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 Carla, a Former Roman Catholic (part 1 of 3)

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الــمــــدير العـــام للمنتــــــــدى
الــمــــدير العـــام للمنتــــــــدى
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تاريخ التسجيل : 15/12/2010
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مُساهمةموضوع: Carla, a Former Roman Catholic (part 1 of 3)   الخميس يناير 13, 2011 10:07 pm

Description: How a mother of five children discovered Islam at the age of 67. Part 1: Her early life.


By Carla (islamicbulletin.org)


Published on 10 Jan 2011 - Last modified on 10 Jan 2011



Viewed: 618 (daily average: 167) - Rating: 4.7 out of 5 - Rated by: 7
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When someone asked me recently how I came into the fold
of Islam, I was taken aback and a bit surprised. For I have never thought of
my coming into Islam as having one critical turning point. When did I first
question Catholicism? When did I first want to become a Muslim? The answers to
these questions and many others require more thought than I could have ever
imagined. To really answer these questions I have to start at the very
beginning so that you understand the point to where I got in my life that led
me to finally accept the truth of Islam. I became a Muslim at the age of 67,
and I thank God that He has blessed me to become a believer in Islam.


“Those whom Allah (in His plan) wills to guide,- He
opens their breast to Islam; those whom He wills to leave straying,- He makes
their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies:
thus does Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.” (Quran 6:
125)


I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic home,
the middle daughter of three children. My father worked hard and long every
day. He would leave early in the morning each day and would return late at
night. All of this so that my mother could stay home and take care of my
sisters and me. One very sad and unfortunate day my mother told us that my
father had been in a car accident. He passed away suddenly and our whole world
turned upside down. With all the changes that were taking place, my mother
told us that she would now have to go back to work. My mother, who had once
been a nurse, was now forced to work to support us. She found a job in the local
hospital, many times working two shifts. But with this newfound
responsibility, my mother was no longer able to oversee our upbringing. And
although she sent us to Catholic school, her job kept her from keeping a
watchful eye on her daughters.


So, with much time to pass and spend, I found
myself spending time with my friends at the local cafes. It was there that I
met a very nice Muslim man who later became my husband. My mother did not know
that I was spending time with this man. In fact, when I told her that I was in
love and wanted to get married, she warned that we were from different
backgrounds and that we would eventually have problems. She stated that if
there were ever children in our future, problems over religion would
undoubtedly develop. At twenty years old, I could not imagine that we would
have any problems in our marriage. I was so in love and felt so happy that
someone would be taking care of me. My husband was not a very religious man at
that time, and deep down I felt that I would be able to get him to convert to
Catholicism. As for us not having the same ethnic background, I considered
myself more open-minded and was excited to be embracing a new culture.


Everything seemed to be going along so perfectly
for the next several years. We were happy and not once did culture or religion
ever cause us any problems. God blessed us with a beautiful son and then
several years later with a beautiful daughter. Still, we went along with our
lives and I even began taking my children to church with me. My husband never
prevented me from attending weekly Sunday mass. However, after a few times of
my taking our children to church, that is when he spoke to me about his not
wanting the children to attend church. Frankly, I was angry and upset. “But
why not,” I objected. “Any religion is better than none,” I argued. I really
could not understand the harm in taking them to church. Up until this point,
we had never even discussed religion. In fact, I had never even questioned
that there could even be a different religion than Catholicism. I was born a
Catholic and thought that Catholicism was the right religion. For
explanations that I can’t even put a finger on, it seemed like from this day
on, so many problems were now evident. We argued all the time— about
everything and everyone. Now, little things became a big deal. Religion
became an arguing point between us. The differences in our cultures became
something to argue about. We argued about in-laws and most unfortunately, we argued
on the upbringing of our children. Everything that my mother warned us about
was now coming true.


The only peace and harmony that was now between
us was the wisdom, sincerity, concern and love my husband’s father, my
father-in-law, had for our marriage. My father-in-law loved his son and
grandchildren, yet also genuinely loved me as a daughter. He was a very
religious and devout Muslim and was a very wise man. At that time, because I
was not surrounded with Islam, my father-in law was the first introduction into
Islam I had. He prayed every prayer, fasted during the month of Ramadan, and
was very generous to the poor. I could feel his connection to God. In fact,
my father-in-law was so kind to the needy that every day after coming home from
the dhur prayer at the mosque, he would invite any needy person home to eat
lunch with. This was every single day. Up until his death at the age of 95,
relatives remembered that he had continued with this habit.


My father-in-law did not like the arguing between
my husband and me and counseled us to find a solution before the children
suffered as a result of our fighting. He tried desperately to help us find a
solution. He warned his son to allow me room to practice my religion, but it
was no longer about religion anymore. I felt frustrated and desired to take a
break. When I asked my husband for a separation, he agreed that perhaps it was
the best thing for our marriage. You know the saying, “Absence makes the heart
grow fonder.” Well, not in our case. In fact, the absence made our hearts grow
further apart. After the separation, we both wanted a permanent separation and
agreed on a divorce. Although I desperately wanted my children to live with
me, we both felt that it would be better for the children to be raised by their
father. He was in a much better position, financially, to raise them and give
them many comforts; something I was not prepared to give. How I longed for
them every night. I moved back with my mother and continued seeing my children
every weekend. My ex-husband would drop off our children on Friday afternoons
and pick them up early Sunday mornings. Although this arrangement hurt, it was
better than nothing.












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Carla, a Former Roman Catholic (part 1 of 3)
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