One petal of the TLC flower is Religion and Spirituality. Part of being a complete human being is having a spiritual connection with the divine. As Iyanla Vanzant says, “Spirituality is a journey inward that connects the Self to your self. When you know who you are from the inside out, when you do what you sense is right for you, when your thoughts lead you to actions that serve others as well as make you feel good, then you have encountered spirituality.”
My faith is Islam. I came to Islam after years and years of studying all the religions I could learn about. I did not even hear about Islam until I was twenty eight. I had a classmate at Mesa College in San Diego who noticed that I was hanging out with the Tibetan Buddhists. He asked if I were Buddhist and I was not sure of the answer. I knew that I was studying and I knew that I loved the Eightfold Path. However, I was a bit confused because some Buddhists had many Gods. My classmate was from Iraq and was perhaps thinking I did not believe in any God so he wanted me to know about Islam. He asked me the infamous question, “How do the buds know to form in the Spring and how do the leaves know to fall in Autumn?” Only by God could that be was the obvious answer… intelligent design. I added Islam to my religions to study.
Four years later, I finally found a Qu’ran to read. I found something completely different than what was being spoon fed us by post 9/11 mainstream media. I found Islam to be a very feminist religion. Women in Islam had rights that only after a long arduous struggle women in the West were afforded. The women in Islam did not have to be jailed for protest, fast, and force fed to obtain their rights of divorce, ownership of property, and a say in the ruling of the community. Women were even encouraged to get an education and respected as women; not being women having to struggle to be in the boy’s club.
The other remarkable thing I found in the Qu’ran was that science and faith went hand in hand. In most other religions, you were either a scientist or a believer; you could not be both. There are many scientific facts in the Qu’ran that were only in recent years discovered. These facts are such:
- “We made every living thing from water? Will they not believe?” [21:30]. Water is essential for life and living things are made of mostly water; the human being is made up of 75% of water.
- “We sent down Iron with its great inherent strength and its many benefits for humankind.” [57:25] Scientists have proven that Iron is not natural to Earth but came from distant stars and came here through meteorites.
- “We made the sky a protective ceiling. And yet they are turning away from Our signs!” [21:32] The ozone layer.
- “Did We not make the earth a resting place? And the mountains as stakes?” [78:67] Mount Everest is 9 km high above ground with a root deeper than 125 km.
- “We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance)…” [23:12-14] The stages of embryonic development.
- When the sky is rent asunder, so it was like rose colored, like murky oil. So, which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” [55:37-38] The rose nebula as it is called by NASA.
There are many more scientific facts in the Qu’ran, but it was this last one that convinced me that I had found the truth for me. I fell in love with Islam. Everything spoke to my heart and I found my place in this world. However, after time I found not all Muslims are as they should be. It took its toll on me as it has many other converts. We often joke, “thank God we learned about Islam before we met the Muslims.” So, after ten years, I struggle. I have not walked away simply because in my heart my love for Islam is still there.
So, part of the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, I am working on strengthening my eeman. I have been blessed to become part of a group of reverts like me. We keep in touch, try to extend a helping hand to one another, we learn together and meet weekly. I thank God for them and am excited about the possibilities we can create together for our community.