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In the Name of God بسم الله

New Shia Convert

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  • Advanced Member

wa-alaykum salaam bro

alhamdulillah, congratulations on the reversion.

As the sister said above, dont hesitate to ask questions and we will try and asnwer to the best of our abilities insha'Allah.

it would also be nice to share your story on this forum and insha'Allah we all can get to know you better and benefit from your story.

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  • Advanced Member

Welcome to ShiaChat. Nice to meet you.

Congratulations for reverting to the School of Ahl al-Bayt. This is the best decision you’ve made in your life.

ShiaChat is the largest Shia cyber community in the world. Here, you’ll find Shia and non-Shia from all over the world.

Do you mind sharing your conversion story? Thank you

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  • Basic Members

A-salam -ua lakum brothers and sisters. Thank you all for the warm welcome. I will be more than happy to share my story with you all.

I am an American born and raised in the United States. My interest of religion started when I was very young. Having a very keen interest in Western & Eastern philosophies and esotericisms I found myself spending hours in the library.

My journey of actual theological discovery and realization started during a trip in France. I happened to be in Blois and the architecture there was captivating. However, there was one thing in particular that caught my attention, the cross. And then an array of questions starting floating in my brain like, “what is the cross?” or “what does it stand for?” I needed answers. This symbol intrigued me; why do so many people turn to it when in distress and interpret it in so many different ways. The cross is a symbol that in its numerous forms is met everywhere at the most remote times. The geometrical symbolism of the cross and its significance on society was something I was contemplating. Traditional Christian doctrines relate the cross to symbolize the realization of ‘Universal Human’ as a sign that is everywhere; attached to the primordial tradition. But how can something so misunderstood be so influential?

I was left in a state of dissatisfaction and unawareness for years until a visit to India. Here I saw something I did not quite comprehend and it was my attempt to understand as a westerner what eastern spirituality was all about. I quickly came to the realization that there were a numerous amount of erroneous interpretations and understandings of western orientalism; or rather the creation of a false orientalism with no sense or principles. Christianity and the degeneration of major branches have gained a detachment from its own tradition and voluntarily transitioned into a western tradition. I believed that real traditionalism was introduced, in the proper sense, only in this world. So whilst in India I turned to Hinduism as it defined the most fundamental concept of traditionalism and recorded as “the oldest religion.” I started studying the Hindu doctrines learning of different realms and the perspective of the sacred texts in comparison to other religious or theological counterparts. The exposition of the main sacred texts in Hindusim are by notion of Darshana, Upanishads, Vendanta etc. Interestingly enough while reading the Vedanta the specific viewpoint of the human being’s constitution is recorded not as a goal to present itself but rather quoting it as “an impossible task” but as a created being without specification of which one. Ganesh’a or “Lord of meditation knowledge)” was regarded as a holy symbol in India. Not Ganesh’a but all of their false Gods were held in high position and manifested a sense of honor much like that of the cross.

To continue on without concentrating on my development: I left India and came back to the United States. I travelled mostly throughout the orient in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore etc. At the time I was an unauthentic, self-proclaimed lover of “that which is absolutely real” (attaining Atma, or Pramaatma~ergo self realization) and yogi. Something was also missing during this time. I felt it in my gut but really couldn’t come to a conclusion as to what it was. However, in retrospect, it was a matter of me becoming a bit complacent for the search of any true spiritual path.

It was then during a trip to Egypt that allowed me to create a very important distinction and allowed me to reabsorb the degrees of individual development. I had met a gentleman at a coffee shop in Egypt who was extremely quaint, and educated. What I saw in him was a level of intellectual abundance and this intrigued me. Later to my surprise and much satisfaction I was made aware that he was a professor at a famous University in Cairo (Al-Azhar University). He was a firm believer in the Mal’eki Madh”hab and a very good ambassador to both his faith and country. I met him a total of three times during my stay in Egypt and it was from this my journey into Islam began.

After returning to the states I headed to the library for more information about Islam. Of course I had heard of Islam and was familiar with some beliefs and traditions of Islam (or rather the pseudo/mock Islam). From here I visited a Masjid in my local area to learn more and experience first hand the rituals and traditions of Islam. The facility was primarily controlled by the Han’afi Madh’hab but I had no distinction between any Madh’hab and division within Islam at the time. I had mixed thoughts about Islam at that time: distinctly, intellectual or philosophical points of view rather than rigid common set of beliefs about it. I continued to learn more about Islam and relentlessly corresponded with people I had met in the Masjid to finally reaching a conclusion. It was within this stage that my spiritual development had reached a new level and I felt that I had found the fundamental differences that led me to Islam rather than any other religion. There are numerous things throughout this period which helped narrow the formula created to find ‘reality’ or the true religion but it was mostly my identity and the essential semblance that justified to this attribution that Islam just is. Nothing vague or nebulous and the initiation was just as precise. Nothing could be as positive or in fact compatible with the universe and nature. This particularization of cases other than the nominative, replaces “the self” as a question of reflection insofar as it is identified with the personality (character) that is used in the strictest sense of the word.

I had taken my Shahada later the next year. I believe this stage to be the most important step to understand the truth. I wanted to learn more and was looking for answers for my many questions, trying my best to stray away from an apathetic and scarcely motivated mind and body. This was followed with a moment of research within research. It almost felt as if being within my current state that an indefinite multitude of other states existed. I was technically Han’afi, as the Masjid and way I followed was Han’afi. But the Islam I read and believed in was being constrained to a much smaller fraction, instead of being within a state of being for the human model.

I understood existence with a reference to particular beings, and an essence/substance that were in effect of ups, and downs, lefts, and rights, dark and light. Unfortunately, this nature was very ill-perceived in the eyes of my fellow brothers and sisters at the Masjid. As I researched different Madh’habs I also came across the mystic side of Islam, Sufism. It was Sufism that helped me measure the vast states of existence that I knew Islam held and all of the possibilities. Yet ‘being itself’ is just the principle of universal Manifestation (manifested by Allah). The foundation of this concept found its way into my heart and helped me research into Islam esoterism. The relationships of unity and multiplicity lead to a more accurate meaning of the multiplicity of ‘states’ as I mentioned earlier. In Hinduism it is a realization that is described as ‘moksha’ or supreme identity. I then returned to Egypt and had time to visit with the gentleman I had met during my last trip. In Egypt there was a strong affinity towards Sufism surrounded by a cultural ambience resonating in its realm. My friend suggested I meet with a Sheikh of a specific Sufi order. I met with Sheikh Abder Rahman al Hassan. He was a much older gentleman who had a profound knowledge of the further metaphysical realm relating everything from basic ablution to prayers and its relation to mirror of what we know as the universe. His way of speaking was the way ideas ought to be expressed: calm, serene but specific to nature. Methodical in his way; He conveyed the subject uniquely in a very insightful manner. More importantly was his ability to distinguish form and the effect as a ‘matter’ was something that was extremely distinct to what my former Islamic community distinguished.

Perhaps it was the conversation with the Sheikh that kept me away from Sufism. The cyclical nature and processes of Sufism were in synch to the basic principles of Islam (at least this particular order as I am aware some have very compromised beliefs that are only worth ones own agenda). The Sheikh helped connect the world and the hereafter along with interpreting the works and concepts of different religions. More importantly was the answer to the symbolism conundrum that plagued my mind up to that point. The Sheikh himself questioned the derivative term ‘sufism’ to designate Islamic esoterism. It was this term that gave ‘Sufism’ its disadvantage and inevitably helped in suggesting itself as the improper way due to its lack of relationships between various ideas. Mainly the impropriety of translating ecstasy and designate this through mystical states which says something altogether in a different order. The latter being all the more irksome to systemize a part of something which cannot be set into any form. The sheikh had answered questions about ‘amthal’ or symbols with accordance of that A’yan or its individual earthly manifestations as opposed to their actual images or likeness which we know within our hearts. He related many concepts and ideas from Imam Ali which to be honest, I did not have much knowledge on.

After returning to the states I had stopped by the Masjid trying to reflect on the discussion the sheikh and I had. I had come to the realization that there was a segment of Islam I was missing that I did not research. The connection was Imam Ali; the perspective parallels that the Sheikh spoke of was relating to Imam Ali as this understanding of symbols. The Qur’anic relationship and understanding between the divine names which constitute ultimately to this knowing or perhaps the infinitely re-created individual manifestations, as referred to in Hinduism. Although the intellectual vacuity or rather inconsistencies make it utterly insignificant and more importantly has been compromised by the infiltration of certain individuals questionable of motives and integrity. Where as Allah, the Holy Prophet and Imam Ali are of stable edifice and have no questionability of lack of the former. The significance of the Imams was not as distinctive or memorable as that in the Shi’a sect. The Sheikh had further related the importance of transmission of self to Allah which always included the initial or initializing transmitter (in grant to separate energies within this realm). This Prophetic “baraka” in each sufi order is inherent through tradition. This intiatic transmission is perfectly reflected in the prophetic quote: “I am the city of (divine) Knowing, and Ali is its doorway.’

Since reading this quote I returned to re-learn Islam and to understand what self-realization was composed of and more importantly what this world (relative, social, and historically) was manifested in ergo spiritual presence. Imam Ali helped answer these questions and more importantly it was Shi’a Islam that led me there. There is an invisibility that the vast majority of central religion does not understand. Islam concentrates on this invisibility but they are revealed by the initiating transmitter. They key in each of these cases is to reductive emphasis that is placed on all modern approaches which Islam historically has been altered to.

It is with this religious understanding that I can be found here seeking out the truth and I believe the method of succeeding it, is to seek out Allah’s true knower’s. I hope to gain this in spiritual relation with them. I have gained tranquility for the first time by a relative passing of understanding that would otherwise be impossible in this day in age. I thank Allah for leading me through this means to give me the spiritual influence to reach this point. I did not technically convert until recently as I wanted to have a full explanation on a variety of topics and to fully understand what means within the high respect to be “Shi’a.”

Thank you once again and before I end this posting I would like to share a quote with which I have lived my life before even recognizing it:

“Do not seek to know the Truth (al-Haqq) according to other people. Rather first come to know the Truth-and only then will you recognize Its people." – Imam Ali

Edited by Avicennaa
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  • 1 month later...
  • Advanced Member

(salam) Very intense and interesting story ; When you said :"‘Universal Human’ as a sign that is everywhere; attached to the primordial tradition. But how can something so misunderstood be so influential?"

that's sound René Guénon : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Gu%C3%A9non

I m French convert myself and discover R.Guénon after i embrace Islam . But i lived near Blois in my studient period .I think Henry Corbin can be very appropriate for you if you don't al ready know him : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Corbin

next time you 'll come in france don't forget to visit me !

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