Love of Jesus led this woman to embrace Islam

CATHERINE Houlihan is a Grant Researcher from Miami Florida. Earlier, the Huffington Post published an article she wrote where she shares her becoming Muslim story.

Catherine grew up in an Irish-Catholic family but she says she “was never able to fully accept Catholicism as her faith” adding “I wanted so desperately to follow and honor both God and Jesus, but I couldn’t sincerely do that by being Catholic. To my surprise and over the course of 13 years, I found that Islam provided me the opportunity to do both…

I never could bring myself to believe that Jesus was God. Yes, I love Jesus, and I wholeheartedly believe that we should proactively seek to obtain the extraordinary human qualities that he possessed, but in my eyes, there is only one God, and a man could never be God.”

“I was unable to ever accept the concept of original sin (that newborns entered this world carrying sins that could be forgiven through the Sacrament of Baptism). I perceived this as an initiation ritual into Christianity; it felt more political than spiritual. I knew that I could never desert my eternal love for God and my ceaseless admiration for Jesus.

I remained Catholic, while I searched for a place that allowed me to preserve what I would not abandon and provide me clarity for what I could not accept. Where that was, I wasn’t sure. I genuinely hoped that it existed somewhere.”

Throughout her childhood, Catherine was inspired by the Catholic Saint ‘Thomas More’ who chose death over giving up his faith. In her first year of college, she read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and was impressed by his “unwavering search for truth” and how he found his answers in Islam.

Saint Thomas More and Malcolm X gave her clarity and hope that “if I kept searching, I could possibly find a source for both connecting with God and finding the truth that I was seeking”.

After college, I volunteered with an international nonprofit in West Africa. One afternoon, I was sitting outside in the sweltering heat with a Ghanaian volunteer. To avoid getting sunburned, I wrapped my favorite orange pashmina over my head. Then, I heard my friend say:
“You look beautiful in hijab.”

“Are you Muslim?” I asked him. He nodded, and with some prodding, revealed to me that Muslims both recognize and honor Jesus as a prophet. That detail caught my attention and got me thinking: Could Islam be the source of clarity that I was seeking? I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t quite ready to explore the possibility just yet.

Back in the US she settled in Miami Florida: “Years passed. Life was so easy and oh-so fun! I felt incredibly blessed, but just beneath the surface, I was very lonely, and far too often, I fell asleep with tears in my eyes and a growing heaviness in my heart, so I turned to my father for guidance. He listened to me intently and made one simple suggestion: Read.”

I used my alone time to explore books about philosophy, psychology, poetry, and religion. Little by little, I began gravitating towards books about Islam. The more I read about Islam, the more I realized that it was more than just a beautiful concept; it was a way of life.

I sought out a mentor who could show me what that life entailed, and I eventually found one. She was an established career woman, with a loving and supportive husband and two incredible children, and most importantly, she had an insatiable love for Islam. She was the kind of woman who I aspired to become.

We met weekly. She shared stories about Prophet Muhammad and his closest companions. She reiterated Islam’s belief in the prophhethood of Jesus and its denial of original sin. She showed me how to pray and gave me my most beloved copy of the Quran.

Then, my mentor lent me a CD series called Purification of the Heart by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. I listened to those CDs daily, deeply connected with its messages, and felt these incredible reverberations in my heart when the shaykh recited passages from the Quran in Arabic.

I even felt the same reverberations in my heart when I recited the first chapter of the Quran, syllable-by-syllable. As I listened and I practiced my Arabic, I felt as if I was strengthening my communication with God.

As I prayed and fasted during my first Ramadan, I felt this magnificent closeness to an essence that I had never encountered before, and consciously nurturing that essence filled me with immense bliss. It was in those moments that I felt the most connected to myself; it was in those moments that I felt the most connected to God. I knew then that I was ready to accept Islam as my chosen faith.

Through God’s tremendous grace and my mentor’s tenacious planning, on the 27th day of Ramadan 2016, I found myself sitting alongside the scholar whose words in both English and Arabic transformed my heart into a Muslim one: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. He led me through my Testimony of Faith, which were the sincerest words that I had ever spoken.

As a Muslim of Irish-Catholic descent, I’m not quite sure where I fit in just yet. But in the early morning hours, right before dawn, and as I pray alone, facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, I feel right at home. For me, that’s all that matters right now.

Source: Huffington Post

One thought on “Love of Jesus led this woman to embrace Islam

  1. SUBMISSION :ISLAM (ALLAH ALONE AND QURAN ALONE)
    “THERE EXISTS A FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE TRUE TEACHINGS OF THE QURAN?INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE QURAN THEY HAVE MADE THE HADITHS SUPREME AND ADULTERATED THE TRUE TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD.THE MUSLIM WORLD WILL PROGRESS BY ADOPTING ALLAH ALONE AND QURAN ALONE !Prophet Muhammad Hadith are Not the Prophet Hadith;Instead they are Hadiths (narrations) of men and women who NEVER SAW THE PROPHET, in fact the GRAND PARENTS of their GRAND PARENTS NEVER SAW THE PROPHET. The first book of Hadith was that of Bukhari BORN 200 YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD. Thus the Hadith is simply a narration by Bukhari’s sources, claiming that ,he or she HEARD SOMETHING about the Prophet ACROSS 8 GENERATIONS OF THE DEAD.It is left to your imagination on the narration’s Accuracy and Originality. Well your assessment is about the same as any RATIONAL HUMAN.If there exist confusion today amongst the UMMAH THE CAUSES ARE WELL KNOWN !~{Instead of Following the Revelations of Allah, they follow what is Conjectured to be The Prophet’s utterances.Thus they DISOBEY ALLAH and The PROPHET by following the ‘Hadith’ GUESS WORK.(The findings in Quran6:112 and Q25;31 represents flagrant Disobedience of Allah and His Final Prophet).} QUESTION! .DOES ALLAH ENDORSES OTHER THAN THE QURAN AS A LEGITIMATE SOURCE OF GUIDANCE~SO QUOTING TARMIZI,ABU HURAIRAH, MUSLIM , BUKHARI’S OR ANYONE ELSE’S HADITHS AND ATTRIBUTE IT TO THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD IS THEREFORE AN ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE TO ALLAH !??(IS IT NOT ILLEGAL TOO??)???OLEH ITU PIHAK2 YANG BERWAJIB HARUSLAH TIDAK TERAGAK AGAK UNTUK MENGAMBIL TINDAKAN UNDANG UNDANG KE ATAS MANA MANA PIHAK(APA JUA) YANG MENYALAH GUNA HADITHS KERANA IANYA BOLEH MENYESATKAN UMMAH!!?? SurahAl-An’am 6:112[We have permitted the enemies of every prophet-human and jin devils= to inspire in each fancy words ,in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed,they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications]OBEY ALLAH,OBEY RASUL* The phrase-”obey messenger” does not give blanket approval to obey everything the Messenger uttered.The choice of words in the QURAN IS PERFECT..ALLAH did not say “Obey Muhammad” nor did HE say “Obey Nabi”.Instead HE said “obey rasul”.The Arabic word “rasul” is a term derived from a root (Arabic-risalah) meaning”a message”.From the root word as well as the meaning of “rasul”means obey the messenger who is bringing a message from ALLAH.So obey the message that the messenger brings.This was his ONLY duty that ALLAH has spelled that out clearly in the QURAN:Q3:144 Muhammad is no more than a messenger.Q3:20Thy duty is to convey the message.Q16:82Thy duty is ONLY to preach the Clear Message.The SAME THEME IS REPEATED IN Q16:35;24:54;29:18;42:48;64:12 and MORE. Therefore the FUNDAMENTAL THEME OF “Obey ALLAH,obey rasul”,-when the prophet pbuh uttered QURANIC verses that contain injunctions,rules,guidance for the correct establishment of the DEEN demands and commands obedience from the believers. THE AUTHORITY IS FROM ALLAH THROUGH THE QURAN,THUS OBEY ALLAH IS OBEY THE QURAN AND OBEY MESSENGER IS OBEY THE QURAN*.”Allah commands that Quran specifically QURAN SHALL BE THE ONLY SOURCE of religious teachings.THE ACCEPTANCE OF ANY OTHER SOURCES for religious guidance equals the setting up of OTHER gods BESIDE ALLAH:Surah Al-An’am~6:19[“Say(O Muhammad)”Whose testimony is greater?”Say “God is the witness between me and you that THIS QURAN was given to me to preach it to you,and to whomever it reaches”However ,you certainly bear witness that you set up other gods(by upholding other sources beside QURAN).Say,”I will never do what you are doing; i disown your idol-worship.”]Surah Bani Israel~17:39[This is some wisdom revealed to you(in this QURAN),and YOU SHALL NOT SET UP ANY OTHER GOD BESIDE GOD(by following any other source beside QURAN).Otherwise,you will be THROWN INTO HELL ,BLAMED AND DEBASED.]Scholars views welcome!!!

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