-Why I became Muslim?
Lance Wood, Chicago, USA:
I belong to the African American community and I was living in the Northern Chicago. It was in year 1981 and I and some of my friend had become members of a Black Group named “Black Zone”.
This organization was not a Muslim group but somewhat half way between Islam and Christianity. They used to meet of Fridays and face East during congregation.
Black people from different backgrounds were members of this group. There was not a fixed ideology. The only criterion was they should be blacks.
There were some Muslim brothers in our group, some belonging to “Nation of Islam” and others of different groups.
In our gathering I met a Muslim brother and while talking with him I showed some interest in teachings of Islam and he invited me to come and visit Muslim Mosque in North Chicago
My First encounter with Muslims:
When I entered the mosque for the first time, I felt that I have come into another world. There was a small group and the teacher was showing them how to recite Quran properly. He would recite a word and all would repeat after him.
This was an entirely new experience to me and I felt that I have come to home. There was no singing, no shouting and no mixed gathering.
I liked it and then joined in the prayers without knowing what I was doing. I also participated in Friday prayers and heard sermons.
I got some books on islam and then asked my Muslim friends about any doubts that I would get. The answers were simple and logic and without any strange logic.
Practice before take plunge:
My studies of Islam told me that Islam is more doing than saying. There are teachings for every part of our lives and one must follow the basic guidelines.
I wanted to get some practice so that I should not face problems when I became Muslim, so I started by practicing some of that.
I gave up Alcohol and smoking and dance parties etc. I tried offering regular prayers. And it was in 1983 that I decide to test “Muslim Fast”. It was the month of June and at the peak of summer that I did my first fast. No water from dawn to dusk.
When the time of breaking fast came, my father gave me a glass of water and when I drank it, it was the tastiest water that I ever Drank!! It passed from my lips to my inside as if a wave of sea is inside me.
It was in 1984 that I decided to embrace Islam and declared my SHAHADA. After becoming Muslim, I took up serious study of Islam.
Reactions of my parents:
My parents had a soft corner for Islam already and they supported and respected my choice. So I did not had to face much problem from my family.
Many of my friends were already members of Nation of Islam, but I was interested in Orthodox Islam which is free from any racial bias and welcomes Whites as well as Blacks.
My study of Islam showed me how reasonable and logical are teachings of Islam and how it respects all past religions and all past prophets.
Honor and respect given to Jesus and Moses was some thing strange for me, because most Christians and Jews thing that Islam does not give respect to these prophets.
I joined US navy and toured most part of the world during the duty. There were four of five Muslims on our ship and I faced no problem or discrimination during my service.
I visited many countries and met Muslims of many nationalities. I was amazed at the ease by which I could talk to any Muslim as brother and be admitted into Universal Brotherhood of Islam.
When I became a Christian.