Quranmushaf8My journey to Islam is similar to many. I was raised a Muslim and my family moved to the United States when I was 15. In a matter of a few years I managed not only to lose my religion as a result of company and environment but also developed a skeptical attitude towards religion especially after a couple of philosophy courses.

I believe my journey back to deen was divine intervention. It was in New York that I began exploring what Islam meant to me at the age of 19. New York is an incredible place. It's probably one of the most diverse cities on the planet. I was exposed to a diversity of groups all claiming to represent Sunni Islam.

As I would start sitting in study circles of one group, over time I would get to hear about the deviations of the 'other' group that is literally down the street. I would learn about how lost, confused, misguided or even dangerous to my own salvation they are. For better or for worse, I developed a pattern of learning. Every time I heard about a deviant sect or group (in the eyes of the people I would be taking from), I would make it a point to go and speak with the 'deviants' and learn what they had to say in order to hear it directly from the horse's mouth. Looking back I realize that was a dangerous thing to do at that age I was but that was the approach I took to come back to Islam in the first place.

I wouldn't have considered turning back to deen unless I had some degree of open mindedness in me. I couldn't just turn that part of myself off. I had to consider what was being said for myself. After studying some Arabic and being exposed to several schools of thought ranging from the ultra-traditional, movement oriented, literalist, western academic to name a few, I came to certain conclusions about my religion that I still hold dear. In this brief article I want to share those with you.

I shared some of these thoughts with you because I get constantly asked 'what' I am. People will continue to wonder 'what' I am based on the lens they view me through. My own description of myself is that I'm an average Muslim who loves Allah's Book and is trying to learn and teach whatever little he knows from it.

Ustaadh Nouman Ali Khan
Founder & CEO, Bayyinah Institute
HOTD Columnist

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