Ms. Helena

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Growing up in a supposedly Christian, but in fact non-religious family, I never heard the name of God being uttered,I never saw anyone pray and I learned early on that the only reason for doing things was to benefit yourself. We celebrated Christmas, Easter, Mid-summer and All Saints Day and even though I never knew why, I never  questioned  it.  It  was  part  of  being  Swedish.  As a  Christian (protestant) you can go through something called confirmation when you are about 15 years of age. This is meant to be a class to take to learn about your religion and then confirm your belief. I wanted to do this to learn about Christianity so I was signed up for this 3-week camp  which  was  a  combined  golf-and  confirmation  camp.  In  the mornings  we  had  classes  with  a  senile  priest  and  our thoughts wandered off to the upcoming game of golf. I didn't learn anything.  

I  went  through  high-school  with  a  breeze.  I  felt  that  nothing could  harm  me.  My  grades  were  the  best  possible  and my  self confidence was at the top. Religion never came to my mind. I was doing just fine. Everyone I knew that was "religious"had found "the light" after being either depressed or very sick and they said that they needed Jesus in their life to be able to live on. I felt that I could do anything that I put my mind to and that religion only was an excuse to hide from reality.  

In college, I started thinking about the meaning of life. I had a hard time accepting any religion because of all the wars and problems relating  to  them.  I  made  up  my  own  philosophy.  I  was convinced that some form of power created everything but I couldn't say that it was God. God for me was the Christian image of an old man with a long white beard and I knew that an old man could not have created the universe! I believed in a life after death because I just couldn't believe that justice wouldn't be served. I also believed that everything happens for a reason. Due to my background and schooling I was fooled to believe in Darwin's theory, since it is taught as a fact. The more  I  thought  about  the  meaning  of  life,  the  more  depressed  I became,  and  I  felt  that  this  life  is  like a prison. I lost most of my appetite for life.  

I  knew  a  lot  about  Buddhism  and  Hinduism  since  I  was interested in these things in school. We learned in detail about their way of thinking and worship. I didn't know anything about Islam. I remember  my  high-school  textbook  in  Religion  showing  how Muslims pray. It was like a cartoon strip to show the movements but I didn't learn about the belief. I was fed all the propaganda through mass media and I was convinced that all Muslim men oppressed their wives and hit their children. They were all violentand didn't hesitate to kill.  

In my last year of college I had a big passion for science and I was ready to hit the working scene. An international career or at least some  international  experience  was  needed  to  improve my  English and get an advantage over fellow job hunters. I ended up in Boston and was faced with four Muslims. At that point I didn't know who Muhammad was and I didn't know that Allah was the same god as "God".  I  started  asking  questions  and  reading  books, but  most importantly,  I  started  socializing  with  Muslims.  I  never  had  any friends from another country before (let alone another religion). All the people that I knew were Swedish. The Muslims that I met were wonderful  people.  They  accepted  me  right  away  and  they  never forced  anything  on  me.  They  were  more  generous  to  me than  my own  family.  Islam  seemed  to  be  a  good  system  of  life  and  I acknowledged  the  structure  and  stability  it  provided but  I  was  not convinced  it  was  for  me.  One  of  my  problems  was  that  science contradicted religion (at least from what I knew about Christianity). I read  the  book  "The  Bible,  The  Quran  and  Science"  by Maurice Bucaille and all of my scientific questions were answered! Here was a religion that was in line with modern science. I felt excited but it was still not in my heart.  

I had a period of brain storming when I was thinking over all the new things I learnt. I felt my heart softening and I tried to imagine a life  as  a  Muslim.  I  saw  a  humble  life  full  of  honesty, generosity, stability, peace, respect and kindness. Most of all I saw a life with a MEANING. I knew I had to let go of my ego and humble myself before something much more powerful than myself.  

Twice,  I  was  asked  the  question  "What  is  stopping  you from becoming  Muslim?”  The  first  time  I  panicked  and  my  brain  was blocked. The second time I thought for awhile to come up with any excuse. There was none so I said the shahada, Al-Hamdulillah.  

Love,  
Helena 


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