Dear Dr Sina,
My name is Rasheeda, I discovered this website a few days ago and I have spent close 8 hours everyday on it, I became a Christian in 1999, I had a very hard time getting used to becoming one of the people of the book but in the end I realised that it is better than being a Muslim. I was born into nominal Muslim family, I was born in the UK but my parents moved back to Nigeria when I was 3, in Nigeria I was sent to a madrasa with my younger brothers, my experience of madrasa was like any other glorifying muhammed, chanting things we didn't understand all day long and showing absolute disrespect to Christians and the other animists it was the thing to do.
Anyway one of my elder brothers went to University and got involved in the Wahabism thing and that was when our lives changed, we were urged to become better Muslims and we were told all the fantastic stories of how Islam is the answer to all of the worlds' problems. I read Sayyid Qutb's Milestones when I was sixteen, I became deeply spiritual and I promised myself that if I was ever going to remain Muslim I was going to be the best around. I started wearing the hijab when I was 17 and my parents decided that I should return to the UK for my university education. When I was coming to the UK all my brothers and sisters in Islam thought I should not come because they thought I’d lose my faith, this attitude from them made me more determined to find out more about my faith and prove them all wrong.
Lo and behold I came to the UK in 1995 and bought all kinds of books registered with the Islamic Vision and whatnot, in the end Islam shot itself in the foot for I have to admit I never read the whole of Quran ( it can be rather cumbersome to read as you know. A lot of times it is very repetitive and doesn't make sense) but I read loads of Ahadith, the first seed of doubt was planted when I read the following in "Riyadh-us-Saliheeh" The prophet was once said to Umar bin Khattab would you give your daughter to someone better that Abu-Bakr, Uthman and Ali to which Umar replied yes, then the prophet said O Umar give your daughter to me. I was not meant to think this but I remember what crossed my mind was what an egotist. Why didn't he just say he fancied his daughter rather than trying to sound all righteous?
The stage was set and I began to read the bible I realised that the teachings of Jesus were much better but I still thought of the bible as corrupted, it was at this juncture that I realised that Muhammed actually borrowed a lot from this “corrupted book”, most of the good things he said can be found in the New Testament. I dropped my veil and became a xtian.
Three years later, I was considering becoming a Muslim again as I could not get to grips with all the contradictions of the bible. I wanted my conversion to be absolute this time around so I started researching Islam again and to my utter surprise I found out about the raids the prophet perpetrated, the whole mess that was to unfold right after his death every single one of his companions were greedy for power and control.
The apologists are ever so quick to tell us that the place of women in Islam equals no other; they affirm this theory by telling us that Aisha led a battle, what they never tell us is that that battle was against Ali her step son-in-law, the gruesome murder of Hussein. I just thought to myself if this was what Islam offered then I want no part in it.
I suppose I find it hard to not believe in God because I was raised in Nigeria and I have seen juju (voodoo) in action so I know that there has to be something higher and better. I take the teachings of Jesus to heart and I learn from that of Paul as well but I do not accept all of his teachings, if there is such a thing as heaven or paradise religion is not what will take me to it. The denominator of my faith is the following statement by Thomas Paine:
“I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.
permission from Faith