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Why I Converted to Islam

by Cole Tasgal

I did not have a religious upbringing, therefore I was exposed to a wide variety of other cultures and religions as I was growing up. Every religion adheres to its unique canon of norms concerning behavior, dress and other aspects of life.

There are monotheistic faiths such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Other religions such as Buddhism don’t have one god but have a variety of different views about life and the hereafter.

The practice of religion is one of the world’s most time-honored customs that is still carried out today.

My decision to become a Muslim came about as a result of a chain of unfortunate circumstances in my life. I was choosing either between the Christian religion or the Islamic religion. Christianity and Islam are both quite similar religions, and both include important individuals like Jesus in their canons.

Since I was raised in an environment with many Christians and took part in many Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, I was culturally more familiar with Christianity than other world religions. I didn’t know much about the different branches of Christianity, such as whether there is something called orthodox or traditional Christianity or whether some Christians are more devoted to the religion than others.

However, the reason I chose Islam was the people who practiced that religion tended to be more devoted to being Muslim in my experience. I decided to become a Muslim not just so that I could find a solution to my problems, but also so that I could become part of a community.

Since the purpose of religion is to bring people of like faiths and values together, it stands to reason that I would not have converted to Islam if it were not one of the most widely practiced religions on the planet.

It is not necessary to pray more than five times a day or wear a headscarf in order to be considered a devout Muslim; rather, it is more important to remain faithful to who you are as a person and to remain in intimate contact with yourself.

Even though the Quran, which is the most important religious text in Islam and is considered by Muslims to be a revelation from God, is constantly being updated with new interpretations of which behaviors, thoughts and actions are considered haram and which aren’t.

Being a devoted Muslim to me means following your own path, following your own ethics and doing what you want to do regardless of what other people say, all while having faith that a spiritual figure known as Allah is always with you.

Today, Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the world. It originated in Saudi Arabia and reached as far as places like Malaysia and Indonesia. People of all different walks of life convert to Islam, no matter race, ethnicity, culture, etc.

Islam is one of the most common religions that prisoners who are looking to reform their life convert to. I formally converted to Islam at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in Clifton last month, and I plan to go forward with the religion and expect great things of all sorts to happen from here.

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