Sunday, 12 October 2014

My Journey to Islam: American brother Quentin

Fascinating story of how US brother Quentin reverted to Islam. His journey took his across different worlds to ,which helped in seeking Allah and the right guidance. This is his journey in his own worlds


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
 
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds: The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. Glory be to our Perfect Creator and Master. Praise be to Allah, the Eternal Refuge. I ask for His Peace and Blessings upon our Noble Prophet, the Last Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ, and his family, as He bestowed his Peace and Blessings upon Ibrahim ﷺ and his family. I thank Him for his Blessings upon me, and for guiding me to the Straight Path, which is Islam, and for removing the veil from my eyes through His Mercy so that I could understand the Glorious Qur'an is His Direct Speech. I seek His Forgiveness, and I ask Him for Paradise, and to save me from the torment of the grave, and the torment of the Fire, and the trials of life and death, and the evil of the trial of the False Messiah.
 
I was raised as a Catholic in the Midwest United States. My grandmother taught me most of what I knew about religion, and she instilled in me a deep love of Jesus ﷺ and his mother Mary (peace be upon her) and Saint Michael the Archangel ﷺ. She was from Ireland.

My parents sent me to private Christian schools, and I heard about Islam for the first time in my high school religious studies class. We were taught that there were five "Great" religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I came away from that class with the idea that these religions were equally good and correct: Five different ways of being "spiritual."

The next time i heard about Islam was in university in a course about Judaism. The Qur'an on the list of required books. My copy - the Yusuf Ali translation - was very small. It had many, many footnotes. We hardly looked at it in class, which was mostly about the first-century Christian evangelist named Paul. However, I came away with one piece of new information about Islam that really surprised me, which was that Muslims also believed that Jesus ﷺ was born of a virgin.

Islam disappeared from my mind until several years later, after I had finished college. At that time, I was teaching English in South Korea. One day, I found a mosque with a bookstore next door. I went in and met some the owner of the store. He told me that in Islam, a man's intention is part of his soul. He was very enthusiastic. Islamic theology seemed very deep and advanced. He had a real passion in his eyes when he spoke about the religion that I didn't often see in any of the Christians that I knew.

I have heard other reverts say that Islam was the last religion that they turned to in their search for the best way of living. That was also true about me, and so despite these early encounters with Islam, it did not come into my heart.

I continued my teaching career in Japan, still looking for the right way of living. In the ancient city of Kyoto, there were a lot of little shrines there to different spirits. Most Japanese had no religion, but I met some people who had a Bible written by a Japanese man in the 20th century. People said Kyoto hadn't been destroyed by earthquakes because there were too many gods there. I didn't find anything in Japan that was worth committing my life to, and I kept thinking about Jesus ﷺ. I began to pray the rosary a lot.

Christians say the Hail Mary 100 times during the rosary. It goes:

Hail Mary, full of Grace: the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

I had always loved this dark and mysterious prayer. But as I said it over and over, the last line began to seem wrong. How could God have a mother?

I stopped saying "mother of God" and replaced it with "mother of Jesus." But it began to seem strange to be asking for help from someone who had died. I knew that we could speak directly to God - He created us, He is always there. So I stopped asking Mary (peace be upon her) to pray for us. Eventually, I returned to the States. There, I had a vision of Satan and the Fire.

I was on the train, going far out into the suburbs to meet a friend. And I was writing in my notebook, praising God, telling Him how Wonderful He is! When I waiting for the train to go back, I saw a vision in the clouds. I saw an old roommate of mine from college. He was walking. He was dead, and he did not know. He was in the Fire. This man was basically a good person, it seemed, but he was arrogant. Suddenly, a demon came from behind him and bit his neck then another demon came and bit the demon who was biting him then another demon came and bit the demon who was biting the demon who was biting him. Then a woman came. And she tortured him. Then the images departed and I saw Satan the Rejected. He flexed his muscles, as though he was proud of all the evil he had caused. But in truth, he was just a slave of Allah, like everyone else. And that was the beginning of my reversion. This vision troubled me deeply, and from that time, I began to be visited by Jinn.

When the Jinn spoke to me, I heard their voices through other sounds - through the sounds of electrical appliances, or running water. I thought that perhaps, since the Jinn were made of smokeless Fire (Quran 15:27), they travelled through electrical currents, or through water. They said some things that were true, but most were lies, which seemed true, until I thought about them a lot afterwards, and decided that they weren't. I had never heard voices like that ever before in my life.

I decided to go to Vietnam. This was as a way to continue my teaching career, but I chose that place because I wanted to enter the psychology of suffering people that had been inflicted by my country. Since I was born on the Fourth of July, I felt a special connection to the United States. In Vietnam, I became a Prophet - the Last Prophet. Or that is what I thought.

In Vietnam, I saw a lot of people born without arms and legs, because of the American use of the genotoxic chemical weapon Agent Orange. I began to have strange dreams, and to have visions. And I thought I was receiving prophecies from God. The Jinn had told me that the world was going to end on 12/12 - December 12, 2012. At the time, I believed it, because I didn't know what Jinn were, and I didn't know where the voices were coming from. I published my revelations in a blog called "Visions of the End of the World." The blog had bits and pieces of texts from all the religions I had studied - the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist scriptures, the Gospels, the Torah, and eventually, the Quran. A significant portion of the messages were to the Jews. It seemed to attract their attention, and when I heard the Jinn, they began to be accompanied by the voices of Jewish people.

God was telling the Jewish people to change their ways and stop oppressing the Palestinians, because He told them not to oppress the stranger, since they were strangers in the land of Egypt. "Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt" (Exodus 22:21). In fact, Jewish voices often accompanied the Jinn. The other significant message from God was for the Jews to rebuild the Temple, to reinstitute the sacrifice they had abandoned, and so "The one who they will call Messiah will come." But the Temple specified by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40-43) was too large for Temple Mount.

Jesus ﷺ never said that he was the last prophet. So as a Christian, it was not impossible for me. I began to go to church regularly, in Vietnam. I was reading the Bible quite a bit, and struggling to understand it. I began to make the Sign of the Cross backwards. I was deeply affected by my own country's role in the plight of Vietnam, and increasingly, that of another country in the region, Cambodia.

Cambodia had experienced a genocide led by a criminal psychopath named Pol Pot, as a result of the American interference in Vietnam, which had been a result of lies told by President Lyndon B. Johnson that became known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The streets of Cambodia were largely empty of people. I felt an enormous sadness, and since my own country had caused this suffering, I felt responsible.

I saw that the government of Cambodia was evil, led by a former Khmer Rouge member named Hun Sen, who has one eye, like ad-Dajjal. Hun Sen had torn down people's houses near a lake, and drained the lake, and sold it to the Chinese, in order to build a strip mall. So, I began to criticize them severely in my blog. As a result, they began to practice magic on me. But all this time, I felt protected by God. Even my local friends said this.

One day in church, a letter came to me from God. It said, "go to Cambodia and work in an orphanage for one month. And give your guitar to an orphan." So, I started to get ready.

Then I was visited by Satan. He was crafty and manipulative. I was being followed by strange people. One day, George W Bush spoke to me from the toilet - because he was a member of Skull and Bones. I was very troubled by this visitation. It was very important for my reversion, because, from this incident, I realized that I was following the wrong religion. That was because, following the Christian religion, didn't protect me from visitations by devils. One time, a big group of shayatin came to my house who were working with people in the area who practiced magic. I could see them, and one of them stuck his tongue out at me from a tiny hole in the ceiling and made an unnatural noise, like hissing. I got out of there I think that very same day. On the way to the bus, I saw a human devil. He was riding a red motorcycle. He was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. I was writing a blog on blogspot, writing all the prophecies that came to me - the messages from God. It was confusing. Some of it I felt was true, and some of it seemed doubtful. One of them said: " Forget God and you will be forgotten." Later I saw something like it in the Glorious Quran.

Alhamdulillah, I escaped from the devils and their supporters to Cambodia and Vietnam. That is the place where I started to become a Muslim in Cambodia, I found an orphanage, called Rainbow Orphanage near Siem Reap. And I gave my guitar to a young man whose name was like mine - this is something God told me to do - to give my guitar to an orphan there. I worked there one month. during this time, I began to pray lying down, with my face on the ground. It was sujud when I didn't know how to do sujud. When I was in Cambodia some words came to me - that I believed were from God - "You will go to ANKOR and then you will study KORAN" (Ankor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world, although now it is in ruins). A little while after that, I went to Ankor Wat.

When I returned to the U.S. from Cambodia, I applied for a job teaching English in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, i took a keen interest in Judaism. My grandmother on my father's side was Jewish and my grandfather's lineage was from Siciliy. His father's father was an orphan, so we lost track of the origin of our family name, "Obis." But when I later came to Arabia I thought it must be from Arabic: عبس, because Sicily was ruled by Arab Muslims for a long time. And so Obis was probably the Latinate rendering of this Arabic name. There was some other evidence to support this view. I knew that either Judaism or Islam was the correct religion, but i didn't know which religion was right. They had a lot in common: both required circumcision of males and prohibited pork. So I knew I wanted to be either Jewish, or Muslim.

I was staying in a hostel in Chicago. I continued praying by lying face down on the floor: at this time I was reading the Zabur I had a dream about 'Isa ﷺ he was wearing white, and walking away from me. Later on, I realized that this was his way of saying "I never told people to worship me, and I am innocent of your asking me for help." then in a dream, I saw God He was the Ancient of Days from the Book of Daniel 7:9 "And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool." He looked very friendly but also extremely powerful, and He had seen everything He was sitting in a wooden chair He had a square of paper in his hand, with the number "12/12."

My father bought me a Jewish prayer shawl made of white wool, with part of the Torah written on it. It was made in occupied Palestine. After he got it for me, I never prayed without it. I didn't understand the Torah. It was really difficult. I wondered if I would come to Saudi Arabia, and then move to Palestine, and become a Jew. It was called a tallith. There were white tassels on the ends called tzizit. The Jews said that Allah's tallith was light. There was something strange about the tallith. As recorded in the Torah, Allah told Musa ﷺ "speak to the children of Yisrael and you shall say to them to make tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue cord in the tzitzit of the corners. And it shall be to you for a tzitzit and you shall see it, and shall remember all the commands of YHWH (Yehowah) and shall do them, and not search after your own heart and your own eyes which you went whoring, so that you remember and shall do all My commands, and be set-apart unto your Elohim" (Deuteronomy 22:12). All the tzizit (tassels) of my tallith (shawl) that was made in israel were white. None of them were blue. I researched the issue. It turns out that most talliths are made without the blue strand. This is because the Rabbis are so nit-picky they cannot decide which animal the blue dye was originally made from. Later on, it reminded me a lot of the Jewish arguing and quibbling of Surat al-Baqarat. They disobey Allah's word in the Torah because they still cannot agree on which animal to make the dye from. So I got a blue pen and colored one of the tzizit blue.

I went out for pizza and with some visitors to my city, Chicago. I had been thinking of giving up eating pork for Allah's sake. But when we were sitting in the restaurant, I realized that the sausage in the pizza probably had pork but I thought to myself, "it's for the guests, and it's the only time I will eat it." Then I went home and I said to Allah, "I will never eat it again."

When I woke up in the morning, there were words in my mind very clear. The words were: " Today I have made you a Muslim."

That was the most wonderful moment of my entire life until that point. I still wonder about it.

I didn't know what a muslim was, so I looked in the dictionary. It said that the world "Muslim" meant "One who surrenders to God." It came from the word "Salaam," which meant, "peace." So being a Muslim meant having peace because you surrendered to God.

On the visa application they asked for my religion. I looked up how to become Muslim online. And I saw that you made the shahada: "There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad ﷺ was a Messenger of God." When I returned to the States from Cambodia, one of the first things I did was buy a Qur'an, in English. I had never actually read it before, except for the first Ayat: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم This Ayat affected me very strongly. Before I read the rest of the Qur'an, I thought about this Ayat for months. The Qur'an was just like the revelations that had come to me before, except it was purified. The speech was organized in a way that I couldn't find when they were coming to me. When I read the Quran later, I found the perfect way of expressing it: قل (Say:).When the words and revelations came to me, they were mixed-up and I could not figure out how to express them. This is what the Qur'an looked like: I thought, I knew how Muhammad ﷺ felt.

I didn't know that he ﷺ was actually the Last Prophet. And I had deleted my blog Visions of the End of the World because some of it didn't seem right, and I didn't trust it. Parts were true and parts were not. I had begun a different blog, which was called, I Am the Last Prophet. So I really believed that Muhammad ﷺ was a Prophet. And I wasn't sure if I was, or not. I didn't know exactly what a Prophet was. But I knew in general, that it meant that God wanted him to tell the people something. And I believed that Muhammad ﷺ was one. And I believed in One God. So under religion I wrote, "Muslim." The Saudi embassy in Washington asked for proof of my religion. But I had never prayed in a mosque. So I wrote down the shahada, and I went to a public notary, and had the document certified.

My father brought me to a mosque. The first time I entered a masjid was 1/1/1433. But it was just to see it. He's not Muslim. But he was supportive of my getting a new religion that would be structured. We just went to the Muslim neighborhood in Chicago near Devon and Wester and stepped inside. A sign in the window said: “Don’t talk to strangers.” Boarding the plane to Arabia, I was still not sure about whether I would be a Muslim or a Jew. But when I met the Muslims of Arabia in person, my heart filled up like a balloon. They weren't like the people I knew in the USA. They were really patient. I loved their commitment to religion, which was beyond anything I had ever seen. They were courteous and devout. They smelled nice. I was teaching in the Aramco program. My students were 18-22, all males. All of them were chaste, and none of them had ever drunk alcohol. I couldn't believe how pure they were. It made me really happy. The culture I came from prized fornication and drunkenness. They didn't consider you a man unless you fornicated as soon as you were able. Our families were mostly broken up.

At this time, I was still occasionally hearing voices. The voices and feelings that I had of being followed by Satan the Rejected and Illuminati were almost tormenting me. But then, something amazing happened. I read that, if a person read Ayat al Kursi after every prayer, he would be protected from devils. By the Grace of Allah, I memorized this Ayat in Arabic (which is remarkable, because I had zero knowledge of Arabic and wasn't used to memorizing anything), and I began to say it after every prayer. The voices immediately stopped. AlHamdulillah, I have said Ayat al Kursi after every prayer since that time.

Shortly afterwards, I was moved out of the hotel where my company had put me, and was moved to another hotel, where I met some of the other teachers. One of them was an extremely kind Syrian Muslim, and we became dear friends. He showed me some basics of the religion. I was amazed to discover wu'du (ablution). I couldn't believe I hadn't ever done it before. People brought me a lot of books - all kinds of books about Islam. I heard Shaykh al-Sudais reciting Surat al Fatihah on the KSU Quran website. I was amazed to hear the Qur'an. It was sung, like the ancient people used to sing Homer and Beowulf - not read in flat monotone, like the Gospels when I used to go to church. I was amazed to find about how to pray - bow, and then prostrate. I never prayed like that before in church. We only kneeled down. I realized that my whole life, I was searching for Islam.

In that hotel, I had a dream of Allah. There was a big eye that looked like the Helix Nebula. Inside it, I saw the scales of Justice, and then a rapid succession of abstract symbols. I fell to my knees saying, “Allah, Allah.” Allah was much greater than the God I was familiar with.

As we began our working teaching English, I was learning more and more about the religion of Islam. My Syrian friend began to introduce me to a series of extremely gracious and kind individuals who inquired about my religion, and my belief that I was now Muslim. Eventually, they brought me to a main da'wa center in Riyadh to speak with a very learned scholar of the religion - a sheikh - and I still had some small doubt about whether Jesus ﷺ was the "son of God" in a literal sense, or a metaphorical sense. My instinct told me that it was only metaphorical - that "son of God" was a term for someone who God loved. So I asked whether in Islam, Jesus ﷺ could be called a "son of God" in a metaphorical sense, and he said yes. I felt very good about this answer and confidence filled my heart. I made the shahada there in the office and it was tape-recorded - they put the video on YouTube.

Then he said we would go to the masjid and make the shahada again. I didn't know why, but we went there. He told me to repeat after him some words, which were "Jesus (ﷺ) is a man and a Prophet, and not the "only begotten son of God" (which, I later learned, was an interpolation, a fabrication, inserted into John 3:16 by the King James translators of the Bible, which was used in the English speaking world for several centuries). After the shahada, which was after Isha'a prayer, many people in the masjid came up to me to hug me, and many of them had tears in their eyes or on their faces. I was amazed - "Why are they so happy? I wondered. He told me to go home and take a shower, which I did.

Then, two incredibly amazing happened - Glory be to God forever and ever.

I heard many voices which I understood to be angels, saying "Salaam alayikum!" and "AlHamdulilah" and "SubHanAllah" and "Allah akbar."

Then I went to my room, and I picked up the Qur'an I had brought from the States, which was entirely in English, and I opened it. When I looked at the page, I felt a piece of cloth, or a veil, fell from my face, which was upon my eyes and I understood, in the same moment, in a flash, that the Qur'an was 100% the direct speech of Allah and it was not Prophet Muhammad's ﷺ words but the words of Allah.

One of the last things that I heard from what I believe was an angel, and it happened shortly after, was "Your name is Muhammad." So the first Muslim name that I took was Muhammad Abdullah.

By the one in whose hands my soul is, this is how I became Muslim.


Glory be to Allah, the Holy, the Sublime, the King, who has no partner and shares his authority with no one. May His Peace and Blessings be upon His Final Messenger Muhammad ﷺ and his family as His Peace and Blessings were bestowed upon Ibrahim ﷺ and his family. May Allah forgive us and give us what is good in this world and the next, and re-establish our Khalifa, in order that we may live according to His Laws peacefully with our neighbors.


الله اكبر الله اكبر الله اكبر
لا اله الا الله
الله اكبر الله اكبر الله اكبر
ولله الحمد

Completed on the Day of 'Arafah
1435

There is no god but Allah.There is no god but Allah.