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 ta’ala.
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)
This 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 final prophet.
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 alike.
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 religions.
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, because:
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 guide.
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 Phénomène 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 water.
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 beautiful?
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 Revue.)
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 accepted Islam.
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.
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