By Anders Nielsen
I was at a point in my life, where I had to reevaluate my values, my goals and my whole person, my identity, what I had so far achieved, by what means and if this was the way to continue.
I had little clue about who I really were as person, although I knew that I had a core of good in me and I wanted to be a good person. I wanted to be humble because I knew that with humility comes gratitude.
I had tried to cross boundaries in many ways, as I had looked as this as being “free”, but in doing so, I had finally come to the conclusion that a total freedom without laws, without attachments or duties, was not leading towards a happy, satisfying life.
I had already realized that happiness for me was not to be found through any form of chemicals, as alcohol and other substances. While leaving this behavior and bad habits behind I found myself looking for more, for a purpose of life one may say.
Naturally I searched for the God of my culture, a Christian understanding of God, so I began going to churches and consulting with people who knew more about Christianity than me.
I met good people, but also found things that were hard to comprehend to me and when I asked further into these matters I was often met with the answer: “You have to have more faith”. Well the only thing that I at this point wanted was faith, but they did not really show me a way of achieving it and the bible in itself pointed in too many directions for me to follow any of them.
So I started to look outside Christianity for a God that, I in someway could understand or get to know, I went to library and started randomly to burrow books about religion also books about Islam.
I did not have any close Muslim friends and my knowledge of Muslims in my town was very limited and the ones I knew were maybe not the best representatives of Islam as I knew them from bars and discos.
I had also borrowed a Danish translation of the Quraan, and it quickly became very clear to me that this religion was most definitely not what I first thought it to be. So I became more interested. One time while reading I felt something inside of me calling me to Islam, telling me to become a Muslim.
I perceived this as very strange and remember saying out loud to myself and God: “Is this really what you want me to?” And actually I felt a bit scared about it because I could not picture myself as a Muslim at all.
So I put the Quran on the book shelf and there it rested for a couple of weeks I guess.
Of course I started reading again and felt the same thing once again and I had always had a belief in God, in some kind of way, and I thought to myself: “who I am to question this call?” And at that point I decided to become a Muslim. I must admit that my knowledge of our Deen at that point was fairly small to say the least but I had made up my mind.
I told my father about my decision is he told me to think it thoroughly through, and I did for about two weeks, so I went and told him that I had done what he asked me to do, I had waited, but I still wanted to become a Muslim and so I did. I converted in a Turkish Masjid in my birth town in 2001 the 13th of December.
Naturally a lot of my friends and family did not see this coming, me becoming a Muslim and neither did even I. If somebody had told me even 4 -5 months before that, I would surely have labelled them insane, it was that big a turnover for me.
After the conversion I had some negative experiences around me, people were giving me rubbish about Muslims and Islam from what they knew about it through media here in Denmark. It was a little difficult in the start because this was of course something that I felt very strongly about, therefore I was very sensitive when the talk touched Muslims or Islam, I say know that I was in some ways in a state of mental Jihad all the time, because I felt that they were all attacking me. Truth be told is that they were not and I have come to distinguish between Muslims and Islam, when I choose to go further in a debate with friends, colleagues and family. My real friends stayed with me and the other ones left, some friends took time off from our relationship, but came back after maybe realizing that I had changed for the better and Allah is the All-knowing, Supreme in all matters.
I think that my family took my conversion quite well, they did question my decision and when we meet we often have talks about religious issues, but they have come to respect me more and though they would not admit it they know that I have become a more stable and reliable person through my religion. This is what I am feeling in my heart anyway.
My goals as a Muslim is to raise a good family and provide well for my family, there are some material things that I would like to have like a house etc. but other than that I hope to be a humble person, staying close to my deen and being able to help the people who followed after me and being a good spokesperson for my religion. I feel that we as Danish Muslims have the responsibility to prove that Islam fits in our culture as well, that we participate just as much in the our society or even more, to show that our deen is not a religion of seclusion and only limited for some nations. Believing this is belittling our religion, which I take refugee in Allah from. It is quite simple what we need, we need stability we need time to develop knowledge and to practice this knowledge in everyday matters and inshaAllah we are well on our way. We must take small, but stable steps in order to move forward and secure ourselves from not moving backwards.
I am married to a Muslim woman and we have now been married for four years and have two children and one on the way inshaAllah. I could not have dreamed or asked for more, so I am content with my Lord and I ask of him to be content with us, to strengthen our good qualities and to remove or diminish our bad attributes.
Jazak Allahu Kheiran
Your Brother in Denmark