Fighting for guidance, Q&A with Adolfo Anaya

Written by  //  April 30, 2012  //  Blog, Q&A  //  8 Comments

Adolfo Anaya, a recent convert to Islam, in the Islamic Center of Tucson. (Amer Taleb)

The following is the first Q&A in the “Before I was a Muslim” series, which highlights converts from Tucson’s Muslim community.

By Amer Taleb

When and why did you convert to Islam? It was about a year ago. I was “sorta Catholic” before that. I know it sounds simple, but I became a Muslim because it was the truth, it made sense. God gave me a good heart and he allowed me to appreciate Islam for what it is, a beautiful and complete way of life.

What was the hardest part of your conversion? Family and friends who couldn’t understand why I converted. It was hard when they’d look at me and I felt like they couldn’t understand me anymore. Like I lost them.

But things have gotten better with my family. They know I’ve become a better person and that I’ve gotten off of hard drugs because of my conversion. Islam helped me cope with the pain, which came from a lot of things.

What kinds of things? Lots of stuff. Bad relationships, drugs, depression, it got to a point where I attempted suicide. It wasn’t a proud time in my life. There was one time where I looked in the mirror and saw myself as everything I never wanted to become. I looked like a person with no remorse, a complete sociopath, and I started crying. I hit rock bottom and at that point it seemed like things would never get better.

When was the first time you walked into the Islamic Center of Tucson? What was it like? Me and my friend, who’s a Muslim, had spent a whole night talking about religion, God and all kinds of things. He invited me to go to the mosque and find out more about Islam. A week later, I walked into the mosque’s main mussallah (prayer room) and the sheikh was sitting there reading hadith (Prophetic sayings). I felt very uncomfortable because I didn’t know what the etiquette of the place was or how to pay respect.

The sheikh saw how frantic I was and he put his hand on me. I felt like he could understand me, and I just broke down. There was no judgement. He could see I wasn’t a bad person, I was just scared.

Did other Muslims treat you well, knowing you were a convert? I was and still am treated very well. I have this eager desire to learn and when I first converted and had more free time, I was at the ICT everyday, reading, praying, just learning something. I love this place. It’s where God saved me.

Does the Islamic Center of Tucson do enough to help converts? I feel like they can do more. Having convert packages, like books and pamphlets, is a good start. Classes on integrating into the community and even a counselor would help a lot. I come here during the day and it’s empty, it shouldn’t be like that. This is a community center, it’s supposed to constantly be in use.

Do you still struggle with your past? Sometimes I look back at where I came from, and I try to not dwell on it, but it does hurt. I try to remember that I’m not Islam, I’m a Muslim. Basically, I’m not perfect, but I try to pursue perfection. Every day I feel blessed that I found Islam, and I plan to keep for fighting for guidance. It’s all I can do. It’s all any of us can.



8 Comments on "Fighting for guidance, Q&A with Adolfo Anaya"

  1. UmmTalal April 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm · Reply

    Asalamu Alaikum Br. Adolfo,
    May Allah Shower you with guidance as no one else can.
    May Allah Shower you with healing as no one else can.
    May Allah Shower you with love and support as no one else can.
    May Allah Shower your journey with the love and empathy for all of humanity as no one else can.
    May Allah Shower you with the love and support from your family, friends, and community members as no one else can.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. That takes a lot of guts. I admire you, Myshallah.
    Walaikum Salam,
    Your Muslim auntie Maryam :)

  2. UmmKairi April 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm · Reply

    I too am a recent convert. I’m glad you shared your story. =D Thank you Br. Amer for starting this series.

  3. Aleen April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm · Reply

    Mashallah. Great story thanks so much for sharing! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series :)

  4. Heba May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am · Reply

    Salam Alaikom Br. Adolfo,

    I want to say congratulations to you… We have met on a few different occassions… I want to tell you that there was a day when you were in the masjid and you recited an ayat from the Quran… You had the most open heart when you recited and the love that you have for Islam showed in that very moment…. I am very happy that you shared your story here with other muslims in our community…. May allah bless you always with the best inshallah ya rabb….P.S. try not to look at the past…. I know that it is not easy because I also am a convert and I have been Muslim alhamdulilah for the past 7 years and I catch myself at times judging myself also…. Allah is great and he sees and knows all….. Jazakallah Khair…..

  5. Mariyah BintHoras May 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm · Reply

    Asalaam alaikum wa rhathmatullah wa baraktuhu!
    Welcome to the fold dearest brother. Insha’Allah here you will find peace and relief from the meanness of the world. I do believe also that we need a counselor for new converts or a hotline where you can call and get advice 24-7! It would be wonderful if we purchased a cell phone for this purpose and passed it from volunteer to volunteer! have a sign up sheet?

  6. Former Tucsonan May 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm · Reply

    I am sad that the convert gift packages have not continued. Maybe someone can continue that. We need to value these ‘social’ things as much as we value the big ticket stuff like expansions, property. etc (and i understand the need for endowments too…but the masjid will be empty one day if we dont provide human services to the people).

    I think enlisting a counselor or chaplain would be a good idea. Someone born here who speaks the language and has the counseling skills needed.

  7. Former Tucsonan May 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm · Reply

    My advice to our brother Adolfo is always be on the look out for events and activities, in or outside of Tucson. There are great conventions and communities in Bay Area, California and also simetimes in Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Take road trips and stick around people who are good companions. Do not stick around people who complain about the community all the time because this deadens the heart. As a young community in this country we have a lot of work to do, so forgive us our flaws and subpar conditions relative to the larger society. We will get there one day. You will be rewarded for hanging onto the faith despite the lack of support structure…and again forgive us for that and ask Allah to improve us all.

  8. Mona September 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm · Reply

    nice story

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