A Candle in the Dark

Before I begin in earnest, let me say that writing this article – which I pray will leave you feeling positive – my journey does not mean that my story is better or more extraordinary than other ‘new’ Muslims. On the contrary, I can only write about how the Mercy of Allāh has been showered on me in guiding me to recognise Islām as the true religion. A non-believer embracing Islām is a sure sign of Allāh showing His Love for His Creation. Every day, all over the world, people are reciting the Kalimah for the first time and returning to Islām, the natural way. It was my turn to pronounce Ashhadu an lā ilāha illal lāhu, wa ashhadu anna Muḥammadan `abduhu wa rasūluh – I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh and I bear witness that Muḥammad ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger during the month of Ramaḍān, 1415 (1995). Thus Allāh guides people to the truth and no matter how sinful a person has been, sincere declaration of this Kalimah means Allāh will forgive him/her. By showering His Love and Mercy on mankind, the Creator of all guides all to His Religion, Islām, surely the best gift any human being can receive.

Growing up to enjoy life to the limit

I was born into a Roman Catholic family in Mexico City. A typical Latin American, I was devout and faithful. At 16 I went to the USA to pursue my studies and spent six years getting acquainted with American culture. I acquired positive and negative values there, but the negative began to outweigh the positive and I started going astray. Immoral acts such as sexual promiscuity, drugs and alcohol tend to become daily habits, and back then, I fell into these addictions and harmful acts. These habits have become commonplace in society as “social enjoyment”, the sort of dubious pleasure modernity has to offer to the youth. I – along with my peers – considered myself “cool” and liberal for pursuing these types of fun that leads to destruction, and this is the outcome of living a life without limits, having freedom without boundaries and responsibility.  

No point to commit suicide as I was already dead

I grew dependent on these vices and had the urge to engage in sinful activity (whenever possible) to “enjoy” life. In reality, this only made me increasingly depressive. Living away from home meant that I was supposed to be in control of my life; parental influence was limited to telephone calls and letters expressing their concern and love. My only care was to justify myself before God, accepting before Him alone that I was a sinner. As I dived into the pool of worldly pleasures, I hoped deep inside that He still loved me, even though my religion had ceased to be an important part of my life. As is often the case, this lifestyle led in an emotional and psychological breakdown. Suicide was out of the question – I was already emotionally dead! Therefore committing suicide would not provide me any sort of relief. I felt empty and very lonely, with a black hole in my chest and I was looking for something to fill it.

Taking a Decisive Religious Course in University

My university was a Christian one and studying religion was compulsory. Spring 1993 saw me faced with a choice: taking a course in Christianity or choosing to study another faith. It was the first time my university was offering a semester of another religion other than Christianity. I chose “Traditions of Islām” because ‘Islām’ sounded very exotic and foreign. I was also curious about the beliefs of a Bangladeshi Muslim friend, and I felt dissatisfied with my own. I am infinitely grateful to Allāh for having helped me take those important first steps along the path towards truth and righteousness! Subḥānallāh! Who could tell then, how much this course was going to influence my whole life?

How much Muslims practise has an impact on Non-Muslims

As I just mentioned, one of the reasons that woke up an interest in me to want to learn about Islām was the fact that this Bangladeshi female student stood out because of her faith practices. She used to cover her legs, wearing always long dresses. She never wore short sleeves. She had long hair and she hardly mingled with the male students. She would hang out will all the Asian female students whether they Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and from Tibet, China and Eastern European countries. All these female students would stick together and eat together. The way this female student conducted herself was intriguing for me, always reserved, so once I asked her why she was different to the rest? She said that she was a Muslim simply practising her faith. I asked her what was her religion; she said it was Islām. This answer raised a question mark and an interest in me to learn more about this faith. This goes to show that it is Muslims practising their faith what makes Non-Muslims question their faith and want to understand and learn about it, with their Islamic practices having a positive effect on others.

Islamic Course taught by a Christian professor

At first, we studied the historical context within which Islām came to us, and touched upon the basic events of the life of Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam. The beauty of Islām started to unfold before me. Our teacher was a Christian Methodist who had lived with the Bedouins in North Africa. He taught us Islām very objectively. The teacher led us into reading some chapters of the Holy Book of Islām, Al-Qur’ān, including the very first verses to be revealed, Chapter 96, Iqrā (or Al-`Alaq):

Read: In the name of your Rabb (Lord) Who Created,

Who Created man from a clot of blood.

Read: And your Lord is the most Magnanimous,

Who taught by the pen.

He taught man what he did not know.  

In my final examination for this course, held in 1993, this is what I wrote about these few verses:

Chapter 96 provides the basic elements of the Islāmic theology because it reveals the position of Man in a larger scope, the universe. Man was created by God. Man was an insignificant blood drop until the Grace of God gave it life and shaped it human like. Man’s existence is owed to Allāh. Therefore Man should praise and serve Allāh as his Creator.

God is the Creator and the Provider of all. “He taught man the use of the pen.” Thus God is the source and the provider of knowledge. Man should read, write and learn to praise God. Man owes his knowledge to Allāh.

Therefore Man is not self-sufficient. Man has not created anything as a result of his self-acquired knowledge. His inventions and technology are not a result of his intellect but rather as a result of the knowledge which God provided to Man.

Therefore Man should not praise himself for his accomplishments in life because they are due to God. Instead, Man should thank God for his existence and gift of knowledge. Man should praise, worship and adore God or Allāh above all, as the Kalimah states, There is no God but Allāh and Muḥammad is His [last] messenger.

Studying Islām with an open heart and mind

Looking back at that answer on my exam, I realise how important it was for me to study lslām with an open mind. From the beginning, I did not intend to compare this new religion with Roman Catholicism; if I had, surely, I would have simply written off Islām and been unable to discover its basic truths. I was, however, aware that this religion challenged my own supposed fundamental beliefs. In religion, truth should prevail, personal arrogance should be set aside and truth accepted, especially when one’s life in this world and in the next is at stake.

Unparalleled Eloquence of the Qur’ān

Reading the Qur’ān I remember dearly how my worries and sadness of heart simply melted away. The peace this book inspired was awesome, even though it was a translation, the sweetness and eloquence of the words shone through. Since those early days, I have become anxious to know the language of the Qur’ān – Arabic, so that I may know and feel the power these Divine Words contain. This book was – and is – inspirational, forcing me to ask myself arching questions, to think about the Greatness of Allāh and to reflect upon the purpose of mankind. What sort of book is this to inspire so much peace!

In that final examination essay, when I discussed the concept taught to us by my Christian teacher of  “I`jāzul-Qur’ān”, I stated that this was the first significant point about the Qur’ān – it’s a miracle in itself. This Holy Book was not the product of an educated man, knowledgeable of the finest Arabic language. On the contrary, Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was a of noble lineage but a poor man (before his marriage to Khadījah, may Allāh be pleased with her), and he was illiterate; he did not know how to read and write. Consequently, he lacked the abilities to express himself with such poetic and refined expression as is found within the verses of the Holy Book. Allāh had revealed His Final Book to Muḥammad  (peace and blessings be upon him) and every word was memorised and written down as it was revealed.

Muslims believe in the Bible and the Torah

In stark contrast to the preservation of the Qur’ān during the lifetime of Muḥammad (peace be upon him) today’s Bible was written by men long after the events it describes. Muslims believe that although some of the original Torah (given to Prophet Moses, peace be upon him) and the original Gospel (given to Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him) may be contained within the books which now make up what is called “The Bible,” the pristine Divine message revealed to Jesus (peace be upon him) is no more. The scripture of today is largely a compilation of Jesus’ teachings penned down by the “disciples or companions” of Jesus (peace be upon him) which has been changed through transmission and translation, thus given rise to the multiple versions of the Bible.   

Qur’ān – Pure Word of God

Because the Qur’ān is the direct, pure Word of God, unchanged since the time of its revelation, it is crucial to Islām and Muslims (indeed, for all mankind) if we are to live our lives as Allāh wants us to. From that point of view, it is much more than just a book. I believe that if anyone sets out to read the Qur’ān with a clean heart and an intention to search for the truth to give life a meaning, the message will pierce the heart and the reader will become interested in Islām and, inshā’allāh, become a Muslim.

Handling the Qur’ān

And just as it is important to approach the Holy Book with good intentions and pure thoughts, so too is it important to be clean externally. Ritual cleansing (wuḍū’) is essential if we are to show due regard and respect for the Final Message of Allāh to mankind. It is important to know that a non-Muslim can touch the translation but not the Arabic text of the Qur’ān without wuḍū’. I remember I used to have a shower every time I would sit with the Qur’ān to read it, because I was told I must be physically pure of every impurity.

Muslims need to train themselves how to preach Islām

It is also important for Muslims to know how to deal with non-Muslims who may show an interest in reading the Qur’ān and in Islām itself. We cannot simply give copies of the Qur’ān without giving guidance on how to read it. A personal guide is very useful if errors of interpretation are to be avoided. And it is crucial to have a qualified guide to guide the person in learning about mainstream Islām, because a person interested in Islām and/or a new Muslim cannot differentiate between the different groups.

Social interactions in Islām

When I first approached a Muslim friend about Islām, she misunderstood my intentions and this not only affected our friendship but also cooled down my interest in the faith. Back then, I did not know that men and women are not supposed to have close contact unless they are married or are very close relatives e.g. mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother (classified as maḥram i.e. relatives one cannot marry). Despite this initial setback, however, she suggested that I speak to a brother called Omar; he was from The Gambia.

Regret for not having approached Muslims regarding Islām much earlier

Now, I was very shy about asking someone I didn’t know about his religion; maybe he would ask why this Christian wanted to know about Islām, especially as I did not at that time – actually want to embrace the faith. Today, I regret not having sought guidance earlier. My fear of rejection by and criticism from Muslims was groundless; Muslims are always eager to explain their faith to anyone who asks, no matter what the intention. How I wish(ed) that I had seized my own opportunity sooner!

Times of Ignorance – full of wrong conceptions

Anyway, back in 1993 I was engaged in some sickening relationships. I reasoned that “everything” was necessary to show love to someone, to “have fun” while still young. I was extremely naive, to say the least. If only I had had self-esteem I would not have fallen so deeply into worldly pleasures. Saying “No!” would have saved myself (and others) a lot of trouble. At that point in time Religion made me feel nothing but guilt. Nevertheless, the life of sin could not continue; when a human being is at the bottom there are only two ways to go – either down to the grave in a premature death, probably by suicide; or upwards through taking a long, hard look at oneself and rectifying one’s actions.

By December ‘93 I had a physical breakdown, so I took leave of absence from my university for the following semester. Afterwards, I applied to extend my leave for another semester and what turned out to be a whole year at home, it was vital for me to repair myself. I had taken time out from university to seek psychological help, to get to know myself better, and I did. I learnt the reasons for living a life of intoxication, fornication and frustration of letting my emotions and impulses rule over mature reasoning. Therefore I decided at this point in my life to sort myself out emotionally and physically, whilst placing Religion in the icebox for a long while.

Visiting an Islamic exhibition in Mexico

During my one-year leave from university, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Islamic exhibition in Mexico. I wanted to learn more about this religion whilst I was a mere candle in the dark waiting to be lit by some spark. I entered the historical building where the exhibition was held. There were displays of various Islamic items and talk at the end of the lecture of a Muslim in Mexico which was extremely rare. However the most memorable moment of that exhibition was when my eyes had fallen on an open large Arabic copy of the Qur’ān on display. The Arabic calligraphy was most beautiful; it is a form of art as well. There was no one around in that part of the exhibition. The Qur’ān displayed in an encased glass platform was radiant with illumination and it stood out in the sombre shadows of the museum. I felt the Qur’ān was calling me and drawing me in, to the point that I started tracing with my index finger on the glass cabinet on top of the Arabic Āyats (verses) for at least 20 min. I was fascinated how it flowed and deep in my heart I was yearning to learn this language; I wished to be able to write and understand it one day – ojalá, God willing in Spanish, and in Arabic inshā’allāh.

Allāh gives us time to better ourselves and then get to know Him

I now realise that Allāh makes change easy for anyone desiring to improve their character. Back then, however, I knew I had to change just to survive. Overcoming a sinful character would come later. Sinning is easy, even for someone who is good-natured, caring and kind. Only Allāh, our Creator, knows best what is good for us and no matter how good we think we are, if His Commands are not obeyed, this means our judgement is mistaken and we are at fault. We need the Qur’ān as a moral code to guide us through life. He created mankind so He knows what is beneficial and what is harmful for us. Allāh is so Kind that even sent His Final Messenger, Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to show us how to put the Qur’ān into practice in our lives! Is any more proof needed that Allāh loves His Creation?

Therapy helps but it is not the Ultimate Solution

After a full year of therapy, I went back to the same college at the start of ’95, confident that I had devised alternative means to entertain myself, and that my willpower would see me through any crises. Wrong!

Within a week, I was eager to satisfy my addictions and fell victim to the cravings of the base desires and temptations the majority of the youth falls into. I was stunned at my major setbacks. I was back where I had started, but even worse. Had I wasted a whole year with the psychologist? Submitting oneself to therapy is not easy, it is a moral, psychological, ethical battle with oneself. It means opening wounds of the past in an effort to build a better future. If therapy didn’t help me to control myself, could I ever stop sinning and fall into temptations so blatantly?

No purpose in life

Looking back, I can see that it was the inherent human weakness which was hurting me, for I had no motivation and no solid purpose in life to counter my cravings. I had forgotten about God and His Love for us. He wants the best for us (hence He sent the Qur’ān and the Last Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) to guide us in this worldly life, and we have a duty to seek the same for ourselves.

In desperate need of Hope and Help

It was at this point in my life that I knew I had to seek out the Muslim I had briefly met called Omar and ask him about Islām. He was very popular and I thought he would mind me asking about his faith, nevertheless I did approach him. I knew the month of Ramaḍān, 1415 A.H. was due; Omar told me this year it would begin in the first week or so of February ‘95. In January, I had decided to start dating a female classmate who was the daughter of a priest. Ramaḍān duly arrived and my classmate and I discussed our religious differences in great depth. We argued about the position of `Īsā (Jesus – `alayhis salām) in Islām; the Muslims’ viewpoint of Mary, the concept of the Trinity; the prophethood of Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the origin, truthfulness and authenticity of the Qur’ān compared to the Bible. This was heavy stuff. But before I write further about these topics, let me share some of my experiences during the Blessed Month.

Fasting in Ramaḍān

I fasted, although I still I did not know why. I had made arrangements to have cereals and tin food after sunset to break the fasts rather than having the cafeteria meals served at fixed times. At this point I was not a Muslim but I wanted to start experiencing Islām. I overcame my shyness and managed to ask Omar to explain the purpose of fasting. He told me that during Ramaḍān, Muslims commemorate the Qur’ān being revealed to Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, from Allāh, through the Angel Jibra’īl (Archangel Gabriel – `alayhis salām). He also said that fasting was done as a reminder about those less fortunate who do not have anything to eat and drink. From dawn till sunset, all Muslims experience hunger and thirst which should bring about a sense of humbleness. Worldly pleasures are also abstained from, this time of the year being a will power training ground. Finally, he said we should be remembering the Creator and His Attributes, along with expressing our gratitude for all the gifts He has given to us (e.g. our lives, health, the air, water, etc.). All this is done through fasting as a form of worship, along with other acts.

My first visit to a Mosque

Omar arranged for me to visit a Masjid (Mosque) the following day. It was necessary, he said, for me to see and experience for myself the way Muslims prayed. We arrived at the Masjid one hour before the sunset (Maghrib) prayer. As we entered the commercial outlet adapted for prayers, we took off our shoes; it was amazing. The first person I met was a tall, slender man from England. I was told to address him as Shaykh Ayāḍ. His outfit impressed me; all in white, from head to toe. Shaykh Ayāḍ’s shirt was so long it reached down to his knees and he wore loose trousers underneath, very cool. On his head was one of those eye-catching white turbans ‘imāmah), which I had only seen in films. I loved the way this Muslim religious leader was dressed: simple, elegant and humble. I could only imagine that this figurehead was very pious and he must belong to a religion which stressed the importance of purity.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Shaykh Ayāḍ started asking me about my interest in Islām and what I knew about this religion. I told him that my knowledge was limited to the Islāmic class I had taken two years back. As the prayer time approached, my thoughts about purity were confirmed. Worshippers performed ablution, washing some parts of the body before prayer, one must purify oneself (wuḍū’) to be presentable before the King of Kings, Allāh. They prayed barefoot. The prayer itself fascinated me. It started with the call to prayer (Adhān), called out aloud. The words were beguiling – Allāh is The Greatest… Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh… Come to Success… There is no god except Allāh. This was better than listening to instrumental sounds because the Adhān contained a message for the people conveyed naturally by the human voice. Peace: this is the word which describes the effect of the Adhān and the subsequent recitations from the Holy Qur’an during the prayer. After my ‘first’ Adhān was recited in Arabic, the Muslims present joined the line-up for prayer. Then I raised my hands as everyone else did, pronouncing “Allāhu Akbar” (Allāh is the Greatest) and stood in silence while the Imām led the prayer.

First Ṣalāh

After the Imām’s recitation, we bowed down, stood up, and then prostrated ourselves completely on the ground. These body movements made me reflect upon the position of mankind before the Creator. The impression I drew from the positions of the prayer was as if we had first stood as arrogant creatures refusing to obey God. Then we bowed down, recognising the Lordship of the Creator over our lives. Lastly, we prostrated on the ground abandoning our desires and submitting and rendering ourselves completely to Allāh; it was very liberating. This form of Ṣalāh (prayer) felt very natural, and prostrating (with the toes, knees, palms, nose and forehead touching the floor) was the humblest position a human being could adopt before the Almighty. In Islām, body and mind are in harmony while submitting to and worshipping Allāh.

Breaking the Fast with Muslims for the first time

After Maghrib, we sat on the floor and enjoyed a delicious meal laid out for all the congregation. The Muslims had gentle manners while dealing with each other. Their kindness and hospitality were obvious during the meal, sharing food and offering it to each other. Even though I was a complete stranger and not even a Muslim, they were already treating me as if I was part of the family. I was truly moved by their sincere kindness and admired the real sense of brotherhood that existed among them. I had experienced brotherhood before since I had studied and lived in an American Boarding school for three years and your good friends were your brothers because of having experienced so much camaraderie. But the brotherhood at the mosque was among people who were from entirely different backgrounds who never lived together; they were American, Afro-American, Pakistani, Indian, and Arab and their only common bond was the fact that they belonged to the same religion.

Muslims way of eating

Another interesting feature was to eat with the hands. To move away from the good etiquette protocols of eating with different forks, spoons and knives and the serviette on the lap, eating with the hands and licking the fingers not to waste food was very humbling and an entirely new experience. I felt I could enjoy my food more. Muslims try to eat from the same plate in groups and hand the good food to each other to eat; I learned later that this was a live re-enactment of the Prophetic teaching that a being a good Muslim is wishing your brother what you wish for yourself.

Starting to love Islām and Muslims

Islām was manifesting its beauty through the brotherhood among the believers of Allāh. I could see they were sincere in every act they performed. They drew happiness from pleasing and serving their fellow brothers. Everything about that first visit to the Masjid, from the humble outfit of Shaykh Ayāḍ to the form of prayer, plus the brotherhood I experienced, made me feel that I wanted to become part of the world-wide family of Muslims.

Being Invited to become Muslim

The Imām (religious leader) of the Masjid, Shaykh Muhammad Umer was a pious man and he encouraged me to embrace Islām as soon as possible. He was a very skilled consultant and surgeon originally from Zambia who had settled in Kentucky for many years. He said that we don’t know when we are going to die, because death could come into our lives anytime so we should be prepared. If I embraced Islām, he told me, I would stop disbelieving and associating partners with Allāh, thus casting aside the main barrier to entering Paradise.

Shaykh Umer told me that once I accepted Islām, I would be able to enjoy more intensely the sweetness and peace of this religion. I knew he was right, but back then I did not understand fully the significance of his message. I did not want to feel subject to any sort of pressure just because I was in the presence of Muslims. I also did not want to allow myself to be influenced by the wonderful first-time experiences of that evening. I feared, above all, becoming a hypocrite before the Creator and wanted to be sincere in taking the most important step in my life, submitting myself to Allāh and believing in Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Understanding the relevance of establishing the Central Pillar of Islām

Something stuck in my mind after that first visit to the Masjid: Shaykh Ayāḍ told me that it was very virtuous for me to fast but that I would not obtain the reward from Allāh and His recognition of this good deed. Why? Islām is underpinned by Five Basic Pillars – the Kalimah (statement of faith); performing Ṣalāh (daily prayer); Sawm (fasting during the month of Ramaḍān); Zakāh (giving a prescribed portion of one’s wealth to charity); and Ḥajj (pilgrimage to Makkah). Shaykh Ayāḍ told me to imagine that the pillars of Islām are four poles of a tent, plus a central pillar which support a structure, i.e. my faith. Clearly, a structure supported by only one pillar (in my case, Sawm) could collapse at any time. Thus, in order to safeguard my faith and to get the full reward from Allāh, I needed to establish the central pillar, I needed to recite the Kalimah, a firm belief in the Oneness of Allāh and the Prophethood of Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Without acknowledging this, the core belief of Islām, I would not be able to enjoy the sweetness of this religion.

This example was so enlightening it added (unintended) pressure on me to decide whether or not to embrace Islām; I said to the Shaykh I would give it serious thought.


Greatness of God – Beyond Comparison

Discussing the position of ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) in Islām with my classmate, I let her know that he was not seen as God, nor as the “son of God”. I found it difficult to believe that the Creator of all and the entire universe, actually lived on this earth as a human being. I could not reconcile the Greatness of the Creator be confined to the limitations of a human body. This belief actually attracted me to Islām, wherein the Creator and all His Greatness is beyond limits and therefore cannot be compared with anything or anyone in the universe. A human being could never judge people, to reward them either with mercy and forgiveness or punishment with complete justice, the only capable of performing such task is Allāh the Almighty.

I told my classmate that the Muslims are right in their firm belief that the Creator must be so great that it is beyond our human capability to be able to offer definitive descriptions of Him. “Allāh” means, literally, “The God” in Arabic and has a unique application. It is the name of God, not a description, and cannot be used in the plural or feminine sense as “god(s)” and “goddess(es)” are used in other faiths. In order to gain some understanding of His Greatness; however, we have the ninety-nine “names” of Allāh, which are in reality explanations of His Attributes, e.g. Ar-Raḥmān – The Beneficent, Ar-Raḥīm – The Merciful, and so on. But I still needed to clarify the position of ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) in Islām.

Prophets (peace be upon them) and Miracles

Sure, Jesus performed miracles; so did other Prophets (peace be upon them all), but only because Allāh, in His Infinite Wisdom, gave them the power to do so. This does not make them children of God, nor semi-gods. And just because a human being performs miracles doesn’t mean they ought to be worshipped. For anyone to associate such divine status to any person or thing, making them ‘partners’ with Allāh, is the greatest sin.

Questions about Jesus and Mary (peace be upon them)

My classmate posed several questions and arguments. For example, if Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the son of God, why do they believe in his miraculous birth? Was Mary mother of Jesus, afforded any status in Islām?

Comparison of Religious Scriptures’ Preservation and Infallibility

I was asked that how can the Qur’ān be accepted as a Divine Book if it denies things such as the Trinity (characteristic of Roman Catholicism) and the belief that Jesus was the son of God? Now, even as a Christian, I knew that the Bible we have today is not the original Injīl (Gospel) revealed to Jesus, or the original Tawrāh (Torah) sent to Moses (peace be upon them). History teachers normally stress that you cannot read a passage from the Bible and believe in its literal meaning fully, since it contains conflicting narrations and contradictory passages within itself. In fact, we know that the word “bible” comes from the Greek word for “library” in other words, the Bible is a collection of books, most of which bear no relation to the original Divinely revealed scriptures.

My classmate argued that if the Bible was not in its original form, then neither was the Qur’ān and she believed people could have added or altered passages to it just as they did with the Bible. She refused to accept the Bible had been changed, yet we had mutual friends who took pride in showing to anyone their Bibles which they considered to be more authentic versions of this scripture than other ones.

Misconception – Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him) wrote the Qur’ān

Coming up with the Prophethood of Muḥammad (peace be upon him) and the Oneness of the Creator, she concluded that Islām was man-made, by Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him), and was flawed because it was written by a human being. I had forgotten to explain to her the meaning of “I`jāzul-Qur’ān” – the miracle of the Qur’ān. This Holy Book was revealed to an illiterate Prophet, Muḥammad (peace be upon him), who was unable to read or write. The beauty of the original Arabic language of the Qur’ān is clear evidence that there is no way the Qur’ān could have been written by Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him). And how do we know that the Qur’ān is in its original form? As the verses were revealed to the Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him), he recited them to his Companions, they committed them to memory as well and those who could write wrote them down. Thus, there were many people to ensure they recorded accurately. The Qur’ān is the Final Divine message revealed by Allāh and it has no human additions, alterations or flaws, the only sacred Book which remains in its original form as it was revealed. Alḥamdulillāh (All Praise be to Allāh), Allāh Himself promised in a revealed verse to safeguard and preserve the Qur’ān till the Last Day.

The Qur’ān – the Last of the Divinely Revealed Books

If we look at the chain of Prophethood and Revelation from the time of the creation of the first human being (who was created to worship Allāh alone), it is clear that divine revelations were given to different prophets at different times, to different people and at different stages of human development. All of Allāh’s Prophets (peace be upon them) called their people to submit to His Will. Some were sent as books of guidance – the Tawrāh was sent to Prophet Moses, the Zabūr (Psalms) to Prophet David and the Injīl to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them). It can be likened to the creation of a human body: first, a skeletal structure (say, the Tawrāh); then muscles, organs and flesh (the Zabūr and Injīl) until, finally, so that the body can function properly and completely, the brain and heart are added. The latter is the Qur’ān, containing complete, liveable, workable Guidance from Allāh for all of mankind. It wasn’t tribal or limited revelation confined to one nation or a singular peoples like other religions of the world limited mainly to a particular part of the world. Thus, Islām – the religion of the Creator – reaches a state of perfection and all of humanity is able now to worship and submit to Allāh the Almighty.

Limited knowledge

My knowledge about Islām was limited and I was unable to address properly these questions and arguments. My classmate told me that my ideas were disturbing her greatly, and that she had to go back and review key passages of the Bible in order to reaffirm her faith. I thought that it was natural for her to re-read the Bible, since she was the daughter of a Christian priest, brought up steeped in religious matters. It was (perhaps) precisely because she was a priest’s daughter that she was unable to see the truth in Islām, falling perhaps to unconscious biased opinions. May Allāh guide us all and those searching for the truth. Āmīn.

Dropping the guard before the Truth

I myself know that one can grow up believing something is true when in fact it might be false. There are times in life when a person needs to challenge his or her beliefs in order to arrive at the truth, and if it is found that the “truth” is not what it claims to be, it is right and logical to recognise the newly-found truth. Does anyone today still believe that the earth is flat? Of course not, and yet people were persecuted and killed for daring to contradict the Church’s teaching that it could not possibly be a globe! I became desperate to find the answers I needed. I was tired of my indecision – Islām or Christianity? I did not want to fall into falsehood, nor did I wish to remain in falsehood, so I studied further on various Islāmic topics.

Muslims believe in all the Prophets (peace be upon them all)

By submitting their own wills to the Will of Allāh, all prophets and their true followers were, in fact, Muslims, in the literal sense of the word. It is worth remembering that ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) never called himself a Christian and neither his religion Christianity; these facts are undisputable. 

The Qur’an invites all people who believe in monotheism to worship Allāh and only Him, without associating any partners with Him. One can find monotheism in its purest form in Islām, wherein God is above and beyond comparison to any of His creation.

Islāmic teachings on the Death and Resurrection of ‘Īsā (peace be upon him)

What does Islām say on the nature and mission of ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him)? In the Qur’ān, does Jesus die on the cross to save us all? This is addressed in Sūrah (Chapter) An-Nisā, verses 157 and 158:

And because they said, “Without doubt we have killed Jesus the Messiah, the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allāh.” They never killed him, nor did they crucify him, but they were cast into doubt. Indeed those who dispute about him are definitely in doubt. The only knowledge they possess is guesswork. With certainty, they never killed him.

On the contrary, Allāh raised him towards Himself. Allāh is Mighty, the Wise.

Muslims do not believe that people are supposed to be, by nature, sinful, and in need of a saviour, if we are to be saved from Hell. It is clear from the Qur’ān that ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) did not die, but was rather raised to Heaven. All human beings will be called to account for their own actions, so there was never any “need” for God to send someone to earth and sacrifice him “for the sins of mankind”, out of God’s love for mankind. What would happen, for example, to those people born before ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him)  who had no opportunity to “believe” in him? Muslims believe in the three components of the Trinity but as separate entities – One is God the Father, metaphorical Father, Creator of all; ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) as a extremely beloved and magnificent Prophet of God; and the Holy Spirit being the Archangel Gabriel (Jibra`īl peace be upon him) who conveyed the divine scriptures from God to all the Prophets, e.g. Moses, Jesus and Muḥammad (peace be upon them all).  

The Qur’ān on the Original Sin

The concept of original sin, inherited from Ādām and Eve (peace be upon them) is non-existent in Islām. Ādām (peace be upon him) was tricked by shayṭān in eating the forbidden fruit. He lied to them with the persuasion that if they were to eat it, they would be able to remain in Paradise forever with Allāh. Eve and consequently women in general have not been cursed for having persuaded Adam to eat the “apple” and they would have to chastised with pain every time they would be in labour. Sūrah Ṭāhā (20:122) says regarding their repentance:

“Thereafter His Rabb chose him (drew him close with special favour), accepted his repentance and made him steadfast on guidance (of goodness of a high level).

In Islām the woman enjoys a lofty status and the labour pains are equivalent to a woman being in jihad herself, exerting her greatest effort. Allāh forgave them both for their misjudgement, not sin, and sent them to earth to regain the Paradise they lost. This leads to another great Islamic belief – none of the Prophets (peace be upon them all) have ever sinned or gone astray.

All Prophets (peace be upon them all) are sinless

All the Prophets, from the first one to the last one, from Ādām to Muḥammad (peace be upon them all) were ma`sūm, free of sin, completely innocent. They either fell into misjudgement or were victims of their own physical strength. For example there was in instance where Prophet Moses (Mūsā `alayhi salām) hit an Egyptian man during an argument. Some Divine origin scriptures consider that Moses killed the Egyptian man; whereas in Islām the man rather died at Moses’ fist blow due to the extraordinary physical and spiritual strength that Prophets (peace be upon them all) have been granted by Allāh the Almighty.  All the other Biblical scriptures which mention various Prophets (peace be upon them all) committing various sins (God forbid) such as adultery, incest, becoming drunk, etc. are considered scriptural fabrications and amount to blasphemy of the leaders of humanity. Humanity can only follow the examples of people who are role models in all spheres of life, and whose lives are worth emulating regarding every action of theirs. Therefore, in Islām all the Prophets were chosen by God to lead mankind, because they were the best, the perfect humans; they represent the cream of mankind.

Back to my story

I had another Muslim Afghani friend called Naveed. He used to tell me, “Brother, Islām is so sweet. Make sure you study it properly so you can enjoy this beautiful religion.” I used to question myself that, “how is it possible that a religion can be sweet; it can’t be tasted!”.

A week had passed and on Friday I visited the Masjid for a second time, Shaykh Ayāḍ and I discussed my decision to embrace Islām. I said that I wanted to wait for a sign from Allāh which would show me it was right for me to embrace Islām. The Shaykh was painfully honest: “First of all, it is sinful to ask for a sign from Allāh the Almighty. You are not special compared to other people. In Islām everyone is the same, so why should Allāh the Almighty send a special sign to you? Second, we should believe in Allāh the Almighty blindly, as He is and everything contained in the Qur’ān as it was revealed to the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Third, it seems to me the signs you are waiting for are already there, but you have not recognised them. Allāh already showed you His Religion when you took that class about Islām. You have been exposed to this religion and have had contact with other Muslims. You are also showing interest in embracing Islām during Ramaḍān. What else do you need?”

The story of Abū Ṭālib

Shaykh Ayāḍ then narrated to me the story of Abū Ṭālib, the uncle of Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. At Abū Ṭālib’s death-bed, the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam had asked his uncle once again to embrace Islām. Abū Ṭālib refused to say the Kalimah recognising the Oneness of Allāh and his nephew’s prophethood. Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam then told Abū Ṭālib just to whisper the Kalimah to his ear to prevent anyone who might ridicule his uncle from hearing accepting Islām. This would have been sufficient for the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam to be able to intercede for his uncle before Allāh on the Day of Judgement. However, Abū Ṭālib died without proclaiming the Kalimah.

Only Allāh Guides whom He wishes

Shaykh Ayāḍ explained, “Not even the dear uncle of the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abū Ṭālib, who had raised him and was like a father for him, died as a Muslim. Even though Muḥammad was the Last Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he could not do anything to make his dear uncle become Muslim. We do not know why Allāh did not choose him to become a Muslim and die as a Muslim. Only Allāh is the One who guides those whom He wishes. Therefore I think Allāh has shown you dearly the signs you have been looking for.”

Waiting for my heart to submit

This explanation and story affected my way of thinking radically. These were the words I needed to hear. I felt bad because I wanted to wait for a sign from Allāh and had failed to believe in Him without doubt. It was at this juncture in my journey back to Islām that my will and intellect decided to become Muslim. I told Shaykh Ayāḍ that his words were convincing and powerful enough for me. Islām is the true religion. I even made the intention of becoming a Muslim by the following Friday but there was still something not quite there; my heart was not with me.

That Sunday, alḥamdulillāh, I found the missing pieces I needed to embrace Islām while reading my Qur’ān at the library. (I must mention here that Shaykh Muhammad Umer had told me before I left the Masjid that Friday, to get up at 2 a.m. and pray to Allāh for guidance. He also requested other brothers to pray (make du`ā) for me.

Tahajjud Ṣalāh – a blessed time to ask for miracles from Allāh

I got up as requested and asked Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā for His Help. This was my first experience of Tahajjud Ṣalāh (a prayer said in the last part of the night). Tahajjud has a special blessing because the doors of the heavens are open and Allāh the Almighty listens especially to the supplications or du`ā of those who remember Him at this time.) Anyway, that Sunday morning I intended to remain at the University’s library, until I read a Qur’ānic passage that would address the question of my heart.

An Amazing and Blessed Moment

It so happened that when I opened the Qur’ān, the first chapter I started reading was Sūrah Maryam which discusses all those topics in which Islām and Christianity overlap, but it elucidates the Islāmic position in these beliefs.

Jesus and Mary (peace be upon them) in Islām

Alḥamdulillāh, this Sūrah opened my heart. Chapter 19 is actually called Sūrah Maryam (Mary peace be upon her), and in verses 16 to 36 one reads that Mary was approached by the Angel Jibra’īl `alayhis salām. The angel informed her about the birth of ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him):

She responded, “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, and I have never been unchaste?”

He said: “It shall be so. Your Rabb (Lord) says, ‘It is simple for Me. And so that We make him a sign for people and a mercy from Us. This is a decided (decreed) matter.”

Allāh has the power to perform all miracles, such as sending a prophet born from a chaste woman. This was a sign of the Power of Allāh, not any paternal attributes. When Maryam (Mary – peace be upon her) was questioned by her people about the origin of the child and their pre-judgement of her chastity, Maryam (Mary – `alayhas salām) pointed to the child and the baby ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) replied:

He said, “I am a Servant of God. Allāh gave me a scripture and made me a prophet…”

Allāh has blessed me wherever I may be and has commanded me to perform Ṣalāh (prayer) and to pay Zakāh as long as I remain alive.”

It is clearly stated in these verses that ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) himself said he was a Servant of Allāh, Who had sent him as a prophet.

This is ‘Īsā (Jesus) the son of Maryam (Mary). The truth about which they have doubts. 

It is not for Allāh to take a son. He is Pure! When He decides (to do) anything, all He has to say is “Be!” and it comes into being.

Without doubt, Allāh is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is the straight path. 

Thus attributing parenthood to the Creator is degrading Him since He is independent from all the creation. The Almighty does not need a son to perform any duty for Him. Allāh can do everything by Himself. He created Ādām (peace be upon him) from the earth, with neither a father nor a mother; so why can He not create ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) without a biological father? Allāh has the power to do all of this and more. Procreation is a characteristic of created beings, not the Creator.

Now I was better informed: Muslims believe in the miracle of the birth of ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him); he was a prophet, the son of Maryam (Mary – peace be upon her) who was a chaste woman, a pious woman and only that.

God invites people to ponder about His Infinite power of creation

There is another verse in the Qur’ān that makes a very bold statement and it is this verse which can be an eye opener and food for thought for anyone who wished to truly love God:

Verily the likeness of Jesus (without a father) with Allāh is as the likeness of Ādām. He created him from clay then said to him, “Be!” and he became. (Sūrah Āli-‘Imrān 3:59)

From this verse, God is inviting humanity to ponder and realise that had if He had a son, it would have been the very first human i.e. Ādām who was created from nothing, a human with no father no mother. Then Allāh created a human from a father and no mother i.e. Eve (Hawwaa – peace be upon her) since she was created from the rib of Ādām. Lastly, there was only one possible miraculous scenario missing – to create a human from a mother and no father i.e. Jesus. The creation of Ādām was more miraculous than the creation of Jesus (peace be upon them)! If someone deserved to be considered to be called the son of God, it would be Ādām and not Jesus (peace be upon them).

Furthermore, later on I learned that there is another verse of the Qur’ān in which Allāh commands Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him) to say to the people:        

Say (O Muammad), “If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would have been the first to worship.” (Sūrah Zukhruf 43:81)

This verse for Muslim means that Allāh had no son, otherwise Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him) would have worshipped such being, but he never did.

Therefore one is able to conclude from the verses of the Qur’ān that Maryam and ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) were human beings who are held very dearly in Islām. ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) is one of the greatest prophets of Islām because, like all prophets, he called people to submit to the Will of Allāh, and so his own faith was Islām.

The words of Jesus (peace be upon him) mentioned in the Qur’ān pierced my heart and kept on resonating in my mind.

He said, “I am a Servant of God. Allāh gave me a scripture and made me a prophet…”

The time to submit to Allāh finally arrived

After having read Sūrah Maryam, it filled me with immense peace. It provided me with the assurance and confidence I needed to put my heart at ease. I had the conviction to accept Islām wholeheartedly. To proclaim the Kalimah one needs to believe in it fully and being sincere, otherwise this statement of faith would then become empty words. The decision to embrace Islām and accept the Religion of the Creator has to be made by every individual who wants to become a Muslim. In order to live as a practising Muslim (inshā’allāh), it is crucial to be sincere with oneself and with Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā and be convinced of the truth of Islām. When someone proclaims the Kalimah, they are convinced of the Existence and Oneness of Allāh the Almighty, and that Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the final prophet of the Creator.

Having understood this, I felt my entire body was in harmony, my heart and my mind had finally established contact with Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā. Why didn’t I become a Muslim when I was studying Islām? Why did I not recognise Islām as being the truthful religion during my one-year stay at home in Mexico City, while I was seeing the psychologist and I was relatively stable? Why has my contact with Islām and the Muslims been so intense during Ramaḍān (1415 A.H. – 1995)? Why do I want to become a Muslim now after having come into contact with this religion almost two years ago? There was, I believe, only one answer to all these questions.

The only reason why I chose to revert to Islām at that particular time and place was because Allāh the Almighty wanted me to become a Muslim (alḥamdulillāh). This is what I thought and felt at that precise moment. NOW I was ready to proclaim the Kalimah. Only Allāh knows best, and He knew that in my case I needed to fall and touch bottom first so I may rise again as a Muslim. This split second in which I was overwhelmed with immense peace and happiness was sufficient to convince me to become a Muslim as soon as possible. Allāh had changed my heart, alḥamdulillāh.


I had intended to study the religion for three to six months and then embrace Islām. Because of the experience I had while reading the Qur’ān that Sunday morning. I was ready to revert to Islām in mind, body and heart. I knew that I was about to take the most important and transcendental step in my life in accepting Islām as a religion and also as a way of life.

Ready to accept Islām

Alḥamdulillāh, I became a Muslim the following Saturday and took Shahādah (that is, declared my belief in the Kalimah) at the hands of Shaykh Ayāḍ. It is impossible to describe the feeling, my experiences when one is saying



When testifying that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh and that Prophet Muḥammad is the Servant and final Messenger of Allāh, one realises at that precise moment, that life will be different henceforth (living in the path of good and righteousness, inshā’allāh). This greatest event of my life took place on the evening of the 12th Ramaḍān (February 11th). Alḥamdulillāh, I became a Muslim in the Masjid of Richmond, Kentucky, U.S.A., characterised by its pious and exemplary Imām, Dr. Muhammad Umer. All I can say about this evening is that it was wonderful. All Praise be to Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā.

Later on I learned about various passages in the Bible which support the Islamic beliefs regarding Jesus and/or Muḥammad (peace be upon them). I list a few of them below:

A New Prophet like Moses – Deuteronomy 18:15-19

I am quoting this passage from Prophet Moses (Mūsā `alayhis salām) in which he gives guidance to the Israelites to follow a Prophet that will be like him. 

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

In the Old Testament from the Bible, we find the words of Moses telling the Israelites, the Muslims of back then, to follow a Prophet who would be like him. Many people interpret this teaching of Moses (peace be upon him) to mean Jesus (peace be upon him). However after comparison between Moses, Jesus and Muḥammad (peace be upon them all) it is clear that it is Muḥammad rather than Jesus the Prophet that is like Moses.


(peace be upon him)


(peace be upon him)


(peace be upon him)



       Not yet married

       Had children

       Had children

       Has not fathered yet



       Not migrated

       Undertook Military expeditions

       Undertook Military expeditions

       No military expeditions undertaken yet

       Experienced Natural Death

       Experienced Natural Death


In the New Testament Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) says people who call Him Lord will not necessarily enter the kingdom of Heaven. 

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Bible passages on the saying that Jesus is not God

1 John 4:1-3

4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

2 John 1:7 (New Testament)

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

The reader can gather that to believe that Jesus is God is the spirit of the Antichrist. The Antichrist in Islām is called Dajjāl.

Bible passages on God not being a man

Hosea 11:9 

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city

Numbers 23:19

19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent…hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Any devout Christian reluctant to let go of his/her religious beliefs when Islamic truths become apparent, is appealed to search for the Kingdom of God. A Muslim believes Islām leads to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. The following Biblical passages say:

Matthew 18:1-3

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.

3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 12:31 

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The discrepancy is not mainly between Bible and the Qur’ān, but between what the Bible really says overall (the Old Testament and the New Testament) and what Christianity preaches. One may put Islām to the side. If an avid reader was to study Christianity in depth, he or she would realize that its original teachings have changed through time. There is a saying that a Muslim is more Christian than the Christian, and more Jew than the Jew, since a Muslim strictly adheres to the teachings of Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).

Shared belief of Christians and MUSLIM – Second coming of the Messiah  

One aspect of Christian theology is shared with Islām, apart from his miraculous birth. Muslims too are awaiting his second coming to earth. However, he will be among the people following the Dīn (Divine Laws) of Islām, a follower of Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him). As mentioned earlier, Muslims believe that ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) is still alive and will come back to earth before the Day of Judgement. It was someone else who had been crucified in the place of Jesus, the roman soldier who had gone into his house to capture him, his face was changed into the image of Jesus. The Prophet ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) will come back at a time when he will have to confront and defeat the anti-Christ.

Other Relevant Literature

There are other Books which are a good read and also go in depth in the real mission of Prophet ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) like the “Gospel of Barnabus” and also “The Dead Sea Scrolls”. The former title makes mention that ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) had foretold the advent of Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him and it reads just like the Bible. The latter title are scripts preservations that discuss the early generations of Christians and how they used to conceive ‘Īsā (Jesus – peace be upon him) only as a magnificent Prophet, just as Muslims do. 


After my Shahādah

By the Grace of Allāh the Most Kind, I have reverted to Islām. In Islām, I have found lasting peace, tranquillity, stability and happiness, all of which I had sought intensively before, but failed to find in my vast pursuits of worldly pleasures; intellectual movements and different religious faiths that this modern era offers. Alḥamdulillāh, I see the world now from a different perspective, aspiring no longer for meaningless success measured by acquisition of material wealth, power, influence, and enjoyments which are only temporary and will remain behind after our death.

Goodness and Bliss in Islām

Islām teaches the human to work for his/her Hereafter. A Muslim lives on this earth as a traveller, who knows that one day his/her journey will come to a stop and at the end, it either lies the Hellfire or Paradise, depending on the past deeds performed. The mindset and action of a Muslim is engaged in the achievement of the real success and attaining the Pleasure of Allāh on the Day of Judgement.

Discovering the Beauty of Islām throughout history

Many nations throughout history have look for a system of life which will them provide constant benefit and satisfaction which most people believe is in making progress in the political, economic, social realms. However, the achievements made in these areas are relative. They have forgotten or do not see a life after death. Islām offers a way to ensure peace, equality, harmony, happiness and success of the peoples, both in this world and the Hereafter, at the same time. The human being is very complex, and at the same time has a high potential to develop and grow in all aspects of life. The chaotic world in which we live today is characterised by all sort of crises. This is due to the fact that the human being insists on determining his/her life by various ideological, economic and political systems.

Islām teaches that God has the last say in every matter; we need the help and guidance of our Creator at all times. As one learns more about Islām, one can realize it is not only a way of life, but offers very credible solutions to all the problems which afflict humanity. The Religion of Allāh provides a framework of living to each individual as well as the entire human race to develop its potential to the heights that the Almighty has settled for the human and created him/her to achieve. Allāh has gifted the human being with a will power, making a human the best creation of all because he/she has the capacity to judge, think, and decide.

The human being, following Islām, will be able to have an integral development and increase performance of the body, mind, heart (this one is very important and is almost always forgotten as an essential part of the human development); most important of all, the human will be entitled to salvation in the Hereafter. A Muslim believes that living this worldly life according to the Commandments of Allāh, the human being will be satisfied and reach success not only in this world but also in the life after death.

Throughout the ages, mankind has been divided by its cultural, social and racial differences. These barriers are non-existent in Islām as every human being is the same before the Creator and everyone has to abide equally to the Divine Commandments. History has shown that when Islām is well practiced and in its totality, this way of life will bring peace and harmony to the human being, as well as his/her relation with the fellow humans, the natural environment, the other living creatures (animals), an example of this is the Caliphate of Al-Andalus wherein Judaism, Christianity and Islām thrived and all people’s lived in the happiness of the Concordia i.e. the interplay of cultural ideas between the three religious groups and ideas of religious tolerance for many centuries. Above all, the human being living Islām is able to establish a truthful, reasonable, healthy, just, and respectful relationship with the Creator, Allāh the Almighty, the Beneficent the Merciful. We owe to the Most Merciful to recognise the Oneness of our Creator, and the love shown to us through His Numerous Bounties on this earth, which are only means and not ends to help us in worshipping God.

Allāh the Almighty has perfected His Religion with the advent of Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam and provided us a comprehensive way of life, so we may live for the purpose we were created, to worship the Creator and work for our Hereafter to come. When a human being acknowledges the Power of Allāh over him/her and submits to His Will and Commandments, then he/she will be able to behave and live in this life as the best Creation of Allāh, and inshā’allāh be rewarded with Paradise.

Advices to make it easy practising Islām and remain

After embracing Islām, it is very important not to go astray or be misled by following movements or sects. I have learnt from my spiritual mentor, Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (may Allāh bless him always) that there is only one original and truthful Islām. The Muslims who are on the right path are those who believe in the Qur’ān, the prophethood of Muḥammad ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam and him being the final prophet, in the Sunnah and Aḥādīth of the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam, and acknowledge the high status of the Saḥābah (his Companions – raḍiyallāhu `anhum – may Allāh be pleased with them) before Allāh the Almighty and follow the righteous people after them, the `Ulamā (the religious Scholars) who are religious experts and have devoted their lives to learning and teaching of the Dīn (religion) of Allāh. May Allāh give us the tawfeeq (guidance) to follow His Divine Guidance properly and all the teachings of Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the KHĀTAMUN NABIYYĪN, the FINAL prophet of Allāh.

Importance of following the Scholars (`Ulamā)

We must turn to the `Ulamā in religious affairs as their task is to instruct us and guide us with their knowledge when we run into difficulty, doubt or probable misinterpretation as we follow our religion, so we should consult them. Just as in every field there are experts, the `Ulamā are the experts in this beautiful faith.  Inshā’allāh, we will remain in the original and truthful Islām, help other Muslims to come back to the right path and prevent others from being lured away. As we all know the beauty, wisdom, and knowledge of Islām is immense and has no boundaries. We need to remind ourselves that Islām offers everything to a human being and this is found and enjoyed every day by anyone who follows the Commandments of Allāh the Almighty at all times and makes an effort to learn more about His Religion. Islām (open to the whole human race) provides its believers with everything to be successful in this world and the Hereafter. We know Islām is a universal religion, which demands that the individual gives him or herself completely to Allāh. Inshā’allāh, we will always have the right Intention to obey faithfully all the Commandments of the Creator and strive constantly to become devoted to Him and earn His Divine Pleasure.

Islām is a wholesome religion

As mentioned earlier I have a spiritual mentor i.e., Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (may Allāh bless him always). It is fundamental for a Muslim to adopt a spiritual mentor for the purpose of purifying his/her heart from spiritual illnesses. It is mentioned in a ḥādīth that the heart is the king organ of our entire body, if it is healthy (pure) the whole body will be healthy (i.e. behave righteous) and vice versa.  It is a Shaykh who helps a Muslim to rid his/her heart of illnesses such as arrogance, pride, jealousy, anger, lust, greed, resentfulness, spite, backbiting, slander, love for money, power and position; tackling and refraining from any addiction, etc. A Shaykh guides a Muslim how to adorn his/her heart with Divine love, care, sincerity, selflessness, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, gratefulness, humbleness, etc. This process is called Tazkiyah – the purification of the heart and it is this process which makes Islām a wholesome religion because it helps any human reach his/her maximum potential on the exterior (through the acts of worship) and on the interior (purification of his/heart to nurture the soul through spiritual practices which involve His remembrance called Dhikr) This is an entirely different and fascinating field of Islam in which every Muslim is highly recommended to seek for himself/herself a Shaykh to cure and purify his/her heart.

Misinterpretations &

Misunderstandings of Islām

Islām is wrongly and unjustly labelled as a strict religion. We must remember that what makes it difficult to submit to Allāh is not the teachings of Islām, but rather our weakness due to following our nafs (low desires – the flesh), copying materialistic lifestyles and habits, and listening to the whisperings of shayṭān (the devil). Therefore we must fight our nafs, cure our spiritual illnesses, behave as Muslims and defend ourselves against shayṭān at every moment of our lives by turning to Allāh the Almighty for His Help, practising Islām fully and seeking guidance from the righteous `Ulamā. May Allāh help us in this constant effort. Āmīn.


Lastly, I leave to share with you the very last essay I wrote in the Final exam (May ’93) of my Islāmic Course:

CONCLUSION: Islām attracts me very much. It appeals to me immensely. If I do not become a Muslim one day, I will definitely be a different Christian since I have already been influenced by Islām. Maybe I will be a Muslim one day by means of Imān (faith) or `ibādah (worship). Thank you very much for this class Dr. Suder.

After Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā gave me hidāyah (guidance) and illuminated my heart with Imān (faith), I was literally able taste the sweetness of Islām like my Afghani friend had said. Shahādah is an indescribable experience for every New Muslim, a very special moment. 

I thank Allāh from the depth of my heart for having guided me towards Islām. Now, I have a very powerful reason for living i.e., to worship Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā, and source of inspiration to lead my life accordingly, i.e. the life of Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Alhamdulillah, Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā made it possible for me to proclaim: There is none worthy of worship except Him and Muhammad is His (final) Servant and Messenger, Peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. May Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā bless and reward all the Muslims who helped me in all possible ways to embrace Islām. May Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā guide also all those non-believers who contributed in various ways to my reverting to Islām. Āmīn. Allāh Subḥānahu wa Ta`ālā is the Greatest. La ilāha illallāhu. Muḥammadur Rasūlullāh sallāllāhu `alayhi wasallam.

Note: This article was first published in Riyādhul Jannah – Gardens of Paradise. It was written at the request of my beloved spiritual mentor and loving father figure, Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (may Allah bless him with good health and long life) who said to me, “you never know who might benefit from reading your story”, and this is true for every revert’s story. My pious and kind wife had read my article and after a couple of years later, she had asked her brother to put forward her marriage proposal to myself before the respected Shaykh, in whose care I have been since I was sent to the UK to learn about Islām by Dr Muhammed Umer (may his soul rest in peace and may he be granted an elevated status in Jannnah (Paradise) – Āmīn. It was this Riyādhul Jannah which became instrumental in life; had it not been for its publication, one may argue I would not be presently married and have the beautiful family I have. I make du`ā that one day every member of my family is used by Allāh to spread Islām and the spiritual teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (dāmat barkātuhum – may his blessings span over a long time) – Āmīn.

It was Riyādhul Jannah the first Islamic magazine I had seen in the USA at the house of a Syrian doctor by the name of Dr Allouch back in ’95 and which I yearned to learn from. Today, everyone I know, I make the effort to make them become aware of it and benefit from its subscription. It was first published in 1991 by Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (may Allāh bless him always and accept all his selfless years of sacrifice spent in guidance and service to the Muslim Ummah/world). The magazine has blessed Muslim homes regularly on a monthly basis for over 30 years now. This magazine is must for every English-speaking Muslim home, the highlight of it being its editorial article by the respected Shaykh who sheds light into relevant and/or contemporary subjects with his unique insight and style. I encourage any reader of this article to subscribe to this blessed magazine. Please visit the section “Interesting Reads” in this website’s homepage for more information. May Allah bless us all with His regular guidance, protection, love and acceptance in both worlds. – Āmīn.

© Light of Hira