A letter from a convert to Orthodox Christianity from Islam sent to our brothers at OCN.
I would like to share with you my story of coming to Christ. My whole family and relatives, including myself, were born and grew up as Muslims—our ideology was fixated on radical Islam. We prayed 5 times a day, never ate pork nor drank alcohol. I, eventually, committed myself into the same path as soon as I reached the age of 15 years old.
Alongside my brothers, I started going to the mosque daily in order to get to know the one God, “Allah”. In fact, I knew about Allah very much, but I wanted to grow in my faith through deep knowledge, understanding, and right practice of Islam. I learned Arabic and read the Koran. I became very religious and loved God with all my heart. My teach taught me that Prophet Muhammad was the last of the prophets. Additionally, the teacher told my brother and me about another prophet called Issa or Christ. I became interested in Christ and asked countless questions about him. Nonetheless, I was disappointed to find out that Christianity lead into “polytheism.”
We were taught that Christians worship three gods (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). As a Muslim thinker, it seemed crazy and not right to worship three Gods at the same time.
Full of sympathy for my Christian fellowmen, I went out of my way to explain to them that they are living wrong, following a deceiving theology that will condemn and lead them to hell. I told them that Christ is not God and not the son of God. Allah has never had a son and never will give birth: for God is one.
I have to admit that even though I loved my God through Islam, I was still lacking the peace of mind I yearned for. My soul was crying out to the creator, any creator who would answer me. I struggled in my thoughts and wanted to learn more about God.
Even though I prayed five times a day, I didn’t feel it touching my soul. By the end of the day, I had no assurance of a place in Heaven for me. I caught myself questioning the validity of a God that cherishes physical and material matters but ignores spiritual growth; a God who loves only those who perform “The Act.”
Unfortunately, the reality was that I was never allowed to think, search, confess, or admit any other facts than what the Koran declared—or even obtain new knowledge of other religions. But I longed to know more about Christianity.
My brother and I studied more and more, and soon completed the courses offered, receiving a diploma in Islamic studies. Two years later I went to college to pursue an education in Linguistics. It was during one particular course that a miracle happened.
I met with many new classmates and I made some good friends, many of whom were strictly observant Muslims. And so, we decided to go to the mosque every Friday. One night we came back home with my family and I saw beautiful temple and said to my mother:
“Wow! It is so beautiful, I want to go to the church!”
But I knew better than to try; it was a sin to enter the church. Even though I feared “God’s punishment,” an elevated urge was growing in me. Finally, I could not resist any more.
I convinced my friend to enter the church with me even though he was scared of doing so. He asked me about the reason behind the visit, and I replied that it was because the church was very beautiful. Once inside the church, I felt strange. I remember looking at the paintings on the walls. There was the picture of Jesus, hanging on the cross. It was then that I felt crucified with his love for me. Yes, I felt his love for me. It was his love that convicted me and brought me to my knees—it sunk deep into my heart. From that day on, every time I passed by that church I felt an outer force invade me and urge me to re-enter. To my own surprise, I felt a desire to be baptized. And so, I began to study the Gospel of Christ.
Learning about Christianity was not an easy task. I wanted to compare “Allah” and Christ. I struggled with the Word of God, as I was surrounded by Muslims. I kept asking them why Christianity was a dangerous matter. I hesitated to mention anything to my parents. I could not imagine what would happen to my mother if she knew I was leaving Islam. My parents suspected that I was into Christianity and threatened to cast me out of the house if I converted. They also reminded me that such an act would bring satan’s curse over our house. My uncle participated by threatening to kill me and reminded me of the punishment in hell.
But I made up my mind and decided to get baptized as soon as I have the opportunity. I faced many serious obstacles and made several unsuccessful attempts to get baptized. But alas! I made it this morning!
Yes, I am a Christian now, and I belong to the Orthodox Church. I am extremely happy. I want to thank my friends who helped me; I am so grateful to them.
May God Bless you all.
Sarah Hodgins says
Glory to God