(MENAFN - Arab News) Abdullah Al-Kanadi formerly Craig Robertson was born in Vancouver Canada. After being raised in a Catholic household and spending much of his early childhood attending church Craig rejected faith and took to life in the fast lane. He shares the story of his journey to Islam.
During my childhood I attended a Catholic religious school and was taught about the Catholic faith along with other subjects. Religion was always my best class; I excelled academically in the teachings of the Church.
I was pressed into service as an 'altar boy' by my parents from a very young age which pleased my grandparents a great deal; but the more I learned about my religion the more I questioned it! I have this memory from my childhood I asked my mother on Mass: 'Is our religion the right one' My mother's answer still rings in my ears to this day: 'Craig they are all the same they're all good!' Well to me this didn't seem right. What was the point of me learning my religion if they were all equally good!
At the tender age of 12 I decided I would be an atheist. I was an angry little boy; I was angry at the world at myself and worst of all at God. I stumbled through my early teenage years trying to do everything I could to impress my new 'friends' in public high school. My teenage years were filled with misery and loneliness. My poor parents tried to talk to me but I was belligerent toward them and very disrespectful.
A couple of weeks before I was to start school I was invited to move out with some friends from work. To me this seemed like the answer to my problems! I would forget my family and be with my friends all the time. One night I told my parents I was going to move out. They told me I couldn't and that I wasn't ready for it and that they wouldn't allow it! I was 17 years old and very headstrong; I swore at my parents and said to them all sorts of evil things which I still regret to this day. I felt emboldened by my new freedom I felt released and I could follow my desires as I saw fit. I moved in with my friends and didn't speak to my parents for a long time after that.
I was working and going to school when my roommates introduced me to marijuana. I was in love with it after the first 'puff'! I would smoke a bit when I got home from work to relax and unwind. Soon though I started to smoke more and more until during one weekend I had smoked so much that it was Monday morning and before I knew it it was time for school. I thought well I'll take one day of school off and go the next day since they won't possibly miss me. I never returned to school after that. I finally realized how good I had it. All the fast food I could steal and all the drugs I could smoke who needed school anyways
I was living a great life or so I thought; I became the 'resident' bad boy at work and consequently the girls started to pay attention to me like they hadn'tin high school.
I remember seeing a movie about witchcraft and I thought that would be perfect for me. I bought a couple books on Wicca and Nature Worship and found that they encouraged the use of natural drugs so I continued. People would ask me if I believed in God and we would have the strangest conversations while under the 'influence' but I distinctly remember saying that no in fact I don't believe in God at all I believe in many gods as imperfect as me.
Through all this there was one friend who stuck by me. He was a 'Born Again' Christian and was always preaching to me even though I would mock his faith at every opportunity. He was the only friend I had at the time who didn't judge me so when he invited me along to go to a youth weekend camp I decided to go along. I had no expectations. I watched as the young and old male and female cried out for forgiveness and shed tears over everything. I was really moved and I said a silent prayer along the lines of 'God I know I have been a horrible person please help me and forgive me and let me start fresh.'
I felt a surge of emotion come over me and I felt tears roll down my cheek. I decided at that moment to embrace Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). I raised my hands in the air and started dancing around (yes dancing!) All the Christians around me were staring at me in stunned silence; the guy who mocked them and told them how stupid they were for believing in God was dancing and praising God!
I returned to my party home and eschewed all drugs intoxicants and girls. I promptly told my friends how they needed to be Christians so they could be saved. I ended up moving back with my parents after a long absence and used to badger them with the reasons why they should become Christian. They being Catholic felt they were already Christian but I felt they were not for they worshipped saints. I decided to move out again but this time on better terms and was given a job by my grandfather who wanted to help with my 'recovery.'
I still remember to this day my first encounter with a Muslim. One of the boys brought his friend to the youth house. He was a Muslim kid whose name I forgot. What I do remember is the boy saying 'I brought my friend 'so and so' he's a Muslim and I want to help him become a Christian.'
I was absolutely amazed by this 14 year old kid he was calm and friendly! Believe it or not he defended himself and Islam against a dozen Christians who were hurling abuses at him and Islam! As we sat there fruitlessly thumbing through our Bibles and getting angrier and angrier he just sat there quietly smiling and telling us about worshipping others besides God and how yes there is love in Islam. He was like a gazelle encircled by a dozen hyenas yet the entire time he was calm and friendly and respectful. It blew my mind!
To be continued next week
Courtesy: islamreligion.com A A