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25. Nicole's ... path to Islam

Source : Special to
Sometimes, it is hard to describe one’s spiritual connection with a religion. Perhaps, for good reason, the connection is to stay between G-d and the person. I cannot find the exact words, only reasons why I have come to this epiphany in my life.
I was raised in a Conservative-Reformed Judaic environment. I never truly knew what spiritual fulfillment was as I grew up. I thought I knew as I lived precariously though my parents’ spiritual enlightenments as they, both, had converted to Judaism. My mother had been a Baptist and my father had been baptized Roman Catholic and confirmed Methodist. Both found the New Testament, in the Bible, to be ludicrous. They only found truth within the Old Testament so Judaism seemed like the right path for them.
I tried to find a place in their religious beliefs. I failed and failed so I began to pretend that I was happy being a Jew. The Torah seemed so incomplete to me but, come hell or high water, I was going to mold it to be complete. Still, my task failed. I had a Bat Mitzvah and was given the Judaic name of Gabriella Davida. Still, I felt like I did not belong. In my very early teen years, I even helped in the religious school to try and connect with G-d. Still, unfulfilled.
Then all that I was taught about morality and marriage fell apart. My father announced his adulterous ways and left to move in with his mistress. I blamed G-d and man for this atrocity. I turned my back on G-d and on men. Spirituality was still calling to me and, well, I thought I had to be something other than a “good girl”. I turned to the G-ddess and Wicca to ease my strife. For four and a half years, I tried to find a place in the land of no structure and rules that made ethics and responsibility seemingly void. I studied and studied to try to ease a hunger but I just was dying inside and hurting on the outside. The G-ddess couldn’t bring spiritual fulfillment. Then so be it. Maybe there wasn’t G-d or G-ddess, only self.
Man created Religion, right? So I became a Modern Satanist or Narcissistic Hedonist, a philosophy courtesy of Anton Szandor LaVey. In this, you are G-d. There is nothing above you. By this time, I was dead, bitter, bleeding and starving to prove that I still lived, that I was human. I stayed in Satanism for three years. I couldn’t face my funeral or my heart. And it was my funeral. A week after I decided to be Satanist, I was visited by something that I now believe to be a warning of death but I ignored it. I think it tried to tell me that my heart would die if I continued in this lifestyle.
I finally realized that my heart still wanted a man in my life, shortly there after, but I was too afraid of what one would do to my heart especially since Satanic men were prone to outrageous tempers and excesses of alcohol, drugs, nicotine and sex. All other men feared, loathed or were tempted by Satanic women for the sake of sexuality. That wasn’t me since I still grasped to my innocence with all the decency I had left. I, also, realized that I wanted children and Satanism would not teach the values I still held even with all the sins around me.
I tried to revive my heart within Satanism as I re-studied Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Christianity had a void, like Judaism, but held too much contradiction. Buddhism and Hinduism were too sporadic to appease my mind and spirituality, like Wicca- in some ways.
I avoided Islam for some time – I did read the Qur’an when I was 12, but I didn’t think upon it – and then, over a year ago, I picked it up, just to study, so I could better understand my Muslim friends. To study something, requires that you think about it. I thought long and hard. The Qur’an gave this structure that appeased my mind’s logical side, gave my poetic/artistic mind beautiful scripture, gave my heart life and beauty, most of all, it gave my spiritual side a complete picture and, once again, G-d.
I crave rules, structure, logic, poetry, beauty and submission. Islam gives this all to me. It makes me feel alive and whole. All aspects of me are satisfied and fed by the words of the Qur’an. Once I found a home in Islam, my heart started to beat. I found new comfort in those around me. I felt no need to be so bitter, evil and cynical. I no longer bleed to prove that I live. I do not feel depressed or suicidal. I, once again, know what love could be and what I truly want in life. I had purpose and a role to play. The fact that my family is anti-Islamic doesn’t really bother me, now. There must be a reason for such.
I did tell my mother, three months after I had decided to be Muslim, that I had converted. She didn’t understand how a modern American woman would ever convert to Islam willingly because she sees Islam being very oppressive to women. She didn’t want me to end up to man would make me cover myself completely. I want to explain to my mother that modesty and the covering of the hair was ordained by G-d.
I tried very hard to be feared, admired and overtly sexual because I thought that is society wanted of me and what I wanted for myself. But, deep down, I am just a good modest girl with lots of morals and a deep spiritual need. Islam was truly the only path that appeased every good thing that I had. I was not strange anymore for the modesty I maintain. I had found a home and I had found G-d.

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