My name is Roger Hadden, and I am originally from Dungannon in Northern Ireland. I am a dentist currently working in England. I have lived in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and I am now based in England. I was raised as a Christian, and my parents are born-again Christians.
Although I was raised with the teachings of the Bible, I did not particularly adhere to its principles. I suppose I was like most British youth, in that I liked to have fun but maybe didn’t know where the limits were set. While I did not practice any religion, I always believed that there was a God.
I was scientifically minded, but realized that acknowledging there was a Big Bang did not necessarily rule out the possibility of there being a God who controlled and planned this event. We could not have come out of nothing, and we did not create ourselves, so we must have been created. I thought about God from time to time, but it never had a real impact on my heart. My first encounter with Islam I suppose was the media, but I tend not to judge people or things until I see or find out about them myself and hear both sides of the story.
When I went to university I met many Muslims. At that time we discussed religion a little, but I was not seriously thinking about becoming religious. My desires were too strong, so I just wanted to enjoy myself. At that time, I knew that at some stage I would want to change my ways and become a Christian. I then would also want to find out about other religions and understand what makes people believe in them.
When I was in final year at university, I made plans to reform myself and become as my parents, a “born-again Christian”. So I started my research with reading the Bible.
The concept of the Trinity always bothered me, and it was my main aim to understand it. I remember as a child wanting to ask God for something. I was not sure whether to pray to God or to pray to Jesus. I decided to pray to God as I knew if He created everything, then He will hear me and help me.
I spoke to some ministers, and several attempts were made to explain the Trinity. None of them convinced me. I continued to read the Bible, searching for the truth. Obviously I am not a scholar in the Christian religion but the Trinity issue bugged me. Why did the Old Testament prophets all pray to God and do righteous acts hoping for God’s forgiveness? Who did Jesus pray to?
There was no mention of the Trinity in the Old Testament, and many argue none in the New Testament. I knew God did not change, so there was a problem somewhere. I spoke to my friends at University. Some were Sikhs, Catholics, atheists, and some were Muslims.
My conversion changed my life completely, and looking back I know I made the correct decision When I found out that Islam commands the worship of One God, and not to make any partners with Him, I was very interested. I continued reading the Bible and Christian sources but also started reading some Islamic books.
I read that Muslims believe that God sent his message to mankind through different prophets since Adam the first man. All the prophets believed in only One God and they also believed that there was going to be a day of reckoning when everyone will be raised and judged.
I realized that this is what I believe, and what I thought the Bible was saying to me. I discussed things with my parents, and they were not too impressed. Within a couple of months by the grace of God I became a Muslim.
My conversion changed my life completely, and looking back, I know I made the correct decision, thank God. Instead of living my life in a selfish way pleasing my desires, I try now to help others and please my Lord. I have now been a Muslim for five years and I am still learning new and amazing things about the religion.
Every time I hear something “negative” about the religion, I get the issue explained to me and it turns out to be a very positive and beautiful thing. I am continuing to learn Arabic and the Quran. In my career it has made me much more focused, and I now desire to do everything to my best ability. My friends at university are often surprised with regards to my change, especially relating to dentistry.
My parents believed I was brainwashed, and many of my friends thought, and still think, it is just a phase. As it has been over five years now, my parents know it is not just a phase.
I first told my parents that I was thinking of becoming a Muslim, and they told me that it was a “hate religion” and that I should not do it. We talked about it for a while, and as I was convinced, I was sure I had to do it. I did not want to be punished in the next life.
A few months later I took the best step and embraced Islam. The same day my Dad bought me a car, not as a conversion gift, rather, it was his kindness and it just happened to be on the same day.
Since university, I have always lived away from my parents but I try to visit them a couple of times a year. Overall though, I feel my relationship with my parents has improved, as I try to be good to them as God commands in the Quran.
I have moved on from university and lost contact with many of my friends, some I speak to now and again, but as with life, we keep moving on and old friends we see less of and new friends are made.
I am currently working as a dentist in the UK. I am working and doing a part time masters program. I am learning Arabic, and I regularly attend Islamic talks and seminars in order to increase my knowledge.
I am married to a very special lady and we have, by the grace of God a beautiful 1-year- old boy named Ismael (Ishmael from the Bible). We are trying to improve as Muslims, and we would like to travel abroad to a Muslim country. Ideally we would both love to study Islam to a higher level, so we are looking for opportunities to fulfill this dream.