I was born into a simple family; my father was an atheist and my mother a devout but not persistent Christian who used only to attend church services during major Christian holidays. My grandmother, whom I am very close to, has tried to build in me faith in the one and only God since my early childhood. Even though she was not a very active church member, her faith was sincere and came from her personal belief and her direct worship of God rather than traditional Christian dogma.
She told me about her insistence to get me and my brother baptised. My parents did not agree with her idea because my paternal grandfather was a high-ranking official in the bureaucratic hierarchy of Communist Czechoslovakia.
When I turned 12, religion started to be taught at schools, so I was among the first students to enrol. I was very eager to be baptised, hoping that only this way I could be “saved”. Even though I was not very enthusiastic about catechism classes, I insisted on my decision to enrol, earning the sarcasm of my schoolmates and close family as well. I prayed, read the Bible, participated in Masses, and assisted the clergymen.
After two years of catechism classes, I was told that because my parents hadn’t married in a church, I couldn’t be baptised. This definitely broke my faith in Catholicism. Meanwhile, my brother was born and I tried to help my parents as best as I could. My faith went away with time.
At secondary school, I chose classes on ethics while trying to develop within myself a faith similar to that of my grandmother. I felt that in order to believe in God, I didn’t need baptism or church Masses, so I stopped praying and reading the Bible.
My parents were in a mixed marriage, so I had always to face the racist behaviour of my schoolmates, neighbours, teachers, and even ordinary citizens in the streets, buses, and everywhere. To most of them, I was simply a dirty gypsy. I lost contact with most of my childhood friends because they later felt uneasy about being my friends.
As a 16-year-old teenager, I quarrelled with my parents and subsequently left my home, submitting myself to a decadent lifestyle. One day, I met with three young Muslim students from Sudan. This meeting changed the course of my life. Subhan Allah!
One of them told me that if I really wanted to cope with my mounting problems, I had to stop living the way I was living. I was surprised by their words because, on the other hand, all of my “friends” had supported and encouraged me in that lifestyle. These Muslims, on the contrary, told me that God didn’t like this.
Since that moment, I spent a lot of time with the Sudanese students, abandoning my old party lifestyle and camaraderie. I started attending school again, and, from time to time, I went to visit my parents. I didn’t feel handicapped because of my skin colour anymore, and I didn’t feel inferior at all. I had friends whom I could trust.
I always talked to my friend Ahmed about God. I learned a lot and realised how little I knew about the subject. Once, overcome by emotions and with eyes full of tears, he told me how much he wanted to see me become a Muslim and confessed that he prayed to God for this to happen in his regular prayers. I was surprised and impressed.
I knew that my beliefs were not in contradiction with Islam’s teachings. I always believed in the oneness and uniqueness of God; I always knew that God was one and only. The conception of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as it stands in Christianity had always been confusing and vague to me.
Islam appeared so straightforward, free of nonsense claims, unanswerable questions, and unquestionable or irrational dogmas and opinions forcedly imposed on believers. I promised my friend to step up my efforts and to learn more on the subject. He replied enthusiastically that he would help me with locating literature.
After a year, my Muslim friends had to go and study elsewhere. Consequently, my faith went downward after they left. I found myself in the whirl of decadent lifestyle and sin. In despair, I visited the Baptist community a couple of times and was told that in order to be saved, I didn’t need to be baptised. However, they couldn’t respond to some crucial questions I had asked.
Allah helped me again, and I met another Muslim student who helped me. His name was Omar and he was from Yemen. He was a very devoted believer and worshipped God above all. He obtained the necessary literature for me and I started reading it in order to understand Islam.
Omar taught me how to pray to God, show my gratitude to God, how to avoid sin, and how to show respect to parents as well as my brothers and sisters in Islam. He witnessed my Shahadah and took me to visit a mosque for the first time in my life. My heart was balanced and was filled with calmness at the mosque. I was sure that I had found the truth while many live in a self-deception. I was sad because most of my relatives were non-Muslims; however, I was grateful to Allah for my new direction and felt His blessings.
Al-hamdu lillah, all praise be to Allah, I accepted Islam when I was 18. I still remember the feeling I had when I declared my Shahadah. I remember that I was trembling and was worried while learning the words of the Shahadah and then I felt tranquil and self-fulfilled after saying them.
What joy and pleasure I witnessed in the eyes of my new brothers in faith. God blessed me! Many times afterwards, Allah showed how right my decision was, which strengthened my faith.
Al-hamdu lillah, during the following three years I had the opportunity to live with devoted Muslims, to learn from them, and to understand and accept them. My life changed completely since that moment. In sha’ Allah (Allah willing), my faith will stay strong.
I ask and pray to the only God that in Slovakia and Czech Republic more people will find the truth, and I hope that my relatives will find this blessing, too.
O Allah, please may Your rewards and blessings pass over all those brothers who helped me to find the truth.