By: Bayynat editor
Long before she converted to Islam, Jasmin Crawford had been asking God to grant her rays of guidance and insight. To Crawford, the decision of converting was one she had concluded after studying different religions.
“Actually I was a Catholic and I just wanted to be a better Catholic. So I was studying the different religions, and I just was interested in learning. The more that I learned about Islam, the more I liked it.”
Jasmine Crawford has been a Muslim for two years now. In an interview conducted by Reading Islam Staff, Crawford explained: “It was a little difficult in the beginning because it was hard to let go of my past, but alhamdulellah I did the right thing.”
Crawford already had several misconceptions about the Islamic faith before her conversion: “Before I converted to Islam, I knew basically what most of other people know about Islam, which is the terrorists and that women are covered. And unfortunately there are some Muslims that are not practicing so they do not represent Islam the way that they should. And so when they hang out with non-Muslims, they give the wrong impression of what Islam is about.
Bewildered, Jasmin conceived Islam more like a way of life: “I thought the same thing that most of the people got, that it is just a way of life. It was just what people did.” To her Islam was not a religion.
Her connection with some Muslims friends paved the way for her conversion: “I have friends who are Muslims, so it opened the door for me to look more into it. Again I knew about Islam, I knew Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So that is how I knew about it, really because I have friends who were Muslims.”
“The main thing that attracted me to Islam is la illahaillaallah; there is no God but Allah. That is the fact that you go directly to God, because I always used to go directly to God anyway. And there is not really one particular thing because there was so many major things that happened in my search that made me feel like it was the right thing for me. The Quran never changing was really important, and the scientific proofs in the Quran, all the little things that are in Islam that just make sense. It makes a lot more sense than any other religion.
Crawford is now the only Muslim in her immediate family. Certain distant relatives in Jasmin’s family had also converted. However, Jasmin is trying to help her mother convert.
Jasmin continues to explain: “The relationship with my parents, alhamdulellah, I love my parents. My father was very ill at the time that I was looking into Islam. I had just found out that he had cancer again. And my mother is such a beautiful woman alhamdulellah. She helps me with everything. She helps me get up for Fajr (Dawn prayer), she buys me halal food, and she is a beautiful woman. I’m very close to my mother. My father passed last July but it was a very good relationship.
The only question that my mother asked me was "I thought you were going to think about it?!’ and other than that they are not strict Catholics. So Subhanallah, they said "if it makes you happy, as long as you don’t go out blowing up people!, do it. Do what makes you happy”.
It is very easy to be an American Muslim in New York. As long as you are confident and secure in yourself. And the Hijab style, people think that this is just my style. They do not realize that I am Muslim. Because if you see what people wear outside today they throw on all types of things that some people do not even realize that I’m Muslim. But a lot of people ask me questions, and I have noticed that people are actually very kind to me. It is not as bad as I thought it was going to be. In New York, I think it is fairly easy to find what you are looking most of time.
M.E.C.C.A. is the Muslim Education and Converts Center of America. It’s a non-profit organization. We offer classes. We have a new Muslims program which shows new Muslims how to pray, and all the basics that you need to be a Muslim. When you are a convert, it can be very frightening and overwhelming, and then you take the Shahadah, and then that’s it. You go by yourself and you have no one to help you. So you come here. You take classes with other students who are also looking into Islam with qualified teachers who have studied abroad with scholars.
We also offer courses like Arabic, Aqeedah (creed) and Fiqh (Islamic law). And we have support groups for converts, sisters who are going through the same thing, like they are not sure they want to wear Hijab and we help each other out. We just offer a lot of great classes. It’s not only to Muslims but to non-Muslims as well. So we have converts, we have born Muslims, and we have people who are just interested in learning more about Islam.
We do offer the support for non-Muslims but rather for new Muslims when they convert. We have like a sisters’ circle or a brothers’ circle, where we come in and we eat and we talk about our problems or what we are going through. Some people would have similar situations where their families or their friends are no longer talking to them, and it is very emotional. It is very difficult and they feel alone, and we all have a connection here. It’s like a very small family and we all have similar situations. So it is a great place Alhamdulellah.
Our converts are from everywhere. We have myself. I’m black and white. I’m Irish and African American and Indian. And we have Chinese. We have Spanish. We have white people. We have everything here. So this is New York City, you are going to get everything.”
|Name: Hassan Nahim|
|Comment: May Allah bless you|