[It's important to remember the distinction between written Islamic teachings and culture in the real world. After 18 months, I went to my first mosque and met other Muslims properly for the first time. (Courtesy: Independent)]
London: A white Scottish man, living in the Scottish Highlands, converted to Islam without ever meeting a Muslim in his life, says he was attracted towards Islam when he heard for the first time Azaan - call to prayer, and later ended up becoming a Muslim after reading the Holy Quran.
"For me, it all started when I heard the call to prayer from a local mosque while on a beach holiday in Turkey. It woke something up inside me, and inspired me to begin a spiritual quest", Alan Rooney wrote in a self-written article published by the Independent.
"Back home in Inverness, I went to the local bookshop, bought a Qur'an and started to read. While reading, I always asked God to guide me on the journey I had set out on", he added.
He says he continued reading the Holy Quran while doing "a lot of praying, and a lot of time on his knees".
"The Qur'an really shook me. It's quite a scary book to read because it tells you so much about yourself. Some things that I found out about myself I didn’t like. So I decided to make some changes", he added.
"I knew that I could stop reading the Qur'an and halt the process at any time, but I also knew that would mean giving up something really important.
"And I knew what the end result of this process would be: I would be a Muslim.
So I kept on reading. I read it three times, looking for the catch. But there was no catch; I was quite comfortable with everything", he added.
"I would spent time conducting searches online, looking for the stories of people who had gone through this experience themselves. Nothing ever seemed to quite fit the bill - each person's journey, of course, is unique.
"It is good to know, however, that others have gone down this same path as you. Put simply, I turned to these resources when I became afraid I’d be seen as an oddball", he said.
"Working through this process took me about 18 months. Some people take less time, some people more. And I was doing all this on my own, with no-one to help. I still hadn't met any Muslims.
"After those 18 months, however, I considered myself a Muslim. I was praying five times a day, fasting for Ramadan, and eating and drinking only what was considered acceptable according to the teachings of the Qu’ran", he further wrote.
"It was only then I found out that there was actually a small mosque in my town. I popped along, knocked on the door and introduced myself.
"They were surprised to see me and didn't know quite what to do with me at first, except to give me the mosque door combination and to welcome me to their community. I was accepted from the very beginning, however, and am now a constant within the community", he wrote.