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I converted to the religion of Islam 17 years ago. I was going through some very difficult times when guidance to Islam came to me. I feel like I had pretty much given up on everything in life. I felt like all of my friendships were superficial. I was being harassed at my job. My family life was a mess. Basically, everything in life was collapsing around me. I had decided at the time that life was no longer worth living. Yes, I had planned to take my own life. All I remember is looking at myself in the mirror and saying, "God, whoever You are. Come help me and I will find you." Little did I know at the time that God is closer to us that our own jugular vein (from Quran). God entered my life almost immediately at that point. My older brother had converted to the religion before me and gave me a Quran to read. It was everything that I felt that I always believed in my heart. Being Muslims simply means submission to God. It is affirmation that God knows what is best for my life and I should follow the guidance given through the Quran and Sunnah (life and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). The beauty of Islam is that it is a way of life. I used to attend church on Sundays and felt that the rest of the week went by without any spiritual connection. Muslims pray five times a day to bring us back to our spiritual selves and to God. My hope for the future of Islam to to see a true American Muslim identity emerge, filled with tolerance and cooperation with other faiths. One concern that I have is Muslims always respect the traditional Muslim scholars of the past and not be misled by fanaticism, racism or hatred.