In the Name of God: the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord
Last night, I was blessed to listen to UK Journalist Lauren Booth talk about her conversion to Islam. It is truly an amazing story. Her conversion was a big deal because Lauren Booth is the half-sister to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and daughter of actor Tony Booth. Yet, what struck me most about her story is the power of her experience. Hearing her describe the feeling of utter inner peace and contentment was truly awe-inspiring and breath-taking.
Other converts to Islam have described the same sort of experience. And as I was listening to her story, I couldn't help but reflect over my own spiritual experience. Indeed, I did experience a crisis of faith in College, where I suspect many a young adult has gone through the same, but afterwards it led me to a dark spiritual place. Never did I experience the sort of feeling that so many converts to Islam describe.
Now, of course, I feel blessed to have been raised in the Muslim tradition, without denigrating any other religious tradition. I would not have wanted to be raised any other way. Nevertheless, I could not help but feel a tiny bit of sadness at the fact that I did not share the type of experience that Lauren Booth did.
After her talk, I went up to her and asked her about this. She told me that, before she was Muslim, her existence was totally empty, and her life was totally meaningless, despite being quite wealthy and prominent. Her conversion to Islam has brought her life so much more richness and purpose.
That made me understand even more greatly that I should never take faith for granted. It is a gift from God, and I should do my utmost to cherish that gift by remaining faithful to the Lord and His commands and likes. The Quran reminds of this as well when God reminded the Prophet (pbuh):
Has he not found you an orphan and given you shelter? And found you lost on your way and guided you? And found you in want and given you sufficiency? (93:6-8)
This Grace of God is truly extraordinary, and thus in gratitude for this Grace, the servant must do good, as the Quran tells the Prophet (pbuh):
Therefore, do not wrong the orphan, and never chide him that seeks your help, and of your Lord's blessings will you [ever] speak (93:9-11)
Indeed, I may never have as powerful a spiritual experience as a convert to Islam, but I should never take the faith with which I have been blessed for granted. I should guard it jealously and cherish it by doing as much good as I can for all that God has created. May I be worthy of the faith that God has graced me.