The Light at the End of the Tunnel (Part 3)
by Tavis Adibudeen
At age 16 I began to feel totally betrayed by everyone, even Jesus
(ahs). Everything, if anything, that
ever appealed to me about Christianity had been yanked out from under
me by the realities of my society. The more I look back and think
about it, the more I understand. I never stopped believing in God, I
just didn't believe in all the extra things others associated with
God. All my life I had just prayed to God. I truthfully rarely thought
or even cared about Jesus. We were supposed to live our lives like
him, but all I ever heard about his life were miracles. How are we to
perform miracles? It seemed contradictory. I then began to look for
something else. Jews had never been on good terms with African
Americans, so I never really looked towards that. There was a group of
Black Jews who believed that the actual children of Israel are African
Americans. We have been here for 400 years, but many of the things
they said seemed distant and unrealistic if not totally unimportant.
The more I thought, the more curiosity that arose in me about Islam.
Many images had been placed before me about Muslims being terrorists
and oppressing women, etc. I, however, had seen and lived real
oppression. I had witnessed
terrorism, and I knew that the things the Muslims I saw were doing
were not bad. If anything, they were better than what I saw Christians
doing. Based on this principle, I began to read about Islam. I'm not
really sure what I read first. I read many articles about Muslim men
and women. The articles touched me. One in particular which I still
have today called, "Converts to the Faith" seemed to fit my situation
exactly. It was then that I decided to buy a Qur'an from the book
store. That summer I read the entire book from front to back. It
shocked me vividly. I had long been taught all of these miracles of
Jesus and mystical things such as Santa Claus, but the Qur'an had a
humanity about it. It seemed like a book that was meant to be read by
human beings, not supernatural beings. It plainly told the rules and
ways of living that all people should uphold. It was common sense. It
was what everybody seemed to know but unconsciously denied it. For
some time it was all I needed. I did nothing more than
read parts over and over again trying to understand every part. It all
made sense. There were no contradictions. God was but one God, Allah.
It stressed showing compassion for the poor and the brotherhood of
Muslims. For a long time, I didn't even let anyone know I had bought
it. The only reason I had waited until when I did was because I had
learned to drive. That way no one would know I was considering this.
For a long time I wondered what my mother would think if I became a
Muslim. So, I did nothing for a little longer. I continued to pray as
I always had: head bowed praying to my One God, only now I called that
God, Allah. I was already a Muslim at heart. I watched a lot of TV
shows and read a lot of books on Islam that year.
Naturally, my mother became aware of the pattern. I don't know how
much she knew about Islam, so it probably scared her. My father, who
had since moved out when my parents got divorced, definitely seem
worried that I might be getting into something bad. This was in part
because my grades had not yet improved, and I was somewhat of a
rebellious teenager. I began to show some of my articles to my mother.
I really didn't show her much, and she really didn't ask much. It was
a time when I was alone by choice. My friends had either moved, died,
or just gone in a different direction than I. I saw no need for them
anyway. It was just me, my Qur'an, and my thoughts. Then, I decided I
wanted more. I wanted to become a Muslim, and I couldn't do it alone.
I wanted to learn a better way to pray and glorify Allah. I wanted to
learn more about Muhammad (sallahu alaiyhi wasalaam), and I wanted to
meet people who believed in the book I had come to cherish.
In the summer of 1995, I started getting into the internet. It had
many helpful things about Islam. The knowledge that I attained just by
reading the things posted on the world wide web finally pushed me over
the edge. I couldn't deny my birth right. My parents, sister, and
friends have always been supportive of me. I could only hope they
would continue to do so, in spite of what I was about to do.