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My Journey to Islam

as-Salaamon 'Alaikom wa Rahmatollahi wa Barakatoh! My real name is Greg(ory) Sowden. I reverted to Islam from the Roman Catholic church on December 15, 2001 (Ramadhan 29, 1422). I have chosen the Muslim name Ali Mahdi. I'm 20 years old. My birthday is July 26, 1985. When I’m done my BA, I’d like to go to Qom al-Moqaddas (Islamic Republic of Iran) and study at the Hawzah (seminary) there. I go to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My family lives between Port Dover and Simc
My Journey to Islam

as-Salaamon 'Alaikom wa Rahmatollahi wa Barakatoh!

My real name is Greg(ory) Sowden. I reverted to Islam from the Roman Catholic church on December 15, 2001 (Ramadhan 29, 1422). I have chosen the Muslim name Ali Mahdi. I'm 20 years old. My birthday is July 26, 1985. When I’m done my BA, I’d like to go to Qom al-Moqaddas (Islamic Republic of Iran) and study at the Hawzah (seminary) there.
I go to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My family lives between Port Dover and Simcoe in Ontario, Canada on a 400-acre poultry/beef cattle farm. Port Dover is on Lake Erie. I'm interested in geography (countries), world history, world events (especially those in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Occupied Hejaz [“Saudi” Arabia], and Occupied Palestine) and (Shi'ah) Islam.

I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful and that Mohammad is His final Prophet and Messenger and Ali ibn Abi Taleb is his rightful successor until the Day of Judgement!

I am a revert to Islam! al-Hamdolellah!

I will tell you about my life...

My family is Roman Catholic. Before I became Muslim I went to church every week and never questioned my beliefs. I was a "devote" Catholic. Although now I see that I just followed it blindly and didn't question it, because I didn't know there was an alternative because of the sheltered way I was raised and the environment I grew up in. Whenever I heard someone say something wrong about Catholicism I would try to prove them wrong.

But I gradually became dissatisfied with Catholicism, and questioned some aspects of the religion, especially after learning more and more about Islam. Unlike Catholicism, Islam is pure monotheism and has no aspects of paganism at all. I feel now that I was always a monotheist, as I never prayed to Jesus or Mary as many Catholics do, but directly to God.

Unfortunately, my family isn’t supportive at all. When I became a Muslim, my mum said told me that I’m not the "right religion" anymore. She keeps telling me I was happy with my religion before, so, she wonders, why did I change? I became a Muslim because I found out about Islam and became very interested.

I became convinced that al-Islam is the true faith sent down by God. By learning more and more everyday about my faith I have "fell in love" with Islam. This is not the blind faith I had when I was Catholic, but a true deep and abiding faith in Islam. Islam is a way of life and affects each and every part of my day. Catholicism was more of a “once a week” thing.

My e-friend from Kuwait in 2000 introduced me to Islam. I knew very little about Islam before he began to teach me (mostly things I had heard on television), so I guess he "opened my eyes" to Islam: the truth!

I never thought about reverting to Islam at first. I thought that I was “happy” being Catholic. But then I started taking a course at high school called "World Religions" and in my textbook it had some information about Jesus (AS) in Islam. So, I went home and looked this topic up on the Internet.

The information I found sounded convinced me that what Islam said was the truth. The arguments were good. And there was proof of it in the Bible! I found information about the miracles of Islam and those in the Qor’an. I read a few more articles and books about Islam and they "enlightened" me. I wanted to “revert” to Islam, but I didn’t know how I could do this, living in a small “WASP” (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) town where not a single Muslim lived.

So I emailed my Kuwaiti friend and told him about my findings. I told him that "maybe I should revert after learning some more about Islam." I didn't plan on doing it soon. I thought I would revert after I turned 18 because I couldn't get to a Masjed/Hosainiyah and because of my family. I told my Kuwaiti friend this and he said I could say the Shahadah to him. So on December 15, 2001 (Ramadhan 29, 1422) I said the Shahadah to him over MSN Messenger (I have said it to some other Muslim friends since then as well). By saying those wonderful words I became a Muslim! al-Hamdolellah! All Praise be to God!

My other e-friend sent me a Qor’an in the mail in January 2002, and it is the most beautiful book I have ever read. I’ve taught myself a lot of information on Islam over the few years I’ve been a Muslim. I love to learn, and am always seeking new information and ways to improve my iman and taqwa.

I became Muslim because the religion makes so much more sense than Christianity and I feel much more spiritual as a Muslim than I ever did as a Catholic. Islam has a clearly set out lifestyle, which I find very comfortable following. Some people may say following Islam is hard with all the rules forbidding this and that, but if you understand the reasons for these laws, you are comfortable following them.

This life (donya) is a test for the real life in Heaven. I did not blindly revert, although I didn’t know Islam in depth at the time of my reversion. I learned much more after I reverted than I learnt before. Nabi Mohammad (S) is mentioned in the Bible, and the arguments refuting Christian teachings were so compelling. The Qor’an has so many miracles in it, and it obviously was written by God and not by humans!

My family is against my conversion although they aren't as "harsh" about it as they once were. But they do not know what Islam is, and I don't blame them with all the misinformation they hear on the news. I have tried to teach them but they do not care and criticize me! Before I left for university my mum made me go to church every week. I wanted to go to a Masjed/Hosainiyah, but I lived in a small town where there is no Islamic Centre near me and I couldn't drive to the city to go to one. al-Hamdolellah, I can now go to the Kitchener-Waterloo Hosainiyah.


On Wednesday, September 10, 2003, I went to the Hosainiyah for the first time, al-Hamdolellah! I went with Brother Hasnein . He and I are going to university in Waterloo, Ontario. He goes to University of Waterloo, and I go to Wilfrid Laurier University; which are about a 15 minute walk apart.

We went for the Birthday of Imam Ali (AS). We took the bus there and we kind of got lost walking down the street because the Hosainiyah is in the middle of a residential area. Then we saw a woman in hejab going into the Hosainiyah and so we went in. We got there late but we caught most of the khotbah, which was in English.

I didn't understand some of the ‘Arabic used at the Hosainiyah but I caught a few phrases. I’ve learned much of the ‘Arabic over the three years I’ve been going now! After that, we did Maghreb and Isha' prayers. That was the first time I have prayed with other Muslims, and it was a wonderful experience. al-Hamdolellah! After that Hasnein introduced me to a few people, and we talked for a few minutes.

And we had ice cream and chocolate bars. Then it was time to back to university. Shaikh Saleem drove Hasnein and I home and showed us a few Halaal/Muslim places in town. Since then I have gone to every Hosainiyah event that I can go. I thank Allah (SWT) that my Hosainiyah has accepted me as a member of their community, and has done so much to help me.

Since I have become a Muslim, I have made many good Muslim friends both in person and online. They are there for me when I have questions and when I need prayers.

I am proud that I have found the true path - Shi'ah Islam. I know that following the Ahl al-Bait (AS) of the Prophet Mohammad (S) is what Allah wants all of us to do.

If you have any questions please contact me.


source : sibtayn
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