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Muslim Discovers True Peace and Identity

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“Everything that we did and everything that we believed built on that foundation of knowing who we are as Muslims in America.”

Jazal grew up in a family who demanded strict adherence to the Koran and Islamic faith. For her, it was the only way to earn her parents’ love.

“I believed staying true to Islam was something that my parents and I would bond over. So, if I did as they requested for me to do, like going to the mosque with them and participating in Ramadan fasting, it would bring us closer.”

But none of those things brought Jazal’s family closer together. In fact, her parents fought constantly.

“Sometimes I would wake up and I would have to leave the house with my mom in the middle of the night. I could go to bed thinking everything is fine and wake up the next morning and it was disaster.”

As for Jazal, her prayers to Allah offered little comfort.

“Allah seemed just really distant from me and didn’t really feel as though I was being listened to. I felt more of like I was going through the motions, not really feeling anything in return from God, any love or support or hope. I wanted that peace that people keep talking about that Islam represents and I didn’t ever feel that.”

When Jazal was a senior in high school, her father ended the marriage and her mother started a new family.

‘“After I went through all that with my family, I just kind of felt like I wasn’t worthy of any affection or love. And so, I looked for it from my parents and didn’t get it. And it kind of was a reminder, ‘Hey, Jazal, you’re not that –you’re not that great. If you were great your family wouldn’t have left you behind.’ The thought of the future, even the thought of tomorrow, the very next day, would just bring me into a panic because I just never knew what was going to happen.”’

During college, she started working part-time at a private school. By then, Jazal’s anxiety was triggering debilitating panic attacks.

“Imagine you see a car about to hit you that’s not slowing down or trying to stop. It was just like that but all the time. I thought that I was going to die. My heart rate would just increase. I would start sweating and just, I felt darkness. Like a dark cloud over my head.”

During those times, it wasn’t Allah that gave Jazal comfort; it was the school’s administrator, Connie, who was a Christian.

‘“Whenever I would have panic attacks at work, she would pray with me. I would feel a lot of peace, and I never felt that way when I finished praying my Islamic prayers. I was like, ‘What is Miss Connie doing--what does she have that I don’t have? Whatever it is, I want it.”’

Connie invited her to church, but what Jazal saw and heard there wasn’t what she expected.

‘“During that service, I learned about atonement, how Jesus died for our sins. As a Muslim, I didn’t really even understand why Jesus had died. It was just kinda like, ‘Hmm, maybe this is true.’ It gave me something extra to think about. Parts of the Koran were already wrong about what Christians believed, so it wasn’t representing Christianity in its truth, so it just kind of made me question a lot, a lot more.”’

Jazal wrestled with her doubts. A few days later, she had the worst panic attack she’d ever experienced

‘“I was like, “Maybe I should try what Miss Connie did. Maybe I should try praying. So, I started off, you know, praying like she did. I tried to model her prayer and say some of the words that I remembered her saying. When I did that, I remember seeing this huge flash of light in front of my face and it was kind of like when you close your eyes and you look at the sun, that orangey glow, seeing that flash of light and feeling an overwhelming huge wave of just peace and love. And I fell immediately asleep and sleep was the last thing on my mind.”’

When she woke up the next morning, Jazal opened a Bible she had received as a gift and began reading it front to back. 

“What I found in there was just so much peace. In Isaiah forty-nine, it mentions how God is so loving that even if a mother forgets about their child or abandons their child, that God will never abandon you and that your name is written on his hand. And I very much identified with that, and knowing that God loved me and cared about me in that way, that was something unique to me that I’d never had any sort of inkling about. So, God really showed up, when I needed him the most.”

Over the next few weeks, Jazal studied and compared sources until she was convinced that Jesus is the son of God.

‘“I really came to the knowledge of, ok, Jesus claimed to be God, and if this is true what are the implications of that? The resurrection is not just mentioned in the Bible, the crucifixion isn’t just mentioned in the Bible. There’s historical accounts outside of the bible. That really resonated with me. And knowing that there is history behind it tells me that there’s truth in that.  I just said, ‘God, I accept that you are who you say you are. I accept that you’re Jesus and I accept that you are God. And I am sorry for the things that I’ve done that have hurt your heart. I’m just so glad that you’ve brought me to the knowledge of who you are. And I accept you as my God.’ And that was the day that, you know, after that, never again panic in any sort of way. Never again.”’

Today, Jazal shares her new faith with confidence.

“I want everything that I do and I say to represent him, and that gives me such an amazing purpose in life. Because I’m God’s representative here. I get to be his hands and feet and show other people what God’s like and just like Miss Connie showed me, the love of Jesus through her actions and through her prayers with me, I can now do that for other people.”

Jazal also says knowing God cares for her has changed everything.

“Instead of me being fearful for tomorrow, I embrace it and I am running into it. I can no longer think that I’m worthless because if my name is written on God’s hand, as Isaiah forty-nine mentions, then that means that he cares immensely about me, and he’s always thinking about me, and so I need to always think about him.”

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About The Author

Amy Reid

Amy Reid has been a Features Producer with the Christian Broadcasting Network since 2003 and has a Master’s in Journalism from Regent University. When she’s not working on a story she’s passionate about, she loves to cook, garden, read and travel.