To a person looking for a source of peace and meaning, this Deen is a way of life he will do anything to grab hold of. To a longtime sinning person, when he starts learning about his Deen, he never wants to go back to the way he was. To a person who held onto the Deen since birth, it is way of life he would not trade for the world, for he considers it a blessing from Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Why is this? What is it about this Deen that causes us to love, respect, and treasure it more than a irreplaceable jewel? Last week, the Rutgers Muslim Student Association hosted the event, “A Tale of Three Shahadas” to help shed light on how special this Deen really is and why we should not take it for granted.

ROOTS, the da’wah initiative of the MSA, invited three reverts, Brother Ameer Sharma, Brother Abu Sumayyah and Sister Nahela Morales, to share their beautiful journey to Islam and serve as reminders to many of us that this Deen shapes and makes us who we are. Brother Ameer began by explaining the minimum amount of knowledge he actually had of Muslims and was first introduced and exposed to Islam when the hijab was banned in France. His interest sparked when he heard Muslim women would rather leave university than take off their hijabs, which helped him realize there is an absolute certainty in the hearts of these people that causes them to make such a decision. His interest in Islam increased when a brother was able to relate ayas (miraculous signs/verses) to more modern practical examples. This helps us realize the commands of Allah subhana wa ta’ala and what He says is not only for the Muslims of the past, but for the present people as well.

Sister Nahela Morales kindly shared with us her encounter with Islam. It began with the attack on 9/11 and escalated into curiosity. Though her curiosity did not immediately cause her to take her Shahada, a few years later, she realized she was not content. Though she had everything superficial, something inside her felt empty which became her reason to take her Shahada.

When asked for any advice she may have for other Muslim brothers and sisters she said, “Many of us leave our families along the way, you become our family…shelter them, invite them…to an ordinary dinner, so they can feel welcome as a part of the community. We should all become one, and the youth can make a difference. Really up to the youth.”

We realize how important the idea of a brotherhood/sisterhood is. Allah subhana wa ta’ala connected us through the Shahada, and it is up to us to keep that bond as strong.

Further insight was given by Brother Abu Sumayyah and his reminder of how this Deen can change us from someone carrying a questionable lifestyle to a person who can be forgiven for their sins entirely by the Will of Allah subhana wa ta’ala and entirely change his life for the better. Part of treasuring this Deen is realizing how it helps us live a better and more fulfilled life. Brother Abu Sumayyah courageously shared with us how he was not among the most pious of men however, after realizing the truth and logical standing that Islam carries; he took his Shahada and continued to look forward. He also humbly shared with us how character is important and how you must practice what you preach. As practicing Muslims, we should undoubtedly appreciate this message, for if we wish to have other people see the good in this Deen, we must try our best to be good as well.

Three inspirational stories on a night where many were enthusiastic and eager to listen. The lessons learned and the questions asked were all incumbent to our growth and development in becoming better practicing Muslims, Alhamdulillah. Something that we all should realize is we are not doing a favor for this Deen, but this Deen is doing a favor for us. We are the ones who are in need, not Allah subhana wa ta’ala. This way of life is no doubt a blessing to be treasured, and we must remind ourselves how much we are actually affected by its beauty.  Ask yourself, why do you love this Deen?

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