[Are those who know equal to those who know not? It is only men of understanding who will remember.] (Az-Zumar 39:9)
These were the first words from the Qur'an that touched me. And when I read that I could not stop .thinking about it. I wondered what should I really know to understand? What really is knowledge?
What is it in reading books and studying theories, philosophies and thoughts if at the end we still do not find any meaning for our existence? Western answers for this dilemma just made me frustrated, uncomfortable, hopeless and, at the end, depressed.
At that time I could not believe in God nor pray anymore. How it happened? I do not know.
What I know is that it was like in one day I believed in God (I was Christian – a Protestant) and the next day to think about the existence of a God, Creator, was like nonsense to me.
I used to read part of the Old or the New Testament every day and also make studies of it. I found nice words there, but unreal ones. I mean, without applicability. I have never seen anyone living in accordance with these words.
Observing the way people live, the way things happen, the way deals and arrangements are done around the world to make ones superior to others, I, in my mind, concluded that this is a very unjust and unfair world. The Bible's words, so nice, were not more than some man's invention.
Religion was not more than a way to keep the poor and the oppressed people calm, satisfied and submissive, like cattle. It was verily the opium for the people. It was a way to keep the uncontrollable mankind under some rules that allowed him to live without kills each other at least openly.
In this point it was easy to lose my faith, my belief. I thought, "If there is a God, he is cynical and unfair. I do not make deals with unfair people, I do not make deal with an unfair god."
I wished I had never learnt how to read and wished just be like other people around me. Going to work, coming back home, watching TV (and accepting all what is said there), reading Sidney Sheldon, buying clothes, etc. I thought maybe I could be happy living in that way. Alienated.
But I was in a path without return. What I have seen, read, observed was me and I could not find any reason to be alive anymore.
I stopped making questions and chose one definite answer: this entire world and the whole creation were by chance and full stop. Done. The problem of the creation was solved and the mankind was just pathetic and ridiculous.
But for some reason at that time I could not nominate (and now I call destiny) I still could not sleep well seeing injustices and manipulation practiced for some groups above others. I chose a side and a cause to defend.
I chose to learn more about Muslims and defend their cause. I could choose another "minority" or oppressed people, but, for reasons that Allah knows better, I chose Muslims.
I had never heard about Islam before, but I was curious to know who was those that the western world was calling terrorists. I knew if the TV was showing them as evil, it was necessary to investigate because something was hidden on the whole story.
To know about Muslims and Islam I should be in touch with Muslims. In Brazil, my country, we do not have too many communities. Then I went to the Internet and met many in chat rooms.
One young Saudi Muslim told me about Nizar Qabbani and I researched about him and found a poem called "I am with Terrorism". The poet quotes many events and places totally unknown to me and I realized how ignorant I was. I had never heard about any of those facts.
One day, I was chatting with a chat friend (today a loved brother) and he showed me a site where I could read the Qur'an. I opened it and random a surah (chapter) to read.
The title was in Arabic and I asked him the meaning in English and he told me it was the "Day of Judgment". He told me that he was wondering why I chose exactly that surah, that should be an advice.
I remember I said to him if there is a God and if He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, He knows that words of punishment cannot affect me at all. Instead I am looking for words of hope, reasonable and effective words of hope.
At that time I remember that every night I had the same wish: I wish I could not wake up tomorrow. But the next day my eyes were opened again. It was reaching an unbearable level.
I left Brazil and came to Germany.
One day I was really desperate. I made ablution the way I read Muslims do, I prostrated the way I knew Muslims do and said "God, if You are real, release me from this situation. Show me the way."
Al-hamdu llilah. He did. I felt peace in my heart. Such peace I was looking for.
In my German class there were some sisters and I asked them some instructions. They gave me some books and my first Qur'an. May Allah bless them all.
I read the Qur'an. And there I found:
[And I created not the jinn and the mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).] (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
[And We have made some of you as a trial for others; will you have patience?] (Al-Furqan 25:20)
And all the answers I was looking for were there.
My life didn't change. It was still hard most of the time. What changed was my attitude facing the life. I still have more "no" then "yes" from Allah. The difference is that now I know that He is my Lord and my Wali (Guardian), and His "no" is better to me. I am grateful.
Hagar is a 42-year-old Muslim convert. She holds a degree in linguistics and literature and is a specialist in Portuguese language and literature.