The value of what we found is proportional to our efforts. We usually understand the value of what we have in our hand when we are deprived of them. Firsts leave a nice memory on us because firsts contain the long lasting deprivation in them.
I met with Mustafa last year during a Ramadan dinner. Like many convert man to Islam, with his smiling face, with a beard that gives an impression of uncle hadji, Mustafa seemed to have a look that was hosting a submitted soul. He is one of the handful of Muslims who live in a city called Greenville in Mississippi. Until establishing the Jumah prayers in Greenville, for a long time, he did not have a group of Muslim friends and therefore used to go to a masjid that was 45 minutes away every week to perform his Jumah prayer. Time to time, he visits his Muslim friends who live in Starkville, which is three hours distance. His wife becomes Muslimah after him. For several years after taking shahada, he had difficulty establishing Islam as his way of life. He mentioned that he had to take his family to a church in order to give them a glimpse of faith during that time. Then in June 2001 he realized that one day he must stand before Allah and give an account for his life. He then made a commitment to establish Islam as his deen. In 2004 he legally changed his name from Randall to Mustafa to be known as a Muslim. He added that after becoming a Muslim, he joined an Islamic discussion groups and exchanged ideas mostly with Christian members. He says he quit writing discussion groups when he realized no benefit doing so. He indicated his writings in this discussion group were about hundred pages.
Mustafa narrates his story on how he became Muslim as following; During my undergraduate studies in Mississippi State University, I shared my room with an Iranian student. After a while we become friends and started discussing our beliefs with each other. In these discussions, we both tried to prove that what each believed was the true message. The discussions lasted for almost one year and my belief of trinity was quite strong Mustafa says. One Christmas when Mustafa was going his home for a break, he barrows his friends Quran to better understand Islamic view of Isa (pbuh). He checks the index and reads all suras that mention Isa (pbuh). Initially he disagreed with the Qur’an, but then he realizes what he reads makes more sense and keeps reading many suras. Later he realized his heart is opened to one god concept. He is thankful that the true message has found him but he still questions what he has done to be honored with Islam.
His wife had taught belief of trinity is imitative and thus her becoming Muslimah was much easier than that of Mustafa. He mentioned that recently, he and his wife have compared the style of Quran and New Testament of Bible and been astonished with the direct style of Quran and indirect style of Bible.
This is pretty much the situation, who knows maybe being blessed with Islam is due to Allah’s complete will upon one’s partial will that wanted to learn a subject thoroughly. Supposedly, concrete false beliefs and further imitative beliefs submit to the truth. This is the point where the Grace of Allah and honorable will was showing itself.
Short answers of mine to Mustafa’s questions like what makes one a Muslim? and how one becomes a Muslim?; To be looking for, feeing the lack of something, and be thinking.