by Zakiyyah Al Zahid
My journey to Islam began when I was 16. I had been raised as a Christian with a strong sense of spirituality. Due to my mother’s nontraditional studies I developed a natural curiosity about Eastern thought processes. One night sitting in my room, I came to the realization that Jesus (AS) could possibly return in my lifetime. This thought was enough to catapult me into change. I figured it was time to get to know this figure of humility much better.
As a Christian, I thought the way to do this was to increase my presence in church. Sundays were no longer enough. I began to attend every Bible study I could find, going sometimes three nights a week on the Berkeley campus where I was studying. I also asked my advisor to sign me up for a class entitled “The Bible as Literature as a part of my English studies there. The deeper I delved into the Bible during group sessions at church, the more confused and frustrated I got. However, my Berkeley professor did a superb job clarifying the major issues I had with inconsistencies and contradictions. In his course I learned that the King James Version (which most Christians rely on) did not contain the original message of Jesus (AS). In fact, the oldest version of the Bible, the Greek Septuagint, was still very different from what Jesus (AS) actually taught. With this new information, I decided to increase my studies overall. Most importantly, I opened my heart and asked for guidance.
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