In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
THE IMPORTANCE OF INVESTIGATION AND SINCERITY
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and the Cherisher of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and the followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment. Allah, the Exalted, says in the Qur'an:
“Their intention is to extinguish Allah's Light (by blowing) with their mouths (or by making it look crude): but Allah will perfect (the revelation of) His Light even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).” Q61:8.
“O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news ascertain (investigate) the truth lest you harm people unwillingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” Q49:6.
“Say: "Produce your proof if you are truthful (of your claims).”"Q2:111.
“AND FOLLOW NOT THAT WHICH THOU HAS NO KNOWLEDGE; for every act of hearing or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be questioned (on the Day of Reckoning).” Q17:37.
“We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe: TO THE UNJUST IT CAUSES NOTHING BUT LOSS AFTER LOSS.” Q17:82.
In an hadith Qudsi, Allah says, “Know ME, search for knowledge about ME before you worship Me. How can he who does not know Me worship ME?”
Some people asked the Prophet (PBUH): "Who is the most honorable amongst the people?" He replied, "The most honorable among them is the one who is the most Allah-fearing." They said, "O Allah's Prophet! We do not ask about this." …."Then you want to ask me about the Arabs' descent?" They said, "Yes." He said, "Those who were best in the pre-Islamic period, are the best in Islam, if they comprehend (the religious knowledge)." (Bukhari 4.593)
In general, testimonies of converts from Islam to Christianity should not be taken serious because many people are very bias. But there are lessons in some testimonies. For this reason, this write-up examines the claims of a brother (a medical doctor) that accepted Islam then left Islam for Christianity. The testimony is reproduced below with my comments in capital letters and in brackets. Some of these claims have been dealt with in previous articles on THE TENETS OF ISLAM, other claims will be evaluated.
This is a personal narrative but bears some bearing to what is being discussed. I was a Muslim before. I wasn't born a Muslim, but became one during my search for meaning in life. This was in the very early seventies. I participated actively in the Islamic ways of life for some time, took Islamic classes, observed the yearly fasts, was at the yidi [sorry if the spelling is wrong], and had my name changed. Throughout my experience, one thing that kept confronting me was the mystery within which the religion was shrouded. [HUM! CAN YOU EXPLAIN TRINITY TO ME? THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PREVENTED ME FROM ACCEPTING CHRISTAINITY IN THE PAST. LET A JEHOVAH WTINESS EXPLAINS SOMETHING TO YOU ABOUT TRINITY. READ “SHOULD YOU BELIEVE IN THE TRINITY?” I HAVE READ IT]. For instance, I had to learn a whole new language in order to communicate with Allah, could only pray to him at certain times of the day and in stereotyped ways, had to be at certain places [CHEI! SO YOU DON’T GO TO ANY CHURCH, YOU SAY ALL YOUR PRAYERS IN YOUR ROOM] and adopt certain postures before I could properly 'say' my prayers, etc [LANGUAGE AND SOLAT]. Also, I was able to observe that we were not encouraged to expect answers to our prayers but were just to pray anyway. There was little emphasis placed on developing a personal relationship with Allah, trying to know him, his ways and the like [KNOWLEDGE]. Most of the moral requirements I learnt in Islam were just the basics any good non-religious organization would demand. And then, the women were compelled to dress in certain ways while the men could freely wear whatever they wanted. Men could marry "as many as"; women must marry only one man at any one time [POLYGAMY]. I was getting frustrated. To make matters worse, I was told I could not read the Quran until a certain sacrifice/prayers [WHAT SACRIFICE? ALL YOU NEED DO IS PERFORM GHUSUL AND ABLUTION-SPIRITUAL PURIFICATION. HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN BAPTISM IN CHRISTIANITY? WHAT IS ITS ESSENCE?] were made for me, because it was a 'holy book'. All in all, I didn't notice any significant change in my life, interests, or attitudes, during my 'trial' of the religion [READ Q17:82]. What was obvious was the wholesale importation of foreign lifestyles in the name of religion, and the imposition of many things. I must admit, though, that I was much younger then and probably could not understand many things. Maybe the more knowledgeable ones will be willing to shed more light on the religion.
End of Quote.
Please, go back and read the Qur’anic verses and ahadith before you continue reading because some of the claims have been answered by them. Allah, the Exalted, says, “Say: "Truly Allah leaves to stray whom He will; but He guides to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence”. Q13:27
“And those who strive in Our (Cause) We will CERTAINTLY guide them to Our Paths: for verily Allah is with those who do righteous deeds.” Q29:69.
Our beloved prophet (PBUH) said, “Religion is sincerity and well-wishing. Upon this we said: For whom? He replied: for Allah, His Book, His Messenger and for the leaders and the general Muslims.” (Muslim, Hadith 98)
LANGUAGE AND SOLAT
Some people are not sincere at all. Have you ever seen or heard of someone who knows the importance of education but refused to go to school because he/she needs to learn English Language? Despite the fact that most of us, non-native speakers of English, started learning English from childhood, we are required to write TOEFL and GRE before we can study in some countries whose native language is not even English. Nobody complained because of what he/she will gain by studying. But when we need to learn a bit of Arabic for religious purposes we will start complaining and questioning.
Do you need to master Arabic Language before you can be a good Muslim? Well, there is a minimum requirement for every act of worship in Islam. The minimum Arabic requirement for the five daily prayer is Suratul Al-Fatiha (Q1:1-7). Every Muslim should be able to recite this surah in Arabic and know its meaning if he/she needs to observe solat alone. You can read Qur’an, ahadith and other Islamic books in English or other languages that you know to understand Islamic teachings. You can supplicate in any language you speak or understand any time, anywhere. Solat is different from personal supplications. Allah understands all languages because he created them. “And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the VARIATIONS IN YOUR LANGUAGES AND YOUR COLORS: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” Q30:22. “AND YOUR LORD SAYS, “CALL ME; I WILL ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS: BUT THOSE WHO ARE TOO ARROGANT TO SERVE ME WILL SURELY FIND THEMSELVES IN HELL IN HUMILIATION!” Q40:60. But if we understand Arabic Language, we will be able to know the meaning of what the Imam is reciting. Some people used to cry in Solat whenever the Imam recites sensitive verses of the Qur’an because they know their meanings. Solat is a mode of worship and it has to be done as prescribed by prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islam is SUBMISSION AND OBEDIENCE TO ALLAH AND FOLLOWING THE WAYS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH). It was the Arabic Language that attracted M. Pickthall, a Briton, a convert and the first Muslim to translate the Arabic Qur'an to English Language, to Islam. He wrote in the Introduction “the sound of the Qur'an is like music without a drum the very sound of which move men to ecstasy”.
However, for men, Islam emphasizes that the five obligatory prayers should be observed in congregation in the mosque to facilitate good friendship between Muslims. Furthermore, a Muslim does not need to search for a mosque in which solat is performed in his/her native language before he/she can worship. We all know the problem some religions of the world face in this regard. Hence, the Islamic mode of worship is UNIFORM and UNIVERSAL. “So from wherever thou stands (for Prayer) turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; wherever you are turn your face thither that there be no ground of dispute against you among the people except those of them that are bent on wickedness; so fear them not but fear Me; and that I may complete My favors on you and you may (consent to) be guided.” Q2:150. This is exemplified during the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) where millions of Muslims from all over the world pray together in unison. Muslims are soldiers of Allah on the earth hence there must be organization. This is what attracted other people to Islam. If the brother had studied the Bible very well, he would have found a similar mode of worship (certain postures) as the Muslims do:
“Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:5-6)
Some people really amaze me. They speak and write foreign languages, live in foreign countries, wear foreign dresses and imbibe foreign culture and ideologies for livelihood yet they call others who do similar things for religious purposes names. Is this not hypocrisy of the highest order? Some people when they discuss a secular issue, they will argue beautifully quoting references, using sound logic but when it is the turn of religion they will hide their brain. For Muslims we say, “Praise be to Allah Who has guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance had it not been for the guidance of Allah: indeed it was the truth that the apostles of our Lord brought unto us." Q7:43
PURIFICATION (GHUSUL AND ABLUTION)
Ghusul is the bath taken by a new Muslim. Muslims also perform Ghusul after sexual intercourse, and after menstruation and childbirth by women. Ablution is the washing of some parts of the body before every solat.
It is surprising that the brother complained about this. I feel he should be very happy to have had the opportunity to do one of the things that Jesus (PBUH) did but has almost been forgotten. Jesus (PBUH) performed ablution before he entered the synagogue. There are several references in the Bible for Islamic mode of worship and spiritual purification. It is amazing that the brother has not come across the some of them in the Bible since he accepted Christianity. Well, some Christians are instructed to read only some selected verses of the Bible. Islam is the same religion Moses (PBUH) thought the Jews and Jesus (PBUH) came not to destroy this religion and its laws but to confirm them (Matthew5:17-19). Most of the deviations from this religion are found in the writings of Saint Paul.
“He placed the basin between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing, and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and feet. They washed whenever they entered the Tent of Meeting or approached the altar, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Exodus 40:30-32). See also Matthew 3: 13-14.
Is it not funny that some people have no problem following simple hygiene instructions like wash your mouth after every meal, wash your hands after visiting the toilet, etc. but the same people will complain when required to do the same thing for religious purposes? It is a fact that if a Muslim follows Islamic teachings accordingly, he/she will be fulfilling all requirements; I repeat, all requirements to live a healthy life. Islam has established basic rules for healthy living that took science several years to establish. Do you wonder on this statement? Few examples will be helpful.
There are other examples. But what do Muslims call other Muslims that strictly adhere to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? You know the answer. Thank God the brother is a medical doctor. Perhaps, he may want to know what the Holy Qur'an has to say on some aspects of his profession, medicine. I urge him to visit www.islam-guide.com. Some people have read many books yet they are not literate in the real sense of the word. On these kind of people, Allah, the Exalted says, “The similitude of those who were charged with the (obligations of the) Mosaic Law but who subsequently failed in those (obligations) is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not). Evil is the similitude of people who falsify the Signs of Allah: and Allah guides not people who do wrong.” Q62:5. ALLAHU AKBAR. This verse applies to all adherents of any religion that do not follow the teachings of the religion; including Muslims.
Allah says: “AND FOLLOW NOT THAT WHICH THOU HAS NO KNOWLEDGE; for every act of hearing or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be questioned (on the Day of Reckoning).” Q17:37.
“Is one who worships devoutly during the hours of the night prostrating himself or standing (in adoration) who takes heed of the Hereafter and who places his hope in the Mercy of his Lord (like one who does not)? Say: "Are those equal those who KNOW and those who do NOT KNOW? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition."” Q39:9.
“…Those truly fear Allah among His Servants who HAVE KNOWLEDGE: for Allah is Exalted in Might Oft-Forgiving.” Q35:28.
In an hadith Qudsi, Allah says,” Know ME, search for knowledge about ME before you worship Me. How can he who does not know Me worship ME?”
The prophet (PBUH) was reported to have said: “The search for knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim male or female”
Our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “For him who adopts a path seeking knowledge, Allah will ease the way to Paradise for him and the angels spread their wings for a seeker of knowledge, being pleased with his occupation, and all that are in the heavens and the earth, including the fish in the ocean, ask for forgiveness for a learned one. A learned one is superior to an ordinary worshipper as the moon is superior to the stars. The learned persons are heirs of the prophet and the prophets do not leave an inheritance of money but only knowledge. He who acquires knowledge acquires a vast portion. (Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi)
The Qur’anic verses and the ahadith are self-explanatory.
Allah says: “And among His Signs is this that He created for you WIVES from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." Q30:21.
“If you fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans marry women of your choice TWO or THREE or FOUR; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice.” Q4:3
Our beloved prophet Muhammad said, "Whoever get married has completed half of his/her faith. The other half is for him/her to fear Allah.". He also said, "Marriage is my sunnah whoever has the means to marry but refused to marry is not one of us".
In Islam, there is nothing like a total abstinence from sex for spiritual upliftment. Allah put sexual desire in both men and women and He commands that this desire be met legally through marriage and there are rewards for people who follow this rule for the sake of Allah. Allah in His Knowledge knows that the number of women will be more than the number of men. In order not to deprive some women of the joy and happiness of marriage, Allah permits polygamy. It is a medical fact that nature favors the survival of more female than male. If every man marries one woman only, what will happen to the rest of the excess women? Islam has solution to every problem. The problem of women is further complicated in the western countries with legalization of homosexualism and lesbianism, and a complex divorce law that many men try to avoid.
If only those who oppose polygamy could know the mental agony which women who want to get married but could not for one reason or the other experiences, they will change their stand. The fact that it has not happened to their sisters or close relatives does not mean that this problem does not exist. Is it not better for a woman to share a man with another woman legally than to be a professional prostitute or a lesbian or…? After all, religions preach that we should love our neighbor like ourselves. What love or care is a woman who is married shows towards other women that could not find men when she insists that she cannot share a man with another woman? These kind of women are selfish and do not wish other women good. In fact, polygamy is another way of testing the level of tolerance of people. Those that oppose polygamy are not tolerant and are selfish. Live and let others live; this is the essence of brotherhood and sisterhood that Islam teaches.
In Islam, men are discouraged from divorcing women who are married but could not conceive. Allah gives child to whom He wills and withholds child from whom He wills. May Allah answer the prayers of all women who are beseeching Him for good children. If it can be ascertained that nothing is wrong with the man and if he wants children, he is permitted for him to marry another woman but he should not divorce the other woman if he has the means and he is expected to deal with his wives justly. Justice between wives means he should give them equal rights and provide for them equally. It does not mean he should love them equally, he has no control on this. Even a father may not love his children from a single woman equally, this is natural. Allah says, “You are never able to be fair and just as between women even if it is your ardent desire: but turn not away (from a woman) altogether so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If you come to a friendly understanding and practice self-restraint Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” Q4:129. May Allah have mercy on us, May He not test us with a trial that is beyond our ability. But this thing happens. How will a woman who is divorced because she cannot conceive feels like? Therefore, both men and women benefit from polygamy. However, problems arise when people abuse the institution of polygamy. Polygamy is not among the pillars of Islam, it is not mandatory.
Any person that wishes to know more on the spiritual satisfaction of Islamic worship should read ‘Inner Dimensions of Worship” by Imam Al-Ghazali. From the foregoing, it is evident that the brother did not understand Islam probably because he was too young to appreciate Islamic values, or he lacked sincerity or did not truthfully submit to Allah. Or he was not willing to learn and make efforts but just looking for miracles. The problem with people that left Islam for another religion is usually lack of Islamic knowledge but the same people will turn around to learn and will become very committed adherents of their newly found religion. If they have made half of the efforts they make in the new religion while a Muslim, they would have seen the light. This is the weakness of people and not of Islam. There are many Muslims by birth that are still grossly ignorant about Islamic teachings. I urge them to learn and study Islam in order to derive the intended spiritual and worldly satisfactions.
Some people who did a thorough job reading about Islamic teachings before accepting Islam have been wonderful. For example, Abu Aminah Bilal Philips. He was born in Jamaica but he grew up and accepted Islam in Canada. He is an International Islamic preacher and teacher. He has written many Islamic books and translated many from Arabic to English for instance, “The Fundamental of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) and Ibn Taymeeyaah’s Essay on the Jinn. Kart Stephen, the popular British Musician now Yusuf Islam and Dr. Gary Miller, an American Mathematician; there are other examples.
LESSONS FOR MUSLIMS
Our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to instruct Muslims who understand Islam to teach new Muslims. He used to personally assign each new Muslim an instructor. But nowadays, all we do is to be present at the declaration of Islamic creed ceremony and shout Allahu Akbar. The new Muslims are always left alone to fend for themselves. People are different and efforts need to be made in assisting new Muslims to understand Islam properly. But when majority of the Muslims hardly attend Islamic lectures and are deficient in Islamic knowledge themselves, how will they assist the new Muslims? We are supposed to teach our children Islam from childhood. It is not enough to take them to the mosque, we should explain why they need to do what. Allah commands, “O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah but do (precisely) what they are commanded.” Q66:6
Lastly, Allah says, “O you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Evil One; for he is to you an avowed enemy.” Q2:208
“O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.” Q3:102
“And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” Q54:17
May Allah, the Exalted, have mercy on us, may He accept our acts of worship and make us good Muslims (Ameen).
Peace be on you.