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English Forum And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, "Indeed, I am of the Muslims.

تمنع جميع الحوارات السياسيه فى المنتدى مهما كان نوعها سواء مدح أو ذم ,,, ومنع طرح المواضيع الخلافيه الموجوده على الساحه العربيه الان مهما كان نوعها ومن تخالف هذا القرار للإداره حق التصرف بما تراه مناسب ونسأل الله أن يسدد خطانا جميعا اللهم آآمين الحوارات السياسيه

   
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رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 26  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-02-2011 الساعة : 12:52 PM

Moved by Simplicity of Royal Funeral, Priest Embraces Islam

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The funeral of King Fahd, which was conducted in a simple manner in Riyadh earlier this month, has encouraged a well-known Christian priest in Italy to embrace Islam, press reports said.

The priest, who watched the late king's funeral on satellite television, was impressed by the lack of pomp and pageantry in the royal funeral, Al-Riyadh Arabic daily reported without mentioning his name.

King Fahd was buried in Al-Oud graveyard the next day of his death after a solemn funeral ceremony attended by world leaders.

Islamic preacher Dr. Abdullah Al-Malik said the simple funeral of the king had a dramatic effect on the priest's mind, which led him to Islam. "Although he had read several Islamic books before, they didn't have the same impact."

This is the second high-profile reversion to Islam by an Italian involving Saudi Arabia. Four years ago, Italian Ambassador to Riyadh Torquato Cardilli embraced Islam.

"The priest watched the funeral of King Fahd and another person on television and did not find any difference," Malik said. "There was only a single funeral prayer for the two and both were buried in similar graves. This great example of equality influenced the priest and prompted him to embrace Islam," Malik said.

Muslim preachers in Italy had given the priest Islamic books and cassettes in the past 15 years, but what moved him was the simplicity of the royal funeral.

"I had read several Islamic books and heard many Islamic cassettes over the past years, they never moved me. But the simple royal funeral shook me and changed my mind," Malik quoted the priest as saying.

He said he believed the king's funeral would change the mind of many others. He urged Muslim media to focus on stories related to Islam's tolerance and equality in order to attract more people to the religion.

"I will work the rest of my life for the propagation of Islam," the 62-year-old former priest said.

Badr Al-Olayan, director of the Islamic Education Foundation in Jeddah, said the priest's reversion to Islam was "very good news." He narrated the story of another Italian who came to IEF office to embrace Islam after being impressed by the large and orderly congregation of Muslims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah to perform prayers.

"How can you assemble such a large number of people by just making a call. It's impossible. Only God can do that," he quoted the Italian as saying.

Olayan urged Muslims to do more in order to take the message of Islam to other people.

Ambassador Cardilli, 60, embraced Islam on Nov. 15, 2001. "I am fully convinced of the truth of Islam through my regular reading of God's final revelation, the Holy Qur'an," Cardilli was quoted as saying at the time.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 27  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:35 AM

قصص اسلام اسلمة الكهنة

Priests and Religious Figures

One of my earliest childhood memories is of hearing the church bell toll for Sunday morning worship in the small, rural town in which I was raised. The Methodist Church was an old, wooden structure with a bell tower, two children’s Sunday School classrooms cubby-holed behind folding, wooden doors to separate it from the sanctuary, and a choir loft that housed the Sunday school classrooms for the older children. It stood less than two blocks from my home. As the bell rang, we would come together as a family, and make our weekly pilgrimage to the church.

In that rural setting from the 1950s, the three churches in the town of about 500 were the center of community life. The local Methodist Church, to which my family belonged, sponsored ice cream socials with hand-cranked, homemade ice cream, chicken potpie dinners, and corn roasts. My family and I were always involved in all three, but each came only once a year. In addition, there was a two-week community Bible school every June, and I was a regular attendee through my eighth grade year in school. However, Sunday morning worship and Sunday school were weekly events, and I strove to keep extending my collection of perfect attendance pins and of awards for memorizing Bible verses.

By my junior high school days, the local Methodist Church had closed, and we were attending the Methodist Church in the neighboring town, which was only slightly larger than the town in which I lived. There, my thoughts first began to focus on the ministry as a personal calling. I became active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship, and eventually served as both a district and a conference officer. I also became the regular “preacher” during the annual Youth Sunday service. My preaching began to draw community-wide attention, and before long I was occasionally filling pulpits at other churches, at a nursing home, and at various church-affiliated youth and ladies groups, where I typically set attendance records.

By age 17, when I began my freshman year at Harvard College, my decision to enter the ministry had solidified. During my freshman year, I enrolled in a two-semester course in comparative religion, which was taught by Wilfred Cantwell Smith, whose specific area of expertise was Islam. During that course, I gave far less attention to Islam than I did to other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, as the latter two seemed so much more esoteric and strange to me. In contrast, Islam appeared to be somewhat similar to my own Christianity. As such, I didn’t concentrate on it as much as I probably should have, although I can remember writing a term paper for the course on the concept of revelation in the Quran. Nonetheless, as the course was one of rigorous academic standards and demands, I did acquire a small library of about a half dozen books on Islam, all of which were written by non-Muslims, and all of which were to serve me in good stead 25 years later. I also acquired two different English translations of the meaning of the Quran, which I read at the time.

That spring, Harvard named me a Hollis Scholar, signifying that I was one of the top pre-theology students in the college. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years at Harvard, I worked as a youth minister at a fairly large United Methodist Church. The following summer, I obtained my License to Preach from the United Methodist Church. Upon graduating from Harvard College in 1971, I enrolled at the Harvard Divinity School, and there obtained my Master of Divinity degree in 1974, having been previously ordained into the Deaconate of the United Methodist Church in 1972, and having previously received a Stewart Scholarship from the United Methodist Church as a supplement to my Harvard Divinity School scholarships. During my seminary education, I also completed a two-year externship program as a hospital chaplain at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. Following graduation from Harvard Divinity School, I spent the summer as the minister of two United Methodist churches in rural Kansas, where attendance soared to heights not seen in those churches for several years.

Seen from the outside, I was a very promising young minister, who had received an excellent education, drew large crowds to the Sunday morning worship service, and had been successful at every stop along the ministerial path. However, seen from the inside, I was fighting a constant war to maintain my personal integrity in the face of my ministerial responsibilities. This war was far removed from the ones presumably fought by some later televangelists in unsuccessfully trying to maintain personal sexual morality. Likewise, it was a far different war than those fought by the headline-grabbing pedophilic priests of the current moment. However, my struggle to maintain personal integrity may be the most common one encountered by the better-educated members of the ministry.

There is some irony in the fact that the supposedly best, brightest, and most idealistic of ministers-to-be are selected for the very best of seminary education, e.g. that offered at that time at the Harvard Divinity School. The irony is that, given such an education, the seminarian is exposed to as much of the actual historical truth as is known about:

1) the formation of the early, “mainstream” church, and how it was shaped by geopolitical considerations;

2) the “original” reading of various Biblical texts, many of which are in sharp contrast to what most Christians read when they pick up their Bible, although gradually, some of this information is being incorporated into newer and better translations;

3) the evolution of such concepts as a triune godhead and the “sonship” of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him;

4) the non-religious considerations that underlie many Christian creeds and doctrines;

5) the existence of those early churches and Christian movements which never accepted the concept of a triune godhead, and which never accepted the concept of the divinity of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him; and

6) etc. (Some of these fruits of my seminary education are recounted in more detail in my recent book, The Cross and the Crescent: An Interfaith Dialogue between Christianity and Islam, Amana Publications, 2001.)

As such, it is no real wonder that almost a majority of such seminary graduates leave seminary, not to “fill pulpits”, where they would be asked to preach that which they know is not true, but to enter the various counseling professions. Such was also the case for me, as I went on to earn a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology. I continued to call myself a Christian, because that was a needed bit of self-identity, and because I was, after all, an ordained minister, even though my full time job was as a mental health professional. However, my seminary education had taken care of any belief I might have had regarding a triune godhead or the divinity of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. (Polls regularly reveal that ministers are less likely to believe these and other dogmas of the church than are the laity they serve, with ministers more likely to understand such terms as “son of God” metaphorically, while their parishioners understand it literally.) I thus became a “Christmas and Easter Christian”, attending church very sporadically, and then gritting my teeth and biting my tongue as I listened to sermons espousing that which I knew was not the case.

None of the above should be taken to imply that I was any less religious or spiritually oriented than I had once been. I prayed regularly, my belief in a supreme deity remained solid and secure, and I conducted my personal life in line with the ethics I had once been taught in church and Sunday school. I simply knew better than to buy into the man-made dogmas and articles of faith of the organized church which were so heavily laden with the pagan influences, polytheistic notions, and geo-political considerations of a bygone era.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 28  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:36 AM

As the years passed by, I became increasingly concerned about the loss of religiousness in American society at large. Religiousness is a living, breathing spirituality and morality within individuals and should not be confused with religiosity, which is concerned with the rites, rituals, and formalized creeds of some organized entity, e.g. the church. American culture increasingly appeared to have lost its moral and religious compass. Two out of every three marriages ended in divorce; violence was becoming an increasingly inherent part of our schools and our roads; self-responsibility was on the wane; self-discipline was being submerged by a “if it feels good, do it” morality; various Christian leaders and institutions were being swamped by sexual and financial scandals; and emotions justified behavior, however odious it might be. American culture was becoming a morally bankrupt institution, and I was feeling quite alone in my personal religious vigil.

It was at this juncture that I began to come into contact with the local Muslim community. For some years before, my wife and I had been actively involved in doing research on the history of the Arabian horse. Eventually, in order to secure translations of various Arabic documents, this research brought us into contact with Arab Americans who happened to be Muslims. Our first such contact was with Jamal in the summer of 1991.

After an initial telephone conversation, Jamal visited our home, and offered to do some translations for us and to help guide us through the history of the Arabian horse in the Middle East. Before Jamal left that afternoon, he asked if he might use our bathroom to wash before saying his scheduled prayers; and borrow a piece of newspaper to use as a prayer rug, so he could say his scheduled prayers before leaving our house. We, of course, obliged, but wondered if there was something more appropriate that we could give him to use than a newspaper. Without our ever realizing it at the time, Jamal was practicing a very beautiful form of Dawa (preaching or exhortation). He made no comment about the fact that we were not Muslims, and he didn’t preach anything to us about his religious beliefs. He “merely” presented us with his example, an example that spoke volumes, if one were willing to be receptive to the lesson.

Over the next 16 months, contact with Jamal slowly increased in frequency, until it was occurring on a biweekly to weekly basis. During these visits, Jamal never preached to me about Islam, never questioned me about my own religious beliefs or convictions, and never verbally suggested that I become a Muslim. However, I was beginning to learn a lot. First, there was the constant behavioral example of Jamal observing his scheduled prayers. Second, there was the behavioral example of how Jamal conducted his daily life in a highly moral and ethical manner, both in his business world and in his social world. Third, there was the behavioral example of how Jamal interacted with his two children. For my wife, Jamal’s wife provided a similar example. Fourth, always within the framework of helping me to understand Arabian horse history in the Middle East, Jamal began to share with me: 1) stories from Arab and Islamic history; 2) sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him; and 3) Quranic verses and their contextual meaning. In point of fact, our every visit now included at least a 30 minute conversation centered on some aspect of Islam, but always presented in terms of helping me intellectually understand the Islamic context of Arabian horse history. I was never told “this is the way things are”, I was merely told “this is what Muslims typically believe.” Since I wasn’t being “preached to”, and since Jamal never inquired as to my own beliefs, I didn’t need to bother attempting to justify my own position. It was all handled as an intellectual exercise, not as proselytizing.

Gradually, Jamal began to introduce us to other Arab families in the local Muslim community. There was Wa’el and his family, Khalid and his family, and a few others. Consistently, I observed individuals and families who were living their lives on a much higher ethical plane than the American society in which we were all embedded. Maybe there was something to the practice of Islam that I had missed during my collegiate and seminary days.

By December, 1992, I was beginning to ask myself some serious questions about where I was and what I was doing. These questions were prompted by the following considerations.

1) Over the course of the prior 16 months, our social life had become increasingly centered on the Arab component of the local Muslim community. By December, probably 75% of our social life was being spent with Arab Muslims.

2) By virtue of my seminary training and education, I knew how badly the Bible had been corrupted (and often knew exactly when, where, and why), I had no belief in any triune godhead, and I had no belief in anything more than a metaphorical “sonship” of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. In short, while I certainly believed in God, I was as strict a monotheist as my Muslim friends.

3) My personal values and sense of morality were much more in keeping with my Muslim friends than with the “Christian” society around me. After all, I had the non-confrontational examples of Jamal, Khalid, and Wa’el as illustrations. In short, my nostalgic yearning for the type of community in which I had been raised was finding gratification in the Muslim community. American society might be morally bankrupt, but that did not appear to be the case for that part of the Muslim community with which I had had contact. Marriages were stable, spouses were committed to each other, and honesty, integrity, self-responsibility, and family values were emphasized. My wife and I had attempted to live our lives that same way, but for several years I had felt that we were doing so in the context of a moral vacuum. The Muslim community appeared to be different.

The different threads were being woven together into a single strand. Arabian horses, my childhood upbringing, my foray into the Christian ministry and my seminary education, my nostalgic yearnings for a moral society, and my contact with the Muslim community were becoming intricately intertwined. My self-questioning came to a head when I finally got around to asking myself exactly what separated me from the beliefs of my Muslim friends. I suppose that I could have raised that question with Jamal or with Khalid, but I wasn’t ready to take that step. I had never discussed my own religious beliefs with them, and I didn’t think that I wanted to introduce that topic of conversation into our friendship. As such, I began to pull off the bookshelf all the books on Islam that I had acquired in my collegiate and seminary days. However far my own beliefs were from the traditional position of the church, and however seldom I actually attended church, I still identified myself as being a Christian, and so I turned to the works of Western scholars. That month of December, I read half a dozen or so books on Islam by Western scholars, including one biography of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. Further, I began to read two different English translations of the meaning of the Quran. I never spoke to my Muslim friends about this personal quest of self-discovery. I never mentioned what types of books I was reading, nor ever spoke about why I was reading these books. However, occasionally I would run a very circumscribed question past one of them.

While I never spoke to my Muslim friends about those books, my wife and I had numerous conversations about what I was reading. By the last week of December of 1992, I was forced to admit to myself, that I could find no area of substantial disagreement between my own religious beliefs and the general tenets of Islam. While I was ready to acknowledge that Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was a prophet (one who spoke for or under the inspiration) of God, and while I had absolutely no difficulty affirming that there was no god besides God, glorified and exalted is He, I was still hesitating to make any decision. I could readily admit to myself that I had far more in common with Islamic beliefs as I then understood them, than I did with the traditional Christianity of the organized church. I knew only too well that I could easily confirm from my seminary training and education most of what the Quran had to say about Christianity, the Bible, and Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 29  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:37 AM

Nonetheless, I hesitated. Further, I rationalized my hesitation by maintaining to myself that I really didn’t know the nitty-gritty details of Islam, and that my areas of agreement were confined to general concepts. As such, I continued to read, and then to re-read.

One’s sense of identity, of who one is, is a powerful affirmation of one’s own position in the cosmos. In my professional practice, I had occasionally been called upon to treat certain addictive disorders, ranging from smoking, to alcoholism, to drug abuse. As a clinician, I knew that the basic physical addiction had to be overcome to create the initial abstinence. That was the easy part of treatment. As Mark Twain once said: “Quitting smoking is easy; I’ve done it hundreds of times.” However, I also knew that the key to maintaining that abstinence over an extended time period was overcoming the client’s psychological addiction, which was heavily grounded in the client’s basic sense of identity, i.e. the client identified to himself that he was “a smoker”, or that he was “a drinker”, etc. The addictive behavior had become part and parcel of the client’s basic sense of identity, of the client’s basic sense of self. Changing this sense of identity was crucial to the maintenance of the psychotherapeutic “cure.” This was the difficult part of treatment. Changing one’s basic sense of identity is a most difficult task. One’s psyche tends to cling to the old and familiar, which seem more psychologically comfortable and secure than the new and unfamiliar.

On a professional basis, I had the above knowledge, and used it on a daily basis. However, ironically enough, I was not yet ready to apply it to myself, and to the issue of my own hesitation surrounding my religious identity. For 43 years, my religious identity had been neatly labeled as “Christian”, however many qualifications I might have added to that term over the years. Giving up that label of personal identity was no easy task. It was part and parcel of how I defined my very being. Given the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that my hesitation served the purpose of insuring that I could keep my familiar religious identity of being a Christian, although a Christian who believed like a Muslim believed.

It was now the very end of December, and my wife and I were filling out our application forms for U.S. passports, so that a proposed Middle Eastern journey could become a reality. One of the questions had to do with religious affiliation. I didn’t even think about it, and automatically fell back on the old and familiar, as I penned in “Christian.” It was easy, it was familiar, and it was comfortable.

However, that comfort was momentarily disrupted when my wife asked me how I had answered the question on religious identity on the application form. I immediately replied, “Christian”, and chuckled audibly. Now, one of Freud’s contributions to the understanding of the human psyche was his realization that laughter is often a release of psychological tension. However wrong Freud may have been in many aspects of his theory of psychosexual development, his insights into laughter were quite on target. I had laughed! What was this psychological tension that I had need to release through the medium of laughter?

I then hurriedly went on to offer my wife a brief affirmation that I was a Christian, not a Muslim. In response to which, she politely informed me that she was merely asking whether I had written “Christian”, or “Protestant”, or “Methodist.” On a professional basis, I knew that a person does not defend himself against an accusation that hasn’t been made. (If, in the course of a session of psychotherapy, my client blurted out, “I’m not angry about that”, and I hadn’t even broached the topic of anger, it was clear that my client was feeling the need to defend himself against a charge that his own unconscious was making. In short, he really was angry, but he wasn’t ready to admit it or to deal with it.) If my wife hadn’t made the accusation, i.e. “you are a Muslim”, then the accusation had to have come from my own unconscious, as I was the only other person present. I was aware of this, but still I hesitated. The religious label that had been stuck to my sense of identity for 43 years was not going to come off easily.

About a month had gone by since my wife’s question to me. It was now late in January of 1993. I had set aside all the books on Islam by the Western scholars, as I had read them all thoroughly. The two English translations of the meaning of the Quran were back on the bookshelf, and I was busy reading yet a third English translation of the meaning of the Quran. Maybe in this translation I would find some sudden justification for…

I was taking my lunch hour from my private practice at a local Arab restaurant that I had started to frequent. I entered as usual, seated myself at a small table, and opened my third English translation of the meaning of the Quran to where I had left off in my reading. I figured I might as well get some reading done over my lunch hour. Moments later, I became aware that Mahmoud was at my shoulder, and waiting to take my order. He glanced at what I was reading, but said nothing about it. My order taken, I returned to the solitude of my reading.

A few minutes later, Mahmoud’s wife, Iman, an American Muslim, who wore the Hijab (scarf) and modest dress that I had come to associate with female Muslims, brought me my order. She commented that I was reading the Quran, and politely asked if I were a Muslim. The word was out of my mouth before it could be modified by any social etiquette or politeness: “No!” That single word was said forcefully, and with more than a hint of irritability. With that, Iman politely retired from my table.

What was happening to me? I had behaved rudely and somewhat aggressively. What had this woman done to deserve such behavior from me? This wasn’t like me. Given my childhood upbringing, I still used “sir” and “ma’am” when addressing clerks and cashiers who were waiting on me in stores. I could pretend to ignore my own laughter as a release of tension, but I couldn’t begin to ignore this sort of unconscionable behavior from myself. My reading was set aside, and I mentally stewed over this turn of events throughout my meal. The more I stewed, the guiltier I felt about my behavior. I knew that when Iman brought me my check at the end of the meal, I was going to need to make some amends. If for no other reason, simple politeness demanded it. Furthermore, I was really quite disturbed about how resistant I had been to her innocuous question. What was going on in me that I responded with that much force to such a simple and straightforward question? Why did that one, simple question lead to such atypical behavior on my part?

Later, when Iman came with my check, I attempted a round-about apology by saying: “I’m afraid I was a little abrupt in answering your question before. If you were asking me whether I believe that there is only one God, then my answer is yes. If you were asking me whether I believe that Muhammad was one of the prophets of that one God, then my answer is yes.” She very nicely and very supportively said: “That’s okay; it takes some people a little longer than others.”

Perhaps, the readers of this will be kind enough to note the psychological games I was playing with myself without chuckling too hard at my mental gymnastics and behavior. I well knew that in my own way, using my own words, I had just said the Shahadah, the Islamic testimonial of faith, i.e. “I testify that there is no god but God, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” However, having said that, and having recognized what I said, I could still cling to my old and familiar label of religious identity. After all, I hadn’t said I was a Muslim. I was simply a Christian, albeit an atypical Christian, who was willing to say that there was one God, not a triune godhead, and who was willing to say that Muhammad was one of the prophets inspired by that one God. If a Muslim wanted to accept me as being a Muslim that was his or her business, and his or her label of religious identity. However, it was not mine. I thought I had found my way out of my crisis of religious identity. I was a Christian, who would carefully explain that I agreed with, and was willing to testify to, the Islamic testimonial of faith. Having made my tortured explanation, and having parsed the English language to within an inch of its life, others could hang whatever label on me they wished. It was their label, and not mine.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 30  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:37 AM

Nonetheless, I hesitated. Further, I rationalized my hesitation by maintaining to myself that I really didn’t know the nitty-gritty details of Islam, and that my areas of agreement were confined to general concepts. As such, I continued to read, and then to re-read.

One’s sense of identity, of who one is, is a powerful affirmation of one’s own position in the cosmos. In my professional practice, I had occasionally been called upon to treat certain addictive disorders, ranging from smoking, to alcoholism, to drug abuse. As a clinician, I knew that the basic physical addiction had to be overcome to create the initial abstinence. That was the easy part of treatment. As Mark Twain once said: “Quitting smoking is easy; I’ve done it hundreds of times.” However, I also knew that the key to maintaining that abstinence over an extended time period was overcoming the client’s psychological addiction, which was heavily grounded in the client’s basic sense of identity, i.e. the client identified to himself that he was “a smoker”, or that he was “a drinker”, etc. The addictive behavior had become part and parcel of the client’s basic sense of identity, of the client’s basic sense of self. Changing this sense of identity was crucial to the maintenance of the psychotherapeutic “cure.” This was the difficult part of treatment. Changing one’s basic sense of identity is a most difficult task. One’s psyche tends to cling to the old and familiar, which seem more psychologically comfortable and secure than the new and unfamiliar.

On a professional basis, I had the above knowledge, and used it on a daily basis. However, ironically enough, I was not yet ready to apply it to myself, and to the issue of my own hesitation surrounding my religious identity. For 43 years, my religious identity had been neatly labeled as “Christian”, however many qualifications I might have added to that term over the years. Giving up that label of personal identity was no easy task. It was part and parcel of how I defined my very being. Given the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that my hesitation served the purpose of insuring that I could keep my familiar religious identity of being a Christian, although a Christian who believed like a Muslim believed.

It was now the very end of December, and my wife and I were filling out our application forms for U.S. passports, so that a proposed Middle Eastern journey could become a reality. One of the questions had to do with religious affiliation. I didn’t even think about it, and automatically fell back on the old and familiar, as I penned in “Christian.” It was easy, it was familiar, and it was comfortable.

However, that comfort was momentarily disrupted when my wife asked me how I had answered the question on religious identity on the application form. I immediately replied, “Christian”, and chuckled audibly. Now, one of Freud’s contributions to the understanding of the human psyche was his realization that laughter is often a release of psychological tension. However wrong Freud may have been in many aspects of his theory of psychosexual development, his insights into laughter were quite on target. I had laughed! What was this psychological tension that I had need to release through the medium of laughter?

I then hurriedly went on to offer my wife a brief affirmation that I was a Christian, not a Muslim. In response to which, she politely informed me that she was merely asking whether I had written “Christian”, or “Protestant”, or “Methodist.” On a professional basis, I knew that a person does not defend himself against an accusation that hasn’t been made. (If, in the course of a session of psychotherapy, my client blurted out, “I’m not angry about that”, and I hadn’t even broached the topic of anger, it was clear that my client was feeling the need to defend himself against a charge that his own unconscious was making. In short, he really was angry, but he wasn’t ready to admit it or to deal with it.) If my wife hadn’t made the accusation, i.e. “you are a Muslim”, then the accusation had to have come from my own unconscious, as I was the only other person present. I was aware of this, but still I hesitated. The religious label that had been stuck to my sense of identity for 43 years was not going to come off easily.

About a month had gone by since my wife’s question to me. It was now late in January of 1993. I had set aside all the books on Islam by the Western scholars, as I had read them all thoroughly. The two English translations of the meaning of the Quran were back on the bookshelf, and I was busy reading yet a third English translation of the meaning of the Quran. Maybe in this translation I would find some sudden justification for…

I was taking my lunch hour from my private practice at a local Arab restaurant that I had started to frequent. I entered as usual, seated myself at a small table, and opened my third English translation of the meaning of the Quran to where I had left off in my reading. I figured I might as well get some reading done over my lunch hour. Moments later, I became aware that Mahmoud was at my shoulder, and waiting to take my order. He glanced at what I was reading, but said nothing about it. My order taken, I returned to the solitude of my reading.

A few minutes later, Mahmoud’s wife, Iman, an American Muslim, who wore the Hijab (scarf) and modest dress that I had come to associate with female Muslims, brought me my order. She commented that I was reading the Quran, and politely asked if I were a Muslim. The word was out of my mouth before it could be modified by any social etiquette or politeness: “No!” That single word was said forcefully, and with more than a hint of irritability. With that, Iman politely retired from my table.

What was happening to me? I had behaved rudely and somewhat aggressively. What had this woman done to deserve such behavior from me? This wasn’t like me. Given my childhood upbringing, I still used “sir” and “ma’am” when addressing clerks and cashiers who were waiting on me in stores. I could pretend to ignore my own laughter as a release of tension, but I couldn’t begin to ignore this sort of unconscionable behavior from myself. My reading was set aside, and I mentally stewed over this turn of events throughout my meal. The more I stewed, the guiltier I felt about my behavior. I knew that when Iman brought me my check at the end of the meal, I was going to need to make some amends. If for no other reason, simple politeness demanded it. Furthermore, I was really quite disturbed about how resistant I had been to her innocuous question. What was going on in me that I responded with that much force to such a simple and straightforward question? Why did that one, simple question lead to such atypical behavior on my part?

Later, when Iman came with my check, I attempted a round-about apology by saying: “I’m afraid I was a little abrupt in answering your question before. If you were asking me whether I believe that there is only one God, then my answer is yes. If you were asking me whether I believe that Muhammad was one of the prophets of that one God, then my answer is yes.” She very nicely and very supportively said: “That’s okay; it takes some people a little longer than others.”

Perhaps, the readers of this will be kind enough to note the psychological games I was playing with myself without chuckling too hard at my mental gymnastics and behavior. I well knew that in my own way, using my own words, I had just said the Shahadah, the Islamic testimonial of faith, i.e. “I testify that there is no god but God, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” However, having said that, and having recognized what I said, I could still cling to my old and familiar label of religious identity. After all, I hadn’t said I was a Muslim. I was simply a Christian, albeit an atypical Christian, who was willing to say that there was one God, not a triune godhead, and who was willing to say that Muhammad was one of the prophets inspired by that one God. If a Muslim wanted to accept me as being a Muslim that was his or her business, and his or her label of religious identity. However, it was not mine. I thought I had found my way out of my crisis of religious identity. I was a Christian, who would carefully explain that I agreed with, and was willing to testify to, the Islamic testimonial of faith. Having made my tortured explanation, and having parsed the English language to within an inch of its life, others could hang whatever label on me they wished. It was their label, and not mine.



رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 31  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:38 AM

Raphael Narbaez, Jr., Jehovah’s Witness Minister, USA
A forty-two-year-old Latino, Raphael, is a Los Angeles-based comic and lecturer. He was born in Texas where he attended his first Jehovah’s Witness meeting at age six. He gave his first Bible sermon [soon after the age of thirteen], tended his own congregation at twenty, and was headed for a position of leadership among the 904,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States. But he traded in his Bible for a Quran after having braved a visit to a local mosque.

On November 1, 1991, he embraced Islam, bringing to the Muslim community the organizational and speaking skills he developed among Jehovah’s Witnesses. He speaks with the urgency of a new convert, but one who can make immigrant Muslims laugh at themselves.

He told his story mimicking a cast of characters.

I remember vividly being in a discussion where we were all sitting in my parents’ living room and there were some other Jehovah’s Witnesses there. They were talking about : “It’s Armageddon! The time of the end! And Christ is coming! And you know the hailstones are going to be out here as big as cars! God is going to use all kinds of things to destroy this wicked system and remove the governments! And the Bible talks about the earth opening up! It’s going to swallow whole city blocks!”

I’m scared to death! And then my mother turned around: “See what’s going to happen to you if you don’t get baptized, and if you don’t do God’s will? The earth is going to swallow you up, or one of these huge hailstones is going to hit you on the head [klonk], knock you out, and you will not exist ever again. I’ll have to make another child.”

I wasn’t going to take a chance of being hit by one of those big hailstones. So I got baptized. And of course Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in the sprinkling of the water. They submerge you completely, hold you there for a second, and then bring you back up.

I did that at the age of thirteen, September 7, 1963, in Pasadena, California, at the Rose Bowl. It was a big international assembly. We had 100,000 people. We drove all the way from Lubbock, Texas.

Eventually I started giving bigger talks - ten minutes in front of the congregation. A circuit servant recommended me to give the hour lectures that are done on Sunday when they invite the general public. They usually reserved those [sermons] for the elders of the congregation.

[In an authoritarian voice:] “Sure he’s young. But he can handle it. He’s a good Christian boy. He has no vices, and he’s obedient to his parents and seems to have pretty good Bible knowledge.”

So at the age of sixteen I started giving hour lectures in front of whole congregations. I was assigned first to a group in Sweetwater, Texas, and then, eventually, in Brownfield, Texas, I got my first congregation. At age twenty, I had become what they call a pioneer minister.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have a very sophisticated training program, and they also have kind of a quota system. You have to devote ten to twelve hours a month to door-to-door preaching. It’s like sales management. IBM has nothing on these guys.

So when I became a pioneer minister, I devoted most of my full time to doing the door-to-door ministry. I had to do like 100 hours a month, and I had to have seven Bible studies. I started lecturing other congregations. I began to get a lot of responsibility, and I was accepted at a school in Brooklyn, New York, a very elite school that Jehovah’s Witnesses have for the crème de la crème, the top one percent. But I didn’t go.

A few things no longer made sense to me. For example, the quota system. It seemed like every time I wanted to turn a corner and get into another position of responsibility, I had to do these secular material things to prove my godliness. It’s like if you meet your quotas this month, God loves you. If you don’t meet your quotas next month, God doesn’t love you. That didn’t make very much sense. One month God loves me and one month He doesn’t?

We criticized the Catholic Church because they had a man, a priest, to whom they had to confess. And we’d say, “You shouldn’t have to go to a man to confess your sins! Your sin is against God!” And yet we went to a Body of Elders. You confessed your sins to them, and they put you on hold, and said [Elder as telephone operator:] “Hold on just a minute . . . What do you think, Lord? No? . . . Okay, I’m sorry, we tried our best but you’re not repentant enough. Your sin is too big, so you either lose your fellowship in the church or you’re going to be on probation.”

If the sin is against God, shouldn’t I directly go to God and beg for mercy?

Probably the nail that hit the coffin was that I noticed that they started reading their Bible less. Jehovah’s Witnesses have books for everything that is put out by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The only people on the entire planet who know how to interpret Bible Scripture correctly are that group of men, that committee in Brooklyn, who tell Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide how to dress, how to talk, what to say, what not to say, how to apply Scripture and what the future is going to be like. God told them, so they can tell us. I appreciated the books. But if the Bible is the book of knowledge, and if it’s God’s instructions, well, shouldn’t we get our answers out of the Bible? Paul himself said to find out for yourself what is a true and acceptable word of God. Don’t let men tickle your ears.

I started saying, “Don’t worry so much about what the Watchtower says - read the Bible for yourself.” Ears started to prick up.

[Old Southerner’s drawl:] “I think we got us an apostate here, Judge. Yup. I think this old boy’s one taco short of something.”

Even my father said, “You better watch it, young man, that’s the demons talking right there. That’s the demons trying to get in and cause division.”

I said, “Dad, it’s not the demons. People don’t need to read so much of these other publications. They can find their answers with prayer and in the Bible.”

Spiritually I no longer felt at ease. So in 1979, knowing that I could not make headway, I left, disgruntled and with a bad taste in my mouth, because all my life I had put my soul, my heart, my mind into the church. That was the problem. I didn’t put it in God. I put it in a man-made organization.

I can’t go to other religions. As a Jehovah’s Witness, I had been trained, through the Scriptures, to show that they are all wrong. That idolatry is bad. The Trinity doesn’t exist.

I’m like a man without a religion. I was not a man without a God. But where could I go?

In 1985, I decided to come to Los Angeles and get on the Johnny Carson show and make my mark as a great comedian and actor. I have always felt like I was born for something. I didn’t know whether it was going to be finding the cure to cancer or becoming an actor. I kept praying and it got frustrating after a while.

So I just went to the Catholic Church close to my house, and I tried it. I remember on Ash Wednesday, I had that ash cross on my forehead. I was trying anything I could. I went for about two or three months, and I just couldn’t do it anymore, man. It was:

Stand up. Sit down.

Stand up. Sit down.

Okay, stick your tongue out.

You got a lot of exercise. I think I lost about five pounds. But that’s about it. So now I’m more lost than ever.

But it never passed through my mind that there is not a Creator. I have His phone number, but the line’s always busy. I’m doing my little movie shots. A film called Deadly Intent. A telephone commercial in Chicago. An Exxon commercial. A couple of bank commercials. In the meantime I’m doing construction work on the side.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 32  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:39 AM

Raphael Narbaez, Jr., Jehovah’s Witness Minister, USA

We’re working on this mall. It’s the holiday season, and they put these extra booths in the hallways. There was a gal at one, and we had to pass right in front of her. I’d say, “Good morning, how are you?” If she said anything, it was “Hi.” And that was it.

Finally, I said, “Miss, you never say anything. I just wanted to apologize if there was something I said wrong.”

She said, “No, you see, I’m a Muslim.”

“You’re what?”

“I’m a Muslim, and Muslim women, we don’t talk to men unless we have something specific to talk about; otherwise we don’t have anything to do with men.”

“Ohhhhh. Muslim.”

She said, “Yes, we practice the religion of Islam.”

“Islam - how do you spell that?”

“I-s-l-a-m.”

At the time, I knew that Muslims were all terrorists. She doesn’t even have a beard. How could she possibly be Muslim?

“How did this religion get started?”

“Well, there was a prophet.”

“A prophet?”

“Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.”

I started some research. But I just came from one religion. I had no intention of becoming Muslim.

The holidays are over. The booth moves. She’s gone.

I continued to pray, and asked why my prayers weren’t being answered. In November of 1991, I was going to bring my uncle Rockie home from the hospital. I started to empty his drawers to pack his stuff and there was a Gideon Bible. I said, God has answered my prayers. This Gideon Bible. (Of course, they put it in every hotel room.) This is a sign from God that He’s ready to teach me. So I stole the Bible.

I went home and I started praying: O God, teach me to be a Christian. Don’t teach me the Jehovah’s Witness way. Don’t teach me the Catholic way. Teach me Your way! You would not have made this Bible so hard that ordinary people sincere in prayer could not understand it.

I got all the way through the New Testament. I started the Old Testament. Well, eventually there’s a part in the Bible about the prophets.

Bing!

I said, Wait a minute, that Muslim lady said they had a prophet. How come he’s not in here?

I started thinking, Muslims - one billion in the world. Man, one out of every five people on the street theoretically could be a Muslim. And I thought: One billion people! C’mon now, Satan is good. But he’s not that good.

So then I said, I’ll read their book, the Quran, and I’ll see what kind of pack of lies this thing is. It probably has an illustration on how to dissemble an AK-47. So I went to an Arabic bookstore.

They asked, “What can I help you with?”

“I’m looking for a Quran.”

“Okay, we have some over here.”

They had some very nice ones - thirty dollars, forty dollars.”

“Look, I just want to read it, I don’t want to become one, okay?”

“Okay, we have this little five-dollar paperback edition.”

I went home, and started reading my Quran from the beginning, with Al-Fatihah. And I could not get my eyes off of it.

Hey, look at this. It talks about a Noah in here. We have Noah in our Bible too. Hey, it talks about Lot and Abraham. I can’t believe it. I never knew Satan’s name was Iblees. Hey, how about that.

When you get that picture on your TV set and it’s got a little bit of static and you push that button [klop] - fine tune. That’s exactly what happened with the Quran.

I went through the whole thing. So I said, Okay, I’ve done this, now what’s the next thing you got to do? Well, you gotta go to their meeting place. I looked in the yellow pages, and I finally found it: Islamic Center of Southern California, on Vermont. I called and they said, “Come on Friday.”

Now I really start getting nervous, `cause now I know I’m going to have to confront Habib and his AK-47.

I want people to understand what it’s like for an American Christian coming into Islam. I’m kidding about the AK-47, but I don’t know if these guys have daggers under their coats, you know. So I come up to the front, and sure enough, there’s this six-foot-three, 240-pound brother, beard and everything, and I’m just in awe.

I walked up and said, “Excuse me, sir.”

[Arabic accent:] “Go to the back!”

He thought I was already a brother.

I said, “Yessir, yessir” [meekly].

I didn’t know what I was going back for, but I went back anyway. They had the tent and the rugs were out. I’m standing there, kind of shy, and people are sitting down listening to the lecture. And people are saying, Go ahead, brother, sit down. And I’m going, No, thanks, no, thanks, I’m just visiting.

So finally the lecture’s over. They’re all lined up for prayer and they go into sajdah. I was really taken aback.

It started making sense intellectually, in my muscles, in my bones, in my heart and my soul.

So prayers are over. I say, hey, who’s going to recognize me? So I start to mingle like I’m one of the brothers, and I’m walking into the mosque and a brother says, “Assalaamu alaikum.” And I thought, Did he say “salt and bacon”?

“Assalaamu alaikum.”

There’s another guy who said “salt and bacon” to me.

I didn’t know what in the world they were saying, but they all smiled.

Before one of these guys noticed that I was not supposed to be there and took me to the torture chamber, or beheaded me, I wanted to see as much as I could. So eventually I went to the library, and there was a young Egyptian brother; his name was Omar. God sent him to me.

Omar comes up to me, and he says, “Excuse me. This is your first time here?” He has a real strong accent.

And I said, Yeah, it is.

“Oh, very good. You are Muslim?”

“No, I’m just reading a little.”

“Oh, you are studying? This is your first visit to a mosque?”

“Yes.”

“Come, let me show you around.” And he grabs me by the hand, and I’m walking with another man - holding hands. I said, these Muslims are friendly.

So he shows me around.

“First of all, this is our prayer hall, and you take your shoes off right here.”

“What are these things?”

“These are little cubicles. That’s where you put your shoes.”

“Why?”

“Well, because you’re approaching the prayer area, and it’s very holy. You don’t go in there with your shoes on; it’s kept real clean.”

So he takes me to the men’s room.

“And right here, this is where we do wudoo.”

“Voodoo! I didn’t read anything about voodoo!”

“No, not voodoo. Wudoo!”

“Okay, because I saw that stuff with the dolls and the pins, and I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment yet.”

He says, “No, wudoo, that’s when we clean ourselves.”

“Why do you do that?”

“Well, when you pray to God, you have to be clean, so we wash our hands and feet.”

So I learned all these things. He let me go, and said, “Come back again.”

I went back and asked the librarian for a booklet on prayer, and I went home and practiced. I felt that if I was trying to do it right, God would accept it. I just continued to read and read and visit the mosque.

I had a commitment to go on a tour of the Midwest on a comedy circuit. Well, I took a prayer rug with me. I knew that I was supposed to pray at certain times, but there are certain places where you are not supposed to pray, one of which is in the bathroom. I went into a men’s room on a tourist stop and I laid out my carpet and I started doing my prayers.

I came back, and when Ramadan was over, I started getting calls from different parts of the country to go and lecture as a Jehovah’s Witness minister who embraced Islam. People find me a novelty.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 33  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:41 AM

Kenneth L. Jenkins, Minister and Elder of Pentecostal Church, USA

Foreword

As a former minister and elder of the Christian church, it has become incumbent upon me to enlighten those that continue to walk in darkness. After embracing Islam, I felt a dire need to help those who have not yet been blessed to experience the light of Islam.

I thank Almighty God, for having mercy upon me, causing me to come to know the beauty of Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad and his rightly guided followers. It is only by the mercy of God that we receive true guidance and the ability to follow the straight path, which leads to success in this life and the Hereafter.

Praise be to God for the kindness shown to me by Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Baz upon my embracing Islam. I cherish and will pass on the knowledge gained from each meeting with him. There are many others who have helped me by means of encouragement and knowledge, but for fear of missing anyone, I will refrain from attempting to list them. Sufficient it is to say that I thank Almighty God, for each and every brother and sister that He has allowed to play a role in my growth and development as a Muslim.

I pray that this short work will be of benefit to all. I hope that Christians will find that there is yet hope for the wayward conditions that prevail over the bulk of Christendom. The answers to Christian problems are not to be found with the Christians themselves, for they are, in most instances, the root of their own problems. Rather, Islam is the solution to the problems plaguing the world of Christianity, as well as the problems facing the so-called world of religion as a whole. May God guide us all and reward us according to the very best of our deeds and intentions.

Abdullah Muhammad al-Faruque at-Ta’if, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Beginnings

As a young boy I was raised with a deep fear of God. Having been partially raised by a grandmother who was a Pentecostal fundamentalist, the church became an integral part of my life at a very early age. By the time I had reached the age of six, I knew all too well the benefits awaiting me in Heaven for being a good little boy and the punishment awaiting in Hell for little boys who are naughty. I was taught by my grandmother that all liars were doomed to go to the Hellfire, where they would burn forever and ever.

My mother worked two full-time jobs and continued to remind me of the teachings given to me by her mother. My younger brother and older sister did not seem to take our grandmother’s warnings of the Hereafter as seriously as I did. I recall seeing the full moon when it would take on a deep reddish hue, and I would begin to weep because I was taught that one of the signs of the end of the world would be that the moon would become red like blood. As an eight year old child I began to develop such a fear at what I thought were signs in the heavens and on earth of Doomsday that I actually had nightmares of what the Day of Judgment would be like. Our house was close to a set of railroad tracks, and trains passed by on a frequent basis. I can remember being awakened out of sleep by the horrendous sound of the locomotive’s horn and thinking that I had died and was being resurrected after hearing the sound of the trumpet. These teachings were ingrained in my young mind through a combination of oral teachings and the reading of a set of children’s books known as the Bible Story.

Every Sunday we would go to church dressed in all of our finery. My grandfather was our means of transportation. Church would last for what seemed to me like hours. We would arrive at around eleven in the morning and not leave until sometimes three in the afternoon. I remember falling asleep in my grandmother’s lap on many occasions. For a time my brother and I were permitted to leave church in between the conclusion of Sunday school and morning worship service to sit with our grandfather at the railway yard and watch the trains pass. He was not a churchgoer, but he saw to it that my family made it there every Sunday. Sometime later, he suffered a stroke which left him partially paralyzed, and as a result, we were unable to attend church on a regular basis. This period of time would be one of the most crucial stages of my development.

Rededication

I was relieved, in a sense, at no longer being able to attend church, but I would feel the urge to go on my own every now and then. At age sixteen, I began attending the church of a friend whose father was the pastor. It was a small storefront building with only my friend’s family, myself, and another schoolmate as members. This went on for only several months before -the church closed down. After graduating from high school and entering the university, I rediscovered my religious commitment and became fully immersed in Pentecostal teachings. I was baptized and “filled with the Holy Ghost,” as the experience was then called. As a college student, I quickly became the pride of the church. Everyone had high hopes for me, and I was happy to once again be “on the road to salvation”.

I attended church every time its doors would open. I studied the Bible for days and weeks at a time. I attended lectures given by the Christian scholars of my day, and I acknowledged my call to the ministry at the age of 20. I began preaching and became well known very quickly. I was extremely dogmatic and believed that no one could receive salvation unless they were of my church group. I categorically condemned everyone who had not come to know God the way I had come to know Him. I was taught that Jesus Christ (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) and God Almighty were one and the same thing. I was taught that our church did not believe in the trinity, but that Jesus (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) was indeed the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I tried to make myself understand it even though I had to admit that I really did not fully understand it. As far as I was concerned, it was the only doctrine that made sense to me. I admired the holy dress of the women and the pious behavior of the men. I enjoyed practicing a doctrine where women were required to dress in garments covering themselves completely, not painting their faces with makeup, and carrying themselves as true ambassadors of Christ. I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had finally found the true path to eternal bliss. I would debate with anyone from a different church with different beliefs and would totally silence them with my knowledge of the Bible. I memorized hundreds of Biblical passages, and this became a trademark of my preaching. Yet, even though I felt assured of being on the right path, a part of me was still searching. I felt that there was an even higher truth to be attained.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 34  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:41 AM

I would meditate while alone and pray to God to lead me to the correct religion and to forgive me if what I was doing was wrong. I had never had any contact with Muslims. The only people I knew that claimed Islam as their religion were the followers of Elijah Muhammad, who were referred to by many as the “Black Muslims” or the “Lost-Found Nation.” It was during this period in the late seventies that Minister Louis Farrakhan was well into rebuilding what was called “The Nation of Islam.” I went to hear Minister Farrakhan speak at the invitation of a coworker and found it to be an experience that would change my life dramatically. I had never in my life heard another black man speak the way that he spoke. I immediately wanted to arrange a meeting with him to try to convert him to my religion. I enjoyed evangelizing, hoping to find lost souls to save from the Hellfire - no matter who they were.

After graduating from college I began to work on a full-time basis. As I was reaching the pinnacle of my ministry, the followers of Elijah Muhammad became more visible, and I appreciated their efforts in attempting to rid the black community of the evils that were destroying it from within. I began to support them, in a sense, by buying their literature and even meeting with them for dialogue. I attended their study circles to find out exactly what they believed. As sincere as I knew many of them were, I could not buy the idea of God being a black man. I disagreed with their use of the Bible to support their position on certain issues. Here was a book that I knew very well, and I was deeply disturbed at what I deemed was their misinterpretation of it. I had attended locally supported Bible schools and had become quite knowledgeable in various fields of Bible study.

After about six years, I moved to Texas and became affiliated with two churches. The first church was led by a young pastor who was inexperienced and not very learned. My knowledge of the Christian scriptures had by this time developed into something abnormal. I was obsessed with Biblical teachings. I began to look deeper into the scriptures and realized that I knew more than the present leader. As a show of respect, I left and joined another church in a different city where I felt that I could learn more. The pastor of this particular church was very scholarly. He was an excellent teacher but had some ideas that were not the norm in our church organization. He held somewhat liberal views, but I still enjoyed his indoctrination. I was soon to learn the most valuable lesson of my Christian life, which was “all that glitters is not gold.” Despite its outward appearance, there were evils taking place that I never thought were possible in the Church. These evils caused me to reflect deeply, and I began questioning the teaching to which I was so dedicated.

Welcome to the Real Church World

I soon discovered that there was a great deal of jealousy prevalent in the ministerial hierarchy. Things had changed from that to which I was accustomed. Women wore clothing that I thought was shameful. People dressed in order to attract attention, usually from the opposite sex. I discovered just how great a part money and greed play in the operation of church activities. There were many small churches struggling, and they called upon us to hold meetings to help raise money for them. I was told that if a church did not have a certain number of members, then I was not to waste my time preaching there because I would not receive ample financial compensation. I then explained that I was not in it for the money and that I would preach even if there was only one member present... and I’d do it for free! This caused a disturbance. I started questioning those whom I thought had wisdom, only to find that they had been putting on a show. I learned that money, power and position were more important than teaching the truth about the Bible. As a Bible student, I knew full well that there were mistakes, contradictions and fabrications. I thought that people should be exposed to the truth about the Bible. The idea of exposing the people to such aspects of the Bible was a thought supposedly attributable to Satan. But I began to publicly ask my teachers questions during Bible classes, which none of them could answer. Not a single one could explain how Jesus was supposedly God, and how, at the same time, he was supposedly the Father, Son and Holy Ghost wrapped up into one and yet was not a part of the trinity. Several preachers finally had to concede that they did not understand it but that we were simply required to believe it.

Cases of adultery and fornication went unpunished. Some preachers were hooked on drugs and had destroyed their lives and the lives of their families. Leaders of some churches were found to be homosexuals. There were pastors even guilty of committing adultery with the young daughters of other church members. All of this coupled with a failure to receive answers to what I thought were valid questions was enough to make me seek a change. That change came when I accepted a job in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 35  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:42 AM

A New Beginning

It was not long after arriving in Saudi Arabia that I saw an immediate difference in the lifestyle of the Muslim people. They were different from the followers of Elijah Muhammad and Minister Louis Farrakhan in that they were of all nationalities, colors and languages. I immediately expressed a desire to learn more about this peculiar brand of religion. I was amazed with the life of Prophet Muhammad and wanted to know more. I requested books from one of the brothers who was active in calling people to Islam. I was supplied with all of the books that I could possibly want. I read each and every one. I was then given the Holy Quran and read it completely several times within four months. I asked question after question and received satisfactory answers. What appealed to me was that the brothers were not keen on impressing me with their knowledge. If a brother did not know how to answer a question, he would tell me that he simply did not know and would have to check with someone who did. The next day he would always bring the answer. I noticed how humility played such a great role in the lives of these mysterious people of the Middle East.

I was amazed to see the women covering themselves from face to foot. I did not see any religious hierarchy. No one was competing for any religious position. All of this was wonderful, but how could I entertain the thought of abandoning a teaching that had followed me since childhood? What about the Bible? I knew that there is some truth in it even though it had been changed and revised countless numbers of times. I was then given a video cassette of a debate between Sheikh Ahmed Deedat and Reverend Jimmy Swaggart. After seeing the debate I immediately became a Muslim.

I was taken to the office of Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Baz to officially declare my acceptance of Islam. It was there that I was given sound advice on how to prepare myself for the long journey ahead. It was truly a birth from darkness into light. I wondered what my peers from the Church would think when they heard that I had embraced Islam. It was not long before I found out. I went back to the United States for vacation and was severely criticized for my “lack of faith.” I was stamped with many labels - from renegade to reprobate. People were told by so-called church leaders not to even remember me in prayer. As strange as it may seem, I was not bothered in the least. I was so happy that Almighty God, had chosen to guide me aright that nothing else mattered.

Now I only wanted to become as dedicated a Muslim as I was a Christian. This, of course, meant study. I realized that a person could grow as much as they wanted to in Islam. There is no monopoly of knowledge - it is free to all who wish to avail themselves of the opportunities to learn. I was given a set of Saheeh Muslim as a gift from my Quran teacher. It was then that I realized the need to learn about the life, sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. I read and studied as many of the hadeeth collections available in English as possible. I realized that my knowledge of the Bible was an asset that is now quite useful in dealing with those of Christian backgrounds. Life for me has taken on an entirely new meaning. One of the most profound attitude changes is a result of knowing that this life must actually be spent in preparation for life in the Hereafter. It was also a new experience to know that we are rewarded even for our intentions. If you intend to do good, then you are rewarded. It was quite different in the Church. The attitude was that “the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.” There was no way to win. If you sinned, then you had to confess to the pastor, especially if the sin was a great sin, such as adultery. You were judged strictly by your actions.

The Present and Future

After an interview by the Al-Madinah newspaper I was asked about my present-day activities and plans for the future. At present, my goal is to learn Arabic and continue studying to gain greater knowledge about Islam. I am presently engaged in the field of dawah and am called upon to lecture to non-Muslims who come from Christian backgrounds. If God, Almighty, spares my life, I hope to write more on the subject of comparative religion.

It is the duty of Muslims throughout the world to work to spread the knowledge of Islam. As one who has spent such a long time as a Bible teacher, I feel a special sense of duty in educating people about the errors, contradictions and fabricated tales of a book believed in by millions of people. One of the greatest joys is knowing that I do not have to engage in a great deal of dispute with Christians, because I was a teacher who taught most of the dispute techniques used by them. I also learned how to argue using the Bible to defend Christianity. And at the same time I know the counter arguments for each argument which we, as ministers, were forbidden by our leaders to discuss or divulge.

It is my prayer that God will forgive us all of our ignorance and guide us to the path leading to Paradise. All praise is due to God. May God praise His last messenger, Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those following true guidance.



اضغط على الصورة لرؤيتها بالحجم الطبيعي



رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 36  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:43 AM

Philobus, Egyptian Coptic Priest and Missionary
Al-Haj Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad, formerly Ibrahim Khalil Philobus, was an Egyptian Coptic priest who studied theology and obtained a high degree from Princeton University. He studied Islam to find gaps to attack it; instead he embraced Islam with his four children, one of whom is now a brilliant professor in Sorbonne University, Paris France. In an interesting way, he reveals himself saying:

“I was born in Alexandria on the 13th of January 1919 and was sent to the American Mission schools until I got my secondary education certificate there. In 1942 I got my diploma from Asiut University and then I specialized in religious studies as a prelude to join the Faculty of Theology. It was no easy task to join the faculty, as no candidate could join it unless he got a special recommendation from the church, and also, after he should pass a number of difficult exams. I got a recommendation from Al-Attareen Church in Alexandria and another from the Church Assembly of Lower Egypt after passing many tests to know my qualifications to become a man of religion. Then I got a third recommendation from Snodus Church Assembly which included priests from Sudan and Egypt.

The Snodus sanctioned my entrance into the Faculty of Theology in 1944 as a boarding student. There I studied at the hands of American and Egyptian teachers until my graduation in 1948.

I was supposed, he continued, to be appointed in Jerusalem, had it not been for the war that broke out in Palestine that same year, so I was sent to Asna in Upper Egypt. That same year I registered for a thesis at the American University in Cairo. It was about the missionary activities among Muslims. My acquaintance with Islam started in the Faculty of Theology where I studied Islam and all the methods through which we could shake the faith of Muslims and raise misconceptions in their understanding of their own religion.

In 1952 I got my M.A. from Princeton University in U.S.A. and was appointed as a teacher in the Faculty of Theology in Asiut. I used to teach Islam in the faculty as well as the faulty misconceptions spread by its enemies and the missionaries against it. During that period, I decided to enlarge my study of Islam so that I should not read the missionaries books on it only. I had so much faith in myself that I was confirmed to read the other point of view. Thus I began to read books written by Muslim authors. I also decided to read the Quran and understand its meanings. This was implied by my love of knowledge and moved by my desire to add more proofs against Islam. The result was, however, exactly the reverse. My position began to shake and I started to feel an internal strong struggle, and I discovered the falsehood of everything I had studied and preached to the people. But I could not face myself bravely and tried instead to overcome this internal crisis and continue my work.

In 1954, Mr. Khalil added, I was sent to Aswan as secretary general of the German Swiss Mission. That was only my apparent position, for my real mission was to preach against Islam in Upper Egypt especially among Muslims. A missionary conference was held at that time at Cataract Hotel in Aswan, and I was given the floor to speak. That day I spoke too much, reiterating all the repeated misconceptions against Islam; and at the end of my speech, the internal crisis came to me again and I started to revise my position.

Continuing his talk about the said crisis, Mr. Khalil said, “I began to ask myself: Why should I say and do all these things which I know for sure I am a liar, as this is not the truth? I took my leave before the end of the conference and went out alone to my house. I was completely shaken. As I walked through Firyal public garden, I heard a verse of the Quran on the radio. It said:

“Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Quran). They said: We have really heard a wonderful recital! It gives guidance to the Right, and we have believed therein: We shall not join (in worship) any gods with our Lord.” (Quran 72:1-2)

“And as for us, since we have listened to the Guidance, we have accepted it: and any one who believes in His Lord, has no fear of either a short (account) or of any injustice.” (Quran 72:13)

I felt a deep comfort that night, and when I returned home I spent the whole night all by myself in my library reading the Quran. My wife inquired from me about the reason of my sitting up all night and I pleaded from her to leave me alone. I stopped for a long time thinking and meditating on the verse:

“Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, verily thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of God...” (Quran 59:21)

And the verse:

“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and the Pagans, and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, ‘We are Christians’: Because amongst these are men devoted to learning. And men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth: They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in God and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?’” (Quran 5:82-84)

Mr. Khalil then quoted a third quotation from the Holy Quran which says:

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures), in the Taurat and in the Gospel; for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them what is bad (and impure): He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honor him, help him and follow the light which is sent down with him, it is they who will prosper. Say: O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of God, to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: It is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in God and His Messenger. The unlettered Prophet, who believeth in God and His Words: follow Him that (so) you may be guided.” (Quran 7:157-158




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 37  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 11:44 AM

Now that same night, Mr. Khalil dramatically concluded:

“I took my final decision. In the morning I spoke with my wife from whom I have three sons and one daughter. But no sooner than she felt that I was inclined to embrace Islam than she cried and asked for help from the head of the mission. His name was Monsieur Shavits from Switzerland. He was a very cunning man. When he asked me about my true attitude, I told him frankly what I really wanted and then he said: Regard yourself out of job until we discover what has befallen you. Then I said: This is my resignation from my job. He tried to convince me to postpone it, but I insisted. So he made a rumor among the people that I became mad. Thus I suffered a very severe test and oppression until I left Aswan for good and returned to Cairo.”

When he was asked about the circumstances to his conversion he replied: “In Cairo, I was introduced to a respectable professor who helped me overcome my severe trial, and this he did without knowing anything about my story. He treated me as a Muslim, for I introduced myself to him as such although until then I did not embrace Islam officially. That was Dr. Muhammad Abdul Moneim Al Jamal, the then undersecretary of treasury. He was highly interested in Islamic studies and wanted to make a translation of the Holy Quran to be published in America. He asked me to help him because I was fluent in English since I had got my M.A. from an American University. He also knew that I was preparing a comparative study of the Quran, the Torah and the Bible. We cooperated in this comparative study and in the translation of the Quran.

When Dr. Jamal knew that I had resigned from my job in Aswan and that I was then unemployed, he helped me with a job in Standard Stationery Company in Cairo. So I was well established after a short while. I did not tell my wife about my intention to embrace Islam, thus she thought that I had forgotten the whole affair, and that it was nothing but a transitory crisis that no more existed. But I knew quite well that my official conversion to Islam needs long complicated measures, and it was in fact a battle which I preferred to postpone for some time until I became well off and after I completed my comparative study.”

Then Mr. Khalil continued:

“In 1955 I did complete my study and my material and living affairs became well established. I resigned from the company and set up a training office for importing stationery and school articles. It was a successful business from which I gained much more money than I needed. Thus I decided to declare my official conversion to Islam. On the 25th of December 1959, I sent a telegram to Dr. Thompson, head of the American Mission in Egypt informing him that I had embraced Islam. When I told my true story to Dr. Jamal he was completely astonished. When I declared my conversion to Islam, new troubles began. Seven of my former colleagues in the mission had tried their best to persuade me to cancel my declaration, but I refused. They threatened to separate me from my wife and I said: She is free to do as she wishes. They threatened to kill me. But when they found me to be stubborn they left me alone and sent to me an old friend of mine who was also a colleague of mine in the mission. He wept very much in front of me. So I recited before him the following verses from the Quran:

“And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth: They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in God and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?’” (Quran 5:83-84)

I said to him:

“You should have wept in humiliation to God on hearing the Quran and believe in the truth which you know but you refuse. He stood up and left me as he saw no use. My official conversion to Islam was in January 1960.”

Mr. Khalil was then asked about the attitude of his wife and children and he answered:

“My wife left me at that time and took with her all the furniture of our house. But all my children joined me and embraced Islam. The most enthusiastic among them was my eldest son Isaac who changed his name to Osman, then my second son Joseph and my son Samuel, whose name is Jamal, and daughter Majida who is now called Najwa. Osman is now a doctor of philosophy working as a professor in Sorbonne University in Paris teaching oriental studies and psychology. He also writes in ‘Le Monde’ magazine. As in regards to my wife, she left the house for six years and agreed to come back in 1966, provided that she keeps her religion. I accepted this, because in Islam there is no compulsion in religion. I said to her: I do not want you to become a Muslim for my sake but only after you are convinced. She feels now that she believes in Islam but she cannot declare this for fear of her family, but we treat her as a Muslim woman, and she fasts in Ramadan because all my children pray and fast. My daughter Najwa is a student in the Faculty of Commerce, Joseph is a doctor pharmacologist and Jamal is an engineer.

During this period, that is since 1961 until the present time, I have been able to publish a number of books on Islam and the methods of the missionaries and the orientalists against it. I am now preparing a comparative study about women in the three Divine religions with the object of highlighting the status of women in Islam. In 1973, I performed Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and I am doing activities preaching Islam. I hold seminars in the universities and charitable societies. I received an invitation from Sudan in 1974 where I held many seminars. My time is fully used in the service of Islam.”

Finally Mr. Khalil was asked about the salient features of Islam which have attracted his attention most. And he answered:

“My faith in Islam has been brought about through reading the Holy Quran and the biography of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. I no longer believed in the misconceptions against Islam, and I am especially attracted by the concept of unity of God, which is the most important feature of Islam. God is only One. Nothing is like Him. This belief makes me the servant of God only and of no one else. Oneness of God liberates man from servitude to any human being and that is true freedom.

I also like very much the rule of forgiveness in Islam and the direct relationship between God and His servants.

“Say: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! despair not of the Mercy of God: for God forgives all sins: for He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance) and submit to Him before the Chastisement comes on you: After that ye shall not be helped.” (Quran 39:53-54)




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 38  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:00 PM

Great numbers of Christians embraced Islam during and soon after the Islamic conquests after the prophets death. They were never compelled, rather it was a recognition of what they were already expecting. Anselm Tormeeda[1], a priest and Christian scholar, was one such person who’s history is worth relating. He wrote a famous book called “The Gift to the Intelligent for Refuting the Arguments of the Christians”[2]. In the introduction[3] to this work he relates his history:

“Let it be known to all of you that my origin is from the city of Majorca, which is a great city on the sea between two mountains and divided by a small valley. It is a commercial city, with two wonderful harbors. Big merchant ships come and anchor in the harbor with different goods. The city is on the island which has the same name - Majorca, and most of its land is populated with fig and olive trees. My father was a well respected man in the city. I was his only son.

When I was six, he sent me to a priest who taught me to read the Gospel and logic, which I finished in six years. After that I left Majorca and traveled to the city of Larda, in the region of Castillion, which was the center of learning for Christians in that region. A thousand to a thousand and a half Christian students gathered there. All were under the administration of the priest who taught them. I studied the Gospel and its language for another four years. After that I left for Bologne in the region of Anbardia. Bologne is a very large city, it being the centre of learning for all the people of that region. Every year, more than two thousand students gather together from different places. They cover themselves with rough cloth which they call the “Hue of God.” All of them, whether the son of a workman or the son of a ruler, wear this wrap, in order to make the students distinct from the others.

Only the priest teaches, controls and directs them. I lived in the church with an aged priest. He was greatly respected by the people because of his knowledge and religiousness and asceticism, which distinguished him from the other Christian priests. Questions and requests for advice came from everywhere, from Kings and rulers, along with presents and gifts. They hoped that he would accept their presents and grant them his blessings. This priest taught me the principles of Christianity and its rulings. I became very close to him by serving and assisting him with his duties until I became one of his most trusted assistants, so that he trusted me with the keys of his domicile in the church and of the food and the drink stores. He kept for himself only the key of a small room were he used to sleep. I think, and God knows best, that he kept his treasure chest in there. I was a student and servant for a period of ten years, then he fell ill and failed to attend the meetings of his fellow priests.

During his absence, the priests discussed some religious matters, until they came to what was said by the Almighty God through his prophet Jesus in the Gospel: “After him will come a Prophet called Paraclete.” They argued a great deal about this Prophet and as to who he was among the Prophets. Everyone gave his opinion according to his knowledge and understanding; and they ended without achieving any benefit in that issue. I went to my priest, and as usual he asked about what was discussed in the meeting that day. I mentioned to him the different opinions of priests about the name Paraclete, and how they finished the meeting without clarifying its meaning. He asked me: “What was your answer?” I gave my opinion which was taken from interpretation of a well known exegesis. He said that I was nearly correct like some priests, and the other priests were wrong. “But the truth is different from all of that. This is because the interpretation of that noble name is known only to a small number of well versed scholars. And we posses only a little knowledge.” I fell down and kissed his feet, saying: “Sir, you know that I traveled and came to you from a far distant country, I have served you now for more than ten years; and have attained knowledge beyond estimation, so please favor me and tell me the truth about this name.” The priest then wept and said: “My son, by God, you are very much dear to me for serving me and devoting yourself to my care. Know the truth about this name, and there is a great benefit, but there is also a great danger. And I fear that when you know this truth, and the Christians discover that, you will be killed immediately.” I said: “By God, by the Gospel and He who was sent with it, I shall never speak any word about what you will tell me, I shall keep it in my heart.” He said: “My son, when you came here from your country, I asked you if it is near to the Muslims, and whether they made raids against you and if you made raids against them. This was to test your hatred for Islam. Know, my son, that Paraclete is the name of their Prophet Muhammad, to whom was revealed the fourth book as mentioned by Daniel. His way is the clear way which is mentioned in the Gospel.” I said: “Then sir, what do you say about the religion of these Christians?” He said: “My son, if these Christians remained on the original religion of Jesus, then they would have been on God’s religion, because the religion of Jesus and all the other Prophets is the true religion of God. But they changed it and became unbelievers.” I asked him: “Then, sir, what is the salvation from this?” He said “Oh my son, embracing Islam.” I asked him: “Will the one who embraces Islam be saved?” He answered: “Yes, in this world and the next.” I said: “The prudent chooses for himself; if you know, sir the merit of Islam, then what keeps you from it?” He answered: “My son, the Almighty God did not expose me to the truth of Islam and the Prophet of Islam until after I have become old and my body weakened. Yes, there is no excuse for us in this, on the contrary, the proof of God has been established against us. If God had guided me to this when I was your age, I would have left everything and adopted the religion of truth. Love of this world is the essence of every sin, and look how I am esteemed, glorified and honored by the Christians, and how I am living in affluence and comfort! In my case, if I show a slight inclination towards Islam they would kill me immediately. Suppose that I was saved from them and succeeded in escaping to the Muslims, they would say, do not count your Islam as a favor upon us, rather you have benefited yourself only by entering the religion of truth, the religion that will save you from the punishment of God! So I would live among them as a poor old man of more than ninety years, without knowing their language, and would die among them starving. I am, and all praise is due to God, on the religion of Christ and on that which he came with, and God knows that from me.” So I asked him: “Do you advise me to go to the country of the Muslims and adopt their religion?” He said to me: “If you are wise and hope to save yourself, then race to that which will achieve this life and the hereafter. But my son, none is present with us concerning this matter; it is between you and me only. Exert yourself and keep it a secret. If it is disclosed and the people know about it they will kill you immediately. I will be of no benefit to you against them. Neither will it be of any use to you if you tell them what you heard from me concerning Islam, or that I encouraged you to be a Muslim, for I shall deny it. They trust my testimony against yours. So do not tell a word, whatever happens.” I promised him not to do so.

He was satisfied and content with my promise. I began to prepare for my journey and bid him farewell. He prayed for me and gave me fifty golden dinars[4]. Then I took a ship to my city Majorca where I stayed with my parents for six months. Then I traveled to Sicily and remained there five months, waiting for a ship bound for the land of the Muslims. Finally a ship arrived bound for Tunis. We departed before sunset and reached the port of Tunis at noon on the second day. When I got off the ship, Christian scholars who heard of my arrival came to greet me and I stayed with them for four months in ease and comfort. After that, I asked them if there was a translator. The Sultan in those days was Abu al-Abbas Ahmed. They said there was a virtuous man, the Sultan’s physician, who was one of his closest advisors. His name was Yusuf al-Tabeeb. I was greatly pleased to here this, and asked where he lived. They took me there to meet him separately. I told him about my story and the reason of my coming there; which was to embrace Islam. He was immensely pleased because this matter would be completed by his help. We rode to the Sultan’s Palace. He met the Sultan and told him about my story and asked his permission for me to meet him.

The Sultan accepted, and I presented myself before him. The first question the Sultan asked was about my age. I told him that I was thirty-five years old. He then asked about my learning and the sciences which I had studied. After I told him he said. “Your arrival is the arrival of goodness. Be a Muslim with God’s blessings.” I then said to the doctor, “Tell the honorable Sultan that it always happens that when anyone changes his religion his people defame him and speak evil of him. So, I wish if he kindly sends to bring the Christian priests and merchants of this city to ask them about me and hear what they have to say. Then by God’s will, I shall accept Islam.” He said to me through the translator, “You have asked what Abdullah bin Salaam asked from the Prophet when he – Abdullah came to announce his Islam.” He then sent for the priests and some Christian merchants and let me sit in an adjoining room unseen by them. “What do you say about this new priest who arrived by ship?” he asked. They said: “He is a great scholar in our religion. Our bishops say he is the most learned and no one is superior to him in our religious knowledge.” After hearing what the Christian said, the Sultan sent for me, and I presented myself before them. I declared the two testimonies that there is no one worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is His Messenger, and when the Christians heard this they crossed themselves and said: “Nothing incited him to do that except his desire to marry, as priests in our religion can not marry.” Then they left in distress and grief.

The Sultan appointed for me a quarter of a dinar every day from the treasury and let me marry the daughter of Al-Hajj Muhammed al-Saffar. When I decided to consummate the marriage, he gave me a hundred golden dinars and an excellent suit of clothes. I then consummated the marriage and God blessed me with a child to whom I gave the name Muhammed as a blessing from the name of the Prophet.”[5]


Footnotes:
[1] After embracing Islam, he was known as Abu Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Tarjuman. He was called Al-Tarjuman (The Translator), because in less than five months after his conversion, the Sultan appointed him general of the Marine Administration where he learned the Arabic language and became a skillful translator in discussions between Muslims and Christians. After only one year, he excelled in the Arabic language and was appointed as the head of Translation Affairs. He was well known among the common people, who gave him some pleasant nicknames; the most popular was Sidi Tohfah, which means “My Master Gift”, referring to his famous book.
[2] Tuhfat al-arib fi al-radd ‘ala Ahl al-Salib in Arabic. The book was a powerful blow to the structure of Christian belief because it was written by one of the greatest Christian scholars of the age.
[3] Following the introduction, he wrote about some events concerning the Hafsah State. He followed with nine chapters including one demonstrating that the four gospels were not written by the disciples of Jesus to whom they are usually attributed. He also discussed other topics including Baptism, Trinity, Original Sin, The Lord’s Supper, The Indulgence, The Law of Faith. He refuted all of these doctrines based upon the texts of the Gospels and logical reasoning. He proved also the human nature of Christ and disproved his alleged Divine nature. He then exposed the contradictions in the interpolated texts of the Bible. He also discussed matters which Christians criticized the Muslims about, such as the permissibility of marriage for religious scholars and pious men, circumcision and physical enjoyment in Paradise. He concluded his book by proving the truth of the Prophethood of Muhammad using texts from the Bible.
[4] Coins of currency
[5] Extracted from Material on the Authenticity of the Quran: Proofs that it is a Revelation from Almighty God by Abdur-Raheem Greene.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 39  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:04 PM

Sue Watson, Professor, Pastor, Church Planter and Missionary, Now in Saudi Arabia


“What happened to you?” This was usually the first reaction I encountered when my former classmates, friends and co-pastors saw me after having embraced Islam. I suppose I couldn’t blame them, I was a highly unlikely the person to change religions. Formerly, I was a professor, pastor, church planter and missionary. If anyone was a radical fundamentalist it was I.

I had just graduated with my Master’s Degree of Divinity from an elite seminary five months before. It was after that time I met a lady who had worked in Saudi Arabia and had embraced Islam. Of course, I asked her about the treatment of women in Islam. I was shocked at her answer, it wasn’t what I expected, so I proceeded to ask other questions relating to God and Muhammad [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him]. She informed me that she would take me to the Islamic Center where they would be better able to answer my questions.

Being prayed up, meaning-asking Jesus for protection against demon spirits, seeing that what we had been taught about Islam is that it is Demonic and Satanic religion. Having taught Evangelism, I was quite shocked at their approach, it was direct and straightforward. No intimidation, no harassment, no psychological manipulation, no subliminal influence! None of this, “Let’s have a Quranic study in your house,” like a counter part of the Bible study. I couldn’t believe it! They gave me some books and told me if I had some questions they were available to answer them in the office. That night I read all of the books they gave. It was the first time I had ever read a book about Islam written by a Muslim, we had studied and read books about Islam only written by Christians. The next day I spent three hours at the office asking questions. This went on everyday for a week, by which time I had read twelve books and knew why Muslims are the hardest people in the world to convert to Christianity. Why? Because there is nothing to offer them!! (In Islam) There is a relationship with God, forgiveness of sins, salvation and promise of Eternal Life.

Naturally, my first question centered on the deity of God. Who is this God that the Muslims worship? We had been taught as Christians that this is another god, a false god, when, in fact, He is the Omniscient-All Knowing, Omnipotent-All Powerful, and Omnipresent-All Present God - The One and Only without co-partners or co-equal. It is interesting to note that there were bishops during the first three hundred years of the Church that were teaching as the Muslim believes, that Jesus [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] was a prophet and teacher!! It was only after the conversion of Emperor Constantine that he was the one to call and introduce the doctrine of the Trinity. He, a convert to Christianity who knew nothing of this religion, introduced a paganistic concept that goes back to Babylonian times. Space, however, does not permit me to go into detail about the subject, but God willing, we will another time. Only, I must point out that the word TRINITY is not found in the Bible in any of its many translation nor is it found in the original Greek or Hebrew languages!

My other important question centered on Muhammad [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him]. Who is this Muhammad? I found out that Muslims do not pray to him like the Christians pray to Jesus. He is not an intermediary and in fact it is forbidden to pray to him. We ask blessing upon him at the end of our prayer but likewise we ask blessings on Abraham. He is a Prophet and a Messenger, the final and last Prophet. In fact, until now, one thousand four hundred and eighteen years (1,418) later there has been no prophet after him. His message is for All Mankind, as opposed to the message of Jesus or Moses (peace be upon them both) which was sent to the Jews. “Hear O Israel” But the message is the same message of God. “The Lord Your God is One God and you shall have no other gods before Me.” (Mark 12:29)

Because prayer was a very important part of my Christian life I was both interested and curious to know what the Muslims were praying. As Christians we were as ignorant on this aspect of Muslim belief as on the other aspects. We thought and were taught, that the Muslims were bowing down to the Kaaba (in Mecca), that that was there god and center point of this false deity. Again, I was shocked to learn that the manner of prayer is prescribed by God, Himself. The words of the prayer are one of praise and exaltation. The approach to prayer (ablution or washing) in cleanliness is under the direction of God. He is a Holy God and it is not for us to approach Him in an arbitrary manner, but only reasonable that He should tell us how we should approach Him.

At the end of that week after having spent eight (8) years of formal theological studies, I knew cognitively (head knowledge) that Islam was true. But I did not embrace Islam at that time because I did not believe it in my heart. I continued to pray, to read the Bible, to attend lectures at the Islamic Center. I was in earnest asking and seeking God’s direction. It is not easy to change your religion. I did not want to loose my salvation if there was salvation to loose. I continued to be shocked and amazed at what I was learning because it was not what I was taught that Islam believed. In my Master’s level, the professor I had was respected as an authority on Islam yet his teaching and that of Christianity in general is full of Misunderstanding. He and many Christians like him are sincere but they are sincerely wrong.

Two months later after having once again prayed seeking God’s direction, I felt something drop into my being! I sat up, and it was the first time I was to use the name of God, and I said, “God, I believe you are the One and Only True God.” There was peace that descended upon me and from that day four years ago until now I have never regretted embracing Islam. This decision did not come without trial. I was fired from my job as I was teaching in two Bible Colleges at that time, ostracized by my former classmates, professors and co-pastors, disowned by my husband’s family, misunderstood by my adult children and made a suspicion by my own government. Without the faith that enables man to stand up to Satanic forces I would not have been able to withstand all of this. I am ever so grateful to God that I am a Muslim and may I live and die a Muslim.

“Truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for God the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner has He, this I am commanded. And I am the first of those who bow to God in Islam.” (Quran 6:162-163)

Sister Khadijah Watson is presently working as a teacher for women in one of the Da’wah (Invitation to Islam) Centers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 40  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:04 PM

Sue Watson, Professor, Pastor, Church Planter and Missionary, Now in Saudi Arabia


“What happened to you?” This was usually the first reaction I encountered when my former classmates, friends and co-pastors saw me after having embraced Islam. I suppose I couldn’t blame them, I was a highly unlikely the person to change religions. Formerly, I was a professor, pastor, church planter and missionary. If anyone was a radical fundamentalist it was I.

I had just graduated with my Master’s Degree of Divinity from an elite seminary five months before. It was after that time I met a lady who had worked in Saudi Arabia and had embraced Islam. Of course, I asked her about the treatment of women in Islam. I was shocked at her answer, it wasn’t what I expected, so I proceeded to ask other questions relating to God and Muhammad [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him]. She informed me that she would take me to the Islamic Center where they would be better able to answer my questions.

Being prayed up, meaning-asking Jesus for protection against demon spirits, seeing that what we had been taught about Islam is that it is Demonic and Satanic religion. Having taught Evangelism, I was quite shocked at their approach, it was direct and straightforward. No intimidation, no harassment, no psychological manipulation, no subliminal influence! None of this, “Let’s have a Quranic study in your house,” like a counter part of the Bible study. I couldn’t believe it! They gave me some books and told me if I had some questions they were available to answer them in the office. That night I read all of the books they gave. It was the first time I had ever read a book about Islam written by a Muslim, we had studied and read books about Islam only written by Christians. The next day I spent three hours at the office asking questions. This went on everyday for a week, by which time I had read twelve books and knew why Muslims are the hardest people in the world to convert to Christianity. Why? Because there is nothing to offer them!! (In Islam) There is a relationship with God, forgiveness of sins, salvation and promise of Eternal Life.

Naturally, my first question centered on the deity of God. Who is this God that the Muslims worship? We had been taught as Christians that this is another god, a false god, when, in fact, He is the Omniscient-All Knowing, Omnipotent-All Powerful, and Omnipresent-All Present God - The One and Only without co-partners or co-equal. It is interesting to note that there were bishops during the first three hundred years of the Church that were teaching as the Muslim believes, that Jesus [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] was a prophet and teacher!! It was only after the conversion of Emperor Constantine that he was the one to call and introduce the doctrine of the Trinity. He, a convert to Christianity who knew nothing of this religion, introduced a paganistic concept that goes back to Babylonian times. Space, however, does not permit me to go into detail about the subject, but God willing, we will another time. Only, I must point out that the word TRINITY is not found in the Bible in any of its many translation nor is it found in the original Greek or Hebrew languages!

My other important question centered on Muhammad [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him]. Who is this Muhammad? I found out that Muslims do not pray to him like the Christians pray to Jesus. He is not an intermediary and in fact it is forbidden to pray to him. We ask blessing upon him at the end of our prayer but likewise we ask blessings on Abraham. He is a Prophet and a Messenger, the final and last Prophet. In fact, until now, one thousand four hundred and eighteen years (1,418) later there has been no prophet after him. His message is for All Mankind, as opposed to the message of Jesus or Moses (peace be upon them both) which was sent to the Jews. “Hear O Israel” But the message is the same message of God. “The Lord Your God is One God and you shall have no other gods before Me.” (Mark 12:29)

Because prayer was a very important part of my Christian life I was both interested and curious to know what the Muslims were praying. As Christians we were as ignorant on this aspect of Muslim belief as on the other aspects. We thought and were taught, that the Muslims were bowing down to the Kaaba (in Mecca), that that was there god and center point of this false deity. Again, I was shocked to learn that the manner of prayer is prescribed by God, Himself. The words of the prayer are one of praise and exaltation. The approach to prayer (ablution or washing) in cleanliness is under the direction of God. He is a Holy God and it is not for us to approach Him in an arbitrary manner, but only reasonable that He should tell us how we should approach Him.

At the end of that week after having spent eight (8) years of formal theological studies, I knew cognitively (head knowledge) that Islam was true. But I did not embrace Islam at that time because I did not believe it in my heart. I continued to pray, to read the Bible, to attend lectures at the Islamic Center. I was in earnest asking and seeking God’s direction. It is not easy to change your religion. I did not want to loose my salvation if there was salvation to loose. I continued to be shocked and amazed at what I was learning because it was not what I was taught that Islam believed. In my Master’s level, the professor I had was respected as an authority on Islam yet his teaching and that of Christianity in general is full of Misunderstanding. He and many Christians like him are sincere but they are sincerely wrong.

Two months later after having once again prayed seeking God’s direction, I felt something drop into my being! I sat up, and it was the first time I was to use the name of God, and I said, “God, I believe you are the One and Only True God.” There was peace that descended upon me and from that day four years ago until now I have never regretted embracing Islam. This decision did not come without trial. I was fired from my job as I was teaching in two Bible Colleges at that time, ostracized by my former classmates, professors and co-pastors, disowned by my husband’s family, misunderstood by my adult children and made a suspicion by my own government. Without the faith that enables man to stand up to Satanic forces I would not have been able to withstand all of this. I am ever so grateful to God that I am a Muslim and may I live and die a Muslim.

“Truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for God the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner has He, this I am commanded. And I am the first of those who bow to God in Islam.” (Quran 6:162-163)

Sister Khadijah Watson is presently working as a teacher for women in one of the Da’wah (Invitation to Islam) Centers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 41  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:15 PM

Idris Tawfiq, Catholic Priest, UK

“Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning (priests), and men who have renounced the world (monks), and they are not arrogant. And then they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth. They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses.’ (Surat Al-Maida 82-83)”

This was what happened to the former British Catholic Priest Idris Tawfiq on reciting Islam’s holy book, the Quran, to his students at a school in Britain. And this was one of the important steps in his journey of conversion to Islam.

During a recent lecture he gave at the British Council in Cairo, Tawfiq made clear that he has no regrets about his past and what he holds in regard to what Christians do and his life at the Vatican for five years.

“I enjoyed being a priest helping the people for some years. However, deep inside I was not happy and I felt that there was something not right. Fortunately, and it is God’s will, some events and coincidences in my life led me to Islam,” he told a packed hall at the British Council.

A second important coincidence for Tawfiq was his decision to quit his work at the Vatican, a step followed by making a trip to Egypt.

“I used to think of Egypt as a country of Pyramids, camels, sand and palm trees. I actually took a charter flight to Hurghada.

Shocked to find it similar to some European beaches, I took the first bus to Cairo where I spent the most wonderful week in my life.

This was my first introduction to Muslims and Islam. I noticed how Egyptians are such gentle, sweet people, but also very strong.

“Like all Britons, my knowledge about Muslims up to that time didn’t exceed what I heard from the TV about suicide bombers and fighters, which gave the impression that Islam is a religion of troubles. However, getting into Cairo I discovered how beautiful this religion is. Very simple people selling goods on the street would abandon their trade and direct their face to Allah and pray the moment they heard the call to prayer from the mosque. They have a strong faith in the presence and will of Allah. They pray, fast, help the needy and dream to have a trip to Mecca with the hope of living in heaven in the hereafter,” he said.

“On my return I resumed my old job of teaching religion. The only compulsory subject in British education is Religious Studies. I was teaching about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and others. So everyday I had to read about these religions to be able to teach my lessons to the students, many of whom were Arab Muslim refugees. In other words, teaching about Islam taught me many things.

“Unlike many troublesome teenagers, these students set a good example of what a Muslim could be. They were polite and kind. So a friendship developed between us and they asked if they could use my classroom for prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan.

“Luckily, my room was the only one with a carpet. So I got accustomed to sitting at the back, watching them praying for a month. I sought to encourage them by fasting during Ramadan with them, even though I wasn’t yet a Muslim.

“Once while reciting a translation of the holy Quran in class I reached the verse:

“And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth.”

To my surprise, I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I tried hard to hide it from the students.”

Earth-shaking event

A turning point in his life, however, came in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001.

“The following day, I was taking the underground and noticed how terrified the people were. I was also afraid of the repetition of such acts in Britain. At the time, the Western people started fearing this religion they blamed for terrorism.

“However, my previous experience with Muslims took me to a different direction. I started wondering ‘Why Islam? Why do we blame Islam as a religion for the action of terrorists who happened to be Muslims, when no-one accused Christianity of terrorism when some Christians have acted the same way?

“One day I headed to the biggest Mosque in London, to hear more about this religion. Getting into London Central Mosque, there was Yusuf Islam, the former pop singer, sitting in a circle talking to some people about Islam. After a while, I found myself asking him” ‘What do you actually do to become a Muslim?’”

“He answered that a Muslim should believe in one God, pray five times a day and fast during Ramadan. I interrupted him saying that I believed all this and had even fasted during Ramadan. So he asked, ‘What are you waiting for? What is holding you back?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t intend to convert.’

“At that moment the call to prayer was made and everyone got ready and stood in lines to pray.

“I sat at the back, and I cried and cried. Then I said to myself, ‘Who am I trying to fool?’

“After they ended their prayers, I headed to Yusuf Islam, asking him to teach me the words by which I announce my conversion.

“After explaining its meanings to me in English, I recited after him in Arabic that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” recounted Tawfiq, holding back his tears.

‘Gardens of Islam’

Thus his life has taken a different course. Living in Egypt, Tawfiq wrote a book about the tenets of Islam.

Explaining why he penned his book Gardens of Delight: a Simple Introduction to Islam, Tawfiq noted that everyone is saying that Islam is not a religion of terrorism and isn’t a religion of hatred, but no-one tries to explain what it is.

“So I decided to write this book to give non-Muslims an idea about the basic principles of Islam. I tried to tell people how beautiful Islam is and that Islam has the most extraordinary treasures, the most important being Muslims’ love for each other. The Prophet says ‘Even a smile to your brother is a charity.’

Tawfiq told the Gazette that he is working on a book about the Prophet Muhammad [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] which he thinks will be different from the many books already written about him.

He thinks that the “best and fastest way” of acquainting the world with the true image of Islam is to set a good example in real life.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 42  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:16 PM

Idris Tawfiq, Catholic Priest, UK

“Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning (priests), and men who have renounced the world (monks), and they are not arrogant. And then they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth. They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses.’ (Surat Al-Maida 82-83)”

This was what happened to the former British Catholic Priest Idris Tawfiq on reciting Islam’s holy book, the Quran, to his students at a school in Britain. And this was one of the important steps in his journey of conversion to Islam.

During a recent lecture he gave at the British Council in Cairo, Tawfiq made clear that he has no regrets about his past and what he holds in regard to what Christians do and his life at the Vatican for five years.

“I enjoyed being a priest helping the people for some years. However, deep inside I was not happy and I felt that there was something not right. Fortunately, and it is God’s will, some events and coincidences in my life led me to Islam,” he told a packed hall at the British Council.

A second important coincidence for Tawfiq was his decision to quit his work at the Vatican, a step followed by making a trip to Egypt.

“I used to think of Egypt as a country of Pyramids, camels, sand and palm trees. I actually took a charter flight to Hurghada.

Shocked to find it similar to some European beaches, I took the first bus to Cairo where I spent the most wonderful week in my life.

This was my first introduction to Muslims and Islam. I noticed how Egyptians are such gentle, sweet people, but also very strong.

“Like all Britons, my knowledge about Muslims up to that time didn’t exceed what I heard from the TV about suicide bombers and fighters, which gave the impression that Islam is a religion of troubles. However, getting into Cairo I discovered how beautiful this religion is. Very simple people selling goods on the street would abandon their trade and direct their face to Allah and pray the moment they heard the call to prayer from the mosque. They have a strong faith in the presence and will of Allah. They pray, fast, help the needy and dream to have a trip to Mecca with the hope of living in heaven in the hereafter,” he said.

“On my return I resumed my old job of teaching religion. The only compulsory subject in British education is Religious Studies. I was teaching about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and others. So everyday I had to read about these religions to be able to teach my lessons to the students, many of whom were Arab Muslim refugees. In other words, teaching about Islam taught me many things.

“Unlike many troublesome teenagers, these students set a good example of what a Muslim could be. They were polite and kind. So a friendship developed between us and they asked if they could use my classroom for prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan.

“Luckily, my room was the only one with a carpet. So I got accustomed to sitting at the back, watching them praying for a month. I sought to encourage them by fasting during Ramadan with them, even though I wasn’t yet a Muslim.

“Once while reciting a translation of the holy Quran in class I reached the verse:

“And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth.”

To my surprise, I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I tried hard to hide it from the students.”

Earth-shaking event

A turning point in his life, however, came in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001.

“The following day, I was taking the underground and noticed how terrified the people were. I was also afraid of the repetition of such acts in Britain. At the time, the Western people started fearing this religion they blamed for terrorism.

“However, my previous experience with Muslims took me to a different direction. I started wondering ‘Why Islam? Why do we blame Islam as a religion for the action of terrorists who happened to be Muslims, when no-one accused Christianity of terrorism when some Christians have acted the same way?

“One day I headed to the biggest Mosque in London, to hear more about this religion. Getting into London Central Mosque, there was Yusuf Islam, the former pop singer, sitting in a circle talking to some people about Islam. After a while, I found myself asking him” ‘What do you actually do to become a Muslim?’”

“He answered that a Muslim should believe in one God, pray five times a day and fast during Ramadan. I interrupted him saying that I believed all this and had even fasted during Ramadan. So he asked, ‘What are you waiting for? What is holding you back?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t intend to convert.’

“At that moment the call to prayer was made and everyone got ready and stood in lines to pray.

“I sat at the back, and I cried and cried. Then I said to myself, ‘Who am I trying to fool?’

“After they ended their prayers, I headed to Yusuf Islam, asking him to teach me the words by which I announce my conversion.

“After explaining its meanings to me in English, I recited after him in Arabic that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” recounted Tawfiq, holding back his tears.

‘Gardens of Islam’

Thus his life has taken a different course. Living in Egypt, Tawfiq wrote a book about the tenets of Islam.

Explaining why he penned his book Gardens of Delight: a Simple Introduction to Islam, Tawfiq noted that everyone is saying that Islam is not a religion of terrorism and isn’t a religion of hatred, but no-one tries to explain what it is.

“So I decided to write this book to give non-Muslims an idea about the basic principles of Islam. I tried to tell people how beautiful Islam is and that Islam has the most extraordinary treasures, the most important being Muslims’ love for each other. The Prophet says ‘Even a smile to your brother is a charity.’

Tawfiq told the Gazette that he is working on a book about the Prophet Muhammad [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] which he thinks will be different from the many books already written about him.

He thinks that the “best and fastest way” of acquainting the world with the true image of Islam is to set a good example in real life.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 43  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:29 PM

Moisha Krivitsky, Ex-Rabbi, Dagestan

The Rabbi of Makhachkala synagogue embraced Islam. Every person has a different way of coming to the Truth. For Moisha Krivitsky this way led through a faculty of law, a synagogue and a prison. The lawyer-to-be becomes a Rabbi, then he converts into Islam and finds himself in prison.

Today Musa[1] (this is the name he has adopted when he became a Muslim) lives in a small mosque in Al-Burikent, a mountain area of Makhachkala, and works as a watchman in the Central Juma mosque.

Interviewer: Musa, before we began talking, you asked what we were going to talk about. I said: About you.

Musa: What’s so interesting about me? If you wondered. Then I live in the mosque..

Interviewer: How did you come to live in the mosque?

Musa: Well, I just dropped in... and stayed.

Interviewer: Did you find the way easily?

Musa: With great difficulty. It was hard then, and it isn’t much easier now. When you go deeply into Islam its inner meaning, you understand that this religion is very simple, but the way that leads to it may be extremely difficult. Often, people don’t understand how a person could be converted into Islam from the other side, as it were.

But there are no other sides here. Islam is everything there is, both what we imagine and what we don’t imagine.

Interviewer: Musa, as a matter of fact, we were given this fact as a certain sensation: a Rabbi has turned Muslim.

Musa: Well, it has been no sensation for quite a long while already - it’s more than a year that I did this. It was strange for me at first, too. But it wasn’t an off-the-cuff decision. When I came into Islam, I had read books about it, I had been interested.

Interviewer: Did you finish any high school before coming to the synagogue?

Musa: Yes, I finished a clerical high school. After graduation, I came to Makhachkala, and became the local Rabbi.

Interviewer: And where did you come from?

Musa: Oh, from far away. But I have already become a true Daghestani, I have got a lot of friends here - both among Muslims and people who are far from Islam.

Interviewer: Let’s return to your work in the synagogue.

Musa: It was quite a paradoxical situation: there was a mosque near my synagogue, the town mosque. Sometimes my fiends who were its parishioners would come to me - just to chat. I sometimes would come to the mosque myself, to see how the services were carried out. I was very interested. So we lived like good neighbors. And once, during Ramadan, a woman came to me - as I now understand, she belonged to a people that was historically Muslim - and she asked me to comment the Russian translation of the Quran made by Krachkovsky.

Interviewer: She brought the Quran to you - a Rabbi?!

Musa: Yes, and she asked me to give her the Torah to read in return. So I tried to read the Quran - about ten times.

It was really hard, but gradually I began to understand, and to get a basic notion of Islam. (Here, Musa looked at my friends son, the six-year old Ahmed, who had fallen asleep in the mosque courtyard. “Should we probably take him inside the mosque?” asked Musa.) And that woman had brought back the Torah.

It turned out to be very difficult for her to read and understand it, because religious literature requires extreme concentration and attention.

Interviewer: Musa, and when you were reading the translation, you must have begun to compare it with the Torah?

Musa: I had found answers to many questions in the Quran. Not to all of them, of course, because it wasn’t the Arabic original, but the translation.

But I had begun to understand things.

Interviewer: Does it mean that you couldn’t find some answers in Judaism?

Musa: I don’t know, there’s Allah’s will in everything.

Apparently, those Jews who became Muslims in the times of the Prophet, couldn’t find some answers in Judaism, but found them in Islam.

Perhaps, they were attracted by the personality of the Prophet, his behavior, his way of communicating with people. Its an important topic.

Interviewer: And what exactly were the questions that you couldn’t find answers to in Judaism?

Musa: Before I came into contact with Islam, there were questions which I had never even tried to find answers to. Probably, an important part here had been played by a book written by Ahmad Deedat, a South African scholar, comparing the Quran and the Bible.

There is a key phrase, well-known to those who are familiar with religious issues: e g Follow the Prophet who is yet to cometh. And when I studied Islam, I understood that the Prophet Muhammad is the very Prophet to be followed. Both the Bible and the Torah tell us to do it.

I haven’t invented anything here.

Interviewer: And what does the Torah say about the Prophet?

Musa: We wont be able to find this name in the Torah. But we can figure it out using a special key. For example, we can understand what god this or that particular person in history worships. The formula describing the last Prophet [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] is that he would worship One God, the Sole Creator of the world. The Prophet Muhammad matches this description exactly.

When I read this, I got very interested. I hadn’t known anything about Islam before that. Then I decided to look deeper into the matter and see whether there were any miracles and signs connected with the name of the Prophet.

The Bible tells us that the Lord sends miracles to the prophets to confirm their special mission in peoples eyes.

I asked the alims (scholars)about this, and they said: Here’s a collection of true hadeeths which describe the miracles connected with the Prophet. Then I read that the Prophet had always said that there had been prophets and messengers before him.

We can find their names both in the Torah and in the Bible. When I was only starting to get interested, it sounded somewhat strange for me. And then...

Well, my own actions led to what happened to me. Sometimes I get to thinking: why did I read all this? Perhaps, I should say the tauba (a prayer of repenting) right now for having thoughts like that.





رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 44  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:29 PM

Moisha Krivitsky, Ex-Rabbi, Dagestan

The Rabbi of Makhachkala synagogue embraced Islam. Every person has a different way of coming to the Truth. For Moisha Krivitsky this way led through a faculty of law, a synagogue and a prison. The lawyer-to-be becomes a Rabbi, then he converts into Islam and finds himself in prison.

Today Musa[1] (this is the name he has adopted when he became a Muslim) lives in a small mosque in Al-Burikent, a mountain area of Makhachkala, and works as a watchman in the Central Juma mosque.

Interviewer: Musa, before we began talking, you asked what we were going to talk about. I said: About you.

Musa: What’s so interesting about me? If you wondered. Then I live in the mosque..

Interviewer: How did you come to live in the mosque?

Musa: Well, I just dropped in... and stayed.

Interviewer: Did you find the way easily?

Musa: With great difficulty. It was hard then, and it isn’t much easier now. When you go deeply into Islam its inner meaning, you understand that this religion is very simple, but the way that leads to it may be extremely difficult. Often, people don’t understand how a person could be converted into Islam from the other side, as it were.

But there are no other sides here. Islam is everything there is, both what we imagine and what we don’t imagine.

Interviewer: Musa, as a matter of fact, we were given this fact as a certain sensation: a Rabbi has turned Muslim.

Musa: Well, it has been no sensation for quite a long while already - it’s more than a year that I did this. It was strange for me at first, too. But it wasn’t an off-the-cuff decision. When I came into Islam, I had read books about it, I had been interested.

Interviewer: Did you finish any high school before coming to the synagogue?

Musa: Yes, I finished a clerical high school. After graduation, I came to Makhachkala, and became the local Rabbi.

Interviewer: And where did you come from?

Musa: Oh, from far away. But I have already become a true Daghestani, I have got a lot of friends here - both among Muslims and people who are far from Islam.

Interviewer: Let’s return to your work in the synagogue.

Musa: It was quite a paradoxical situation: there was a mosque near my synagogue, the town mosque. Sometimes my fiends who were its parishioners would come to me - just to chat. I sometimes would come to the mosque myself, to see how the services were carried out. I was very interested. So we lived like good neighbors. And once, during Ramadan, a woman came to me - as I now understand, she belonged to a people that was historically Muslim - and she asked me to comment the Russian translation of the Quran made by Krachkovsky.

Interviewer: She brought the Quran to you - a Rabbi?!

Musa: Yes, and she asked me to give her the Torah to read in return. So I tried to read the Quran - about ten times.

It was really hard, but gradually I began to understand, and to get a basic notion of Islam. (Here, Musa looked at my friends son, the six-year old Ahmed, who had fallen asleep in the mosque courtyard. “Should we probably take him inside the mosque?” asked Musa.) And that woman had brought back the Torah.

It turned out to be very difficult for her to read and understand it, because religious literature requires extreme concentration and attention.

Interviewer: Musa, and when you were reading the translation, you must have begun to compare it with the Torah?

Musa: I had found answers to many questions in the Quran. Not to all of them, of course, because it wasn’t the Arabic original, but the translation.

But I had begun to understand things.

Interviewer: Does it mean that you couldn’t find some answers in Judaism?

Musa: I don’t know, there’s Allah’s will in everything.

Apparently, those Jews who became Muslims in the times of the Prophet, couldn’t find some answers in Judaism, but found them in Islam.

Perhaps, they were attracted by the personality of the Prophet, his behavior, his way of communicating with people. Its an important topic.

Interviewer: And what exactly were the questions that you couldn’t find answers to in Judaism?

Musa: Before I came into contact with Islam, there were questions which I had never even tried to find answers to. Probably, an important part here had been played by a book written by Ahmad Deedat, a South African scholar, comparing the Quran and the Bible.

There is a key phrase, well-known to those who are familiar with religious issues: e g Follow the Prophet who is yet to cometh. And when I studied Islam, I understood that the Prophet Muhammad is the very Prophet to be followed. Both the Bible and the Torah tell us to do it.

I haven’t invented anything here.

Interviewer: And what does the Torah say about the Prophet?

Musa: We wont be able to find this name in the Torah. But we can figure it out using a special key. For example, we can understand what god this or that particular person in history worships. The formula describing the last Prophet [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] is that he would worship One God, the Sole Creator of the world. The Prophet Muhammad matches this description exactly.

When I read this, I got very interested. I hadn’t known anything about Islam before that. Then I decided to look deeper into the matter and see whether there were any miracles and signs connected with the name of the Prophet.

The Bible tells us that the Lord sends miracles to the prophets to confirm their special mission in peoples eyes.

I asked the alims (scholars)about this, and they said: Here’s a collection of true hadeeths which describe the miracles connected with the Prophet. Then I read that the Prophet had always said that there had been prophets and messengers before him.

We can find their names both in the Torah and in the Bible. When I was only starting to get interested, it sounded somewhat strange for me. And then...

Well, my own actions led to what happened to me. Sometimes I get to thinking: why did I read all this? Perhaps, I should say the tauba (a prayer of repenting) right now for having thoughts like that.





رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 45  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:35 PM

Reverend David Benjamin Keldani, Catholic Priest, Iran

When asked how he came to Islam he wrote:

“My conversion to Islam cannot be attributed to any cause other than the gracious direction of the Almighty Allah. Without this Divine guidance all learning, search and other efforts to find the Truth may even lead one astray. The moment I belived in the Absolute Unity of God His Holy Apostle Muhummed became the pattern of my conduct and behvior.”

Abdu ‘l-Ahad Dáwúd is the former Rev. David Benjamin Keldani, B.D., a Roman Catholic priest of the Uniate-Chaldean sect. He was born in 1867 at Urmia in Persia; educated from his early infancy in that town. From 1886-89 (three years) he was on the teaching staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mission to the Assyrian (Nestorian) Christians at Urmia. In 1892 he was sent by Cardinal Vaughan to Rome, where he underwent a course of philosophical and theological studies at the Propaganda Fide College, and in 1895 was ordained Priest. During that time he contributed a series of articels to The Tablet on “Assyria, Rome and Canterbury”; and also to the Irish Record on the “Authenticity of the Pentateuch.” He had several translations of the Ave Maria in different languages, published in the Illustrated Chatholic Missions. While in Constantinople on his way to Persia in 1895, he contributed a long series of articels in English and French to the daily paper, published there under the name of The Levant Herald, on “Eastern Churches.” In 1895 he joined the French Lazarist Mission at Urmia, and published for the first time in the history of that Misssion a periodical in the vernacular Syriac called Qala-La Shárá, i.e. “The Voice of Truth.” In 1897 he was delegated by two Uniate-Chaldean Archbishops of Urmia and of Salmas to erpresent the Eastern Catholics at the Eucharistic Congress held at Paray-le-Monial in France under the presidency of Cardinal Perraud. This was, of course, on official invitation. The paper read at the Congress by “Father Benjamin” was published in the Annals of the Eucharistic Congress, called “Le Pelirin” of that year. In this paper, the Chaldean Arch-Priest (that being his official title) deplored the Catholic system of education among the Nestorians, and fortold the imminent appearance of the Russian priests in Urmia.

In 1898 Father Benjamin was back again in Persia. In his native vilage, Digala, about a mile from the town, he opened a school gratis. The next year he was sent by the Ecclesiastical authorities to take charge of the diocese of Salmas, where a sharp and scandalous conflict between the Uniate Archbishop, Khudabásh, and the Lazarist Fathers for a long time had been menacing a schism. On the day of New Year 1900, Father Benjamin preached his last and memorable sermon to a large congregation, including many non-Catholic Armenians and others in the Cathedral of St. George´s Khorovábád, Salmas. The preacher´s subject was “New Century and New Men.” He recalled the fact that the Nestorian Missionaries, before the apperance of Islam, had preached the Gospel in all Asia; that they had numerous establishments in India (especially at the Malbar Coast), in Tartary, China and Mongolia; and that they translated the Gospel to the Turkish Uighurs and into other languages; that the Catholic, American and Anglican Missions, in spite of the little good they had done to the Assyro-Chaldean nation in the way of preliminary education, had split the nation - already a handful - in Persia, Kurdistan and Mesopotamia into numerous hostile sects; and that their efforts were destined to bring about the final collapse. Consequently he advised the natives to make some sacrifices in order to stand upon their own legs like men, and not to depend upon the foreign missions, etc.

Five big and ostentatious missions - Americans, Anglicans, French, Germans and Russians - with their colleges, Press backed up by rich religious societies, Consuls and Ambassadors were endeavoring to convert about one hundred thousand Assyro-Chaldeans from Nestorian heresy unto one or another of the five heresies. But the Russian Mission soon outstripped the others, and it was this mission which in 1915 pushed or forced the Assyrians of Persia, as well as the mountaineer tribes of Kurdistan, who had then immigrated into the plains of Salmas and Urmia, to take up arms against their respective Governments. The result was that half of his people perished in the war and the rest expelled from their native lands.

The great question which for a long time had been working its solution in the mind of this priest was now approaching its climax. Was Christianity, with all its multitudinous shapes and colors, and with its unauthentic, spurious and corrupted Scriptures, the true Religion of God? In the summer of 1900 he retired to his small villa in the middle of vineyards near the celebrated fountain of Cháli-Boulaghi in Digala, and there for a month spent his time in prayer and meditation, reading over and over the Scriptures in their original texts. The crisis ended in a formal resignation sent in to the Uniate Archbishop of Urmia, in which he frankly explained to Mar (Mgr.) Touma Audu the reasons for abandoning his sacerdotal functions. All attempts made by the ecclesiastical authorities to withdraw his decision were of no avail. There was no personal quarrel or dispute between Father Benjamin and his superiors; it was all question of conscience.

For several months Mr. Dáwúd - as he was now called - was employed in Tabriz as Inspector in the Persian Service of Posts and Customs under the Belgian experts. Then he was taken into the service of the Crown Prince Muhummed Alí Mirsá as teacher and translator. It was in 1903 that he again visited England and there joined the Unitarian Community. And in 1904 he was sent by the British and Foreign Unitarian Association to carry on an educational and enlightening work among his country people. On his way to Persia he visited Constantinople; and after several interviews with Sheikhu ‘l-Islám Jemálu ‘d-Dín Effendi and other Ulémas, he embraced Islam.





رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 46  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:36 PM

Abdullah ibn Salam, Jewish Rabbi, Medina

Al-Husayn ibn Salam was a Jewish rabbi in Yathrib [Medina] who was widely respected and honored by the people of the city, even by those who were not Jewish. He was known for his piety and goodness, his upright conduct, and his truthfulness.

Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach and preach in the temple.

Then he would spend some time in his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the study of the Torah.

In this study, it is said he was particularly struck by some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a Prophet who would complete the message of previous Prophets. Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a Prophet in Makkah.

What follows is his story, in his own words:

When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) I began to make enquiries about his name, his genealogy, his characteristics, his time and place and I began to compare this information with what is contained in our books.

From these enquiries, I became convinced about the authenticity of his prophethood and I affirmed the truth of his mission. However, I concealed my conclusions from the Jews. I held my tongue.

Then came the day when the Prophet, peace be upon him, left Makkah and headed for Yathrib. When he reached Yathrib and stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet.

At that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some work. My aunt, Khalidah bint Al-Harith, was sitting under the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted: “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great! God is Great!)

When my aunt heard me, she remonstrated with me: “May God frustrate you... By God, if you had heard that Moses was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic.”

“Auntie, he is really, by God, the ‘brother’ of Moses and follows his religion. He was sent with the same mission as Moses.” She was silent for a while and then said: “Is he the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets) and complete the message of his Lord?”

“Yes,” I replied.

Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the Prophet. I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about in the crowds until I reached close to him.

The first words I heard him say were: “O people! Spread peace... Share food... Pray during the night while people (normally) sleep... and you will enterParadise in peace.”

I looked at him closely. I scrutinized him and was convinced that his face was not that of an imposter. I went closer to him and made the declaration of faith that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

The Prophet turned to me and asked: “What is your name?” “Al-Husayn ibn Salam,” I replied. “Instead, it is now Abdullah ibn Sallam,” he said (giving me a new name). “Yes” I agreed. “Abdullah ibn Salam it shall be. By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not wish to have another name after this day.”

I returned home and introduced Islam to my wife, my children and the rest of my household. They all accepted Islam including my aunt Khalidah who was then an old lady. However, I advised them then to conceal our acceptance of Islam from the Jews until I gave them permission. They agreed.

Subsequently, I went back to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and said: “O Messenger of God! The Jews are a people (inclined to) slander and falsehood. I want you to invite their most prominent men to meet you. (During the meeting however), you should keep me concealed from them in one of your rooms. Ask them then about my status among them before they find out of my acceptance of Islam. Then invite them to Islam. If they were to know that I have become a Muslim, they would denounce me and accuse me of everything base and slander me.”

The Prophet kept me in one of his rooms and invited the prominent Jewish personalities to visit him. He introduced Islam to them and urged them to have faith in God.

They began to dispute and argue with him about the Truth. When he realized that they were not inclined to accept Islam, he put the question to them:

“What is the status of Al-Husayn ibn Salam among you?”

“He is our sayyid (leader) and the son of our sayyid. He is our rabbi and our alim (scholar), the son of our rabbi and alim.”

“If you come to know that he has accepted Islam, would you accept Islam also?” asked the Prophet.

“God forbid! He would not accept Islam. May God protect him from accepting Islam,” they said, horrified.

At this point I came out in full view of them and announced: “O assembly of Jews! Be conscious of God and accept what Muhammad has brought. By God, you certainly know that he is the Messenger of God and you can find prophecies about him and mention of his name and characteristics in your Torah. I for my part declare that he is the Messenger of God. I have faith in him and believe that he is true. I know him.”

“You are a liar,” they shouted. “By God, you are evil and ignorant, the son of an evil and ignorant person.” And they continued to heap every conceivable abuse on me.

Here ends his own narration.

Abdullah ibn Salam approached Islam with a soul thirsty for knowledge. He was passionately devoted to the Quran and spent much time reciting and studying its beautiful and sublime verses. He was deeply attached to the noble Prophet and was constantly in his company.

He spent much of his time in the masjid, engaged in worship, in learning and in teaching. He was known for his sweet, moving and effective way of teaching study circles of Sahabah who assembled regularly in the Prophet’s mosque.

Abdullah ibn Salam was known among the Sahabah as a man from the people of Paradise. This was because of his determination on the advice of the Prophet to hold steadfastly to the ‘most trustworthy handhold’ that is belief in and total submission to God.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 47  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:38 PM

Jason Cruz, Ex-Priest, USA

Alhumdulillah (Thank God), I have been blessed by Allah with the gift of Islam since 2006. When I was asked to write about the path that I took and how Allah has blessed me, I was hesitant. I have seen others get caught up with personal fame by telling how they came to Islam and I knew that I didn’t want to have the same challenge.

I ask you then to take this story as the work of Allah and focus on his mercy and greatness rather than my story in particular, insha Allah. No one comes to Islam without the mercy of Allah and it is his work not that of the revert that truly matters.

I was born to a nominally Roman Catholic family in Upstate New York. I had a Roman Catholic mother and a Presbyterian father who converted to Catholicism in order to get married.

We attended church on Sundays and I went through catechism, first communion, and eventually confirmation within the Roman Catholic Church. When I was young I began to feel a call from Allah. This call I interpreted as a call to the Roman Catholic priesthood and told my mother as such. She, pleased with this, took me to meet the priest at our local parish.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this particular priest was not happy with his vocation and advised me to stay away from the priesthood. This upset me and even today, I do not know how things would have been different if his response had been more positive.

From that earlier brush with Allah’s call, and out of my own foolishness and in my teen years, I went the other way. My family broke up at an early age when I was seven and I suffered from the loss of my father who was not present after the divorce.

Starting at the young age of 15, I began to be more interested in nightclubs and parties than the Lord of the Universe. I dreamed of becoming a lawyer, then politician with a penthouse in Manhattan so I could participate in a party lifestyle with style.

After I graduated with honors, from my high school, I went to college briefly. But my own twisted focus led me to drop from college and move to Arizona (where I continue to live until now) instead of getting my degree.

This is something that I regret to this day. Once in Arizona, my situation went from bad to worse. I fell in with a much worse crowd than I had at home and began to use drugs. Due to my lack of education, I worked low end jobs and continued to spend my time in drugs, promiscuity, and nightclubs.

During this time, I had my first encounter with a a Muslim. He was a kind man who was attending a local college as a foreign student. He was dating one of my friends and often accompanied us to nightclubs and other parties that we attended. I did not discuss Islam with him but did question him about his culture which he shared freely. Islam did not come up. Again I wonder how things would have been different had he been a practicing Muslim.

My bad lifestyle continued for some years and I won’t belabor it with details. I had lots of trauma, people that I knew died, I was stabbed and otherwise wounded but this is not a tale of the dangers of drugs.

I only mention it to state that no matter where you are, Allah can bring you back from it insha Allah. I will fast forward to when I became clean from drugs. Part of the process of getting off of drugs and narcotics is to establish a relationship with a “higher power”.

For most this is God and or other expressions of divinity. I had long before lost my connection to Allah so I went on a search for my higher power. Sadly, I did not find the truth at first. Instead I went to Hinduism, which appealed to me because of its explanation of why suffering had happened to me.

I went all into it, even changing my name to a Hindu name. It was enough to keep me off of drugs and move my life in a more positive direction, for which I am grateful. Eventually, though I began to again feel the tug from Allah. This began to show me that for me, Hinduism was not the true way.

Allah continued to needle me until I left Hinduism and I began to go back to Christianity. I approached the Roman Catholic Church to become a priest, as this is what I felt Allah was calling me for, and they offered me an education and a post in a monastery in New Mexico. By this time my family (mother, brother and sister) had moved to Arizona and I had close relationships with many friends.

Needless to say I was not yet ready. Instead I found an independent catholic church that I could study through their seminary program from home and become ordained and assigned where I was already living. This independent Catholic Church also appealed to my liberal ideals that I had developed through my years living rough. I attended their seminary program and in 2005 I was ordained a priest.

My first ministry in my new role was interfaith relations. My assignment was to visit and learn about the different faith traditions in the Phoenix Metro area and share with them an interfaith message of peace and understanding from my church.

Most Christian traditions I already had studied and knew. I brushed up on Judaism and other Far East religions. I was what is known as a worker-priest, which means I had a job at the same time as I was doing my ministry. I had changed from working in corporate America to working in a behavioral health agency.

My post was down the street from a Masjid. I thought that this was my chance to learn about Islam for my interfaith relations. I went to the mosque and met some very nice brothers who directed me to the mosque in Tempe, Arizona.

I also began to read about Islam independently and was startled by how touched I was with what I was reading. Allah had me now but I did not yet know it. I went to the Tempe mosque and was to meet a wonderful teacher in the form of Ahmad Al Akoum.

Br. Al Akoum, who is the regional director of Muslim American Society, had an introduction to Islam class open for people of all faiths that I began to attend. While attending this class, I began to see that Islam was the truth. It was only a short time later that I gave Shahadah at the Tempe mosquewith the Sheikh Ahmed Shqeirat. Both Br. Al Akoum and Sheikh Shqeirat are great men and without them I would not have been as comfortable coming into Islam. I resigned from the church and have been Muslim ever since, Alhumdulillah.

My life has changed dramatically for the better since embracing Islam. At first my family was saddened that I left the priesthood and didn’t understand, even feared, Islam. But since my way of interacting with them, based on my increased happiness and my striving to adhere to Quran and Sunnah, has changed—they have seen that it is a good thing.

Br. Al Akoum knew that the first year is always toughest for the revert. To lessen the stress of it, he made sure that I was included in multiple community activities and met lots of good practicing brothers. It is only through contact with other Muslims that a revert can be successful.

Left on his or her own, it can be too daunting and their faith may slip too far, so if you know a revert, please visit them at least once every three days. I have advanced further in my job because of my new base as a Muslim. I became a manager of a program that seeks to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, HIV, and Hepatitis for at risk populations.

I have become a volunteer in not only Muslim American Society but also the Muslim Youth Centre of Arizona and other Muslim causes. I have been recently nominated to the board of the Tempe mosque where I first took shahadah. Alhumdulillah it has also clarified who are my true friends versus who were not.

I have less non Muslim friends now as I cannot participate in the activities that they choose to do for fun but I have developed valuable friendships with Muslim brothers that are better than anything I have had in the past. Insha Allah, if Allah chooses, I would like to go and study Fiqh to further the cause of Islam and benefit the Ummah that I love. All of this was through the grace of Allah and only the mistakes are mine.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 48  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:38 PM

Jason Cruz, Ex-Priest, USA

Alhumdulillah (Thank God), I have been blessed by Allah with the gift of Islam since 2006. When I was asked to write about the path that I took and how Allah has blessed me, I was hesitant. I have seen others get caught up with personal fame by telling how they came to Islam and I knew that I didn’t want to have the same challenge.

I ask you then to take this story as the work of Allah and focus on his mercy and greatness rather than my story in particular, insha Allah. No one comes to Islam without the mercy of Allah and it is his work not that of the revert that truly matters.

I was born to a nominally Roman Catholic family in Upstate New York. I had a Roman Catholic mother and a Presbyterian father who converted to Catholicism in order to get married.

We attended church on Sundays and I went through catechism, first communion, and eventually confirmation within the Roman Catholic Church. When I was young I began to feel a call from Allah. This call I interpreted as a call to the Roman Catholic priesthood and told my mother as such. She, pleased with this, took me to meet the priest at our local parish.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this particular priest was not happy with his vocation and advised me to stay away from the priesthood. This upset me and even today, I do not know how things would have been different if his response had been more positive.

From that earlier brush with Allah’s call, and out of my own foolishness and in my teen years, I went the other way. My family broke up at an early age when I was seven and I suffered from the loss of my father who was not present after the divorce.

Starting at the young age of 15, I began to be more interested in nightclubs and parties than the Lord of the Universe. I dreamed of becoming a lawyer, then politician with a penthouse in Manhattan so I could participate in a party lifestyle with style.

After I graduated with honors, from my high school, I went to college briefly. But my own twisted focus led me to drop from college and move to Arizona (where I continue to live until now) instead of getting my degree.

This is something that I regret to this day. Once in Arizona, my situation went from bad to worse. I fell in with a much worse crowd than I had at home and began to use drugs. Due to my lack of education, I worked low end jobs and continued to spend my time in drugs, promiscuity, and nightclubs.

During this time, I had my first encounter with a a Muslim. He was a kind man who was attending a local college as a foreign student. He was dating one of my friends and often accompanied us to nightclubs and other parties that we attended. I did not discuss Islam with him but did question him about his culture which he shared freely. Islam did not come up. Again I wonder how things would have been different had he been a practicing Muslim.

My bad lifestyle continued for some years and I won’t belabor it with details. I had lots of trauma, people that I knew died, I was stabbed and otherwise wounded but this is not a tale of the dangers of drugs.

I only mention it to state that no matter where you are, Allah can bring you back from it insha Allah. I will fast forward to when I became clean from drugs. Part of the process of getting off of drugs and narcotics is to establish a relationship with a “higher power”.

For most this is God and or other expressions of divinity. I had long before lost my connection to Allah so I went on a search for my higher power. Sadly, I did not find the truth at first. Instead I went to Hinduism, which appealed to me because of its explanation of why suffering had happened to me.

I went all into it, even changing my name to a Hindu name. It was enough to keep me off of drugs and move my life in a more positive direction, for which I am grateful. Eventually, though I began to again feel the tug from Allah. This began to show me that for me, Hinduism was not the true way.

Allah continued to needle me until I left Hinduism and I began to go back to Christianity. I approached the Roman Catholic Church to become a priest, as this is what I felt Allah was calling me for, and they offered me an education and a post in a monastery in New Mexico. By this time my family (mother, brother and sister) had moved to Arizona and I had close relationships with many friends.

Needless to say I was not yet ready. Instead I found an independent catholic church that I could study through their seminary program from home and become ordained and assigned where I was already living. This independent Catholic Church also appealed to my liberal ideals that I had developed through my years living rough. I attended their seminary program and in 2005 I was ordained a priest.

My first ministry in my new role was interfaith relations. My assignment was to visit and learn about the different faith traditions in the Phoenix Metro area and share with them an interfaith message of peace and understanding from my church.

Most Christian traditions I already had studied and knew. I brushed up on Judaism and other Far East religions. I was what is known as a worker-priest, which means I had a job at the same time as I was doing my ministry. I had changed from working in corporate America to working in a behavioral health agency.

My post was down the street from a Masjid. I thought that this was my chance to learn about Islam for my interfaith relations. I went to the mosque and met some very nice brothers who directed me to the mosque in Tempe, Arizona.

I also began to read about Islam independently and was startled by how touched I was with what I was reading. Allah had me now but I did not yet know it. I went to the Tempe mosque and was to meet a wonderful teacher in the form of Ahmad Al Akoum.

Br. Al Akoum, who is the regional director of Muslim American Society, had an introduction to Islam class open for people of all faiths that I began to attend. While attending this class, I began to see that Islam was the truth. It was only a short time later that I gave Shahadah at the Tempe mosquewith the Sheikh Ahmed Shqeirat. Both Br. Al Akoum and Sheikh Shqeirat are great men and without them I would not have been as comfortable coming into Islam. I resigned from the church and have been Muslim ever since, Alhumdulillah.

My life has changed dramatically for the better since embracing Islam. At first my family was saddened that I left the priesthood and didn’t understand, even feared, Islam. But since my way of interacting with them, based on my increased happiness and my striving to adhere to Quran and Sunnah, has changed—they have seen that it is a good thing.

Br. Al Akoum knew that the first year is always toughest for the revert. To lessen the stress of it, he made sure that I was included in multiple community activities and met lots of good practicing brothers. It is only through contact with other Muslims that a revert can be successful.

Left on his or her own, it can be too daunting and their faith may slip too far, so if you know a revert, please visit them at least once every three days. I have advanced further in my job because of my new base as a Muslim. I became a manager of a program that seeks to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, HIV, and Hepatitis for at risk populations.

I have become a volunteer in not only Muslim American Society but also the Muslim Youth Centre of Arizona and other Muslim causes. I have been recently nominated to the board of the Tempe mosque where I first took shahadah. Alhumdulillah it has also clarified who are my true friends versus who were not.

I have less non Muslim friends now as I cannot participate in the activities that they choose to do for fun but I have developed valuable friendships with Muslim brothers that are better than anything I have had in the past. Insha Allah, if Allah chooses, I would like to go and study Fiqh to further the cause of Islam and benefit the Ummah that I love. All of this was through the grace of Allah and only the mistakes are mine.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 49  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:41 PM

Sushil Kumar Sharma, Ex-Hindu Priest, India

Returning to his room after praying the Isha prayer[1], Abdur Rahman, 42, an Indian national, sits down with a pen and a mind full of thoughts. He is writing the story of his life, “Pandit bane Musalmaan” (Hindu priest becomes Muslim) in his mother tongue, Hindi.

He works as a storekeeper in Saudi Binladin BTAT Construction Company at the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project opposite to the Grand Mosque.

Before coming to Jeddah (May12, 2002) and accepting Islam, Abdur Rahman was known as Sushil Kumar Sharma. His hometown is Amadalpur, a small village in the north Indian state of Haryana. He was born in an orthodox Hindu family who were privileged with conducting religious rituals in the village’s temple.

While staying in the company’s accommodation in Jeddah, a colleague of his gave him some Islamic books in Hindi. He was then transferred to Riyadh to work for a project at Princess Noura University for Women.

“It was at the company’s housing camp that I met a number of Muslims from India and Pakistan who explained me the religion of Islam,” said Abdur Rahman.

“Among them was one of my closest friends, Saleem who hailed from Rajasthan (a northwestern state of India). Both of us shared the same room. During leisure time he narrated the stories of Prophets of Islam and read out Hadeeth (sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him).

“My heart trembled. I began to question myself. What would happen to me after death? Will my sins put me in the Hellfire forever? I was afraid of punishment in the grave for the sinners and non-believers,” he recalled.

“I began to spend sleepless nights. I knew it was time for me to embrace Islam and become a true follower of Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him. At last my lifelong search for truth ended here.

“The next day morning I revealed my intention to embrace Islam to my friend Saleem and other colleagues in the camp. There was jubilation in the company. Everyone was happy, they congratulated and hugged me.

“It was also the system of universal brotherhood with no difference of caste, color, creed or race that attracted me towards Islam,” Abdur Rahman said.

The following day a meeting with the members of the Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance in Al-Batha, Riyadh, was arranged. The Imam of the camp’s mosque asked him to say the “Shahada” (i.e. the Testimony of Faith).

“I recited La ilaha illAllah Muhammad-ur-Rasool Allah wholeheartedly, accepting Allah as my Lord and Muhammad as His Messenger. The Imam suggested me to change my name to Abdur Rahman, which I readily accepted.”

Soon, Abdur Rahman was transferred to Bahra, a town located near the Makkah-Jeddah highway. “The project engineer there was very pleased to know I had embraced Islam. He was very kind towards me and extended all help and cooperation,” Abdur Rahman said.

“But I wanted to be closer to God. I prayed to God to transfer me to Makkah. My prayers were answered and I was transferred to the project I’m working on currently which is located in close proximity of the Grand Mosque.”

His main concern now is his family back home.

“I now have a big task before me: To take the message of Islam to my family members.” Abdur Rahman has a wife and two sons, a seven year old and a sixteen year old.

“I have told them on phone that I have accepted the religion of Islam and have become a Muslim. At first they did not believe me. My wife told me she would decide only when I return to India on vacation. Everyday I am making Du’a (supplicating God) and pleading to God to guide them to the Right Path and soften their hearts to accept Islam,” said Abdur Rahman with tears in his eyes.

“I may also face lots of opposition from relatives, friends and co-villagers. But I am determined to face them. I am confident that God will help me,” he added.

Abdur Rahman also had some words of advice for everyone else.

“I would like to convey the message to all non-Muslims of the world to accept Islam and be successful in this life and in the Hereafter. It also saddens me to see so many Muslims not following the religion of Islam as preached by our Prophet. I appeal to them to stop imitating other people.”


Footnotes:
[1] The fifth and last prayer a Muslim performs at the end of the day.




رحمك الله يا سمية

رقم العضوية : 8411
الإنتساب : Jan 1970
المشاركات : 16,376
بمعدل : 0.94 يوميا

شمائل غير متواجد حالياً عرض البوم صور شمائل


  مشاركة رقم : 50  
كاتب الموضوع : شمائل المنتدى : English Forum قديم بتاريخ : 07-04-2011 الساعة : 12:43 PM

قصص علماء دخلو الاسلام

Cat Stevens, Former Pop star, UK)

All I have to say is all what you know already, to confirm what you already know, the message of the Prophet [may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him] as given by God - the Religion of Truth. As human beings we are given a consciousness and a duty that has placed us at the top of creation… It is important to realize the obligation to rid ourselves of all illusions and to make our lives a preparation for the next life. Anybody who misses this chance is not likely to be given another, to be brought back again and again, because it says in the Glorious Quran that when man is brought to account, he will say, “O Lord, send us back and give us another chance. The Lord will say, ‘If I send you back you will do the same.’”

My Early Religious Upbringing

I was brought up in the modern world of all the luxury and the high life of show business. I was born in a Christian home, but we know that every child is born in his original nature - it is only his parents that turn him to this or that religion. I was given this religion (Christianity) and thought this way. I was taught that God exists, but there was no direct contact with God, so we had to make contact with Him through Jesus - he was in fact the door to God. This was more or less accepted by me, but I did not swallow it all.

I looked at some of the statues of Jesus; they were just stones with no life. And when they said that God is three, I was puzzled even more but could not argue. I more or less believed it, because I had to have respect for the faith of my parents.

Pop Star

Gradually I became alienated from this religious upbringing. I started making music. I wanted to be a big star. All those things I saw in the films and on the media took hold of me, and perhaps I thought this was my God, the goal of making money. I had an uncle who had a beautiful car. “Well, I said, “he has it made. He has a lot of money.” The people around me influenced me to think that this was it; this world was their God.

I decided then that this was the life for me; to make a lot of money, have a ‘great life.’ Now my examples were the pop stars. I started making songs, but deep down I had a feeling for humanity, a feeling that if I became rich I would help the needy. (It says in the Quran, we make a promise, but when we make something, we want to hold onto it and become greedy.)

So what happened was that I became very famous. I was still a teenager, my name and photo were splashed in all the media. They made me larger than life, so I wanted to live larger than life, and the only way to do that was to be intoxicated (with liquor and drugs).

In Hospital

After a year of financial success and ‘high’ living, I became very ill, contracted TB and had to be hospitalized. It was then that I started to think: What was to happen to me? Was I just a body, and my goal in life was merely to satisfy this body? I realized now that this calamity was a blessing given to me by God, a chance to open my eyes - “Why am I here? Why am I in bed?” - and I started looking for some of the answers. At that time, there was great interest in the Eastern mysticism. I began reading, and the first thing I began to become aware of was death, and that the soul moves on; it does not stop. I felt I was taking the road to bliss and high accomplishment. I started meditating and even became a vegetarian. I now believed in ‘peace and flower power,’ and this was the general trend. But what I did believe in particular was that I was not just a body. This awareness came to me at the hospital.

One day when I was walking, and I was caught in the rain, I began running to the shelter and then I realized, ‘Wait a minute, my body is getting wet, my body is telling me I am getting wet.’ This made me think of a saying that the body is like a donkey, and it has to be trained where it has to go. Otherwise, the donkey will lead you where it wants to go.

Then I realized I had a will, a God-given gift: follow the will of God. I was fascinated by the new terminology I was learning in the Eastern religion. By now, I was fed up with Christianity. I started making music again, and this time I started reflecting my own thoughts. I remember the lyric of one of my songs. It goes like this: “I wish I knew, I wish I knew what makes the Heaven, what makes the Hell. Do I get to know You in my bed or some dusty cell while others reach the big hotel?” and I knew I was on the Path.

I also wrote another song, “The Way to Find God Out.” I became even more famous in the world of music. I really had a difficult time because I was getting rich and famous, and at the same time, I was sincerely searching for the Truth. Then I came to a stage where I decided that Buddhism is all right and noble, but I was not ready to leave the world. I was too attached to the world and was not prepared to become a monk and to isolate myself from society.

I tried Zen and Ching, numerology, tarot cards and astrology. I tried to look back into the Bible and could not find anything. At this time I did not know anything about Islam, and then, what I regarded as a miracle occurred. My brother had visited the mosque in Jerusalem and was greatly impressed that while on the one hand it throbbed with life (unlike the churches and synagogues which were empty), on the other hand, an atmosphere of peace and tranquility prevailed.


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