In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

"The Lady in the Hat" or "How I came to Islam""

I am in my late fifties in age. I was born into a Catholic Family on my mother's side, and into a Baptist family on my father's side. My father had to convert to Catholicism in order to marry my mother (before I was born). I was circumcised when I was still a young boy. I do not remember it. Strangely enough I have a memory of being baptized in a Catholic Church. I do not know why that is. I was too young to even talk. I remember being in New Jersey (My maternal Grandmother's house) many times after that, while my father was at war. He was a U.S. Marine and always seemed to be going to war. The thing that I remember the most about New Jersey was, that the windows in My grandmother's house had black roll down curtains, "left over" from the Second world war. These were supposed to keep the German U-boats and bomber planes from seeing the city's lights at night. (New Jersey is on the eastern coast of the U.S. and also borders the ocean assessable Hudson River)

I was commanded to go to Catholic training school called Catechism (1). I hated it. Much later in my life I was doing a kind of "Deep Tissue" muscle therapy, and while the therapist was working on my feet, she touched two very painful spots. The pain felt like hooks that went between my Achilles tendons and my heels. During the painful correction of those misaligned muscles, I started having "flashbacks" of a ritual (2) performed by the Catholic Bishop priest who "confirmed" me as a Catholic. After reviewing that incident a few times, the pain around my Achilles tendons became more and more painful. I mentally and spiritually pulled the "hooks" out. (While my "deep tissue" therapist was working on the physical end, I was working on the mental/spiritual end). The muscles and tendons "released", after that, and the pain went away. It seemed to me that these spiritual "hooks" were installed as part of the ceremony, by the priest. during my "one on one" interview with him. I used to get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I went near anything Catholic. I do not feel that now.
a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.
• a series of fixed questions, answers, or precepts used for instruction in other situations.)
( 2...ritual
a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order : the ancient rituals of Christian worship | the role of ritual in religion.
• a prescribed order of performing such a ceremony, esp. one characteristic of a particular religion or church.)

At the age of 15, my mother passed away, and thus the family compulsion for us to be Catholic, went away also. My father soon remarried another Catholic woman who had 3 children from a previous marriage. She was a widow. She had all of her children and my younger sister attending Catholic school. I remember someone "half heartedly" asking me to attend Catholic school also, but my father knew better than to push me on it. I could be VERY stubborn. Besides, I can say now that I he probably though it was a waste of money, and would ultimately cause a lot of friction with his "new" family.
At the age of 17, I read the first spiritual book that I actually liked. It was by Kahlil Gilbran. During the next ten years, I read Sidartha, by Herman Hesse, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Buddhist writings, Hindu stuff, and basically anything spiritual, except Christianity and Islam. (we were not exposed to Islam except mostly in cartoons and Jewish owned Hollywood movies.) I studied Martial Arts and the Zen and Taoist philosophies behind them. I even joined a worship group of Tibetan Buddhists. (3) Most of these endeavors kept my mentally and spiritually busy, but there was something missing. I felt like I needed to get close to the creator. Even though I hated Christianity as I had come to know it, I went to a Pentecostal church to see what it was like. I saw the electric guitars and the drums that the "worship team" played. This was NOT like the Catholic church that I remembered.
(3......When I went to join the U.S. army and go fight in the Viet Nam war, I even told the personnel clerk who filled out my personnel files that I was a Buddhist. It wasn't until I read about the Viet Nam war on the internet, and how it was controlled by an Arch Bishop in New Jersey, that I realized that the war was basically a Genocide. They were killing everyone who wasn't a catholic, agnostic or atheist. It said my religion was Buddhist on my dog tags. They sent me to South Korea to do my overseas tour of duty, instead of Viet Nam. I guess the government didn't want a Buddhist to recognize what they were doing and then to tell the rest of the world. I am in a similar situation now. I am an American who became Muslim in America, and went to a so called "Muslim" country.)
I was mostly drawn in to that new church scene by the Music. I was a pretty fair singer/songwriter, and had always wanted to have a venue for my talents. I went to a lot of bible studies. I learned a lot about christianity, from the "Christian" perspective. I was right there looking for approval from men, while at the same time trying to figure out my relationship with the Creator. Many times we would be told to hold up our bibles and say "This is my sword. It is the unerrant word of God". If someone wanted to debate us on the bible, we were told they could only debate us about our faith from within the parameters of what was written in the Bible. "It" was the "only" truth. I was totally swept up into that cult. It was pretty cool to go to a place of worship where women wore sexy clothes and held there hands up and swooned when the band "played in the spirit". Especially when "I" was part of the band.
I had been in another cult before that. It was called Scientology. The Scientology and Dianetics Dictionary describes Scientology as an extension of the works of Gutama Siddartha Buddha. But it was very high tech, and used a kind of "lie detector" along with a mentally guiding "voice dialogue" to spiritually elevate it's members. It also charged an extraordinary amount of money for that. After about 9 months I had seen through that money making facade and left. It took me much longer to finally leave the "cult" of Christianity. I finally left it, and came to Islam, nine years later.
One day I was in an auto repair shop and was talking with the cashier. I noticed a lady sitting in the corner of the same waiting room. She was wearing a hat that covered her hair. She looked like a foreigner. Something told me to try to get her involved in the conversation. I said something about women drivers. I said you know ho those women are? I turned to her and saw her chomping at the bit to talk with us. I said "What do YOU think?"
She turned out to be a very interesting woman. She was an Algerian. I invited her to come play some board games with me and a friend. We all had a great time. Later I learned about her dilemma. About what my country had done to her. (4) I went to court with her and began to try to straighten things out. The more I got into her case, the more I lost faith in my country and finally came to the realization that my country's government had been hijacked. I became very upset about all this, and did a lot of research. When I asked my "Christian" friends and churches to help, most did no more than try to convert her to Christianity. More than one Christian told me to tell her that if she converted, that God would give her back her child. Those interactions brought me to doubt my faith and what I was finding out were the "government controlled" churches, and to investigate "Christianity" from it's inception.
During my research I read what is generally considered to be an unaltered document written by one of the Diciples of Isa. It was called the Gospel of Thomas. It had apparently survived the purging and burning of all documents that were unauthorized by the Roman Emperor Constantine's second council of Nicaea (during which, the Bible was compiled). The more I read it, the more I realized how much the writings in the book called the Bible had been altered and rewritten. There was a particular prophetic line in it that shook me to the core. It gave me a new insight. I looked at the religious world through these new perceptions for weeks. I became very unsettled. I then read the english translation of the Quran.

Surah 5–al-Maidah
82. You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity
toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate
others with Allah; and you will find the nearest of them in
affection to the believers those who say, "We are Christians."
That is because among them are priests and monks and because
they are not arrogant.
83. And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger,
you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they
have recognized of the truth. They say, "Our Lord, we have
believed, so register us among the witnesses.
84. And why should we not believe in Allah and what has come
to us of the truth? And we aspire that our Lord will admit us
[to Paradise] with the righteous people."

(author's note: there are many here in this "age of information", who have at least as much, if not more learned, than the priests and monks of old.)

My eyes were overflowing with tears as I read the above.

Rajab Vaughan

By the way, I later married that Muslim lady at the automobile repair shop.
Vision Without Glasses


Anonymous said...

very nice story!

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum,
Brother your words are food for thought.You are in a unique position with the ability to explain to Muslims and to non Muslims what it is they need to know and what is important.

The fact that certain groups do not want Muslims to access the help and aid of Allah to counter their use of technology and the other dimension is a necessary message.
Without the help of Allah we can not counter their wars against Islam.
The need for a holistic education in Shariah first after which the other sciences can be taught is also necessary.
The answers to our problems are in our history, what will aid us now is what aided those who proceeded us.
"Indeed, my protector is Allah, who has sent down the Book; and He is an ally to the righteous."Al Araaf: 196

Anonymous said...

just a thought............ could have picked a better place to get married than at the automobile repair shop. Sounds like you have a "keeper".


Anonymous said...

I think what he meant was that he married the lady he met at the autorepair shop. Seriously doubt he got married "in" the auto repair shop.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't read past you calling Christianity a "cult." Christianity encourages debate, dialogue and the open exchange of ideas. Did I miss the verse where Christianity punishes "blasphemy" with death, and apostasy the same? I'd be more worried about a "faith" that doesn't allow their "believers" to think for themselves or to ask the challenging questions. The fact that you confuse Catholicism with Christianity is disturbing. Catholicism is as close as Christians have come to making the same mistakes as Islam. It (like Islam) is a political and social weapon wielded by people who should not be trusted with such a tool.

Anonymous said...

To the above poster, the fact that you could not read past that indicates to me how far your own blinders are closing your eyes.

With little research and based on heresy, some of us appear to be willing to label Islam whatever they choose. Perhaps it would be apt to advise you the following:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you would care to show me where I overstepped the mark? Does Christianity punish apostasy with death? Does Islam? Is Catholicism pure Christianity or a political ideology? The "author" of the article has worshiped (from the sounds of it) every false God under the sun. From the sounds of it his faith is usually determined by his current "flavor of the month." As for my own "blinders" - I loved a Muslim lady and WANTED to find that Islam was "the truth." I read books about Islam and WANTED to "believe." The reality, however, is that the more I studied the more apparent it became that Islam is irreversibly tainted by humanity. Islam appeals to our pure primal instincts (i.e. to conquer, to fight, to rule) while Christianity challenges us to submit, to love, to turn the other cheek. The lives of Jesus and Mohammad are informative. Any man could (given the opportunity) live as Mohammad did. Only one could chose to live as Jesus did.

Anonymous said...


You already seem to have made up your mind about what you believe. Its not for me to show you the way. It is not for me to convince you. I do not know what Quran you read, as in the West, some Christians like to mutilate the Quran with their own translation. In fact, while I lived there, that was all that libraries would carry. If you want to understand the Quran in English, best place would be

Wanting to find Islam because you wanted to marry a Muslim lady is really the wrong orientation to finding anything. Its strange to say you want to find the truth because you loved a Muslim lady. Shows to me the sincerity of the effort to finding "the truth". Allah guides whom He will.

Any man could live as Muhammad (peace be upon him) did? That statement shows exactly how much you know about Muhammad (peace be upon him).

I seriously doubt you know how Jesus (peace be upon him) lived. If you had taken the time to reflect how Jesus (peace be upon him) lived, you'd think twice before coming here to insult Islam and Muhammad (peace be upon him). Ask yourself, would Jesus (peace be upon him) have come on a website and attacked Islam and Muhammad (peace be upon him)? Would Moses (peace be upon him)? Would Noah (peace be upon him)? Would Abraham (peace be upon him)?

Anonymous said...

My friend, you say that I seem to have made up my mind about what I believe - as if that is a bad thing? Is your own mind not made up? As for "which" Quran I read - I'd speculate that the Christian "mutilations" of the Quran (do you really believe that???) that are available in the West are superior to the versions of the bible that are available in many Arab countries... not least because the bible is forbidden there!

Next, I said I WANTED Islam to be the TRUTH because then I could have married the girl of my dreams. In other words, every biased human bone and fiber in my body was ready to give Islam the benefit of the doubt - but the evidence against it was too overwhelming and I lost the girl of my dreams. I lost her because I would not give up God for a lady. Is that wrong of me?

My reference to any man being able to live as Mohammad did was premised on the fact that it is human nature to be aggressive towards those who disagree with us. It is far harder and holier to turn the other cheek. Jesus spoke of how you can tell that a tree is good by the fruit that it yields. Look at Muslim websites (not all, but a majority) and you will find so many forums overrun with hatred and bigotry. There is no sense of "how can we share our good message to the nonbelievers?", it is all about "how can we punish them?". I read one recently and there was a NICE post by someone saying that the other posters were too full of hatred. Do you know what the response to him was? People turned around and said he must be a Jew. In that case, being a Jew seems preferable.

Finally, Jesus was not bashful about lambasting the Pharisees. i.e. people who relied on the law to the detriment of having a true relationship with God. If Jesus had a laptop, I wouldn't be surprised if he challenged people in cyber space as well.

Many of my closest friends are Muslim and I can see from your posts that you are an incredibly kind hearted, intelligent, and patient person. I'm not here to criticize you at all, but I DO disagree with Islam. I "criticize" Islam out of love for my Muslim brothers and sisters. I would expect you to do the same to Christianity if you felt all Christians were misguided, and I would not take that as a personal affront to me.

Anonymous said...

Sallam, the person commenting to you is not the poster. Trolling your hatred of Islam on a Muslim website is most unbecoming of you and does not show love. The Bible is respected by Muslims as a book from Allah and most certainly is not banned in the Middle East. We take Islam a bit more seriously and we are insulted when you insult Islam, because that is what we love, that defines us and that is who we are. I do not have the time to continue this discussion for it seems fruitless and meaningless to continue this conversation.

Anonymous said...

Did I ever suggest that I was communicating with the poster? For some reason Muslims consider anyone who disagrees with Islam to be insulting Islam. In other words, it is ok for a Muslim to say I am a KAFIR, but as soon as I say I am not, then I have "insulted" Islam. I have "dared" to suggest that Islam is wrong in calling me a KAFIR. Muslims push people away and are alienating themselves. Things are coming to a boiling point across Europe.

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