Why did I become a Sunni or a Muslim?
I have dedicated my story of Islam to shed light into understanding of Persians and Shiats which I hope it will help those searchers of truth. I personally believe that there are enough and complete admonition in Quran, Hadith and the lives of the companion of the Messenger of God ‘Mohammad’ (May the peace and blessing be upon him). But due to recent political situations around the world concerning Sunni-Shiat fights, arguments and quarrels, I felt that maybe I should break my silence and let the world know the truth. My Muslim name is Abubakr Hashimy belonging to a Persian middle class family and was born in Tehran, Iran. I grow up under secular style of life and ideology. When I was in Iran, my parents use to train me to love the former king of Iran ‘SHAH’ and to avoid religion and to love the west. I remember when my mother use to teach me that when they ask you to go to religious rituals just say that I have stomach ache so that they send you home, and that is exactly what I use to do. During my school years in Iran, we had to study the shiat version of Islam at the public schools, and I mean pressured way of religious studies whether we liked it or not. Time passed until mid-eighties when I was in 6th and 7th grade, when I became a big fan of western rock stars like Michel Jackson and other famous singers. I used to think that this is the coolest thing to do at those times and I was only 12 years old. I may seem very young to some people but my brain had the adolescent mentality unlike nowadays where you find most teenagers belonging to game boy generation. My parents used to feel worried about me that maybe one day the government extremist may arrest me for being pro-western and send me to war against Iraq as it was common in those days for kids to be recruited to join the Basiji or revolutionary forces. So they decided to migrate to the land of freedom where we all can be safe and happy. Therefore the ideal country for this purpose was United States where we could start a new life and live with those who have the same ideology as we did. But something was about to happen to me which was a shock to everyone and not just to my family members. When I arrived to United States, I felt very happy as the luckiest man in the world. But after sometime I started feeling homesick and went in to depression for loosing my friends, cozen and relatives back in Iran. I started feeling guilty for the things that I have done in my past life, anything that can be considered sin or mistake. I used to feel dark inside as if I could feel my heart tightened, so I burst into tears hoping for a way out of my misery. One day when I got out of the shower, I looked at my closet and suddenly remembered what my teacher said once to us in our class and this was about a year before I came to America. He was my religious teacher in the public school who said: ‘ If you want to respect the Quran, you will respect it by reading it’, this saying ringed in my head as soon as I gazed my eyes to the closet where I had a Quran with Persian translation. I was wearing my towel rope and went to the closet and saw the Quran; I picked it up and sat on my bed. I told myself, let Allah choose a page for me, so I just opened it and started reading. I didn’t have a good tajweed or proper Quranic recitation but I tried to read from what they thought us at the school in Iran and then read the Persian translation. Then suddenly when I was reading it, my head felt light and I felt peace in my heart as if someone threw a water to extinguish the fire. Such a strange feeling of tranquility! This was my first time that I actually was reading the Quran for myself and not for getting a good grade at school in Iran, it felt a huge difference. So I came across this ayah mentioning that if someone repents, Allah (God) will change the bad deeds to good deeds. So I was filled with hope and felt that this is the best deal that I can get. So I started reading more and more. But sadly, I didn’t know how to perform the five daily Muslim prayers or how to fast due to my dislike of learning Islam in the past when I was in Iran. But since I didn’t know any Islam but the Ayatollah Khomeini way of Shia Islam, so I thought that this was the guided way. My father got so worried that he sent me to YMCA or the fanatic Christian camp which they tried to convert me to Christianity but it back fired on him, because I was a rebellious and a revolutionary son. A year passed and I use to go to the market in the weekends because I had nothing to do at home and was bored. In the market, for the first time, I saw a Muslim from Palestine by the name Barraq Abdu. I came to know that he was a Sunni Muslim so I felt that since all the Sunnis are kafir (infidel) I have the obligation of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil by converting him to Shiaism. But as the shiat guidelines of how to hang around Sunnis, I used the art of Tuqiah or in an easy translation ‘The Art of Hypocrisy’, which meant that when we meet the Sunnis we say we all are Muslims, brothers, believing one book and should be united but when we go back to our shiat brethren, we call them kafir. One day when I was debating him about Shias and Sunnis, and I asked him if the Sunnis say in their Adhan(the call of prayer) that Omar or Abubakr (the first two caliphs of Islam) are the friends of god as the shias do with Ali �I bear witness that Ali is the friend of god, I bear witness that Ali is the proof of God, and he responded no, that in those days these issues and problems about who should be the first caliph and etc didn’t exist that is why this new innovation didn’t exist in the time of the prophet Mohammad(saw). This saying of his made me curious, hit me like an arrow and I started asking myself, that if it didn’t exist in the prophet time, then where did it come from and why? Why do we shias beat ourselves injure ourselves in the day of Ashura, when suicide and hurting ourselves are forbidden in Islam. I went and bought a book about knowing Islam in Persian written by a Sunni Iranian and learned a summary of the caliphate of Abubakr, Omar, Othman and Ali (May Allah be please with them). There was logical Islamic explanation for their election as the Khalifah or the caliph of Islam. For first time in my entire life, I came across hadith about Abubakr, Omar and Othman (RA). I was shocked, not even as a joke I expected to see our prophet praising them. But here it was our prophet saying if I choose a friend, I will choose Abubakr as a friend or Omar who was given the title of Al-Farooq which means the one who separate the right from wrong, or Othman whom our prophet (saw)said if I have another daughter , I would have married her to him. I didn’t even know that Ali (RA) used to love and defend the first three caliphs of Islam and they used to love him as well. So after I found out that I was living in darkness, I decided that it is time for me to enter the true Islam, the original Islam, or return to the fundamentals. A week before I become a Sunni, I saw my beloved prophet Mohammad (saw)in a dream. In the dream, I was running away from a crusader and went to this place and closed the door. Then I saw a road in the galaxy coming down towards my direction. I opened the door and it was Prophet Mohammad (saw). I saw him in a green turban as if it was real life and not a dream. In the coming weekend I went to my Palestinian friend in the market and asked him How can I become a Sunni? he said: You are a Sunni! It was a challenge for me as a young boy of 14 years of age entering Islam. I didn’t know what was Tawheed or Monotheism,because the shia tawheed or idea of monotheism is like Mushrikin or (pagans),they believe in the opposite,for example, they say that if you ask Allah via 12 Imams is better than you ask Allah directly,so they make shirk and partnership to Allah like some sufis. So I thought that now I must ask the first 4 caliphs of Islam for help or to use them like the shiat Imams as wasitah. It took me time to realize that this is a major sin in Islam and that it will kick the person out of Islam.Also their prayer,so I didn’t even know how to pray or fast,etc. My parents moved to the small city of Melbourne in the state of Florida. By then I was 15 years old. At one of the parties I met a so called muslim who told me that there was a mosque in that city so I got the direction and got on my bicycle looking for the mosque. After finding the mosque which was a humble house in those days, for first time in my life since my arrival to United States, I entered a mosque. I was so happy that I felt, this is my new home. I met many Muslims from different countries and it was so beautiful. I found a lots of good friends who used to help me and give me ride to the mosque if they see me walking in street. This is how I started learning about Islam. But my hardest exam from Allah was about to start. At first I used to hide my Islam and my connection to the mosque from my parents. I used to tell them that I go to library and study which I was truthful. I used to stop by the library on the way going to mosque so that I don’t lie in Islam. Even when I read the Quran, when my mother used to check on me in my room, I pull my history book forward from underneath my bed, and when she use to leave, I pulled my Quran back again. But this secret was not about to last for ever. It blew up when one of my parent friends found out from the same so called Muslim who told me about the mosque, but sadly this brother left his religion and turned the fire on me. I had my Quraish who were the secularist Iranians and my parents joining hands in hand against me turning this into a serious and big issue. They started by making many attempts to make me leave Islam including beating me while I performing my prayers, harassing me when reading Quran, forcing me into their wine drinking parties even by coming to the mosque and beating me which didn’t work. My father took a tire off my bicycle and even kicked me out in a cold winter. But nothing worked since I was willing to be killed but not losing Islam. I had no support, the brothers tried to help me by secretly taking me to the mosque because my father threatened the Imam that he will file a law suit against the mosque. Oh , and me, I had to respect my parents and be patient, turn my other cheek to my father if he slap me but to disobey them when it came to Islam.