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K.H Abdullattif

At the age of 23 years old I was a divorced mother of two and a college student. Because I had my children at a rather young age, I was just then beginning to enjoy a social life (so to speak). Then, and for several years prior to that I would spend my weekends  "partying" in New York City at what I can only describe now as nightclubs in which all kinds of negative behavior was apparent. Attending this nightclub was considered the highlight of my week and I went there every Saturday night without fail. 

One night I met these brothers who claimed that they were Hebrews. We got into a discussion about religion because I challenged them about why they would choose to come to a club of that type if they held sincere religious beliefs. They claimed that they were part of a group of Black Hebrews, and went about outlining some of the beliefs embodied in their faith. I was 
annoyed by them because they were smoking and under the influence of drugs while claiming to have this conviction in their beliefs. I perceived that to be a contradiction. 

At some point they began to talk about Abraham (Prophet Ibrahim, as) and how he had sacrificed his son Isaac... and that the Black Hebrews, not the Jews that we know are the true inheritors, chosen by Yahweh (God), and that it was the true religion. I continued to scrutinize them but listened attentively. I always had an interest in religion even as a child, however I had never been able to read the Bible because I was always confused by the stories in Genesis (the first chapter of the Bible... I couldn't understand why religious people were lying, sleeping with their daughters, drunk, etc...) My mother observes a religion that is called "Jehovah's Witnesses" and I had also been exposed to that as a child (I rejected it when I became a teenager). 

As I listened to them I knew that there was something out of place in their  story, but I could not identify what it was exactly. I told them that they  had mistated something in their presentation and that their rationalization was inaccurate (I liked to debate with people then too). I suggested (in a defiant manner) that if they came back the next week that I would know more to support my position and asserted, in general, that they "did not know what they were talking about." Neither did I really at that time...  

One thing that had really disturbed me was that they had this insistence about their being chosen and that their being "black" was a significant factor in that special distinction. I have argued with many people about the ridiculous position of ascribing God's preferences, dislikes, or love for any people because of the color of their skin, and beliefs that state that the "white man" is the devil, and was created by man; that man is God;God is Jealous, etc... How would they know (?), I supposed. They made God seem so petty and discriminating. I also thought that this kind of talk about God diminished His greatness. 

As a college student I had access to many libraries, so during the next week in between classes I went to several campus libraries looking first for the Torah, and then I thought I would look at other books if necessary. 

I didn't know what I was looking for but I believed that if I couldn't 
refute them with words from the Torah (the books of the Jews, to my knowledge), I would find what I was looking for in that mixed up chapter in the Bible called Genesis, the only scripture I had the slightest familiarity with. 

I couldn't find a Torah in the library! I found other books though, many others that I scanned through and could not find the answer. I scanned through the Apocolypse, the Bhagava Gita, and other books by authors of religious topics that I just fingered through. I didn't know what I was looking for! I thought I would look in the Koran (as I knew nothing of it), but I couldn't find a Qur'an at the library either.  The week was growing short and I was running out of time. Then I remembered that my sister had a friend who was a Muslim. He would have a Koran, I thought, and maybe he would loan it to me. He did. 

Between that day and that Saturday night, I read as much of the Qur'an as I could. I was immersed in it. As I read the verses in English, I repeated to myself over and over again, this is what I have always thought and believed. What kind of book was this? Before long I was reading the book and crying, and reading and crying... it was as if something had overtaken me... I forgot what I was looking for in particular, however when I came upon the verses in Surah Baqarah 122-141 regarding Prophet Ibrahim (as) I had found my answer.

I had been searching for Isma'il (as), son of Prophet Ibrahim and his wife Hajarah, who had been missing from the Hebrew brothers story. In those verses I found the truth of religion...  "They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation)." Say thou: Nay! (I would rather) the religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah." "Say ye: We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) the Prophets from their Lord; We make no difference between one another of them: and we submit to Allah." (2:135-136) As I continued to read and cry, I became intent upon finding someone who could connect me with others who believed in this book!

That Saturday night, I returned to that nightclub, but not to stay. I found those brothers and told them about Isma'il (as) who had been missing in their story, and of course they argued that it was Isaac and not Isma'il who had been the object of Prophet Ibrahim's sacrifice to Allah (swt)... needless to say, I didn't have enough to argue with them to convince them, nor did I want to... I just wanted to get out of there. They could believe whatever they wanted to believe, I had found my belief in Allah (swt) and I 
was anxious to find someone who could connect me with other muslims... I elt repulsed by the environment and stated to myself while leaving that I would never go there again (al-hamdu-li-llah, my feet have never guided me here again). 

There were a couple of brothers who "might be Muslims", I thought, who were familiar to me because they sold pies, cakes, a newspaper door-to-door that was about Islam. I had always associated them with the Nation of Islam, an organization of people that claims to practice Islam, however they do not make salat, they believe the "white man is the devil," and there is more about them I will not state for Allah (swt) is the Sole Judge, I do not want to misjudge them... they say they are Muslims . Nonetheless, I wanted nothing to do with them, but it had been many years since I had last argued with some of the followers of those beliefs and maybe these brothers were different. I was determined to ask them some specific questions when I next saw them.  

Before the week's end, one of them (would you believe his name was Brother Isma'il) knocked on my door to ask if I wanted to buy some cakes they were selling. I got very excited when I saw him, and I asked him to wait at my door for a minute. I ran to get the Holy Qur'an, carried it to my front door and asked him if "do you follow the religion that is described in this book?" He was startled by my question but did not hesitate to say "yes". I also asked him if he belonged to that group the Nation of Islam, and he told me that he used to but that he didn't anymore because they had disbanded and were practicing the "real" religion of Islam. I then asked him if he could take me to wherever they meet, because I had (by then) read most of the book and I wanted to become a Muslim. He was very happy to say yes. That Sunday, in July, 1979, I declared my shahadah after a Taleem program at a masjid in New York City... Striving in the cause of Al-Islam and developing a sincere knowledge and practice of the deen has been my commitment ever since. I still have that same Qur'an with several others I still enjoy reading regularly. I also particularly enjoy giving them as gifts to anyone who expresses any interest in Al-Islam. It is my prayer 
that Allah (swt) continues to guide those in search of the truth to His religion, perfected for mankind. 

I apologize for being so long. This is the first time I have ever written the story of my conversion, and so I had to get it all out (smile) 

"K.H. Abdullateef"

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