Rafed English

Daughters Learning of a New Path

Of the respondents to the questionnaire, 63 percent were married to Muslims before their conversions. Their attitudes toward Islam at the time of marriage ranged from fear of Islam to having already investigated Islam on their own. Twenty-three percent converted before marriage and later met and married a Muslim, while 6 percent who converted are still single. Only one woman responded as having become Muslim even though married to a white, American, non-Muslim male. None of these women felt compelled by their husbands to study Islam and convert. In many instances it was the searching of the wife that drew the husband back into practice of his religion. These Muslim men (often not practicing) seemed, for the most part, to be well-versed in their religion. It wasn't a case of not knowing what Islam was and what it required; it was being away from family in a land where it was difficult to practice Islam that fostered less involvement. Family responsibilities and a searching, supportive wife naturally drew them again into the practice of their faith.

Although the stories of these women vary in the specifics, there are many commonalities in their introduction and conversion to Islam. The majority of women were introduced to Islam by the husband. Others were introduced by classes they took in college, and a few by acquaintance with Muslim neighbors or from having visited in an Islamic country. Islam touched in them a need they felt. Each in her own way chose to accept Islam and make shahada, declaring herself as Muslim by acknowledging "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is a messenger of Allah." The following stories help us gain a sense of the variety of ways they learned about Islam and the conversion experiences that brought these women to the point of declaration.

Adapted from: "Daughters Of Another Path (Experience of American Women Choosing Islam)" by: "Carol L. Anway"

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