Tell us about your background, your country, and your native language.
My name is Abdul Haq. My previous name was Jeffrey S. Glazer.
I was born in this country, in New York City. I’m from a Ukrainian background. My fourth grandparents came from the former Austria, Hungary. I was born into a Jewish American family.
"I consider myself to be a better person now. I believe Islam has helped me develop better character and find more ways of expressing my spirituality."
How did your family and friends react on embracing Islam?
I became a Muslim in 1979. Most of my family had a negative reaction. But most of them are relatively tolerant people. So the hostility wasn’t too strong that they had not tried to force me to stop being a Muslim, but they did try to convince me to turn back.
Have you looked into other religions before embracing Islam?
When I first heard about Islam from Muslims that I met, I began studying different religions because I wanted to find out what the real truth was. At the time that I heard about Islam, I had become very secular. In fact, I didn’t even believe in God at that time. And I was talking with Muslims that made me thought re-thinking this whole thing.
I had drifted away from religion because I was looking for something that would solve the political, economic and social problems in society and I didn’t find this in religion. So I was more attracted to Marxism as a former solution to that, and I became secular.
And when I met Muslims I started to hear things that convinced me there might be another alternative. First that God could be proving to be real, and second that there were solutions from Islam to the political, economic, and social problems in the society.
So I spent several years studying different religions, spirituality, science, and metaphysics in order to first find out if there is an unseen world, and after that to compare the different religions to decide which religion I ought to embrace.
"I spent several years studying different religions, spirituality, science, and metaphysics"
What are the spiritual stages you have gone through before embracing Islam?
When I started studying comparative religion and spirituality I read excerpts from books from different religions. I read parts of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, and parts of the New Testament or Christianity. I also read something about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism. I also studied meditation and I took Yoga. And I studied parapsychology; the scientific study of extra sensory perception (ESP) to find out about the unseen world.
When I became convinced of the existence of God, I began going back to the scriptures, to the Jewish Christian scriptures and also the Quran. I was more convinced by the Quran. I noticed not only that I preferred the Islamic belief system better for the reasons I stated before, but also I found more answers to my questions in the Quran than in the Bible.
I also found that Islam doesn’t have a conflict with science unlike for example the way that the Catholic Church at the time of the Renaissance had a problem with science. I also liked the political use of Islam that Islam believes in struggle against oppression and injustice.
When I reached a certain point where I felt ready to prepare myself to convert, I first was invited by an old friend to accept Christianity or to accept Jesus Christ. I did accept him because I already believed in him as one of the prophets. I found that I disliked the Christian belief system that most of the churches have where they believed Jesus to be the son of God and one of the trinity and so on, and therefore I was uncomfortable with Christianity. So I continued to prepare myself for Islam.
I began to study how Muslims pray and how Muslims fast. And I began buying Islamic literature in Islamic bookstores. One day in an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn, I met Imam Siraj Wahhaj from Taqwa (Piety) Mosque in Brooklyn who invited me to take shahadah. I accepted because at that point I was ready for it and I took my shahadah then. After that I began to go around to different masajid (mosques) and began to learn how to practice the deen (religion), and I have been practicing it since then.
What really attracted you to Islam and why have you embraced it?
I was attracted to the Islamic belief system because in Islam we believe in all the prophets and all the books, and we believe that every nation had a prophet and that all the prophets taught the same message. This universal type of belief appealed to me very much because this means that religion is for everyone and prophets have been sent to everybody.
Judaism doesn’t teach this, and one of the things that I disliked about Judaism was that it seemed to separate Jews from other peoples and due largely to their belief system that all the Prophets are for Israel that Israelites by ethnicity are the chosen people of God and the Prophets are all sent to them and the scriptures are all sent to them.
So I was much more attracted to Islam because of the belief that the religion and the prophets are for all peoples and all people can practice the same religion together regardless of where they come from. This has made me feel satisfied that Islam is the religion that is the most complete, that includes all of the good things that all the religions have.
"I was much more attracted to Islam because of the belief that the religion and the prophets are for all peoples"
Tell us about your journey since accepting Islam.
Since accepting Islam I visited quite a few masajid to find out what the different communities are like and how they practice Islam. I have avoided joining any sect. I preferred just to be a Muslim. I don’t call myself even Sunni or Shiite, although I follow Quran and Sunnah. I’m presently working in a masjid in Manhattan for I’m right now in masjid Uthman bin Affan. I also made one Hajj in 1990, and that was a very big event.
Are you a better person than before you embraced Islam?
I consider myself to be a better person now. I believe that Islam has helped me develop better character and to find more ways of expressing my spirituality.
Are you married?
I’m not married now but I’m looking for a wife. I’d like to marry a believing woman and in-sha’Allah may Allah guide me to having a happy, successful and righteous marriage.
Did anyone else in your family or friends embrace Islam?
So far no one else in my family has become a Muslim. I did once together with a Muslim friend give a shahadah to a friend of mine from my pre-Islamic days. However he didn’t stay in the deen. He began just for a few days and he didn’t stick with it. No one else from my friends or family has converted into Islam but I have witnessed many shahadas in this masjid and other masajid.
What will be your final advice to our viewers?
To sum up what I would advise other people, I would suggest that everyone should do some searching to establish the truth inside them in their hearts. It’s important to have good belief in the things that we are taught in Islam and to put them into practice so people need to make an effort to educate themselves and to practice what we have learned.
Also, I’m concerned about the need for Muslims to become more unified because Muslims are very divided today, and we can’t be successful as an Ummah (nation) when we are this divided, and eventually in-sha’Allah Islam hopefully will be revived to a high level like it once was and then we will see a wonderful thing occur on the earth.
Thank you and Assalamu`alaikum.
Watch brother Jeffrey describe his Journey to Islam