Hi! I'm Ibtihal. A wife and mother of two beautiful boys. I was born and raised a Suni Muslim in the Muslim world to an Arab and a western parent. In my own story of “Muslimness” I was raised to be a good Muslim and I was blessed to be around a few key non-dualistic Muslim figures with Sufi views as a child that stand out to me in my adult life as I reflect back.
I would say I am first and foremost a non-dualist, and I look at all sacred texts from that lens. I agree with ACIM that there are as many paths to God as there are human beings and every faith has the potential to lead us to enlightenment. I also believe many famous Muslim figures such as Sayyidina Jalal Adin Rumi or Sayyidina Abdulkadir Aljilani were enlightened beings who reached enlightenment through Islam and then wrote texts attempting to help the rest of humanity along the way. The more I understood through ACIM what enlightenment meant the more I read their texts and saw them attempting to point humanity in that direction.
In my childhood I watched as one of my parents got sick and died and this lead me from a young age to search for what in life was “True”. Basically I had a burning desire to understand the deeper meaning of the shahada “There is no God but God/ la illaha illa Allah”. As a young adult in undergraduate I majored in comparative religions in the US again looking for truth. In my late 20s I continued my search and even went to remote parts of the Middle East looking for my truth on: life death, and the hereafter.
It was also in my late 20s that I read The Disappearance of the Universe (DU) and I felt it was true, but I was unwilling to surrender to it as of yet. Surrendering to the Course then would have meant letting go of my identity as a Muslim, and that was something I was heavily invested in through my own family and also growing up an American who lived through 911 on the US side of things. My identity, what made me up up until then was very deeply MUSLIM. Letting go of that felt radical and difficult. Of course the kind of radical thorough whole-hearted forgiveness ACIM requires wasn't something I fully understood either. I felt everything I had based my identity on up until that point was threatened, and I knew friends and family wouldn't understand. My ego sensed it’s own demise and wanted none of it. It felt like shaky fearful ground to surrender to, so I ignored the calling for a few more years.
However, ignoring the calling and continuing to look in Islam for something that fit, took a toll on my health. So from incredible emotional and physical pain I decided I needed to go on Hajj.
There I made it my explicit purpose to forgive EVERYONE I knew, and ANYONE I would even think of, COMPLETELY for EVERYTHING. I did this systematically with every thought I could catch myself think and I did this based on Gary Renard’s phrase written in DU in his chapter on forgiveness.
“You are not really there. If I think you are guilty or the cause of the problem and if I made you up, then the imagined guilt and fear must be in me. Since the separation from God never occurred I forgive both of us for what we haven’t really done. Now there is only innocence and I join with the Holy Spirit in peace.”
At one point somewhere towards the end of Hajj I experienced what ACIM calls a moment of revelation. I did not expect it to happen but... it did … and that moment changed me forever. I returned to my husband from Hajj and I said to him, “I know all these different Muslims want me to join their group (and honestly I’ve known quite a few Christians that had the same desire) but honey, I’m honestly a Muslim for A Course in Miracles.”
That was the moment I truly surrendered to ACIM as my truth and my sacred text and it happened about six years after reading DU.
Why I couldn't have surrendered sooner? Too much of my ego identity was at risk, it felt too hard. But going to Hajj was because I couldn't bare the pain I felt within, all I could do was finally start to forgive the world I see.
It's quite common for serious Course students to have a moment of revelation. In my case, I was directed to share it quite publicly. It's not lost on me that my moment of revelation happened in Hajj.
I am a Muslim for the Course in Miracles because my own background might directly feed into what use God has assigned for me to do on this plane. I know others are out there, and I can't wait for us to connect and share in Oneness and community.
I chose ACIM finally because I honestly believed Pursah and Arten. I wanted to get to Heaven on the fastest train. Islam has gotten others there, I don't doubt nondualist Muslims of the past found God. But the fastest path to Heaven today is ACIM and I myself am finally ready to Go Home. The Course teaches us non of us get there alone, so, welcome!
May we hold hands together and help each other step onto the train home.