She is an American from California. Her card gives you some clue: “Khadija Watson, ex-professor of theology.” She has a BA and an MA in theology.
She was an ordained, licensed minister, a Christian missionary who spent seven years preaching in the Philippines.
That was six years ago. Today she is a Muslim and a teacher at Al-Hamra Islamic Education Foundation in Jeddah. When she first visited her children in the United States in an “Abaya” and “Hijab,” they screamed, “Oh Mom! You look like a terrorist!”
Khadija never thought in her wildest dreams that she would become a Muslim. “I had no inclination toward Islam. I had been taught that Islam was satanic and demonic!” What changed her mind? When she studied church history and learned that the idea of the trinity was introduced 325 years after Jesus Christ, Khadija’s professors could not give her satisfactory explanations. She was also concerned that if what they taught was true, why was it making no difference to society which was growing steadily worse?
While in the Philippines, where Khadija worked as a missionary and taught as a professor in two colleges, she enrolled in a German language class. There she met a Filipino, who impressed her because he was so kind and gentle. He always carried a plastic bag from which he distributed coins to the beggars in the street. He had been in Dubai and had converted to Islam. In the same classroom was a Filipina, who had been in Saudi Arabia and had converted to Islam. She was always covered.
“I was under the impression that Islam considered women second-class citizens”
Khadija said she was shocked! “I could not believe I had met two Christians in one week, who had become Muslims. Especially, a woman! I was under the impression, like so many Westerners, that Islam considered women second-class citizens and that their husbands locked them up and beat them!”
The Filipina told Khadija about the beauty of Islam and how it was a liberator of women and a protector of women’s rights. Khadija realized that women were actually more abused in the West. “In the United States, every four minutes a woman is beaten by her spouse or partner so badly that she needs to go to the emergency room. In the UK, the same thing happens every two minutes. These statistics are based on reported cases only!”
Khadija felt a stirring in her heart. Could she have been wrong about Islam? The Filipina suggested that Khadija visit the Islamic Center. “I prayed and asked the Lord to show me if Islam was wrong. Then I went to the Islamic Center. Their approach shocked me. As a missionary, I was familiar with many evangelical strategies and methods. These Muslims used nothing. There was no harassment, no psychological manipulation and no subliminal suggestion. They simply gave me some books and told me they would answer any questions I had.”
It was the first time Khadija had read books about Islam written by Muslims. She was surprised to find Allah is One, the Sustainer, the Merciful, the Ever-Present!
“There was no go-between, no priest. I went back to the Islamic Center the very next day and guess what?” Khadija said, resorting to her wonderful sense of humour. “They gave me more books!” After many hours of reading and over 15 discussions, Khadija was convinced of the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an.
“The Bible has more than 66 books, 40 authors and was written in several different languages. The Holy Qur’an has not changed as the Bible has.”
She became a Muslim and chose the name Khadija. “Because, like Khadija, I was a widow. I embraced Islam at about the same age as she was when she converted. I also have nine children as she had.” Khadija lost all her friends and most of her family after becoming a Muslim. “My in-laws, who were from the Philippines, and had a very warm relationship with me even after my husband died, totally shunned me. My children who were good Christians because I had worked hard on them, had emergency meeting on how to bring mom back to her senses!”
Khadija’s 18-year-old son, however, became a Muslim. “Something I could not believe. He was into music and dating and was not ready for any kind of religion. I used to leave books for him to read, but I found them untouched. But I prayed a lot for him – and all my children – to become Muslim. Later, when he converted to Islam, he confessed that he had read all the books and kept me from knowing. He was the one who went to Makkah first. When he came back, he told me excitedly, ‘Mom, you will love Saudi Arabia. All the women dress like you!”
By: Sameen Khan
[From: Muslim World League Journal]