My name is Martin and I am 23 years old. I have shown my interest on Islam long time ago. I became a Muslim in March 2004 while declaring Shahada (the declaration of faith) at a mosque in Kuwait, in front of many brothers who took pleasure and pride on accepting a new brother in their ranks.
How did I come to know this amazing and fascinating religion? Indeed there is no clear-cut response to such question.
Since childhood I have shown a great deal of interest on history as well as geography. I was very young when the horrible war in Afghanistan reached its peak and where the then mighty soviet army felt the taste of its bitter defeat. Even though as a young kid I could not understand the circumstances of the war, I just felt that those people from high mountains were fighting for their faith, culture and country.
Often I would look at atlases. I don’ know how, but I would always stop over the pages of countries of Middle East. I was very fond of watching movies showing characters like fighters, vazirs , sultans. My parents were very surprised by me asking what was wrong with me. I was simply fascinated by Arabic culture, traditions. I was only eight years old then…
The Muslim world was facing different challenges those days: the conflict Iraq-Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan... I did not know anything about Islam then but was simply fascinated by countries where Islam is major religion. Afterwards my interest in these countries faded ‘showing up’ just in irregular intervals. Later on I started discovering the interest to become a Muslim.
With age I started to collect information on Islam, but still I couldn’t imagine yet I could become a Muslim. One day, during my first year at University (where I study history and philosophy), my Mom called to tell me that we were going to Kuwait. She works there, so she wanted to visit her in Kuwait.
This way, I had the opportunity to live in the Muslim world. I saw mosques, faithful praying in the Friday market and many other things. I liked it very much. I did not even realize that my dream of childhood was fulfilled. I have been baptized in my childhood but did not feel satisfied by Christianity. I felt a spiritual crisis though.
Impressed by the experience in Kuwait, I decided to learn more about Islam. I started reading Islamic related literature. I was influenced especially by the book of Sheikh Fadhalla Haeri – Basic principles of Islam. Gradually I learned more and more about Islam, the way how Muslims pray, I read the Slovak translation of the meanings of Holy Koran. I was very impressed by the history of The World of Islam, Sufism and Islamic philosophy.
When I learned that I was going to travel again to Kuwait, I felt extremely happy. I knew that I was going to see again mosques and I was going to meet new Muslim friends. I already started to pray five times a day before my second trip to Kuwait but I declared my faith Shahada only after going there in front of my brothers in Kuwait.
I don’t know exactly why Islam fascinated me. It’s true that I had contact with different shapes of Islam but I can’t tell what exactly fascinated me. I feel though, I am in the right track.
Since I started learning more about Islam, I feel more secure within me; I think my life turned for better. However, no one but Allah knows the whole truth why I became Muslim. Whom God wishes to be guided in the right path, He open his heart to Islam. I feel the faith deep in my heart and thank God that made for me possible to find the right path and becoming a Muslim.
Martin Shahed from Slovakia 2004