13. Mrs. Shariffa Carlo
The story of how I reverted to al Islam is a story
of plans. I made plans, the group I was with made plans, and Allah made plans.
And Allah is the Best of Planners. When I was a teenager, I came to the
attention of a group of people with a very sinister agenda. They were and
probably still are a loose association of individuals who work in government
positions but have a special agenda - to destroy Islam. It is not a
governmental group that I am aware of; they simply use their positions in the
US government to advance their cause.
One member of this group approached me because he
saw that I was articulate, motivated and very much the women's rights advocate.
He told me that if I studied International Relations with an emphasis in the
Middle East, he would guarantee me a job at the American Embassy in Egypt. He
wanted me to eventually go there to use my position in the country to talk to
Muslim women and encourage the fledgling women's rights movement. I thought
this was a great idea. I had seen the Muslim women on TV; I knew they were a
poor oppressed group, and I wanted to lead them to the light of 20th century
With this intention, I went to college and began
my education. I studied Quran, hadith and Islamic history. I also studied the
ways I could use this information. I learned how to twist the words to say what
I wanted them to say. It was a valuable tool. Once I started learning, however,
I began to be intrigued by this message. It made sense. That was very scary. Therefore,
in order to counteract this effect, I began to take classes in Christianity. I
chose to take classes with this one professor on campus because he had a good
reputation and he had a Ph.D. in Theology from Harvard University. I felt I was
in good hands. I was, but not for the reasons I thought. It turns out that this
professor was a Unitarian Christian. He did not believe in the trinity or the
divinity of Jesus. In actuality, he believed that Jesus was a prophet.
He proceeded to prove this by taking the Bible
from its sources in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and show where they were changed.
As he did this, he showed the historical events which shaped and followed these
changes. By the time I finished this class, my deen had been destroyed, but I was still not ready to
accept Islam. As time went on, I continued to study, for myself and for my
future career. This took about three years. In this time, I would question
Muslims about their beliefs. One of the individuals I questioned was a Muslim
brother. Alhamdulillah, he saw my interest in the deen, and made it a personal effort to educate me
about Islam. May Allah increase his reward. He would give me dawaa at every opportunity which presented itself.
One day, this man contacts me, and he tells me
about a group of Muslims who were visiting in town. He wanted me to meet them.
I agreed. I went to meet with them after ishaa
prayer. I was led to a room with at least 20 men in it. They all made space for
me to sit, and I was placed face to face with an elderly Pakistani gentleman. Mashallah, this brother was a very knowledgeable man in
matters of Christianity. He and I discussed and argued the varying parts of the
bible and the Quraan until the fajr. At
this point, after having listened to this wise man tell me what I already knew,
based on the class I had taken in Christianity, he did what no other individual
had ever done. He invited me to become a Muslim. In the three years I had been
searching and researching, no one had ever invited me. I had been taught, argued
with and even insulted, but never invited. May Allah guide us all. So when he
invited me, it clicked. I realized this was the time. I knew it was the truth,
and I had to make a decision. Alhamdulillah,
Allah opened my heart, and I said, "Yes. I want to be a Muslim." With
that, the man led me in the shahadah - in English and in Arabic. I swear by Allah that
when I took the shahadah, I felt the strangest sensation. I felt as if a
huge, physical weight had just been lifted off my chest; I gasped for breath as
if I were breathing for the first time in my life. Alhamdulillah, Allah had given me a new life - a clean slate -
a chance for Jennah, and I pray that I live the rest of my days and die as a
Shariffa A Carlo (Al