I could explain Christianity satisfactorily, he would become a Christian. At the same time, I would take another look at Islam. (I had claimed Islam two years after we were married, but he wasn't active and I lost interest quickly.)

I started asking a lot, of questions from ministers, theologians, and seniors in the field to help me prove Christianity to my husband. I wanted it se badly, I vied to several of them to help me and most of them said, "I'm sorry-I don't know" or "I'll write you," but I never heard from them. The harder I tried to prove Christianity to convert him, the more I moved toward Islam because of its logic, until I finally yielded to the belief and oneness of Allah.

One thing led to another until my husband and I became practicing Muslims Islam for me gives me peace of mind because I don't have in understand the Trinity and how God is "three in one" or that God died on the cross. Fu me Islam supplies the answers.

+I called myself agnostic when I' went to college. I thought I believed in God and didn't want to do anything about it. After a few years, was ready to go back to being "religious" again. In the meantime, I met a man from Lebanon who would later become my husband. He and both started learning mor,.7t about Islam and about six months later converted. We were married six months after that. The hardest part was changing my ideas about Jesus, It took A long time to he able to say that Jesus isn't the Son of God without it feeling like blasphemy. But., I realized that the beliefs are really close, in some ways. Mary was a virgin and Jesus is a great prophet. The difference is in the divinity of Jesus.

+I never knew anything about Islam except that "Muhammad was a killer and Islam was spread by the sword." I was going out with my husband prior to marriage (he was not a practicing Muslim at that time), but when we got married and he finally told his family, his father's stipulation was that I was to be Muslim. I told him I could not change my religion for a man because I have always been close with God but never had a direct path to walk. Then I started talking about what I really believed. I promised God that I would look into Islam, and I asked God to guide me.

Over the course of several months I started talking to my husband's friend who had embraced Islam and was a humble practicing Muslim. I asked him many questions. I kept away from my husband about this topic because I wanted to be as objective as possible. My hardest hurdle was getting over the fiery images of what we would look like burning up in hell from my Sunday school books and training. I had been told so many times that if I did not believe Jesus had died for my sins and was my personal savior I would go to hell forever. But Allah showed me the way. I was reading many books about Islam, and everything I read was exactly how I felt inside me. All the answers were there. I may not have understood everything but what I did made sense. I embraced Islam and shared my first Ramadan with my husband of six months who was now practicing his beliefs.

The idea that Jesus is considered God by Christians was something that hadn't become a reality to some of the women. Muslims were, therefore, able to refute this belief by affirming that putting anything or anyone on the same, level as God is a eat sin. This point is probably the most dividing belief between Christians and Muslims. For Christians it would be a peat sin to deny Jesus as part of the Trinity; for Muslims the greatest sin would be to place Jews (whom they consider as a revered and great prophet) on the level of God.

+I asked my friend to attend Mass with me. He said he didn't attend church, that he was a Muslim. "What's a Muslim?" I asked, totally unaware that my life was going to change forever as soon as he began his answer. At first, I listened intently but after he got to the part which denied Jesus being the Son of God, even denied his sacrifice for us on the cross, I excused myself from this friend and kicked myself for wasting so much time that now I had missed Mass and would have to go to confession.

We talked again later about his beliefs. We seemed more and more alike in our belief: heaven and hell, angels, our duty to our fellow roan, holy scriptures. was just the "Jesus thing" that kept us on opposite ends of the spectrum. I also noticed another complication; despite everything, I was failing in love with him.

It wasn't Islam that was the issue. It was Christianity I was a "doubting Thomas" in every way and the guilt was overwhelming. I began to seek all kinds of advice to rid me of this demon of doubt. Then, three events took place in the space of a week that caused me to decide to 'eave Christianity altogether.

First, I went to a nun that I trusted deeply and poured my heart o-w. She responded with compassion, but she handed me a Qur'an as I left. I was very confused. Then, I went to my religion teacher, who was a lay person. As we talked, I ,siew more confused and finally said, "Look, I just want you to tell me that, undoubtedly and with full conviction, Jesus Christ is the Son of God" He didn't look at me when he said, "I can't tell you that" Now I was angry too. What was wrong with these people that they refused to give me the answers I was looking for?

Finally, I turned to God. At least I was sure that he was still there for me. And he would help me. I prayed that he would open my mind and my heart and show me the answer I was looking for. I used a method I had used many times before. I would pray everything in my heart, then open the Bible to a random page and find my answer. I opened my Bible to the trial of Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate. Pilate was trying to get Jesus to say something by which he could be convicted, in order to relieve his own guilt for having him sentenced to death to fulfill the wishes of the people. Pilate asked him, "Are you the Son of God?" and Jesus answered, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, "It is you who have said it." Suddenly, I felt at peace.

+When I was eighteen I went to a local two-year Christian college. It was there that I first came in contact with Muslims. There were a lot of them there, and I was fascinated with the idea of another group of people I knew nothing about-some people from the "Holy Land." I took a course called "The World's Living Religions" and learned a little about Islam. I net my husband-to-be there when I was nineteen years old. I married him after four months.

We moved far away to go to a university. There I met an American-Muslim woman who wore hijab. She gave me books and pamphlets about Islam. I read some of them and watched some debates between Muslims and Christians about the divinity of Jesus and the authenticity of the Bible.

It was then that I heard clearly for the first time that the Christians (including the Catholics) thought that Jesus was God and that the Bible had been changed by men and mostly made by men's words, not God's. I was shocked. I knew then that I was not one of "them" anymore.

*Source: Anway Carol L. Daughters of Another Path: Experiences of American Women Choosing Islam. Yawna Pub. 1995. 215p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-9647169-0-9.

Is Islam Difficult that People cannot Comply with it?*

This is a false claim that has no any basis of trueness at all. Every one says this is ignorant knowing nothing about Islam, or he is biased intending to make people alienate their religion and give up its laws and rulings, or he is excessive puritan that does not regard except the opinions of the puritan clergymen who forbid people to worship Allah but according to their own way and make themselves as the guardians of Allah's religion; therefore, they regard things lawful or unlawful due to their own reasons or after the only traditions that have reached them.

The first thing that comes to mind in this concern is this saying of the messenger of Allah (a.s.):

Make it (the affairs of religion) easy and do not make it difficult! Bring good tidings and do not (make people alienate), and do not constrict against yourselves, lest Allah constrict against you as He has done to the Children of Israel.

The Prophet (a.s.) often said before his companions:

Allah has not sent me as constrainer or obstinate, but He has sent me as a facilitating teacher.

It is well known that the Prophet (a.s.) was not made to choose between two things, except that he chose the easier one.

The Prophet (a.s.) was not a legislator as some people misthink when they read this Qur'anic verse:

... and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, abstain (from it). 1

The commanding and forbidding of the Prophet (a.s.) do not come from him himself, but he conveyed what was revealed to him from his Lord. He did not do except what Allah ordered him to do with no bit more and no bit less. Therefore, all the commands and prohibitions are from Allah the Almighty, though they are not recorded in the Holy Qur'an. Allah says about the Prophet (a.s.):

Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed. 2

Since it is so, let us come to the Qur'an to see if Islam is difficult that people cannot comply with or not, in order to see whether this claim is true or false and so that we be on a clear proof as to our affairs.

Allah says in the Qur'an:

He has chosen you and has not laid upon you a hardship in religion. 3

Allah does not want to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful. 4

Allah wants ease for you and He does not want for you difficulty ... 5

This concerns the Muslim nation that have embraced Islam and are abided by its laws and rules in worships and behaviors. Of course, the mercy of Allah has included all His people with their different religions. Allah has been merciful to all of them imposing no any hardship on anyone.

Allah says:

Of a small seed; He created him, then He made him according to a measure. Then (as for) the way, He has made it easy (for him). 6

So, the way of Allah that man follows to return to his Lord is an easy way with no difficulties or hardships. Allah the Almighty has repeated this meaning five times in the Qur'an. He says:

Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability. 7

We do not impose on any soul a duty except to the extent of its ability. 8

And (as for) those who believe and do good, We do not impose on any soul a duty except to the extent of its ability. 9

And We do not lay on any soul a burden except to the extent of its ability, and with Us is a book which speaks the truth, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. 10

From all this, we understand that Allah the Almighty has not imposed anything on any man except within his capacity since the time of our father Adam (a.s.). If there was any difficulty or hardship in any one of the divine religions, it would be a result of those who interpreted the purposes of religions according to their personal opinions, or that there might be some people torturing themselves hardly, because of their many sins, looking forward to the forgiveness of Allah or in order to be nearer to Him. Therefore, they invented some things that were not from the religion and bound themselves to them, but they failed in bearing them. 11

Allah the Almighty says:

... and monasticism they innovated; We did not prescribe it to them- only to seek Allah's pleasure, but they did not observe it with its due observance ... 12

On this basis, we interpret this tradition of the messenger of Allah (a.s.):

Do not be strict (in religious affairs) to yourselves, lest Allah he strict to you as He has done to the children of Israel.

And in the same way, we interpret this Qur'anic Verse concerning the Prophet Muhammad (a.s.):

... he enjoins them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them. 13

The burden and shackles, which were on them, were made and stressed by them, and they themselves had bound themselves to.

We conclude from this analysis that Islam is a religion that has no difficulty, hardship, overburden, or shackles, but it is a religion of easiness, mercy, and leniency where the weaknesses of man in all his psychological and bodily sides are fully cared for. Allah says:

Allah wants that He should make light your burdens, and man is created weak. 14

... this is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. 15

We shall see, inshallah, […]16 that Islam, as known by the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), is the religion that is without the opinions of opinionators, the excessiveness of the excessive, or the falseness of fabricators. Then, we shall know that the Muslims of the present age can abide by the Sharia without any difficulty or hardship.

Source:  All Solutions Are with the Prophet's Progeny. By Dr. Muhammad at-Tijani as-Sammawi. Translated by : Abdullah al-Shahin. Rafed for cultural development. Available From: http://www.rafed.net/english/books/beliefs/all-solutions-are-with-the-prophet-progeny/index. [Accessed June 22, 2009]

________________________
References:
1 Qur'an, 59:7.
2 Qur'an, 53:3-4.
3 Qur'an, 22:78.
4 Qur'an, 5:6.
5 Qur'an, 2:185.
6 Qur'an, 80:19-20.
7 Qur'an, 2:286.
8 Qur'an, 6:152.
9 Qur'an, 7:42.
10 Qur'an, 32:62.
11 Monasticism comes true in two ways; A, a serious monasticism which runs away by itself in order not to he touched by any harm and be saved by itself. (Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, the Historic-al Traditions in the Holy Qur'an, p. 103.) And this is from the view that "Stopping on the hill is more safe", and consequently, the way is cleared before different claims and excuses that a ruler gives or fabricated traditions that assist his creed and rule.
B, false monasticism where one pretends he is from the ulama to warn people against the injustice of a tyrant. And soon the falseness of these untrue claims and pretenses is uncovered; like the justification of "it is not permissible to disobey the ruler or turn away from congregation", as they did to Imam Husayn (a.s.) when he offered himself and family to save the true religion, and on the same way the Alawid and Talibid revolutions followed him.

Similar to that in our present time is the falseness of the monks of churches who serve the rulers and noblemen, and they become a cause for ordinary people to disbelieve and turn away from religion where it is tried hardly to separate it from politics. And we still see many rulers and their mercenary (clergymen) preachers encourage the state of ignorance and underdevelopment among Muslims by their fatwas that keep Muslims away from modernity and make them nor meet and unite with other Muslims.
12 Qur'an, 57:27.
13 Qur'an, 7:157.
14 Qur'an, 4:28.
15 Qur'an, 2:178.
16 through the published content within this website. 

Sensing the Authority of the Qur'an* 

Excerpts from "Daughters of Another Path: Experiences of American Women Choosing Islam" by Anway Carol L.:


Many of the women have expressed their growing respect and love for the Qur'an, which is considered the final and literal word of God. For some women the Qur'an was an important part of their conversion experience.

-My conversion began as the result of a challenge by a Muslim to read the Qur'an in order for us to have a debate on the position of women in Islam. I held the stereotypical view of Muslim women as being oppressed and in a bad position relative to their Christian counterparts. I was nominally Christian, raised in a Catholic environment, but was not practicing the religion and really only bothered to label myself a Christian in order not to appear too rebellious in front of my extended family (my family was also really only Christian in name, not "reality").


The reading of the Qur'an and of hadith of the Prophet is what captured me. I went through a very odd experience whereby for the whole week it took me to read the Qur'an I couldn't sleep and seemed to toss and turn all night in a feverish sweat. I had strange and vivid dreams about religious topics, and when I would get up all I wanted to do was continue reading the Qur'an. I didn't even study for my final exams which were happening at the same time!


I began a course in Middle Eastern History, which immersed me further into the study of Islam. When the professor read passages from the Qur'an to illustrate how powerful a "tool" it was in spreading Islam throughout the world, my heart sang. I knew I had found the TRUTH! I had been searching for God since the early '80s. At this point I knew I would someday be a Muslim. After the class was over I continued my investigation into Islam. I bought an English translation of the Qur'an and read it daily. I was living at home at the time so hid most of this from my family. I got together often with my new friends and my total lifestyle began to change.


-My conversion was a long process. I left Christianity while in junior high school. I was raised Methodist. My father had been a minister one time and was rather strict when I was a child. My parents left the church-mother went the American Indian Lakota way and father just left. I looked into a number of faiths but nothing attracted me. I was raised to look at other cultures from a point of understanding to try to step out of my own culture to view others. The Iranian revolution sparked many questions for me. I decided to learn more about the people and culture and began reading the history of Iran which led to history of Islam-an area not even touched in school. This led to reading Qur'an. I hit an emotional crisis when a relationship (with an Arab) fell apart, and I found myself turning to the Qur'an. I realized a need to rely on something other than people. My mother was dead, my family far away. I didn't know who I could turn to or trust. The Qur'an touched a chord. I got in touch with a [Muslim] women's study group and they were very supportive and informative. I especially liked Islam's base of logic. It took me a year to finally take shahada.


This holy book, the Qur'an, so revered by Muslims as the final word of God and the direction for humankind, touched these women as if it were a call to the faithfu1 to come and submit themselves to that which is holy and divine. They responded with zeal and passion to Islamic scripture.


*Source:  Anway Carol L. Daughters of Another Path: Experiences of American Women Choosing Islam. Yawna Pub. 1995. 215p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-9647169-0-9. 

Understand Islam

This page contains the following articles about Islam in general:  


  • Sensing the Authority of the Qur'an*
  • Is Islam Difficult that People cannot Comply with it?*
  • Finding Answers in Islam*


Related Article (Another Page):