I am an American 59 year old woman who was raised Jewish and attended Hebrew school until after my Bat Mitzvah. My parents were not religious but wanted me to have a religious education. In early childhod around age 5 I started questioning my existance.Later in my late teens I became agnostic which was a short lived experience. Around the age of 25 someone gave me a book on mysticism from the Sufi tradition. I read the book while I nursed my newborn. I felt I had to find these Sufi's. As it turned out I found a group in Vermont, that I stayed involved with for onver 22 years. Although the group which was focused on aspects of Islam, didn't ask you to convert. I tried to fast Ramadan at that time. I was 35 years old. I questioned aspects of the Koran and visited Muslim Sufi's. I was told one really couldn't be a Sufi unless one was Muslim. This comment stayed with me for years and simmered inside. Many years later I met an imam from California. I was in my late 40's. He made such an impression on me without saying anything. (proslytizing is forbidden in Islam) A few years later I saw him in NC and all of a sudden asked him about converting to Islam. What was it that was so strong? Beauty and a scent of love and passion. I converted to Islam in front of 100 or so people. This was a hard decision due to so many external "rules" that contradicts our Western freedom. It is now 10 years later and the beauty of this amazing religion or "spirtual path" as I see it still is a huge undertaking of learning "knowledge" and developing insight into one's existance. Islam, to me is an art form and a wholisitic practice of the body, mind and spiritI feel this invitation by God is a gift. I am now a member of the Jerrahi Halveti Sufi Order in Spring Valley NY. It is a traditonal Muslim Sufi Order.My husband and I plan on perform the hajj this November.
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