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Face to Faith- Anwar Featherstone

Face to Faith- Anwar Featherstone

Issue 2 Nov / Dec 2003


Why would a young Christian man decide to embrace Islam? Anwar Featherstone talks to Faaria Ahmad about how his belief in Jesus led him to become a Muslim.


They say curiosity killed the cat, but in my case  it brought me to the religion of Islam. The path that led me here was one which used my mental faculties. I was not searching for the meaning of life or some form of salvation. Faith has always been an important part of my life and from a young age I held fast to the teachings of Christianity, believing it to be an individualistic religion that people could interpret and practice as they saw fit. I came to Islam through years of research and  ontemplation. I have always been an independent-minded individual, constantly challenging and  uestioning others on the things  I read about Islam. I delved deeply into debates with the Muslims at my university. This was my way of finding answers. Unfortunately, these debates highlighted the lack of knowledge of Islam among many Muslims. There was a sense of confusion between culture and religion. It was because of this that my baseless arguments would appear strong and convincing.

I grew up in North London, which is an amazingly diverse area. This gave me the opportunity from a young age to interact with people from different faiths. I was always aware of Islam. Some of my closest friends were Muslim but I hadn’t really understood the link between Christianity and Islam until one day, at the age of 16, I was in McDonalds and one of my Muslim friends simply stated that Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an. Muhammad said that if you learn an verse from the Qur’an you should convey it. What my friends had told me that day stayed with me for a long time. It made me want to learn about Islam. Although, at the time I made no immediate intention to research Islam, I knew it was something that I would look into later on in life. After I completed my A-levels, I decided to study law at Queen Mary and Westfield, London. It was at university that a friend gave me a copy of the Qur’an. I read this during my first year. One verse that caught my attention describes the people of the Book (eg. Christians and Jews) hearing the Qur’an recited, saying ‘Yes, we bear witness that this is the truth, and we were Muslims before this.’ This is exactly how I felt.

After reading the Qur’an, I began my search. I started reading about Islamic sciences, the justice system and women’s rights. The more knowledge I gained, the more I realized that this was the truth and I could no longer deny it.

In my heart I had accepted that Islam was the truth but I was afraid of what people might say and the responsibilities of being a Muslim. I was unsure I would be able to make Islam my way of life, I did not know if I would have the strength. In a moment of utter confusion, I sat down on a prayer mat and I thought to myself that I would not get up, until I had made a decision. Thousands of thoughts went racing through my mind. It was simply a matter of logic: if you believe, you are a Muslim.

After I had made my decision, I told my mother who I have always been very close to. At first, she was dubious about the treatment of women in Islam but I was able to reassure her.

That Ramadan, I wanted to see if I could cope with the responsibilities of being a Muslim. For that month, I fasted, prayed and learnt Arabic. At the beginning of the month, I thought to myself ‘I will be Muslim, but I cannot include this in my daily life.’ By the end of the month, I felt stronger and knew that if I accepted Islam I would submit to the will of God, even if that meant my life would be forever altered.

In March 1998 I took my shahadah, sitting in a field beside the canal in our halls of residence with my family and friends. It was a cloudy day but it felt as if a circle of light was shining down on us.

When I returned home from university during the holidays I found that my mother had bought halal meat. She has always been respectful and accepting of my decision. This made it a lot easier for me.

My sisters were not as supportive; they thought my converting would take me away from my family. I do not believe this to be true I feel that becoming a Muslim has made me realise the importance of a strong family.

On completing my degree, I decided that I would do the Bar. I had never given much thought to becoming a Barrister but at the time it seemed like the best thing to do. I have now qualified and am happy that I chose to follow this road.

I think back at that day when we all sat there beside the canal. I am so grateful to God that He blessed me with this religion. Before I came to Islam, I thought I would it would be so difficult. Instead, God made the transition easy for me. The day at the canal was the day that forever altered the road I follow. It had felt before as if I was going backwards, whereas now I am facing forward.



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1 Comment



22 Nov 09, 11:58

Assalamwalekum, Anwar, First of all would like to say that your words seem to be quite genuine and have really made an impact about the various transformation changes through which we go...But i would like to share my personal experience that at one crucial stage of my life i was willing to convert or accept christianity just because the person i loved was Christian. But believe me, my faith in Allah had saved me to do that as that person was shocked when i told this and he had no other option but to step back. Seems that he was testing my commitment. Do you think that thinking of getting converted would had added in my list of sins? As you done law so you would be knowing about it? And what should be done if want to marry a person who is a non-muslim? Will it be an offence? Allah-hafiz

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