Steven J Hernandez

Before Reverting to Islam, I became active in the schools Muslim student Association!

American Latin convert to Islam in big group

The story of my conversion is probably little different that for many others. As a Mexican American I was brought up Roman Catholic but like many others as I grew older I felt little connection to the church. While I never went so far as to deny the existence to God I felt like I was going through the motions at church and rarely prayed.

When I came to UMD I knew next to nothing about Islam and so my new found friends (Good Muslims all) provided a crucial good impression of the faith. Through these new friendships I became active in the schools Muslim student Association, which did great outreach through numerous, lectures films and innovative programs like the "Day in the life of a Muslim" during Ramadan where you experience the fast and enjoyed a big group Iftar. On my own I started to live more and more like a Muslim - not drinking, avoiding pork, reading the Quran and praying regularly.

After more than a year of this I was at a cross road: clearly I couldn't t go back to my former life but I was hesitant to make the plunge into full fledge conversion. On the one hand some demanded that I stop my exploration of Islam on the other some demanded that I convert NOW. Neither arguments painful though they were swayed me one way or the other - I dislike being pushed and resolved to make up my own mind. There was no sudden turning point but I could not fool my self any longer I knew what I wanted. There had been an emptiness a hunger in my life for a connection to God and I had found for myself a way back to it. Attending Jumaa at UMD and attending classes with the Umaa Project confirmed what I already felt - I was on a better path.

When people ask me why I converted it's sort a hard question to answer. How can you describe to another person something that is so personal to you? I can say that my connection to the Almighty has never been better. That I can endure disappointment heartache and pain with a strength that is not mine alone. That when I hear the call to prayer it touches me and stirs something deep within me that must have always been there, that when I prostrate my self in prayer I feel a peace and love unequaled by anything I have ever known.

Steven J Hernandez - email