If you have read my testimony you will have seen that before I became a Christian I had an interest in Islam.
Thinking back on my life I can remember being aware of this 'other' religion back in about 1976 when in our school's Religious Studies class the teacher was talking about other religions. I don't know what he said about Islam except that the spelling of 'Qu'ran' intrigued me. I see it spelt as 'Koran' nowadays but it doesn't seem as respectful as how I was introduced to it.
It wasn't until I entered periods of extended unemployment in the early 1990s that I actually bothered to find out more about Islam. The seed for this I suppose was Cat Stevens. I'd always loved his music and was aware that had become a Muslim and turned aside from this music. His comments regarding Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and the Khomeni fatwa also reinforced that connection between Stevens and Islam in my mind.
Being the early 1990s the internet wasn't a common thing back then so to find out more about Islam I decided to have a look in the local library. There I found a beautiful English Language version hard back copy of the Qu'ran donated to the library by the Islamic Propogation Centre in Birmingham. That wasn't available for loan so I made do with a less exquisite copy on general loan.
I did find it easy to read the Qu'ran and certainly gained more of an interest in Islam from reading it. My next step was to read a biography of Muhammad by someone with an English name! I did find the life story of Muhammad to be fascinating and real to me. I also read a few other books about Islam and the Hadith but none of them really stood out to me.
One thing I did pick up on was that the Qu'ran needs to be read in the original Arabic to fully understand it. So next on the list was to learn Arabic. Once again the local library came up trumps wiith a cassette based language course on Egyptian Arabic. I'm not one of these people who can pick up languages just like that but I did enjoy trying to learn Arabic. 'Zhaynab goes to the shops' was about as far as I got though!
So what happened at the end of my journey into Islam, did I become a Muslim? No. I certainly did consider it strongly and even learnt the Shahadah, I tried to work through lots of the objections that people come across - too foreign, what would parents think, what would my wife think, what about circumcision and more. But at the end of the day I did not make that step. Perhaps if my journey was not one just restricted to page, thought and mind but had a personal communication then things might have been different.
What I do have though is an understanding and respect both for and of what Islam is. This is especially important in this age of unrestrained lies from the mainstream media regarding faiths. I do have a soft spot for Islam and Muslims which makes me saddened by how I see Western culture interacting with Islam. It's also sad to see the rise of violent Islamism in the world.
I'm someone who came to faith as an adult after a short period of searching for something. I wasn't raised in the church or in any denomination so everything about faith has been new to me. You can read my testimony here.
My family background has been nominal Christian with a strong working class ethos. I tend to have strong moral values but am an economic liberal in the English tradition.
Happily married with 2 dogs, 2 cats and grown up children.
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