I come from a family of people who dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others, but I took another path in my early life. It took 20 years, three prison sentences, and experimentation with Christianity, Black Nationalism, Rastafarianism, and Five Percent theology until Allah opened my heart to Islam in 2004.
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Years into my long prison sentence, one night I sat in my cell and prayed: God, if Islam is for me, make me a Muslim and if Christianity is for me, keep me a Christian. I awoke the next morning and had no doubt I wanted to be a Muslim. I was 22.
I have spent 36 years behind bars. While incarcerated, I realized that my prison life was a simulation of the life I lived on the streets. Hoping for change, I turned to faith. My inquiries eventually led me to Islam -- a tradition that values studying as a means for transformation.