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From Juan Alvarado to
Shafeeq Abdullah Muhammad

By Juan Alvarado
(Shafeeq Abdullah Muhammad)

Every since childhood I always noticed that I was "spiritual" to say the least.c For some reason, I found myself unlike the other children around me and because of it sometimes felt alienated.

To begin with, I am of Latin American descent. Typically, like other Latinos, I was born into the Catholic faith. I went through the motions of what it means to be Catholic, I was baptised, did my communion and confirmation. But by the times I was a teen, I was growing impatient with Catholicism and started exploring different forms of spiritualities. Specifically, I was annoyed at the cult of saints but also that there is so much written in the Bible that is not followed by that church. By 16, I can confidently say that I renounced Catholicism, although I still considered myself "Christian". I visited different churches of differing denominations but just could not feel that sense of belonging. Also, one of the things that I did not like was the inter-denominational bickering. Another thing was the complexity of Christianity, or so it seemed to me.

Well, like I said earlier, I was also looking into other religions. Specifically, I looked into Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Santeria, and various New Age or Occult movements. As for Judaism, I just could not deal with life without Jesus. Buddhism seemed too esoteric and even too bland. Hinduism's caste system and grandios number of gods/goddesses just repelled me. Santeria's gods also repelled me and its secrecy was annoying. The many New Age movements just seemed too complex. This is not to say that I did not see anything at all that I did not like. I saw some things that I liked but it just did not get a hold of my full interest.

By the time I was 19, I renounced Christianity once and for all and continued my search. This search led me to read on a non-stop basis, something that I still do. At 20, a friend of mine gave me a book on Islam or what I thought was Islam. He gave me a book that the Ansar cult published. After reading up on them for about 2 1/2 years, I decided to become "Muslim" at 23. As a matter of fact I do consider that I was Muslim then but that I was astray. Because of my intense reading background, I always noted the many mistakes in the Ansar doctrine but I guess I just put up with it because there was something there that I related to. I always noted too that the leader of this movement always changed his beliefs and doctrines every so often, which I found to be strange. I lasted 2 years in this movement before I took shahaadah at a Sunnite organization in Manhattan [I was 25 then]. This only happened because I never gave up my habit of reading. I always noted that there was some very dramatic differences between what was written on Islam and what these Ansars wrote and did. In the end, like I said, I said the Shahaadatain among the Sunni and so far that is the end of my spiritual story.

I am now 28 and I love to read but I no longer am searching, I have found what the truth is.

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