Prepared for the Ministry But Came to Islam
Since many of you have asked me who I am or why did I embrace
Islam, I am going to offer a brief version of my story. One must keep in mind
that it is difficult to condense over 5 years of experiences, feelings,
impressions, into a brief summary. I want to first say that I write this not to
draw any attention to myself, but only to give all praises to Allah who has led
us all to Islam.
This is my story of how I embraced Islam. Let me tell you a little about myself first. My name is Shawn Smith and I am from New Brunswick, Canada. I was brought up a Christian but did not seriously practice Christianity until I was 17. At that age I took Christianity very seriously and became very zealous in my faith. About 1.5 years later I attended a Christian college in order to prepare myself to become a minister. After graduating from this college I was an assistant pastor for about 2 years. Over the process of time I became disillusioned with the practice of any faith whatsoever so I stopped going to church. Although I always believed in God I was just not interested in any religion at the time.
In l988 I began University where I completed my degree in Political Science and Sociology. I continued my studies at the graduate level at the University of Western Ontario in London Ontario Canada. University opened up new worlds of knowledge for me which I never considered before. I never attended University with the view to getting a better job in the first place, but to learn about the world around me.
It was during my stay in London Ontario that I became most interested in studying Islam. The adjoining college was offering a short non-credit course on Islam so I decided to sign up for it with the goal of learning more about the Islamic faith. Although I had Muslim friends before this for the most part religion was never discussed. I did not agree with everything that the instructor told me in the Islam class but I still kept going back as I was very interested in learning more. I was actually disappointed when the course was over. I was elated when I heard there would be yet another course on Islam in the next semester so I sat in on that also. It was the same instructor.
I can’t remember now all the things that were taking place in my mind at that time but I do remember reading the Qur’an (in English of course) and being affected by it very much. I read it on a regular basis and soon became convinced without any encouragement from anyone else that the Qur’an was indeed the Word of God. This is where my gradual transition to the acceptance of Islam began. No one pressured me. No one preached to me or tried to convince me. I was on my own and knew very few people in London to begin with. I began to attend Jumu’ah prayers on my own and also the Sunday lessons given by the Imam. Since Allah has made me a strong-willed individual, I was not very intimidated by my new surroundings, nor did I care then or now what others thought.
It was on February 1993 that I finally took my Shahadah and I have been Muslim ever since. Allah has blessed me with a Muslim wife who I have been married to for 4 years on Sept. 21, 1998