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Call to Prayer

Personal Experiences

Before shahadah…

It is difficult to be to prescriptive as everyone’s life experiences are different and we will have all traveled different paths to reach this stage.  Certainly meeting with Muslims will probably play a sizable part but underpinning that should be references from legitimate sources.  I contacted a good source for information (through an internet search) that sent me 'authentic literature' and give me a local contact.  I think this is even more crucial at this present moment in time so that you get the balanced view of the faith….   Dave

Once I expressed an interest in Islam reading material of all sorts were hurled at me from every direction. While this was appreciated much of it was unsuitable, badly written and not the sort of comfortable reading I felt I required. Discussing things with others who choose Islam for themselves was always preferable to me and I learned a lot about the variety of choices available to me in terms of expression and practice. This made my path easier and I felt more in control of how I wished to proceed....   Kevin

I found it hard to differentiate between what was Islam and what was cultural practice since I was introduced to and assisted in my path to Islam by friends from a particular cultural background. It was only when I had been a Muslim for a few years that I came to realize that I did not necessarily have to eat a particular food or wear a very specific or culturally oriented dress to be a Muslim. However they were very kind and hospitable at a time when I really needed support and assistance but I feel this important distinction should be made at the very early stages of enquiry…   Linda

I found that I could easily identify wrong or bad information even though I had not read all that much literature about Islam. What I had seen and understood from the little I had already absorbed was enough to assure me that Islam was based on logic and rational, truth and justice. What was imparted to me and did not sit comfortably with that understanding and what I had naturally concluded as a thinking and aware human being I simply dismissed or sought clarification…   Moire

A personal point but I think that perhaps there may be some benefit in talking your interest over with close family.  This is always going to be a judgment call and may be difficult as there will be quite a few who may have a negative reaction and could try to dissuade but there will also be whole family's or at least some family members who will be very supportive, God Willing. Although I had talked my interest over with my wife for some time I did not tell her the day I was going to the Mosque to make Shahadah and only did so on my return.  In hindsight I think that was wrong, as occasionally when we have had disagreements about religious views that has been brought up in a negative sense…   David

I would advise anyone interested in or considering accepting Islam to be brave and courageous and visit some of the Mosques in their area. Go on a personal investigative mission whereby you meet, discuss and explore all you possibly can before making a commitment. This is your life - your journey, and the more you put into it the more positive and confident you will be that what you are doing is right for you. Depending on where you live there will be lots of events, presentations, exhibitions, debates and social occasions which provide opportunities to meet with people and listen to a variety of opinions which can often help towards clarifying some of your own….   Michael

Declaring one’s commitment – making ‘shahadah’….

When I made my Shahdah, my declaration of Faith, there were only men in the little Mosque office. It was not the most pleasant of places and if I could do it again, I would have gotten to know some Muslim women first, studied more, etc, but it wasn’t really all that big of a deal.  What was funny though was that you could tell that everyone was so happy we all wanted to hug, but of course we didn’t!  I try to suggest to people who come to me and they want to take their Shahdah to try and live their lives as much like a Muslim beforehand to know what they are getting into and also so there isn’t so much adjustment afterwards…   Adrienne

I had been attending the Mosque for some time before I eventually declared my Faith – in fact most of the ladies thought I’d already done so and were a bit surprised when I announced I hadn’t. They all immediately took over and organised the evening, brought food along and little presents as a way of making it a very memorable occasion for me. I thought my heart was going to burst with excitement on making my Shahadah and wanted to shout it from the rooftops! I still recall the moment with great warmth and in times of reassessment revisit it so that, even after twenty five years now, I may continue to draw spiritual strength from the occasion…   Moire

I think it is important to think about this occasion and, considering your natural inclination towards quieter occasions or more social ones, plan accordingly. Though I have since witnessed people coming to the Mosque and declaring their faith in front of the whole congregation I preferred something quiet with just the few good friends I had been very fortunate to meet on my spiritual journey and  who continued to support and advise me in the immediate aftermath and remained close ever since. It all took place quietly in one of their homes followed by a very special meal and discussion. I enjoyed it and found it very spiritually fulfilling…   David

Perhaps planning such a momentous occasion is not such a bad idea and certainly beats stumbling into and emerging somewhat mesmerised from, what became for me, a bit of an ordeal! Having read widely I decided to go to the Mosque one Friday to familiarise myself with the proceedings of Jumah. More nervous than I had anticipated, I entered and was spotted almost immediately but regarded more of an intruder than an interested party. As I explained my interest a small group began to gather around and I could feel the excitement being whipped up as I stood nervously waiting for an invite to observe the Prayer. Totally unaware I was escorted right to the front of the congregation and found myself being led through my Shahadah at breakneck speed so that the Khutba, the Friday sermon delivered before the Prayer, could proceed. I was then hugged, cuddled and hand shaken to distraction and emerged from the Mosque dizzy but strangely, yet awkwardly, relieved. I had at last, after what I now realise was a rather prolonged prologue to the event, made my commitment. Allah knows best how one eventually enters the fold and I have since realised on so many occasions that He is indeed the best of planners…   Paul

Making your Shahadah is a really special time and I felt very fortunate that those around me and particularly the lady who conducted it had prepared properly in advance. She established the fact that I had read sufficiently and was sure that his was what I wanted to do and completely of my own free will and choice. She then took me through the beliefs I was taking on board and my responsibilities as a human being to the whole of God’s creation. We had covered just about everything and I felt quite secure in my commitment. I also got a certificate recording the event which I shall treasure always. Prayers were recited for the continued strengthening of my faith followed by a lovely party – what more could I have asked for. It was wonderful…   Michelle

I went to my local mosque and made my Shahada in front of the Imam and two others.  I think it is an individual thing when the time is right for the person.  From a personal point of view I would prefer it at a Mosque and involve the Imam or some other knowledgeable person to assist in the process.  If the witnesses are Muslim and knowledgeable then the benefit is that they can often help you in the early stages of the journey, which is essential.  I am still in contact with the Imam and one of my witnesses who I regard as close friends. There was no ceremony as such which was correct for me.  I also received a certificate of Shahadah which again I think was useful…   David

I was a little shocked by the response from my Mosque in so far as it appeared that no one knew what to do with me when I arrived expressing my wish to become Muslim. There was a flurry of disorganization with each person suggested to lead the great occasion passing the buck to the next and with an air of uncertainty as to how to proceed with the whole un/happy situation. I really wanted to walk away from it all while they were in mid argument but decided to stand my ground and hope for some positive response which eventually came in the form of another convert to Islam who happened to come to the Mosque for Prayer at that moment. Having been through the experience personally he took charge of the whole thing and brought it to a very memorable conclusion. I often worry about what might have happened had James not appeared however and Thank God that I didn’t, in the heat of the moment, walk away on that fateful day….   Mark

After shahadah….

It is sometimes a little difficult to know just what to do following conversion. I was very fortunate that those who I met on my journey continued to walk with me and support me through that difficult transitional stage. In spite of the confusion present in some books pertaining to ‘assist’ people towards establishing Prayer these friends made me feel at ease with the whole procedure. What appeared to be an awesome challenge then now seems so trivial really and I learned the Prayer in a very short period of time…   Siobhan

After the initial euphoria of having made my Shahadah some of the wind left my sails and I felt in a bit of a limbo. I knew I should learn my prayers but felt shy to ask for help. It was only after a few months when I was sitting with some ladies in the Mosque who enquired about my accepting Islam that I felt brave enough to admit my shortcomings and immediately they set about helping me. I should have known better and made people aware that I needed help as most people are only too willing to assist. I now keep a look out for people in my predicament so that I can pass on my assistance to them – it is such an important time and so many blessings for the time and patience given…   Nadia

Being a male convert to Islam I realize how fortunate I was to have had access to the Mosque. I realized to my horror later that the women do not always have the same freedom of access which is such a boost to ones early development. Every time I went to pray I would make it my business to meet and greet others and after some introductory greetings they would ask about my acceptance of Islam and in no time I would find myself immersed in discussion or learning about some aspect of the faith. It was a really special time and one which I reflect on very often now since I have had to move due to work and family commitments. Take full advantage of such opportunities if you can – they are invaluable.   Donald

As a married man with grown up children I converted to Islam in my later years but was none the less completely bowled over by the experience. My initial fervor totally enveloped me with the result that I spent more and more time in the Mosque and less time at home with my family which impacted on them quite badly. Luckily, due to our strong relationship and the good channels of communication we were able to address the situation before it got out of hand and I was able to bring myself back to terra firma with little difficulty. I do know however of people who convert and are swept along by the Mosque environment, spending hours after the prayer supposedly solving the problems of the Muslim world at the expense of family and home. One has to have a balanced attitude to things which, in the euphoria of the experience, we may well take for granted….   Brian

I converted to Islam at the beginning of Ramadan and found myself faced with having to learn to pray as well as attempting my first fast. I wondered if I might survive the month but thankfully those who were guiding me were full of compassion and patience for my situation. They advised that I should concentrate on the Prayer and not worry too much if my fasts were a bit erratic since this was my first attempt. Others I met made it very clear however that I was obliged to fast the entire month without exception and I soon realized how important it was to choose carefully when discussing my personal situation and not to expect the same level of sensitivity and understanding from everyone. It was not the greatest Ramadam I must admit but looking back it paved the way to a future that is full of the God’s blessings on a daily basis…   Michael

There are many reasons why people accept Islam as their new found faith. I have found that due to methods used to report on the current situation of Muslims around the world one should fully understand both intellectually and spiritually why they have made such a choice. I recommend lots of reading and study and to take advantage of any personal development through Islamic study courses, Arabic language and traveling opportunities in Muslim countries that may arise. It helps to expand ones knowledge and appreciation of the diversity and many expressions of Islam and avoids that narrow and blinkered view I hear so often expressed which is certainly not the dynamic and vibrant Islam I have come to know and love…   Tim

A conscious, discerning approach is most important so that you are able to read from the vast array of literature, attend the plethora of events, lectures and presentations and still be in a position to come away and find a quiet place to reflect and, in your own time and according to your own understanding, take from it all that you feel is important to preserve and infuse your spiritual energies. It is about finding your niche, your comfort zones, your relationship with God based on your personal reflections, insight and enquiry and not those who set out to inflict their brand or label of Islam upon you….   Jenny

After conversion you may feel pressurised to do certain things some of which are Islamic but you are unable to accommodate at this time and others which are clearly not. In my experience women, and indeed men, are often railroaded into wearing certain types of clothing wrongly considered to be the only attire acceptable to being a Muslim. Women are pressurised into wearing the scarf without fully comprehending the concept of Hijab and later experience some crises which, should they respond by removing it, tends to unfairly make them the topic of unpleasant conversation in the community. They are also often misled regarding the important issue of family relations, attending family weddings, funerals etc which can result in denting relations or severing them completely. My advice is to treat your family with love and care and do not allow your relationship with them to be dictated by others who know little and at times care even less about how you maintain that important link.   Maryam