This emptiness just compelled me to start seeking the answers somewhere else. What is the purpose, what is the point, where am I going?
Najla Tammy Kepler is a colourful person from Texas, the USA. She has a vast catalogue when it comes to interest areas. She started studying Biology, switched to Medical Technology and finally Business Administration. Now she is a writer of several books. She is a woman for a change, brave enough to question her own belief when she was only 16. She insisted on finding his inner peace and becoming a person that she wants to be. And found a book of 40 sayings of Prophet Mohammad. She says that Islam is not only a continuation but also a purification of the religion that she was already had.
If you are one loves variety, eager to discover new things about your own soul and life purpose, you will find Najla as a soul sister. Follow her way to find your inner peace and happiness.
Transcript of the interview
I’m Najla Tammy Kepler. I am born and raised in Texas. I have 2 younger sisters, 9 stepbrothers and sisters. When I went university, I studied, initially Biology and then I switched to Medical Technology and then I prefered Business. So, fortunately, I was able to get my degree in Business Administration with the Computer Science concentration. But my destiny was to be a writer. And now I have several books.
How did you become a Muslim?
How I became Muslim? I was missing something as a Christian. There is just a void that I couldn’t fill. My father went to a non-denominational Christian Church and this church was based on the ideology that if these books from the bible and from God then there should be a religion that is suitable to that. In this church, we didn’t eat pork because in the Bible it says you shouldn’t eat pork. We didn’t celebrate Christmas because in the Bible it says that decorating trees is a form of idolatry. So I grew up in this church but when the founder passed away, it started changing. For example, one day make-up was okay for woman, the next it wasn’t. So I was curious as to why things changed.
The book hasn’t changed; why is the religion changing?
And then as a teen I had lived with my mom and she was going to Baptist Church, so I started also going. But I couldn’t get passed the fact that in the Baptist Church they were doing things that were contrary to what was written in the Bible. Do you accept Jesus with your heart as you know, the saviour and so that he can take all of your sins and that sounds really good. Getting rid all of my sins and being relieved all my burden and stuff like that… But even in that situation, you know it sounds so wonderful; there was something keep telling me this is not right; this is not what is going to be the remedy. How can someone die for my sins? That’s not… You know? How can award such a thing you know?
Since I was 16; this emptiness just compelled me to start seeking the answers somewhere else. And the only place I need to turn to was God.
And after getting saved and baptist and not having my questions’ results by the minister, I said enough is enough. And I stopped going to church. There is still a void in my heart, nightmares and.. you know this insecurity and what is the purpose what is the point where am I going? So I started praying for wisdom. Oh God give me wisdom. Show me the truth, show me what is right and I continue that prayer for 3 years. Thanks to Allah, in that simple book of 40 sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I found the wisdom I have been searching for 3 years. It gave me a tremendous sense of peace that was so true and so applicable to daily life. And so clear in who God was, what he wanted from me, as a way of life.
After you become a Muslim, did you change your mind about Muslims and Islam?
After I became a Muslim, a number of things started changing. First of all, I had the sense of security that I was on the right path. Because, fortunately, I learned after reading the Hadith that have initially compelled me to become Muslim that the Quran, the Holy Book that the Muslims read and study was actually the words of God. And there was no change in it, there was no corruption in it and it was the pure truth and that gave me such a sense of relief. Opening your hands rather than closing or begging like this, this form of prayer was so peaceful, was such a pleasure because it was like the anticipation of the received and what you praying for. It was quite a different feeling. Of course, the way I dressed also changed. Every Christmas when we see the statues of Mary and you know all it showed is face and hands. And the nuns would imitate her and this style of dress. Being a Texan, I’ve watched cowboy films too. You know actually this was in my culture. I wonder why it was abandoned. Beyond that, there was a little bit of alienation from my family because they couldn’t understand why I was making these decisions.
But I tried to explain that Islam was simply the continuation of the belief that I already had. Not only a continuation but a purification of it. And the completion of it. There have been prophets before, there have been books before and why not a last one of each?
They were always saying in the church is you know “Remember God constantly.” How? How? I found this answer in Islam. With the beginning of everything that we do we supposed to say “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim; In the name of Allah, the most precious, the most merciful”. And just about everything you can think of there is a prayer that can be made. This prayer was sent by the Prophet (pbuh). And the words are so wise, so pure and so appropriate for that whatever it may be; going, getting into a car or entering your home or starting your meal, ending your meal or you know… even entering and exiting your bathroom, entering and exiting a mosque, you know, the place of worship… Just about anything you can think of. He has 7 examples of how we can pray to Allah (set). The level of cleanness, the level of cleanness! Orally for example; you know brushing the teeth was a tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him); maintaining oral cleanness and not only physically but also mentally. You know the words I used, changed. God is so merciful, he has insisted that we have to take a break when we needed and refresh ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Such mercy to be able to pray 5 times a day. To be able to seek after that level of cleanness, level of purity that connection with God each time. The level of hospitality, the level of… you know concern for another human being and the level of connection with another human being. As a neighbour or as a friend or you know… as a fellow believer. Even in the prayer we stand shoulder to shoulder in a straight line we are all equal, we are all connected. You know for the sake of Allah, for the sake of worship, for the sake of this brotherhood and sisterhood.
Before converting to Islam, I had no understanding of what a Muslim was. I didn’t know what a Muslim was. Like a said, there was very little information about it and I didn’t have any friends that were Muslim. So I didn’t have any opinion.
I was an open book, a blank page. So I’m gonna go based on what I am experiencing myself; not on some others say or some bias or some other person’s opinion. I want to judge it for myself, and I’m so glad that I did.
What would you recommend to someone who is interested in Islam?
For someone who is interested in Islam, I recommend that you try to find a valid resource, both on the internet and in person. There should be mosque somewhere in your area; go and talk to Imam, the leader of the Muslim congregation, would be my recommendation.
Get first-hand information.
Ask for resources, where you can get them, you know. The internet is not a very reliable source because there is a lot of misinformation about Islam out there. So rely on the Quran and the Hadith to find out what Islam is; as well as the books that you realized these original resources, these real resources to describe what Islam is. And this would be very helpful.