“Don’t blindly follow everything that you are told”.

“Muslims will expect you to turn off your critical thinking skills. Don’t let them force you into doing this!

“Use your brain girl, and always think for yourself”.

The statements above came from an email exchange that took place the week that I took my shahadah. At that time, I reached out to a female convert that I’d become acquainted with many years ago. Like me, she was part of the African Diaspora and had been reared in a Christian household. She was also one of the sharpest women I’ve ever encountered and a brilliant writer.

I contacted her in order to seek her advice as a new convert to the faith. I wanted to know potential pitfalls and how to deal with the social issues that would come with my conversion. She replied with a detailed and insightul email, full of blunt advice. Her comments regarding critical thinking and skepticism, however, struck a chord in me. As I began to learn more about my new faith, her words echoed through my mind. Looking back at that email now trips me out. She gave me this advice in order to help me in my journey to Islam. It’s ironic that  following that very advice that led me to abandon it.