did they become Muslims?
Islamic religion is the final religion and is therefore at the
zenith of perfection. This fact is acknowledged even by (George)
Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) [Shaw's clever plays, e.g. Pymalion,
are based on faults in moral attitudes and in society.], the well-known
Irish writer and critic, whose personal comments on Islam can
be summarized as, "Were we to choose a common religion for
the entire world, it would definitely be the Islamic religion."
This conclusion is quite natural. For the Islamic religion is
the sole religion that has preserved its intact purity owing to
the promised protection against the interpolations suffered by
all the religious systems previous to it. Judaism, one of the
greatest monotheistic cults, had foretold about the advent of
a Messiah. Issa a.s. (Jesus) was hailed as the promised Messiah,
yet the Injil (Bible), the heavenly book of the religion he spread,
was lost. Later, various gospels were written in the name of Injil,
and these new gospels, which were no more than interpolations
themselves, were interpolated again and again. All these facts,
along with various other portents, announced the coming of a final
prophet, the real Messiah s.a.s. As a matter of fact, the name
of this Messiah is literally written in the Gospel of Barnabas.
Then, the Islamic religion is the last, the most true, the most
perfect religion wherein all the true religions converge and which,
therefore, reflects the full approval of Allahu ta'ala. A friend
of ours, [namely, Dr. Nuri Refet Korur], who had spent his entire
youth among Christians in Europe, said to us: "I am a Muslim
born from Muslim parents. I spent my life in Europe, where I had
the chance and time to study all religions and to compare them
with each other. If I had seen that another religion was superior
to Islam, I would have given up Islam and accepted that religion.
For there was no one to force me to remain a Muslim. Yet, all
the research and the comparative studies I carried on, reinforced
by the debates that I, in the meantime, indulged in with Christians,
revealed the fact that Islam is by far superior to all the world's
present religions and that it is the only intact true religion,
so clearly that I became attached to Islam with all my heart."
Sad to say, today's western world still accommodates Christians
who insist on the wrong and call Muslims "heretics",
"idle-minded", "devil-worshipers", "irreligious".
These misconceptions are inculcated in the minds of Christian
children by priests, whose real purpose is to distract their young
and inquisitive brains. These interceptive activities are fed
with the slanderous propaganda that the Islamic religion embodies
aspects disagreeable with modern civilization. The fact, on the
other hand, is that Islam is the only religion suitable for today's
civilized world. Our book Islam and Christianity deals with and
refutes these misconceptions. In addition to English, we translated
that book into French and German and sent the translated versions
to countries all over the world. Thereby we tried to countermand
the falsifications spread by priests and thus to state the actual
facts. It did not take us long to see how appropriate and useful
our work had been. No sooner had we distributed the books to the
world than they gave their fruits. We received a letter from India,
in which wrote an Indian Christian: "When I read your book
Islam and Christianity, I realized that Islam is the true religion
and I decided to become a Muslim." We have been receiving
similar letters from young Africans. Anyone who has the opportunity
to study the pure, clean, civilized and humane aspects of Islam
will feel an irresistible attraction to this religion. The Islamic
religion is spreading over the world without any such media as
propagation and organization. On the other hand, the missionary
organizations belonging to those countries whose primary objective
is to spread Christianity are spending huge amounts of money and
offering various types of social aid, and yet achieving very little
success in comparison with their tremendous efforts.
Despite all this wrongful and inimical volley of vituperations
carried on against Islam and all the stupendous efforts put forth
for the spreading of Christianity, there has been an ever growing
increase in the number of Muslims on the earth. Later ahead you
will find more extensive information on this subject. Some of
these Muslims remained Muslims because they had been born in Muslim
families. However, besides these people there are also people
who accepted Islam although their parents had been in other religions
and they therefore had been given their family education in other
religions. Among these people are universally renowned diplomats,
statesmen, scientists, scholars, men of letters, writers, and
even men of religion. These people studied Islam well, admired
its greatness, and became Muslims willingly. In addition to these
people, many other universally known celebrities met the Islamic
religion with deep respect and admiration although they did not
officially become Muslims; they even believed in the fact that
Islam is the true religion and did not hesitate to express this
belief of theirs. Scientists, philosophers, and politicians, admired
by the entire world, first of all believe in the fact that Allahu
ta'ala exists and is One and that He is the Creator of all beings.
In this chapter you will find the statements and observations
belonging to some of these celebrities.
Among the people who accepted Islam, there may be those who became
Muslims of necessity, for the sake of some advantages, or for
advertisement. For instance, a non-Muslim woman may have accepted
Islam without studying and learning Islam well for the purpose
of marrying a certain man who happened to be a Muslim, or an Indian
pariah may have done so in order to regain his lost civic rights.
However, the fact that well-known scholars, scientists and writers
accept the Islamic religion only after a long observation bears
a lofty import. Selections from the explanations given by these
cultured people on why they abandoned their religions and embraced
Islam have been compiled from various sources and books and listed
in the following pages. As you read them you will hear from the
very tongues of these respectable people why the Islamic religion
is superior to other religions. Perhaps a person who was born
a Muslim and has spent his life among Muslims is totally oblivious
of these superiorities. Yet when a person belonging to another
religion studies Islam, he will see the difference clearly and
will admire Islam. In fact, reading these explanations will provide
you with an opportunity to see and admire once again the high
merits of our religion, and thus feel and offer gratitude to Allahu
ta'ala for having been Muslims.
A conclusion drawn from all these explanations, in other words,
a summary of the reasons why Islam is superior to the other religions,
has been added in an independent chapter.
We hold the belief that this work will give you fresh information
about the Islamic religion and will confirm once again that Islam
is a great and true religion.
A FEW WORDS
Allahu ta'ala created mankind. All people are the born slaves
of Allahu ta'ala. Allahu ta'ala is the creator, the Rabb, not
only of a certain nation or race or only of the world, but also
of the entire humanity as well as of all the worlds of existence.
In the view of Allahu ta'ala, all people are the same, and no
one is different from another. In addition to a body, He has given
a soul to each one of them. He has sent them Prophets 'alaihimus-salawatu
wattaslimat' to lead them to spiritual and physical perfection
and to guide them on the right way. The greatest ones of these
Prophets are Adam, Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses),
Issa (Jesus), and Muhammad s.a.s. The tenets of belief that they
taught are the same. The final and the most perfect system is
Islam, taught by Muhammad a.s.. No Prophet will come after Muhammad
a.s.. For the religion he brought is at the uppermost point of
perfection and has no deficiency to be made up; and Allahu ta'ala
has declared that mankind will never be able to change or interpolate
this religion. The well-known German Writer Lessing (1729-1781),
in his book Nathan der Weise (Nathan the Wise), likens the three
(heavenly) religions to three identical rings made of sapphire.
Yet he feels uncertain as to "whether one of them is genuine
and the other three false?" Yet the fact is that all three
of them are genuine essentially.
However, as a result of various personal interests, advantages,
sordid and biased considerations, jealousies, superstitions, misinformation
and misconstructions, men failed to understand this reality, inserted
numerous wrong beliefs and ideas into the Musawi and Nasrani religions,
and thus changed, defiled these true religions, which were based
on Tawhid (unity, oneness of Allahu ta'ala). Only Islam remained
in its original purity. Consequently, adherents of these three
religions became hostile to one another. This hostile attitude
they have assumed means to oppose to the Will of Allahu ta'ala.
For, as we have already stated, Allahu ta'ala invites all people
to the true religion. In the view of Allahu ta'ala, all people,
regardless of race, are equal. All people are Ummat-I-da'wat.
And the true religion is Islam, which is the only continuation
of the original forms of Judaism and Christianity.
The following passage, which we have paraphrased from Prof. Robinson,
reflects the opinions formed in the minds of today's people who
are stuck fast in materialism:
"I joined a tour of Israel organized for the teaching staff
and students of the University of Orel Roberts. Orel Roberts,
the founder of the university and one of the notables of the Catholic
Church, was with us. During our scheduled visit to Ben Gurion,
a former premier of Israel, Orel Roberts presented a copy of the
Holy Bible to Mr. Gurion. The first portion of the Holy Bible
was the Old Testament, that is, the Torah. Roberts requested Ben
Gurion to read the passage he liked best of that holy book. Ben
Gurion met his request with a smile. We sat under a tree in the
small yard in front of his house. We were all quiet and ready
to listen intently. Ben Gurion opened the Holy Bible, turned one
or two pages, and read the following passage: "So God created
man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
and female created he them." [Gen: 1-27] I thought to myself,
'good Gracious! Is this the statement he has found after all?'
I frowned because I had been expecting him to read a passage from
one of the Pentateuchal parts with meanings of a higher level,
such as a verse telling about creation or a passage from the Ten
Commandments. I beckoned to the television cameraman shooting
the event. This beckoning meant: 'Don't bother! These statements
are not worth being televised the world over.'
"Sometime afterwards, however, Ben Gurion explained with
enthusiasm verging on ecstasy why he had picked up this statement,
as follows: 'Quite a long time before we became Americans, Russians,
Israelis, Egyptians, or Christians, Muslims, Magians, Jews, etc.,
that is, before the formation of differences separating today's
people from one another, such as nationality, state, religion,
belief, and the like, we were all a man and a woman created by
Allahu ta'ala. This is the greatest fact which all religious systems
are primarily trying to teach us. Why don't we realize this and
why are all these hostilities among us? Let us join hands and
supplicate Allahu ta'ala to help us realize this fact.'
"We all hung our heads. Roberts, being a religious man, said,
'Amin,' on behalf of us all. The statement that Ben Gurion picked
up really was the wisest choice.
"Throughout my way back from Israel this statement completely
occupied my mind. We human beings are all the same. We are the
born slaves of Allahu ta'ala. There is only one way leading to
Him. This way is the way of belief guided by Abraham (Ibrahim),
by Moses (Musa), by Jesus (Issa), and finally by Muhammad s.a.s.
People who follow this way shall attain to salvation. By abandoning
the way guided by Prophets, mankind has made the gravest error.
It is for this reason that they have lost their way and their
moral qualities and have even forgotten Allahu ta'ala. The earth's
resuming its peace and salvation is dependent upon men's realizing
that they have been on the wrong way and returning to the right
How right Prof. Robinson is in his statements paraphrased above!
Today most people have left the way prescribed by the religions,
and material values have become their only concern. These poor
people do not know that material values are a mere nothing. They
are doomed to destruction and extinction. What is immortal in
man is his soul. And the soul, in its turn, will not feed on material
nutritives. The soul's primary diet is a correct belief in Allahu
ta'ala, who created all from nothing; next comes worshipping Him,
observing the duties required from His born slaves. Today, all
scholars, scientists and state presidents believe in the existence
of Allahu ta'ala. Yet in matters pertaining to belief and worship
they mostly get stuck in wrong and misguided thoughts and ideas
and thus deviate from the right way. A beautiful description of
this case is given by Prof. White, a brain surgeon who has won
many scientific awards and has attained international fame for
the various operational methods he has found, and who is presently
a professor at the University of Cleveland and at the same time
the director of the Clinic of Brain Surgery founded in the same
city. See what he says, (as paraphrased):
"The child that was brought in for a surgical operation was
a six-year-old lovely girl. She was very graceful, lively, intelligent,
and cheerful. Yet after examination we spotted a big tumour in
her brain. We took her in for operation. A cyst attached to the
tumour had made It grow very big. I began to operate on the sac
containing liquid. But, alas, the global cystic tumour suddenly
contracted and the wide veins on its surface tore. blood was gushing
out unto the operation bench. My friends and I were doing our
utmost to stop the blood flowing as if from a water pump. It was
of no avail. We saw in despair that we were losing the battle.
The child was dying in our hands. We were under the hopeless oppression
of profound sadness. I was trying to stop the bleeding by putting
pieces of cotton on the torn veins. The bleeding seemed to come
to an end. Yet I could not lift my hand off. For I knew that if
I did so the bleeding would begin again and in that case nothing
could be done any more. My assistants began to inject blood into
the child's body. My fingers were still on the pieces of cotton.
How incapable and powerless I felt! poor me, how did I dare to
cut off a tumour formed in a small girl's brain? How on earth
could I assume the responsibility of so tremendous a job? How
could a pitiable human being even touch that stupendous work of
art, which we call 'brain', which manages all the so many various
functions, provides humankind with their personality and equips
them with a variety of faculties such as intellect, memory, emotions,
feelings, tastes, pains, thoughts and fancies, and which Allahu
ta'ala, alone, could create? We term this tiny object 'brain'.
Yet, in actual fact, it was this very child that lay helpless
"Half an hour later. Utter silence reigned in the operation
room. We were all extremely tense with anxiety. Everybody, and
I myself, knew that were I to lift my hand the flood of blood
would begin again, which meant the death of the child. At that
moment I began to supplicate to Allahu ta'ala and trusted myself
to His help. I begged, 'O my Allah, do give my fingers the strength
I need so that I can prevent the bleeding!' Presently a strong
feeling of relief suffused me. For I had now committed my trust
to Allahu ta'ala. I had the belief that I could now lift my fingers
off and there would be no bleeding any longer. I felt the existence
of Allahu ta'ala with all my soul. Slowly, I lifted my fingers.
The bleeding had stopped.
"It was now easy to perform the operation. The operation
lasted for exactly four and a half hours. I did not leave the
child for a whole week. I felt so happy as I observed that the
child was gradually recovering. As of today, the child is ten
years old, a perfectly healthful, cheerful and happy little dear.
"In 1974 I examined a child who had had a brain haemorrhage
and I saw that there was a small tumour in the middle of its brain.
Yet the tumour had begun to bleed and suppurate. The situation
was dangerous and hopeless. We opened the skull, placed tubes
on both sides of the brain, and began to wash the brain with antibiotics.
This was quite a new method and I was the first to use it. Because
the child was burning with fever, we placed it in a respirator
and covered it with cold blankets. In the meantime we continued
to wash the brain. This hopeless situation lasted for weeks. I
kept praying and supplicating Allahu ta'ala to help me. In my
supplications, I was begging Allahu ta'ala not only to have mercy
on the child and its parents, but also to give energy and strength
to those people who had undertaken this heavy responsibility and
who had been working with me continuously for weeks.
"Eventually, the divine help reached us. This event, which
had seemed to be a total hopelessness, ended in success. The child
recovered. My friends were happy and they were saying that the
new method we had used had 'yielded a very good result.' They
thought that I did it and they prided on it. Yet I did not think
so. I was of opinion that, no matter how hard we worked, no matter
how new methods we found, no matter how new techniques we applied,
success in operations of that sort depended only on the help of
Allahu ta'ala. I have always felt this in my heart in the numerous
operations I have performed up to now. However improved our technology
may be, the result of a brain operation, like all other things,
is within the power of Allahu ta'ala, and success is possible
only with His help.
"During the brain operations I have performed for years,
I have felt great excitement before the human brain. As I have
dealt with the brain, and each time I have seen the brain, I have
felt in my heart that it is impossible to solve the mystery of
this tremendous work of art, that the power which created it is
very great, and that it is necessary to believe in the existence
of Allahu ta'ala. Even the most perfect computers made by people
today can be only toys when compared to the tiniest brains.
"Now I believe that the brain is a case in which the human
soul is preserved. As we perform an operation around this case
we perform a religious rite. A brain operation, in my personal
credo, is a religious rite, identical with performing an act of
worship. The operator's technical knowledge and skill are not
the only requirements. He should, at the same time, believe in
the existence of Allahu ta'ala and beg Him for help and mercy
for a successful operation.
"What happens to the soul kept in the case of the brain when
a person dies? The soul is not in the body now, but definitely
it is not dead. Where does it go, then? It is not for me as a
doctor to speculate on where the soul goes or where it stays.
For physical areas of knowledge cannot answer this question. The
only guide that will help us in this respect is a religious book.
I believe that inasmuch as their brains and souls possess the
faculty for reasoning, the humankind should leave aside the material
values, attach themselves to the religion with all their hearts
and believe in the teachings written in religious books."
This comes to mean that even the world's famous and greatest surgeon
sincerely expresses that he believes in the existence of Allahu
ta'ala and that without His help nothing can be done.
Now let us lend an ear to a scientist:
You all know Edison,[Edison (Thomas Alva) died in 1350 [1931 A.D.]]
the well-known American scientist. About this renowned inventor
who, in addition to various discoveries, made the first electric
bulb and thus illuminated the world, his closest colleague relates
the following memory in a book published several years ago:
"One day, as I entered the room, I found Edison deeply plunged
in thought, motionless, looking at some container which he was
holding in his hand. An expression of utter astonishment tinted
with deep signs of respect, admiration and adoration had suffused
his face. He did not even notice me till I was quite near him.
When he saw me he showed me the container in his hand. It was
full of quicksilver. 'look at that,' he said. 'What a tremendous
work of art! Do you believe that quicksilver is extraordinary?'
I replied, 'Quicksilver is really wonderful substance.' Edison's
voice quivered as he spoke. He murmured to me, 'As I look at quicksilver,
I admire the greatness of its Creator. So many varying properties
He has given to it! As I think of these I almost lose my mind.'
Then he turned to me again, and said, 'People world over admire
me. They presume that all these various inventions and discoveries
I have managed are wonders and great accomplishments. They want
to look on me as a superhuman. What a great error it is! I am
a person who is not even worth a penny. My discoveries consist
in uncovering only an infinitesimal part of the great wonders
that actually exist in the universe but which people have not
noticed so far. A person who says, "I made this," is
the most abject liar, the most drivelling idiot. Man is an incapable
creature who can do nothing by himself. Man is a creature who
can talk a little and who can think a little. If he thinks well,
he will, let alone being proud, see how void he is. So, as I think
of these facts, I realize what a powerless, incompetent and weak
creature I am. Me, an inventor? [He raised his hand and pointed
to the sky.] The real inventor, the real genius, the real creator
is He, Allah!' "
As is seen, scientists believe in the existence of Allahu ta'ala
and hold fast to His religion with both hands. Materialists mostly
cannot find solutions to their problems and give up hope. This
is because their souls are empty. The human soul, like the body,
needs food. And this, in its turn, is possible only when one has
iman, and the only way leading to Allahu ta'ala is the religion.
Even those who deny Allahu ta'ala will some day feel this need.
The famous Russian writer (Alexander) Solzhenitsyn (1918 - -),
when he settled his home in the U.S., thought he would now be
free from great troubles, mental depressions, and from the state
of being only a mechanical tool. One day he summoned a group of
American youth around himself in a university and said to them,
"When I came here, I thought I would be very happy. Unfortunately,
here, too, I feel myself in a vacuum. For we have become the slaves
of material values. Yes, there is freedom here, and one can do
whatever one wishes. But material values are the only important
things. The souls are empty. However, what makes a human being
a real human is its matured, refined soul. My piece of advice
to you is this: Try to improve and beautify your soul! In that
case only will those monstrosities that have infested your country
and which have been worrying you begin to disappear. Pay the religion
its due importance! The human soul is fed on religion. People
adherent to their religion will be your greatest helpers in whatever
you do. For the fear of Allah will keep them on the right way.
On the other hand, your police forces, no matter how powerful,
cannot establish a twenty-four-hour control over everybody. What
deters people from iniquities is not the concept of police, but
the fear that they feel in the permanent presence of Allah."
As we have stated above, religion is the only source of nutriment
for the human soul. Of all the existent religions, Islam is the
truest, the newest, and the most comprehensive so that it provides
its adherents with an ever during adaptability to the world's
changing conditions. In this booklet you will read selections
from the autobiographical documents in which some cultured people,
who, while formerly belonging to some other religion during their
childhood, studied various religions and their books and finally
embraced Islam on their own volition and without even any marginal
outside influence, give their personal accounts on why they decided
to change their religion and become a Muslim.
In addition to these highly cultured people, there are quite a
number of celebrities who believe in the existence of Allahu ta'ala
and who admire Islam for its greatness. There is mention of these
people in the next chapter. In the so-called chapter, we shall
paraphrase paragraphs from the reflections on the existence of
Allahu ta'ala and the superiority of Islam selected from the statements
of Emperor Napoleon (Bonaparte, 1769-1821), (Thomas) Carlyle (1796-1881),
Prof. (Ernest) Renan (1823-1892), and the Indian hero (Mahatma)
Ghandi (1869-1948), and the statements made by (Alphonso Marie
de) Lamartine (1790-1869) about our darling Prophet Muhammad a.s..
As all these indicate, the religion is the most vital necessity
for mankind. Those unfortunate people who do not believe in their
own religion, and who have not had the chance to study Islam,
either, will remain hollow-souled and will get hold of false credos
fabricated by liars. For a person definitely needs to believe
in the existence of a being superior to him and to attach himself
to that being. Even those people living in the most improved and
developed countries have sought ways to satisfy this need and
finally attached themselves to aberrant ideas and fabricated beliefs.
On November 17, 1978, nine hundred votaries of a heretical sect
were taken to Guyana in North Africa by a miscreant priest named
Jim Jones, the founder of the sect, which he called People's Religion,
and thence to a camp which this eccentric priest, again, called
Jonestown,[This event is widely known as the "Jonestown Massacre."]
where he induced them to poison themselves (by drinking poison
together). In Italy, a pair of parents who believed another similar
priest killed their own child with their own hands because the
heretic priest had told them to kill their child and the child
would come back to life and would become even healthier than before
upon his sending his prayers; it goes without saying how ruined
the parents felt when they saw that the child would never return
to this life. If these people, who had left their religion, had
studied the Islamic religion like those people who embraced Islam,
and whom you will get to know more closely further ahead, they
would have found in it what they had been looking for, and the
Islamic religion, whose lexical meaning also is 'peace and tranquillity,
salvation, trusting oneself to Allah', would have given them the
spiritual serenity they had been yearning for.
Very sad to say, we Muslims cannot propagate our brilliant religion
to the world as efficiently as we wish to do. One of the deciding
factors contributing to this failure is our own slackness in paying
our religion due attachment and our contagious remission in carrying
out its commandments. The Islamic religion enjoins, first of all,
physical and spiritual cleanliness. Spiritual cleanliness is obtainable
by believing first in the existence of Allahu ta'ala and then
in the totality of His commandments and prohibitions which He
sent to humankind through Muhammad a.s., His final Messenger.
That the soul has been likewise cleansed is identifiable from
the presence of certain characteristic signs, such as never lying,
never deceiving anybody, habitual rectitude, not holding heretical
dogmas, readiness to help others without discriminating among
them, and full submission to the commandments of Allahu ta'ala.
This is the sole behaviour expected from a Muslim. Then, if a
person means to propagate the Islamic religion, first of all he
himself has to be a model Muslim. If we exhibit this model and
modest behaviour, people belonging to other religions will observe
us with admiration, which in turn automatically prompt them to
study the Islamic religion. Our newly converted Muslim brothers
explained in their answers to the question, "Why did you
become a Muslim?" that they decided to become a Muslim upon
seeing true Muslims and their life-styles. These Muslims request
us to try to spread and publicize the Islamic religion and to
set an example, a model Muslim for others by holding fast with
both hands to the commandments of our religion. For all our faults
and our insufficient capacity of propaganda, the Islamic religion
is growing piecemeal and spreading over the world. In 1954 the
population of the world was 2.4 billion. By 1978 it reached 3.8
billion. Between 1954 and 1978 the number of Christians reached
150 million, while that of Muslims became 220 million. According
to the statistics of the year 1978 written in the World Almanac,
published by an international statistics center, there are 1.7
billion Buddhists and Magians, 950 million Christians (Catholics,
Protestants and Orthodox Christians), 10 million Jews, 538 million
Muslims 1,5 billions - 1996 - UNO statistics) on the earth. On
the other hand, Time, (an American magazine), allotted its April
1979 issue to Islam. It was recorded in this issue that the real
number of Muslims was 750 million and the existing statistics
were incorrect. Christian statisticians make every endeavour to
represent a lower number of Muslims on the earth.
- 2 - SELECTIONS FROM THE EXPLANATIONS MADE BY CELEBRITIES WHO
WERE FORMERLY NON-MUSLIMS AND WHOSE ADMIRATION FOR ISLAM EVENTUALLY
LED THEM TO BELIEVING IN Allahu TA'ALA
The following chapter contains a few paraphrased selections from
the statements made by some of the many non-Muslim celebrities
who believed in Allahu ta'ala and admired Islam; these statements
reflect their views of Islam. So many are the people who share
the same opinions that we have had to pick out only the famous
ones. Among our selections are great commanders, statesmen and
scientists whom you all know very well. Now let us read with attention
to what they said:
Napoleon I (1769-1821 [1237 A.H.]), who went into history as a
military genius and statesman, when he entered Egypt in 1212 [C.E.
1798], admired Islam's greatness and genuineness, and even considered
whether he should become a Muslim. The following excerpt was paraphrased
from Cherfils's book (Bonapart et Islam):
The existence and unity of Allahu ta'ala, which Musa a.s., had
announced to his own people and Issa a.s. to his own Ummat, was
announced by Muhammad s.a.s. to the entire world. Arabia had become
totally a country of idolaters. Six centuries after Issa a.s.,
Muhammad a.s. initiated the Arabs into an awareness of Allahu
ta'ala, whose existence prophets previous to him, such as Ibrahim
(Abraham), Ismail, Musa (Moses) and Issa (Jesus) a.s. had announced.
Peace in the east had been disturbed by the Arians, [i.e. Christians
who followed Arius], who had somehow developed a degree of friendship
with the Arabs, and by heretics, who had defiled the true religion
of Issa a.s. and were striving to spread in the name of religion
a totally unintelligible credo which is based on trinity, i.e.
God, Son of God, and the Holy Ghost. Muhammad a.s. guided the
Arabs to the right way, taught them that Allahu ta'ala is one,
that He does not have a father or a son, and that worshipping
several gods is an absurd custom which is the continuation of
At another place in his book he quotes Napoleon as having said,
"I hope that in the near future I will have the chance to
gather together the wise and cultured people of the world and
establish a government that I will operate [in accordance with
the principles written in Qur'an al-karim.]"
Prof. (THOMAS) CARLYLE:
Thomas Carlyle of Scotland (1210 [C.E. 1795]-1298 [C.E. 1881]),
one of the greatest men of knowledge known world over, entered
the university when he was only fourteen years old, studied jurisprudence,
literature and history, learned German and oriental languages,
exchanged letters with, and even visited, the well-known German
writer (Johann Wolf-gang von) Goethe (1749-1832), was awarded
by the King of Prussia with the medal of honour called 'pour le
mÚrite', and was elected president by the University of Edinburgh.
Among Carlyle's works are Sartur Resartus, The French Revolution,
On Heroes, Hero Worship And the Heroic in History, Past and Present,
Latter-Day Pamphlets, The Life of Friedrich Schiller, and Critical
and Miscellaneous Essays.
The following passage was selected from one of his works:
"The Arabs, Muhammad a.s., and his age: Before the advent
of Muhammad a.s., (the Arabs were in such a state that) if a big
piece of fire spurted out at the place where the Arabs lived,
it would have dIssappeared on the dry sand without leaving any
traces behind itself. But after the advent of Muhammad a.s. that
desert of dry sand turned into, as it were, a barrel of gunpowder.
From Delhi to Granada, everywhere became rapidly rising flames.
This great person was, so to speak, lightning, and all the people
around him became explosives catching fire from him."
From his conference:
"As you read the Qur'an al-karim, you will presently realize
that it is not an ordinary tome of literature. The Qur'an al-karim
is a work of art that springs from a heart and instantly penetrates
all the other hearts. All the other works of art are quite dull
when compared with this tremendous masterpiece. The most striking
characteristic of the Qur'an al-karim is that it is a truthful
and excellent guide. To me, this is the greatest merit of Qur'an
al-karim. And it is this merit that begets other merits."
From his memoirs of a trip:
"In Germany I told my friend Goethe about the facts I had
gathered concerning Islam and added my personal reflections on
the subject. After listening to me with attention, he said, 'If
that is Islam, we are all Muslims.' "
MAHATMA GANDHI (Mohandas Karam-chand):
Gandhi (1285 [C.E. 1869]-1367 [C.E. 1948]) descends from a West
Indian Christian family. His father was the chief ecclesiastic
of the city of Porbtandar, and he was very rich. Gandhi was born
in the city of Porbtandar. He went to Britain for his high school
education. After completing his education he went back to India.
In 1893 he was sent to South Africa by an Indian firm. Upon seeing
the heavy conditions under which the Indians working there were
and the utterly inhumane treatment they were being subjected to,
he decided to put up a struggle for the betterment of their political
rights. He dedicated himself to the Indian people. As he was conducting
a vigorous campaign against the South African government for the
protection of the Indians' rights, he was arrested and imprisoned.
Yet he was too undaunted to give up struggle. He stayed in Africa
till 1914. Then, quitting his perfectly lucrative job there, he
returned to India to carry on his struggle. He waged a struggle
in co-operation with the Indian Muslims Unity, which Muslims had
established in 1906 for the liberation of India. All his personal
property and his father's property he spent for the promotion
of this cause.
When he heard that the British were going to launch a second operation
of violence and cruelty similar to the one they had perpetrated
in the state of Pencap in 1274 [A.D. 1858], he co-operated with
the Muslims, induced his friends to withdraw from the civil service,
and waged a silent protest and a passive resistance. By wrapping
a white piece of cloth around his naked body and contenting himself
with the milk of a goat which he continuously kept with him, he
carried over his passive resistance. The first reaction on the
part of the British was to laugh at him. It did not take them
long, however, to see with astonishment and dismay that this man,
who believed his own ideals with all his heart and who was ready
to sacrifice all his existence with alacrity for the sake of his
country, was with the entire India in tow and resounding with
his speechless struggle. Imprisoning him proved to no avail. Gandhi's
efforts resulted in India's attaining its independence. The Hindus
gave him the name 'Mahatma', which lexically means 'blessed'.
Gandhi studied the Islamic religion and Qur'an al-karim with meticulous
attention and finally found himself a sincere admirer of Islam.
The following is his observation concerning this subject:
"Muslims have never indulged themselves in bigotry even in
times of greatest grandeur and victory. Islam enjoins an admiration
for the Creator of the World and His works. As the West was in
a dreadful darkness, the dazzling star of Islam shining in the
East brought light, peace and relief to the suffering world. The
Islamic religion is not a mendacious religion. When the Hindus
study this religion with due respect, they, too, will feel the
same sympathy as I do for Islam. I have read the books telling
about the life-style of the Prophet of Islam and of those who
were close to him. These books generated profound interest in
me, so much so that when I finished reading them I regretted there
being no more of them. I have arrived at the conclusion that Islam's
spreading rapidly was not by the sword. On the contrary, it was
primarily owing to its simplicity, logicality, its Prophet's great
modesty, his trueness to his promises and his unlimited faithfulness
towards every Muslim that many people willingly accepted Islam.
"Islam has abrogated monastic life. In Islam there is no
one to intervene between Allahu ta'ala and His born slave. Islam
is a religion that commands social justice from the outset. There
is not an institution between the Creator and the created. Anyone
who reads Qur'an al-karim, [i.e. its explanations and books written
by Islamic scholars], will learn the commandments of Allahu ta'ala
and will obey Him. There is no obstruction between Allahu ta'ala
and him in this respect. Whereas many ineluctable changes were
made in Christianity on account of its shortcomings, Islam has
not undergone any alterations, and it preserves its pristine purity.
Christianity lacks democratic spirit. The need to equip that religion
with a democratic aspect has necessitated an increase in the Christians'
national zeal and the concomitant reforms."
Prof. ERNEST RENAN:
Now let us make mention of a French man of ideas: Ernest Renan
was born in 1239 [C.E. 1923] in the Treguier city of France. His
father was a captain. He was five years old when he lost his father.
He was raised by his mother and by his elder sister. Because his
mother wanted him to be a man of religion, he was sent to the
church college in his hometown. Here he was given an efficient
religious education. His strong interest in the oriental languages
won him a full command of the Arabic, Hebrew and Syrian languages.
Later he entered the university, where he studied philosophy.
As he made progress in educational areas and carried on very minute
comparative studies on the German philosophy and the oriental
literature, he observed some flaws in Christianity. By the time
he was graduated from the university in 1848, at the age of twenty-five,
he was entirely defiant towards the Christian religion, and he
compiled his thoughts in his book titled 'The Future of Knowledge'.
Yet, because the book was of a rebellious nature, no printhouse
dared to print it, and it was only forty years later, in 1890,
that the book was printed.
Renan's primary objection was against the belief that Issa a.s.
was the 'Son of God'. When he was appointed as a professor of
philosophy in the university of Versailles, he began to gradually
explain his thoughts on this subject. However, it was not till
after he was appointed as a professor of the Hebrew language for
the university of College de France that he voiced his most vigorous
protest. By the time he finished his first class he had had the
courage to say, "Issa a.s. was a respectable human being
superior to the other human beings. Yet he was never the son of
Allahu ta'ala." This statement had the effect of a bomb.
All the Catholics, and especially the Pope, rose up. The Pope
officially excommunicated Renan before the entire world. The French
government had to dismiss him from office. Yet the world was already
resounding with Renan's statements. Great numbers of people sided
with him. He wrote books, such as 'Essays on the History of Religions',
'Studies on Criticism and Morals', 'Discourses on Philosophy'
and 'Life of Jesus', and his books sold like hot cakes. Upon this
the French Academy accepted him as a member (in 1878). Also, the
French government invited him back to office and appointed him
as the director of college de France.
Renan observed Issa a.s. as a human being in his work 'Life of
Jesus'. According to Renan, "Issa a.s. is a human being like
us. His mother Maryam (Mary) was betrothed to a carpenter named
Yusuf (Joseph). Issa a.s. was a superior human being, so much
so that, the statements that he made when he was only a small
child were a source of astonishment for many a scholar. Allahu
ta'ala deemed him as worthy of prophethood and gave him this duty.
Issa a.s. never said that he was the 'Son of God'. This is a slander
fabricated by priests."
The contention between Catholic priests and Renan continued for
a long time. While the Catholics accused him of blasphemy, he
in his turn indicted them for their mendacity and hypocrisy. Renan
was saying, "The real Nazarani religion is based on the belief
that Allahu ta'ala is one and that Issa a.s. is only a human being
and a prophet." Before Renan had died, he had prepared a
written will enjoining from a religious ceremony in the church
and prohibiting priests from attending his funeral procession.
So, when he died in 1892, a crowded congregation containing only
friends who loved him and people who admired him attended his
LAMARTINE (Alphonso Marie Louis de):
One of France's universally known poets and statesmen, Lamartine
(1204 [C.E. 1790]-1285 [C.E. 1869]) made official journeys through
Europe and America, which gave him the opportunity to have been
to Turkey, in the time of Sultan Abd-ul-majid Khan. He was admitted
in an utterly friendly manner by the Padishah (Ottoman Emperor),
and was also presented with a farm within the state of Aydin,
(which is in the western part of Turkey). See what he says about
Muhammad a.s. in his book Histoire de Turquie (History of Turkey):
"Was Muhammad 's.a.s. a false prophet? We cannot think so
after studying his works and history. For false prophethood means
hypocrisy. As falsehood does not have the power of trueness, likewise
hypocrisy does not have convincing capacity.
"In mechanics the range of something thrown depends on the
power of the thrust. By the same token, the power of a certain
source of spiritual inspiration is assessed with the work it accomplishes.
A religion, (i.e. Islam), which has carried so heavy a burden,
which has spread to such distances, and which has maintained its
full power for such a long time, cannot be a lie. It has to be
genuine and convincing. Muhammad's a.s. life; his efforts; his
courage in attacking and destroying the superstitions and idols
in his country; his bravery and valour in standing against the
fury of a fire-worshipping nation; his thirteen year endurance
to the various attacks, insults and persecutions inflicted on
him in Mecca, among his own citizens; his migration to Medina;
his incessant encouragements, preaches and admonitions; the holy
wars he fought against overwhelmingly superior enemy forces; his
spirit for victory; the superhuman confidence he felt at times
of greatest afflictions; the patience and trust he displayed even
in victory; the determination he showed in convincing others;
his endless devotion in worships; his sacred communings with Allahu
ta'ala; his death, and the continuation of his fame, honour and
victories after his death; all these factual events (and many
others untold) indicate that he was by no means a liar, but, on
the contrary, an owner of great belief s.a.s.
"It was this belief and this trust in his Creator that made
him put forward a two-staged credo: The first stage consisted
of the belief that 'there is one eternal being, who is Allah;'
and the second stage inculcated that 'idols are not gods.' In
the first stage he informed the Arabs about the existence of Allahu
ta'ala, who is one and whom they had not known until that time;
and in the second stage he shook from their hands the idols which
they had looked on as gods until that time. In short, at a single
stroke with the sword he broke the false gods and idols and replaced
them with the belief in 'One Allah'.
"This is Muhammad a.s., the philosopher, the orator, the
Prophet, the law-giver, the warrior, the enchanter of human thoughts,
the maker of new principles of belief, the great man who established
twenty gigantic world empires and one great Islamic empire and
"Let all the criteria used by humanity for the judgement
and evaluation of greatness be applied. Will anyone be found superior
to him? Impossible." s.a.s.
I wish to free myself from fancies and whims;
My eccentric nafs will not leave me alone.
I wish to free what is good from the bad;
My eccentric nafs  will not leave me alone.
I wish to discipline my essence;
I wish to know what's good for me, 'n what's bad;
I wish to come to my senses;
My eccentric nafs will not leave me alone.
1. Nafs is a malignant force in human nature. It is recalcitrant,
stupid, and evil. It always urges man to behave against the commandments
of Allahu ta'ala. It is the only creature whose all wishes are
If we behave in a manner befitting a true Muslim, the number of
Muslims will increase even more rapidly, which in its turn means
that, as will be stated in the following explanations made by
people who converted to Islam from other religions, wrong beliefs
will gradually disappear from the earth and the human race will
attain their long-awaited peace and happiness.
PEOPLE WHO CHOSE ISLAM
There are a number of people who abandoned their former religion
and accepted Islam. These people belong to various races, countries,
nationalities, colours and professional groups. Forty-two of these
people were asked several questions, such as, "Why did you
become a Muslim?" "What are the aspects of Islam that
you like best?" by some magazines or societies, or by their
own friends. Their answers were quite clear and sincere. These
noble people decided to embrace Islam after thinking over the
matter for a long time and studying the Islamic religion with
meticulous attention. Each and every one of their answers, which
we have compiled from various books and magazines and we will
paraphrase in the following passages, is of documentary value.
There are many lessons to be taken from these answers, and those
who read them will once again feel in their hearts the sublime
nature of our religion.
These documents have been arranged in an alphabetical order of
the initial letters of the nationalities to which our new Muslim
brothers belong. These countries are:
America, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland,
Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Malaya, Poland, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Zanzibar.
1 - MUHAMMAD ALEXANDER RUSSEL WEBB (American)
Diplomat, Author & Journalist
(Muhammad Alexander Russel Webb was born in 1262 [1846 C.E.],
in Hudson, United States of America. He studied in the university
of New York. In a short time he was a very much loved and admired
writer and columnist. He published magazines named 'St. Joseph
Gazette' and 'Missouri Republican'. In 1887 he was posted as the
American consul in the Philippines. After embracing Islam, he
thoroughly dedicated himself to the promulgation of Islam and
presided over the organization in the United States. He passed
away in 1335 [1916 C.E.].)
I was asked by quite a number of people why I, as a person who
was born in the United States, a country with an overwhelmingly
numerous Christian population, and who listened to the preaches,
or, rather, foolish talks, made by Christian priests throughout
his growing years, changed my religion and became a Muslim. The
brief account I gave them on why I had chosen Islam as my guide
in life: I became a Muslim because the studies and observations
I carried on indicated that men's spiritual needs could be filled
only with the sound principles established by Islam. Even as a
child I had never had a disposition to completely dedicate myself
to Christianity. By the time I reached the adult age of twenty,
I was completely defiant towards the mystical and annoying church
culture which interdicted everything in the name of sin. Gradually
I disengaged myself from the church, and finally abandoned it
for good. I had an inquisitive and curious character. I would
always search for causes and purposes for everything. I would
anticipate logical explanations for them. On the other hand, the
explanations provided by priests and other Christian men of religion
did not satisfy me. Most of the time, instead of giving satisfactory
answers to my questions, they would dismiss the matter with evasive
prevarications such as, "We cannot understand these things.
They are divine secrets," and "They are beyond the grasp
of human mind." Upon this I decided to study, on the one
hand, oriental religions, and on the other hand, books written
by famous philosophers. I read various works on philosophy, such
as those written by John Stuart Mill (1806-73), English thinker;
On Liberty.], by John Locke (1632-1704), English Philosopher],
by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), German philosopher; Critique of
Pure Reason], by George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), German
thinker], by Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), German philosopher],
by Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British writer; Brave New World.],
and others. The books written by these philosophers always dealt
with such subjects as protoplasms, atoms, molecules, and particles,
and did not even touch on reflections such as "What becomes
of the human soul?" "Where does the soul go after death?"
"How should we discipline our souls in this world?"
The Islamic religion, on the other hand, treated the human subject
not only within the corporeal areas, but also along the spiritual
extensions. Therefore, I chose Islam not because I had lost my
way, or only because Christianity had incurred my displeasure,
or as a result of sudden decision, but, on the contrary, after
very minutely studying it and becoming thoroughly convinced about
its greatness, singularity, solemnity and perfection.
Islam is based on belief in the existence and the unity of Allahu
ta'ala, entire submission to Him, which spontaneously entails
worshipping Him and thanking Him for His blessings. Islam enjoins
fraternity, goodness, and friendliness upon all the human race,
and advises them to be cleanly, spiritually, physically, verbally,
and practically. Definitely, the Islamic religion is the most
perfect, the most superior and the most conclusive of all the
religions known to humanity so far.
2 - Colonel DONALD S. ROCKWELL (American)
Why did I accept Islam? For a long time I had been greatly impressed
by Islam's clear logic and formal simplicity, by the magnetizing
attraction felt towards its mosques, by the great solemnity and
deep affection with which the adherents of that religion had devoted
themselves to their faith, by the profound respect and pure sincerity
in which Muslims all over the world had been prostrating themselves
simultaneously five times daily. However, all these things were
short of causing me to become a Muslim. Only after a thoroughgoing
analysis of the Islamic religion, which resulted in my exploring
a myriad of beautiful and useful aspects in it, did I become a
Muslim. A solemn and, at the same time, sentimental, attachment
to life, [which was Muhammad's a.s. personal approach]; a mutually
consultative method in doing daily chores; a habitually soft behaviour
flavoured with mercy and compassion in social lives, indiscriminately;
charity for the poor; property rights, which women had been given
for the first time; all these things, which were only a few of
the many other revolutions that could only be evaluated as 'the
most tremendous', and how aphoristical and concise a language
it is through which Muhammad a.s. expresses these concepts! By
cautioning, "Place your trust in Allahu ta'ala; yet do not
forget to tie your camel!", Muhammad a.s. conveys also that
Allahu ta'ala commands His born slaves to put their trust in Him
only after taking all sorts of necessary precautions. Then, contrary
to Europeans' assertions, the Islamic religion is not a religion
for those idlers who expect everything from Allahu ta'ala without
doing anything for their part. The Islamic religion commands everybody
first to do their best and only then to put their trust in Allahu
The justice which Islam rendered to people of other religions
was one of its aspects which had had a great impact on me. Muhammad
a.s. commands Muslims to be benign towards Christians and Jews.
Qur'an al-karim acknowledges the prophethoods of the other prophets
as well, beginning with Adam a.s. and including Musa and Issa
'a.s. This is an exalted sense of faith and a great model of justice,
which other religions do not possess. While the believers of other
religions are casting inconceivable aspersions on Islam, Muslims
are answering them favourably.
One of the most beautiful aspects of Islam is that it has completely
purified itself of idols. Whereas pictures, icons and signs are
still being worshipped in Christianity, things of this nature
do not exist in Islam. This is an indication of how pure and unstained
a religion Islam is.
The facts stated and taught by Muhammad a.s., the Messenger of
Allahu ta'ala, have reached our time without any interpolation.
And the Qur'an al-karim, which is the Word of Allah, has been
preserved in its pristine purity, exactly as it was revealed,
without losing anything from the limpidity it had in the time
of Muhammad a.s.. The fabricated superstitions and legends with
which Christians have defiled the religion of Issa a.s. are not
the case with Islam.
Of the determinants that motivated me to become a Muslim, the
last one was the fortitude and the will power that I observed
in Islam. Islam induced an overall cleanliness, not only spiritually,
but also physically. Examples of the features that make up this
superior nature are not to overload the stomach when eating, to
fast for one month every year, to be moderate in every respect,
to be neither extravagant nor parsimonious in spending money,
etc. In an exquisite style, facts that would guide humanity not
only temporarily but also ever after were being inculcated into
individuals. I visited almost all of the Muslim countries. I saw
in person how all the Muslims in Istanbul, in Damascus, in Cairo,
in Algeria, in Morocco, and in the other Muslim cities observed
all these rules and thereby led a peaceful life. They did not
need ornaments, pictures, icons, candles, music, or other trivialities
of the same sort to initiate themselves into the life-style leading
to the sympathy of Allahu ta'ala. The sense of awareness of the
fact that they were the born slaves of Allahu ta'ala and their
acts of supplication before Him afforded them the greatest source
of spiritual peace, happiness and flavour.
The qualities of freedom and equity inherent in the Islamic religion
have always magnetized me towards it. Among Muslims, a person
occupying the highest rank position and the poorest member of
the society are equal before Allahu ta'ala, and they are merely
two individuals in the general recognition of fraternity. Muslims
perform their acts of worship side by side in mosques. There are
not any special places allotted for the leadership.
Muslims hold the belief that there is not a third person to act
as an intermediary between Allahu ta'ala and His born slave. The
Islamic acts of worship are performed between Allahu ta'ala and
the slave. They do not appeal to men of religion for the forgiveness
of their wrongdoings. Every Muslim is the only person responsible
for his personal behaviour.
The mutual fraternity among Muslims has always been helpful in
my personal life. This fraternity was one of the factors whereby
I was charmed towards Islam. I know that, wherever I go, a Muslim
brother of mine will help me and sympathize with me. All Muslims
the world over, of different races, colours and political views
as they may be, are brothers and they look on it as an obligation
to help one another.
These are the causes for my becoming a Muslim. I wonder if it
could be possible to conceive of causes more beautiful or more
exalted than these?
3 - SALAHUDDIN BOART (American)
In 1338 [1920 C.E.], I was in the waiting-room of a doctor's office
where I had gone for a medical examination, when I saw two magazines
printed in London, namely 'Orient Review' and 'African Times'.
As I was skimming through them I read a statement that said, "There
is only one God," which impressed me deeply. Christianity
dictated three gods, which we were compelled to believe although
we could never explain it to our own minds. From that time on,
that statement, "There is only one God," never left
my mind. This holy and sublime belief, which Muslims bear in their
hearts, is an invaluable treasure.
Now I grew more and more deeply interested in Islam. By and by,
I decided to become a Muslim. After embracing Islam I assumed
the name Salahuddin. I believed in the truth that Islam is the
truest religion. For Islam is based on the fact that Allahu ta'ala
does not have a partner and that Allah, alone, has the authority
to forgive sins. How compatible this law is with the laws of nature!
In a field, on a farm, in a village, in a city, in a school, in
a government, in a state and, in short, everywhere, there is one
single ruler. Dualism has always brought about separatism.
The second proof that showed me the fact that Islam is the truest
religion was that the Arabs, who had been leading a completely
barbarous life before Islam, had developed into the world's most
civilized and the most powerful state in a very short time and
carried the most ideal concepts of love of mankind from the Arabian
deserts all the way up to Spain, and all this was owing to Islam.
The Muslim Arabs had found Arabia as a wilderness. And they cultivated
it into a rose-garden. John W. Draper (1226 [1811 C.E.]-1299 [1882
C.E.]), an honest historian, in his book 'The Intellectual Development
of Europe', enlarges on the extremely great and important part
that Islam played in the development of contemporary civilization,
and adds, "Christian historians, on account of the grudge
they have been nursing against Islam, try to cloak this truth
and cannot seem to get themselves to acknowledge how indebted
Europeans are to Muslims."
The following passage is (the paraphrase of) an excerpt from Draper's
writings on how Muslims found Spain:
"Europeans of that time were completely barbarians. Christianity
had proved short of delivering them from barbarism. They would
still be looked on as wild people. They lived in filth. Their
heads were full with superstitions. They did not even have the
ability to think properly. They lived in roughly-made huts. A
rush mat laid on the floor or hanging on the wall was the sign
of great wealth. Their food consisted of vegetables like wild
beans and carrots, some oats and, sometimes, even barks. In the
name of garments, they wore untanned animal hides because they
lasted longer, and therefore they stank awfully."
"Cleanliness was the very first thing that Muslims taught
them. Muslims washed five times daily, which caused these people
to wash at least once a day. Later on, they took the stinking,
tattered, lice-infested animal hides off their backs, dumped them,
and gave them their own garments, which had been made from textures
woven with coloured threads. They taught them how to cook, and
how to eat. They built houses, mansions and palaces in Spain.
They established schools and hospitals. They instituted universities,
which in the course of time became sources of light illuminating
the entire world. They improved horticulture everywhere. The country
was soon awash with rose and flower gardens. Gaping in astonishment
and admiration, the uncivilized Europeans watched all these developments,
and gradually began to keep pace with the new civilization."
Educating so wild a nation; imbuing them with sentiments of civilization;
rescuing them from the depths of darkness, nascence and superstitions;
all these inconceivably tremendous tasks were accomplished by
the Arabs owing only and only to the Islamic religion. For the
Islamic religion is the most genuine religion. Allahu ta'ala helped
them for their success.
The Islamic religion, commanded by Allahu ta'ala and taught and
publicized by Muhammad a.s., and the Qur'an al-karim, which is
the Word of Allahu ta'ala, changed the course of the world's history
and freed it from the fetters of darkness. Had it not been for
the Islamic religion, humanity would not have attained the present
heights of civilization, nor would knowledge and science be in
such advanced levels today. Muhammad a.s. states, "Even if
knowledge is in China, (go and) acquire it." This is the
Islamic religion which I accepted willingly.
4 - THOMAS MUHAMMAD CLAYTON (American)
It was almost noon time. Dazed with the sweltering heat of the
day, we were trudging along a dusty road, when, from afar, a singularly
mellifluous voice began to caress our auditory senses. So rich
a voice it was that the entire space seemed to be sated with it.
As we walked past a cluster of trees, a bewildering scene came
into sight. It was such a scene that we hardly believed what we
saw. Mounted on a small, wooden tower, an elderly Arab in an extremely
clean long robe and wearing a white turban was performing (calling)
the adhan (or adhan). As he performed the adhan, he was in a trance,
almost completely isolated from the world, and in the presence
of his Creator, Owner. As if hypnotized by this noble sight, we
halted, and then, slowly, sat down on the ground. We did not know
what the sounds and words reaching our ears meant, yet they somehow
moved us and instilled a mood of elation, relief into our souls.
Afterwards, we learned that the sweet words uttered by the Arab
meant, "Allahu ta'ala is the greatest. There is no god to
be worshipped other than Allahu ta'ala." All of a sudden,
many people appeared around us. Till hardly a moment before, however,
we had seen no one around us. We did not know whence these people
came, and there was an expression of great deference and love
on their faces. There were people of all age-groups and classes
among them. They were different in their clothing, in their manners
of walking, and in their appearances. Yet they all had the same
expression of earnestness, great dignity and, at the same time,
geniality on their faces. The number of comers increased incessantly,
so that we felt as if the process of their increasing would never
come to an end. At last the comers assembled. They all took off
their shoes and clogs and stood in rows. To our great amazement,
no segregation of any sort was observed in the formation of the
lines. White people, yellow people, black people, rich people,
poor people, tradesmen, civil servants, workers stood side by
side without any discrimination between their races or ranks,
and performed their worship together.
I admired so many different people's brotherly coming together.
It is three years now since I saw that sublime scene for the first
time. In the meantime, I began to gather information about that
lofty religion which brought people so closely together. The information
that I collected about Islam brought me all the closer to this
religion. Muslims believed in one Allah and professed that men
were not sinful by birth, which was quite contrary to the Christian
inculcation. They looked on them only as born slaves of Allahu
ta'ala, displayed profound compassion towards them, and wished
them to abide by the right path and thus lead a comfortable, peaceful
and happy life. Whereas in Christianity even an evil thought was
deemed as a sin, Muslims defined sin only as a result of disobeying
Allahu ta'ala or violating the rights of born slaves, and acknowledged
man free as to his thoughts. According to the Islamic religion,
man was responsible "only for what he has done."
For the reasons I have cited above, I accepted Islam willingly.
Despite the three years' time since, I sometimes dream of the
Arab muezzin's touching and effective voice and multifarious people's
running from all directions and standing in lines. It is a doubtless
fact that these people, who prostrate themselves altogether and
indiscriminately, are doing so sincerely to worship Allahu ta'ala.
Haqq ta'ala avenges Himself on the slave through the slave,
In the ignorant's eyes the avenger is the poor slave.
Everything belongs to the Creator, the slave's a mere tool,
Without the Creator's command you cannot move a leaf!
5 - DEVIS WARRINGTON (Austrian)
As the Spring's mellow, warm hand thaws out the earth after an
awfully frigid winter, likewise Islam had a similar effect on
me. It warmed my heart and clothed me with a new and lovely dress
of knowledge. How beautiful, how true, and how logical Islam's
teachings are! How clear, how genuine, and how charming a word
it is to say that "Allahu ta'ala is one, and Muhammad a.s.
is His Messenger." How could one ever compare it with the
unbelievable, unintelligible Christian credo which imposes the
absurdity of "Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit"? In
contrast with these formidable, fearful and never satisfactory
tenets of Christianity, this simple and logical belief draws you
towards itself. Islam is an undefiled heavenly religion. Despite
the centuries that have elapsed since its advent, it answers all
the material and immaterial needs of humanity, not only today,
but also forever. For instance, Islam clearly states that men
are equal and that before Allahu ta'ala there is no difference
of rank and position among men, and it enforces this equality
in actual life. The Christian churches profess the same equality,
yet there are various echelons among them, such as priests of
different ranks, archdeacons, deacons, bishops, and many other
ecclesiastics. These people intervene between Allahu ta'ala and
the slave and use the name of Allahu ta'ala for their personal
advantages. In Islam, on the other hand, no one can intervene
between Allahu ta'ala and the slave. Allahu ta'ala communicates
His commandments through the Qur'an al-karim to His slaves. In
the following lines, I will quote a commandment of Allahu ta'ala.
It is only an example. This example shows very explicitly how
simple and clear the commandments are.
The two hundred and sixty-seventh ayat of Baqara sura purports:
"O ye who believe! Give of the good things which ye have
(honourably) earned, and of the fruits of the earth which We have
produced for you, and do not even aim at getting anything which
is bad, in order that out of it ye may give away something, when
ye yourselves would not receive it except with closed eyes. And
know that Allahu ta'ala is free of all wants, and worthy of all
praise." (2-267) As I read and learned these profound and
beautiful commandments of the Qur'an al-karim, my soul attained
peace and I embraced Islam willingly.
6 - Mrs. CECILLA CANNOLY [Rashida] (Austrian)
Why did I become a Muslim?
Let me tell you sincerely that I became a Muslim without even
noticing it myself. For, at a very young age I had already completely
lost my confidence in Christianity and had begun to feel apathy
towards the Christian religion. I was curious about many religious
facts. I was disinclined to believe blindly the creed they were
trying to teach me. Why were there three gods? Why had we all
come to this world sinful, and why did we have to expiate it?
Why could we invoke Allahu ta'ala only through a priest? And what
were the meanings of all these various signs that we were being
shown and the miracles that we were being told? Whenever I asked
these questions to the teaching priests, they would become angry
and answer, "You cannot inquire about the inner natures of
the church's teachings. They are secret. All you have to do is
to believe them." And this was another thing that I would
never understand. How could one believe something whose essence
one did not know? However, in those days I did not dare divulge
these thoughts of mine. I am sure that many of today's so-called
Christians are of the same opinion as I was; they do not believe
most of the religious teachings imposed on them, yet they are
afraid to disclose it.
The older I became the farther away did I feel from Christianity,
finally breaking away from the church once and for all and beginning
to wonder whether there was a religion that taught "to worship
one single God." My entire conscience and heart told me that
there was only one God. Then, when I looked around, the events
showed me how meaningless the unintelligible miracles that priests
had been trying to teach us, and the absurd stories of saints
they had been telling us, were. Didn't everything on the earth,
human beings, beasts, forests, mountains, seas, trees, flowers
indicate that a great Creator had created them? Wasn't a newly
born baby a miracle in itself? On the other hand, the church was
striving to indoctrinate the people with the preposterous belief
that every newly born baby was a wretched, sinful creature. No,
this was impossible, a lie. Every newly born child was an innocent
slave, a creature of Allahu ta'ala. It was a miracle, and I believed
only in Allah and in the miracles He created.
Nothing in the world was inherently sinful, dirty, or ugly. I
was of this opinion, when one day my daughter came home with a
book written about Islam. My daughter and I sat together and read
the book with great attention. O my Allah, the book said exactly
as I had been thinking. Islam announced that there is one Allah
and informed that people are born as innocent creatures. Until
that time I had been entirely ignorant of Islam. In schools Islam
was an object of derision. We had been taught that that religion
was false and absurd and infused one with sloth, and that Muslims
would go to Hell. Upon reading the book, I was plunged into thoughts.
To acquire more detailed information about Islam, I visited Muslims
living in my town. The Muslims I found opened my eyes. The answers
they gave to my questions were so logical that I began to believe
that Islam was not a concocted religion as our priests had been
asserting, but a true religion of Allahu ta'ala. My daughter and
I read many other books written about Islam, were fully convinced
as to its sublimeness and veracity, and eventually embraced Islam,
both of us. I adopted the name 'Rashida', and my daughter chose
'Mahmuda' as her new name.
As for the second question that you ask me: "What aspect
of Islam do you like best?" Here is my answer:
What I like best about Islam is the nature of its prayers. In
Christianity prayers are said in order to ask for worldly blessings
such as wealth, position and honour from Allahu ta'ala through
Issa a.s.. Muslims, in contrast, express their gratitude to Allahu
ta'ala and they know that as long as they abide by their religion
and obey the commandments of Allahu ta'ala, Allahu ta'ala will
give them whatever they need without them asking for it.
7 - MUHAMMAD ASSAD LEOPOLD WEISS (Austrian)
is a note from the webmaster - The file on Muhammad Assad /Leopold
Weilss might contain errors. A brother has written with some facts
that does not match these in this revert story. I'm not going
to dig into this, but if anybody has any facts in either direction
- please contact me!
(Weiss was born in 1318 [A.D. 1900] in the Livow city of Austria
[in Poland today], visited Arabic countries as a newspaper correspondent
when he was twenty-two years old, admired and professed the Islamic
religion, then visited all the Islamic countries, including India
and Afghanistan, and published his impressions in 'Frankfurter
Zeitung', one of the greatest newspapers world over. Weiss worked
as the publication director for Frankfurter Zeitung for some time,
then, after Pakistan's winning its struggle for liberation, he
went to Pakistan with a view to co-operating with that country's
government in the establishment of a system of a religious education,
and later he was sent to the United States Center to represent
Pakistan. He has two books, one entitled 'Islam at Cross-Roads',
and the other 'The Way Leading to Mecca'. Recently he has rendered
the Qur'an al-karim into English. His attempt to write a tafsir
(translation of Qur'an al-karim) without the indispensably required
background in the basic Islamic sciences indicates that he is
not in the Madhhab of Ahl as-sunnat and that, consequently, his
tafsirs and other (religious) writings may be harmful. Wahhabis
and other groups outside (the right way guided by the four) Madhhabs
present this ignorant heretic as an Islamic scholar.)
The newspapers for which I worked as a correspondent and writer
sent me to Asia and Africa in the capacity of 'special correspondent'
in 1922. In the beginning, my relations with the Muslims were
no more than ordinary relations between two parties of foreigners.
However, my long stay in the Islamic countries enabled me to know
the Muslims more closely, which in turn made me realize that they
had been looking at the world and the events taking place in the
world from angles quite dissimilar to those of Europeans. I must
acknowledge that their extremely dignified and composed attitude
towards the events, and their approach that was much more humanistic
than our own, began to stir up my interest. I was from a fanatical
Catholic family. Throughout my childhood I had been inculcated
with the belief that Muslims were irreligious people worshipping
the devil. When I came into contact with Muslims I realized that
they had been lying to me and I decided to study the Islamic religion.
I acquired a number of books written on this subject. When I began
to read these books with close attention, I saw in amazement how
pure and how valuable a religion it was. Yet the manners and behaviours
of some Muslims I had been in contact with did not conform to
the Islamic principles that I was reading about. First of all,
Islam dictated cleanliness, open heartedness, brotherhood, compassion,
faithfulness, peace and salvation and, rejecting the Christian
doctrine that "men are ever sinful," it substituted
it with quite an opposite belief which tolerated "all sorts
of worldly pleasures with the proviso that they should not cost
someone else's harm and that they should not overflow the free
area defined by Islam." But I also met some dirty and mendacious
Muslims. To understand the matter better, I began to run an experiment
on it, putting myself in the place of a Muslim and adapting myself
to the principles I had been reading in the books, and thus examining
Islam from within. I came up with the conclusion that the main
reason for the increasing degeneration and decline of the Islamic
world, which was already on the brink of a collapse, was Muslims'
becoming increasingly indifferent towards their religion. As long
as Muslims preserved their perfection as true Muslims, they always
made progress; and a downfall began the very moment they relaxed
their grips of Islam. In actual fact, Islam possesses all the
qualifications required for a country's or a nation's progress.
It contains all the essentials of civilization. The Islamic religion
is both extremely scientific and very practical. The principles
it lays down are completely logical, intelligible to everybody,
and do not contain one single element that would run counter to
knowledge, to science, or to human nature. There is nothing unnecessary
in it. The grotesque passages, the sophistries, and the superstitious
mysticisms, which are the common properties of other religious
books, do not exist in Islam. I discussed these subjects with
most Muslims and castigated them, saying, "Why don't you
adhere more tightly to this beautiful religion of yours? Why don't
you hold fast to it with both hands?" Eventually, in 1344
[A.D. 1926], as I was discussing these matters with a governor
in Afghanistan, he said to me, "You have already become a
Muslim without you yourself noticing it. Only a true Muslim would
defend Islam as earnestly as you are doing now." Upon these
words of the governor's a lightning flashed in my brain. When
I was back home I plunged into deep thoughts, finally saying to
myself, "Yes, I am a Muslim now." Presently I pronounced
the statement called Kalima-i-sahadat.[The statement called Kalima-i-shahadat
is: "Ash-hadu an-la-ilaha il'l'Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan
abduhu wa Rasuluhu," which means, "I testify to the
fact that there is no god but Allah, and I testify, again, that
Muhammad a.s. is His born slave and Messenger." Every Muslim
has to make this statement at least once in his lifetime and has
to believe in its meaning.] I have been a Muslim ever since.
You ask me, "What aspect of Islam attracted you most?"
I cannot answer this question, for Islam has penetrated and invaded
my entire heart. There is not a specific aspect, therefore, which
affected me more than the others did. Everything I had not found
in Christianity I found in Islam. I cannot tell what principle
of Islam I feel closer to me. I admire each and every one of its
principles and essentials. Islam is a gorgeous monument. It is
impossible to separate any of its parts from its entirety. All
its parts are pivoted, clenched on one another in a certain order.
There is a tremendous harmony among the parts. There is not a
single part missing. Each and everyone of its parts is in its
proper place. Perhaps it was this extremely admirable order which
attached me to the Islamic religion. No. What attached me to the
Islamic religion was the love I had for it. You know, love is
composed of various things: Desire, loneliness, ambition, elevation,
zeal for progress and improvement, our weaknesses mixed with our
strength and power, the need for someone to help and protect us,
and the like. So I embraced Islam with all my heart and love,
and it settled in my heart so as to never leave there again.
8 - Dr. 'UMAR ROLF FREIHERR VON EHRENFELS (Austrian)
(Rolf Freiherr (baron) von Ehrenfels is the only son of Prof.
Dr. Baron Christian Ehrenfels, who is known as the founder of
Gestalt psychology all over the world. He belongs to a well-known
family. He was only a small child when he felt a growing concern
for the orient and began to study the Islamic religion. His sister
Imma von Rodmesrhof writes about this inclination of her brother's
in detail in a book of hers, which was published in Lahore in
1953. At a very young age, Rolf travelled in Turkey, in Albania,
in Greece, and in Yugoslavia, and joined prayers in mosques although
he was a Christian. Eventually, the warm feelings of closeness
that he had been harbouring towards Islam resulted in his embracing
Islam in 1927, from then on he chose the name 'Umar for himself.
In 1932 he visited India, and published a book entitled 'The Place
of Woman in Islam'. When the Germans invaded Austria during the
Second World War, Rolf fled to India. Accepted and supported by
Akbar Haydar, he carried on anthropological studies in Assam,
was appointed as a professor of anthropology for the University
of Madras in 1949, and was awarded with a gold medal by the 'Royal
Asiatic Society', which was located in Bengal. His books were
also published in the Urdu language.)
You ask me why I became a Muslim. In the following lines I shall
give an account of the factors that formed the cause of my becoming
a Muslim and realizing that Islam is a true religion:
1) Islam contains the good aspects of all the world's religions
known to us. All religions are intended for men's living in peace
and tranquillity. Yet no other religion has managed to teach it
to people as explicitly as Islam does. No other religion has been
successful in imbuing with such deep love towards our Creator
and towards brothers of the same faith.
2) Islam enjoins a perfect submission to Allahu ta'ala in a mood
of peace and tranquillity.
3) A retrospective look into history will automatically expose
the fact that the Islamic religion is the final true, heavenly
religion and that no other religion will appear.
4) Muhammad a.s., who communicated the Qur'an al-karim, is the
5) It is doubtless that a person who enters the Islamic religion
will automatically have separated himself from his former religion.
Yet this separation is not so big as it may be anticipated. The
tenets of belief are the same in all the heavenly religions. Qur'an
al-karim acknowledges the heavenly religions before itself. Yet
it rectifies the wrong beliefs inserted into these religions afterwards,
exposes the religion of Issa a.s. in its essential form, and declares
that Muhammad a.s. is the final prophet and that no prophet will
come after him. In other words, Islam is the true and perfect
form of other religions. Various clashes of interests and contrasting
ambitions have made men inimical towards one another. And this
animosity, in its turn, has been exploited by other people, who
have tried to change religions into rival camps and thus to build
their worldly advantages on religions, which, in actual fact,
are essentially paths guiding to knowing Allahu ta'ala. In fact,
it takes a little alertness to see that the Islamic religion acknowledges
the other heavenly religions and that it purifies them of the
human interpolations that they had been subjected to in the course
of time. To accept Islam, therefore, means to render a spiritual
and material service which is needed by all people, men and women
6) In no other religion has the concept of brotherhood among people
been stated so expressly as it has been in Islam. All Muslims,
regardless of their race, nation, colour and language, are brothers
of one another. Whatever their political views are, they are brothers
of one another. No other religion possesses this beauty.
7) Islam is a religion which gives women great rights. The Islamic
religion has allotted women the most proper place. Muhammad a.s.
stated, "Paradise is beneath a mothers' feet."
The Islamic religion respected the works of art made by people
of other religions, and did not demolish them like barbars. As
they were building mosques like Fatih and Sultan Ahmad (Blue Mosque)
in Istanbul, they did not feel averse to modelling some of their
architecture after that of Saint Sophia. Throughout history, Muslims
have displayed greatest justice and mercy towards people of other
For reasons such as these, I chose Islam for my faith.
9 - THOMAS IRVING (Canadian)
To tell you why I became a Muslim, I have to explain what I felt
before and after embracing Islam, my first contact with Islam
and the faith that it inspired into me. First of all, let me tell
you that thousands of Canadians and Americans think exactly as
I used to think before becoming a Muslim; they have the same feeling
of dissatisfaction; and they are awaiting the scholars of Ahl
as-sunnat who will teach them the essence of Islam.
As I was a child, I held fast to my faith, Christianity, with
both hands. For I needed a religion to feed my soul. However,
as I grew older, I began to see a number of faults in Christianity.
The stories told about the life of Issa a.s. and his being the
son of God, -may Allahu ta'ala protect us against saying so,-
sounded like superstitious tales to me. My personal logic would
never accept them. I began to ask myself questions, such as, "If
Christianity is the true religion, why are there so many non-
Christians in the World?" "Why do Jews and Christians
share the same basic religious book and differ in other respects?"
"Why are non-Christians doomed to perdition though they have
no other apparent faults?" "Why do many nations choose
not to become Christians?"
It was in those days when I met a missionary who had been serving
in India. He complained to me, "Muslims are very obstinate.
They insist that the true religion is Islam, and not Christianity.
So all my efforts to Christianize them end up in failure."
These statements were at the same time the first definition I
had heard of Islam. A sensation of curiosity towards Islam, seasoned
with a high degree of admiration for Muslims who had been so staunchly
attached to their religion, began to blossom in my heart. I felt
that I should observe Islam more closely, and began to attend
lectures on 'Oriental Literature' in the university. I saw that
what the oriental people had been rejecting in our belief was
the doctrine of 'trinity', and that they accepted the belief of
'One God', which was perfectly agreeable with common sense. It
was certain that Issa a.s. had announced his religion as one based
on belief in One God, and himself as a mere born slave and Messenger
of that One God. The God he had mentioned should be a merciful
God. Nevertheless, that beautiful and true belief had been smothered
with meaningless legends, superstitions and heresies inserted
into Christianity by idolaters, and the pure belief in the One
Merciful, Compassionate God had been adulterated into a tripartite
godhood, which was accessible only to priests and which, so to
speak, created mankind with a share from the original sin. Then,
a new religion with a new prophet was necessary to restore the
humanity with that pure and intact belief in One God. Europe,
on the other hand, was awash in semi-barbaric cruelty in those
days. As savage tribes were invading countries, on the one hand,
a small minority was perpetrating all sorts of vices under the
mask of religion, on the other. The human race was moaning desperately
under the talons of idolatry and irreligiousness, when, [according
to historians], seven centuries after Issa a.s., in the oriental
horizons, there rose Muhammad s.a.s. the final Prophet of Allahu
ta'ala, and he began to communicate to people the true religion
of the true God, which was based on belief in One God.
When I read and learned all these facts, I believed in the fact
that Muhammad s.a.s. was the final true Messenger of Allahu ta'ala,
1) As I have said above, people needed a new prophet;
2) All my thoughts concerning Allahu ta'ala conformed with the
religion spread by that great Prophet s.a.s.
3) As soon as I read the Qur'an al-karim, I sensed that it was
the Word of Allahu ta'ala. The facts communicated by the Qur'an
al-karim and the hadith ash-Sharifs [utterances] of Muhammad s.a.s.
satisfied me in every respect and infused a sense of peace into
my soul. And this is the reason why I became a Muslim.
You can be sure that, as I have already said, thousands of Americans
and Canadians sense the same deficiencies and errors in Christianity.
Sad to say, though, they have not had the same chance I had to
do a thorough research into the Islamic religion; they need a
After attaining that belief in Islam, I embarked on a study of
the books published about Islam. I would like to touch upon a
few of the works that I could recommend in this connection. An
Indian well-wisher sent me a book captioned 'What Is Islam?',
written by Q.A. Jairazby H.W. Lovlegrove. I would specially recommend
the book. It is a book that describes Islam in the best way. Spreading
the book world over would be a useful service for the promulgation
of Islam. I read an English version of Qur'an al-karim rendered
by Maulvi Muhammad Ali, and I liked it. In addition, I read some
other books, and I did not neglect magazines publicizing Islam.
In Montreal, I found many works published in French about Islam.
Some of them praised Islam, while others were intended against
it. But Islam's greatness could not be buried even under books
written for the purpose of reviling it. Instead, they were no
more than other sources of evidence corroborating for me the fact
that Islam is the true religion.
10 - Dr. BENOIST [ALI SALMAN] (French)
I am a doctor and I come from a fanatically Catholic family. Yet
my vocational choice, medicine, provided me a career in positive,
experimental, and natural sciences, which in turn caused me to
develop a growing hatred against Christianity. With respect to
religion, I was at complete loggerheads with the other members
of my family. Yes, there was a great Creator, and I believed in
Him, i.e. Allahu ta'ala. Yet the absurdities concocted by Christians,
especially by Catholics, various mysterious gods, sons, holy ghosts,
the preposterous fibs fabricated for the purpose of proving that
Issa a.s. is the son of God, a myriad of other superstitions,
ceremonies and rites pushed me away from Christianity, instead
of attracting me towards it.
Because I held the belief in one God, I would never accept trinity,
nor would I by any means recognize Issa a.s. as the son of God.
That means to say that, long before knowing of Islam, I had already
accepted the initial half of the Kalima-i-Shahadat, i.e. the part
that says, "La ilaha il'l'Allah... (There is no God but Allah...)"
When I began to study the Islamic religion and read the Ikhlas
Sura of Qur'an al-karim, which purported, "Lo; Allahu ta'ala
is One. He is not begotten, nor does He beget. There is no being
bearing any likeness to Him," I said, "O my Allah. My
belief is exactly the same." I felt immense relief. I realized
that it was of paramount importance to study Islam more deeply.
And as I studied Islam I saw with admiration that this religion
was completely agreeable with my ideas. Islam looked on religious
men, and even on prophets 'alaihim-us-salawat', as ordinary people
like us; it did not divinize them. Giving a priest authority to
forgive people's sins was something which Islam would never accept.
The Islamic religion did not contain any superstitions, any irrational
rules, or any unintelligible subjects. The Islamic religion was
a logical one, exactly as I wanted. Contrary to the Catholics,
it did not smudge human beings with the consequences of the so-called
original sin. It enjoined physical and spiritual cleanliness on
human beings. Cleanliness, which is an essential principle in
medicine, was in Islam a commandment of Allahu ta'ala. Islam commanded
to clean oneself before acts of worship, and that was a quality
which I had never seen in any other religion.
In some Christian rites, such as Baptism and the Eucharist, people
consume the bread and wine offered by the priest in the name of
the flesh and blood of Issa a.s., which is intended, so to speak,
as a simulated unity with Issa a.s., i.e. with God, [may Allahu
ta'ala protect us from holding such beliefs!]. I saw the resemblance
between these rites and those of the most primitive heathens,
and hated them. My mind, which had improved under the guidance
of positive science, vehemently rejected these puerile rites which
did not suit to a true religion. Islam, on the other hand, did
not accommodate any of those things. There was only truth, love,
and cleanliness in Islam.
Eventually, I made up my mind. I visited my Muslim friends and
asked them what I should do to become a Muslim. They taught me
the (statement called) Kalima-i Shahadat, how to say it and what
it meant. As I have mentioned earlier, before becoming a Muslim,
I had accepted its first half, i.e. the part that meant, "There
is no God but Allah,..." It was not difficult, therefore,
to accept the remaining part, which said: "... and Muhammad
a.s. is His (born slave and) Messenger." I was now studying
momentous books written about the Islamic religion. When I read
one of them, namely, 'Le PhÚnomŔne Coranique', a very lovely book
prepared by Malak Bannabi, I saw with amazement and admiration
what a tremendous book Qur'an al-karim was. The facts written
in that book of Allah which was revealed fourteen centuries before
now are in precise conformance with the results of today's scientific
and technological research. Both from scientific and technological
points of view and with respect to sociological activities, the
Qur'an al-karim is a guide book not only today, but also forever.
On the twentieth day of February, 1953, I went to the Paris mosque
and accepted Islam officially in the presence of Mufti Effendi
and the witnesses, and I was given the name Ali Salman.
I love this new religion of mine. I am very happy and I emphasize
the firmness of my belief in Islam by frequently saying the (statement
called) Kalima-i-Shahadat and pondering over its meaning.
11 - CAPTAIN (JACQUES) COUSTEAU (French)
[In France Islam has been spreading at a high velocity among people
who have made fame in various areas. The number of people who
have abandoned Christianity and chosen Islam have reached one
hundred thousand already. This score has been confirmed by the
Archbishop of Paris, the highest Catholic rank in France.
It is noteworthy that people who have preferred Islam are not
only from among workers and civil servants but also from among
people renowned in every respect.
Among people who have chosen Islam is Captain Cousteau, whom the
whole world closely knows for his explorations about life under
As the groundswell of embracing Islam was spreading among France's
universal celebrities, Captain Cousteau, the world's most eminent
undersea explorer, announced that by accepting Islam he had made
the most correct decision of his life.
Captain Cousteau, who has revealed the secrets of oceans one by
one with the films that he made and which are being televised
world over in a program sub-headed The Living Sea, said that what
actually prompted him to choose the Islamic religion was, after
observing that the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean
did not mix with each other, his seeing that the same phenomenon
was written in the Qur'an al-karim which had been revealed fourteen
hundred years before.]
Captain Cousteau told of the event that had caused him to become
a Muslim, as follows:
"In 1962 German scientists said that the waters of the Red
Sea and the Indian Ocean did not mix with each other in the Strait
of Bab-ul-Mandab where the Aden Bay and the Red Sea join. So we
began to examine whether the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and
the Mediterranean mixed with each other. First we analyzed the
water in the Mediterranean to find out its natural salinity and
density, and the life it contained. We repeated the same procedure
in the Atlantic Ocean. The two masses of water had been meeting
each other in the Gibraltar for thousands of years. Accordingly,
the two masses of water must have been mixing with each other
and they must have been sharing identical, or, at least, similar
properties in salinity and density. On the contrary, even at places
where the two seas were closest to each other, each mass of water
preserved its properties. In other words, at the point where the
two seas met, a curtain of water prevented the waters belonging
to the two seas from mixing. When I told Professor Maurice Bucaille
about this phenomenon, he said that it was no surprise and that
it was written clearly in Islam's Holy Book, the Qur'an al-karim.
Indeed, this fact was defined in a plain language in the Qur'an
al-karim. When I knew this, I believed in the fact that the Qur'an
al-karim was the 'Word of Allah'. I chose Islam, the true religion.
The spiritual potency inherent in the Islamic religion gave me
the strength to endure the pain I had been suffering for the loss
of my son."
12 - MUHAMMAD AMIN HOBOHN (German)
(Muhammad Amin Hobohn is both a diplomat and a missionary. He
is a man of knowledge and religion with a social career:)
Why are Europeans abandoning their religion and becoming Muslims?
It has various reasons. Among them is the 'Haqq=Truth; Right;
Reality'. The principles that Islam is based on are so logical,
so true and honest that it is out of the question for a wise and
educated person seeking for truth and reality in a religion not
to accept them. For instance, the Islamic religion professes the
existence of one god. It appeals to the human common sense, and
never descends to inculcating people with superstitions. The Islamic
religion states that people all over the world, regardless of
their races, are the born slaves of Allahu ta'ala, equal and similar.
We German people essentially believe in the fact that Allahu ta'ala
is a great creator who gives us power and energy and who guides
our souls to perfection. The concept of Allah infuses security
and peace into us. Yet the Christian religion falls short of giving
us this sense of peace. It is the Islamic religion, alone, that
teaches us the greatness of Allahu ta'ala and which, at the same
time, guides us in regard to where the human soul will go after
death. The Islamic religion guides us not only in the world, but
also in the Hereafter. It teaches in a plain and logical manner
what should be done in the world in preparation for a comfortable
life in the Hereafter. An awareness of the fact that Allahu ta'ala
will subject human beings to an equitable interrogation in the
Hereafter on what they have done in the world, will urge them
that they should abide by justice and integrity in the world.
For this reason, true Muslims never attempt to do something before
thinking well and being firmly convinced that what they are going
to do is really something useful. Thereby this great religion
establishes control over human beings in such a degree as could
be managed by no worldly police organization, and permanently
keeps them on the right way.
Another aspect that makes Islam an attractive choice in the eyes
of Europeans is its norms of worship. The namaz (the five daily
ritual prayers) teaches punctuality to people, and fasting drills
a strong sense of will power into them. What other factor could
be as essential to success in life as punctuality and determination?
Great men owe their accomplishments only to these two determinants.
Now I come to a most beautiful aspect of the Islamic religion:
While educating people in the ethical and humanistic areas in
the most logical styles, the Islamic religion never compels them
beyond their capacities. On the contrary, it offers them many
opportunities to lead a prosperous and comfortable life. Allahu
ta'ala wishes people to live in comfort and happiness. To this
end, He commands people not to commit sins. Muslims believe that
they are perpetually in the presence of Allahu ta'ala. They avoid
committing sins. Neither in the other religions nor in any of
the systems established in Europe is there another arrangement
as lovely or as useful as this.
I have been to many places and districts of the world on diplomatic
and religious missions. I have studied other religions and social
systems minutely. I have seen neither a religion nor a social
system as faultless or as immaculate as Islam. At first sight,
communism may seem to be a correct system of thoughts. Likewise,
the western-born democracy, which has been looked on as the most
capacious administration system in worldly matters, and Nazism
may contain some factual aspects. And then none of these aspects
is complete in itself. All of them have a number of deficiencies.
The one and only perfect and faultless system is Islam. It is
for this reason that many a person with common sense and perfect
reasoning accepts Islam without any hesitation. And so did I.
Islam is a practical religion, not a theoretical one. Islam means
submission to Allahu ta'ala, who is compassionate and forgiving
and who always shows the right way. What on earth could be more
13 - Dr. HAMID MARCUS (German)
(Dr. Marcus is a renowned man of ideas, a writer, and the founder
of a magazine, i.e. the magazine entitled Berliner Moslemische
I was only a child when I took an interest in Islam and began
to collect information about Islam. In the library of my hometown
I came across an old translation of Qur'an al-karim that had been
printed in 1164 [1750 C.E.]. According to a narrative, Goethe
had read the same translation of the Qur'an al-karim during his
research on the Islamic religion and had expressed his admiration
for the book. As I read the Qur'an al-karim, I was deeply impressed
by its exceedingly logical and fascinating style of expression
that penetrated deep into the soul. How genuine and useful the
principles formulated by Islam were, was manifest in the fact
that nations honoured with Islam had been attaining the zenith
of civilization in a very short time.
When I left my hometown and went to Berlin, I made friends with
all the Muslims living there, joined them and attended with rapt
attention the interesting and instructive conferences held by
the members of the Islamic Mission. The more friendly I became
with the members of the Islamic Mission, the more closely was
I able to examine Islam. After a while I reached the conclusion
that Islam was the true religion I had been aspiring after, believed
in it, and accepted Islam.
According to Islam, Allah is One, and belief in One Creator is
Islam's most sacred credal tenet. The Islamic religion does not
contain any irrational or unbelievable tenet. There is not a creator
besides Allahu ta'ala. In Islam you cannot find a single dot dIssagreeable
with or contradictory to modern sciences. All its commandments
and inculcations are entirely logical and useful. In Islam, belief
and logic do not contradict each other, which is the common blemish
of other religions. Consequently, for a person like me who has
dedicated all his life-time to natural sciences, what could be
more natural than preferring Islam, which is in full conformity
with the scientific results that he obtained from his lucubrations,
to the other religions that are quite the other way round?
Another reason I feel compelled to add is that the other religions
are awash in a score of grotesque and ridiculous ideas that suggest
only a far-fetched mood of spirituality. They have nothing to
do with real life situations. Islam, on the other hand, is a practical
religion which guides man also in his trek of life. Commandments
of the Islamic religion lead a person to the right way not only
in the Hereafter, but also in the world, and, in the meanwhile,
they never restrict his freedom.
As a Muslim I have been studying my religion for many years. In
every new situation I see even more clearly how perfect a religion
it is, and this in its turn gives me all the more mental peace.
How exquisite a passageway it is that Islam lays between the individual
and the social life! Islam arranges these two lives. Islam is
a religion of perfect justice and its sole aim is to guide people
to the good end. Islam embodies all the good aspects of all the
world's social trends.
14 - Mrs. AMINA MOSLER (German)
Why did I become a Muslim?
My son was asking me various questions, and I was unable to answer
them. When he asked me, for instance, "Mummy, why are there
three gods?" I was at a loss as to what to say because I
myself did not believe in trinity, and yet I could not find another
answer to convince him. Eventually, it was sometime during the
year 1346 [C.E. 1928], and my son had reached a maturer age, when,
one day, my son came to me, his eyes welling up with tears. He
begged, "Mummy, I have been studying Islam. They believe
in one creator. Their religion is the truest one. So I have decided
to become a Muslim. Join me!" Upon his request, I, too, began
to study the Islamic religion. I went to the Berlin mosque. The
imam of the mosque gave me a cordial welcome and told me the essentials
of Islam. As he spoke, I saw how right and logical his words were.
Like my son, I, too, began to believe in the fact that Islam was
the truest religion. First of all, Islam rejected trinity, which
I had never been able to understand or accept since my youth.
After examining Islam thoroughly, I realized the absurdity of
such things as redemption, looking on the pope as an innocent
being never prone to sin, baptism and many other rites of the
same sort, I rejected all these falsities and embraced Islam.
All my ancestors were fanatical Catholics. I was raised in a Catholic
monastery. I grew up totally under Christian education. Yet this
sheer religious education that I had received helped me to choose
the true religion that would guide me to Allahu ta'ala. For, all
the good things that I had been taught throughout my education
I found not in Christianity, but in Islam. I am so lucky to have
Today I am a grandmother. I am so happy because my grandchild
has been born as a Muslim. I know that Allahu ta'ala will always
guide those people whom He has brought to the right way.
15 - Hajji LORD AL-FARUQ HEADLEY (G.B.)
(Lord Headley possessed the title of excellency. Sir George Allanson
was born in 1855 and descended from the oldest British family.
He occupied very important political positions in Britain, and
at the same time made fame as an editor. He graduated from Cambridge
University. In 1877 he won the title of Lord. He served as a lieutenant
colonel in the British army. He was an engineer by vocation, but
a powerful writer by avocation. Among his publications, his work
entitled 'A European's Eyes Are Being Opened And He Is Becoming
A Muslim'. Lord Headley became a Muslim in 1913, performed Hajj
(the Islamic pilgrimage), and adopted the name Shaikh Rahmatullah
Faruq. In 1928 he visited India.)
Why did I become a Muslim? Perhaps, some of my friends and acquaintances
are of the opinion that I became a Muslim as a result of persuasion
on the part of my friends and acquaintances. But it is not the
fact. My accepting Islam was the result of long-time research
and contemplation. It was after a meticulous examination and forming
an opinion about Islam that I made contact with Muslims and, seeing
that their belief in their own religion was in conformity with
mine, I realized and became happy that I had entered into a good
The Qur'an al-karim commands that a person should accept Islam
after his heart's full confirmation, rejects a conversion under
coercion. Likewise, Issa a.s. said to his Apostles, "And
whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart
thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against
them. ..." (Mark: 6-11)
During my former life-time, I had seen many bigoted Protestants.
They would go to Catholic student hostels and try to force the
Catholic students. These unwanted efforts and coercive attempts
would cause various fights, offenses and controversies and would
sow discord among people. The same meaningless methods Christian
missionaries used with Muslims. They ran all sorts of risks for
the purpose of Christianizing Muslims. They resorted to all sorts
of stratagems to trap Muslims.
They promised them money, work, and posts. Those poor ignoramuses
did not know that Islam was the religion where the commandments
of Issa a.s. found the best practice and confirmation. Christianity
has been defiled, to the extent that the real Nazarani religion
communicated by Issa a.s. has been lost completely, and the tenets
of humanity he preached have been forgotten. These things exist
in Islam today. Then, by becoming a Muslim, I have also attained
the Nazarani religion in its pristine purity. Principles commanded
by Issa a.s., such as brotherhood, solidarity, good will, generosity
and others, are observed not by Christians, but by Muslims today.
Let me give you an example; The Christian sect of Athanasians
insistently inculcates the tenet that Christianity is based on
a belief in three gods (trinity), that a slightest doubt as to
this belief will lead one to immediate perdition, and that a person
who wishes to attain salvation in this world and the next should
definitely hold a belief in the three gods, i.e. 'God, the Son
of God, and the Holy Ghost'.
Another example: When I became a Muslim, I received a letter.
It said, "By becoming a Muslim you have damned yourself to
perdition. No one can save you. For you deny the divinity of God."
The poor man thought that I no longer believed in Allahu ta'ala.
According to his belief, the divinity of Allahu ta'ala depended
on trinity. The idiot did not know that when Issa a.s. had begun
to preach the pure Nazarani religion, he had stated the unity
of Allahu ta'ala, and he had never claimed to be His son. Islam,
by expressing that "There is only one Allah," rediscovered
the original essence of Nazarani religion. Today, nothing could
be as logical as a sane person's believing in the existence of
one Allah. By becoming a Muslim, I believe in one real Allah and
reject all the fibs that were inserted into the pure religion
of Issa a.s. afterwards. The person who wrote me that letter and
the other people who share his ideas are only pitiable. Day by
day Christians are abandoning their religion and becoming atheists.
For today's Christianity is no longer satisfactory for a normal
and cultured person. People refuse a blind belief in superstitions
and entertain doubts about the Christian creeds. On the other
hand, all through my life-time so far, I have never heard of a
Muslim feeling doubts about his faith. For the Islamic religion
satisfies all the spiritual and physical needs of human beings
in the most perfect and rational manner.
A fact I am positive about is that thousands of Christians, men
and women alike, have examined Islam and have already identified
themselves with Islam intrinsically. However, for the fear that
they might lose their jobs or posts in case they officially announced
their choice of Islam, or lest they should arouse derision on
the part of their friends, they do not dare to become Muslims.
In our schools Islam is still being taught as the religion of
people who do not believe in Allahu ta'ala. Running the risk of
being cursed as 'a man with a damned soul' by all my friends and
acquaintances, I embraced Islam, and for twenty years I have been
holding fast to Islam with both hands.
After giving this brief account of why I chose Islam, let me add
that by becoming a Muslim I managed also to become a more true
and pure follower of Issa a.s.. I wish to be an example for other
Christians. choosing Islam will not make them enemies of Christianity,
but, on the contrary, it will teach them the true Issawi religion,
and it will raise them to a higher level.
16 - ABDULLAH ARCHIBALD HAMILTON (G.B.)
(Sir Archibald Hamilton, a well-known British diplomat, served
as a naval officer during the First World War. Coming from a widely
known family, he possesses the title of baronet, (which means
a candidate baron). He was honoured with becoming a Muslim in
Since reaching the age of puberty, I had been allured by Islam's
simplicity and crystalline limpidity. I had been born as a Christian
and I had been given a Christian education. Yet I had never believed
in wrong credal tenets, and I had always preferred truth, right
and reason to blind beliefs. I had been aspiring to worship one
Allah sincerely and with a peaceful heart. Yet, both the Roman
Catholic Church and the English Protestant Church had been short
of serving this pure intention of mine. It was for these reasons
that I answered the call of my conscience and accepted Islam,
which satisfied me fully, and only after that did I begin to feel
myself as a true and better born slave of Allahu ta'ala.
Sad to say, various Christians and ignorant people have misrepresented
Islam as a religion of falsities and concoctions that are intended
to induce torpor into the humanity. But the fact is that it is
the only true religion in the sight of Allahu ta'ala. Islam is
a perfect religion which brings about unity between the powerful
and the weak as well as between the rich and the poor. Economically,
there are two main classes of people. The first class contains
people whom Allahu ta'ala has blessed with worldly riches. The
second class is made up of those who have to work for a living.
There is yet another class. People in this class live in utter
destitution because they cannot earn enough, because they have
lost their jobs, or because they can no longer work, none of which
cases is their fault. Islam enables all these three classes to
come together in a harmonized society. It commands the rich to
help the poor. It provides a social setting where humiliations
and afflictions are extirpated.
The Islamic religion lays emphasis also on personal abilities,
efforts and skills. According to the Islamic jurisprudence, if
a poor peasant, for instance, cultivates an ownerless piece of
land on his own for a certain length of time, the land becomes
his personal property. The Islamic religion is not destructive,
but it is restorative.
The Islamic religion prohibits gambling and all the other vicious
and deleterious games. The Islamic religion prohibits also all
sorts of intoxicants. Indeed, the majority of afflictions people
suffer in the world are caused by gambling or alcohol.
We Muslims are not people who hold the belief that everything
is a slave in the hands of destiny. Destiny in the Islamic sense
does not mean to sit idly with your mouth opened in the celestial
direction and to expect that Allahu ta'ala will give you everything.
On the contrary, Allahu ta'ala enjoins work in the Qur'an al-karim.
Man should do his best and hold fast to all the apparent causes;
only after that will he put his trust in Allahu ta'ala. Not without
working, but while working, should he beg Allahu ta'ala to help
him for success and earning. The Islamic credal tenet which says
that "good and evil come from Allahu ta'ala" means,
"Allahu ta'ala is the Creator of all." Islam does not
contain a tenet encouraging people to idle away their time. Destiny
means Allahu ta'ala's knowing in the eternal past all the events
that will take place and His creating everything when the time
in His knowledge comes.
Islam never accepts a credo based on the belief that human beings
are originally sinful, that they are born with sins, or that they
have to expiate their sins throughout their lives. Islam states
that human beings are the born slaves of Allahu ta'ala, men and
women alike, and that with respect to mental and moral qualities
the two sexes are not very different from each other. Only, because
men are more powerful and stronger by creation, onerous and tiresome
duties such as supporting the family have been given to them,
while women have been blessed with a more comfortable, more cheerful
and happier life.
I do not want to say much on how Islam establishes brotherhood
among all Muslims. For the entire world knows how Muslims love
and help one another. In Islam all people, the rich, the poor,
the nobles, villagers, civil servants, workers, merchants, are
equal in the presence of Allahu ta'ala, and they are brothers.
Throughout my travels in the Muslim countries, I felt as if I
had been in my own home and among my brothers, wherever I went.
A final remark I would like to add is this: Islam invites people
both to work honestly all the day long and to carry on his acts
of worship, his duties as a born slave to Allahu ta'ala. Today's
Christianity, on the other hand, induces into people a life style
consisting in Masses in the name of worship only on Sundays and
a complete oblivion of Allahu ta'ala covered with worldly occupations
and sins throughout the rest of the week.
It was for these reasons that I became a Muslim, and I am proud
of having become a Muslim.
17 - JALALEDDIN LAUDER BRUNTON (G.B.)
(Sir Brunton, who comes from an eminent family and who
possesses the title of Baronet, graduated from the Oxford University
and made fame with his publications.)
I am grateful to you for giving me the chance to explain why I
became a Muslim. I grew up under the influence of Christian parents.
Theology was one of the subjects that I was interested in when
I was young. I met some missionaries and closely concerned myself
with the activities they had been carrying on in foreign countries.
My heart felt like helping them. Without being officially appointed,
I joined them in their journeys. To say the truth, although I
had taken religious lessons, the Christian theory that "People
come to this world in a sinful state and they therefore must be
sure to expiate," sounded bizarre to me. For this reason,
I was gradually developing hatred against Christianity. I could
not tolerate the idea that Allahu ta'ala, with all His infinite
power to create anything He wished, would have to create only
sinful creatures, which would run counter to His almightiness
and compassion, and I therefore harboured doubts as to the genuineness
of a religion that described Allahu ta'ala as such. These doubts
developed into curiosity about the instructions that the other
religions gave in this respect, and consequently I decided to
examine the other religions as well. My heart was innerly craving
for a just, merciful and compassionate god, and I was looking
for such a creator, i.e. Allah. I was wondering whether that was
the real Nazarani religion that Issa a.s. had brought. Or had
the pure religion preached by him been polluted in the process
of time? The more I thought about these, the stronger did the
doubts in my heart become, so much so that more often than not
I would pick up today's current Holy Bible, delve into the book,
and at each time find more deficiencies and unintelligible discourses.
Eventually, I reached the conclusion that that book was not the
genuine Holy Book revealed to Issa a.s.. People had made a myriad
of wrong accessions into the Bible, thus turning the pure heavenly
book into an irreparable mixture of facts and fictions.
Having reached an absolute conviction as to this fact, I substituted
Bible-reading with other sorts of preaching to the people that
I met during the journeys I was making with the missionaries.
Instead of mentioning their fictitious theory of 'God, the Son
of God, and the Holy Ghost', for instance, I would inculcate the
facts such as that when man died his soul would not die, that
human beings were created by a great creator, that this great
creator would punish men both in this world and in the next on
account of their sins, and that this great creator, being extremely
compassionate, would forgive men their sins in case they repented
for their wrongdoings.
As days went by, my belief in the unity of Allah developed into
an absolute conviction. In order to penetrate into the inner nature
of truth, I tried to dive deeper and deeper into the subject.
It was sometime during these efforts that I began to study the
Islamic religion. This religion magnetized me so strongly that
I dedicated my entire day to studying it. I happened to domicile
myself in a forlorn Indian village, called Ichra, which was rather
far from the urban areas and whose name almost no one knew. The
inhabitants of this village belonged to a very poor and destitute
caste. Only for the sake of Allahu ta'ala, I was trying to teach
them the existence of a single and compassionate creator and the
right way they ought to follow in this worldly life. I was also
striving to inculcate into them such notions as religious brotherhood
and cleanliness. So strange to say, all these notions I was doing
my best to teach them existed in Islam, not in Christianity, and
I was preaching them not as a Christian missionary, but like a
Muslim religious man.
I am not going to enlarge on the details of the great efforts
I made, the degree of self-sacrifice I achieved, or the severe
difficulties I faced in that lonely and desolate village, among
those unenlightened people. My only concern was to guide them
to spiritual and physical cleanliness and to teach them the existence
of a great creator.
Whenever I was on my own, I would study the life of Muhammad a.s..
Very few books had been written in English to reflect the facts
about his life, yet no effort had been spared on the part of Christians
to criticize and vilify that great Prophet and to incriminate
him with lying. However, I was now able to study Islam fairly,
without being influenced by those books that had been written
under inimical motives. During the course of my studies, I came
to the full realization that it was a definite fact that Islam
was a true religion in which the concept of Allah and reality
became manifest in its clearest identity.
Once you had been informed on the services which the great Prophet
Muhammad s.a.s. had rendered for the good of humanity, it would
be impossible for you to deny his prophethood. Definitely, he
was the Messenger of Allahu ta'ala. As a blessing of Allahu ta'ala,
he, alone, and in a very short time, transformed the Arabs from
a mass of heathens who had been living in utter savagery and nascence,
worshipping many idols, believing in superstitions, leading a
bestial, semi-naked, and overwhelmingly polygamous life, into
a civilized, morally upright and clean nation whose members were
now believing in Allahu ta'ala, observing women's rights, and
always trying to be good-natured and genial. A person never could
have managed such a job without the blessing or help of Allahu
ta'ala. As I thought about the strenuous efforts I put forth in
that tiny village whose population was only one or two hundred,
and how I still could not bring those wretched people to the right
course, my admiration for the work accomplished by Muhammad s.a.s.
grew all the greater. No. Something as great as that could be
accomplished only by the Messenger of Allahu ta'ala. One ought
to believe in his prophethood with all one's heart.
I do not want to make mention of all the other so many even much
more beautiful facts about the Islamic religion. For, by acknowledging
the existence of Allahu ta'ala and the prophethood of Muhammad
a.s., a person has already become a Muslim. One of those days
an Indian Muslim visited me. That polite person's name was Mian
Amiruddin. We had a long conversation on the Islamic religion.
That conversation was the decisive encouragement, and I accepted
I believe in the fact that Islam is the true religion of Allah,
in its simplicity, forgivingness, compassionateness and sincerity,
in that it establishes brotherhood among people, and in that one
day it will unite the entire world.
I have reached the last stage of my life, and from now on I have
dedicated myself to the service of Islam.
18 - Prof. Baron HARUN MUSTAFA LEON (G.B.)
(Prof. Baron Leon comes from a prominent British family and possesses
the title of Baron. He owns a Ph. D. and other scientific titles.
He became a Muslim in 1882. He had memberships in numerous scientific
societies in Europe and America. Prof. Leon, who was a great authority
especially in the linguistic and literary sciences, sprang into
the universal limelight with his publication that was called 'Ethimology
of the Human Lexion'. Upon this publication, the Potomac University
of America gave him the degree of M.S. Prof. Leon is at the same
time an expert geologist. He was invited by many famous institutions
and gave conferences of these areas. He was elected as the Secretary
General for the SociÚtÚ Internationale de Philologie=International
Society of Philology, Science and Fine Arts, which had been founded
in 1875. He began to publish a magazine titled (The Philomeths).
He was awarded with various medals by the Ottoman Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid
II, by the Shah of Iran, and by the Emperor of Austria.)
One of the most perfect essentials of the Islamic religion is
that it never demands of Muslims to act against reason. Islam
is a religion whose teachings are quite reasonable and perfectly
logical. The other religions, on the other hand, force people
to accept the tenets of creed that they can never understand,
believe or find logical. In Christianity the church is the only
authority in this respect. Contrariwise, Muslims are commanded
to believe in anything only after mentally examining it (and finding
it logical). Muhammad a.s. states, "Allahu ta'ala has not
created anything irrational or illogical." He states in another
hadith ash-Sharif, "I tell you with certainty that even if
a person performs (his daily prayers of) namaz (regularly), fasts,
pays (the prescribed alms called) zakat, goes on hajj (Muslim's
pilgrimage to Mecca), and carries out all the other commandments
of Islam, he shall be rewarded in proportion to the degree of
his using the mind and logic Allahu ta'ala has endowed on him."
The pure religion preached by Issa a.s. also contained similar
rules. For instance, 'First try everything! Accept only the good
one." Yet, these rules were forgotten in the course of time.
The fifth ayat al-karima of Sura-t-ul-Juma of Qur'an al-karim
purports, "Those people who have been enjoined to learn the
Torah and to adapt themselves to it, and yet who do not obey it,
are reminiscent of an ass with a load of books on its back."
Ali 'radi-Allahu 'anh' states, "The world is dark. Knowledge
is a nur (light)! However, knowledge which is not correct is obscurity."
Muslims hold the belief that "Islam is the very truth itself,"
and they state that Islam's light shines only with the energy
it gets from knowledge and logic, that this knowledge ensues only
from truth, and that truth, in its turn, is discovered by men
owing to the common sense, which is a blessing Allahu ta'ala has
conferred upon them.
The last Prophet of Allahu ta'ala, Muhammad a.s., who is the greatest
blessing Allahu ta'ala has sent to humanity, showed them the path
that they were to follow. It was during his final days (in this
world), when the following incident took place:
It was a couple of days before Muhammad's a.s. passing away, and
he was resting, half conscious, his head on the knees of Aisha
r.a.a. his beloved wife. All the people of Medina were desperately
sad about Rasulullah's illness, which enervated him day by day
and against which they were helpless. Men, women, children were
crying loudly. Among those who were crying were grey-haired, sallow-complexioned,
aged warriors. Muhammad Mustafa al-amin s.a.s. was their commander,
guide, leader, companion, shepherd, an intimate friend with whom
they exchanged confidences, and, the most important of all, their
great Prophet who had rescued them from darkness and guided them
to the light of truth owing to the Islamic religion which he preached.
This great Prophet s.a.s., who had brought them peace and security
by means of Islam, was now bidding 'Farewell' to them. The lamentable
thought that their Prophet was dying was gripping their hearts
like an iron clamp, bringing tears into their eyes, and causing
them to despair deeply.
At last, they risked losing everything, and entered into his presence
in that mood of hopelessness. In tears they asked, "O the
Messenger of Allah s.a.s.! You are gravely ill. Perhaps Allahu
ta'ala will invite you to His presence and you will no longer
be with us. Then, what can we do without you?"
Our Prophet Muhammad a.s. stated, "You have the Qur'an al-karim
to consult." Then they asked, "O the Messenger of Allah
s.a.s.! It is certain that the Qur'an al-karim will be our guide
in many respects. Yet if we cannot find what we are seeking by
looking up in it, and if you have already left us, who will be
our guide?" Upon this, our Prophet s.a.s. stated, "Act
in accordance with what I have told you." This time they
asked, "O the Messenger of Allah s.a.s.! Since you will no
longer be among us, what should we do if we encounter altogether
new matters and cannot find anything about those matters in your
Our Prophet s.a.s. raised his blessed head slowly from the pillow,
and said, "Allahu ta'ala has given a personal guide to each
and every one of His born slaves. This guide is the common sense,
and his heart, which embodies a conscience. If you use this guide
well and properly, you will never deviate from the right path,
and in the end you will attain to Allahu ta'ala." "Istafti
qalbek, Fe-innaha teskunu bi-l-halal." Here is the Islamic
religion which I boast of having chosen. This religion is the
true religion of Allah, which is entirely based on reason and
Beware boasting of wealth, nor say, "Who's there like me!"
Harvest-like, a cruel wind winnows all that belongs to thee.
19 - WILLIAM BASHYR PICKHARD (G.B.)
It is stated in a hadith ash-Sharif: "Every newly-born baby
is suitable for and agreeable with Islam. Afterwards they are
made Jews, Christians or Magians by their parents." Likewise,
I had been born as a Muslim. Yet it was only many years later
that I realized this fact. Since my childhood I had been deeply
interested in the past. When I graduated from the university,
I began to work as a writer. I was not a well-known writer yet.
Nor could one tell what I was going to be. As a Christian, I had
been given some teaching on the concept of Allah and on how to
worship Allah. Yet my adoration was not confined to their teachings;
I felt the same worship-like attachment towards all paragons of
chivalry and valour that I had read about in history. Eventually,
I was given an office in Uganda, which was under the British sway
in those days. When I went to Africa, I saw that life was entirely
different there. Lifestyles of people living there, the sentiments
that they displayed concerning various worldly events, their behaviours
towards one another amazingly defied the expectations and imaginations
that I had harboured about them when I had been in London. People
living in this place faced the very primitive and onerous life-styles
and all sorts of difficulty they encountered in a sense of absolute
trust, did not lose their jollity at times when one would normally
feel quite despondent, and no degree of poverty could inhibit
them from helping one another. A sacred glue composed of love
and compassion had attached them to one another, which was well
beyond the narrow mental grasp of people of our sort. In fact,
I had taken an interest in the orient during my school days. In
Cambridge, for instance, I had tasted the pleasure of reading
the stories of Arabian Nights. And now, being in Africa, and so
close to the Orient; I resumed reading the book. The difficult
and unaccommodating life I was now leading in Uganda was making
me feel closer and closer to the oriental people. As I was reading
the stories of Arabian Nights now, I was comparing them with the
people of Uganda and, as it were, I was living with them.
I was completely accustomed to life here, when the First World
War broke out. When I applied for military service, they would
not admit me into the military on account of my poor health. When
I felt better I applied again. This time they admitted me, and
sent me to the German front in France. In 1917 I joined the terrible
Somme battles. I was wounded in these battles, and I was captured
by the Germans. They took me to Germany, where I was put in a
hospital. I saw extremely horrendous events in the hospital. Because
of those battles, mankind suffered such horrible afflictions.
Many Russian prisoners of war were brought to the hospital. They
were suffering from dysentery, which had already exhausted them.
food provisions were extremely poor in Germany. They did not give
enough food to the prisoners of war or to the other patients.
I was writhing with hunger. The wound on my right arm never seemed
to be recovering, nor did the one on my right leg. I was already
crippled and paralyzed. I applied to the Germans and requested
them to repatriate me to my country through the Prisoners of War
Exchange Commission in Switzerland. My request was approved by
the Germans. I was sent to Switzerland, where they hospitalized
me again. My arm and leg were entirely out of service. What would
become of me now? How would I earn my living? These thoughts drove
me to infinite despair. As I was in this mood of utter hopelessness,
I somehow remembered the consolatory Koranic statements that I
had read in a book which I had bought in Uganda. In those days
I had read them again and again with deep interest and adoration;
I had even memorized them. I began to pass these statements through
my heart and to repeat them a number of times daily. It gave my
heart a sense of relief and opened the gates of hope. And my hopes
came true, too. The Swiss doctors operated on my leg once again,
and my leg began to feel better. I owed this to the Qur'an al-karim.
As soon as I began to walk, the first thing I did was to go to
a bookstore and buy a translation of Qur'an al-karim by Savary.
[This book is still my most cherished companion.] This time I
began to read the entire Qur'an al-karim. The more I read, the
more relief did my heart feel, the higher did my soul ascend,
the deeper into my essence did a tremendous mass of light penetrate.
My leg was completely well now. Yet my right arm was still motionless.
Upon this, I obeyed the command of the Qur'an al-karim, surrendered
myself to the Will of Allahu ta'ala, and drilled myself in writing
with my left hand. The first thing I did after learning to write
with my left hand was to embark on writing a copy of Qur'an al-karim
with my left hand. At one time, I had been deeply impressed by
an episode in an Islamic book that I had been reading. The episode
was about a young man who was reading the Qur'an al-karim quite
oblivious of his surroundings and without even knowing that he
was in a graveyard where he had come accidentally. I put myself
in his place, delivered my essence to the Grace of Allahu ta'ala,
and carried on my reading the Qur'an al-karim. In other words,
I was a Muslim now.
In 1918 I went back to London. In 1921 I began to attend Arabic
lessons in the University of London. One day my Arabic teacher,
Mr. Belshah of Iraq, told us about the Qur'an al-karim. He said,
"You are free to believe or not. Yet you will find that it
is a very interesting book and that it is worth studying."
When I said, "I know the Qur'an al-karim. I have read it,
and many times, too. I believe in it," he was bewildered.
A couple of days later he took me to the London mosque at Notting
Hill Gate. I joined the daily prayers in that mosque for about
a year. In 1922 I became a Muslim officially.
We are in 1950 now. So far, I have held fast to all the commandments
of Qur'an al-karim with both hands, and this has given me a great
pleasure. Allahu ta'ala's power, compassion and grace are boundless.
The only personal treasure that we can carry on this trek of life
and which we can take to the world to come is to offer hamd-u-thena
[gratitude and glorification] to Allahu ta'ala, to surrender ourselves
with love to that Almighty Being, and to worship Him.
20 - Mrs. MESUDA STEINMANN (G.B.)
There is not a single other religion to equal Islam in
its simple comprehensibility or in its reassuring smoothness.
Islam is the one and only one religion which infuses a sense of
peace and tranquillity into the human soul, blesses man with a
life of contentment, and guides him to eternal happiness and salvation
Man is one of the various creatures of Allahu ta'ala. Naturally,
there is some connection between him and the other creatures.
Allahu ta'ala created man in the most perfect form. What gives
him this singular virtue is the soul that he possesses. Man's
soul continuously endeavours to take him up to higher and higher
levels. And the only source to feed the soul is religion.
What kind of a connection is there between man and the Almighty
Being who creates him? No doubt, religion explains this. I studied
the statements made about religion by various scholars. The following
are a few examples:
(Paraphrased) from Carlyle's work 'On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and
the Heroic in History':
"A person's religion is his heart's belief, and it is, therefore,
his most prominent characteristic. Religion is such that it goes
directly into one's heart. It adjusts one's activities in the
world. It shows the way one should follow and determines one's
(Paraphrased) from Chesterton's book 'If One Should Think':
"Religion expresses the most sublime fact which a person
obtains concerning his and others' existence."
(Paraphrased) from Ambroce Bierce's work 'The Satan's Dictionary':
"Religion is a source that teach people what they do not
know and which infuses both fear and hope into them."
(Paraphrased) from Edmunde Burke's book 'The French Revolution':
"The common commandment of all true religions is to obey
the commandments of Allahu ta'ala, to be respectful of his canon,
and thereby to be closer to His love."
(Paraphrased) from Swedenborg's work 'Doctrine of Life':
"Religion means doing good. The essence of religion is goodness."
(Paraphrased) from James Harrington's book 'The Ocean':
"Everybody has more or less some connection with religion,
whether as a source of fear or as a means of consolation."
Everybody in the world encounters various situations which they
do not know, cannot understand, and cannot explain. It is only
religion that explains to them and which infuses into them a sense
of definite belief and trust.
Why do I believe that Islam is the most perfect of the world's
religions and that it is the true religion? Let me explain:
First of all, the Islamic religion states that there is no god
besides the one Allah, who is great, that He is not begotten and
does not beget, either, and that there is not another creator
like Him. There is not another religion to explain the existence,
the unity, and the grandeur of Allahu ta'ala in the magnificence
worthy of Him. The fourth ayat of Hud sura purports, "[O
my born slaves], your return shall be to Me, alone. Allah is Almighty."
The fifty-fifth ayat of Isra Sura purports, "Allahu ta'ala
has the best knowledge of the celestial and the terrestrial creatures."
Moreover, many chapters of Qur'an al-karim state that "He
is the only creator," that "He is everlasting,"
that "He is eternal," that "He is omniscient,"
that "He is the absolute judge who makes the truest decision,"
that "He is the greatest helper," that "He is the
Creator, who is the most compassionate," and that "He
is the most magnanimous forgiver." I could not explain how
strongly a person is attracted towards Allahu ta'ala, how he melts
before Him, and how he surrenders himself to His Grace, as he
reads these lines. Allahu ta'ala declares, as is purported in
the seventeenth ayat of Hadid Sura, "Know ye (all) that Allahu
ta'ala giveth life to the earth [with rains] after its death [with
drought]. [Likewise, He gives life to dead hearts with Dhikr and
Tilawat]. Already We have shown the signs plainly to you, that
ye may learn wisdom." The Nas Sura purports, "[O Muhammad
s.a.s.!] Say: I seek refuge with my Owner, the Cherisher of mankind,
the King (or Ruler) of mankind, the Judge of mankind, (who sends
them what they need and protects them against horrors), from the
mischief of the whisperer (of evil), who withdraws after his whisper),
-(the same) who whispers into the hearts of mankind,- among Jinns
and among Men."
When a person reads these exalted statements, how could it ever
be possible for him not to believe in that great Creator and not
to seek refuge in Him? Aren't all these enough for a person to
bask in the consciousness of a merciful creator who will protect
him as long as he lives, and thus to abide by the right way?
Islam plainly states that it is the most genuine religion and
that it has accumulated in itself all the correct aspects of those
religions previous to it. It says that all the rules written in
the Qur'an al-karim, Islam's Holy Book, are plain, clear, logical
principles intelligible to everyone. These are extremely true
facts. Indeed, if we really wish to establish a consistent relationship
between Allahu ta'ala and the born slave, to unite the corporeal
and spiritual components in harmony with each other, and to maintain
peace both in this world and in the Hereafter, it is indispensably
incumbent on us to accept the Islamic religion. Our spiritual
and physical progress depends only and only on Islam's support.
Christianity busies itself only with spirituality and conscience
and overloads every individual Christian with spiritual and conscientious
burdens far beyond the human capacity. Christianity prejudges
man as a sinful creature and demands from him preposterous expiations
he could never understand. The Islamic religion, on the other
hand, is based on mere love. A very deep research into Christianity
carried on by a group of highly competent scientists might finally
find a tiny particle of love of Allah among the plethora of heavy
burdens only after an arduous ransack in the people's various
moods. And then the group would sit and lament over the fact that
that tiny particle of love has been lost for good in today's Christianity,
which is awash in superstitions. Coleridge states in one of his
books, "It is a reality that a person who loves Christianity
very much becomes gradually alienated from Christianity and begins
to love the church more, and at the end he loves himself the best."
On the other hand, Islam commands us to respect and love Allahu
ta'ala, to obey His commandments only, and at the same time to
use our own reason and logic. Christianity still contains some
truth. In Islam, on the other hand, everything rests on truth.
In the Qur'an al-karim, Allahu ta'ala addresses to all His born
slaves, regardless of their races and colours, as is purported
in the hundred and eighth ayat of Yunus Sura, "Say, O mankind!
Truth hath come to you from your Rabb (Allah). He who hath taken
the right path hath done so only for his own good, and he who
hath lapsed into aberration hath inflicted a loss only on himself.
I am not your guardian." After reading all these facts and
fully comprehending the tenor of the Qur'an al-karim, I saw that
Islam contained the truest answers to my queries, and I willingly
became a Muslim. Islam showed me the right way and heartened me.
The only way of attaining peace and comfort in the world and salvation
in the Hereafter is to embrace Islam.
21 - Mrs. MAVISH B. JOLLY (G.B.)
I was born as a Christian in Britain. I was baptized, and I was
raised with an education based on learning what is written in
today's copies of the Bible. As I was a child, whenever I went
to the church I was deeply impressed by the various lights, the
candles burning on the pulpit, the music, the smells of incense,
and the monks in magnificent attirements. The prayers that I listened
to without understanding their meanings would make me shiver.
I think I was a devoted Christian. In the course of time, however,
as I reached higher levels of education, some questions began
to rise in my mind. I began to find some faults in Christianity,
in which I had held a full belief until that time. As days went
by, I noticed an increase in my doubts. I developed a gradual
apathy towards Christianity. Eventually I ended up in a state
of denial of all religions. That splendid sight of the church,
which had been at one time the center of my infantile admiration,
was now gone, like a phantom. By the time I graduated from the
school, I was an atheist in the full sense of the term. It did not take me long, however, to realize that believing nothing would
hollow the human soul, leaving perpetual mood of despair and weakness.
The human being definitely needed some power that would provide
him refuge. Consequently, I began to study other religions.
I began with Buddhism. I minutely examined the essentials which
they called 'Eight Paths'. These eight essentials contained deep
philosophy and beautiful pieces of advice. Yet there was not a
certain right way that they showed, nor did they provide the information
that would help you choose the right way.
This time I began to examine Magianism. While running away from
trinity, I encountered a religion of many deities. Furthermore,
that religion was too full with myths and superstitions to be
accepted as a religion.
Then I began to study Judaism. It was not an entirely new religion
for me, for the former section of the Bible, the Old Testament,
was at the same time a part of the Judaic book Torah. Judaism
could not satisfy me, either. Yes, Jews believed in one God, which
I approved entirely. But it was all that; they denied all the
other religious facts, and the Judaic religion, let alone being
a guide, had been turned into a cult of various complicated forms
of worship and rites.
One of my friends recommended that I practice spiritualism. "Taking
messages from the spirits of the dead will stand for a religion,"
he said. That would not satisfy me at all. For it took me only
a short while to realize that spiritualism consisted in a manner
of self-hypnotism and could therefore by no means be nutritive
to the human soul.
The Second World War had ended, and I was working in an office.
Yet my soul was still yearning for a religion. One day I saw an
ad in a newspaper. It announced a "Conference on the divinity
of Jesus (Issa a.s.)," and added that people from other religions
would be admitted. The conference revived my deeply-rooted interest.
For in that conference they were going to discuss Issa's a.s.
being the son of God. I attended the conference, and met a Muslim
there. The answers that that Muslim gave to my questions were
so beautiful and so logical that I decided to study Islam, which
had never occurred to me before. I began to read the Qur'an al-karim,
the Holy Book of Muslims. To my astonishment, the rules stated
in this book were by far superior to the statements made by most
of the well-known statesmen of the twentieth century, which aroused
strong feelings of admiration and adulation in me. These statements
were quite above the human linguistic capacity. So I would no
longer believe the lies that "the Islamic religion is a concoction.
The Qur'an al-karim is a fable," with which they had been
dosing us for years. The Qur'an al-karim could not be a concocted
book. Statements in that acme of perfection could be made only
by a being above the human race.
I was still hesitant, though. I spoke with some British women
who had embraced Islam. I asked them to help me. They recommended
some books to me. Among those books were 'Mohammad and Christ',
which compared Muhammad s.a.s. with Issa a.s., and 'The Religion
of Islam', which described the Islamic religion. Another book,
namely 'The Sources of Christianity, explained in an extremely
clear manner that most of the Christian acts of worship were the
continuation of the rites that had been performed by primitive
people, and that today's Christianity is in actual fact an idolatrous
I should avow that I felt bored when I read the Qur'an al-karim
for the first time. For it contained so many reiterations. It
should be known that the Qur'an al-karim is a book that impresses
and penetrates the human soul slowly. To understand the Qur'an
al-karim well and to attach yourself to it, you have to read it
a number of times. So, the more I read this holy book, the more
strongly did I become attached to it, so much so that I could
not go to sleep without reading it every night. What impressed
me most was the fact that the Qur'an al-karim was a perfect guide
for mankind. The Qur'an al-karim did not contain anything that
a person could not understand. Muslims looked on their Prophet
as a human being like themselves. According to Muslims, the only
aspect that made prophets different from other people was that
their intellectual and moral levels were very high, they were
sinless and faultless. They had by no means any proximity to divinity.
The Islamic religion declared that no prophet would come after
Muhammad a.s.. I objected to that. "Why should there be no
other prophet," I asked. My Muslim friend's explanation was
as follows: "The Qur'an al-karim, the Holy Book of Muslims,
teaches people all the elements of beautiful moral quality that
a person should need, all the religious essentials, the path that
will guide one to the approval of Allahu ta'ala, and all the necessaries
required for attaining peace and salvation in this world and the
The veracity of these statements gets demonstrative evidence from
the fact that the essentials in the Qur'an al-karim, which are
still the same as they were fourteen centuries ago, are perfectly
consistent with today's life-styles and today's scientific levels.
Yet I was still demurring. For we were now in 1954; fourteen centuries
later, that is. I wondered if there was not an iota of obsolescence
in Islam that would make at least one of the principles communicated
by Muhammad a.s., who was born in 571, inconsistent with today's
conditions? I embarked on an assiduous quest for mistakes in Islam.
My efforts to find fault in Islam despite the fact that my soul
had already attained a complete belief in Islam, -so much so that
the verity of the Islamic religion was like a live picture in
front of my eyes-, should no doubt have been rooted in the vilifications
of Islam iterated by priests for the purpose of imposing into
our infant minds the idea that Islam was a very defective, inferior
and heretical religion.
The first file to rake around in was polygamy. Here, I had found
an important loophole. How come a man could marry four women (at
the same time)? When I asked about that, my Muslim friend, whom
I have mentioned earlier, explained the matter as follows: "The
Islamic religion appeared in a society where a man could cohabit
with as many women as he liked without any official responsibility
towards them. With a view to restoring the woman into her proper
place in society, the Islamic religion pared down the number of
women that a man could marry, and stipulated that he should support
the women, mete out justice among them, and pay them (the canonically
prescribed) alimony in the event of a divorce. Furthermore, if
a woman had no one to support her, she could join a family as
a member, not as a slave, of the family. Moreover, marrying four
women was not a religious commandment enjoined on men. It was
a permission with provisos. Marrying more than one women was forbidden
for men who would not be able to fulfil the stipulations. It was
for this reason that many a man had only one wife. Marrying up
to four women was a kind of tolerance." On the other hand,
the Mormons in America compelled every male member to marry several
women. My Muslim friend asked, "I wonder if the British men
cohabit with only one woman?" I confessed in embarrassment,
"Today all European men enter into relations with various
women both before marriage and even after they get married."
Then the words of my Muslim friend reminded me of the story of
a young woman who had lost her husband in the war and had been
looking for a man to entrust herself to. The Second World War
had ended, and a programme called 'Dear Sir' on a British radio
announced the following request of poor young woman: "I am
a young woman. I lost my husband in the war. I have no one to
care for me now. I need protection. I am ready to be the second
wife of a good natured man and to carry his first wife on my head.
All I want is to put an end to this loneliness."
This shows that the Islamic polygamy is intended to satisfy a
need. It is only a permission, not a commandment. And today, when
unemployment and poverty are making the rounds over the entire
world, there is next to no place left where it is practiced. These
thoughts completely eradicated the possibility that I would any
longer look on polygamy as a fault in Islam.
Then, with the presumption of having found another defect, I asked
my Muslim friend, "How can the five daily prayers be adjusted
to our life-styles today? Wouldn't so many prayers be too much?"
He smiled, and asked me, "Sometimes I hear you playing the
piano. Are you interested in music?" "Very much,"
was my answer. "All right. Do you practice daily?" "Of
course. As soon as I am back home from work, I play the piano
at least two hours every day." Upon this, my Muslim friend
said, "Why do you find it too much to pray five times daily,
which would take you only half an hour or forty-five minutes in
all? As you might lose your proficiency in playing the piano if
you did not have practice, likewise the less one thinks of Allahu
or thanks Him for His blessings by prostrating himself, the farther
away will the way leading to Him become. On the other hand, praying
daily means making progress step by step in the right way of Allahu
ta'ala." He was so right!
There was no obstacle to my accepting Islam now. I embraced the
Islamic religion with all my soul and conscience. As you see I
did not choose it at first sight and without thinking at all;
on the contrary, I became a Muslim after examining Islam minutely,
looking for the possible faults in it and finding their answers,
and reaching the conclusion that it is an immaculate religion.
Now I boast about being a Muslim.
22 - LADY ZAYNAB EVELYN COMBOLD (G.B.)
I am frequently asked why I became a Muslim. I am the daughter
of a renowned family, and my husband also is well-known and rich.
To those who ask me why I became a Muslim, I reply that I do not
know for certain when the light of Islam rose in my soul. It seems
to me as if I have been a Muslim forever. This is not something
strange at all. For Islam is a natural and true religion. Every
child is born as a Muslim. If it is left to itself, it will choose
Islam, none else. As a European writer observes, "Islam is
the religion of people with common sense."
If you made a comparative study of all religions, you would immediately
see that Islam is the most perfect, the most natural, and the
most logical. Owing to Islam, many complicated problems of the
world are solved easily and mankind attains peace and tranquillity.
Islam always rejects the dogma that human beings are born sinful
and that they have to expiate for it in the world. Muslims believe
in Allah, who is one. In their eyes, Musa (Moses), Issa (Jesus),
and Muhammad Mustafa 'salawatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' are
human beings like us. Allahu ta'ala has chosen them as Prophets
to guide people to the right way. For doing penance, for asking
for forgiveness, or for praying, there is no one between Allahu
ta'ala and the born slave. We can supplicate Allahu ta'ala on
our own any time, and we are responsible only for what we have
The word 'Islam' means both 'to surrender oneself to Allahu ta'ala'
and 'to have belief in Muhammad a.s.. 'Muslim' means 'a person
who lives in peace and happiness with all beings.' Islam is based
on two fundamental facts:
1) That Allahu ta'ala is one, and that Muhammad a.s. is the final
Prophet He has sent.
2) That humanity should be entirely freed from superstitions and
unfounded dogmas. The Hajj, one of the (five) tenets of Islam,
has a great impact on people. What other religion contains a form
of worship as sublime as Islam's pilgrimage, which brings together
hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all four corners of the
world regardless of their classes, races, countries, colours and
rank positions, and makes them put on the (uniformal garb called)
Ihram and prostrate themselves with one accord before Allahu ta'ala?
It is a certain fact that Muslims' worshipping together at these
blessed places where the great Prophet s.a.s. announced Islam,
struggled against Islam's enemies, exerted himself with great
determination and firmness, will attach them to one another with
stronger affections, whereby they will try to find solutions for
one another's problems, and they will once again take an oath
to co-operate along the way shown by Allahu ta'ala. Another use
of the Hajj is that thereby Muslims all over the world meet one
another, know one another's problems, and teach their personal
experiences to one another. All Muslims assemble at the place
whereto they turn their faces during their worships at home, and,
all in one mass, one body in the presence of Allahu ta'ala, they
surrender themselves to Him.
Seeing the Hajj once would suffice as an evidence to prove the
greatness of Islam. Here is Islam, and I have been enjoying the
pleasure and satisfaction of having entered this great religion.
The philomel of soul is ever-desirous of the rose;
Don't you ever presume fighting others is its real cause!
Ceaselessly it hovers round it, like a moth,
looking for a shelter where they could enjoy some repose.
I now know that the lovely rose has told none of its secret,
It always yearns for the philomel, like a budding rose.
From strangers that nymph has hidden her cheeks;
Unrequited love puts up with the thorn, never gets the rose.
Infatuated, the poor lover paces the road to his beloved;
Craving for the sweetheart, the lover himself dissolves.
23 - MUHAMMAD JOHN WEBSTER (G.B.)
I was raised with sheer Christian education in London. In 1930,
being a young student, I encountered some events like other youngsters,
and tried to understand them. One of them was to establish some
relation between the religion and the world, or, in other words,
to think over how I could utilize the religion for the accomplishment
of a more peaceful and more comfortable life. Then, for the first
time in my life, I came to the realization that my religion, Christianity,
was too insufficient and too short for that purpose. For Christianity
defined the world as a place of torture whose mere contents are
evils and vices, and men as creatures sinful from birth. Let alone
showing people how to lead a peaceful life in the world, it imposed
on them a concept of life like an area mined with sins, left them
on the horns of dilemma by saying that there was nothing they
could do on their own to get out of this state of sinfulness,
and then degenerated them by saying that on behalf of them priests
could invoke Allahu ta'ala. Christianity left people entirely
to themselves, and confined their worships to unsatisfactory Sunday
masses, which they perform in the perfunctory air of the church
service. In those years Britain was in a great economic depression
and poverty. People were very unhappy and therefore totally displeased
with the government. Christianity gave them no help in those days
of destitution, nor did they find any sort of heartening quality
in it to help them endure. This shortcoming had a considerably
ruinous impact on me. Indulging in the rationalizing relaxation
of my emotions instead of judging things with the impersonal justice
of reason, I reached the conclusion that religion was something
meaningless. Rejecting Christianity, I, like many other young
people, took to atheism and communism.
From a certain distance, Communism appealed to the young people.
Depressed under economic straits and totally hopeless of their
future life, the younger generation looked on Communism as a saviour
because it was being propagated with the promise that it would
extirpate differences of wealth and rank. It did not take me long
to realize, however, that the communist claims consisted of sheer
propaganda and hollow words. Communism was the very abode of segregation,
both of rank and of wealth. Everything was the same in every country.
Upon this I gave up Communism and dived into philosophy. Thus
I began to specialize as a pantheist in the creed of Wahdat-i
It is very difficult to get in touch with Muslims in Western countries.
For in those countries there is a deep-seated rancor against Islam,
which dates back to the crusading expeditions. Europeans reject
Islam with hatred, though they know nothing of it. They raise
their children with an education dressed with a strong feeling
of animus towards Islam. So much so that talking about Islam means
a violation of the established rules of decorum in their society.
If someone should bring up this subject in a social gathering,
the others will protest with a mute frown. In the meantime, I
was sent on an official mission to Australia. Despite the 'hatred
towards Islam' which had been engraved on my subconscious in the
name of education, one day I somehow succumbed to my curiosity
and got a translation of the Qur'an al-karim. Yet, I had hardly
finished the introduction of the book, when I immediately closed
the book. For the translator of the book used such an abusive
and defamatory language about the Qur'an al-karim right in the
introduction that it meant there was no sense in reading a book
of that sort. Afterwards, I pondered on the matter. Since Christians
hated Muslims and the translator was a Christian, it was very
well possible that he could have misunderstood some of its parts
under the influence of his predisposition and made that blasphemous
translation. And there was my curiosity. I took the matter more
seriously, and when I went to the city of Perth in western Australia
a couple of weeks later, I visited the grand library of the city
and queried whether there was a translation of the Qur'an al-karim
rendered by Muslims. They found a translation of that sort and
gave it to me. No words could define the emotions that began to
stir in the depths of my soul when I opened it and read the first
chapter in it, the chapter (sura) called Fatiha-i-Sharifa, which
began with the phrase, "Hamd (thanks and praise) be to the
Rabb (Lord, Creator, Allah) of alams (classes of beings)."
The first chapter ended with the invocations that purported, "Guide
us to the right path." How beautiful it was! I read the Fatiha-i-Sharifa
a number of times. The creator mentioned here was "Rahman
and Rahim," which meant "Very Merciful and Compassionate."
Contrary to the Christian dogma, He had not created men sinful.
I began to read the Qur'an al-karim, and the more I read the more
ecstatic did I become. Whatsoever I had desired and imagined I
found in this holy book. Hours elapsed, and I was completely oblivious
of where I was, of the time, and of everything. In addition to
that translation of the Qur'an al-karim, they had brought me some
books about the life of Muhammad s.a.s.. I was reading them in
utter rapture, when at last the librarian came to me and said,
"It's time we closed the library, sir." I came back
to myself, and left the library. On my way home I was soliloquizing
and repeating: "I have now attained my goal. I am a Muslim
now." With the guidance of Allahu ta'ala, I had eventually
attained the Hidaya (the right way).
As I was going back home, I looked for a convenient place to have
some coffee. As I walked down the street I had only the Qur'an
al-karim, Islam, and Allahu ta'ala in my mind. I was quite unaware
of where I was going. All of a sudden my legs stopped on their
own. When I raised my head I found myself in front of an entrance
built with red bricks. My legs had brought me here on their own.
I read the sign hanging on the wall. It was a mosque in Australia.
I said to myself: "Allahu ta'ala has blessed you with the
right way and taught you what you should do. You know Islam now.
Allahu ta'ala has brought you up to the entrance of the mosque.
Go inside right away and embrace this religion." I walked
in, and became a Muslim.
Until that time I had not known one single Muslim. I found Islam
by myself and accepted it by myself. No one guided me in this
respect. My only guide was my common sense.
24 - ABDULLAH BATTERSBY (G.B.)
Approximately twenty-five years ago, during my stay in Burma [Myanmar
since 1989], I took boat trips along the river on a Chinese boat
daily for recreation. The oarsman who rowed my boat was a Muslim
named Shaikh Ali from East Pakistan. He would spare no effort
in carrying out all the religious practices commanded by Islam.
His fastidiously diligent punctuality in his religious practices
made me admire that man, while in the meantime I began to develop
some curiosity about Islam. I decided to find out what was in
Islam that kept such a simpleton continuously under the effect
of a firm belief and staunch feelings of obedience. Most of the
people around us were Burmese Buddhists. They, too, were extremely
devoted to their religion. I think the Burmese people are the
most pious people of the world. However, the Buddhist system of
worships had some conspicuous shortcomings. The Buddhists would
assemble in their temples called pagoda and repeat the following
Its meaning was, as some people told me, "O Buddha, be our
guide! Be our canon! Exalt our souls!" That prayer was simple
enough, yet it consisted of a few unsatisfactory words which had
no effect on the human soul. And there was no mention of the great
On the other hand, the acts of worship practiced by my Muslim
boatman were only exquisite! This time, I began to discuss Islam
with my boatman. During the hours I spent with him, I asked him
numerous questions. The extremely elegant and logical answers
that that unsophisticated man gave me urged me into reading books
written about Islam. When I read those books, I learned with amazement
and admiration all the accomplishments that Muhammad s.a.s. realized
in a short time in Arabia. I found myself some Muslim friends.
I entered into Islamic deliberations and chats with them. It was
in those days when the First World War broke out. I was commanded
to immediately join the war on the Arabian front. I did so. There
were no Buddhists here. There were Muslims all around me. The
Arabs were the earliest Muslims. The Qur'an al-karim, the Holy
Book of Allahu ta'ala, had been revealed in the Arabic language.
My contacts with the Arabs increased my interest in Islam. When
the war was over, I began to study Arabic. In the meanwhile I
continued to read books about Islam. The greatest attraction I
found in Islam was Muslims' belief in one Allah. On the other
hand, as a Christian, I had to believe in three gods, which was
quite illogical to me. As I deliberated over it, I gradually realized
that Islam was a much more genuine religion. I began to accept
the fact that a religion that contained belief in one creator
should be a true religion. Eventually, after doing ten years'
service in Palestine, i.e. between 1932 and 1942, I decided to
become a Muslim. So I officially became a Muslim in 1942. I have
been a thorough Muslim ever since.
I officially professed Islam in Jerusalem, which the Arabs called
'Sacred City'. At that time I was a staff major in the British
army. When I professed Islam, I had to undergo some unpleasant
situations. My government would not approve of my becoming a Muslim.
I had to leave the army. Upon this, I went to Egypt first, and
then to Pakistan, and began to live among my Muslim brothers there.
I wrote some articles about Islam. There are more than five hundred
million Muslims living on the earth today, and they are one another's
brothers. To become a Muslim means to have belief in Allahu ta'ala,
the very being who is worthy of being worshipped, and to attach
oneself to Him. And attaching oneself to Him, in its turn, requires
adapting oneself to the norms described by His great Prophet,
Muhammad a.s.. Now, whenever I remember that modest boatman, who
showed me Islam's lightsome way and the true forms of worship
and guided me to my Allah, though in the beginning I had thought
he was a mere simpleton, I feel deep respect for him. I am trying
to lead a life of a true Muslim, like him. And I see that doing
so protects a person from harmful things.
Now, among Muslims, I am, alhamdu-li-l-llah' (thanks and praise
be to Allah), another Muslim. And after performing each prayer,
I never forget to invoke a blessing on my Murshid, Shaikh Ali
Effendi the boatman, to recite the Fatiha Sura and send the blessings
to his already blessed soul, for by now he might have attained
the eternal compassion of Allahu ta'ala.
25 - HUSAIN ROFE (G.B.)
When a person decides to abandon a religion that has been infused
into him since his childhood and choose another religion, there
should be some reasons, which are either emotional or philosophical
or social. The zealous aspirations I had been feeling were impelling
me towards a belief that would satisfy at least two of the above-mentioned
needs. Consequently, as soon as the educational period of my life
was over, I embarked on a comparative study of all the world's
existing religions with a view to determining the one that deserved
a true belief in it.
Both of my parents were devotedly religious, one of them a Catholic
and the other a Jew formerly. Later, they both abandoned their
religions and became Protestants and began to attend the Anglican
Church. When I was in school I regularly attended the rites performed
in the Anglican Church and listened to the lessons given by the
priests. Yet the Christian credal tenets that they were trying
to teach me contained a number of elements that I did not understand
and which seemed quite irrational to me. First of all, the tripartite
godhead which consisted of Father, Son and the Holy Ghost sounded
so silly to me that it was impossible to accept it. My conscience
rejected it vehemently. Moreover, the ecclesiastical credo that
attaining God would require expiation was altogether meaningless
too. In my idealization, the great being who was (and always is)
the only being worthy of being worshipped would not demand compulsory
expiation from His born slaves.
Upon this, I began to examine the Judaic religion. I saw that
their approach to the unity and grandeur of Allahu ta'ala was
much more reasonable and that they did not attribute a partner
to Him. Perhaps Judaism was not so badly interpolated as today's
Christianity. However, that religion also contained some grotesque
tenets which I could not understand and would never accept. There
were so many rites, prayers and compulsory religious practices
in the Judaic religion that a pious Jew would have no time left
for worldly occupations if he were to observe all those religious
obligations. I knew that most of those rites were stupid parodies
that had been inserted into the religion later by people. Thereby
the Judaic religion had been thoroughly stripped of its social
character and become the religion of a small minority. Concluding
that there was nothing in Judaism for the world to benefit from,
I left it aside, and focused my quest into other religions. In
the meantime I attended both the church and the synagogue. Yet
those visits were done for quasi-religious purposes. In fact,
I was neither a Christian nor a Jew. Alongside the Anglican Church,
I examined the Roman Catholic Church, too. I saw that the Catholic
credo contained more superstitions than did the credo of those
Protestants who were adherent to the Anglican Church. Especially,
the Catholics' excessive adherence to the Pope and their semi-deification
of him made me hate them all the more.
Now I turned my face to the east and began to examine the oriental
religions. I did not like Magians' religion at all. For they gave
too much prerogative to the priestly caste. A pariah, on the other
hand, would deserve what remained from their scorn for beasts.
It never occurred to them that they should have compassion for
the poor. According to them, a person's poverty was his own fault.
If he put up with it silently and without any complaints, there
might be some improvement in his situation owing to the priests'
intermediary invocations. The priestly order purposely spread
this belief in order to strike a fear of themselves into the people's
hearts and to make the people feel dependent on them. Therefore
I hated the Magian religion. And my hatred even doubled when I
knew that the Magians worshipped animals. A cult of that sort
could not be a true religion.
As for Buddhism; the Buddhists adhered to philosophical thoughts
and beliefs. They told me that, if I should exert myself, try
very hard and practice the required abstinence, I would obtain
great powers and play with the world like doing chemical experiments.
However, I did not find any ethical rules in Buddhism. In this
system also, the priestly order were different from the ordinary
people and occupied a higher status. Indeed, they taught me many
wonderful feats of skill. Yet those things had nothing to do with
Allah and religion.
Those feats of skill were, like sports or illusionist artifices,
were pastime activities and served only to amaze people who did
not know them. They were far from purifying the human heart or
bringing man closer to the approval and love of Allahu ta'ala.
They had nothing to do with Allahu ta'ala or with the beings He
created. The only benefit they gave was that they drilled a full
self-discipline into the practicer.
There is no doubt as to the fact that Buddha was a well-educated,
intelligent man. He enjoined a full-scale self-sacrifice on them.
He gave commandments such as, "Do not retaliate evil!"
"Forego all your desires and ambitions!" "Do not
think of tomorrow!" Didn't Issa a.s. say the same things?
But commandments of this sort had been observed during the early
days of Christianity, when the religion of Issa a.s. had been
in its pure form; people had already given up obeying them. I
diagnosed the same laxity in the Buddhist societies. If people
were as pure-hearted as Issa a.s. or as benevolent as Buddha,
they would in all probability follow their guidance and attain
the state approved by Allahu ta'ala. But how many people in the
present world could be so pure-hearted and noble-natured as to
cease from all vices? It came to mean that the ethical principles
laid by Buddha were not practicable in the modern man's system
How strange it was that I was living in the Islamic world and
yet I was examining the other religions without thinking a bit
about Islam! The reason was clear: We had already been brainwashed
with the information of Islam given to us and with the books written
about it in Europe, which asserted that that religion was entirely
wrong, meaningless, and false, and that it infused torpor. Reading
Rodwell's translation of the Qur'an al-karim had specially fixed
these preconceptions into my subconscious. Rodwell had purposely
mistranslated some parts of the Qur'an al-karim and distorted
its meanings, thus turning the holy book into a mass of unintelligible
words altogether different from the original version. It was not
till after having contacted the 'Islamic Society' in London and
having read a true translation of the Qur'an al-karim did I know
the truth. One thing I would regret to say at this point is that
Muslims are doing very little to advertise this lovely religion
of theirs to the world. If they try to spread the true essence
of Islam over the entire world with due attention and knowledge,
I am sure that they will achieve very positive results. In the
near east people are still reserved towards foreigners. Instead
of coming into contact with them and illuminating them, they prefer
to keep as far away as possible from them. This is an exceedingly
wrong attitude. I am the most concrete example. For I was somehow
hindered from being interested in the Islamic religion. Fortunately,
one day I met a very respectable and highly cultured Muslim. He
was very friendly with me. He listened to me with attention. He
presented me an English version of the Qur'an al-karim translated
by a Muslim. He gave beautiful and logical answers to all my questions.
In 1945 he took me to a mosque. With intent attention and deep
respect, I watched the Muslims praying there, which was a sight
I was watching for the first time in my life. O my Allah, what
a gorgeous and sublime sight it was! People from all races, all
nations and all classes were worshipping. All those people had
come together without any sort of segregation in the presence
of Allahu ta'ala, and they had entirely devoted themselves to
Allahu ta'ala. Next to a rich Turk, for instance, stood a very
poor Indian clad in beggar-like clothes, next was an Arab who
I would say was a merchant, and besides him prayed a Negro. All
these people were performing a prayer in profound reverence. No
one was different from any other. Entirely oblivious to their
nationalities and economical, social and official statuses, they
had focused all their existence to the worship of Allahu ta'ala.
No one assumed superiority to another. The rich did not despise
the poor, nor did persons of rank have an iota of scorn for their
Seeing all these marvels, I realized that Islam was the religion
that I had been seeking for. None of the other religions that
I had examined up to that time had had an effect like that on
me. In fact, after seeing Islam closely and learning the essence
of Islam, I accepted that true religion without any hesitation.
Now I am proud of being a Muslim. I attended lectures on "The
Islamic Culture" at a university in Britain, whereupon I
saw that as Europe had suffered the gloom of the Middle Ages,
Islam had shone through the darkness and illuminated everywhere.
Many great explorations had been accomplished by Muslims, Europeans
had been taught knowledge, science, medicine and humanities in
the Islamic universities, and numerous world conquerors had embraced
Islam and established great empires. Muslims were not only the
founders of a universal civilization, but also the recoverers
of many an ancient civilization devastated by Christians. When
the news of my conversion to Islam got about, my friends began
to remonstrate with me and to accuse me of retrogression. Each
time they did so I answered them with a smile: "Quite the
other way round. Islam is not retrogression. It is the most advanced
civilization." Sad to say, today's Muslims have fallen behind.
For Muslims have been gradually getting less and less appreciative
of their possession of so sublime a religion as Islam, and more
and more negligent in carrying out its commandments.
The Islamic countries still boast the intact remnants of a warm
hospitality. When you go to a Muslim's house, he will welcome
you in a balmy air of readiness to help you. For helping others
is one of Islam's commandments. It is one of the basic Islamic
tenets for the rich to help the poor by giving them a certain
percentage of their wealth. This property does not exist in any
other religion. This comes to mean that Islam is the most, and
the only, suitable religion for the present social life-styles.
It is for this reason that there is no place for Communism in
Muslim countries. For Islam has by far forestalled that social
problem by prearranging the most essential solutions.
26 - H.F. FELLOW (G.B.)
I am a naval officer. I spent a major part of my life on the sea.
I served the British navy in the First World War in 1914 and in
the Second World War in 1939.
Even the most perfect tools and machines of the twentieth century
are far below the capacity to resist the terrific forces of nature.
Let me give you a small example: we have no means as yet to defend
ourselves against fog or storms. A warlike situation adds a lot
more to these dangers. A naval officer has to be always very careful.
The British navy holds a book that contains the Queen's Directions
and the Directions put by the Admiralty. The book embodies not
only records such as the duties of a naval officer and the procedures
to be followed at times of danger, but also a list of awards,
citations and rewards that are to be bestowed in recognition of
good behaviour and distinguished services, salaries and pays,
and even when an officer will retire. In addition, it contains
the penalties imposed for offenses and acts of disobedience. If
this book is observed with due diligence, life on the sea will
be easy and orderly, danger will be minimized, and naval officers
will lead a peaceful and happy life.
May Allahu ta'ala forgive me my fault and sin! Never oblivious
to the great difference and always observant of the due respect,
I have compared the Qur'an al-karim to that book. Allahu ta'ala
is the authority who has laid down these principles in the Qur'an
al-karim. He teaches in extremely explicit and exquisite expressions
and in a language intelligible to everybody how all men, women
and children over the world should act, from what directions danger
will be coming and what should be done against it, and how the
good and bad behaviours will be rewarded. For the recent eleven
years, since I retired, that is, I have been growing flowers in
my garden. It is in this period when I have seen once again the
greatness of Allahu ta'ala. Plants and flowers grow only with
the command of Allahu ta'ala. Nothing you plant will grow without
His command. However hard you may try, and whatsoever you may
do, your endeavour will yield results only with His support. Without
this support all your effort will come to naught. It is in no
one else's capacity to predetermine the weather conditions required
for the growing of plants. With one command of Allahu ta'ala,
bad weather will set in and ruin everything you have planted.
Men have devised various systems in order to pre-estimate the
weather conditions. Weather conditions are forecast today. It
makes me smile to myself. For only one per cent of these forecasts
turn out to be correct. The only determinant in this matter is
the decree of Allahu ta'ala. Beautiful flowers do not grow in
the gardens belonging to those who do not obey the commandments
of Allahu ta'ala. This is only a retribution which Allahu ta'ala
visits on them.
I believe with all my heart that the Qur'an al-karim is the Word
of Allahu ta'ala and that Allahu ta'ala chose Muhammad s.a.s.
as His Messenger to communicate that sacred book to the entire
world. The Qur'an al-karim is in full concordance with man's worldly
life, and it contains rules unsullied with the insertion of exaggerations
and superstitions and which are perfectly logical, so that people
with common sense will find them entirely true and right. Rather
than bringing pressure to bear on the sense of fear inherent in
man's nature, the tenets of worship in the Qur'an al-karim appeal
to love and respect.
Having lived for long years in a Christian society and under Christian
influence, a Christian needs convincing preliminary persuasion
to abandon his religion and become a Muslim. However, after examining
Islam, I did not need any external persuasion. For I had spontaneously
believed in the fact that this religion is a true one. No one
compelled me to become a Muslim. Nor was I under anyone's influence.
Muslims answered most of my doubts whose solutions I had not found
in Christianity, and they satisfied all my mental expectations.
I therefore became a Muslim by myself and willingly.
I have realized that the pure religion brought by Issa a.s. and
Islam are essentially the same. Yet the pure Nazarani religion
was completely defiled with the superstitions, rites and credal
tenets borrowed from idolatrous cults afterwards and turned into
what has now been called Christianity. It was so repulsively fraught
with the polytheistic accessions that Martin Luther, for the purpose
of purifying his religion, had to reform it and to establish the
Protestant sect, whereby he, let alone repairing the religion,
impaired it all the more badly. As the Queen of England, Elizabeth
I, struggled against the Catholic Spaniards who posed a threat
against her country, the Ottoman Turks carried on their holy war
against the Catholics in Europe. As Protestants and Muslims, these
two empires fought against the idolatrous Catholics. The one thing
that escaped Martin Luther's attention was that nine hundred years
before him Muhammad a.s. had cleansed and purified the defiled
Christianity and all the other religions.
Today's Christianity is infested with idolatrous elements and
superstitions. For a long period of time Christianity has remained
as a religion where injustice, cruelty and savagery are all but
legalized, and it still maintains this horrendous identity in
its exactitude. I would like you to recollect the unjust verdicts
that the Spanish Christians gave at the tribunals called the Inquisition
and the savageries that they perpetrated in the name of inquisition.
The Sephardis who escaped from their cruelties were provided sanctuary
only by the Muslim Turks, who treated them as human beings.
Issa a.s. asked his umma to obey the Ten Commandments which Allahu
ta'ala had given to Musa a.s. on Mount Sinai. The first of these
commandments is this: "I am the Lord thy God, ..." "Thou
shalt have no other gods before me."[Old Testament, Exodus:
20-2,3.] On the other hand, Christians have disobeyed this commandments
by increasing the number of gods to three. I did not believe in
three gods before converting to a Muslim, either. I always accepted
Allahu ta'ala as only one compassionate, forgiving and guiding
being. That was the only reason which led me to Islam. For Muslims'
belief in Allahu ta'ala was identical with my thoughts.
The manner of life you are to lead is totally in your own hands.
If you are, say, an accountant and embezzle money from the employer's
safe, one day you will be caught and wind up in prison. If you
drive carelessly on a slippery road, your car will topple over
and you will end up in a hospital with one or two broken bones.
If you drive too fast and have an accident for this reason, you,
again, will be responsible for it. It would be a grave act of
immorality to lay the blame for all these faults on someone else.
I do not believe in the hypothesis that people are bad tempered
by birth. It is a definite fact that human beings are born with
a good moral quality. A group of theorists assume that some people
are evil-spirited by creation, which I reject. In my opinion,
what makes a person's soul evil is, first of all, his parents,
next his environment, next the subversive publications, and next
evil company. Another factor that should be added is harmful tutorship.
Children are inclined to idealize the behaviours and thoughts
of their parents, school teachers and writers and try to follow
their examples. Sometimes, without any apparent reason, children
exhibit rebellious and mischievous behaviour. At such times they
must be toned down with gentle, but at the same time serious,
exhortation. But if we ourselves exhibit inconsiderate behaviour
and thereby set a bad example for them, we cannot convince them
of their wrong behaviour. How could we dissuade our children from
doing the vices that have become our daily practices? That means
to say that first of all we have to exhibit a perfect example
for our children. We should be able to chastise them when necessary.
You know that Britons are fond of sports. Sports is something
that is almost sacred to us. If a person does something disingenuous
or acts in a crooked way in a sports activity, he will be punished
immediately and lose most of his honour. The Islamic religion
has laid exquisite and very beautiful behavioural maxims and ideal
life-styles, which could be, as it were, compared to our sports
rules. During my research in the Islamic religion, these rules
won my admiration. It was this logic and order that led me to
the true religion of Islam.
Here is the second one of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt
not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing
that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that
is in the water under the earth:" (Old Testament, Exodus:
20-4.) On the other hand, today's Christian churches are full
of images and icons, and Christians prostrate themselves before
One thing I had always mused with consternation about was that
all those tremendous events, such as the miracles of Issa a.s.,
his crucifixion, [which is a Christian belief], his resurrection
and ascension to heaven after having been interred, had had very
little impact on that time's Jewish, Roman and other Palestinian
community, and their life-styles had not changed at all. The Jews
had been quite indifferent towards Issa a.s., so that it was only
centuries later when Christianity began to spread. Contrariwise,
the Islamic religion communicated by Muhammad a.s. spread far
and near in a very short time, immediately changed the life-styles
there, and civilized the semi-barbarous people. I think the only
reason was that the original Issawi religion deteriorated in a
short time and changed into a perplexing, semi-idolatrous new
Christian religion, while Islam, on the other hand, was a logical
religion intelligible to everybody. Between 1919 and 1923 I was
appointed to a naval duty on the Turkish waters. That mellifluous
voice that called daily from the minarets and said, "There
is only one Allahu ta'ala. Muhammad a.s. is His Messenger."
How lovely it sounded to my ears! Most of the books about the
Islamic religion that I had been reading contained contumelies
against Islam. Their discourse followed the rules of a certain
textual stratagem wherein the first step was to cast aspersions
on the last three hundred years' Turkish Sultans, who were Khalifas
at the same time, the second step was to associate the acts of
atrocity and injustice already ascribed to them and reinforced
with the slanders that Turks were mendacious, deceitful and venal
people and that they had been oppressing the minorities, with
the Islamic culture, which was their source of education, and
the final step was to conclude that a Muslim could never be as
honest as a Christian. Did the Islamic religion really deserve
the blame? I could never believe it. Eventually, I decided to
resort to a Muslim man of religion to acquire true information.
In the meantime, I looked for Islamic books written by Muslims.
Some Muslim religious men living in Britain found the books I
needed and sent them to me. When I read these books, I saw what
a pure religion Islam was, how brilliantly it shone throughout
the Middle Ages, how brightly it illuminated the dark Christian
world, how, unfortunately, in the wake of a general inattention
to religious principles growing in the process of time, the Islamic
world gradually lost its vigour, and the recent efforts to restore
it to its former state. Today's scientific improvements could
find no place in the Christian religion. Conversely, they are
in perfect concordance with Islam. Consequently, the blame for
the decline that the Islamic world has been suffering falls not
on the Islamic religion, but on today's Muslims, who have fallen
short of fulfilling the requirements of this pulchritudinous religion
with due strictness. I no longer had any doubts as to the merits
of the Islamic religion now. So I embraced Islam willingly.
Today, some European philosophers and writers argue that religions
are unnecessary. You must be sure that arguments of this sort
ensue from the preposterous tenets of Christianity and from its
superstitions which would never receive a welcome in the twentieth
century. The Islamic religion, on the other hand, does not contain
any of such toxins.
Christians can never understand why Islam should meet with such
universal acceptance, and they call Muslims 'eccentric people'.
This is an entirely wrong accusation.
My final remarks are these: I chose Islam because it is a religion
which is both theoretical and practical, easy to understand and
logical, perfect in every respect, and an exemplary guide for
humanity. The Islamic religion is, and eternally will be, the
best way that will lead man to the love of Allahu ta'ala and to
happiness in this world and the next.
27 - J.W. LOVEGROVE (G.B.)
I would like to give the following short answer to your question
why I became a Muslim. I shall not attempt to give you a long
lecture on religion and belief. Religion and belief make up a
virtue that emanates from the human soul and which is unlike anything
else. It is identical with the thirst felt by a person left in
a desert. Man definitely needs a belief to rely on as a dependable
guide. First I studied a history of religions. I read with attention
the lives and the teachings of those personages who had invited
people to religion. I realized that the religious essentials that
Prophets 'alaihim-us-salam' had taught in the beginning had been
changed and turned into entirely different forms in the course
of time. What had survived of them was only a few facts. Various
legends had been mixed into the lives of those great, distinguished
people, and their deeds had been transformed into myths and reached
us as a conglomerate of mysterious stories. In contrast with all
these ruins, one true religion, Islam, has preserved its pristine
purity and simplicity from the day it was revealed to the present
time and, without being polluted with any sort of superstitions
or legends, it has survived to our age. The Qur'an al-karim is
the same today as it was in the time of Muhammad a.s.. Not a word
of it has changed. The blessed utterances of Muhammad a.s. have
reached our day in exactly the same literal form as they were
pronounced by him, without undergoing any alterations.
Allahu ta'ala sent Prophets 'alaihim-us-salawatu wattaslimat'
to humanity whenever He deemed it necessary. They are complementary
to one another. In consideration of the fact that the teachings
of other Prophets 'alaihim-us-salawatu wattaslimat' have been
interpolated and changed into annoying incongruities, is there
another way which one could find more logical than accepting the
Islamic religion, which has remained the most intact, the purest,
and the truest? As a matter of fact, a simple and useful religion
unsullied with illogical superstitions was what I was questing
for. The Islamic religion is that very religion. The Islamic religion
shows one by one all my duties towards Allahu ta'ala, towards
my neighbours, and towards all humanity. Although this was originally
the main objective of all religions, their tenor has been watered
down into unintelligible credal tenets. In contrast, the Islamic
religion embodies easily understandable, simple, logical, convincing
and useful principles of belief. In Islam, alone, did I find the
information concerning the requirements to be fulfilled to attain
peace and salvation in this world and the next. It is for this
reason that I became a Muslim willingly.
28 - DAVIS (G.B.)
I was born in 1931, and began to go to elementary school when
I was six years old. Completing my elementary education after
seven years, I attended a junior high school. My family raised
me in a Catholic system of education. Afterwards, I joined the
Anglican church. Finally, I became an Anglo-Catholic. During all
these conversions, I observed the same thing. Christianity had
dissociated itself from man's normal daily life long ago, and
had become reminiscent of an attirement that was worn only on
Sundays and kept in a wooden case only for this purpose. People
could not find what they were looking for in the Christian religion.
The Christian religion was trying to attach people to the church
by means of lights of various colours, images, smells of incense,
pleasant music, and a variety of glorious ceremonies and litanies
performed for saints. Yet all these efforts fell short of attracting
people. For the Christian religion concerned itself only with
legendary subjects and therefore evinced no interest in what was
going on without the church. Consequently, I developed a profound
hatred towards Christianity, and finally decided to give a test
to Communism and Fascism each, which were being propagated with
When I attempted Communism I was happy because I believed that
it rejected class differences. As time went by, I faced the awful
truth: let alone rejecting class differences, Communism was a
totalitarian regime wherein people led a life of slavery, a small
minority inflicted all sorts of cruelty and brutality on the others,
no one had the right to protest, and any sort of objection, rightful
as it might be, would incur a penalty, which meant, more often
than not, being sentenced to death. Stalin is a good example concerning
the real face of Communism. Upon this, I shifted from Communism
My first impression in Fascism was its discipline and order, which
I liked very much. However, Fascists were self-conceited people.
They despised all people and all races outside of their community.
Here, too, cruelty, suffering, injustice and oppression prevailed.
A couple of months sufficed to make me loathe Fascism intensely.
For Sir Oswald Mosley (1896-1980), British right wing politician,
an MP from 1918 to 1931, and the founder of the British Union
of Fascists.], in Britain, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the leader
of German Nazi Party. He was born in Austria. His ideal was to
develop a pure German race.], in Germany, and Benito Mussolini
(1883-1945), (known as II Duce), Italian Fascist Dictator. After
the Second World War, he was killed by the Italians.], in Italy,
were the exemplary models of stark terror and ruthless and despotic
cruelty. Nevertheless, I could not give up Fascism, for there
was no other alternative left.
I was desperately writhing in a state of distress, when I came
across a periodical captioned The Islamic Review in a bookstore.
I scanned the book. I still cannot understand why I bought that
book, which cost me two shillings and six pennies [Until 1971,
British coin, worth one-twentieth a pound, or twelve old pennies;
five pennies as of today.] and was too expensive for me. I thought,
"I have wasted my money. Perhaps the contents of this book
are mere twaddles that would not be worth a penny, like those
Communist and Fascist follies." Yet, as I read on, it began
to capture my attention, which soon developed into utter amazement.
I read the magazine once again, and again. So Islam was a perfect
religion which accumulated in itself all the best aspects of Christianity
and of the other ideologies ending in 'ism'. Despite my poverty,
I subscribed to the periodical. A couple of months later I decided
to embrace Islam. Since that day I have held fast to my new religion
with my both hands.
I hope to begin studying Arabic as soon as I enter university.
For the time being I am studying Latin, French and Spanish, and
reading 'The Islamic Review'.
29 - Dr. R.L. MELLEMA (Holland)
(Dr. Mellema is the director of the section concerned with Islamic
Works of Art of the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. He is known
for his works 'Babies of Wyang', 'Information About Pakistan'
and 'Introducing Islam'.)
In 1919, I began to study oriental languages in the University
of Leiden. My teacher was the universally known professor Hurgronje,
who had perfect command of the Arabic language. As he taught me
how to read, write and translate in Arabic, he gave me the Qur'an
al-karim and the works of al-Ghazali as textbooks. The subject
I was majoring in was the 'Islamic law'. I read a number of books
about Islam, Islam's history, and Islamic sciences so far published
in the European languages. In 1921 I went to Egypt and visited
the Al-Azhar Madrasa. I stayed there for about one month. Later,
in addition to Arabic, I learned Sanskrit and Malay. In 1927 I
went to Indonesia, which was a British dependency at that time.
I began to learn Javanese in a high school in Jakarta. For fifteen
years I educated myself not only in the language of Java, but
also in the cultural history of old and new Java. Throughout that
period of time, I on the one hand contacted the Muslims and on
the other hand read the Arabic books available to me. The Japanese
invaded the Indonesian islands during the Second World War. I
was one of the prisoners that they captured. After an extremely
severe life in captivity which lasted until the end of the war,
I returned to Holland and found a job in the Tropical Museum in
Amsterdam. There I resumed my Islamic research. They asked me
to write a booklet telling about the Muslims in Java. This, also,
I accepted, and completed, too. Between 1954 and 1955 I was sent
to Pakistan to conduct a study about the Muslims there. As I have
already stated, the only books that I had read about Islam until
that time had been written in the European languages. After I
went to Pakistan and established direct contact with Muslims,
my views of Islam took a sharp turn for the favourable. I requested
my Muslim brothers in Lahore to take me to their mosque. They
were pleased at my request and took me there for a Friday prayer.
I watched the worship and listened to the prayers with great attention.
It had so strong an impact on me that I almost lost consciousness
in rapture. I now felt myself a Muslim and a Muslim brother when
I shook hands with Muslims. I expressed my feelings as follows
in the fourth issue of 'Pakistan Quarterly':
"Next we went to a smaller mosque. A preaching lecture was
scheduled to be delivered by a scholar who was a professor from
Penjab University and who knew English well. As he began his preaching,
he said to the audience, 'We have a guest, a Muslim brother, who
has come here from a distant country, Holland. I shall mostly
add English words into the Urdu language so that he will understand
me better,' and then he performed an exquisite preaching. I listened
with attention. After the preaching was over, I meant to leave
the mosque, when Allama Sahib, who had brought me to the mosque,
said that the Muslim brothers who had been watching me with attention
would be pleased if I should be kind enough to give them a speech,
a brief one in the least, and that he would translate my speech
into the Urdu language. Upon this I made the following short speech:
'I am here from Holland, which is quite a long way from here.
There are very few Muslims in my homeland. Those few Muslims requested
me to extend their salam [Islamic word for greeting, well-wishing
and offering best wishes.] to you. I am very happy to know that
you have achieved your independence and to see that the world
has been enriched with one more Muslim state. Established seven
years ago, Pakistan has already secured its position. After all
those difficulties you experienced in the beginning, your country
has in the long last attained salvation and is now improving with
speed. There is a bright future ahead of Pakistan. When I go back
home, I will have so much to tell my compatriots about your kind
and polite behaviour, about your magnanimous generosity, and about
your warm hospitality, of which I shall spare no minute details.
I shall never forget the warm affection you have displayed towards
me.' No sooner had Allama Sahib finished translating my statements
into Urdu than all the Muslims in the mosque rushed towards me
and began to shake hands with me, and the whole place resounded
with a mellow roar of congratulatory exclamations, which has preserved
its unique moment of happiness in my memories. The heartfelt manifestation
of brotherhood moved me so profoundly that I began to enjoy the
happiness of entirely having joined the community of Muslim brothers."
The Pakistani Muslim brothers showed me that Islam is not merely
a collection of theories and proved that Islam means beautiful
moral quality first of all and therefore being a good Muslim requires
possessing a pure moral character.
Now let me answer the second question, i.e. your question, "What
was the strongest attraction that pulled you towards Islam?"
The reasons that attracted me towards embracing Islam and attached
my entire heart to the Islamic religion are as follows:
1) A Unitarian belief in Allahu ta'ala. Islam recognizes one great
creator. This great creator is not begotten, nor does he beget.
What could be as logical and as rational as believing in one creator?
Even the simplest-minded person would find it right and will believe
in it. This single great creator, whose name is Allah, is in possession
of the greatest knowledge, the greatest hikma, the greatest power,
and the greatest beauty. He has infinite mercy and compassion.
2) Rejecting any intermediary between Allahu ta'ala and the born
slave. In Islam the born slave comes into direct contact with
his Creator and worships Him directly. No one is necessary between
Allahu ta'ala and the born slave. People learn their duties pertaining
to this world and the next from the Book of Allahu ta'ala, the
Qur'an al-karim, from hadith ash-Sharifs, and from books written
by the scholars of Ahl as-sunnat. Only to Allahu ta'ala are they
responsible for their actions. Allahu ta'ala, alone, has the authority
to reward or punish a person. Allahu ta'ala will not hold any
of His born slaves responsible for what he has not done, nor will
He enjoin on him something beyond his capacity.
3) The infinite mercy innate in Islam. Its most explicit indication
is an ayat in the Qur'an al-karim, which purports, "No one
shall be compelled to become a Muslim." Our Prophet, Muhammad
a.s., commands that a Muslim should acquire knowledge, by going
to the farthest places if necessary. One other precept that Muslims
are commanded to observe is to be respectful of the religions
previous to Islam, especially as regards their essentials that
have remained unchanged.
4) A fraternal unification of Muslims, whereby discriminations
due to race, nationality and colour are crossed out from the outset.
This ultimate goal has been realized only by Islam in the entire
world. During the periods of Hajj (Muslims' pilgrimage to Mecca),
hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all corners of the world
come together, wrap themselves in the uniform (clothing called)
Ihram, and prostrate themselves, a colossal expression of all
5) The equilibrium that Islam maintains between corporeal and
spiritual realities. The other religions emphasize only spirituality
and a number of absurd, grotesque tenets. On the other hand, Islam
gives equal considerations to the soul and the body and dictates
to man how he should maintain cleanliness, not only spiritually,
but also bodily. It integrates man's spiritual improvement with
his corporeal needs and describes in an extremely illustrative
language how he should live in full control of his physical activities.
6) Islam's prohibition of alcohol, drugs, and pork. In my opinion,
the gravest calamities that have befallen mankind has been on
account of alcohol and drugs. Prohibition of such indulgences
would suffice as an illustration of Islam's enormous prescience
and the gigantic distance whereby it is ahead of its time.
30 - FADL-UD-DIN AHMAD OVERING (Holland)
I cannot figure out precisely the time of my first contact with
the oriental civilization. This contact owes primarily to language.
To be more clear, my aspirations to learn the oriental languages
ended in my beginning to study Arabic when I was only in my early
teens. Naturally, with no one to help me, it was rather an onerous
work for me to get over. Primarily with a view to learning Arabic,
I bought some books written by Europeans about the Arabs and about
Islam. I think most of the information they gave about Islam were
far from being correct or unbiased. Nevertheless, the passages
about Muhammad a.s. caused me to develop a strong admiration for
his personality. Yet the information I collected about Islam was
both incorrect and insufficient. Nor was there anyone to guide
In the long last, I came across a perfect work, namely a book
entitled, 'History of Persian Literature in Modern Times', written
by T.G. Browne. I found two elegant poems in the book. One of
them was the Terji'i bend of Hatif Isfahani, and the other one
was the Heftbend of Mohtashim Kashani.
I cannot describe to you the greatness of the excitement that
I felt when I read Hatif's poem. How delicately the poem depicted
a soul that was desperately struggling in a deep gloom of indecision
and depression and seeking for a murshid to guide him to salvation!
As I read it, I felt as if the great poet had written it about
me and as if the poem were describing my struggles to find the
He, alone, exists; there's no others in existence;
He, alone, is worthy of worship by all existence.
To fulfil my mother's wishes and to satisfy my curiosity, I registered
in a high school with a religious curriculum. Despite its religious
system of education, the school did not follow a fanatical policy.
The students could discuss their ideas freely, and their ideas
were held in high regard. The religious lessons consisted of religious
essentials that a person needed to know. However, the answer,
"I feel deep respect for the Islamic religion," which
I gave to a final exam question querying our opinions about other
religions must have consternated the school director. In those
days, the strong feelings of sympathy I had had for the Islamic
religion had not developed into a definite belief yet. I was still
in a state of indecision. Nor had I completely recovered from
the morbid hostility against Islam that the church had engraved
into the depths of my soul.
Firmly resolved to disentangle myself from the influence of those
books with European authors, I embarked on an entirely personal
study of Islam; this time the only criterion would be my personal
evaluation. How thoroughbred the facts that the study yielded
were! It began to dawn on me why so many people abandoned the
religions inculcated into them during their childhood and embraced
Islam. For the first feature of Islam reflected man's own essence,
his personal world, his true belief and trust in Allahu ta'ala,
and its second feature involved his unconditional submission to
Allahu ta'ala, his Owner, and obedience to His commandments. In
the following paragraphs I shall attempt some quotations from
the Qur'an al-karim, which I consider relevant to the subject.
Stripped as they may be of the magnificent harmony inherent in
their Arabic originals, translations of these divine statements
still have very strong attraction.
The twenty-seventh and later ayats of Fajr Sura purport, "O
(thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction!" "Come
back thou to thy Allah, well-pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing
unto Him!" "Enter thou, then, among My devotees!"
"Yea, enter thou My Heaven!" (89-27, 28, 29, 30)
This statement alone would be enough to prove the fact that the
Islamic religion, quite unlike the superstitious Christianity,
or the other religions, which are even worse, is an extremely
pure, true, and genuine religion.
In contrast with the Christian credo which imposes a tenet wherein
mankind is sinful from birth and even a newly born baby has a
share from sins of earlier generations, the hundred and sixty-fourth
ayat of Anam Sura in the Qur'an al-karim purports, "... Every
soul draws the meed of its acts on none but himself: no bearer
of burdens can bear the burden of another. ..." (6-164) In
fact, the forty-second ayat of Araf Sura purports, "... No
burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear, -
..." (7-42) As you read these statements, you feel deep in
your heart that they are divine statements of Allah, and you willingly
have belief in Islam. I did so, too; I chose Islam, the truest
religion of Allahu ta'ala, and I became a Muslim willingly.
31 - Prof. Dr. ABD-UL-KARIM GERMANUS (Hungarian)
(Prof. Dr. Germanus is a professor of 'Oriental Languages' in
the University of Budapest and has a world-wide reputation. During
the First and Second World Wars, he travelled in India and in
the meantime worked as a teacher in the University of 'Shanti
Naketen,' which was under the directorship of Tagore. [Rabindranath
Tagore (1861-1941), Bengali-Indian writer.] Later he moved to
Delhi, and became a Muslim in the 'Jamia-I-Milliyya'. Prof. Germanus
has been looked on as a great authority in literary areas, especially
in the Turkish language and Turkish literature.)
I was only a fresh adolescent that could just as soon be called
a child. On a rainy day, I incidentally found an old illustrated
magazine. It contained pictures of apparently overseas countries.
I was leisurely turning the pages, when, all of a sudden, one
of the pictures caught my attention. It illustrated some one-storied
small houses surrounded with rose-gardens. On the roofs of the
houses sat people in elegant attirements listening with rapt attention
to someone who must be conducting a conversation under the dusky
firmament that was hardly illuminated by the half moon. The people,
the dresses, the houses, the house yards were entirely different
from those in Europe. As far as I could figure out from the writings
under the picture, the picture was an illustration of some Arabs
listening to a public story-teller in a small Arabian town. I
was sixteen years old then. As an Hungarian student seated comfortably
in an armchair in Hungary, I looked at the picture and imagined
myself being there, among the Arabs, listening to the mellow and
at the same time strong voice of the public story-teller, which
gave me unusual pleasure. This picture gave a direction to my
life. Immediately, I began to study Turkish. For the orient had
already entered my periphery of concern. As I improved my Turkish,
I observed that the Turkish language contained very few Turkish
words and that the Turkish poetry had been enriched with Persian
and its prose had been reinforced with Arabic. Then, learning
both these languages was prerequisite for a wholesome understanding
of the orient. As soon as I took my first vacation I decided to
go to Bosnia, which was closest to Hungary. I set out immediately.
When I arrived in Bosnia, I checked in to a hotel, where the first
question I asked was: "Could you tell me where to find the
local Muslims?" They directed me to a place. I went there.
I had picked up only a smattering of Turkish. Would that be enough
for me to communicate with them? The Muslims had come together
in a coffee-house in their quarter, basking in the relaxation
of a peaceful environment. They were grave-featured, big-bodied
people wearing baggy trousers belted with sashes and carrying
bright-sheathed daggers tucked into their sashes. The turbans
on their heads, their ample baggy trousers and daggers gave them
a somewhat weird appearance. Bashful and timorous, I stole into
the room and skulked into a corner. Sometime later, I noticed
that they were talking secretly and softly among themselves and
casting quick glances at me. I was sure they were talking about
me. I recalled the stories we used to hear in Hungary about those
Christians killed by Muslims. Frozen with fright, I helplessly
awaited the time when they would "slowly stand up, stride
towards me, unsheathe their daggers, and slaughter me." I
began to make plans of escape, yet I was too frightened to move.
Minutes passed, I do not know how many. At last, the waiter sauntered
towards me with an odorously steaming cup of coffee. As he gently
placed the coffee on the table before me, he politely gestured
with his head towards the source of the offer: the very Muslims
who were only a moment before the source of my thrilling dread.
When I looked at them with trepidation, one of them looked back
with a cordial and amiable smile and nodded a hello to me. Trying
to curve my lips quivering with terror into a smile, I nodded
back. There! My imaginary enemies rose to their feet and made
My violently palpitating heart on the verge of cessation, I waited,
saying to myself, "They are going to attack me now."
Yet, to my amazement, they sat around me in a friendly manner.
They greeted me once again. One of them held out a cigarette.
As I lit the cigarette, in the dim light of the match, I perceived
in amazement that these men, whom we had been prejudging as barbarians
in the distance, had a very deeply venerable expression of blessedness
on their faces. My awe-stricken stiffness began to thaw. With
my extremely poor Turkish, I attempted to talk with them. By the
time the first Turkish word left my mouth, their features had
already been suffused with all the graces of a blissful expression.
We were friends now. The very men whom I had been expecting to
attack with daggers invited me to their homes. They showed me
warm hospitality. They treated me with tender kindness. All they
wanted was to provide me comfort and to do me good. Such was my
first contact with Muslims. It was followed by a number of events
in succession. Every new event raised another curtain from before
my eyes. I visited Muslim countries one by one. For some time,
I received education in the University of Istanbul. I visited
lovely places in Anatolia and in Syria. During this time, I learned
Arabic and Persian as well as Turkish, on account of which I was
later appointed by the University of Budapest as a professor in
the Institute of Islamic Works of Art Research. I found many old
works of art that had been collected in the university for centuries.
I began to study them. I learned many beautiful facts. In the
meantime, I gathered information about the Islamic religion. The
more I studied those works, the deeper into my heart did Islam
penetrate, and the more highly was I impressed by the books that
I read, [especially by the Qur'an al-karim and by the books of
Hadith-i-Sharif]. At last, I decided to go to the orient and to
examine the Islamic religion more closely. This time my journey
took me all the way down to India. My soul was empty, and therefore
it was thirsty. The first day I arrived there I dreamt of Muhammad
s.a.s. He was wearing plain but extremely valuable garments. A
very fragrant scent emanated from the garments and reached me.
His polite, extremely beautiful, lovable and bright face and his
light-radiating and sweet eyes benumbed me. With a very sweet
but imperative voice, he spoke to me in the Arabic language, and
said: "Why are you sad? You already know the path ahead of
you. You have attained the level to choose the right path. Do
not wait any longer, and immediately join that path!" My
body was shaking all over. I said to him, in Arabic, "Ya
Rasulallah (O the Messenger of Allah) s.a.s.! You are the Prophet
of Allah. I believe in this now. But will I attain peace if I
become a Muslim? You are a very great being! You always overcame
your enemies and always showed the right way. But will I, a poor,
helpless born slave, be able to keep in the path that you will
show?" Muhammad s.a.s. looked at me gravely and recited the
seventh, the eighth, the ninth and the tenth ayats of the Naba'
Sura in the Qur'an al-karim, which purported, "Have We not
created the earth as a dwelling place for you and the mountains
as a support? We have brought you in pairs to the world, and We
have given you the blessing of sleep so that you may rest."
As he recited them, the words that he uttered rang sweetly like
the tuneful sound of silver bells. I was all of a sweat when I
woke up. I began to wail, "O my Allah, I cannot sleep any
longer. I cannot solve the mysteries around me and hidden under
thick covers. O Rasulallah! O Muhammad s.a.s.! Help me! Illuminate
me!" I was, on the other hand, afraid to hurt that great
Prophet s.a.s.. Sounds that I could not understand came out of
my throat, and I was in convulsions all over. Finally, I felt
as if I were rolling down into an abyss, and woke up, soaked in
sweat. My heart was palpitating vehemently, and bells were ringing
in my ears.
On a Friday, the following incident took place in the Shah Jihan
Mosque in Delhi: A fair-haired, dull-and-white-complexioned young
stranger was entering the mosque among some old Muslims. It was
me. I was clad in Indian garments. Yet a gold medal that I had
been awarded in Istanbul shone on my chest. The Muslims in the
mosque were eyeing me with amazement. I and my friends reached
a spot close to the Minbar. A while later the voice calling (the
invitation to prayer termed) the adhan was heard. I watched the
approximately four thousand people stand up with a quick motion
softened with reverent solemnity and make lines, with the same
orderliness and speed as you could see in a military drill. So
they began to perform the (prayer called) namaz, and I joined
them. It was an unforgettable moment for me. When the performance
of the namaz and the khutba was over, Abd-ul-Hayy held me by the
hand and took me to the Minbar. As we were edging our way towards
the Minbar, I was extremely careful lest I should disturb the
worshipers squatting on the floor. At last, I reached the Minbar
and began to climb the stairs. No sooner had I taken the first
step than I saw myriad faces under white turbans like in a field
of daisies turn towards me. The scholars surrounding the Minbar
were encouraging me with heartening looks. This look of theirs
gave me the strength that I needed. I looked around. A tremendous
sea of people lay before me. With their heads raised, they awaited
my speech. I began to talk slowly in Arabic, "O you the highly
respectable people who have assembled here! I have come here from
a very distant country in order to learn what I could not learn
there. I have attained my goal here, and my soul enjoys full peace
now." Then I went on, explaining the high position Islam
occupied in history and the various miracles which Allahu ta'ala
had created through the hands of His great Prophet Muhammad a.s.,
and adding that the recent decline of power observed in Muslim
states was consequent upon the general laxity that Muslims had
been showing in their religious obligations. I continued my speech
by stating that some Muslims had been putting forth the pretext
that an individual's efforts would have no effect on events because
everything depended on the Will of Allahu ta'ala and therefore
it would be futile to work, and that, on the contrary, Allahu
ta'ala declared in the Qur'an al-karim, "Nothing shall be
corrected unless men correct themselves, and nothing shall be
accomplished unless they exert themselves," and that He had
promised to help anyone who worked. I quoted ayat-i karimas from
the Qur'an al-karim commanding that people should avoid helpless
situations by working hard, and I explained them one by one. Finally,
conducting a general prayer, I dismounted from the Minbar.
As I left the Minbar, an extremely loud expression, "Allahu
AKBAR",[Allah id the greatest.] articulated in chorus, thundered
in the mosque. My intense excitement had built to such a climax
that I could not see my whereabouts. All I could sense was that
my friend, Aslan, was holding my arm and trying to pull me out
of the mosque as soon as possible. "Why are we in such a
hurry," I wanted to know. "look round," was the
warning reply. I turned my head. O my Allah! Right behind me was
the entire congregation, running hard, trying to catch me. And
catch they did. Some of them were holding me, hugging me, some
were trying to kiss my hand, and others were begging me to invoke
a blessing on them. And I was begging, "O my Allah, do not
let an incapable born slave like me to appear as an exalted personage
in their eyes!" I was so embarrassed that I felt as if I
had stolen something from these pure Muslims, or as if I had betrayed
them. That same day I realized that being a popular politician
meant possessing immense power. Misusing such power given by the
people of a country would lead the country to total destruction.
That day, I told my brothers that I was an incapable born slave,
and went back home. But their friendliness and love and the respect
they showed to me lasted for weeks. They showed so much love to
me that its effects will be adequate for me till the end of my
32 - T.H. Mc. BARKLIE (Irish)
Although I was Irish and most of the Irish people were adherent
to the Catholic church, I was raised with a Protestant education.
However, I was only a child when I took a hearty dislike to the
Christian tenets I was being taught and began to maintain a healthy
skepticism about them. By the time I reached the university level
of education, which subsequently added quite a few novelties to
my knowledge, my skepticism had already developed into judgement.
The Christian religion would give me nothing. Then, I began to
feel deep repugnance towards it, which, by and by, unfolded itself
in a form of categorical denial. So urgently did I feel the need
to find "a guide to lead me to the right way" that I
had to improvise a credo whereby to satisfy myself pro tem. For
a considerable period of time I had to do with this complicated
mood. One day I came across a book entitled 'Islam and Civilization'.
As soon as I read it, I saw in great amazement and joy that all
the hopes I had been cherishing, all the questions that had been
gnawing at my mind, and their answers as well, were contained
in the book. In contrast with the reciprocal acts of cruelty and
oppression among the Christian sects, Islam's peaceful and lively
principles had been guiding humanity on the lightsome way of truth.
The sources of knowledge and civilization had risen in the Muslim
countries and sprinkled their lights on the darkened life of Europe
which had been moaning under an all-round savagery. In comparison
with Christianity, Islam was by far a more logical and more useful
What made me fall for Islam at first sight was its rejection of
the Christian dogma that "Men are sinful from birth and therefore
they have to expiate their sins in the world." In the process
of time, I learned the other Islamic principles pertaining to
the humanities and civilization and admired the greatness of that
religion. Islam did not differentiate between the rich and the
poor. In Islam, people of all races, colours and languages were
brothers, not only in theory, but also in practice. At one stroke,
it levelled down the differences of wealth, position, race, country,
and colour among people. It was for this reason that I embraced
33 - ABDULLAH UEMURA (Japanese)
Why did I become a Muslim? Well, the Islamic religion states the
unity of Allahu ta'ala, that an eternal life awaits us after death,
and that on the Rising Day human beings shall be interrogated
about their activities in the world. It enjoins honesty, integrity,
and an ideal moral conduct. All these things are the most basic
essentials whereby a person can lead a true-guided, comfortable
and peaceful life. No other religion has put them so plainly and
so concisely. Truthfulness [integrity] is highly valuable in Islam.
Honesty towards Allahu ta'ala and towards the born slaves forms
the basis for Islam. During my quest for truth, I found it in
Islam, and consequently I became a Muslim.
I examined all religions. My conclusions are as follows:
Today's Christianity could never be the same pure religion preached
by Issa a.s.. The commandments which Issa a.s. received from Allahu
ta'ala and communicated to people have been changed completely.
The present copies of the Bible contain others' statements in
lieu of his statements. Islam is the only religion that has remained
pure and intact since the first day it appeared. The Qur'an al-karim
has survived to our day without undergoing even a diacritic alteration.
Today's Gospels contain not the commandments of Allahu ta'ala,
but the so-called statements of Issa a.s., which have gone through
quite a number of interpolations, and the episodes telling about
his deeds. In Islam, on the other hand, the commandments of Allahu
ta'ala and the utterances of His Prophet s.a.s. have been classified
in different categories. The commandments of Allahu ta'ala are
written in the Qur'an al-karim, while the statements of Hadrat
Prophet s.a.s. appear in a different series called 'Hadith'.
In Islam Allahu ta'ala addresses His born slaves directly. Christianity
lacks this genuineness.
The most critical Christian tenet repugnant to people with common
sense is its dogma of 'Trinity'. Christians believe not in one
Allah, but in three gods. No Christian man of knowledge has so
far been able to explain this belief in a logical way. Nor would
it be possible for anyone. For this credal tenet is thoroughly
ungrounded and abnormal. Only one great Creator could create the
world. Belief in a tripartite deity is no different from idolatry.
A person of wisdom will believe in one Creator only.
Moreover, Christians impose the belief that men are born sinful,
that they have to expiate their sins, and that a denial of the
basic Christian belief 'Trinity' will lead a person to eternal
perdition from where there is no rising again. Then, what other
alternative could be so natural for people who are originally
sinful from birth and who are deprived of rising after death as
grabbing their sojourn in this life as a fleeting opportunity
to taste all sorts of enjoyment and pleasure at all costs including
cheating one another and perpetrating all kinds of atrocity instead
of wasting their time worshipping in vain? It is for this reason
that today's Christians lead a life quite independent of religious
morals and principles, which in turn gradually drags them down
to a totally irreligious way of life. Entirely emptied of their
souls, they are all but machines.
Let us take a look at Japanese religions now: Essentially, there
are two major religions in Japan. One of them is the Mahayana
Buddhism,[Mahayana Buddhism is practised mostly in China and Tibet
today. The second form of Buddhism, Theravada, is based on the
teachings of Buddha recorded in the Pali Canon. It is practised
in Kampuchea, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.] which is
a mixture of original Buddhism and pure Buddhism. It is somewhat
similar to Brahminism. A closer examination of their creed will
show that Buddha was an atheist. For Buddha makes no mention of
Allahu ta'ala and does not profess a belief in the fact that the
soul will not die when the body dies. The Brahmins' views about
the soul are not so materialistic. Yet they are expressed in such
a complicated language that it is difficult to understand what
they mean. In fact, the Brahmins' views of Brahma, i.e. whether
they look on him as God, as a born slave or as a prophet, are
not clearly explained. The Brahmins busy themselves with religious
philosophy rather than the religion itself. In order to always
imagine seeing Brahma before them, they consecrate things that
they liken to him or which they think would go with him, [e.g.
flowers], whereby they begin to worship things and animals created
by Allahu ta'ala instead of worshipping Allahu ta'ala Himself.
Among all these utterly complicated credal systems, Islam is the
only religion which provides us the truest definition of Allahu
ta'ala. (Allahu ta'ala is one. He is azim (great, glorious). He
is the Rabb (Creator) of all classes of beings. He is not begotten,
nor does he beget. All the things in the world and in the Hereafter
are His creatures. No one except Him is to be worshipped. No one
except Him can enjoin commandments on His born slaves.) The second
religion in Japan is Shintoism [Shintoism is an ancient religion
of Japan. It includes the worships of gods that represent various
parts of nature, and of the souls of people who died in the past.]
which is even worse than Buddhism. This religion has nothing to
do with morals. In addition, they believe in many gods and, like
primitive tribes, they worship them separately. [In other words,
they are idolaters.]
So, I have given you very sincere and concise information about
the world's existing religions. Which one of you, after seeing
and learning them as such, would choose one of them, leaving Islam
aside? Is it possible? You, too, see that amidst the so many extremely
muddled and inane credal systems Islam shines brightly. It is
seen at first sight that due to its perfectly logical and humanitarian
principles it is the only true religion.
And I, in hot pursuit of the path guiding to truth in order to
quench my tearful soul with the peace and happiness it needed,
came upon Islam, which was the very religion I was looking for,
and embraced it willingly, holding fast to it with both hands.
34 - MUHAMMAD SULAIMAN TAKEUCHI (Japanese)
With the guidance of Allahu ta'ala I became a Muslim.
I decided to become a Muslim for the following reasons:
1) Islam infuses a very powerful spirit of fraternity.
2) Islam prearranges a solution for any sort of difficulty that
a person is likely to encounter throughout his life. It has not
separated religious matters from worldly events. Islam embodies
not only spiritual values, but also social efficacies that would
perfectly harmonize with today's systems, such as uniting people
together and encouraging them to perform their acts of worship
in lines made up of people from all races and classes, to help
the poor, and to co-operate for the solution of one another's
3) The Islamic religion trains both the soul and the body. In
short, Islam is an immaculate embodiment of all spiritual and
Islam's fraternity rejects all sorts of discrimination, race,
class, and else. Muslims throughout the world are one another's
brothers. There are many Muslims on the earth. Islam is the religion
of common-sensed people. All the Muslims living on the earth,
be they Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, Afghans, Turks, Japanese,
or Chinese, look on one another as brothers. For this reason,
Islam is an international religion. Islam is the only means that
could rectify the present time's degenerated societies and correct
their mistakes. Because it is a religion bestowed by Allahu ta'ala,
the variety of its Madhhabs makes it a religion to which people
from all races and classes can adapt themselves. The Islamic religion
has played a very important role in the history of civilization,
and has guided many a semi-barbarian nation to civilization. The
Islamic religion aims at a peaceful and tranquil life for humanity.
It has prescribed the rules whereby to attain happiness and peace.
The rule-making policy followed by the other religions, such as
Christianity and Buddhism, is quite the other way round. The commandments
of these two religions are of a quality to, let alone unite, completely
separate people from one another by infusing into them a feeling
of a total isolation from the world. Most Buddhist temples are
situated on the peaks of mountains that would defy an average
climber to scale frequently. It is the outcome of a 'fewer visitors
the better' policy. A close examination of the Japanese religious
credal systems will reveal a similar approach wherein the most
excessive forms of isolation are essential. As for Christians;
it would take no extra attention to observe that the more devoted
Christians established their churches at remoter places. Inside
them are as dark as possible. It dates only from some recent years
that churches have been able to make their ways into urban areas.
Predisposed with the belief that mankind is already sinful from
birth, Christians consider the world only as a place where they
should always suffer. As it is seen, the main purport commonly
shared by all religions is that religion is something that should
be completely insulated from the normal proceedings of human life
and that life in the world consists in suffering.
The happy contrast comes with Islam, which cherishes mankind as
a born slave beloved to Allahu ta'ala. Small mosques are built
in the middle of villages, on cites most accessible to all the
villagers. Their interiors are bright and airy. People feel pleasure
in going there and performing their acts of worship there. They
come together and perform their congregational prayers. After
the prayers they invoke blessings on one another. They show friendly
interest towards one another, and help one another if necessary.
In Islam, helping people in need or, if helping is not possible,
pleasing the concerned Muslims with a cordial smile and soft words,
produces many blessings.
A person has a soul and a body. Allahu ta'ala has given us both
a soul and a body each. As long as we live, we have to train both
the soul and the body, with different systems but without discriminating
between them. Islam has taken into consideration not only man's
spiritual needs, but also his body, formulating extremely logical
and heavenly principles for both of them.
I am a new Muslim. I accepted Islam two years ago. I am sure that
Islam satisfies all my spiritual and physical needs. Japan's technology
is extremely advanced today. It has been coping with the entire
world successfully. Owing to this scientific progress and material
well-being, the Japanese people have changed entirely. Japan is
devoid of natural resources. All the raw materials are imported
from abroad. But we can make more perfect and cheaper products
than other countries. This success is due to continuous work and
contentment with little. In the meantime, the Japanese people,
who have had to work and exert themselves ceaselessly, have not
had time for spiritual interests and activities, and consequently
they have become like machines. The Japanese are now imitators
of Europeans in their sheer materialistic pursuits. They have
completely stripped themselves of all sorts of religious belief,
and they are thoroughly devoid of spirituality. Today's Japanese
people are entirely satiated materialistically. Their pockets
are full of money. Yet their souls are becoming poorer and poorer,
emptier and emptier. What could be the value of materialistic
richness despite spiritual poverty? What benefit could the world
reap from people clad in decorated garments but emptied of spiritual
In my opinion, this is the most propitious time for Islamic propaganda.
For the Japanese, having reached perfection with respect to material
well-being, are very much aware of the excruciating abyss in their
soul and are therefore urgently questing for a guide. There is
only the Islamic religion to rescue them from this spiritual bankruptcy.
For Islam will be their guide in this life as well. I am sure
that a qualified Islamic propagation carried on by a serious and
orderly organization in Japan would take no more than a couple
of generations for the entire Japanese nation to become Muslims.
And this, in turn, means an honourable far-east source from where
the entire humanity will benefit.
35 - ALI MUHAMMAD MORI (Japanese)
Exactly eighteen years ago,[Sixty-six years ago, as of today.]
in 1929 that is, I was in Manchuria. Japan had reached one of
the apices of its history.
During one of the journeys I took around Manchuria, I met a Muslim
in a desert in the vicinity of Pieching. They were leading a very
plain and pious life. I admire their life-styles, their trust
in Allahu ta'ala, the hospitality they showed to strangers, and
their sense of faith. As I moved further inland in Manchuria,
I met many other Muslims, observed the same pure and beautiful
quality in all of them, and consequently began to feel growing
sympathy for them.
It was no earlier than 1946 that I managed to go back to Japan.
In the meantime, Japan had joined the Second World War, being
on the losing side in the end. The one-time powerful Japanese
Empire was all gone. Buddhism, to which most Japanese people had
been so sincerely and so heartfully adherent until that time,
had been entirely stripped of its original essence and its logical
features, and was now a mere source of detriment to society.
A minor number of Japanese people had already been Christianized.
Despite the ninety long years wherein Christianity had been forcing
its spread in Japan, very few Japanese people had become Christians.
Yet, by the time I arrived in Japan, I saw that their number had
increased considerably. The Japanese people had realized, after
the heavy defeat they had suffered, that Buddha would give them
no help at times of disaster. Having thoroughly lost their love
for and trust in Buddha, they were now looking for a new religion.
The younger people, especially, had accepted Christianity with
the expectations that it would be the best possible substitute
for their lost faith. Yet it did not take them long to realize
that the Christian missionaries who had been trying to Christianize
them were in actual fact squalid mercenaries working for American
and British capitalists and that by Christianizing them they would
not only refill the vacuum vacated by the no-longer wanted Buddhism,
but also divest them of the deep-rooted purity and integrity that
had so far been associated with their Japanese identity. During
the process of Christianization, the Christian missionaries were
continuously inculcating into their minds the superior qualities
of American and British goods, which in turn gradually infused
into them a growing feeling of aversion to their domestic goods,
and which consequently resulted in an influx of foreign materials
into Japan. In more concise terms, the capitalists were exploiting
us to increase their wealth via Christianity.
Japan is a country lying between Russia and America. Each of these
superpowers will normally try to bring Japan under its own sway.
The inculcations they have been practicing on us must therefore
be intended for their own advantages, rather than guiding our
souls to salvation. On the other hand, especially in those days,
the Japanese people needed true tutorship.
As far as I am concerned, only the Islamic religion will satisfy
this requirement, guiding them to spiritual peace and salvation,
and showing them the truest way they should follow. One merit
that I admire best in Islam is the powerful feeling of brotherhood
with which it equips Muslims. Islam emphasizes that Muslims are
brothers beyond their cutaneous and racial identities, and Allahu
ta'ala commands the human race to live in brotherly peace and
safety without fostering any feelings of harm towards one another.
Could another commandment more perfect and more true be conceived
on the face of today's miserable world? Who on earth could doubt
that the great being who gives such a command should certainly
be Allah Himself? Last year two Muslims came to Tokoshima. They
were from Pakistan. I paid them a visit immediately. They gave
me very beautiful and very profound information about Islam. Later
I talked with some Japanese Muslims. Two of them, Mr. Molivala
and Mr. Mita of Tokyo, enlightened me and recommended that I should
convert to Islam. Upon this I embraced Islam.
I wish with all my heart that Islam, the most logical and the
purest religion, should spread all over the world and rescue humanity
from this disastrous situation. If the entire humanity become
Muslims, this miserable world will become a Garden of Paradise.
Then, the Grace and Grandeur of Allahu ta'ala will illuminate
the human souls and guide them on the right way, which will lead
them to eternal salvation. Only through Islam will humankind attain
happiness, both spiritually and physically, and be blessed with
the divine favour of being beloved born slaves of Allahu ta'ala.
36 - 'UMAR MITA (Japanese)
('Umar Mita is a Japanese economist and thinker. Formerly, he
conducted some research in social areas, entered on a career as
a Buddhist priest and preached Buddhism for some time, and finally
became a Muslim, dedicating all the rest of his life to Islamic
Hamd (thanks and praise) be to Allahu ta'ala, I have been a Muslim
for three years. I have attained a happy life. My Pakistani Muslim
brothers taught me how a true and honest life should be. I met
those Pakistani brothers of mine during their visit to Japan.
They told me about Islam, and thus caused me to become a Muslim.
I owe them very much gratitude.
Most of the Japanese people are Buddhists. Yet they are so only
in name, for they have little with Buddhism in practice. They
no longer attend the Buddhist rites, and they have forgotten their
religious teachings almost entirely. The main reason lies in the
fact that Buddhism is a conglomeration of very ambiguous and complicated
philosophical abstractions and that it is of no worldly benefit
to its votaries. Indeed, Buddhism would provide no help to an
average-minded person against the various perplexing problems
and new situations he would encounter daily. A person of medium
mental capacity could not understand that religion, nor could
he derive any benefit from it. Not so is the case with Islam.
Islam is a simple, humanitarian and heavenly religion intelligible
to everybody. This religion penetrates all the phases of human
life and teaches Muslims how they should act in each of the so
many various situations of life. Cleanliness is essential in Islam.
Islam is the most perfect guide for people with pure souls. Islam
is so logical that the most ignorant person would understand its
language. Unlike other religions, Islam does not contain a privileged
priestly caste or a prototype of ecclesiastical monopoly.
In my opinion, Islam's spread in Japan would be a very easy job.
There could be some difficulties in the beginning. Yet these difficulties
could be eliminated and the Japanese people would gradually embrace
Islam. The first step is to introduce real Islam to the Japanese
people. Day by day the Japanese people are becoming more and more
materialistic. Yet they are not pleased about this, and they are
aware of the vacuum in their souls. They should be taught that
the Islamic religion is not only a source of spiritual information,
but also a complete and perfect guide that will equip the human
race with all the teachings they need in this worldly life.
As the second step, deeply learned true Muslims powerful enough
to realize this Islamic publication are requisite in Japan. Unfortunately,
the students coming to Japan from various Muslim countries do
not have the potency to carry out this important task. When I
made contact with them, I saw with deep distress that they were
not knowledgeable about their own religion and that they did not
obey their own religion. These people could not be our guides.
They were people who admired the western world, who had been given
European education, and who had graduated from western colleges
and church schools. They knew nothing of Islam.
All Muslims should give serious consideration to the matter of
spreading the Islamic religion in Japan and, as I have stated
earlier, true scholars should be sent to our country. These people
coming in should be exemplary Muslims, not only in words, but
also in manners and behaviours. We Japanese people are pining
for peace, truth, honesty, sincerity and virtue. Day by day we
are losing these beautiful qualities of ours. Islam is the only
saviour to rescue us from the impending destruction.
Muslims have belief in Allahu ta'ala, who is great and one. Japanese
people need this sort of belief.
Islam means 'peace'. There is not another nation who long for
peace as strongly as the Japanese people do. Attaining peace and
tranquillity requires accepting Islam, which is 'peace' itself.
Islam means living in peace and happiness with people and submission
to the commandments of Allahu ta'ala. Humanity will attain salvation
from disasters and savageries only via Islam.
37 - Mrs. FATIMA KAZUE (Japanese)
After the Second World War I observed a growing indifference towards
our religion. The Japanese people were gradually taking to the
American life style. This life style lessens people's religious
consciousness and turns them into machinery. And people who have
been turned into machines, in turn, suffer from profound dissatisfaction.
I felt the same dissatisfaction. There was a vacuum in my soul.
I was not pleased about that life style. Yet, what was missing
I did not know.
I visited a Muslim who was in Tokyo for a short stay. I very much
admired his religious ideas and the way he prayed. I began to
ask him various questions. The answers he gave not only pleased
me, but also filled the vacuum in my soul. He said that there
was one Creator, that that Creator had prescribed the modes of
life we had to lead to attain peace and salvation, and that he
was leading a life compatible with the commandments of that Creator.
His words impressed me so deeply that I told him that I wanted
to accept his religion, and thus I became a Muslim under his guide.
After becoming a Muslim I began to feel in my heart how great
a happiness it was to live in a spiritual mood so close to the
Creator. My life style changed and I attained peace.
An attentive look at the way Muslims greet one another would suffice
to realize the fact that Islam is a true religion. We only say
'good morning' or 'good night' to one another and just walk by.
Instead of these dull and materialistic greetings, Muslims say
to one another, "As-salamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,"
which means, "May peace and salvation and the rahmat [Compassion,
mercy] and barakat [Abundance, blessing.] of Allahu ta'ala be
on you." Could a more beautiful way of well-wishing or greeting
be conceived? My Muslim friend gave me plenty of valuable information
about Muslims' credal tenets, about the essentials of Islam, and
about the ways of worship. These things were extremely logical
and humanistic. I saw and believed that Islam is a religion whereby
a cleanly, simple, logical and peaceful life is possible. Living
in peace and happiness, both individually and socially, requires
a full adaptation to this religion. For this reason, having attained
peace and salvation myself, I have been doing my best to persuade
all the members of my family, my friends and acquaintances to
become blessed with Islam.
38 - IBRAHIM VOO (Malayan)
Before becoming a Muslim, I was a Catholic Christian. I had been
Christianized by Catholic missionaries. Yet I had never warmed
to that religion. For the priests asked me to believe in three
gods and commanded me to worship the Eucharist, [the ceremony
where Issa's a.s. flesh is represented with bread and his blood
is represented with wine.] They tried to impose a number of irrational
teachings such as that the Pope was sinless and that it was necessary
to obey all his commandments, and threatened that denial of those
tenets would lead one to perdition. Whenever I asked the priests
to explain their teachings more clearly so that I could get a
clearer picture to convince my mind, none of them could explicate
the tenets, but they only dismissed the matter by saying, "These
things are heavenly secrets beyond the mind's grasp." How
could a person accept something beyond his mental grasp? Gradually,
I began to sense that there was something wrong, that Christianity
was not a true religion, and to feel a bitter resentment against
it. Any mention of other religions, such as Islam, would be enough
to exasperate the priests; they would shout themselves hoarse,
saying, "Muhammad is -may Allahu ta'ala protect us from saying-
a liar. Islam is a concoction." When I asked why that religion
was a mendacious one, they would falter, fumbling for an answer.
This detestable state they caused themselves into motivated me
to examine the Islamic religion more closely. I made contact with
Muslims living in Malaya, and requested them to enlighten me about
their religion. These people were quite dissimilar to the priests.
They gave me very beautiful information about Islam. Let me add
that in the beginning I had heated discussions with them. Yet,
so convincing were their answers to my questions, and so infinite
was the patience and the firmness they showed to me, that I began
to feel as if a curtain was being raised from before my eyes,
and a great feeling of peace and satisfaction began to stir in
me. In contrast with Christianity fraught with superstitions,
everything in this new religion was rational, logical and reasonable.
Muslims believed in one Creator. That great Creator did not say
that mankind was sinful, but, on the contrary, He bestowed plenty
of blessings on human beings. Among His commandments, there was
not a single dot that I would not understand. Muslims' acts of
worship were intended only to pay hamd (thanks and praise) to
Allahu ta'ala. They did not worship a number of images or shapes.
Deep in my soul I felt the flavour of each and every ayat (verse)
of the Qur'an al-karim, their holy book. One did not have to go
to a temple for worship. A person could do his acts of worship
in his home as well as in any other place. All these things were
so lovely, so true, and so humanistic that I accepted the fact
that Islam is the true religion of Allah, and I embraced Islam
39 - ISMAIL WIESLEW ZEJILERSKY (Polish)
I was born in the Krakow city of Poland in 1900. I am from a famous
family recorded in Polish history. My father was a compulsive
atheist. Yet he allowed his children to be given Catholic education.
There were many Catholics in Poland. Being a devoted Catholic,
my mother wished that we be raised with a Catholic education.
I had very deep respect for religion. I believed in the fact that
religion was the most important guide both in individual life
and in social life.
My family had frequent foreign relations. My father had made many
journeys in his youth, and therefore he had numerous foreign friends.
Consequently, we had respect for other races, civilizations and
religions. Without discriminating one person from another, we
respected every nation, every race and, in short, every individual.
I considered myself not as a Polish citizen, but also as a citizen
of the entire world.
My family held moderate views concerning temporal matters. Although
my father was a born aristocrat and therefore must have been a
person without any practical skills, he hated laziness and inactivity,
and recommended that everybody should have a job. He was totally
against dictatorship. Yet he would never approve a social revolution
that would demolish the world's order. He had deep respect for
traditions coming from earlier times. He was against their being
degenerated. In short, my father was a modernized and moderate
prototype of the knights of the Middle Ages. The liberal education
that my father had given me had made me a researcher and I had
embarked on a research into social matters. The world had quite
a number of social, political and economical problems that awaited
solution. What had to be done to solve them and to find the right
path? I saw that humanity had been parted into two polar opposites
in those matters. Capitalism on the one side, and communism on
the other. In other words oppression and terror on the one side,
and a thoroughly uncontrolled society on the other. These two
opposites would have to be brought together and integrated into
a moderate system so that the entire humanity could attain peace
and happiness. In my opinion, the human society would have to
be based on essentials that were liberal, but at the same time
disciplined, in conformity with today's conditions, but at the
same time respectful of the old customs. As a person who had been
educated with the principles of 'walking exactly on the intermediate
path', it was natural for me to think so. We were nicknamed 'Progressive
By the time I became sixteen years old, I had already begun to
wonder whether the Catholic religion could establish those essentials.
Subsequently I examined the Catholic religion more closely. Then
I realized that my mind could never accept some of the credal
tenets with which they had tried to indoctrinate me in the church.
Ahead of all those tenets was trinity. Then came the Eucharist
[where bread and wine are supposed to have changed into Issa's
a.s. flesh and blood, respectively], the compulsory intermediation
of a priest between Allahu ta'ala and the born slave, which had
been made a stipulation for the acceptance of one's prayers, attributing
innocence and divinity to the Pope, who was a mere human being
like us, worshipping some shapes, images and icons, making some
strange signs; all these absurdities gradually made me take an
aversion to Christianity. I began to think that that religion
was, let alone a saviour to rescue humanity from disasters, a
groundless and worthless heretical belief. I was now completely
indifferent about religion.
After the Second World War, I began to feel a need for a religious
belief again. I realized that humanity could never be without
a religion. The human soul needs religion. Religion is the greatest
guide and the most profound source of consolation. An irreligious
person is doomed to perdition. The worst evils come to humanity
from irreligiousness. Leading a perfect social life requires people's
being attached to one another, which in turn is dependent upon
religion. I realized that today's progressive man could not accept
a religion that could not cope with today's living conditions
or scientific improvements, which consisted of some grotesque
ideas, and which ran counter to common sense. Such was the Christian
religion. To know how the other religions were, I decided to examine
all the world's religions. I studied the American Quakers, [A
group of Christians called Society of Friends. They are known
for their opposition to violence and war. They perform their religious
services in silence, and call them Meetings.] the Unitarians,
[A Christian religious group, who believe in unity of Allah.]
and even the Bahais.[One of the heretical sects founded for the
purpose of demolishing Islam from within. For further information,
please see Endless Bliss, Second Fascicle, 36th chapter.] But
none of them seemed satisfactory to me.
Eventually, I somehow found a book entitled 'Islamo Esperantiste
Regardata', written in the Esperanto language. The book had been
published by a British Muslim named Ismail Collin Evans. That
book was the guide that led me to Islam, in 1949. I read it. I
consulted the Islamic organization called 'Dar-ul-tabligh-ul-Islam'[Please
see the fifty-eight paragraph in the "The Religion Reformers
in Islam", for the Tabligh-i-Jama'at.] in Cairo, and requested
them to give me information about Islam. They sent me a book entitled
'Islamo Chies Religio', which, again, was in the Esperanto language.
That book completed my iman, and I became a Muslim.
Islam fully answers all my thoughts, aspirations and wishes that
I have had since my childhood. Islam comprehends both freedom
and discipline. Islam, while listing our duties towards Allahu
ta'ala on the one hand, prescribes the ways of leading a comfortable
and peaceful worldly life on the other. Islam recognizes rights
not only for the entire humanity, but also for each and every
living creature. Islam has brought the most correct solutions
to the most critical problems. As a sociologist, I have admired
the greatness and the perfection inherent in the Islamic precepts
'Zakat' [Endless Bliss, fifth fascicle, seventh chapter.] and
'Hajj'.[Endless Bliss, fifth fascicle, seventh chapter.] [Zakat],
which means for a person who has been given a larger share from
worldly goods to mete out a certain percentage of his property
to the poor, and [Namaz in jamaat (congregational prayer) and
Hajj], which mean all Muslims' coming together, worshipping Allahu
ta'ala and knowing one another, the rich and the poor, the seniors
and the juniors, the old and the young, merchants, artisans and,
in short, the rank and file, indicate that Islam attained long
ago the elevations that today's social sciences have not reached
so far despite all the painstaking endeavours. Owing to this accomplished
character, Islam has shown the most perfect medium way between
capitalism and communism and provided the conveniences coveted
by all people. Islam is a tremendous religion which brings together
all the people in the world regardless of their race, nation,
social status, colour and language, which gives them equal rights,
which balances their economical discrepancies by means of a well-calculated
social-aid system, and which provides a material and spiritual
discipline by infusing the fear of Allah. Even the Islamic polygamy,
Islam's most criticized aspect, bears some biological considerations
and is a principle more honest than the hypocritical monogamy
of the Catholics, who never live with one woman.
In conclusion, I pay hamd-u-thena to Allahu ta'ala, who has guided
me to the right path and blessed me with the path that will lead
me to His approval.
40 - MUMIN ABD-UR-RAZZAQ SELLIAH (Sri Lankan)
Formerly, I was an arch enemy of Islam. For, all the members of
my family and all my friends were telling me that Islam was an
absurd and concocted religion that would lead man to Hell, and
they were even preventing me from talking with Muslims. As soon
as I saw a Muslim I would turn and walk away, and I would curse
them behind their back. In those days, if I had dreamt of myself
examining that religion closely, admiring it, and finally embracing
Islam, I would not have interpreted it optimistically.
Why did I become a Muslim? I shall give a short answer to this
question. The greatest Islamic virtue that attracted me towards
it was that Islam is an extremely pure, very logical, and easily
intelligible religion which contains very profound pieces of advice
and divine wisdom. As soon as I began to examine the Islamic religion,
it impressed me very strongly and I felt that I was going to accept
I received a Christian education. I thought that there was not
another religious book more valuable than the Bible, which had
been handed to me. Yet, when I began reading the Qur'an al-karim,
I saw with amazement that that book was far an away superior to
the Bible in my hand, and that it taught me so many beautiful
facts that the Bible had not taught me. There were many preposterous
legends and grotesque credal tenets in the Christian religion.
The Qur'an al-karim rejected all such things and taught men facts
that they would understand and accept. I gradually took a dislike
to the Bible, and held fast to the Qur'an al-karim with both hands.
Whatsoever I read in it, I understood it, liked it, and admired
it. So Islam was the true religion. When I realized this fact,
I decided to accept Islam, thus attaining iman and the religion
of peace and love.
What I like best in Islam, and what attracted me to it most strongly,
is the fact that Muslims look on one another as brothers. Without
any discrimination with respect to colour, race, vocation, nationality,
or country, Muslims all over the world know one another as brothers,
love one another, and consider it as a sacred duty to do favours
to one another and to help one another. The rule, "... Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matt: 22-39) which
remains in theory in the pages of the Bible, has been put into
practice only by Muslims. And no other religion contains it even
on the theoretical level. The Islamic brotherhood is not only
in words. Always and everywhere, Muslims throughout the world
co-operate and run to help one another, no matter whether they
know one another or not.
The second feature of Islam that I admire is that that religion
does not contain a superstition or an unintelligible principle.
Islam's tenets are logical, practical, reasonable, and up-to-date.
The Islamic religion recognizes one Creator. The expression Ruh-ul-Quds
(the Holy Spirit) exists in the Qur'an al-karim. Yet its meaning
is 'the divinity of Allahu ta'ala', or 'the angel named Jabrail'.
It does not mean 'another godhead'. Islam's principles, i.e. its
commandments and prohibitions, are extremely simple, logical,
and adaptable to modern life in every respect. Islam is the only
true religion that the entire world could accept.
EXPLANATION: The expression 'Ruh-ul-Quds' exists in a few different
suras (chapters) of the Qur'an al-karim. It is written in books
of tafsir (explanations of the Qur'an al-karim) that it has varying
meanings, depending on the context in which it appears. In short,
it has meanings such as 'The angel named Jabrail', 'the life-giving
and protecting attributes of Allahu ta'ala', 'the soul of Issa
a.s., and 'The Injil (the original, unchanged Bible)'. Its lexical
meaning is: 'The Pure Soul'.
41 - MAHMUD GUNNAR ERICSON (Swedish)
Paying hamd-u-thena (gratitude and praise) to Allahu ta'ala, I
begin my explanation. If testify to that there is no mabud (god,
being worthy of worship) but Allahu ta'ala, and that Muhammad
a.s. is His slave and Messenger.
I met Muslims five years ago. One day, one of my friends said
that he had taken an interest in the Qur'an al-karim and had been
reading it. I knew nothing about the Qur'an al-karim then. Upon
learning that my friend had begun to read the Qur'an al-karim,
I decided to study the Qur'an al-karim, too, lest I should be
outclassed by my friend, and went to the public library in my
hometown to try and find a Swedish version of the Qur'an al-karim.
I did find one, and presently began reading it. A book borrowed
from the library could be kept for only fifteen days. Yet I was
so deeply impressed by the Qur'an al-karim that fifteen days would
be too short. So, a couple of days after returning the book to
the library, I would go back to the library and borrow it again.
Thus, returning the book after each fifteen-day period and borrowing
it again a few days later, I read the translation of the Qur'an
al-karim again and again. Each time I read the Qur'an al-karim,
I felt deeper admiration for it, so much so that I began to believe
that Islam was a true religion. I had already decided to become
a Muslim by the November of 1950. Yet I wanted to postpone my
conversion until I have penetrated deeper into Islam and learned
its inner essence well by examining it more closely. To this end,
I went to the public library in Stockholm and studied the books
written about the Islamic religion. Among those books, I came
across the translation of the Qur'an al-karim rendered by Muhammad
Ali. Although later I came to know that Muhammad Ali belonged
to a heretical group called Qadiyani, or Ahmadi,[Please see chapter
36, Corrupt Religions, in Endless Bliss, Second Fascicle, for
heretical groups.] I reaped many benefits even from the version
translated by that incompetent person. I no longer had any hesitations
as to that I should become a Muslim. It was that time when I first
began to talk with Muslims. From 1952 on I joined them in their
acts of worship. I had the good luck to find a society founded
by Muslims in Stockholm. I met them, and I learned many facts
from them, too. During the (holy month of) Ramadan in the Hijri
year 1972, I went to England, where I officially became a Muslim
on the first day of 'Iyd in the mosque of 'Woking'.
Islam's logic was what attracted me to it most. Islam does not
contain anything that common sense would reject. Islam enjoins
belief in the unity of Allahu ta'ala. Allahu ta'ala is Ghafur
and Rahim (forgiving and extremely compassionate). He continuously
bestows blessings and gifts upon the human race so that they should
live in comfort and peace.
Another aspect of Islam that I like best is that Islam is a religion
that belongs not only to the Arabs but also to the entire humanity.
Allahu ta'ala is the Rabb of all classes of beings. This universal
quality presents a sharp contrast with the Judaic religion, whose
holy book always refers to the 'God of Israel'.
One more thing that I love in Islam is that this religion recognizes
all the prophets 'alaihim-us-salawatu wattaslimat' that have come
up to today, pays respect to them, and treats the believers of
other religions with great compassion. A Muslim can pray anywhere
that is clean, in a field and in a church alike. A Christian,
on the other hand, will not even stay at a place close to a mosque.
The Qur'an al-karim explains in the most beautiful style that
Islam is the most true and the final religion, and that Muhammad
a.s. is the last Prophet:
The third ayat of Maida Sura purports, "Today I have made
your religion perfect. I have completed My blessings upon you,
and I have chosen Islam as your religion."
The nineteenth ayat of Al-I-'Imran Sura purports, "Know this
for certain: Islam is the (only) religion in the view of Allahu
42 - FARUQ B. KARAI (Zanzibar)
I accepted Islam because I admired the great Prophet Muhammad
a.s.. I had quite a number of Muslim friends in Zanzibar. They
told me very beautiful facts about Islam. They gave me Islamic
books, which I read in secrecy from my family. Eventually, in
1940, I decided to become a Muslim at all costs. So I became a
Muslim despite the remonstrances of my family and the oppressions
of the priests of Parsee religion, which had been my religion
until that time. I will not enlarge on the consequent events that
I experienced or the retaliatory difficulties that I encountered.
My family had recourse to inconceivable measures to deprive me
of iman (belief in Islam). They persecuted me very bitterly. Yet
I had attained the guidance to the right way, and therefore I
held fast to my true religion and resisted against all sorts of
threat. Now I love one Allah and His last Prophet Muhammad a.s.
more than my life.
Like the Rock of Gibraltar I stood against all the hardships that
my family heaped before me. As I struggled against those hardships,
I was encouraged and invigorated by my own belief, "I am
on the path dictated by Allahu ta'ala. Allahu ta'ala knows the
truth in everything, and He will help me."
I had the chance to read and study the Qur'an al-karim in Gujerati.
The further I went on reading the Qur'an al-karim, the more strongly
did I feel attached to it, so much so that I finally believed
with all my heart that no other religion on the earth had the
capacity to guide humanity to the right path. The Qur'an al-karim
is a holy book that teaches men the ways of leading a simple life,
brotherhood, equality, and humanity, and which bestows on them
a peaceful and comfortable life in this world and the next. The
Islamic religion, which Allahu ta'ala revealed through this greatest
guide for humanity, shall survive till the termination of the
- 3 - CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM THE STATEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE WHO
The clear, sincere and concordant statements made by people belonging
to various races, countries and professions on why they had accepted
Islam reflect their personal convictions concerning Islam's difference
from and superiority to the other religions. They can be summed
up as follows:
- The Islamic religion recognizes one creator, one being worthy
of being worshipped. The name of this mabud (being worthy of being
worshipped) is Allahu ta'ala. Men's common sense inspires into
them that there is one Allah. A reasonable person cannot accept
the concept of polytheism, which is a common basis for many other
- The Islamic religion not only equips them with spiritual knowledge,
but also teaches them what they should do for their lives in this
world and in the Hereafter, and guides them.
- Whereas Christians propound that man is born sinful and that
his stay in the world is intended to expiate and to suffer, the
Islamic religion states that human beings are innocent creatures
when they are born, that they are beloved born slaves of Allahu
ta'ala, that they are responsible for their behaviour by the time
they reach the age of puberty and discretion, and that they shall
enjoy the infinite blessings of the Hereafter if they manage to
abide by the right way.
- Islam does not allow a third person between the born slave and
Allahu ta'ala in matters pertaining to worship, praying and penance.
These practices do not require a priestly intermediation.
- Islam states that all Muslims are brothers, wherein differences
of race, colour, language or country have no place. The Islamic
religion holds everybody equal in the view of Allahu ta'ala. During
the performance of namaz, a person of the highest rank stands
beside another, who may be of the lowest rank, a richest one beside
another who, perhaps, is the poorest member of the society, and
a white Muslim next to a black one, and with one accord they prostrate
themselves before Allahu ta'ala.
- According to Islam, Prophets 'alaihim-us-salam' are human beings
like us. They are the most superior human beings in all respects.
Their duty is to convey to us the commandments of Allahu ta'ala.
On account of their noble moral qualities and high natures, Allahu
ta'ala has chosen them and given them this duty. The Islamic religion
acknowledges all the past Prophets 'alaihim-us-salawatu wattaslimat'
and pays them due respect.
- Islam is a perfectly logical religion. The Qur'an al-karim does
not contain a single principle that cannot be understood or which
is contradictory to living conditions or scientific knowledge.
All the commandments it dictates are extremely useful. The Islamic
religion does not embody any superstitions. Preposterous tenets
like worshipping idols, images, icons, which can be accepted only
by primitive tribes and idolaters and which still exist in Christianity,
cannot have access into Islam.
- Christianity represents Allahu ta'ala only as a source of fear.
Islam, in contrast, makes one love Allahu ta'ala. What a Muslim
fears for is lest he should incur the hatred of Allahu ta'ala.
- No one can force another person to become a Muslim. The two
hundred and fifty-sixth ayat of Baqara Sura of the Qur'an al-karim
purports the injunction, "Conversion to Islam should not
be done through compulsion." On the other hand, Christian
missionaries are trying to Christianize people by coercion or
by promising advantages.
- The Islamic acts of worship are intended only to express gratitude
to Allahu ta'ala and to attain His love. The prescribed prayer
times drill people in orderliness and punctuality, and the yearly
one-month fasting trains them to have command of their corporeal
-Islam puts a special emphasis on cleanliness. Islam is the only
religion which commands to do a certain type of physical cleaning
before an act of worship. This strictness is totally missing from
the other religions. The brevity of daily prayers rules out the
possibility of their being a handicap to the daily chores.
- Formation of good habits such as tenderness, charity, and compassion,
which are the dominant topics of the sermons given by Christian
clergymen, but which are never put into practice by their preachers,
let alone by the preached, are peculiar to Muslims.
- On the economic platform, Islam jettisons both the capitalistic
materialism and the communistic utopia. It protects the poor,
without censuring the rich. It commands the rich to pay zakat
to the poor. Furthermore, bringing together Muslims belonging
to the sundry nations and races of the world, it establishes the
most perfect social system of the world [Hajj].
- Islam prohibits consumption of alcohol, gambling, and drugs.
The most disastrous vices of the world originate from these three
- No Christian clergyman can explain what will become of people
after death, or life and situations in the Hereafter. Islam provides
the best and most detailed explanation on this subject.
- Islam is the only religion that commands to help the poor, the
destitute and the forlorn travellers, no matter what their religion
- Islam does not force any person to believe in something he cannot
understand. Unlike other religions, it does not comprehend any
mysterious abstractions in the name of credo.
- In Islam, the procedure to be followed for the solution of a
canonical problem is first to consult the Qur'an al-karim, then,
if a clear answer cannot be found there, to look the matter up
in the Sunnat of the Messenger of Allah a.s., and finally, concerning
matters of which clear solutions cannot be found in the Sunnat,
for the common-sensed experts of the matter to employ ijtihad,
[to explain the matter after painstaking lucubrations.]
- Islam is the newest religion. From its first day up to our time,
the Qur'an al-karim has preserved its pristine purity without
undergoing an infinitesimal diacritical interpolation. Its regulation
system is comprehensive enough to meet all sorts of needs. This
fact is palpable enough to reveal that no other religion will
come, that all sorts of religious matters have been solved, and
that Islam is the true religion of Allah.
- The Islamic acts of worship can be performed anywhere. It is
not compulsory to go to a mosque for worship. A Muslim does not
intrude into others' temples, and it is permissible to perform
namaz in a church when it is inevitable.
- Islam cherishes women highly and gives them the greatest rights.
The Islamic religion does not enjoin to marry more than one women.
Islam's polygamy is a permission which is limited with a certain
number and regulated with certain stipulations. By the time Islam
appeared, it had been an Arabic custom that a man could cohabit
with as many women as he liked and with no degree of responsibility
as to their rights. Islam rescued womankind from this horrible
situation and protected their rights. By stating, "Paradise
is beneath the mother's feet," Muhammad a.s. granted a distinguished
status to women. This privilege does not exist in any other religion.
- Islam invites people to work, to study and learn useful knowledge,
and to ask for help from Allahu ta'ala after putting his mental
and physical capacity to work. No other religion has the maxim,
"One hour spent meditating or doing something useful is equal
to one year spent doing supererogatory worship."
- Islam is spiritual and physical cleanliness. It holds these
two kinds of cleanliness equal. Islam comprises only love, sweet
smiles, soft words, integrity, and charity.
- Islam expresses Allahu ta'ala as the Rabb-ul-'alamin, i.e. Allah
of all classes of beings. Unlike in other religions, He is not
considered as Allah for the votaries of the religion concerned.
- The Qur'an al-karim is the only source where a wretched person
can find consolation. The Qur'an al-karim contains numerous pieces
of consolatory, soothing, and instructive advice, depending on
the kind of the need.
When you read these lovely, open-hearted and cordial statements
made about the Islamic religion by people of various nationalities,
countries, professions and classes who accepted Islam willingly,
not under coercion of any sort, but in consequence of their own
decisions and comparative study of religions, you feel so happy
and so proud about having been a Muslim! When you see that things
that are quite familiar and matter-of-fact to you are admired
by others, you feel a certain amazement. Owing to its pulchritudinous
habit-injections, such as belief in one Allah, brotherhood, geniality,
honesty, compassion, hospitality, charity, an unflinching sense
of self-sacrifice for the good of one's homeland, and a readiness
to protect one's religion, iman and chastity at the sacrifice
of one's life, Islam is preferred to the other religions without
any propagation or handfuls of monetary expenditures, which are
routine practices of the wealthy organizations buttressing the
Islam does not allow any evil thoughts or bad behaviours. There
are hypocrites and heretics who try to exploit Islam for their
personal advantages, subversive policies, and blunting ideologies.
A true Muslim belonging to the group called Ahl-as-sunnat, which
is the only group with the correct belief, will never serve as
their tool. Nor will he fall for their deceits and let his belief
be corrupted. A Muslim will not infringe on someone else's rights,
whatsoever the latter's religious belief. A person belonging to
one of the seventy-two groups, which our Prophet a.s. stated to
be wrong, is a heretic. A true Muslim holding the belief of Ahl-as-sunnat
is an extremely pure person who does his five daily prayers of
namaz regularly. Islam has prohibited to point a gun toward your
Muslim brother, even for a jocular purpose.
Our country, Turkey, which enjoys all the blessings of Allahu
ta'ala and which is peerless in the world owing to its good climate,
abundant water and rich metal resources, needs true Muslims holding
the belief of Ahl-as-sunnat. Only these true Muslims can improve
this sacred country to the level worthy of it, by co-operating
with one another, by respecting, loving and protecting one another,
by rejecting the asinine and aberrant publications of the people
of bidat carrying Muslim names and of the enemies of Islam, by
working incessantly, by catching up with, and even excelling,
the science and technology of the twentieth century. This country,
(or any other Muslim country on the earth), will reap no benefit
from people who do not know Allahu ta'ala as He is described by
the scholars of Ahl-as-sunnat, who flout Islam's commandments
and prohibitions, and who feel enmity towards their Muslim brothers
with the effect of foreign ideas they have been indoctrinated
with. Their souls are unhealthy. Like machines or beasts, they
give service to anyone who gets possession of them. They are the
most harmful viruses of society. May Allahu ta'ala protect us
against the vices of these pestilential people! Scientists and
politicians who have chosen Islam, state that "If a man's
soul is vacant, it is good for nothing. This vacuum can be filled
only with a true religion." A person who has purified his
soul with Islam and who avoids Islam's prohibitions, will not
fall for any subversive propaganda; but he will follow the right
path written in the books of Ahl-as-sunnat, establish a hand-in-hand
co-operation with his Muslim brothers, and thus serve his religion
and country. Thereby, he will attain the blessing and grace of
Allahu ta'ala in both worlds.
Of old, the unilaterally opinionated people would take any occasion
to vituperate Islam, and to attempt to defile the essentials of
this true religion; in short, doing injustice was their favourite
occupation. Most of the books written by such miscreants were
published by Christians and by heretical groups lurking behind
Muslim names. In Europe there are subversive books that were written
without any actual study of Islam. These books represent cruel
and lying heathens who worship the devil, who legitimize all sorts
of iniquity, and who consider women as mere possessions. Books
of the same sort were published with mischievous motives in the
orient as well. Today, as people understand one another better
and read one another's books, correct books spread widely, and
thus the old hatred gradually leaves its place to admiration.
The divisive and subversive ideas that at one time instigated
wars between Christians and Muslims, and between the aberrant
groups of Muslims and true Muslims holding the belief of Ahl-as-sunnat,
are on the decrease.
Today Christians realize the shortcomings of their religion and
try to ameliorate them. As we were preparing this book we received
a letter from India. Enclosed was a message headlined 'Explanation'
and distributed by the Christians living there. It said: "Because
Allah created us, we are all Allah's sons and daughters. You,
too, are a son or daughter of Allah. The expression 'the son of
God', which you read in the Bible, means, 'the born slave (creature)
of God'. In other words, to say that Issa (Jesus) a.s. is the
son of Allah means to say that Allah created him, as He created
you and me. He does not have any other relation to Allah. As for
the Holy Spirit; it means the great power endowed on Issa a.s..
It would be a mistake to take it as another godhead. The Bible
does not contain something in the name of Trinity. Allah is one.
It is wrong to believe in three gods. The dogma that men are born
sinful, which you have been taught until now, is wrong, too. Everybody
is responsible before Allahu ta'ala only for his or her own actions."
As is seen, even Christian priests realize that trinity is something
quite wrong, and they attempt to correct it. And this, in its
turn, shows that people are gathering around the belief in one
mabud (Allah). This reversal means a closer proximity to Islam.
We hope that one day Islam will cover the entire world. Otherwise,
humanity will become altogether irreligious, which in turn means
doom for humanity.
We terminate this part of our book with a quotation of the Nasr
Sura of Qur'an al-karim, which purports: "When comes the
Help of Allahu ta'ala, and victory, and thou dost see the people
enter Allahu ta'ala's religion in crowds, celebrate the praises
of thy Lord, and pray for His forgiveness: for He is Oft-Returning
(in Grace and Mercy).
Come, O man, who is captivated in forlorn lands,
Come, O man, who is snoozing in earthly ruins!
Open your eyes'n look around, so many lords passed by,
So mad it is to give your heart to this fleeting lie!
Cage is not for the philomel, be it fed with candy,
Alas! Why should one prefer this dungeon so gloomy?
How disconsolate it would be from sleep so sound,
To wake up, when death came to end your earthly round!
So darkened is your heart that advice would do you no good;
To a heart as hard as rocks counsels would be dry food!
Come to your senses, before it is too late;
Eternal torment awaits those who flout this fate!
O my ego, it is you who needs this advice most;
That day, obedience, alone, shall bear a cost!
1. Please see The Sunni Path; Endless Bliss, first fascicle, 5th,6th,26th
and 27th chapters; and Endless Bliss, second fascicle, 33rd chapter.
Publisher's Note: Copyleft c Waqf Ikhlas, Istanbul, 1995.
Permission to reprint & distribute is granted only if this
heading included, and the text is not modified in any way, shape
or form to alter the intended meaning.
WAQF IKHLAS - Tel: (90.212) 513 99 00
´Ms. Jemima Goldsmith ´Ms. Afrah Diane ´Ms. C. Huda Dodge ´Ms.
Jewellee ´Ms. Karima Razi ´Ms. Lara ´Ms. Malaak ´Mr. Christopher
Shelton ´Mr. Ibrahim Karlsson ´Mr. Malik Hassan ´Mr. Nuh Keller
´Mr. Rob Wicks ´Mr. Samir ´Mr. Yahiye Gadahn ´Mr. Yusuf Islam
´Professor Abdul Ahad Dawud ´Asia al Zahir ´Afrah Alshaibani
WHY I CHOSE ISLAM - By Jemima Goldsmith
THE media present me as a naive, besotted 21-year-old who has
made a hasty decision without really considering the consequences
- thus effectively condemning herself to a life of interminable
subservience, misery and isolation.
Although I must confess I have rather enjoyed the various depictions
of a veiled and miserable "Haiqa Khan" incarcerated
in chains, the reality is somewhat different. Contrary to current
opinion, my decision to convert to Islam was entirely my own choice
and in no way hurried. Whilst the act of conversion itself is
surprisingly quick - entailing the simple assertion that "there
is only one God and Mohammed is His Prophet" - the preparation
is not necessarily so speedy a process. In my case, this began
last July, whilst the actual conversion took place in early February
- three months before the Nikkah in Paris. During that time, I
studied in depth both the Quran and the works of various Islamic
scholars (Gai Eaton, the Bosnian president Alia Izetbegovic, Muhammad
Asad) , thus giving me ample time to reflect before making my
decision. What began as intellectual curiosity slowly ripened
into a dawning realisation of the universal and eternal truth
that is Islam. In the statement given out a week ago, I particularly
stressed that I had converted to Islam entirely "through
my own convictions". The significance of this has been largely
ignored by the press. The point is that my conversion was not,
as so many have assumed, a pre-requisite to my marriage. It was
entirely my own choice.
Religiously speaking, there was absolutely no compulsion for me
to t prior to my marriage. As it explicitly states in the Quran,
a Muslim is permitted to marry from "the People of the Book"
- in other words, either a Christian or a Jew. Indeed, the Sunnah
- which describes the life of the Prophet - shows that the messenger
of Islam himself married both a Christian and a Jew during his
lifetime. I believe that much of this hostility towards my marriage
and conversion stems from wide-spread misconceptions about an
alien culture and religion. Not only is there a huge gulf between
the Western view of Islam and the reality, but there is in some
cases also a significant distinction between Islam based directly
on the Quran and the Sunnah and that practised by some Islamic
societies. During the last year I have had the opportunity to
visit Pakistan on three separate occasions and have observed Islamic
family life in practice. Thus, to some extent I now feel qualified
to judge for myself the true role and position of women in the
religion. At the risk of sounding defensive, I would like to point
out that Islam is not a religion which subjugates women whilst
elevating men to the status of mini-dictators in their own homes.
I was able to see this first-hand when I met Imran's sisters in
Lahore: they are all highly educated professional women. His oldest
sister, Robina, is an alumnus of LSE and holds a senior position
in the United Nations in New York. Another sister, Alima, has
a master's degree in business administration and runs a successful
business; Uzma is a highly qualified surgeon working in a Lahore
hospital, whilst Rani is a university graduate who co-ordinates
They can hardly be seen as "women in chains" dominated
by tyrannical husbands.
On the contrary, they are strong-minded independent women - yet
at the same time they remain deeply committed both to their families
and their religion. Thus, I as able to see - in theory and in
practice - how Islam promotes the essential notion of the family
unit without subjugating its female members. I am nevertheless
fully aware that women are sometimes exploited and oppressed in
Islamic societies, as in other parts of the world. Judging by
some of articles which have appeared in the press, it would seem
that a Western woman's happiness hinges largely upon her access
to night-clubs, alcohol and revealing clothes; and the absence
of such apparent freedom and luxuries in Islamic societies is
seen as an infringement of her basic rights. However, as we all
know, such superficialities have very little to do with true happiness.
Besides, without in any way wishing to disparage the culture of
the Western world, into which I was born, I am more than willing
to forego the transient pleasures derived from alcohol and night-clubs;
and as for the clothes I will be wearing, I find the traditional
shalwar kamiz (tunic and trousers) worn by most Pakistani women
far more elegant and feminine than anything in my wardrobe.
Finally, it seems futile to speculate on my chances of marital
success. Marriage, as Imran's father has been quoted as saying,
is indeed "a gamble". However, when I see that in a
society based on family life the divorce rate is just a fraction
of that in European or American society, I cannot see that my
chances of success are any less than if I had chosen to marry
a Westerner. I am all too aware of the enormous task of adapting
to a new and radically different culture.
But with the love of my husband and the support of his family
I look forward to the challenge wholeheartedly, and would like
to feel that people wish me well.
Whilst I do appreciate the genuine concerns of many, I must confess
to feeling somewhat bewildered by all of the commotion. / The
[In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful
I was raised in a moderately Christian home in Colorado. Religion
was never much of an issue in my house. My father was raised as
a Mormon, my mother as a Protestant. As I grew into adolescence,
I became curious about God, wondering whether He existed, and
if so, what did that mean to humans. I studied the Bible and other
Christian literature earnestly. Even when I was in high school,
I noticed that there were apparent discrepancies in the Bible,
particularly concerning the nature of Jesus (s.a.s.). In some
places, it seemed to say he was God, in others, the son of God,
and in others, only human. However, I thought that these discrepancies
existed only because I did not truly understand what I was reading.
I first turned to the Church of God after receiving literature
from them in the mail. I was impressed because they approached
religion in a more logical and scientific manner than I had seen
before. They followed such practices as not eating pork, keeping
the same holidays as Jesus, etc. I attended their services once,
but for some reason, I did not keep going.
When I went to college, I became involved in Bible studies through
Campus Crusade for Christ. I wanted to really understand God's
truth, but I just couldn't see what it was, and I thought the
Bible studies would help me. They did. Around the same time, I
met a Muslim man. I became curious as to why he prayed the way
he did, so I started to read the Qur'an. I soon realized that
there was an aspect to Islam which I had really missed in Christianity:
worship. All the prayers I had ever heard consisted mostly of
"I want this, I need this, please give it to me," with
the only real worship being "thank you Jesus for dying for
my sins." I wondered, what about God? I was convinced that
the God of Islam was the same as the God I believed in, but I
was still unsure about who Jesus was. I was afraid to believe
that he was the son of God, because all my life I had been taught
that such a belief meant eternal punishment in hellfire.
The leader of my Bible study had done missionary work to Muslims
in Algeria, so I decided to ask him some questions, because at
the time I was quite confused. I asked him what would happen to
my Muslim friend, and he told me he would go to hell, without
a doubt. I asked him how the Qur'an, which was so similar to the
Bible, could be false. He said it was an instrument of the devil
to persuade people to unbelief. Finally, I asked him if he had
read the Qur'an, intending to next ask him a specific question
about something I had read in it. He answered, "No. I tried,
but it makes me sick to my stomach." I was astounded and
quickly left. This man, whom I respected as a knowledgeable leader,
who had worked with Muslims several times, did not know as much
about Islam as I had learned in a few months. And yet, he was
not questioning or curious. He was sure that my friend was going
to hell and that the Qur'an was the work of the devil. I suddenly
realized that there was no way he could be sure unless he had
studied and he clearly had not. This was my biggest clue that
Islam was the path of God's truth. Al-hamdulillah (praise be to
Allah) that I had that conversation.
I began to study Qur'an more, and in several months I said Shahada
[i.e. stated and accepted the creed of Islam -ed.]. That was less
than a year ago. I am still learning, striving to find God's truth.
I am so grateful that God has guided me so. Here is a religion
of truth, which can stand up to any test of logic and reason!
Just as I always ought religion should be. It should make sense,
it should be logical.
This is how I came to Islam. However, I think it should be said
that I am grateful I did not meet many Muslims before I became
Muslim. At the university I attend, the majority of Muslims are
cold and distant.
They seem to be judgmental of anyone who is, or appears to be,
non-Muslim. If I had known these people, I would have been turned
off from Islam because its representatives seem so cold. Muslims
have an incredible message to share -- the message of truth! I
had no idea what Islam was before I met my friend, if Americans
just understood what it was, they would be more open to it, because
it is TRUTH.
Also, I think it should be said that this was one of the hardest
things I have ever done. Converting to Islam has forced me to
be disobedient to my parents, because they do not agree with such
things as fasting, wearing the veil, or avoiding forbidden foods.
They think it is nonsense, and I have had to struggle all the
way to do what I believe and at the same time try not to lose
my family. I have not begun wearing the veil yet, but I very much
want to shortly. I fear at in doing so, I may be disowned (at
least temporarily), but I am still eager to do it, because I long
to be modest before God in the manner ordained for women.
I would be happy to receive e-mail from anyone curious about Islam,
particularly women (I might be more helpful then a male).
C. Huda Dodge - MY PATH TO ISLAM
Salaam alaikum wa rahmatullah.
Since I have started reading and posting on this newsgroup a few
months ago, I have noticed a great interest in converts (reverts)
to Islam: how are people introduced to it, what attracts people
to this faith, how their life changes when they embrace Islam,
etc. I have received a of e-mail from people asking me these questions.
In this post, I hope insha'Allah to address how, when and why
an American like myself came to embrace Islam. It's long, and
I'm sorry for that, but I don't think you can fully understand
this process from a few paragraphs. I tried not to ramble on or
get off on tangents. At times the story is detailed, because I
think it helps to truly understand how my path to Islam developed.
Of course, there's a lot I left out (I'm not trying to tell you
my whole life story - just the pertinent stuff).
It's interesting for me to look back on my life and see how it
all fits together - how Allah planned this for me all along. When
I think about it, I can't help saying `Subhanallah,' and thank
Allah for bringing me to where I am today. At other times, I feel
sad that I was not born into Islam and been a Muslim all my life.
While I admire those who were, I at times pity them because sometimes
they don't really appreciate this blessing. insh'Allah, reading
this can help you understand how I, at least, came to be a Muslim.
Whether it gives you ideas for da'wah, or just gives you some
inspiration in your own faith, I hope it is worth your time to
read it, insha'Allah. It is my story, but I think a lot of others
might see themselves in it.
I was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in a Bay Area
suburb. My small town (San Anselmo, pop. about 14,000 last I checked)
was a mostly white, upper-middle-class, Christian community. It
is a beautiful area - just north of San Francisco (across the
Golden Gate Bridge), nestled in a valley near the hillsides (Mount
Tamalpais) and the Pacific Ocean. I knew all of my neighbours,
played baseball in the street, caught frogs in the creeks, rode
horses in the hills, and climbed trees in my front yard.
My father is Presbyterian, and my mother is Catholic. My father
was never really active in any church, but my mother tried to
raise us as Catholics. She took us to church sometimes, but we
didn't know what was going on. People stand up, sit down, kneel,
sit again, stand up, and recite things after the priest. Each
pew had a booklet - a kind of `direction book' -and we had to
follow along in order to know what to do next (if we didn't fall
asleep first). I was baptized in this church, and received my
First Communion at about the age of 8 (I have pictures, but I
don't remember it much). After that, we only went about once a
I lived on a dead-end street of about 15 houses. My grammar school
was at the end of the street (4 houses down), next to a small
Presbyterian church. When I was about 10, the people of this church
invited me to participate in their children's Christmas play.
Every Sunday morning from then on, I walked down to church alone
(no one else in my family was interested in coming). The whole
congregation was only about 30 older people (past their 50's),
but they were nice and never made me feel out of place. There
were about 3 younger couples with children younger than me.
I became a very active member of this church down the street.
When I was in 6th grade, I started baby-sitting the younger kids
during the service. By 9th grade, I was helping the minister's
wife teach Sunday school. In high school, I started a church youth
group by recruiting 4 of my friends to join me. It was a small
group: me, my friends, and a young couple with kids, but we liked
it that way. The big Presbyterian in town had about 100 kids in
their youth group and took trips to Mexico, etc. But our group
was content to get together to study the bible, talk about God,
and raise money for charities.
These friends and I would sit together and talk about spiritual
issues. We debated about questions in our minds: what happens
to the people who lived before Jesus came (go to heaven or hell);
why do some very righteous people automatically go to hell just
because they don't believe in Jesus (we thought about Gandhi);
on the other hand, why do some pretty horrible people (like my
friend's abusive father) get rewarded with heaven just because
they're Christian; why does a loving and merciful God require
a blood sacrifice (Jesus) to forgive people's sins; why are we
guilty of Adam's original sin; why does the Word of God (Bible)
disagree with scientific facts; how can Jesus be God; how can
One God be 3 different things; etc. We debated about these things,
but never came up with good answers. The church couldn't give
us good answers either; they only told us to "have faith."
The people at church told me about a Presbyterian summer camp
in Northern California. I went for the first time when I was 10.
For the next 7 years, I went every summer. While I was happy with
the little church I went to, this is where I really felt in touch
with God, without confusion. It was here that I developed my very
deep faith in God. We spent much of our time outdoors, playing
games, doing crafts, swimming, etc. It was fun, but every day
we would also take time out to pray, study the bible, sing spiritual
songs, and have `quiet time.' It is this quiet time that really
meant a lot to me, and of which I have the best memories. The
rule was that you had to sit anywhere on the camp's 200 beautiful
acres. I would often go to a meadow, or sit on a bridge overlooking
the creek, and just THINK. I looked around me, at the creek, the
trees, the clouds, the bugs:) - listened to the water, the birds'
songs, the crickets' chirps. This place really let me feel at
peace, and I admired and thanked God for His beautiful creation.
At the end of each summer, when I returned back home, this feeling
stayed with me. I loved to spend time outdoors, alone, to just
think about God, life, and my place in it. I developed my personal
understanding of Jesus' role as a teacher and example, and left
all the confusing church teachings behind.
I believed (and still do) in the teaching "Love your neighbour
as yourself," fully giving to others without expecting anything
in return, treating others as you would like to be treated. I
strived to help everyone I could. When I was fourteen, I got my
first job, at a ice cream store. When I got my paycheque each
month (it wasn't much), I sent the first $25 to a program called
`Foster Parents Plan' (they've changed the name now). This was
a charity that hooked up needy children overseas with American
sponsors. During my 4 years of high school, I was a sponsor for
a young Egyptian boy named Sherif. I sent him part of my paycheque
each month, and we exchanged letters. (His letters were in Arabic,
and looking at them now, it appears that he believed he was writing
to an adult man, not a girl 5 years older than him.) He was 9
years old, his father was dead, and his mother was ill and couldn't
work. He had 2 younger brothers and a sister my age. I remember
getting a letter from him when I was 16 - he was excited because
his sister had gotten engaged. I thought, "She's the same
age as me, and she's getting engaged!!!" It seemed so foreign
to me. These were the first Muslims I had contact with.
Aside from this, I was also involved with other activities in
high school. I tutored Central American students at my school
in English. In a group called "Students for Social Responsibility,"
I helped charities for Nicaraguan school children and Kenyan villagers.
We campaigned against nuclear arms (the biggest fear we all had
at that time was of a nuclear war).
I invited exchange students from France into my home, and I had
penpals from all over the world (France, Germany, Sweden, etc.).
My junior year of high school, we hosted a group called `Children
of War' - a group of young people from South Africa, Gaza Strip,
Guatemala, and other war-torn lands, who toured the country telling
their stories and their wishes for peace. Two of them stayed at
my house - the group's chaperone from Nicaragua, and a young black
South African man. The summer after my junior year of high school,
I took a volunteer job in San Francisco (the Tenderloin district),
teaching English to refugee women. In my class were Fatimah and
Maysun, 2 Chinese Muslim widows from Vietnam. These were the next
Muslims I met, although we couldn't talk much (their English was
too minimal). All they did was laugh.
All of these experiences put me in touch with the outside world,
and led me to value people of all kinds. Throughout my youth and
high school, I had developed two very deep interests: faith in
God, and interacting with people from other countries. When I
left home to attend college in Portland, Oregon, I brought these
interests with me.
At Lewis & Clark College, I started out as a Foreign Language
(French & Spanish) major, with a thought to one day work with
refugee populations, or teach English as a Second Language. When
I arrived at school, I moved into a dorm room with two others
- a girl from California (who grew up only 10 minutes from where
I did), and a 29-year-old Japanese woman (exchange student). I
I didn't know anyone else at school, so I tried to get involved
in activities to meet people. In line with my interests, I chose
to get involved with 2 groups: Campus Crusade for Christ (obviously,
a Christian group), and Conversation Groups (where they match
Americans up with a group of international students to practice
I met with the Campus Crusade students during my first term of
school. A few of the people that I met were very nice, pure-hearted
people, but the majority were very ostentatious. We got together
every week to listen to "personal testimonies," sing
songs, etc. Every week we visited a different church in the Portland
area. Most of the churches were unlike anything I'd ever been
exposed to before. One final visit to a church in the Southeast
area freaked me out so much that I quit going to the Crusade meetings.
At this church, there was a rock band with electric guitars, and
people were waving their hands in the air (above their heads,
with their eyes closed) and singing "hallelujah."
I had never seen anything like it! I see things like this now
on TV, but coming from a very small Presbyterian church, I was
Others in Campus Crusade loved this church, and they continued
The atmosphere seemed so far removed from the worship of God,
and I didn't feel comfortable returning.
I always felt closest to God when I was in a quiet setting and/or
outdoors. I started taking walks around campus (Lewis & Clark
College has a beautiful campus!), sitting on benches, looking
at the view of Mount Hood, watching the trees change colours.
One day I wandered into the campus chapel - a small, round building
nestled in the trees. It was beautifully simple. The pews formed
a circle around the center of the room, and a huge pipe organ
hung from the ceiling in the middle. No altar, no crosses, no
statues - nothing. Just some simple wood benches and a pipe organ.
During the rest of the year, I spent a lot of time in this building,
listening to the organist practice, or just sitting alone in the
quiet to think. I felt more comfortable and close to God there
than at any church I had ever been to.
During this time, I was also meeting with a group of international
students as part of the Conversation Group program. We had 5 people
in our group: me, a Japanese man and woman, an Italian man and
a Palestinian man. We met twice a week over lunch, to practice
English conversation skills. We talked about our families, our
studies, our childhood, cultural differences, etc. As I listened
to the Palestinian man (Faris) talk about his life, his family,
his faith, etc., it struck a nerve in me. I remembered Sherif,
Fatima and Maysun, the only other Muslims I had ever known. Previously,
I had seen their beliefs and way of life as foreign, something
that was alien to my culture. I never bothered to learn about
their faith because of this cultural barrier. But the more I learned
about Islam, the more I became interested in it as a possibility
for my own life.
During my second term of school, the conversation group disbanded
and the international students transferred to other schools. The
discussions we had, however, stayed at the front of my thoughts.
The following term, I registered for a class in the religious
studies department: Introduction to Islam. This class brought
back all of the concerns that I had about Christianity. As I learned
about Islam, all of my questions were answered. All of us are
not punished for Adam's original sin. Adam asked God for forgiveness
and our Merciful and Loving God forgave him. God doesn't require
a blood sacrifice in payment for sins, we must sincerely ask for
forgiveness and amend our ways. Jesus wasn't God, he was a prophet,
like all of the other prophets, who all taught the same message:
Believe in the One true God; worship and submit to Him alone;
and live a righteous life according to the guidance He has sent.
This answered all of my questions about the trinity and the nature
of Jesus (all God, all human, or a combination). God is a Perfect
and Fair Judge, who will reward or punish us based on our faith
and righteousness. I found a teaching that put everything in its
proper perspective, and appealed to my heart and my intellect.
It seemed natural. It wasn't confusing. I had been searching,
and I had found a place to rest my faith.
That summer, I returned home to the Bay Area and continued my
studies of Islam. I checked books out of the library and talked
with my friends. They were as deeply spiritual as I was, and had
also been searching (most of them were looking into eastern religions,
Buddhism in particular). They understood my search, and were happy
I could find something to believe in. They raised questions, though,
about how Islam would affect my life: as a woman, as a liberal
Californian, with my family, etc. I continued to study, pray and
soul-search to see how comfortable I really was with it. I sought
out Islamic centers in my area, but the closest one was in San
Francisco, and I never got there to visit (no car, and bus schedules
didn't fit with my work schedule). So I continued to search on
my own. When it came up in conversation, I talked to my family
about it. I remember one time in particular, when we were all
watching a public television program about the Eskimos. They said
that the Eskimos have over 200 words for `snow,' because snow
is such a big part of their life. Later that night, we were talking
about how different languages have many words for things that
are important to them. My father commented about all the different
words Americans use for "money" (money, dough, bread,
etc.). I commented, "You know, the Muslims have 99 names
for God - I guess that's what is important to them."
At the end of the summer, I returned to Lewis & Clark. The
first thing I did was contact the mosque in south-west Portland.
I asked for the name of a woman I could talk to, and they gave
me the number of a Muslim American sister. That week, I visited
her at home. After talking for a while, she realized that I was
already a believer. I told her I was just looking for some women
who could help guide me in the practicalities of what it meant
to be a Muslim. For example, how to pray. I had read it in books,
but I couldn't figure out how to do it just from books. I made
attempts, and prayed in English, but I knew I wasn't doing it
right. The sister invited me that night to an aqiqa.
(dinner after the birth of a new baby). She picked me up that
night and we went. I felt so comfortable with the Muslim sisters
there, and they were very friendly to me that night. I said my
shahada, witnessed by a few sisters. They taught me how to pray.
They talked to me about their own faith (many of them were also
American). I left that night feeling like I had just started a
I was still living in a campus dorm, and was pretty isolated from
the Muslim community. I had to take 2 buses to get to the area
where the mosque was (and where most of the women lived). I quickly
lost touch with the women I met, and was left to pursue my faith
on my own at school. I made a few attempts to go to the mosque,
but was confused by the meeting times. Sometimes I'd show up to
borrow some books from the library, and the whole building would
be full of men. Another time I decided to go to my first Jumah
prayer, and I couldn't go in for the same reason. Later, I was
told that women only meet at a certain time (Saturday afternoon),
and that I couldn't go at other times. I was discouraged and confused,
but I continued to have faith and learn on my own.
Six months after my shahada, I observed my first Ramadan. I had
been contemplating the issue of hijab, but was too scared to take
that step before. I had already begun to dress more modestly,
and usually wore a scarf over my shoulders (when I visited the
sister, she told me "all you have to do is move that scarf
from your shoulders to your head, and you'll be Islamically dressed.").
At first I didn't feel ready to wear hijab, because I didn't feel
strong enough in my faith. I understood the reason for it, agreed
with it, and admired the women who did wear it. They looked so
pious and noble. But I knew that if I wore it, people would ask
me a lot of questions, and I didn't feel ready or strong enough
to deal with that.
This changed as Ramadan approached, and on the first day of Ramadan,
I woke up and went to class in hijab. Alhamdulillah, I haven't
taken it off since. Something about Ramadan helped me to feel
strong, and proud to be a Muslim. I felt ready to answer anybody's
However, I also felt isolated and lonely during that first Ramadan.
No one from the Muslim community even called me. I was on a meal
plan at school, so I had to arrange to get special meals (the
dining hall wasn't open during the hours I could eat). The school
agreed to give me my meals in bag lunches. So every night as sundown
approached, I'd walk across the street to the kitchen, go in the
back to the huge refrigerators, and take my 2 bag lunches (one
for fitur, one for suhur). I'd bring the bags back to my dorm
room and eat alone. They always had the same thing: yoghurt, a
piece of fruit, cookies, and either a tuna or egg salad sandwich.
The same thing, for both meals, for the whole month. I was lonely,
but at the same time I had never felt more at peace with myself.
When I embraced Islam, I told my family. They were not surprised.
They kind of saw it coming, from my actions and what I said when
I was home that summer. They accepted my decision, and knew that
I was sincere. Even before, my family always accepted my activities
and my deep faith, even if they didn't share it. They were not
as open-minded, however, when I started to wear hijab. They worried
that I was cutting myself off from society, that I would be discriminated
against, that it would discourage me from reaching my goals, and
they were embarrassed to be seen with me. They thought it was
too radical. They didn't mind if I had a different faith, but
they didn't like it to affect my life in an outward way.
They were more upset when I decided to get married. During this
time, I had gotten back in touch with Faris, the Muslim Palestinian
brother of my conversation group, the one who first prompted my
interest in Islam. He was still in the Portland area, attending
the community college. We started meeting again, over lunch, in
the library, at his brother's house, etc. We were married the
following summer (after my sophomore year, a year after my shahada).
My family freaked out. They weren't quite yet over my hijab, and
they felt like I had thrown something else at them. They argued
that I was too young, and worried that I would abandon my goals,
drop out of school, become a young mother, and destroy my life.
They liked my husband, but didn't trust him at first (they were
thinking `green card scam'). My family and I thought over this
for several months, and I feared that our relationship would never
That was 3 years ago, and a lot has changed. Faris and I moved
to Corvallis, Oregon, home of Oregon State University. We live
in a very strong and close-knit Muslim community. I graduated
magna cum laude last year, with a degree in child development.
I have had several jobs, from secretary to pre-school teacher,
with no problems about my hijab. I'm active in the community,
and still do volunteer work. My husband, insha'Allah, will finish
his Electrical Engineering degree this year. We visit my family
a couple of times a year. I met Faris' parents for the first time
this summer, and we get along great. I'm slowly but surely adding
Arabic to the list of languages I speak.
My family has seen all of this, and has recognized that I didn't
destroy my life. They see that Islam has brought me happiness,
not pain and sorrow. They are proud of my accomplishments, and
can see I am truly happy and at peace. Our relationship is back
to normal they are looking forward to our visit next month, insha'Allah.
Looking back on all of this, I feel truly grateful that Allah
has guided me to where I am today. I truly feel blessed. It seems
that all of the pieces of my life fit together in a pattern -
a path to Islam.
Alhamdulillahi rabi al'amin.
Your sister in faith, C. Huda Dodge
"...Say: Allah's guidance is the only guidance, and we have
been directed to submit ourselves to the Lord of the Worlds..."
Lara - DISCOVERING ISLAM: A CANADIAN MUSLIMA'S STORY April 25,
As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmahtullahi wa Barakatu (May the peace,
the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you).
I am a Canadian of Scandinavian and other ancestry who was born
and raised in Canada. I have been a Muslima since February 1993
when I was 23. While growing up, I was never affiliated with any
religion nor was I an atheist. When I was in my mid-teens I started
to think somewhat about religion and at that time I did believe
in the Oneness of God (Tawhid). Christianity never interested
My first contact with Muslims occurred when I was introduced to
some Muslim international students in 1988. Through them I learned
a bit about Islam, such as Ramadan fasting. But it was really
not until 1992 that I became interested in Islam. In the summer
of that year a Canadian newspaper published a series of articles
attacking Islam by using examples of anti-Islamic behaviour of
some Muslims in an attempt to vilify Islam itself. Non-Muslims
tend to judge Islam on the basis of the behaviour (which is not
necessarily Islamic) of Muslims. I was not yet a Muslima but the
articles were so outrageous that I sent a letter to the editor
in defence of Islam. Now I was curious about Islam. I re-read
some articles I had picked up several months earlier from the
MSA Islam Awareness Week display at my university. One was about
'Isa (alaihi Salam) [Jesus] as a Prophet of Islam. Also, I asked
a Muslim to get me some books about Islam; they were about the
overall ideology of Islam and were written by two famous Muslim
authors. Impressed, I thought, "This is Islam? It seems so
right." Over the next few months in my free time while attending
university I continued to learn about Islam from authentic Islamic
books, for example The Life of Muhammad (s.a.s) by Dr. Muhammad
Haykal. One certainly does not learn the truth about Islam from
the mass media! Also, newcomers to Islam especially must be careful
to avoid the writings of deviant groups which claim ties to Islam
so as not to be misled. And just because the author has an Arabic
name does not necessarily mean that he or she is a knowledgeable
Muslim or even Muslim at all. Also, I learned about Islam from
some kind, knowledgeable Muslims and Muslimas who did not pressure
me. Meanwhile, I had begun to Islamize my behaviour which did
not require huge change. I already avoided consuming alcohol and
pig meat. Also, I always preferred to dress conservatively/modestly
and not wear makeup, perfume, or jewellery outside my home. I
started to eat only islamically slaughtered meat. Also during
this time I visited a masjid (mosque) in my city for the first
Until I discovered Islam, I knew almost nothing about it. I say
discovered because the "Islam" that I had always heard
about through the mass media is not true Islam. I had always assumed
that Islam is just another man-made religion, not knowing that
it is the Truth. I had also assumed that a person had to be raised
as a Muslim to be one. I was not aware of the fact that all humans
are born Muslim (in a state of Islam - submitted to the Creator).
Like many "Westerners" I associated Islam with the "East"
and did not know that Islam is universal in both time and place.
However, I never had negative feelings about Islam, al-Hamdulillah.
The more knowledge that I acquired about Islam, the more I felt
that I too can actually be I found that many of the beliefs that
I already had were actually Islamic not merely "common sense."
So after familiarizing myself with what Islam is basically about
and what are the duties and proper conduct of a Muslim person,
as well as thinking and reflecting, I felt ready to accept Islam
and live as a Muslima. One day while at home I said the Shahada
(declaration of faith) and began to perform the five daily salawat
(prayers), al-Hamdulillah. That was in February 1993, several
days before the fasting month of Ramadan began. I did not want
to miss the fasting this time! I found the fasting to be much
easier than I had anticipated; before I fasted I had worried that
I might faint. At first there was a bit of an adjustment period
getting used to the new routine of performing Salah and fasting,
and I made some mistakes, but it was exciting and not difficult.
I started to read the Qur'an (Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation)
when I was given one soon after accepting Islam. Before that I
had read only excerpts of it in other books. Also in the beginning,
I found The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam by Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi
to be a useful guide.
In January 1996 (during Ramadan) I started to wear the Islamic
headscarf (hijab). I realized that I could not fully submit to
Allah (s.w.t.), which is what being Muslim is about, without wearing
it. Islam must be accepted and practised in its entirety; it is
not an "alter-to-suit-yourself" religion. Since becoming
a Muslima I was aware that the headscarf is required of Muslim
women and I had intended to wear it eventually. I should have
worn it immediately upon accepting Islam but for many Muslimas
(even some from Muslim families) it is not easy to take that step
and put it on in a non-Muslim society. It is silly how so many
persons get upset over a piece of fabric! Also, it is interesting
to note that Christian nuns are never criticized for covering
their heads. Never in my life did I have negative feelings toward
muhajjabas (women who wear hijab) when I saw them. What made me
hesitate to put it on was fearing receiving bad treatment from
others, especially family. But we must fear Allah ((s.w.t.) )
only, not others. In the few months before I permanently put on
hijab I started "practising" wearing it. I wore it when
I travelled between my home and the local masjid on Fridays when
I started attending the Djuma Salah (Friday congregational prayer).
(Of course, since I always wore it during every Salah). A couple
of weeks prior, in Du'a I began asking Allah ((s.w.t.) ) to make
it easy for me to wear it.
The day I finally put it on permanently I had reached the point
where I felt that I could no longer go out with a bare head, and
I thought tough bananas" if others do not like me wearing
it since I alone am accountable for my actions and am required
to perform my Islamic duties, and I could never please everyone
anyway. Sometimes opposite to hijab is a control issue: some persons
just plainly do not like those who are determined and independent
especially if it is their child.
Upon wearing it I immediately felt protected and was finally able
to go out and not be the target of stares/leers from men. At first
I felt a bit self-conscious but after several weeks I felt completely
used to wearing hijab. Sometimes other persons look puzzled/confused,
I think because they are not used to seeing pale-faced, blue-eyed
Muslimas! By the way, wearing hijab is da'wah in a way as it draws
attention to Islam.
Since accepting Islam I continue to seek knowledge about the Din
(religion) which is a lifelong duty for all Muslims--male and
female Currently, I am learning Arabic and hope to be able to
read the Qur'an in Arabic soon, insha'Allah. Reading, discussing
Islam with other Muslims, and the Friday Djuma khutba are all
educational. Striving to be as pious as one can be and fighting
against one's own evil traits (jihad al-nafs) takes effort and
is continuous and never ending for Muslims.
I find Islam ever-more fascinating, and I enjoy living as a Muslima.
Assalamalaikum brothers and sisters and non Muslims.
First off all, I would like to start by saying that this true
story is not for my own fame or admiration but for the sake of
my Lord and your Lord Allah. All praises due to Allah, the Lord
of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful Owner of the day of
judgement. I would like to repeat to you something I heard: the
journey of a thousand miles has to start with the first step and
this is the first part of my journey.
My name is Malik Mohammed Hassan and I have recently converted
to Islam. When I was in junior high school I was first introduced
to Islam by reading the book Roots by Alex Haley. It taught me
a little bit about the strong will that most Muslims possess,
myself included. It also introduced me to Allah. I had never heard
of Allah in his real form until I read that book and I was very
curious. I then started reading about The Nation Of Islam (specifically
Malcolm X) and it fascinated me how devoted he was to Allah, especially
after he left the self serving Nation Of Islam. Reading about
Malcolm made me think about a God who (for a change) did not have
any physical form or limitations and, being a totally blind person,
it made me relate to these people: the people who Malcolm and
Haley referred to as Muslims. I continued reading what I could
about Islam which wasn't as much as it should have been. My reading
material was very limited because like I said above: I am a totally
blind person and the material available about Islam in braille
or on tape was not only very little, but also very general. I
believe the reason was that the material that I had access to
wasn't written by Muslims and it kind of painted a dark picture
of Islam. I think most of the literature written by Christians
or non Muslims about Islam tends to do that most of the time.
And I didn't know that their were even Muslims in Halifax so I
obviously didn't know any. I didn't even know about the local
Islamic association until I was already a Muslim.
So, I read what I could until my first year out of high school
around the month of May, 1996, when I received a phone call asking
me if I wanted to participate in a camp for blind and visually
impaired people known throughout Canada as Score. I agreed and
sent them a resume and praise be to Allah I was excepted for work.
At first I really didn't want to go but something kept telling
me it would be a good idea if I went. So, on June 30th 1996 I
boarded a plane from Nova Scotia to Toronto and took my last trip
as a non Muslim; I just didn't know it yet.
I got to Toronto and everything at first was pretty normal...
It was on the second day that I was there when the journey of
a thousand miles first started.
I arrived on a Sunday and on the next day I met the person who
Allah would use with His divine power to help guide me to the
beautiful Religion of Islam. I met a sister named Rizvana and
if she reads this I hope she doesn't get mad at me for using her
When I met her, I immediately wanted to talk to her because I
liked her name. I asked her of what origin her name was and she
told me that it was Arabic; so I asked her if she was Muslim and
she replied with the answer of yes. I immediately started telling
her what I already knew about Islam which lasted about ten seconds.
I started asking her questions and also asking her to talk to
me about Islam.
One particular incident that comes to my mind is when all of the
workers at the camp went to a baseball game and the sister and
I started talking about Islam and missed pretty much the whole
Well, anyway, we talked for about three, maybe four days on and
off about Islam and on July the fifth if my memory doesn't fail
me I became a Muslim. My life has been totally different ever
since. I look at things very differently than I used to and I
finally feel like I belong to a family. All Muslims are brothers
and sisters in Islam so I could say that I have approximately
1.2 billion brothers and sisters all of whom I'm proud to be related
to. I finally know what it feels like to be humble and to worship
a God that I don't have to see.
For any non Muslim reading this just look at it this way. It's
good to learn, but you never know when you will be tested and
if you're not in the class at the time of the final exam no matter
how much you know you'll never get any credit. So like I said
it's good to learn but if you want to get credit sign up for the
class. In other words, declare shahada (testimony to faith) and
let Allah teach you everything you need to know. Believe me the
reward is worth it. You could say the reward is literally heaven.
If any good comes out of this story all the credit is due to Allah;
only the mistakes are my own.
I would like to mention a part of a hadith that has had a great
effect on me and that is:
"Worship Allah as if you see him and if you don't see him,
know that he sees you." - Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Number
My conversion to Islam began in my eighth grade year. There was
a Muslim student by the name of Raphael who first told me a little
about Islam. At the time he was not so knowledgeable about Islam,
but he put the initial interest in my mind which never went away.
In the ninth grade there was another student by the name of Leonard
who claimed at one time or another that he was a Muslim but he
was more or less a 5 percenter. The one thing he did do was to
give me a pamphlet on true Islam which increased my interest in
Islam. I didn't hear much more about Islam until my tenth grade
That year me and Leonard would sit in the back of geometry class
and blame all of the world's problems on white people while we
would exalt the status of black people above all other races.
At that time in my life I thought that Islam was the religion
for black people, but unfortunately the Islam I was talking about
was nothing more than black nationalism with a slight touch of
true Islam. It was very similar to The Nation of Islam. As time
went on I began to see that my black nationalist views and my
perception of what Islam was about became tired. It was useless
to hate almost all white people and to blame this on Islam. Around
the same time I totally denounced Christianity as my religion.
I got tired of the unintelligible doctrines and the many contradictions
within the religion.
The next year of high school I was conversing with a few students
about religion and they told me to buy a Qu'ran so I did. I went
to the nearest bookstore and bought a very poor translation of
the Quran but it was the first real look into the truth about
Islam. Within a few weeks I took on the beliefs of a Muslim even
though I hadn't taken shahadah yet. Most of what I was doing concerning
Islam was wrong because I never had a chance to go to a masjid
because my mother totally forbade it. As time went on I finally
got an Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation of the Quran which opened
my eyes to so much about Islam.
In the meantime my mother was doing everything in her power to
prevent me from embracing Islam. She took me to see her preacher
three times which was of no avail. As time passed I began to learn
more and more about Islam from various books I could get my hands
on. I finally learned how to make salat correctly from one of
these books. My mother was still trying her best to make me become
a Christian again.
My mother and I would frequently argue about religion until one
day my mother had enough and told my dad that I was going to have
to live with him. He had absolutely no problem with this. The
day after I graduated from high school I moved in with my dad.
I can see now that my parent's divorce was actually a blessing
in disguise. Their divorce provided me with a place to live in
which I could practice Islam freely. My dad had no problem with
my interest in Islam.
One day I called the Islamic Learning Center in Fayetteville and
a brother by the name of Mustafa told me to come down for the
Taleem (lesson) to learn more about Islam. Everybody was extremely
hospitable and Mustafa even gave me a ride home. After three weeks
of going to Jumuah (Friday congregational prayers) and Talim I
finally took my Shahadah on July 2,1995. Ever since then I have
been an active member of the Islamic community. I am also very
pleased to say that Raphael (the person who gave me my initial
in interest in Islam) got back to Islam seriously and took shahadah
a few months before I did. We still keep in touch even though
he is in England.
I was born in an ordinary , non-religious Swedish home, but with
a very loving relationship to each other. I had lived my life
25 years without really thinking about the existence of God or
anything spiritual what-so-ever; I was the role model of the materialistic
Or was I? I recall a short story I wrote in 7th grade, something
about my future life, where I portray myself as a successful games
programmer (I hadn't yet even touched a computer) and living with
a Muslim wife!! OK, at that time Muslim to me meant dressing in
long clothes and wearing a scarf, but I have no idea where those
thoughts came from. Later, in high school, I remember spending
much time in the school-library (being a bookworm) and at one
time I picked up a translated Qur'an and read some passages from
it. I don't remember exactly what I read, but I do remember finding
that what it said made sense and was logical to me.
Still, I was not at all religious, I couldn't fit God in my universe,
and I had no need of any god. I mean, we have Newton to explain
how the universe works, right?
Time passed, I graduated and started working. Earned some money
and moved to my own apartment, and found a wonderful tool in the
PC. I became a passionate amateur photographer, and enrolled in
activities around that. At one time I was documenting a marketplace,
taking snapshots from a distance with my telelens when an angry
looking immigrant came over and explained that he would make sure
I wasn't going to take any more pictures of his mum and sisters.
Strange people those Muslims...
More things related to Islam happened that I can't explain why
I did what I did. I can't recall the reason I called the "Islamic
information organisation" in Sweden, ordering a subscription
to their newsletter, buying Yusuf Ali's Qur'an and a very good
book on Islam called Islam - our faith. I just did!
I read almost all of the Qur'an, and found it to be both beautiful
and logical, but still, God had no place in my heart. One year
later, whilst out on a patch of land called "pretty island"
(it really is) taking autumn-colour pictures, I was overwhelmed
by a fantastic feeling. I felt as if I were a tiny piece of something
greater, a tooth on a gear in God's great gearbox called the universe.
It was wonderful! I had never ever felt like this before, totally
relaxed, yet bursting with energy, and above all, total awareness
of god wherever I turned my eyes.
I don't know how long I stayed in this ecstatic state, but eventually
it ended and I drove home, seemingly unaffected, but what I had
experienced left uneraseable marks in my mind. At this time Microsoft
brought Windows-95 to the market with the biggest marketing blitz
known to the computer industry. Part of the package was the on-line
service The Microsoft Network. And keen to know what is was I
got myself an account on the MSN. I soon found that the Islam
BBS were the most interesting part of the MSN, and that's where
I found Shahida.
Shahida is a American woman, who like me has converted to Islam.
Our chemistry worked right away, and she became the best pen-friend
I have ever had. Our e-mail correspondence will go down in history:
the fact that my mailbox grew to something like 3 megabytes over
the first 6 months tells its own tale. She and I discussed a lot
about Islam and faith in god in general, and what she wrote made
sense to me. Shahida had an angels patience with my slow thinking
and my silly questions, but she never gave up the hope in me.
Just listen to your heart and you'll find the truth she said.
And I found the truth in myself sooner than I'd expected. On the
way home from work, in the bus with most of the people around
me asleep, and myself adoring the sunset, painting the beautifully
dispersed clouds with pink and orange colours, all the parts came
together, how God can rule our life, yet we're not robots. How
I could depend on physics and chemistry and still believe and
see Gods work. It was wonderful, a few minutes of total understanding
and peace. I so long for a moment like this to happen again!
And it did, one morning I woke up, clear as a bell, and the first
thought that ran through my brain was how grateful to God I were
that he made me wake up to another day full of opportunities.
It was so natural, like I had been doing every day of my life!
After these experiences I couldn't no longer deny God's existence.
But after 25 years of denying God it was no easy task to admit
his existence and accept faith. But good things kept happening
to me, I spent some time in the US, and at this time I started
praying, testing and feeling, learning to focus on God and to
listen to what my heart said. It all ended in a nice weekend in
New York, of which I had worried a lot, but it turned out to be
a success, most of all, I finally got to meet Shahida!
At this point there was no return, I just didn't know it yet.
But God kept leading me, I read some more, and finally got the
courage to call the nearest Mosque and ask for a meeting with
some Muslims. With trembling legs I drove to the mosque, which
I had passed many times before, but never dared to stop and visit.
I met the nicest people there, and I was given some more reading
material, and made plans to come and visit the brothers in their
home. What they said, and the answers they gave all made sense.
Islam became a major part of my life, I started praying regularly,
and I went to my first Jumma prayer. It was wonderful, I sneaked
in, and sat in the back, not understanding a word the imam was
saying, but still enjoying the service. After the khutba we all
came together forming lines, and made the two 'Rakats'. It was
yet one of the wonderful experiences I have had on my journey
to Islam. The sincerity of 200 men fully devoted to just one thing,
to praise God, felt great!
Slowly my mind started to agree with my heart, I started to picture
myself as a Muslim, but could I really convert to Islam? I had
left the Swedish state-church earlier, just in case, but to pray
5 times a day? to stop eating pork? Could I really do that? And
what about my family and friends? I recalled what Br. Omar told
me, how his family tried to get him admitted to an asylum when
he converted. Could I really do this?
By this time the Internet wave had swept my country, and I too
had hooked up with the infobahn. And "out there" were
tons of information about Islam. I think I collected just about
every web page with the word Islam anywhere in the text, and learned
a lot. But what really made a change was a text I found in Great
Britain, a story of a newly converted woman with feelings exactly
like mine. 12 hours is the name of the text. When I had read that
story, and wept the tears out of my eyes I realized that there
were no turning back anymore, I couldn't resist Islam any longer.
Summer vacation started, and I had made my mind up. I had to become
a Muslim! But after all, the start of the summer had been very
cold, and if my first week without work was different, I wouldn't
lose a day of sunshine by not being on the beach. On the TV the
weatherman painted a big sun right on top of my part of the country.
OK then, some other day... The next morning; a steel grey sky,
with ice-cold gusts of wind outside my bedroom window. It was
like God had decided my time was up, I could wait no longer. I
had the required bath, and dressed in clean clothes, jumped in
my car and drove the 1 hour drive to the mosque.
In the Mosque I approached the brothers with my wish, and after
Dhuhr prayer the Imam and some brothers witnessed me say the Shahada.
Alhamdulillah! And to my great relief all my family and friends
have taken my conversion very well, they have all accepted it,
I won't say they were thrilled, but absolutely no hard feelings.
They can't understand all the things I do. Like praying 5 times
a day on specific times, or not eating pork meat. They think this
is strange foreign customs that will die out with time, but I'll
prove them wrong. insha'Allah!
Nuh Ha Mim Keller
What follows is a personal account of a scholar I have been writing
to for over a year and had the blessing of meeting when I invited
him to do a lecture tour around England. He is quite unique in
that he seems to be one of the few reverts/converts to have achieved
Islamic scholarship in the fullest sense of the word in traditional
and orthodox Islam, having studied Shafi'i and Hanafi Jurisprudence
(fiqh) and tenants of faith (`aqidah). I hope it will serve as
an inspiration to those who have moved closer to Islam but have
not yet taken the Shahadah, and as a reassurance to those that
have taken the Shahadah but are trying to find their feet in the
beautiful ocean of Islam, and also as a reminder and confirmation
to those of us who were blessed with being born into Muslim families,
Masud Ahmed Khan
Born in 1954 in the farm country of the north-western United States,
I was raised in a religious family as a Roman Catholic. The Church
provided a spiritual world that was unquestionable in my childhood,
if anything more real than the physical world around me, but as
I grew older, and especially after I entered a Catholic university
and read more, my relation to the religion became increasingly
called into question, in belief and practice.
One reason was the frequent changes in Catholic liturgy and ritual
that occurred in the wake of the Second Vatican Council of 1963,
suggesting to laymen that the Church had no firm standards. To
one another, the clergy spoke about flexibility and liturgical
relevance, but to ordinary Catholics they seemed to be groping
in the dark. God does not change, nor the needs of the human soul,
and there was no new revelation from heaven. Yet we rang in the
changes, week after week, year after year; adding, subtracting,
changing the language from Latin to English, finally bringing
in guitars and folk music. Priests explained and explained as
laymen shook their heads. The search for relevance left large
numbers convinced that there had not been much in the first place.
A second reason was a number of doctrinal difficulties, such as
the doctrine of the Trinity, which no one in the history of the
world, neither priest nor layman, had been able to explain in
a convincing way, and which resolved itself, to the common mind
at least, in a sort of godhead-by-committee, shared between God
the Father, who ruled the world from heaven; His son Jesus Christ,
who saved humanity on earth; and the Holy Ghost, who was pictured
as a white dove and appeared to have a considerably minor role.
I remember wanting to make special friends with just one of them
so he could handle my business with the others, and to this end,
would sometimes pray earnestly to this one
and sometimes to that; but the other two were always stubbornly
there. I finally decided that God the Father must be in charge
of the other two, and this put the most formidable obstacle in
the way of my Catholicism, the divinity of Christ. Moreover, reflection
made it plain that the nature of man contradicted the nature of
God in every particular, the limitary and finite on the one hand,
the absolute and infinite on the other. That Jesus was God was
something I cannot remember having ever really believed, in childhood
Another point of incredulity was the trading of the Church in
stocks and bonds in the hereafter it called indulgences. Do such
and such and so-and-so many years will be remitted from your sentence
in purgatory that had seemed so false to Martin Luther at the
outset of the Reformation.
I also remember a desire for a sacred scripture, something on
the order of a book that could furnish guidance. A Bible was given
to me one Christmas, a handsome edition, but on attempting to
read it, I found it so rambling and devoid of a coherent thread
that it was difficult to think of a way to base one's life upon
it. Only later did I learn how Christians solve the difficulty
in practice, Protestants by creating sectarian theologies, each
emphasizing the texts of their sect and downplaying the rest;
Catholics by downplaying it all, except the snippets mentioned
in their liturgy. Something seemed lacking in a sacred book that
could not be read as an integral whole.
Moreover, when I went to the university, I found that the authenticity
of the book, especially the New Testament, had come into considerable
doubt as a result of modern hermeneutical studies by Christians
themselves. In a course on contemporary theology, I read the Norman
Perrin translation of "The Problem of the Historical Jesus"
by Joachim Jeremias, one of the principal New Testament scholars
of this century. A textual critic who was a master of the original
languages and had spent long years with the texts, he had finally
agreed with the German theologian Rudolph Bultmann that without
a doubt it is true to say that the dream of ever writing a biography
of Jesus is over, meaning that the life of Christ as he actually
lived it could not be reconstructed from the New Testament with
any degree of confidence. If this were accepted from a friend
of Christianity and one of its foremost textual experts, I reasoned,
what was left for its enemies to say? And what then remained of
the Bible except to acknowledge that it was a record of truths
mixed with fictions, conjectures projected onto Christ by later
followers, themselves at odds with each other as to who the master
had been and what he had taught. And if theologians like Jeremias
could reassure themselves that somewhere under the layers of later
accretions to the New Testament there was something called the
historical Jesus and his message, how could the ordinary person
hope to find it, or know it, should it be found?
I studied philosophy at the university and it taught me to ask
two things of whoever claimed to have the truth: What do you mean,
and how do you know? When I asked these questions of my own religious
tradition, I found no answers, and realized that Christianity
had slipped from my hands. I then embarked on a search that is
perhaps not unfamiliar to many young people in the West, a quest
for meaning in a meaningless world.
I began where I had lost my previous belief, with the philosophers,
yet wanting to believe, seeking not philosophy, but rather a philosophy.
I read the essays of the great pessimist Arthur Schopenhauer,
which taught about the phenomenon of the ages of life, and that
money, fame, physical strength, and intelligence all passed from
one with the passage of years, but only moral excellence remained.
I took this lesson to heart and remembered it in after years.
His essays also drew attention to the fact that a person was wont
to repudiate in later years what he fervently espouses in the
heat of youth. With a prescient wish to find the Divine, I decided
to imbue myself with the most cogent arguments of atheism that
I could find, that perhaps I might find a way out of them later.
So I read the Walter Kaufmann translations of the works of the
immoralist Friedrich Nietzsche. The many-faceted genius dissected
the moral judgements and beliefs of mankind with brilliant philological
and psychological arguments that ended in accusing human language
itself, and the language of nineteenth-century science in particular,
of being so inherently determined and mediated by concepts inherited
from the language of morality that in their present form they
could never hope to uncover reality. Aside from their immunological
value against total scepticism, Nietzsches works explained why
the West was post-Christian, and accurately predicted the unprecedented
savagery of the twentieth century, debunking the myth that science
could function as a moral replacement for the now dead religion.
At a personal level, his tirades against Christianity, particularly
in The Genealogy of Morals, gave me the benefit of distilling
the beliefs of the monotheistic tradition into a small number
of analyzable forms. He separated unessential concepts (such as
the bizarre spectacle of an omnipotent deity's suicide on the
cross) from essential ones, which I now, though without believing
in them, apprehended to be but three alone: that God existed;
that He created man in the world and defined the conduct expected
of him in it; and that He would judge man accordingly in the hereafter
and send him to eternal reward or punishment.
It was during this time that I read an early translation of the
Koran which I grudgingly admired, between agnostic reservations,
for the purity with which it presented these fundamental concepts.
Even if false, I thought, there could not be a more essential
expression of religion. As a literary work, the translation, perhaps
it was Sales, was uninspired and openly hostile to its subject
matter, whereas I knew the Arabic original was widely acknowledged
for its beauty and eloquence among the religious books of mankind.
I felt a desire to learn Arabic to read the original.
On a vacation home from school, I was walking upon a dirty road
between some fields of wheat, and it happened that the sun went
down. By some inspiration, I realized that it was a time of worship,
a time to bow and pray to the one God. But it was not something
one could rely on oneself to provide the details of, but rather
a passing fancy, or perhaps the beginning of an awareness that
atheism was an inauthentic way of being.
I carried something of this disquiet with me when I transferred
to the University of Chicago, where I studied the epistemology
of ethical theory how moral judgements were reached reading and
searching among the books of the philosophers for something to
shed light on the question of meaninglessness, which was both
a personal concern and one of the central philosophical problems
of our age.
According to some, scientific observation could only yield description
statements of the form X is Y, for example, The object is red,
Its weight is two kilos, Its height is ten centimetres, and so
on, in each of which the functional was a scientifically verifiable
is, whereas in moral judgements the functional element was an
ought, a description statement which no amount of scientific observation
could measure or verify. It appeared that ought was logically
meaningless, and with it all morality whatsoever, a position that
reminded me of those described by Lucian in his advice that whoever
sees a moral philosopher coming down the road should flee from
him as from a mad dog. For such a person, expediency ruled, and
nothing checked his behaviour but convention.
As Chicago was a more expensive school, and I had to raise tuition
money, I found summer work on the West Coast with a seining boat
fishing in Alaska. The sea proved a school in its own right, one
I was to return to for a space of eight seasons, for the money.
I met many people on boats, and saw something of the power and
greatness of the wind, water, storms, and rain; and the smallness
of man. These things lay before us like an immense book, but my
fellow fishermen and I could only discern the letters of it that
were within our context: to catch as many fish as possible within
the specified time to sell to the tenders. Few knew how to read
the book as a whole. Sometimes, in a blow, the waves rose like
great hills, and the captain would hold the wheel with white knuckles,
our bow one minute plunging gigantically down into a valley of
green water, the next moment reaching the bottom of the trough
and soaring upwards towards the sky before topping the next crest
and starting down again.
Early in my career as a deck hand, I had read the Hazel Barnes
translation of Jean Paul Sartres "Being and Nothingness",
in which he argued that phenomena only arose for consciousness
in the existential context of human projects, a theme that recalled
Marxs 1844 manuscripts, where nature was produced by man, meaning,
for example, that when the mystic sees a stand of trees, his consciousness
hypostatizes an entirely different phenomenal object than a poet
does, for example, or a capitalist. To the mystic, it is a manifestation;
to the poet, a forest; to the capitalist, lumber. According to
such a perspective, a mountain only appears as tall in the context
of the project of climbing it, and so on, according to the instrumental
relations involved in various human interests. But the great natural
events of the sea surrounding us seemed to defy, with their stubborn,
irreducible facticity, our uncomprehending attempts to come to
terms with them. Suddenly, we were just there, shaken by the forces
around us without making sense of them, wondering if we would
make it through. Some, it was true, would ask Gods help at such
moments, but when we returned safely to shore, we behaved like
men who knew little of Him, as if those moments had been a lapse
into insanity, embarrassing to think of at happier times. It was
one of the lessons of the sea that in fact, such events not only
existed but perhaps even preponderated in our life. Man was small
and weak, the forces around him were large, and he did not control
Sometimes a boat would sink and men would die. I remember a fisherman
from another boat who was working near us one opening, doing the
same job as I did, piling web. He smiled across the water as he
pulled the net from the hydraulic block overhead, stacking it
neatly on the stern to ready it for the next set. Some weeks later,
his boat overturned while fishing in a storm, and he got caught
in the web and drowned. I saw him only once again, in a dream,
beckoning to me from the stern of his boat.
The tremendousness of the scenes we lived in, the storms, the
towering sheer cliffs rising vertically out of the water for hundreds
of feet, the cold and rain and fatigue, the occasional injuries
and deaths of workers these made little impression on most of
us. Fishermen were, after all, supposed to be tough. On one boat,
the family that worked it was said to lose an occasional crew
member while running at sea at the end of the season, invariably
the sole non-family member who worked with them, his loss saving
them the wages they would have otherwise had to pay him.
The captain of another was a twenty-seven-year-old who delivered
millions of dollars worth of crab each year in the Bering Sea.
When I first heard of him, we were in Kodiak, his boat at the
city dock they had tied up to after a lengthy run some days before.
The captain was presently indisposed in his bunk in the stateroom,
where he had been vomiting up blood from having eaten a glass
uptown the previous night to prove how tough he was.
He was in somewhat better condition when I later saw him in the
Bering Sea at the end of a long winter king crab season. He worked
in his wheelhouse up top, surrounded by radios that could pull
in a signal from just about anywhere, computers, Loran, sonar,
depth-finders, radar. His panels of lights and switches were set
below the 180-degree sweep of shatterproof windows that overlooked
the sea and the men on deck below, to whom he communicated by
loudspeaker. They often worked round the clock, pulling their
gear up from the icy water under watchful batteries of enormous
electric lights attached to the masts that turned the perpetual
night of the winter months into day. The captain had a reputation
as a screamer, and had once locked his crew out on deck in the
rain for eleven hours because one of them had gone inside to have
a cup of coffee without permission. Few crewmen lasted longer
than a season with him, though they made nearly twice the yearly
income of, say, a lawyer or an advertising executive, and in only
six months. Fortunes were made in the Bering Sea in those years,
before overfishing wiped out the crab.
At present, he was at anchor, and was amiable enough when we tied
up to him and he came aboard to sit and talk with our own captain.
They spoke at length, at times gazing thoughtfully out at the
sea through the door or windows, at times looking at each other
sharply when something animated them, as the topic of what his
competitors thought of him. "They wonder why I have a few
bucks", he said. "Well I slept in my own home one night
He later had his crew throw off the lines and pick the anchor,
his eyes flickering warily over the water from the windows of
the house as he pulled away with a blast of smoke from the stack.
His watchfulness, his walrus-like physique, his endless voyages
after game and markets, reminded me of other predatory hunter-animals
of the sea. Such people, good at making money but heedless of
any ultimate end or purpose, made an impression on me, and I increasingly
began to wonder if men didn't need principles to guide them and
tell them why they were there.
Without such principles, nothing seemed to distinguish us above
our prey except being more thorough, and technologically capable
of preying longer, on a vaster scale, and with greater devastation
than the animals we hunted.
These considerations were in my mind the second year I studied
at Chicago, where I became aware through studies of philosophical
moral systems that philosophy had not been successful in the past
at significantly influencing peoples morals and preventing injustice,
and I came to realize that there was little hope for it to do
so in the future. I found that comparing human cultural systems
and societies in their historical succession and multiplicity
had led many intellectuals to moral relativism, since no moral
value could be discovered which on its own merits was transculturally
valid, a reflection leading to nihilism, the perspective that
sees human civilizations as plants that grow out of the earth,
springing from their various seeds and soils, thriving for a time,
and then dying away.
Some heralded this as intellectual liberation, among them Emile
Durkheim in his "Elementary Forms of the Religious Life",
or Sigmund Freud in his "Totem and Taboo", which discussed
mankind as if it were a patient and diagnosed its religious traditions
as a form of a collective neurosis that we could now hope to cure,
by applying to them a thorough scientific atheism, a sort of salvation
through pure science.
On this subject, I bought the Jeremy Shapiro translation of "Knowledge
and Human Interests" by Jurgen Habermas, who argued that
there was no such thing as pure science that could be depended
upon to forge boldly ahead in a steady improvement of itself and
the world. He called such a misunderstanding scientism, not science.
Science in the real world, he said, was not free of values, still
less of interests. The kinds of research that obtain funding,
for example, were a function of what their society deemed meaningful,
expedient, profitable, or important. Habermas had been of a generation
of German academics who, during the thirties and forties, knew
what was happening in their country, but insisted they were simply
engaged in intellectual production, that they were living in the
realm of scholarship, and need not concern themselves with whatever
the state might choose to do with their research. The horrible
question mark that was attached to German intellectuals when the
Nazi atrocities became public after the war made Habermas think
deeply about the ideology of pure science. If anything was obvious,
it was that the nineteenth-century optimism of thinkers like Freud
and Durkheim was no longer tenable.
I began to reassess the intellectual life around me. Like Schopenhauer,
I felt that higher education must produce higher human beings.
But at the university, I found lab people talking to each other
about forging research data to secure funding for the coming year;
luminaries who wouldn't permit tape recorders at their lectures
for fear that competitors in the same field would go one step
further with their research and beat them to publication; professors
vying with each other in the length of their courses syllabuses.
The moral qualities I was accustomed to associate with ordinary,
unregenerate humanity seemed as frequently met with in sophisticated
academics as they had been in fishermen. If one could laugh at
fishermen who, after getting a boatload of fish in a big catch,
would cruise back and forth in front of the others to let them
see how laden down in the water they were, ostensibly looking
for more fish; what could one say about the Ph.D.s who behaved
the same way about their books and articles? I felt that their
knowledge had not developed their persons, that the secret of
higher man did not lie in their sophistication.
I wondered if I hadn't gone down the road of philosophy as far
as one could go. While it had debunked my Christianity and provided
some genuine insights, it had not yet answered the big questions.
Moreover, I felt that this was somehow connected I didn't know
whether as cause or effect to the fact that our intellectual tradition
no longer seemed to seriously comprehend itself. What were any
of us, whether philosophers, fishermen, garbagemen, or kings,
except bit players in a drama we did not understand, diligently
playing out our roles until our replacements were sent, and we
gave our last performance? But could one legitimately hope for
more than this? I read "Kojves Introduction to the Reading
of Hegel", in which he explained that for Hegel, philosophy
did not culminate in the system, but rather in the Wise Man, someone
able to answer any possible question on the ethical implications
of human actions. This made me consider our own plight in the
twentieth century, which could no longer answer a single ethical
It was thus as if this century's unparalleled mastery of concrete
things had somehow ended by making us things. I contrasted this
with Hegel's concept of the concrete in his "Phenomenology
of Mind". An example of the abstract, in his terms, was the
limitary physical reality of the book now held in your hands,
while the concrete was its interconnection with the larger realities
it presupposed, the modes of production that determined the kind
of ink and paper in it, the aesthetic standards that dictated
its colour and design, the systems of marketing and distribution
that had carried it to the reader, the historical circumstances
that had brought about the readers literacy and taste; the cultural
events that had mediated its style and usage; in short, the bigger
picture in which it was articulated and had its being. For Hegel,
the movement of philosophical investigation always led from the
abstract to the concrete, to the more real. He was therefore able
to say that philosophy necessarily led to theology, whose object
was the ultimately real, the Deity. This seemed to me to point
up an irreducible lack in our century. I began to wonder if, by
materializing our culture and our past, we had not somehow abstracted
ourselves from our wider humanity, from our true nature in relation
to a higher reality.
At this juncture, I read a number of works on Islam, among them
the books of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who believed that many of the
problems of western man, especially those of the environment,
were from his having left the divine wisdom of revealed religion,
which taught him his true place as a creature of God in the natural
world and to understand and respect it. Without it, he burned
up and consumed nature with ever more effective technological
styles of commercial exploitation that ruined his world from without
while leaving him increasingly empty within, because he did not
know why he existed or to what end he should act.
I reflected that this might be true as far as it went, but it
begged the question as to the truth of revealed religion. Everything
on the face of the earth, all moral and religious systems, were
on the same plane, unless one could gain certainty that one of
them was from a higher source, the sole guarantee of the objectivity,
the whole force, of moral law. Otherwise, one mans opinion was
as good as another's, and we remained in an undifferentiated sea
of conflicting individual interests, in which no valid objection
could be raised to the strong eating the weak.
I read other books on Islam, and came across some passages translated
by W. Montgomery Watt from "That Which Delivers from Error"
by the theologian and mystic Ghazali, who, after a mid-life crises
of questioning and doubt, realized that beyond the light of prophetic
revelation there is no other light on the face of the earth from
which illumination may be received, the very point to which my
philosophical inquiries had led. Here was, in Hegel's terms, the
Wise Man, in the person of a divinely inspired messenger who alone
had the authority to answer questions of good and evil.
I also read A.J. Arberrys translation "The Koran Interpreted",
and I recalled my early wish for a sacred book. Even in translation,
the superiority of the Muslim scripture over the Bible was evident
in every line, as if the reality of divine revelation, dimly heard
of all my life, had now been placed before my eyes. In its exalted
style, its power, its inexorable finality, its uncanny way of
anticipating the arguments of the atheistic heart in advance and
answering them; it was a clear exposition of God as God and man
as man, the revelation of the awe-inspiring Divine Unity being
the identical revelation of social and economic justice among
I began to learn Arabic at Chicago, and after studying the grammar
for a year with a fair degree of success, decided to take a leave
of absence to try to advance in the language in a year of private
study in Cairo. Too, a desire for new horizons drew me, and after
a third season of fishing, I went to the Middle East.
In Egypt, I found something I believe brings many to Islam, namely,
the mark of pure monotheism upon its followers, which struck me
as more profound than anything I had previously encountered. I
met many Muslims in Egypt, good and bad, but all influenced by
the teachings of their Book to a greater extent than I had ever
seen elsewhere. It has been some fifteen years since then, and
I cannot remember them all, or n most of them, but perhaps the
ones I can recall will serve to illustrate the impressions made.
One was a man on the side of the Nile near the Miqyas Gardens,
where I used to walk. I came upon him praying on a piece of cardboard,
facing across the water. I started to pass in front of him, but
suddenly checked myself and walked around behind, not wanting
to disturb him. As I watched a moment before going my way, I beheld
a man absorbed in his relation to God, oblivious to my presence,
much less my opinions about him or his religion. To my mind, there
was something magnificently detached about this, altogether strange
for someone coming from the West, where praying in public was
virtually the only thing that remained obscene.
Another was a young boy from secondary school who greeted me near
Khan al-Khalili, and because I spoke some Arabic and he spoke
some English and wanted to tell me about Islam, he walked with
me several miles across town to Giza, explaining as much as he
could. When we parted, I think he said a prayer that I might become
Another was a Yemeni friend living in Cairo who brought me a copy
of the Koran at my request to help me learn Arabic. I did not
have a table beside the chair where I used to sit and read in
my hotel room, and it was my custom to stack the books on the
floor. When I set the Koran by the others there, he silently stooped
and picked it up, out of respect for it. This impressed me because
I knew he was not religious, but here was the effect of Islam
Another was a woman I met while walking beside a bicycle on an
unpaved road on the opposite side of the Nile from Luxor. I was
dusty, and somewhat shabbily clothed, and she was an old woman
dressed in black from head to toe who walked up, and without a
word or glance at me, pressed a coin into my hand so suddenly
that in my surprise I dropped it. By the time I picked it up,
she had hurried away. Because she thought I was poor, even if
obviously non-Muslim, she gave me some money without any expectation
for it except what was between her and her God. This act made
me think a lot about Islam, because nothing seemed to have motivated
her but that.
Many other things passed through my mind during the months I stayed
in Egypt to learn Arabic. I found myself thinking that a man must
have some sort of religion, and I was more impressed by the effect
of Islam on the lives of Muslims, a certain nobility of purpose
and largesse of soul, than I had ever been by any other religions
or even atheism's effect on its followers. The Muslims seemed
to have more than we did.
Christianity had its good points to be sure, but they seemed mixed
with confusions, and I found myself more and more inclined to
look to Islam for their fullest and most perfect expression. The
first question we had memorized from our early catechism had been
Why were you created? to which the correct answer was To know,
love, and serve God. When I reflected on those around me, I realized
that Islam seemed to furnish the most comprehensive and understandable
way to practice this on a daily basis.
As for the inglorious political fortunes of the Muslims today,
I did not feel these to be a reproach against Islam, or to relegate
it to an inferior position in a natural order of world ideologies,
but rather saw them as a low phase in a larger cycle of history.
Foreign hegemony over Muslim lands had been witnessed before in
the thorough going destruction of Islamic civilization in the
thirteenth century by the Mongol horde, who razed cities and built
pyramids of human heads from the steppes of Central Asia to the
Muslim heartlands, after which the fullness of destiny brought
forth the Ottoman Empire to raise the Word of Allah and make it
a vibrant political reality that endured for centuries. It was
now, I reflected, merely the turn of contemporary Muslims to strive
for a new historic crystallization of Islam, something one might
well aspire to share in.
When a friend in Cairo one day asked me, Why don't you become
I found that Allah had created within me a desire to belong to
this religion, which so enriches its followers, from the simplest
hearts to he most magisterial intellects. It is not through an
act of the mind or will that anyone becomes a Muslim, but rather
through the mercy of Allah, and this, in the final analysis, was
what brought me to Islam in Cairo in 1977.
"Is it not time that the hearts of those who believe should
be humbled to the Remembrance of God and the Truth which He has
sent down, and that they should not be as those to whom the Book
was given aforetime, and the term seemed over long to them, so
that their hearts have become hard, and many of them are ungodly?
Know that God revives the earth after it was dead. We have indeed
made clear for you the signs, that haply you will understand."
Nuh Ha Mim Keller is the translator of "The Reliance of the
[Umdat as-Salik] by Ahmed Ibn Naqib al-Misri
[In the following article, "NOI" refers to the Nation
of Islam, which in spite of its name, is a group far removed from
I grew up Baptist, in a family of ministers, in rural Mississippi.
I went to college at Morehouse College in Atlanta, so I was exposed
to the NOI, but I had the good fortune to become friends with
an orthodox Muslim who explained to me the difference between
NOI and Islam, and the lack of knowledge most NOI have of true
Islam. Later, after I left school and began working, I got an
internet account, and started to study some of the religions of
the world. I had never really been a particularly religious person,
due to my somewhat scientific nature. I always insist on proof.
I started to delve deeper into Christianity, and studied it intently
on the Web. I was somewhat disdained however by some inconsistencies
in the Bible. I principally was troubled by the Trinity, though.
I just did not see it. The one passage I saw as being most supportive
(1 John 5:7) was partially forged. When I read Matthew 19:16-17,
and Jesus (s.a.s.) says "Why callest thou me good?, it was
clear to me that he was saying that he was not good, and only
God was. But most of the Christians seemed to think Jesus was
being tongue-in-cheek at this point. I found that I would have
to be dishonest to accept this.
Then fortune? smiled upon me. I hit a deer in my car. It was out
of service for almost a month. During that time, I was unemployed,
but had saved money, so I could live (I also have two roommates).
I still had my internet account, and I decided to study more.
After I had studied the Biblical contradictions, in addition to
the inherent idolatry and unscriptural nature of the Trinity,
along with other things, I rejected Christianity as a religion.
Even Jesus did not seem to teach it, he taught belief in God.
I went a time without any religion, thinking maybe it was all
a sham. I have a friend who is in the 5% NOI, and I saw how much
he hated religion, and I decided that I did not want to be like
that. I believe that God kept my mind open and my heart from hardening
against Him, and I studied Islam. Everything just seemed to fit:
a reasoned faith which was very prayerful to keep us on the straight
path, yet did not disdain acquisition of knowledge (the preachers
back home loved to rail against education, as if ignorance is
preferred by God). Islam seemed to be made for me. A good Muslim
was the exact sort of person I aspired to be. After another month
of study and prayer, I decided that if Muhammad (s.a.s.) was not
a prophet, then there had never been prophets in the first place.
The moment of decision came one night when I was reading the Qur'an
and I read 21:30, and I read of God expanding his creation. Now,
I almost became an astronomer at one point, and I still am interested,
and these verses hit me like a sledgehammer. I became fearful
of God, and wanted to worship him better.
My conversion to Islam has been intellectual and emotional. My
parents have both been educated at the university-level. My mother
is a Christian convert (she was atheist), and my father has personal
beliefs. My family is rather rich.
Ever since I was very young, I've been interested by political
questions. I enjoyed reading history books, although I was confused
a little bit between military history and politics. I called myself
a communist, but today I wouldn't say I knew what it means. Over
time, I learned real politics and sociology, but when the communist
bloc fell, I admitted my error and was no longer a fan of the
communist states. I became agnostic, and thought that all human
beings are condemned to egotism and to ignorance of some questions,
like the existence of God. I learned philosophy. I wanted to avoid
doing the same mistakes as in the past, and so I refused all dogmas.
At this time occurred the separation of my parents, and also other
personal problems. To forget all this, I spent a lot of time in
laughing with (fake) friends, drinking, and then smoking cigarettes,
then hash. I sometimes took hard drugs (heroin, LSD, and some
other poisons). Despite this, I passed my baccalaureate (this
is an exam that ends four years of college and gives the right
to continue graduate level study at the university). By chance,
I had to go at the army (we do not have the choice in the country
I live in). The strict rules I could not avoid there were a very
good thing for me; also, I was tired enough to enjoy simple things
as eating and sleeping. Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), my mentality
Back in civil society, I spent one more dark year: I always had
the temptation of my bad habits, and I felt that life was very
superficial after the big effort the friendship of the army. I
began feeling the necessity of something else in my life. Then
one of my sisters, back from a journey to Syria, gave me a book.
This book, written in my language, is a gift she received there.
Its author, who had titled it "The Bible, Quran and Science",
wanted to show that there are in the Quran some things that were
simply impossible for a human being to know at the time the Quran
was revealed. Conclusion: the authenticity of the Quran is proved,
scientifically proved. The first thing I thought after having
read the book was: "Oh! It would be super!" -- I was
ready for a change in my way of life.
I bought a translation of the Quran to compare. Before having
entirely read it, I had become a Muslim, alhamdulillah. As you
can see, a psychologist wouldn't have any problem to explain what
he would call my choice. For me, all this come from God and He
had written this for me, He had chosen these means to make me
accept Islam. Alhamdulillah! What no psychologist can see is what
happens in my heart when I read the Quran: faith has little to
do with what one feels in front of a scientific demonstration!
Yahiye Adam Gadahn
My first seventeen years have been a bit different than the youth
experienced by most Americans. I grew up on an extremely rural
goat ranch in Western Riverside County, California, where my family
raises on average 150 to 200 animals for milk, cheese, and meat.
My father is a halal butcher [a butcher who slaughters in an Islamic
and supplies to an Islamic Food Mart a few blocks from the Islamic
Center in downtown Los Angeles.
My father was raised agnostic or atheist, but he became a believer
in One God when he picked up a Bible left on the beach. He once
had a number of Muslim friends, but they've all moved out of California
now. My mother was raised Catholic, so she leans towards Christianity
(although she, like my father, disregards the Trinity). I and
my siblings were/are home-schooled, and as you may know, most
home-school families are Christian. In the last 8 or so years,
we have been involved with some home-schooling support groups,
thus acquainting me with fundamentalist Christianity. It was an
eye-opening experience. Setting aside the blind dogmatism and
charismatic wackiness, it was quite a shock to me when I realized
that these people, in their prayers, were actually praying TO
JESUS. You see, I had always believed that Jesus (s.a.s.) was,
at the very most, the Son of God (since that is what the Bible
mistranslates "Servant of God" as). As I learned that
belief in the Trinity, something I find absolutely ridiculous,
is considered by most Christians to be a prerequisite for salvation,
I gradually realized I could not be a Christian.
In the meantime, I had become obsessed with demonic Heavy Metal
music, something the rest of my family (as I now realize, rightfully
so) was not happy with. My entire life was focused on expanding
my music collection. I eschewed personal cleanliness and let my
room reach an unbelievable state of disarray. My relationship
with my parents became strained, although only intermittently
so. I am sorry even as I write this.
Earlier this year, I began to listen to the apocalyptic ramblings
of Christian radio's "prophecy experts." Their paranoid
espousal of various conspiracy theories, rabid support of Israel
and religious Zionism, and fiery preaching about the "Islamic
Threat" held for me a strange fascination. Why? Well, I suppose
it was simply the need I was feeling to fill that void I had created
for myself. In any case, I soon found that the beliefs these evangelists
held, such as Original Sin and the Infallibility of "God's
Word", were not in agreement with my theological ideas (not
to mention the Bible) and I began to look for something else to
The turning point, perhaps, was when I moved in with my grandparents
here in Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange, California. My grandmother,
a computer whiz, is hooked up to America Online and I have been
scooting the information superhighway since January. But when
I moved in, with the intent of finding a job (easier said than
done), I begin to visit the religion folders on AOL and the Usenet
newsgroups, where I found discussions on Islam to be the most
intriguing. You see, I discovered that the beliefs and practices
of this religion fit my personal theology and intellect as well
as basic human logic. Islam presents God not as an anthropomorphic
being but as an entity beyond human comprehension, transcendent
of man, independent and undivided. Islam has a holy book that
is comprehensible to a layman, and there is no papacy or priesthood
that is considered infallible in matters of interpretation: all
Muslims are free to reflect and interpret the book given a sufficient
education. Islam does not believe that all men are doomed to Hell
unless they simply accept that God (apparently unable to forgive
otherwise) magnanimously allowed Himself to be tortured on a cross
to enable Him to forgive all human beings who just believe that
He allowed Himself to be tortured on a cross... Islam does not
believe in a Chosen Race. And on and on...
As I began reading English translations of the Qur'an, I became
more and more convinced of the truth and authenticity of Allah's
teachings contained in those 114 chapters. Having been around
Muslims in my formative years, I knew well that they were not
the bloodthirsty, barbaric terrorists that the news media and
the televangelists paint them to be. Perhaps this knowledge led
me to continue my personal research further than another person
would have. I can't say when I actually decided that Islam was
for me. It was really a natural progression. In any case, last
week [November 1995 -ed.]I went to the Islamic Society of Orange
County in Garden Grove and told the brother in charge of the library
I wanted to be a Muslim. He gave me some excellent reading material,
and last Friday I took Shahada [accepted the creed of Islam -ed.]in
front of a packed masjid. I have spent this week learning to perform
Salat and reflecting on the greatness of Allah. It feels great
to be a Muslim! Subhana rabbi al 'azim!
Cat Stevens - Yussuf Islam
How I came to Islam
All I have to say is all what you know already, to confirm what
you already know, the message of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi
wa sallam) as given by God - the Religion of Truth. As human beings
we are given a consciousness and a duty that has placed us at
the top of creation. Man is created to be God's deputy on earth,
and it is important to realize the obligation to rid ourselves
of all illusions and to make our lives a preparation for the next
life. Anybody who misses this chance is not likely to be given
another, to be brought back again and again, because it says in
Qur'an Majeed that when man is brought to account, he will say,
"O Lord, send us back and give us another chance." The
Lord will say, "If I send you back you will do the same."
MY EARLY RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING
I was brought up in the modern world of all the luxury and the
high life of show business. I was born in a Christian home, but
we know that every child is born in his original nature - it is
only his parents that turn him to this or that religion. I was
given this religion (Christianity) and thought this way. I was
taught that God exists, but there was no direct contact with God,
so we had to make contact with Him through Jesus - he was in fact
the door to God. This was more or less accepted by me, but I did
not swallow it all.
I looked at some of the statues of Jesus; they were just stones
with no life. And when they said that God is three, I was puzzled
even more but could not argue. I more or less believed it, because
I had to have respect for the faith of my parents.
Gradually I became alienated from this religious upbringing. I
started making music. I wanted to be a big star. All those things
I saw in the films and on the media took hold of me, and perhaps
I thought this was my God, the goal of making money. I had an
uncle who had a beautiful car. "Well," I said, "he
has it made. He has a lot of money." The people around me
influenced me to think that this was it; this world was their
I decided then that this was the life for me; to make a lot of
money, have a 'great life.' Now my examples were the pop stars.
I started making songs, but deep down I had a feeling for humanity,
a feeling that if I became rich I would help the needy. (It says
in the Qur'an, we make a promise, but when we make something,
we want to hold onto it and become greedy.)
So what happened was that I became very famous. I was still a
teenager, my name and photo were splashed in all the media. They
made me larger than life, so I wanted to live larger than life
and the only way to do that was to be intoxicated (with liquor
After a year of financial success and 'high' living, I became
very ill, contracted TB and had to be hospitalized. It was then
that I started to think: What was to happen to me? Was I just
a body, and my goal in life was merely to satisfy this body? I
realized now that this calamity was a blessing given to me by
Allah, a chance to open my eyes - "Why am I here? Why am
I in bed?" - and I started looking for some of the answers.
At that time there was great interest in the Eastern mysticism.
I began reading, and the first thing I began to become aware of
was death, and that the soul moves on; it does not stop. I felt
I was taking the road to bliss and high accomplishment. I started
meditating and even became a vegetarian. I now believed in 'peace
and flower power,' and this was the general trend. But what I
did believe in particular was that I was not just a body. This
awareness came to me at the hospital.
One day when I was walking and I was caught in the rain, I began
running to the shelter and then I realized, 'Wait a minute, my
body is getting wet, my body is telling me I am getting wet.'
This made me think of a saying that the body is like a donkey,
and it has to be trained where it has to go. Otherwise, the donkey
will lead you where it wants to go.
Then I realized I had a will, a God-given gift: follow the will
of God. I was fascinated by the new terminology I was learning
in the Eastern religion. By now I was fed up with Christianity.
I started making music again and this time I started reflecting
my own thoughts. I remember the lyric of one of my songs. It goes
like this: "I wish I knew, I wish I knew what makes the Heaven,
what makes the Hell. Do I get to know You in my bed or some dusty
cell while others reach the big hotel?" and I knew I was
on the Path.
I also wrote another song, "The Way to Find God Out."
I became even more famous in the world of music. I really had
a difficult time because I was getting rich and famous, and at
the same time, I was sincerely searching for the Truth. Then I
came to a stage where I decided that Buddhism is all right and
noble, but I was not ready to leave the world. I was too attached
to the world and was not prepared to become a monk and to isolate
myself from society.
I tried Zen and Ching, numerology, tarot cards and astrology.
I tried to look back into the Bible and could not find anything.
At this time I did not know anything about Islam, and then, what
I regarded as a miracle occurred. My brother had visited the mosque
in Jerusalem and was greatly impressed that while on the one hand
it throbbed with life (unlike the churches and synagogues which
were empty), on the other hand, an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity
When he came to London he brought back a translation of the Qur'an,
which he gave to me. He did not become a Muslim, but he felt something
in this religion, and thought I might find something in it also.
And when I received the book, a guidance that would explain everything
to me - who I was; what was the purpose of life; what was the
reality and what would be the reality; and where I came from -
I realized that this was the true religion; religion not in the
sense the West understands it, not the type for only your old
age. In the West, whoever wishes to embrace a religion and make
it his only way of life is deemed a fanatic. I was not a fanatic,
I was at first confused between the body and the soul. Then I
realized that the body and soul are not apart and you don't have
to go to the mountain to be religious. We must follow the will
of God. Then we can rise higher than the angels. The first thing
I wanted to do now was to be a Muslim.
I realized that everything belongs to God, that slumber does not
overtake Him. He created everything. At this point I began to
lose the pride in me, because hereto I had thought the reason
I was here was because of my own greatness. But I realized that
I did not create myself, and the whole purpose of my being here
was to submit to the teaching that has been perfected by the religion
we know as Al-Islam. At this point I started discovering my faith.
I felt I was a Muslim. On reading the Qur'an, I now realized that
all the Prophets sent by God brought the same message. Why then
were the Jews and Christians different? I know now how the Jews
did not accept Jesus as the Messiah and that they had changed
His Word. Even the Christians misunderstand God's Word and called
Jesus the son of God. Everything made so much sense. This is the
beauty of the Qur'an; it asks you to reflect and reason, and not
to worship the sun or moon but the One Who has created everything.
The Qur'an asks man to reflect upon the sun and moon and God's
creation in general. Do you realize how different the sun is from
the moon? They are at varying distances from the earth, yet appear
the same size to us; at times one seems to overlap the other.
Even when many of the astronauts go to space, they see the insignificant
size of the earth and vastness of space. They become very religious,
because they have seen the Signs of Allah.
When I read the Qur'an further, it talked about prayer, kindness
and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt that the only
answer for me was the Qur'an, and God had sent it to me, and I
kept it a secret. But the Qur'an also speaks on different levels.
I began to understand it on another level, where the Qur'an says,
"Those who believe do not take disbelievers for friends and
the believers are brothers."
Thus at this point I wished to meet my Muslim brothers.
Then I decided to journey to Jerusalem (as my brother had done).
At Jerusalem, I went to the mosque and sat down. A man asked me
what I wanted. I told him I was a Muslim. He asked what was my
name. I told him, "Stevens." He was confused. I then
joined the prayer, though not so successfully. Back in London,
I met a sister called Nafisa. I told her I wanted to embrace Islam
and she directed me to the New Regent Mosque. This was in 1977,
about one and a half years after I received the Qur'an. Now I
realized that I must get rid of my pride, get rid of Iblis, and
face one direction. So on a Friday, after Jumma' I went to the
Imam and declared my faith (the Kalima) at this hands. You have
before you someone who had achieved fame and fortune. But guidance
was something that eluded me, no matter how hard I tried, until
I was shown the Qur'an. Now I realize I can get in direct contact
with God, unlike Christianity or any other religion. As one Hindu
lady told me, "You don't understand the Hindus. We believe
in one God; we use these objects (idols) to merely concentrate."
What she was saying was that in order to reach God, one has to
create associates, that are idols for the purpose. But Islam removes
all these barriers. The only thing that moves the believers from
the disbelievers is the salat. This is the process of purification.
Finally I wish to say that everything I do is for the pleasure
of Allah and pray that you gain some inspirations from my experiences.
Furthermore, I would like to stress that I did not come into contact
with any Muslim before I embraced Islam. I read the Qur'an first
and realized that no person is perfect. Islam is perfect, and
if we imitate the conduct of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi
wa sallam) we will be successful. May Allah give us guidance to
follow the path of the ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa
-- Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)
Prof. Abdul Ahad Dawud B.D. (Iran)
Formerly the Reverend David Bengamni Keldani, B.D.
"My conversion to Islam cannot be attributed to any cause
other than the gracious direction of Almighty God. Without this
Divine guidance, all learning, searching and other efforts to
find the truth may even lead one astray. The moment I believed
in the Absolute Unity of God,
His Holy Apostle Muhammad became the pattern of my conduct and
May 2, 1996. Ever since I can remember, my family attended a non-denominational
conservative Christian church (Church of Christ). I grew up in
the church, taught bible school and sang in the choir. As a young
teenager I began asking questions (as I think everyone does at
one point in their lives): Why was I a member of the Church of
Christ and not say Lutheran, Catholic or Methodist? If various
churches are teaching conflicting doctrine, how do we know which
one is right? Are they all right? Do `all paths lead to God' as
I had heard some say? Others say that as long as you are a good
person it doesn't matter what you believe - is that true?
After some soul searching I decided that I did believe that there
was an ultimate truth and in an attempt to find that truth I began
a comparison study of various churches. I decided that I believed
in the Bible and would join the church that best followed the
Bible. After a lengthy study, I decided to stay with the Church
of Christ, satisfied that its doctrines were biblically sound
(unaware at this stage that there could be various interpretations
of the Bible).
I spent a year at Michigan Christian College, a small college
affiliated with the Churches of Christ, but was not challenged
academically and so transferred to Western Michigan University.
Having applied late for student housing, I was placed in the international
dorm. Although my roommate was American, I felt surrounded by
strange people from strange places. It was in fact my first real
experience with cultural diversity and it scared me (having been
raised in a white, middle class, Christian community). I wanted
to change dorms but there wasn't anything available. I did really
like my roommate and decided to stick out the semester.
My roommate became very involved in the dorm activities and got
to know most everyone in the dorm. I however performed with the
marching band and spent most of my time with band people. Marching
season soon ended and finding myself with time on my hands, I
joined my roommate on her adventures around the dorm. It turned
out to be a wonderful, fascinating experience! There were a large
number of Arab men living in the dorm. They were charming, handsome,
and a lot of fun to be around. My roommate started dating one
of them and we ended up spending most of our time with the Arabs.
I guess I knew they were Muslims (although very few of them were
practising). We never really discussed religion, we were just
The year passed and I had started seeing one of the Arabs. Again,
we were just enjoying each other's company and never discussed
our religious differences. Neither of us were practising at this
time so it never really became an issue for us. I did, deep down,
feel guilty for not attending church, but I pushed it in the back
of my mind. I was having too much fun.
Another year passed and I was home for summer vacation when my
roommate called me with some very distressing news: she'd become
a Muslim!! I was horrified. She didn't tell me why she converted,
just that she had spent a lot of time talking with her boyfriend's
brother and it all made sense to her. After we hung up, I immediately
wrote her a long letter explaining that she was ruining her life
and to just give Christianity one more chance. That same summer
my boyfriend transferred to Azusa Pacific University in California.
We decided to get married and move to California together. Again,
since neither one were practising, religion was not discussed.
Secretly I started reading books on Islam. However I read books
that were written by non-Muslims. One of the books I read was
Islam Revealed by Anis Sorosh. I felt guilty about my friend's
conversion. I felt that if I had been a better Christian, she
would have turned to the church rather than Islam. Islam was a
man-made religion, I believed, and filled with contradictions.
After reading Sorosh's book, I thought I could convert my friend
and my husband to Christianity.
At APU, my husband was required to take a few religion courses.
One day he came home from class and said: "The more I learn
about Christianity, the stronger my belief in Islam becomes."
At about this same time he started showing signs of wanting to
practice his religion again. Our problems began. We started talking
about religion and arguing about our different beliefs. He told
me I should learn about Islam and I told him I already knew everything
I needed to know. I got out Sorosh's book and told him I could
never believe in Islam. My husband is not a scholar by any stretch
of the imagination, yet he had an answer for everything I showed
him in Sorosh's book. I was impressed by his knowledge. He told
me that if I really wanted to learn about Islam it must be through
Islamic sources. He bought a few books for me from an Islamic
bookstore and I started taking classes at a local mosque. What
a difference the Islam I learned about from Muslim sources from
the Islam I learned about from non-Muslims!
It was so difficult though when I actually decided to convert.
My pride stood in the way for awhile. How could I admit to my
husband and my friend that they were right all along? I felt humiliated,
embarrassed. Soon though, I could deny the truth no longer, swallowed
my pride, and al-hamdulillah, embraced Islam - the best decision
I ever made.
A few things I want to say to the non-Muslim reader:
1. When I originally began my search for the truth all those years
ago, I made a few wrong assumptions. First, I assumed that the
truth is with Christianity only. It never occurred to me at that
time to look outside Christianity. Second, I assumed that the
Bible was the true Word of God. These were bad assumptions because
they prohibited me from looking at things objectively. When I
began my earnest study of Islam, I had to start at the very beginning,
with no preconceived ideas. I was not a Christian looking at Islam;
I looked at both Islam and Christianity (and many other religions)
from the point of view of an outsider. My advice to you is to
be a critical thinker and a critical reader.
2. Another mistake that many people make when talking about Islam
is that they pick out a certain teaching and judge the whole of
Islam on that one point. For example, many people say that Islam
is prejudiced towards women because Islamic laws of inheritance
award the male twice as much as the female. What they fail to
learn, however, is that males have financial responsibilities
in Islam that females do not have. It is like putting a puzzle
together: until you have all the pieces in the right places, you
cannot make a statement about the picture, you cannot look at
one little piece of the puzzle and judge the whole picture.
3. Many people said that the only reason I converted was because
of my husband. It is true that I studied Islam because he asked
me to - but I accepted Islam because it is the truth. My husband
and I are currently separated and plan to divorce in June, insha'Allah.
My faith in Islam has never been stronger than it is now. I look
forward to finding a practising Muslim husband, insha'Allah, and
growing in my faith and practice. Being a good Muslim is my number
May Allah lead all of us closer to the truth.
I am a new Muslim. I am writing to tell you 'why' I converted
to Islam, but it's going to be more like 'how.'
Last year, at the age of 23, I was trying to open an import/export
company to sell children's books overseas. Much thought went into
my decision to work with Saudi Arabia above any other country.
After contacting the Saudi Arabia Commercial Office at the Royal
Embassy in Washington DC, I learned that all contracts with my
sponsor must be in Arabic to be binding. That prompted me to study
Arabic so I would know what I was signing. I went to a local language
school where I took classes with a private tutor named Suad. She
was one of the nicest people I ever met as well as one of the
most religious. All the books, tapes, and videos that I studied
from centred on Islam (Ifta Ya Sim Sim, etc.), so without realizing
it I was learning about Islam all along! I was not brought up
with any religious indoctrination. I knew the basics, but I had
never gone to church.
The same time this was going on, I was having the hardest time
in my life. I was on the east coast and my family was on the west
coast, the friends I had were not acting like the 'quality' kind
of people I knew I needed to hang around with, and I had really
difficult money problems (who doesn't). I was crying almost every
day. I never felt more alone in my life. It was affecting my job
and my Arabic classes. Suad noticed, and she was always there
to listen. She gave the best advice (Islamic), and she was always
right. She told me that if I just submitted myself to God completely,
he would take away all the pain and loneliness I was feeling.
That was on a Thursday. That night, I asked God to help me, when
I woke up the next day I felt completely relieved of all my pain.
I could say "God will take care of it" out loud and
mean it. I spent that weekend talking to Suad about Islam and
I learned that I knew more about Islam than I thought! On Sunday
I did my Shahada at an Islamic Women's Group meeting. The next
Friday, January 20, 1995, after the noon prayer, I did my open
Shahada at the Masjid Dal Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia. Ramadan
started shortly after that, and I went to Mecca for Umrah at the
end of Ramadan (last 10 days). It has been the best thing I ever
did in my life and I never looked back.
My experiences with Islam have shown me that if you follow God's
direction (awkward to call it law because it's much more than
that) you will have everything you need and often what you want,
insh'Allah. Faith in Allah is the best advantage anyone could
ever give themselves!
Karima Slack Razi
I took the Shahadah on September 20, 1991. If you had told me
5 years prior that I would embrace Islam, I never would have believed
you. In retrospect, Allah's guidance was so subtle yet consistent,
that now I see my whole life as leading up to that moment. It
is difficult to encapsulate the exact factors that brought me
to Islam because it was a journey, a process, that lasted three
years. Those three years were both exhilarating and exhausting.
My perceptions of myself and the world changed dramatically. Some
beliefs were validated; others, shattered. At times I feared I
would lose myself; at other times I knew that this path was my
destiny and embraced it. Throughout those years, a series of aspects
of Islam intrigued me. Slowly and gradually, my studies led me
towards the day when I took the declaration of faith, the Shahadah.
Prior to my introduction to Islam, I knew that I yearned for more
spiritual fulfilment in my life. But, as yet, nothing had seemed
acceptable or accessible to me. I had been brought up essentially
a secular humanist. Morals were emphasized, but never attributed
to any spiritual or divine being. The predominant religion of
our country, Christianity, seemed to burden a person with too
much guilt. I was not really familiar with any other religions.
I wish I could say that, sensing my spiritual void, I embarked
on a spiritual quest and studied various religions in depth. However,
I was too comfortable with my life for that. I come from a loving
and supportive family. I had many interesting and supportive friends.
I thoroughly enjoyed my university studies and I was successful
at the university. Instead, it was the "chance" meeting
of various Muslims that instigated my study of Islam.
Sharif was one of the first Muslims who intrigued me. He was an
elderly man who worked in a tutorial program for affirmative action
that I had just entered. He explained that while his job brought
little monetary reward, the pleasure he gained from teaching students
brought him all the reward he needed. He spoke softly and genuinely.
His demeanour more than his words caught me, and I thought, "I
hope I have his peace of spirit when I reach his age." That
was in 1987.
As I met more Muslims, I was struck not only by their inner peace,
but by the strength of their faith. These gentle souls contrasted
with the violent, sexist image I had of Islam. Then I met Imran,
a Muslim friend of my brother's who I soon realized was the type
of man I would like to marry. He was intelligent, sincere, independent,
and at peace with himself. When we both agreed that there was
potential for marriage, I began my serious studies of Islam. Initially,
I had no intention of becoming Muslim; I only desired to understand
his religion because he had made it clear that he would want to
raise his children as Muslims. My response was: "If they
will turn out as sincere, peaceful and kind as he is, then I have
no problem with it. But I do feel obligated to understand Islam
In retrospect, I realize that I was attracted to these peaceful
souls because I sensed my own lack of inner peace and conviction.
There was an inner void that was not completely satisfied with
academic success or human relationships. However, at that point
I would never have stated that I was attracted to Islam for myself.
Rather, I viewed it as an intellectual pursuit. This perception
was compatible with my controlled, academic lifestyle.
Since I called myself a feminist, my early reading centred around
women in Islam. I thought Islam oppressed women. In my Women's
Studies courses I had read about Muslim women who were not allowed
to leave their homes and were forced to cover their heads. Of
course I saw hijab as an oppressive tool imposed by men rather
than as an expression of self-respect and dignity. What I discovered
in my readings surprised me. Islam not only does not oppress women,
but actually liberates them, having given them rights in the 6th
century that we have only gained in this century in this country:
the right to own property and wealth and to maintain that in her
name after marriage; the right to vote; and the right to divorce.
This realization was not easy in coming....I resisted it every
step of the way. But there were always answers to my questions.
Why is there polygamy? It is only allowed if the man can treat
all four equally and even then it is discouraged. However, it
does allow for those times in history when there are more women
than men, especially in times of war, so that some women are not
deprived of having a relationship and children. Furthermore, it
is far superior to the mistress relationship so prevalent here
since the woman has a legal right to support should she have a
child. This was only one of many questions, the answers to which
eventually proved to me that women in Islam are given full rights
as individuals in society.
However, these discoveries did not allay all my fears. The following
year was one of intense emotional turmoil. Having finished up
my courses for my masters in Latin American Studies in the spring
of 1989, I decided to take a year to substitute teach. This enabled
me to spend a lot of time studying Islam. Many things I was reading
about Islam made sense. However, they didn't fit into my perception
of the world. I had always perceived of religion as a crutch.
But could it be that it was the truth? Didn't religions cause
much of the oppression and wars in the world? How then could I
be considering marrying a man who followed one of the world's
major religions? Every week I was hit with a fresh story on the
news, the radio or the newspaper about the oppression of Muslim
women. Could I, a feminist, really be considering marrying into
that society? Eyebrows were raised. People talked about me in
worried tones behind my back. In a matter of months, my secure
world of 24 years was turned upside down. I no longer felt that
I knew what was right or wrong. What was black and white, was
now all grey.
But something kept me going. And it was more than my desire to
marry Imran. At any moment I could have walked away from my studies
of Islam and been accepted back into a circle of feminist, socialist
friends and into the loving arms of my family. While these people
never deserted me, they haunted me with their influence. I worried
about what they would say or think, particularly since I had always
judged myself through the eyes of others. So I secluded myself.
I talked only with my family and friends that I knew wouldn't
judge me. And I read.
It was no longer an interested, disinterested study of Islam.
It was a struggle for my own identity. Up to that time I had produced
many successful term papers. I knew how to research and to support
a thesis. But my character had never been at stake. For the first
time, I realized that I had always written to please others. Now,
I was studying for my own spirit. It was scary. Although I knew
my friends and family loved me, they couldn't give me the answers.
I no longer wanted to lean on their support. Imran was always
there to answer my questions. While I admired his patience and
his faith that all would turn out for the best, I didn't want
to lean too heavily on him out of my own fear that I might just
be doing this for a man and not for myself. I felt I had nothing
and no one to lean on. Alone, frightened and filled with self-doubt,
I continued to read.
After I had satisfied my curiosity about women in Islam and been
surprised by the results, I began to read about the life of the
Prophet Muhammad and to read the Quran itself. As I read about
the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S.), I began to question my initial
belief that he was merely an exceptional leader. His honesty prior
to any revelations, his kindness, his sagacity, his insights into
his present as well as the future--all made me question my initial
premise. His persistence in adversity and, later, his humility
in the face of astounding success seemed to belie human nature.
Even at the height of his success when he could have enjoyed tremendous
wealth, he refused to have more than his poorest companions in
Slowly I was getting deeper and deeper into the Quran. I asked,
"Could a human being be capable of such a subtle, far-reaching
book?" Furthermore, there are parts that are meant to guide
the Prophet himself, as well as reprimand him. I wondered if the
Prophet would have reprimanded himself.
As I slowly made my way through the Quran, it became less and
less an intellectual activity, and more and more a personal struggle.
There were days when I would reject every word--find a way to
condemn it, not allow it to be true. But then I would suddenly
happen upon a phrase that spoke directly to me. This first happened
when I was beginning to experience a lot of inner turmoil and
doubt and I read some verses towards the end of the second chapter:
"Allah does not burden any human being with more than he
is well able to bear" (2:286). Although I would not have
stated that I believed in Allah at that time, when I read these
words it was as if a burden was lifted from my heart.
I continued to have many fears as I studied Islam. Would I still
be close to my family if I became a Muslim? Would I end up in
an oppressive marriage? Would I still be "open-minded?"
I believed secular humanism to be the most open-minded approach
to life. Slowly I began to realize that secular humanism is as
much an ideology, a dogma, as Islam. I realized that everyone
had their ideology and I must consciously choose mine. I realized
that I had to have trust in my own intellect and make my own decisions--that
I should not be swayed by the negative reactions of my "open-minded,"
"progressive" friends. During this time, as I started
keeping more to myself, I was becoming intellectually freer than
any time in my life.
Two and a half years later, I had finished the Quran, been delighted
by its descriptions of nature and often reassured by its wisdom.
I had learned about the extraordinary life of Prophet Muhammad
(S.A.S.); I had been satisfied by the realization that Islam understands
that men and women are different but equal; and I discovered that
Islam gave true equality not only to men and women, but to all
races and social classes, judging only by one's level of piety.
And I had gained confidence in myself and my own decisions. It
was then that I came to the final, critical question: Do I believe
in one God? This is the basis of being a Muslim. Having satisfied
my curiosity about the rules and historical emergence of Islam,
I finally came to this critical question, the essence of being
Muslim. It was as if I had gone backwards: starting with the details
before I finally reached the spiritual question. I had to wade
through the technicalities and satisfy my academic side before
I could finally address the spiritual question. Did I.... Could
I place my trust in a greater being? Could I relinquish my secular
humanist approach to life?
Twice I decided to take the Shahadah and then changed my mind
the next day. One afternoon, I even knelt down and touched my
forehead to the floor, as I had often seen Muslims do, and asked
for guidance. I felt such peace in that position. Perhaps in that
moment I was a Muslim a heart, but when I stood up, my mind was
not ready to officially take the Shahadah.
After that moment a few more weeks passed. I began my new job:
teaching high school. The days began to pass very quickly, a flurry
of teaching, discipline and papers to correct. As my days began
to pass so fast, it struck me that I did not want to pass from
this world without having declared my faith in Allah. Intellectually,
I understood that the evidence present in the Prophet Muhammad's
(S.A.S.) life and in the Quran was too compelling to deny. And,
at that moment, I was also ready in my heart for Islam. I had
spent my life longing for a truth in which heart would be compatible
with mind, action with thought, intellect with emotion. I found
that reality in Islam. With that reality came true self-confidence
and intellectual freedom. A few days after I took the Shahadah,
I wrote in my journal that finally I have found in Islam the validation
of my inner thoughts and intuition. By acknowledging and accepting
Allah, I have found the door to spiritual and intellectual freedom.
I am a new Muslim woman from Richmond, VA. I had never even met
Muslims before last year, and had no idea that there was an Islamic
center in my own city. However, at that time, I was very interested
in Islam, but I could find nothing to read. I read encyclopaedias
and any books I could get my hands on, but they were all written
by non-Muslims. They said that Muhammad (saws) wrote the Qur'an
in the 7th century, that Muslims worshipped the black stone, and
that Islam bred hatred towards women. They also said that Muhammad
(saws) copied the Bible, that Islam was spread with the Qur'an
in one hand and the sword in the other, and implied (if not stated
directly) that all Muslims were Arab. One book even said that
the word "Allah" came from al-lot, the moon god of the
pagan Arabs. These are just some of the lies I read.
Then, one day, two Pakistani Muslim women (who were also muhajjabas
[wearing hijab -ed.]) came to my college. I befriended them, and
then I started asking them all kinds of questions. I had already
left Christianity when I was 12, so I felt no challenge to my
personal beliefs. I was a biology major and had basically no religion.
I was amazed at what they told me, and I realized that all of
my previous knowledge was lies.
Then, I came home for the summer. I got my own apartment and started
working at 7-11. While I was working, a black muhajjaba came in
the store. I asked her where she worshipped and when she told
me there was an Islamic center on the same street I was working
on, I was amazed.
I went the next day, but no one was there. So I went the day after
that day (which happened to be Friday) and found some people there.
A man told me to come the next week at noon so I could meet some
of the ladies. But when he said "noon," he meant "Dhuhr,"
not 12. I didn't know that. So I came at 12 the following week,
but no one was there. For some reason, I decided to wait, Subhan-Allah.
And wait I did, for an hour and a half (Jumah' [Friday prayer
-ed.] is at 2), and finally I meet some people. A lady there gave
me a copy of Maurice Bucaille's The Bible, Qur'an, and Science.
When I read it, I knew that I wanted to become a Muslim. After
all, I was a biology major. I knew that the things in the Qur'an
had to be from Allah (s.w.t.), and not from an illiterate, uneducated
man. So I went the next week and took Shahada [i.e. stated and
accepted the creed of Islam]
When my dad found out, he went crazy. He came to my apartment
and tore up everything in it, including my Qur'an. I called the
police, and they came out. But they refused to help. They said
"Don't you think he's right?" and so on. So I fled to
I have continued to talk with my dad, though, because the Qur'an
says to honour your parents (it does not distinguish between Kafir
and Muslim parents), and because I remember the story of Umar
Ibn Al-Khattab (raa). He hated Islam so much that he used to beat
his slave girl until his arm grew tired. Al-Hamdu Lillah, Allah
(s.w.t.) has rewarded me for my efforts. I saw my father for the
first time this summer, in full hijab. He accepted it without
too much commentary. I think he realizes now that he can't bully
me into renouncing Islam.
[This article was published in the 9th issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine), August-September 1995]
Sister Asiya Abd al-Zahir - WHY I EMBRACED ISLAM
Islam has been described as being the religion of Fitrah, the
innate nature of all humans. It is not surprising therefore when
we discover that Islam is being accepted as the only pure way
of life a person can follow by millions of reverts around the
world. Statistics show that out of every 5 who revert to Islam,
4 are females. This blows away the false concept that Islam is
a repressive religion for women. The following is one account
of a sister who submitted to Allah as her Lord, took Islam as
her religion, and Muhammad (s.a.s) as her Messenger...
I have always, since developing an ability to think deeply, believed
in the existence of a single Creator, on whom everything that
exists is dependent. Though my parents are Buddhist, from the
age of 13, to this Creator, I have steadfastly prayed and yielded
guidance from every day that I can remember. Yet, being schooled
within a Christian environment, I naturally identified myself
as a Christian.
Sadly, my knowledge of Islam was minimal. I perceived it as a
bizarre religion, limited to only a few underdeveloped nations,
most of which were in the Middle East, and which endorsed an astoundingly
suppressive lifestyle, particularly for women. Muslim women, I
presumed, were considered inferior - a passive domestic slave,
bashed often and forced to compete among four for her husband's
affections, which he could withhold from them all if he wanted
to. The majority of these ideas I developed from hearsay, interactions
with others I assumed knew what they were talking about and a
few documentaries on Iran and Saudi Arabia I watched on television.
As I entered university nearly three years ago, I came into contact
with quite a number of Muslim students from various backgrounds.
Strangely enough, even to myself, I was drawn to them and developed
a curious inclination to learn and understand more about their
religion. I observed how content they seemed and was very impressed
by their openness and warmth towards myself and each other, but
more importantly with their pride in belonging to a religion which
holds many negative connotations.
I gradually became fascinated with Islam, and through a process
of education, developed a greater respect for it than even my
beloved Christianity. I was stunned at how wrong my previous conception
had been and became particularly overwhelmed at the tremendous
entitlements, equality and acknowledgement Islam provided for
women. I realised the reality of the Islamic lifestyle and the
truth concerning that feeble American innovation termed "Islamic
Is it said that any person who possesses the faulty of reason
and an open mind should recognise logic and truth when he/she
encounters it, and so it was in my case.
More and more, literature, signs and evidence were revealed to
me, and more and more, my intellect was stimulated and my heart,
warmed. I wanted to know everything about Islam and felt already
a sense of brotherhood with and belonging among its followers.
What impressed me the most was how practical Islam is - how it
encompasses a rule and a lesson for almost every facet of living.
And by the sheer grace of God, I at last understood the faults
of Christian theology and of the concepts I had previously accepted
At midday, on August 4th, 1994, before over 20 witnesses, I recited
the Shahadah and became an official Muslim.
I shall never forget the bliss of that day and how much my life
has turned around in only a year's time.
I have often been asked what it is like to be a revert and of
the difficulties I must endure. Though I do not wish to dwell
on this topic, as pity is not my priority, I shall give some examples
of what I have been through.
The period up till the end of Ramadan was, by far, the hardest
to get through. Family disputes took place almost daily; I was
showered with verbal abuse, ridicule and threats. On many occasions,
my room was physically torn apart, books mysteriously disappeared
and slanderous phone messages were sent to my friends and their
There have been times I have been locked out of home and forced
to abstain from dinner as pork was deliberately served. Even to
this day, all my mail is opened before I have the chance to do
so myself. Apart from my housing and meals, I must provide for
myself financially. My readings, as my conversations over the
phone are done in privacy. My writings and my visits to mosques
or other Islamic venues must always be concealed. I am similarly
not able to visit friends very often as I may be "brain-washed"
I cannot perform my prayers until I am sure no one is around.
Nor can I express my excitement and celebration during Ramadan.
I cannot share the joy at knowing yet another sister has put on
Hijab, nor can I discuss the lesson I have learned this day or
the speech given by an Islamic scholar/scientist. Moreover, I
must continually defend the Muslims and the Islam portrayed on
the media, and fight against the stereotypes my parents stubbornly
To see their expressions of disgust at myself is almost unbearable.
I am now insecure as to my parents affections and constantly worry
of how much I am hurting them. Through the entire month of Ramadan,
my mother spoke to me not once. I had to hear her say time and
time again at how I had betrayed the family. My pleading with
her otherwise was to no avail. I am told over and over again that
what I have done is unforgivable and if any of our relations or
already few friends knew, my parents would surely be outcasts.
However, I do not claim to have a miserable life. I am more content
and at peace now than I ever have been. My purpose in relating
all of this is to try to display the opportunities that many of
you have which are so often taken for granted, so little taken
advantage of, but so precious to many reverts like myself.
To reflect on these hardships alone would imply I have gained
nothing by becoming a Muslim other than pain. On the contrary,
Islam has given me already so many vast rewards, I shiver to think
of how much more wonderful the gifts of Paradise would be.
At the time of my reversion, although I had accepted Islam as
being true, I had no idea of the vast internal changes it would
incur upon me. Even I am astounded at how much I devour knowledge,
how Islam is in my thoughts every waking moment, how compelling
I feel my responsibility is to the Ummah and how much more of
a Muslim I became every month.
It is as if as one's life in Islam progresses, it spreads to encompass
and govern every cellular and spiritual dimension in oneself.
Abu Huraira (r.a.a.) narrated that: Allah's Messenger (s.a.s)
once said: "Allah said: '... and My slave keeps coming closer
to Me... then I become his sense of hearing with which he hears,
and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which
he grasps, and his legs with which he walks...' "[Sahih Al-Bukhari].
This is precisely my experience.
Remarkably, from one religion, I have gained a profound insight
into the operations of human behaviour and sociology, as well
as geophysics and astronomy. As I mature, it becomes clearer and
clearer to me that again and again, it is Islam that has already
answered the social and economic dilemmas of our time.
Over the past year, I have developed quite an extensive breadth
of Islamic knowledge and have studied ayats of the Holy Qur'an
in much finer detail. Not once have I come across anything which
would make me doubt the authenticity of the Qur'an and the relevance
of Islam for contemporary society, for even one minute. This has
been the only religion I have ever been completely sure of and
am more sure of each day that I serve.
Furthermore, I have established my identity, I am more confident
of myself; a stronger woman and person of colour, I am more aware
of my existence and more secure in my battles.
If I have achieved anything through this article, my hope is that
it is that I have depicted the greatness and mercy of our Glorious
Sovereign, who makes all things possible. Allah (s.w.t.) says:
guides there with whom He pleases" [Qur'an 393:23]
I have been blessed to be one of those who have personally received
the light and whose heart has been ordained to accept it.