I was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for murder. I shot and killed a member of a group that attempted to hijack my family and me. At one point in prison I was kept in isolation for 4 months, 23 hours a day. I nearly lost my mind!
I developed a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. I started to pray, cry, sob and whine. I supplicated to the ancestors, random deities, Jesus, God, etc. I could not come to terms with the fact that I was in prison. I wanted to change but also wished for death.
One day I had a dream. In the dream my former colleague and friend in the defence force invited me to his new house. I entered the house with him but soon found myself all alone. I wanted to get out of the house. The door through which we entered was no longer there. While searching for a way out of the room I noticed a hole in the wall. I peeped through the hole and saw what appeared to be either a mosque or a church filled with a congregation.
I stormed into this congregation and vented my anger. A man with a long beard politely asked me what the problem was. I explained my predicament to him and he told me to ask God to show me the door. So I prayed and asked God to show me the door. Two people entered the room. There were covered in white clothes and their skin was glowing like something I had not seen before. It was a man and a woman.
The man addressed me and said they were sent by God to inform me that he had heard my prayer and he told me that we had to leave. We got into a vehicle and drove along the highway which was beautiful and without traffic. When the vehicle stopped all three of us disembarked. I was asked by this man to follow him, the woman was left outside the vehicle.
The area was a vast, beautiful garden with a river, sparkling like diamonds, running through the centre. Next to the river were two huge smooth rocks on which we sat, facing each other. He started telling me about my childhood. He said that when I was about 8 years old I was affected by certain events in my life. He told me to embrace Islam and said that I will never regret it. I asked him as to who he was and what was Islam? He said he was Prophet Muhammad (Sallalhu Alayhi Wasallam) and that Islam was a religion above all others.
In prison I met a Muslim care worker. I expressed my interest in knowing and embracing Islam. I asked for reading material and I was given a leaflet “Introduction to Islam.”
On 21st April 2003 I reverted to Islam. My family had no problem about my reversion to Islam.
Every day, in successive dreams, I was made to recite things I never knew, in a language I did not understand. The Muslim care worker would visit and want to know about my dreams. He made it a point to get to know all my dreams. Even if he could not visit the prison he wanted me to write down my dreams and post them to him. I once narrated a dream to him where I was involved in circumambulation and recitals. We kept moving around with these brothers making me recite things. He said it was Hajj and, at the time, I didn’t know what that meant.
In the Newcastle, Zondelwater, Witbank, Venda and Kutama correctional facilities I struggled to establish Jamaats and the culture of Islam. Alhamdulillah I wrote to a number of spiritual elders to visit prisons. When I got out of prison on September 16, 2010 I attempted to stop my sons from attending the family Christian church. I was now accused of causing disunity in the family and had to choose between the culture of my ancestors and the culture of Islam. When I chose Islam I was asked to ‘pack my things and leave.’ I became homeless. I must admit it has never been easy to come out of prison and find myself disowned, without food and shelter.
In Lamontville and Umlazi townships Muslims are not freely allowed to practice their religion. However, I now invite people to Islam. I understand why reverts leave Islam when faced with difficult circumstances. I love Islam and, Insha Allah, I want to commit myself to establish a support structure for reverts.
Alhamdulillah, with the use of lawnmowers we have created job opportunities for ourselves. We provide a service for the local population at a fee. The business is managed for us by the Imam of the Masjid. Providing hair cutting services is also a means to elevate ourselves and eradicate poverty. We also gain barakat by cleaning the inside and outside of the Masjid.
I have approached Darul Ihsan to assist me in getting back onto my feet.
Brother in Islam