I became Muslim in 2004 in the county jail. Years earlier my older brother had become Muslim while he was in CYA (California Youth Authority). When he was released I was in juvenile hall, but we would talk regularly and he would give me jewels here and there about Islam, but nothing major. Before I was released from juvi I read the Autobiography of Malcom X, which had a major impact on me.
when I came home my brother Ovy (Sadiq Aziz Amir) would sit with me and explain to me the origin of Islam and how the Qur’an is the only religious text that hasn’t been tampered with. He showed me, in what I now know was the second chapter of the Qur’an, that Islam believed in the same Prophets that were mentioned in biblical text. The main difference he said, was that Muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) was a mortal being, a Prophet like the rest. He told me that our ancestors were more than likely Muslim when they were brought here as slaves, but were forced to accept christianity…and honestly from then on I considered myself Muslim (just not practicing). When he moved out he left me his Qur’an…and from then on, my journey began. That was back in 2001.
It wasn’t until I was in the county jail in 03-04 that I really began to study for myself. I went heavily into Christianity seeking to prove it true, as this is what I was raised on, but the more I studied, the more I saw inconsistencies…what did it for me was learning about the Council of Nicea which is when the Bible was officially compiled under the direction of the Emperor Constantine. He arbitrarily added and subtracted certain books of the Bible that were in circulation, as well as inserted “Pagan” beliefs into Christianity in order to fit his agenda (uniting his kingdom, which consisted of a large population of “Pagans”).
It was Constantine who inserted into Christianity the concept of the Trinity (the idea of the Father, Son, and Holy spirit being One). It was this diluting of the original teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) that nececitated the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). One of the books that we know were in circulation as a part of the Bible, was the Gospel of Barnabas, which mentions in no uncertain terms, that the last prophet to be commissioned would be Muhammad (peace be upon him). A lot of the early Unitarian Christians who were located mainly in North Africa knew this, which accounts for that region accepting the message of Islam as soon as they received wind of the one foretold.
The more I studied, the more convinced I became. But once I read the Qur’an I knew…it doesn’t read like you would expect a religious text to read…it’s not a historical account…most Muslims in explaining their first encounter with the Qur’an, describe it as if Allah (God) was talking directly to them…and that’s how it felt…like, I knew…and the rest is history.