Essa, a Latino, was a former gang member who went through a life of crime, which landed him in prison for 17 full years. Today he is very grateful for being a Muslim. His life before Islam as he says was full of vices. He was indulged in smoking and drugs. Hustling for money led him to doing armed robberies. He was sent to prison for 17 years.
Essa’s journey to Islam began in prison. Before that he was a Christian. He used to pray for guidance while staying in prison. He says his cellmate was a Muslim, who used to invite Essa to Ramadan. Meanwhile he memorized surah Al-fatiha.
Two years later Essa was shifted to another prison. Again it was Ramadan and he was invited for the festivities. Essa kept going to Friday prayers. One day he heard the azaan. At the moment Allah opened his heart. That was the turning point in Essa’s life. Two-weeks later he recited Shahada and came into the fold of Islam.
Essa says he feels himself fortunate for being in prison as he received guidance during the period. He is a Muslim for about 6 years.