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Zahra Cox

Asalamu alaikum.

I think that it all started as a child , that is were personality begins to form and strengths and weaknesses are fostered. Also thought patterns are beginning to lay down their tracks in us when we are still children. Since I was 13 I did not eat pork, of course it was at the request of my husband, but I did it willingly not feeling I was missing anything. It was shortly after that I began to enquire at church as to why if we were followers of Jesus (as) and he didn't eat pork him self , why did we do it . I was never given a satisfying answer. Although my husband was a Muslim, he at that time was not practicing,(i.e. praying , fasting.) and he did allow me to go to church as I had all my life. He didn't tell me at that time that my father had told him that was a condition to marry me, that he keep his religion to him self. I would always asked questions about what it was that he believed in, and to tell you the truth I never knew that he wasn't a Christian. It was on a night when I was pregnant with our second child, I was 17, that I asked him what it was that he believed. I was in shock at his answer. He said that we believe in God and that He is one, and that He did not have a son. I couldn't believe it. Although I did not believe that God was the "father" of Jesus, I did know that you must say it to go to heaven. So that was what I said. I was afraid at that time that I must try to convince my husband that he was so very wrong, but he never would answer anything , keeping to the promise that he had made my father. It was quite strange how I thought that I must continue to go to church. I must some how convince him that he was wrong. All of this while I was at odds with my preacher over the pork issue for some years by then. I thought that I would convince the whole church to stop eating it after I did. I never did that though and shortly thereafter I stopped going to church , although I continued to send the kids to another church. They were a bit different too, having never ate pork , it must have been difficult for them to hear us say that we do not eat it because we believe in God, and the people at church saying that it was ok to eat it .I was from the age of 17 to 21 studying religion informally. I didn't study Islam because I never really had access to any books on the subject. I studied Judaism and was almost to the point of conversion when I found that they do not believe in Jesus at all. In any case I had learnt a lot of their ceremonial laws and traditions, along with expiation for certain sins that were committed. I did all of this with the intention of emulating Jesus in my life, it was my deep desire to know him and what he believed and practice to the extent that I could what he practiced. I never held Jesus in a divine position during this time and I was in a constant inner struggle to come at a peaceful station with what I believed. I never thought that it be Islam. My father works for an oil well and pump provider and was at that time spreading to the middle east with their pump technology. In 1989, three brothers from Egypt came to tour the plant and learn about new developments in that field. My father knew that they spoke arabic and since my husband hadn't seen or spoke to an arab in almost 10 years , my father thought that it may be a nice way to give him a feeling of belonging to meet them. So my father introduced them. That was a major changing point in my life and belief. I seen how Muslims practiced and asked them what they believed, they assured me that all was in the Bible and that they followed pure religion from God. I was at peace for a while they were here because I was getting answers that I really needed. They left after 2 months and again I was stuck in a religious limbo. In late 1989 another group came in and I was extremely happy to again be around them , enjoying meaningful conversations in all aspects of religion. In the early part of 1990 I became pregnant with my 4th child. The pregnancy was a rough one and I lost ten pounds during the whole time not gaining any weight. I was often laying down and reading and I began to feel as if I were a Muslim, but I also felt that it must be a secret from everyone. In mid September we had a baby girl. She had trouble breathing and had to be placed on a sleep apnea monitor that often went off due to her heart beat being too low. It was awful trying to sleep thinking that your baby may stop breathing and that the alarms might not wake you up. I spent most nights up with her down stairs so that my husband could rest while I sat with her. One night she was sick when she was 3 weeks old. I was praying to God to please releive her discomfort and help me to know what she needed for rest. I stared at the plaque of the Lords prayer that I had for years on my mantle piece. I began to recite it. It was then that I saw for the first time with open eyes that I was Muslim now. I seen that this was the prayer that Jesus taught his followers and that he didn't add his name at the end to be an acceptable prayer. I just sat down and cried with my baby. I had walked past and dusted off that plaque for years not knowing how it would change my life. The next day my husband called home while on his lunch break and I gave him the wonderful news that I believe in Islam. He was numb. He said , "well this is an important thing that you just do not jump into, we will talk about it when I come home". I didnt understand his hesitancy to accept what I had chosen. He later told me that he had cryed at work and thanked Allah , and that later that night he had whispered the call to prayer into our baby's right ear and the call for readiness in her left , something he had never done with any of the other kids. So, alhamdulilah I am now at peace and satisfied with what Allah has given me in religion. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have been guided to what i was seeking for so very long. Although I never thought it would be Islam that would give me that peace, I always say in du'ah , Ya Allah guide me to what you want of me , even if I may not want it, or realize its value. I have used the analogy of a circle before to other people. That as a 5 year old child I would move over at night in my bed and make room for the angels in my bed, and now as a grown woman I say Salam to them on each shoulder after each prayer. And the circle is this : that some where in our life we all come to the point where we started, meaning intentions of where we want to be in life. Alhamdulilah , I was born pure and Muslim, and after many years of searching I am now a Muslim again.

Email: ZAHRA COX@aol.com

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