D’Vario’s road to righteousness
D’Vario Thompson was raised in a typical Christian home, but four years ago the young Bermudian converted to Islam.
He believes it is one of the best decisions he has made.
“I was never really a religious person growing up,” Mr Thompson said. “I was raised in the Methodist Church, but my parents were not very strict in it.
“I believed in a God, but I wasn’t very intentional about it. Like most young people I just went through the motions.”
Around age 13, Mr Thompson started to search for something more in his spiritual life.
“I went through a phase where I started to question things and was drawn to a more conscious lifestyle,” he said. “I learnt a bit about Rastafarianism but even then, I never settled on a specific faith.”
It was close to a decade before he began searching again.
“I remember being in a really good space in life,” Mr Thompson said. “Everything was going well. I was working, making good money. I felt happy and successful. And then things started to decline.
“I was preparing to have a child and the relationship wasn’t going well and it seemed like everything came tumbling down around me. I didn’t see a way out of this situation. It was like a rock bottom of sorts. But that led me to a spiritual awakening.”
It was about that time that he chatted about some of the things he was going through with an old school friend.
"At the end of the chat, he gave me a few pamphlets on Islam, and a Koran to read.”
Mr Thompson didn’t pick up the literature right away, but as he started to read it over time, it resonated with him. This was the beginning of his journey to faith.
“Before reading the literature my only reference to Islam was the Muslim bakery and few Muslim families that I knew. Otherwise, I knew nothing about Islam,” he said.
“Learning and understanding the fundamentals of the faith was life changing for me. The Koran is not complicated. It is written in simple language and easy to understand. And the stories of the prophets were astonishing to me.”
At 22, he decided to convert to Islam.
“The day my daughter was born was the day I decided to convert. The Koran details the stages and development of pregnancy, from conception to birth. To see everything that it described come to fruition in my own life was incredible.
“At that point I was on the borderline, but this experience solidified my decision to convert.”
Since deciding to join the faith, many things have changed for Mr Thompson. Becoming a practising Muslim has had a profound impact on his daily life.
“Islam has given me structure. Specifically, the prayers. There are so many benefits of praying five times a day. It helps me to plan my day and brings me back to centre as I go through the day.
“Islam also holds me accountable. I have to carry myself differently now because I am representing the entire faith. Islam has been misrepresented in so many ways. It’s up to us – practising Muslims – to show the world what the faith is really about.”
The process has not always been easy, he admitted.
“It was still a conversion process. It’s a big change from what I grew up with and what we are generally surrounded with in Bermuda.
“It’s often a burden being a Muslim living in the west. We are singled out in a way that Christians or other religious groups are not. There were and still are challenges. But I just have to push through. I am still learning and growing in the faith.”
He is currently living between Bermuda and Morocco, having initially visited there to learn the language and memorise the Koran.
“I’ve been in Morocco on and off for three years now. In Islam we have to learn Arabic and it’s more challenging to learn it when you are not speaking it daily. So, I took time away to immerse myself in the language and culture.
“Three years later, I’m still here and I have memorised the Koran and speak Arabic fluently.”
The 26-year-old, who now goes by the name Luqman, recently chronicled his journey into the Islamic faith in a book, Lens: On the Journey to Righteousness.
“I wanted to share my story to inspire other young Bermudians, specifically young men, to cultivate a positive life,” he said.
“But I also wanted to share about Islam and how it impacted my life. I needed that personal push to learn about Islam, so I thought others might need the same thing and be able to relate by reading my conversion story.”
He continued: “I’m not necessarily trying to convert anyone to Islam or condemn what anyone believes. It’s just my experience, through my lens.”
• Lens: On the Journey to Righteousness is available at Brown & Co and on Amazon.com