I belong to a book discussion group whose members are predominantly converts. We are currently reading Even Angels Ask by Jeffrey Lang. I've struggled through the book, disliking some of his broad generalizations about people and feeling concern about some of his ways of deriving knowledge.
Yesterday, however, we got to a point in the book which brought me to tears and boosted my faith. It's in a chapter in which Lang discusses some of the challenges American converts face, and ends with a discussion of the Qur'an and how this holy book alone creates and sustains faith despite all the challenges inherent in breaking away from your former beliefs and embracing Islam.
The last couple of paragraphs address the spiritual aftermath of experiencing the Qur'an, and the place it brings us to, where the choice is clear and all that remains is to make sense of the decision, to ourselves and to others. I want to share with you the final paragraph, which I believe summarizes the experience of the convert to Islam in just a few words:
Those who choose Islam soon discover that, for the rest of their lives, they will have to face the following question repeatedly: “How did you become a Muslim?” They will formulate various partial explanations at different times according to the context in which it is asked. However, all of us who made that decision know that even we cannot fully comprehend it, for the wisdom and workings of God are often subtle and unfathomable. Perhaps the simplest and truest statement we can offer is this: At one special moment of our lives – a moment that we could never have foreseen when we were younger – God, in His infinite knowledge and kindness, had mercy on us. Maybe He saw in us a need so great, a pain so deep, or an emptiness so vast. And maybe, He also saw in us a readiness. However He made it come to be, to Him we are eternally thankful. Truly, all praise and thanks belong to God.