Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Islam is something that found me quite by accident or so I thought. When I first realised that God existed I was a small child of four years. I had a dream and since that time I have known God would always be with me.
I started my religious life as a Protestant from the Church of England. I went to Sunday school and I often went to church by myself. I would ride my bike for miles into the countryside seeking out old churches so I could have a quiet moment with God. I admired the stained glass windows and would stand on tip toe to peek inside the huge Bibles on their pedestals. Sitting in the pews I would sniff the musty air and look at the worn stone floors and wonder how many people had walked there before me.
I believed in God yet I found the Christian faith a great paradox. I was told to worship Jesus alongside God which went against the first commandment of ‘do not worship besides God any other’. Prophets and messengers of the past are not a priority in my relationship with God. The Scriptures they left for us are still here for us to read and I have read them to find out truth.
I found contradictions in what I was told about Christianity by preachers, others around me and what I read in the Bible. No one ever gave me a satisfactory answer to the endless questions I had.
I left the Church, but I did not abandon God. I wandered through the wilderness seeking His guidance and praying that He did not let go of me. The teenage years swept me into a life I had not expected but the one sure thing in my life was always God.
It was in my early twenties that I came across Islam. I went to North African and lived with Muslim families. I found many of the things they told me about Islam rather confusing. I heard so many contradictions and again no one gave me satisfactory answers to me questions. So I decided to trust God and find out for myself.
Over the years I have read as many translations of the Quran as I can find. Some of them are easier to read than others. But no matter which translation I read, I found the same message in the Quran as I had found in the Bible, ‘worship God alone’. It confirmed my belief in one God and gave me awareness and knowledge about things I had never known. Every time I open the Quran to read it I learn something new.
I have never belonged to a ‘community’ in a church or a mosque. When I decided to live my life as a Muslim, a submitter to the one and only God, and walk my own path, I had every faith that God would be with me. To be a Muslim means that I am free from the chains of clergy and I trust God to lead me along the path to salvation. I fight my demons like everyone else but my belief in God alone makes me the person I am.
Chapter 22, verse 15
If anyone thinks that God cannot support him in this life and in the Hereafter, let him turn completely to heaven and sever dependence on anyone else. He will then see that this plan eliminates anything that bothers him.