THAT’S RIGHT, you see it correctly: “I hate Islam.” And no, you were not having hallucinations. I meant to type that heading. If I am right, your mind must be racing with thoughts of, “How did this article get into an Islamic magazine?” — or you are thinking maybe, “I need to contact them and tell them about this misprint.” No misprint, just a sad feeling that goes way back.

I expect the title caught your eye and you immediately wanted to know what this narrative is about. I for one do not blame you, because I would have done the same thing seeing such a bold title. Are you thinking to yourself, “How could anyone hate such a beautiful way of life?” Well, if you would have asked me three years ago, the answer would have been easy to conjure up. Every year many people flock to this amazing way of life and one year I became part of that group. I would have certainly put my life on it that I would by no means follow such a hindrance to my mental, emotional and physical well-being. So you may ask, what changed my mind? Actually it is more like who changed my mind, and for that answer you will have to read on.

Living in Baltimore, Maryland I had just finished high school at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High (a trade school). Those who have reverted remember their pre-Islamic college days as a time to explore, date, and learn about yourself. Growing up in my household there was no dating, no boys, no parties, and no going out late.

Turning 18 was my breakaway point. This was the time to get to do all the things that I did not do in high school. Needless to say I waited for this moment. I was a small fish in a big pond at Baltimore City Community College at the time I had enrolled. I basked in the freedom of leaving class when I pleased, staring google-eyed at the male specimens who often skipped class and lounged outside. I started to think, growing up has its advantages! Of course keeping in contact with my good friends of high school we often explored campus life by going to what they call “the game room.” It was a room of people who I deem today “the people who will fail class” — all they did was socialize and play games. To me, the room was my golden ticket to being a big fish.

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In my free time I often checked in and mingled to the best of my ability. There was this one day I didn’t partake in any game room hysteria and my friend had gone out without me. Trying to find her on campus, I searched and searched with my sister. Not soon after a long search I stumbled into the game room. My friend (who shall remain nameless for privacy’s sake) came to me and my twin sister talking about how she met a boy who was reading to himself quietly.

Who would have known this was the day my life would change forever! Allah knew. My twin sister and I were introduced to the young man, named Ayyub. At the time he was 16 and almost turning 17 (yes, in college). My sister and I thought nothing of it until we started to ask him questions about his religion: “You cannot date, then how do you get married?!” — “What do you mean, Jesus did not die for your sins!?” — “Jesus is not the son of God?” –“No trinity?!” We would ask these questions in exclamation.

Could it be possible for someone to actually not believe Jesus died for all our sins? My sister and I judged it impossible and we went on our never-ending quest to convert this young man. In our eyes he was a soul that needed saving; we didn’t know it was the other way around!

My twin sister Angeletta, more so than I, came at him with every “fault” she could find with the Quran. And Ayyub took these alleged faults and never slandered our religion; he just quietly did his own research. Angeletta, frustrated with our ongoing tussle on religion, yelled one day in the hallway of the school, “I hate the Quran!!!” Ayyub’s face that day was a look of anger and disbelief. The disbelief that someone could hold in their heart such hatred about what they knew nothing of — and anger at the rash thinking.

I silently agreed with Angeletta: I hated Islam; she and I continued to “fight the good fight.” We, learning more and more about Christianity, realized that as Ayyub was such a good Muslim, we would like to be better Christians. We read in First Corinthians, chapter 11 in the Bible about covering our heads, and from that day on our heads were covered like nuns. We received a lot of stares but we knew this was right. On the bus to school people would begin to preach about Jesus, thinking we were Muslims. Is this the treatment Muslims tolerate? Then we read in Leviticus: no “swine” (pork), so the next thing you knew, we stopped eating swine and swine byproducts.

Our enthusiasm for converting Ayyub diminished, and we had to accept that he might not change, though we still had hope. Our friends –who were all non-Muslim– noticed a change in us and decided it was time to intervene with some tough Christian love. They took it upon themselves to teach Angeletta and me what their pastor had taught them.

My pastor at the church came to my twin and me after a church service and asked, “Why do you cover your heads?” When we told him about the 1 Corinthians 11 passage, he laughed and told us that this scripture was for their time and not for us now. Then he boldly instructed us to go out and stop studying so much and to even date.

Needless to say, we never came back to that church. My mother had a feeling we were not going down the right path but she kept quiet. Ayyub’s mother came around and had given us khimars for our heads and after seven or so months Ayyub’s mother invited us to Al-Huda School for a banquet. So many Muslims, I thought, “What if they speak to me in Arabic? What would I do?” I was apprehensive and defensive. Angeletta and I accepted the invitation, feeling like it would not hurt to just visit and look at another religion out of respect.

There was a pause in the banquet for Isha Salah, so Angeletta and I went outside. A brother came to me and said, “You have to go inside the school while everyone is making Salah.” I thought to myself, I am pretty hungry and I hope this Salah tastes good. I thought it was a meal they were preparing. Three years later I still have to sit back and laugh at that idea of Salah as a meal.

Later that night –Allah knows if it was at the same time or not– the same thought entered both our minds: “This is the right way for me.” Angeletta and I decided to take our shahada, despite the verbal lashing we received at that idea –from our mother, friends, and family. We thought: Who could be a better choice to give the shahada to us than the young man who had endured months of us beating up on his religion and attempting to change him? Ayyub.

I can now say that during the time I spent in college, I never did date, or run loose like I wanted. Instead I got my soul right and I ended up marrying Ayyub’s older brother Ammar and having a baby girl named Assata delivered by their mother Asma Hanif. Ayyub ended up, now 20 years of age, marrying his wife this past August. Funny how things work out, right?

Today as I type these words on the computer, who would have thought I would be telling the story of my life-altering decision? I often run into sisters who have been Muslim all their lives and they say to me with looks of admiration: “You gave up doing anything you wanted for Islam, that is amazing.” And I tell them with a big smile, “Islam lets you do anything you want that is good, so why do things that could end up hurting you later?”

People are frequently in awe of how anyone could leave a life of temptation to be “oppressed.” I have to say to them that Islam emancipates. I am not bound to the ways of the dunya, conforming to the styles of dress and wild parties.

Someone once said and I agree wholeheartedly: “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.” Islam is still new to me, but with any change you have to grow and adapt. Next time you hear someone say, “I hate Islam!” think of me and remember that any mentality can change, by the will of Allah.

 

Originally posted 2016-06-12 13:17:16.

11 Comments

  • Sadia Tanweer

    June 12, 2016 - 1:31 pm

    Sidrah Tul Muntaha please go through this one :)

  • Abu Ibraheem AbdulKareem

    June 12, 2016 - 1:35 pm

    That was a much needed read,

    “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.” Islam is still new to me, but with any change you have to grow and adapt. Next time you hear someone say, “I hate Islam!” think of me and remember that any mentality can change, by the will of Allah.

  • Shady Rodriguez Hernandez

    June 12, 2016 - 2:15 pm

    People that hate themselves in turn hate good

  • Amani Marie

    June 12, 2016 - 2:30 pm

    BAHAHA that horse is making salat.

  • Hena H. Siddiqui

    June 12, 2016 - 4:08 pm

    SubhanAllah

  • Hena H. Siddiqui

    June 12, 2016 - 4:08 pm

    SubhanAllah

  • Samehir Hammoud

    June 12, 2016 - 4:25 pm

    like this article, found the salat part quite amusing, AlhumdaAllah

  • Samehir Hammoud

    June 12, 2016 - 4:25 pm

    like this article, found the salat part quite amusing, AlhumdaAllah

  • Shamim Suleiman

    June 13, 2016 - 5:34 am

    “There was a pause in the banquet for Isha Salah, so Angeletta and I went outside. A brother came to me and said, “You have to go inside the school while everyone is making Salah.” I thought to myself, I am pretty hungry and I hope this Salah tastes good. I thought it was a meal they were preparing.”

    Hillarious!!!

  • Compassion

    October 16, 2023 - 7:42 pm

    Hi there,
    This is a comment from a Canadian citizen and single mother of three children. I just want to let you know that I found this site after I looked up “Are there other people who feel a growing sense of hatred or frustration with the Quaran and other elements of Islam?”
    It was interesting that the first lines of this post detail it being a shocking surprise that anyone would ever feel hatred towards such a beautiful thing, when that feeling grows in me more and more all the time.

    I thought maybe your writers and reader could help me with what Ii struggle with – I obviously need to understand the Quaran more before I feel such anger about it but I am finding it hard.
    The reason I find it hard is becoming emboldened by the recent terrorist events in Israel and evil attack on innocent human beings in both Israel and Palestine.
    I think it is sad it is RELIGION which is the template- whether all true or misused or misunderstood- for such a degree of hate , terror and evil.
    WHY, this is my question- WHY are people who claim to be so immensely religious also feel such hatred for humans who are different, to the point that they can act with revenge, evil, hatred on their fellow human beings? What in the Quaran excuses this?
    WHAT in the Quaran excuses or can be used DANGEROUSLY to encourage evil terror much of which is motivated and facilitated by the idea of martyrdom, martyrdom even achieved through the making other humans, especially children and the politically innocent?
    How in the world could have Mohommed suggested such behaviour was OK or to be celebrated? How could he have suggested non Muslims were not to be concerned human? Is that really in the Quaran?
    And if the Quaran has within it such dangerous text has been regulrarly used to support causing such suffering to other human beings, WHY IN THE WORLD IS IT NOT EDITED OR THIS MADE MORE CLEAR for people studying it? Isn’t it kind of like a gun in some ways if it excuses and motivates so much evil?
    Even if the genuine ‘good’ Quaran so many people use and refer to for the purpose of GOOD and peace in humanity – is good and sacred and significant— how could any good human being not see that in modern culture the danger far exceeds the good and therefore I would think a true good Muslim would feel a responsibility to DISARM th QUUARAN and their ISLAMIC faith from supporting the terror and evil in the world we have witneesed in this past weeks beyond anything connected to any other religional or cultural difference I can imagine.

    I don’t hate yet but I’m so sad and concerned that an organized religion could be connected to such evil, so often. It’s so hard not to see ‘martyrdom’ as cowardice, when killing and torturing our fellow human being is concerned.
    I understand that sometimes “the greater good for the greater number” pr the bigger picture has to be concerned, but I cannot imagine that the level of evil to another human being occurring “in the name” of Islam, in the past ten, 20, 50, 100 years…..I CANT UNDERSTAND how people could support a text linked to this much evil.
    I know the Bible isn’t the best, but WOW the level of suffering connected to extreme Islam in the Middle East is so horrific, it makes me sick and sad.
    Why don’t more stand up for editing or abridging the text out of compassion for humanity?
    Ii feel like if it were a restaurant where it was overall a very good restaurant with many delicious and healthy options and meals on the menu.
    If several of their popular meals were found to regularly poison and even kill a good number of random patrons, what would the right thing to do be? Should the food inspector say “Oh, just take those two things off the menu but carry on and stay open – you wouldn’t want to ruin it for everyone else, after all”?
    Or would or should they say “Maybe we should close this restaurant, at least for a while, to have a serious assessment of the restaurant as a company and organization….just to be safe and not risk more random suffering”

    I’m not saying any other religious text is better and I understand how vital tradition and culture are – but I’m starting to see, despite my love of literature, how a narrative and a text can be as scary and dangerous as a rifle.

    I don’t want to feel hatred for this religion and I do want to understand how good people could possibly truly believe in it, ALL of it- (because I don’t think you can just pick ‘some’ of it? Or can you?) HOW? Is it fear? It must be fear.

    Help me understand.

  • Nisar Yusuf Nadiadwala

    October 22, 2023 - 1:54 pm

    Let me put a humble reply explaining to you what the Quran says about your fears and thoughts. I prefer to put it point by point each issue raised by you. Before that let me put a brief introduction of mine- I am one of the authors and writers of Al Jumuah with a specialty on – Removing Misconceptions about Muslims, Islam, the Qur’an, Arabs, and also Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him).
    Firstly the general rule is – Is Islam a different religion than the religion of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus? Is it Jesus vs. Muhammed or Moses vs Muhammed? The pleasant news is that- It is not so. If Jesus, Moses and Muhammed were alive today the three would have joined hands and fought against extremism. Here is the proof –
    Blessed are the Peace Makers for they will be called Children of God (Mathew 5:9). The verse does not say only Christians or Jews only.
    The Qur’anic instruction is more clear – Do not commit excess in your Religion (Surah Nisa’: 171)

    Now let me help you understand – Islam is not a religion of hate but peace that is why it offers peace resolutions even in situations when you are in a position to fight and defeat.
    1. “If your enemy inclines toward peace, then you too should seek peace and put your trust in God” (Surah Anfal ch 8:61)
    2. “Had Allah wished, He would have made them dominate you, and so if they leave you alone and do not
    fight you and offer you peace, then Allah allows you no way against them” (Surah Nisa’ ch 4:90)

    Permission of war is to be found in the Bible too and the most severe war that the Bible talks about is – Between Israel and Palestinian. It is ironic that when Joshua attacked Jerusalem, the Bani Israel were followers of the Prophet Moses, a Prophet whom Muslims consider to be Muslim too whereas the Palestinians were Non-Muslims.
    In the Bible, Joshua led the Israelites in an invasion of Canaan. He captured the city of Jericho and other towns in the north and south until most of Palestine was under Israelite control.
    Joshua captured all of these cities. He also killed five Amorite kings: Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon.
    Joshua sent spies into Canaan to report on the enemy’s morale. God assisted Joshua by calling up a powerful storm to bombard the Canaanites with rain and hailstones.
    “And it came to pass when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities. When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.” (Joshua- 10:20-24)
    I suggest you read the entire chapter and note how ruthlessly the Israelites were killing their enemies and note the figure of the number of dead!
    Kindly compare it with the Qur’anic injunctions mentioned above.

    We do understand that there are extremists among the followers of every religion and there are extremists even Atheists though they do not follow any religion.
    Islam has answers to these wars-
    O People of the Book, come to the common terms between us and you, (first and foremost) That we worship none but God Almighty (Allah of Qur’an and similar term Elah of Bible)
    Then what are the reasons for this propaganda that Islam is a ruthless religion and the Arabs are hostile nations not allowing Israel to live in peace? Professor Edward Saeed (Palestinian Christian with American citizenship) explains it -“More than 60,000 books have been written against Islam in a Span of 150 years, from 1800 to 1950 (Time Magazine, 16th April 1979) it means more than 1 book is written every day.” The Westerners are being programmed ( I would not call them brainwashed) to think negatively about Islam. Today the cannons are transferred from print to social media. Prof Edward has written a book ‘Covering Islam’ in1981 in which he discusses how the Western media distorts the image of Islam.

    Finally last but not least- I invite you to read my article on this platform on the same concerns of you and millions of Americans and Canadians.
    https://aljumuah.com/does-islam-teach-hatred-towards-jews-and-christians-discover-the-real-perspective/
    Feel free to write us more and continue with the exchange of dialogues because it extinguishes anger and hatred in people’s heart. Reasoning is the best route to peace.

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