I am Edgardo Ortega Butacan, also known as Barjas, which is my new Muslim name. Here is my testimony on how and why I embraced Islam.
I was born in 1970 and baptized as Roman Catholic and lived most of my life in a Christian environment. Despite this background, I was not a religious person and grew up with many doubts about the doctrines and practices of my Christian faith. One thing I can attest though is that ever since, I believe that there is only one God although I did not know how He looked and what His name was. My doubts were cleared after I embraced Islam. Although, I still do not know how He looks, but it is enough for me to know His name and His beautiful attributes.
When I came to Saudi Arabia in 1993, I set aside many priorities including my religion in order for me to achieve all the comforts of this material life. I stayed in the Kingdom for five years and during these years, I was too prejudiced and biased with the Muslims and I tried to distance myself away from them as much as I could.
I left Saudi Arabia in 1998 and I thought I was leaving for good, but I was mistaken. It was destined that in 2003 I will be given another chance to return to Saudi Arabia and this became the turning point of my life. I now realized that my return to the Kingdom was due to an unfinished mission, which was becoming a Muslim. Although I’m still beset with many personal problems, I am now more mature and open minded to distinguish many things in my life in its proper perspective.
My outlook about faith changed abruptly when I met and befriended a pious Muslim who never failed to impress me with his good character. Every time this person would visit me, he would never convince me to embrace Islam but his model character became my motivation to set aside my biases and prejudices and start my journey to seek the real truth about Islam. Finally one day I asked him about Islam. Then, he started telling me stories about Islam and the Muslims but still he would never convince me nor force me to be a Muslim.
He directed me to one of his friends at Jeddah Dawah Center (JDC) but it took a span of more than one year before I finally decided to visit the center where I met many Muslim brothers who were all new or reverted Muslims.
After several visits and phone conversations with the JDC brothers, my confusions cleared and my questions were all answered until I made the giant step of embracing Islam on February 4, 2011, All Praise is due to Allah.
It has been five months now since I embraced Islam and I do not have any regret or remorse about my decision of becoming a Muslim. My faith will always remain strong through the guidance of Allah, the Most Merciful.
I wish to thank Allah firstly and then extend my sincere appreciation to the Jeddah Dawah Center for my continuous Islamic education and to all my dear Muslim brothers for opening my heart and my mind to Islam. Also, I’d like to extend gratitude to the people in our company who helped me process my documents to be ready for the upcoming Haj.