If you have questions about Islam, or are interested in becoming Muslim we encourage you to contact SALAM at (916) 979-1933 and we will arrange to have the Imam meet with you.
“Islam is much more than a formal religion: it is an integral way of life. In many ways it is a more determining factor in the experience of its followers than any other world religion. The Muslim ("One who submits") lives face to face with Allah at all times and will introduce no separation between his life and his religion, his politics and his faith. With its strong emphasis on the brotherhood of men cooperating to fulfill the will of Allah, Islam has become one of the most influential religions in the world today.” John Alden Williams (editor), ISLAM, George Braziller, New York, 1962
There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
Below are stories of converts to Islam:
Fred: An American’s Journey to Islam
My name is Fred, and this is the story of my journey to Islam.
It is a journey which began in Judaism and extended through Atheism and Christianity before ending with a new beginning in Islam.
After searching for decades for a faith which would make sense to me, a faith which would encompass the whole of life, a faith which would provide for me a sense of community and a support group for the trials of life, I found that I was still adrift in a sea of conflicting religions -- each claiming that the others were false.
It was in a public library in Columbus, Ohio, that I looked at a book titled The Holy Qur'an. I knew nothing about the Qur'an, and even less about Islam -- except that I was fairly certain that Islam was a religion of violence and terrorism.
I thumbed throiugh this odd book, and found that its language was old-fashioned and difficult to read casually. It would require study. So I purchased a copy at a bookstore, and began to study this strange book.
What I found both dismayed me and captivated me.
It dismayed me, in that its one hundred fourteen chapters (called Suras) are nothing new. They are a restatement and simplification of material found in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. This book -- the Holy Qur'an -- is a distillation of the important parts of both Testaments.
It captivated me, in that what I was reading was a powerful statement of God's formation of the world and His love for humankind.
After reading the book, I wanted to know more about this religion whose followers constitute well over a billion men and women in every corner of the world.
I was amazed to find that there are between seven and ten million Muslims here in the United States. And I was even more amazed to find that they are men and women just like you and me -- not wild-eyed terrorists, not wife-beaters, and not intolerant of others' viewpoints.
So I decided to dig deeper, to find out the 'inside story' about these people who call themselvs Muslims (those who obey the will of God).
As I traveled in my job, I visited mosques in Columbus, Ohio; I spoke with Muslim leaders in Sacramento, California; I attended festivals in Portland, Oregon; I shared meals with Muslims in Tucson, Arizona.
And what I found was a group of warm, caring people who were willing to share with me whatever they had -- no questions asked.
After a couple of years of poking into this religion, I decided that it just might be for me. So I inquired about becoming a Muslim, and I was told that it as simple: all I had to do was declare that "there is no god other than God, and Muhammad is His Messenger."
But Muhammad is not the only Messenger; Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus -- these were all Messengers of God, acording to Islam. Muhammad was not a divinity; he was a man who was chosen by God as His final Messenger.
I asked several Muslims about prayer in Islam, and was told that Muslims pray five times each day at specified times. This affords a Muslim the opportunity to separate himself or herself from the world and communicate directly with God five times a day. I thought it was a real burden, but it's a rest-in-the-shade-on-a-hot-day kind of thing that provides breaks from the awful world in which we humans live.
As to terrorism, there are always those in any group -- religious or political or whatever -- who make it difficult for the rest of the group. In Northern Ireland, there are a few Protestants and a few Catholics that give their religions a bad name; in the U.S. there are the white supremacists; and the ultraconservative Christians; in South Africa there were the apartheid whites; in the late fifteenth century in Spain there was the Inquisition; in Sri Lanka today there are the Tamil rebels; in Iraq, as I write this in early 2005, a relatively small number of Muslims are terrorizing the rest of the country's population. My point is that a relatively small percentage of any group can make that group look bad.
As to the treatment of women, the Qur'an states clearly that in the eyes of God there is no difference between the genders. What we see in the news from various countries is their cultural perversion of the teachings of the Qur'an. This is not Islam.
About Jesus. Non-Muslims are always surprised to find that the Qur'an speaks of Jesus and Mary respectfully, treating Jesus as a prophet and a worker of God's miracles of healing. However, Islam does not view Jesus as God.
To sum up, Islam is an extenion of Judaism and Christianity, respecting the followers of both faiths. The Qur'an simplifies the truths set forth in both Testaments of the Bible, and is also in complete accord with science. In fact, the Qur'an contains absolutely no internal inconsistencies whatsoever.
I found that Islam is what I've been searching for, and I said that phrase which constitutes acceptance of Islam. Do I pray five times a day? Yes. Do I fast during the month of Ramadan? Yes. Do I give charity to others? Yes. Have I had doubts about Islam? Yes. But I always come back to the fact that God has touched me with His mercy and His kindness, and I feel that I am -- at long last -- home with my God and my people.
May the peace of almighty God be with you.
Fred -An American Muslim
Sherry Hamblen - My Journey to Islam
When I was small, going to church was a major event. First, I got to wear a fancy dress with frills and bows and more often than not it was itchy! I tried my best not to fidget in it. At Vacation Bible School there was a craft! And then.. the event of all events, the snack!! Wow, served on a colored paper plate with a napkin. I would look at the pictures of Jesus on the walls and think about him, for I was told that the blonde, blue-eyed Jesus was God. The western Christian idea of God was firmly implanted, along with the snack.
As I grew I tried hard to maintain my religion. When my parents divorced, I went to church alone. When the Pastor said that reading the Bible brought you closer to God, I read it. When he said prayer was the key, I prayed. Even as a kid I ached in my heart for God. I ended up marrying a man who was to become a Pastor. I continued reading the Bible, and praying, and aching in my heart. I concentrated on rearing my children and keeping the house and yet in my heart I ached for God so much. Something was not right. I began to think. That's when the “trouble” began. I got the bright idea that I would read the Bible through and in one shot get all my questions answered. I ended up reading it more than once, and didn't get my questions answered! Why did God favor David so much when he committed adultery, and had Uriah killed? Gee I didn't do that and.. felt God was far away. Jesus was God, I was taught; and yet.. there is a story where this man comes up to Jesus and calls him "good master", and Jesus replies asking “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but One that is God.” Now why would God say that?? I had many other questions besides this. I started asking my questions, and got into trouble. I was told I had no faith, and I was messing in details of no concern. Nothing was making sense! The true turning point came after revival one night. I was exhausted from over an hour of singing, and at the dinner table my husband was going over the fine points of his sermon. I had questions and asked them and he erupted in an angry tirade. I went outside crying and again felt that ache in my heart that I was so familiar with. I talked to God. I told him I didn't know Him, but I wanted to so very much. I told Him I had done all that I knew to do. I asked Him to reveal Himself to me no matter what it took, or what I had to lose. I had to find God.
Eruptions at home were becoming commonplace. The Pastor's wife must not confide her troubles to anyone in the church! Gossip and much trouble can start that way. To have someone to talk to I began going into Christian chat rooms. One day in that room I met a Muslim. Tarek was the first Muslim I had ever met. I had to win him to Jesus! Tarek was a little unnerving because he seemed to sense my discontent. I was trying very hard to lead him to Jesus and show Tarek I had the truth, and he wasn't buying it. That day began a relationship that was a war of words. We wrote for months; I sent him my objections to Islam, and he answered with facts. When Tarek sent articles on the fallacies in the Bible, I would cringe. Many of them I had already studied; but more? Back and forth we went. Things at home and at church were escalating at a dizzying pace. I could no longer sit on the front pew of the church in the honored Pastor's wife position and open my Bible in the same way. Things were now tainted with questions. Answered questions.
At this time in my life I was in a well, so to speak. I couldn't read the Bible with the same zeal anymore; I wasn't sure if my prayers were right; church was a big fiasco as far as I was concerned because I could no longer tell what was the truth and what wasn't. Tarek started telling me to read the Quran and issued me a formal challenge! I thought it over for a couple of days as if I did this I would have to make a major effort and I had to face the possibility of conversion. Part of me was also desperate for God by this time. Church was becoming more and more painful. At this time I was missing song services as I could no longer sing the songs. The words bothered me so, the emotionalism in the people that got us no where. Everything was coming into clarity and it was very, very frightening as I was the only one seeing things this way. When you are on the platform or on the first row of the pew you can't hide spiritual discontent! Many times during the sermon I would hear something I knew to be false and I just couldn't take it I would get up and walk out. What a sight, me leaving and walking down that long center aisle out the door in plain view of the whole church.
I now had to get a copy of the Quran. The library had one, but it was gone. No bookstore around had a copy. That left one place that I knew of , and that was ISNA (Islamic Society of North America)!! I had heard from Christians that there were snipers on the roof who shot at people who trespassed! I went anyway I was so desperate for God and there I met Habibe. She talked to me for a long while and was very sweet. Not only did I get a copy of the Quran but she also gave me prayer books , general books and pamphlets. Tarek had sent me some studies and a beautiful picture of a star nebula that I printed off and before that evening I had read all the pamphlets. I made a mistake though; I left my studies on the couch where my husband found them. He threw them and the picture of the nebula in the fire and yelled that I was bringing Satan into the home. He said if he found my Quran he would roast it either in the oven or in the fire and I hid it. He tore up the house looking for it. I began planning my day so I would come home when he left, and leave when he came home. For the week we might see each other for only 15 minutes or so. My marriage was nearly over. The rest of the time I was studying or in my favorite spot in the forestry where I would cry and talk to God. One Friday I went to the mosque for prayer. I sat on the side and the first time I heard the Azzan I cried. I felt relaxed there for the first time in months. What was happening to me?? I was reading the Quran every day. Things were coming into sharp focus. The view of God in the Quran is very different from the Biblical God. This God made sense. At this time some of the leadership at church approached me to be president of a chapter of a nationwide women's organization. One of the "outreaches" of this organization is to lead Muslim women out of Islam and into Chrisitianity! I had just met Habibe. she didn't needed converting! She was more together than any woman I knew at church! I told them tentatively that I was not the one for this job when they told me God had told them (and God had spoken to the statewide people too) that I was the one! Wow ! So now I had God “against” me. I told them I would preside over the first few meetings and the first meeting was packed with many women. I led the song service, and spoke very neutrally. I actually just spent my time on empty verbage as I couldn't talk a Christian message.
Then I read the Quran some more and something clicked. That was it. I quit song service and presiding over the women's group. I attended mosque and quit attending church. One night when I didn't expect my husband to come home, he did. After a violent outburst I asked him to leave the house and surprisingly, he did. Things began unraveling. My family was so upset at what I was doing; my marriage was over; the church couldn't believe what had happened, and news travels fast in a small town. I had to set my face for anything just to go to the store. Still I searched! News began to fly that I had become a Muslim. I hadn't pronounced my Shahadah (testimony of faith) yet! I told Tarek that all my questions were answered except one: about the diety of Jesus. I remembered Sunday School and being so afraid of not accepting Jesus right because he was the only way to God, you see. Tarek didn't send me a lot at this time actually only two concentrated studies. I printed them and studied. In one study, 1 John 5:7 was said to be an addition to the text, not an original verse. That verse became my Ace.. if that verse was in question, then I had to admit Jesus may not be God. I went to the State Library and did some research. I found that the information was correct, that this verse was indeed in question. I sat in the library for a long time in a daze. I went home and admitted to God that He was God alone. There was no one beside him. Instead of being struck with lightning I felt peace! People in the town would approach me and say things, but I had a peace I had never had before. The town printed my divorce in the paper. I read a book on Tawheed and made my decision to take my Shahadah. One night I admitted to God that He was One and Only God and Mohammed was the messenger of God. I had no doubts as I had studied through every single one. That night I prayed my first prayer, Fajr. I was broken as circumstances were very difficult for me, as my family was upset and not accepting to say the least. After my prayer with my head on the floor I talked to God about everything and I knew He heard me. I knew it! I can't tell you what that was like for me, it was as if I had been in a thirst so deep my throat was burning fire and then I had a cool drink of healing. It was everything I had ever wanted from God all wrapped up in a few moments of time. Since then I have had to move, and had to deal with staples in my tires from angry people who are blaming all Muslims for September 11th; I have been yelled at, spit at; my family is still not accepting. This is small compared to the weight of Islam though; As Islam!-what can I say? It's beautiful and all compassing and lovely in every way. God is sensible and understandable; women are respected and honored; men are honored and respectable! Children are protected; Islam offers everything Christianity claims to and more but the difference is, Islam delivers. Islam is not some weak religion because there is nothing more powerful than actually connecting with God and that is what Islam does. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The soul that rises with us, our life's star. W.Wordsworth, 'Imitations of Immortality', Poems, 1807
Additional stories from converts to Islam may be found at: