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08 October 2006 @ 11:11 pm
 
I haven't actually officially converted yet. I came across Islam doing a google search of "Muslims", sadly my story has to include the fact that I prior to learning about Islam I thought Islam was a country where the Muslims originated, so I spent the first half hour or so being irritated because I was trying to find out about muslims not islam.

I was born into a mormon family, when I was 8 or 9 I decided I didn't believe it at all, at the same time I officially became atheist and stayed fiercely (but nicely) atheist until 3 months ago.
It's initially was very overwhelming and I was very angry about why I would believe it at all. It's difficult to go from saying and believing that there is no god one morning and by evening second guessing yourself.

I'm over being angry at myself. I fully believe Islam to be the absolute truth and I have no doubts. I'm just shy. I hate the idea of speaking in front of people so the very thought of saying shahada even in front of only two people makes me want to choke.
Other than that I'm golden and I'm sure someday I'll get over my shyness long enough. =)

My family has been surprisingly cool about it. My older brother is the reason why I kept looking at it seriously. He was the first person that I told when I started reading about islam. He told me that anything that brings you closer to god is a good thing, and that he'd read about islam a bit and thought it was a very good belief, he just isn't fond of patriarchial religions which makes him avoid just about every religion.

Anyhow. I was so happy to find this community and have loved reading the stories.
 
 
 
♥Autumn♥: iswak; watery first dateautumn_yaar on October 9th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC)
Aha, you are just like me! I'm crazy shy. I almost cried thinking of saying my shahadah in the masgid in front of all those people. But thankfully, I didn't have to do that. I said my shahada in front of my best friend and her Dad and my mother, who I all knew well so it wasn't a big deal.

Maybe you can find something like that if you are really wanting to say your shahada.
coeur_leger on October 9th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
I had planned to talk with one of the sisters about it but when right after I asked her if I could talk to her for a moment I started doing the hard swallowing thing and then ended up finishing with the fake smile and, "Nevermind, it's nothing." Yeah maybe I'll talk to someone about making it as un-dramatic as possible. =P
The only one I have ever been around for was someone who said it into a microphone with lots of people around and at that very moment I thought, "there is no way in hell..."
♥Autumn♥: goong; lowe picsautumn_yaar on October 9th, 2006 07:29 am (UTC)
rofl, i feel your pain. even NOW i don't like to speak in public. like, when muslims ask me about how i converted and stuff, sometimes they tend to flock and i am just not a good public speaker. queue the panicing!

do you have a close muslim friend? if so you could do it in front of her/his family.
inshaallah on October 9th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
Salaam!

My best friend did this, so it might help you:

She said it to herself first -- in the kitchen of all places :)! She repeated La Illaha Il Allah, wa Ash hadu anna Muhammad-ar Rasoolullah, three times in Arabic, then three times in English. She felt it was necessary to do it by herself as she felt this was a moment only between her and Allah.

Once she felt ready, which was about 2 or 3 weeks later, she went to the masjid to say her shahadah publicly at the masjid.

It is important to become muslim right away, as soon as you believe in Allah and his religion, as we all have a day that is written to be put in the grave, and ours could be today. We want to die as a muslim, so we should not delay.

MashAllah, I wish you all the best in your life as a muslimah, and I will pray for you dear sister!!

Salaamu alaykum!!!!!!!!!
coeur_leger on October 10th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
Last week I told Cathy that I wasn't going to say it until I knew how everything was pronounced. I can't stand the idea of stumbling through it, I think it would make the whole situation that much more intimidating.
inshaallah on October 10th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
True. I'll try to find an online sound clip of it for you. The Imam, when I did it and every other one I have seen, goes sound my sound, sylable by sylable. he goes very slow and allows you to take your time. :)
antieuclidantieuclid on October 9th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you're going through. I grew up agnostic and had always considered myself pretty firmly in the "spiritual but atheist" category. Then last year I was taking a class on Jews in the Islamic World (I'm a religious studies major) and decided that I really didn't know enough about Islam, I should read the Qur'an and learn more about it. So I found a free recitation with English translation online, put it on my iPod, and I was listening to it more or less as homework, when I started catching myself absentmindedly shopping for hijabs online, or looking for instructions on how to pray. I thought to myself "what the heck am I doing? I don't believe in God." But it kept happening. I found myself waking up in time for Fajr prayers, and even actually buying an athan clock. Finally one evening I just got so frustrated that I went downstairs and started making myself some bacon to "snap myself out of it." But when it was done cooking and I took a bite, suddenly it was the most disgusting thing I'd ever tasted in my life. And right at that moment, my iPod reached one of the ayas about how there will be some people who hear the message in their hearts but they reject it, and they will be among the losers. It just struck me that that verse was talking about me. That I had heard the message in my heart, and now I had the choice of whether I was going to be a muslim or whether I was going to be one of the people who rejected it. I went upstairs, printed out a "how to pray" instruction sheet, wrapped myself in one of the sheets from my bed, and prayed as best I could. And when I got to the part of the prayer where you say the shahada, I said it fervently with the intention of saying it as my shahada.

It took me three weeks to find any other muslims, and I never did say shahada in a masjid. But I know in my heart that my shahada is valid. I had God as my witness, and he seems like a pretty reliable one to me ^_^
Booger for cake on table: wingsbigeyedphish on October 9th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
That's exactly how it's happening to me right now. I was a religious studies major as well and spent last year taking a couple classes about Islam and Islam in the Modern World and fell in love with the religion. I did a lot of research for papers and all summer I've been finding myself typing things like how to pray, saying the shahada, how to wear hijabm, etc into google more and more often, basically just like you mention.
coeur_leger on October 10th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
since you mentioned wearing hijab.. The first time I wore it one of my favorite ladies, Cathy (who leads the haliqa here and the first muslim I ever spoke to) helped me put it on. The next day I tried and it took me almost 2 hours to get it to stay on my head.. Even then it kept sliding forward as the night went on. That was also the first time I prayed and I had big issues at one point it fell off, then I found out my hair is too long even in a high ponytail for it when a lady standing behind me tucked my ponytail into the back of my abaya. There were many more awkward moments but those were the two that most people noticed. ;P
♥Autumn♥: goong; just stay here for a little whileautumn_yaar on October 10th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
i have that problem with my hair too! in the beginning i had serious slippage problems and my hair was wayyy to long for ponytails.. but in the end I just bunched it into a low bun with about 20 hair ties lol and it was all good. haven't quite figured out the slippage, i just obsessively readjust it over and over. underscarves do wonders as well. :p
coeur_leger on October 10th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
I've made it work with the looped ponytail and one side of the hijab pulled around the back of my head, tucked into the other side and pinned in place. I just got an underscarf and hopefully that will take a few steps out of my pre-masjid prep time!
♥Autumn♥: iswak; wedding cuddlingsautumn_yaar on October 10th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
Ah, you are using the tuck method! I loathe that method, I could never get it to work for me. :( I used to be crazy about square higabs, but now I love the rectangle ones more. They end up being super long in the back, and flow prettily to the side. :p

Ah, it really does get better. I had such a hard time in the beginning.. and now is a piece of cake.
coeur_leger on October 10th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
I like the rectangle ones too. I don't have any, but I am fond of the way they look.
♥Autumn♥: iswak; cutenessautumn_yaar on October 10th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
They are pretty nifty. I stocked up when I visited Egypt this past summer. :p You should try them out. They have considerable less slippage, too.
coeur_leger on October 10th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
That's neat that you're into religious studies. I love religion, even as an atheist I was facinated by it.
I did the same thing as you, even while my brain was telling my heart this was silly I would still find myself browsing islamic clothing sites for hijabs or while walking through a store notice a scarf and wondering if it would look good.

I'm really impressed that you were able to pray with the "how to pray" instruction sheet. I'm slightly anal retentive about doing things perfectly and got so obsessed with trying to figure out the timing for each bit that I ended up sticking it in a drawer and being totally irritated with it. People like me are why they make videos on how to pray. lol.
Booger for cake on table: wingsbigeyedphish on October 9th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing your story. I too have not officially converted yet and it is wonderful to hear other people's stories.