Preface: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

I bear witness that there is no deity worth worship except Allah (The True God and Creator and Sustainer of this Universe) and I bear Witness that Mohammad is His Servant and Messenger, Afterwards, In 1930, Dr. Sir Mohd. IQBAL, the well known Urdu and Persian poet and Islamic Philosopher, expressed the need of publishing a book, in which the stories of all those who had converted to Islam in India be recorded. He said that it would give a new boost to the cause of Islamic propagation. He was asked, if there are not already books that express the logic and truth of Islam and are they insufficient, the noted scholar said: “Yes they are more than sufficient, but you would get so many new points from such a book that you will be amazed. I think there are different ways to impress the heart and mind. Many times brain rejects the most potent of the arguments, but the hearts gets impressed by a very small incident or some very small point and grads the mind also. Conversion to Islam is al related to brain as it is to the heart. A muslim missionary must know what are the darts that affect heart. There are so many tales of unbelievers coming to Islam thru out the history. We see a person standing firm on his religion for many decades, yet a small point and a small acts of kindness, sweeps him away from his feet and he makes the most momentous decision of his life. You have many logical arguments to prove the truth of Islam, but if you go to a new Muslim and ask him, what impressed him about Islam and what were the points which impressed him. If you have in book form, stories of a large number of such people, it would be a very powerful tool in the hands of Muslim missionaries. Many new arguments of truth of Islam will come out, which might not be available in the vast Islamic literature we have” So many books have been written for past few decades on the true stories of new converts of Islam. I have compiled about 250 of them and abridged them to be between 6000-8000 words for ease or reading and to be posted in many shared channels on Internet and distribution thru emails etc. People might agree or disagree with some of points mentioned here. But these are personal experiences and personal reasons of these people who accepted Islam of their own free will. Some of them suffered much about this new faith. What kept them firm to their faith varies from one person to another person. I pray to Allah to accept this effort and make it useful for those who read it and share it with other people.

M.U. Qidwai Jubail, Saudi Arabia PS: This is volume 4 of a five part series, having stories from Serial 151 to serial 200. The full series has already been published in tabular form on this site earlier

Story # 151 Why I Became Muslim? TANIDTHEA (UMM AMINA) AUSTRALIA I was born in Australia, once I went to the Muslim Mosque in small town of Armindale and borrowed English translation of Quran for study. While just scanning thru the book, The following verse of Quran caught my eye, that dealt with planetary movements: “And the sun runs the course for a period determined for him: that is the decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, the All Knowing. And the Moon- We have measured for her mansions (to traverse) till she returns like the old (and wretched) lower part of a date stalk. It is not permitted to the sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the day, each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law) 36: 38-40 This made me think, how can Prophet Mohammad, an unlettered man could describe the movements of sun and man in so scientific way? He must be getting these info from God Almighty….so Quran must be the divine book. Now I started studying Quran with much care and attention taking care to implement in my life what I read. Soon I decided to enter into faith of Islam. I tried to convince my husband also about Islam, but despite my best efforts, he continued in his faith. So much so that I gave him choice between me and his religion. He divorced me and I got the custody of my daughter, whom I named AMINA and therefore I am known as UMM AMINA. Soon I met a Muslim from Pakistan on Internet Chat club and I migrated to Pakistan and married him. Australia is a Christian majority country, but Islam is spreading fast there. Many women are attracted to Islam for protection, because it is Islam which gives them real protection and real respect. I am sorry to say that most Muslims living in Australia do not give a good picture of Islam. They do not live according to Islam and are divided amongst themselves. To Muslim women also I request to think about hereafter, The present life will end in a few decades, and then they will have to account for that in the eternal life. Islamic teachings are best suited for all situations in life. They should practice them into their daily life. (abridged)

Story # 152 Why I became Muslim? AN ANGLICAN CHRISTIAN (NAME WITHELD), Birmingham UK Even though I had a vague believe in God, I really I had no knowledge about any religion or try to know about God or felt his need in my life. Then around 8 years ago my mother became seriously ill and according to doctors she had only one more week to live. It was then that I prayed to God and asked from Him to extend her life. Surprisingly she recovered and lived one more year and I was able to serve her. After that personal experience, myself and my wife visited a Baptist Church which was near to our University and one of Mathematics teacher was a member there. Soon he persuade me and my wife to be formally baptized and we started to join Sunday classes in the Church regularly. Soon I started to read Christian books and acquire some knowledge about it. I stumbled on the Doctrine of Trinity, which I could not understand, how so much I tried it. I asked my church fellows, their answers did not satisfy me and I asked more doubts. Finally they advised me to accept Trinity as taught by the Church and stop trying to understand it. It was at that time, that one of Muslim Student told me about Quran and its clear teachings. He gave me an audio cassette of Mr. Jamal Badawi (Well known Muslim missionary from Canada) about concept of God in Islam. I could see that it was a straight forward concept and lacked any mysteries which Trinity tried to introduce. I got busied in cultural activities and I noticed that black people were not encouraged or welcomed in our Church. On many occasions when my wife brought some of her black friends to the Church, no one spoke to them. When we tried to join in the movement to restore Walter Helms (first Black Superintendent of School in Birmingham, who allowed non union teachers in Black schools), our Church openly condemned us. It was at that time that I got an offer to teach mathematics in KFUPM University Dhahran. There I got an opportunity to learn about Islam from those who were Muslims. Those people gave me English translation of Quran and other Islamic literature. I got audio and video tapes of Jamal Badawi, which helped me a lot to know what Islam really is. I started Muslim prayers even before I declared my faith…..but soon I decided to join brotherhood of Islam (Abridged)

Story # 153 Why I Became Muslim? Testimony of Ahmed Corpus (Formerly Marco Corpus) All praise is due to Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those following true guidance. This is my story why I embrace Islam. During my childhood, I was brought up in the Catholic faith particularly within the Aglipayan sect. My grandfather and aunt are faith healers…. When I reached the age of seventeen, I noticed that there are many religions having different types of doctrine, however, using one common source, which is the Bible. Everyone claims to be the true religion. Then, I ask my self; “Shall I remain with my family’s faith or shall I try to attend and listen to other religion?” One day my cousin invited me to attend the Pentecost Church. My motive was only to observe what they are doing inside their Church. I witnessed that they employ singing, clapping, dancing, crying and raising of hands in worship to Jesus (peace be upon him). The pastor preached about the bible. He mentioned the most common verses quoted by all preachers pertaining to the divinity of Christ such as: John 1:12, John 3:16, John 8:31-32. That time, I became a Born Again Christian. I accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and personal savior. … I began teaching people about the bible and its doctrines. I read the bible twice from cover to cover. I committed myself to memorize chapters and verses of the bible for the purpose of protecting the faith I am uphold to defend. With the position I have attained, I became proud of myself. .. However, looking into the lives of my co-pastors, you cannot find among them as good examples to the flocks they pastorate. Thus, my faith began to decline. Still, I strive hard to work to serve my congregation One day, I thought of going abroad not only to work but also with the intention to proselytize the name of Jesus as Lord, astagfirullah. My plan was to go either Taiwan or Korea. However, by Divine Will, I got a visa for Saudi Arabia. Immediately, I signed a three-year contract to work in Jeddah. A week after I arrived in Jeddah, I observed the diverse lifestyle of different people such as the language, customs, and even the food they eat. I was totally ignorant of other’s culture. Alhamdulillah, I have a Filipino co-worker in the factory that happens to be a Muslim and who can speak Arabic. Though, there was little apprehension, I tried to ask him about the Muslims, their faith and beliefs. I thought Muslims were hard-killers who worship Satan, Pharaohs, and Muhammad (pbuh) as lords. I shared to him my faith in Christ. As response, he told me that his

religion it totally different from my religion. He quoted two verses from the Holy Qur'an. One in surah al-maidah 5: verse 3 which says; “…This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” Another in surah Yousuf 12: verse 40 which says; “You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him, that is the straight religion, but most men know not.” The verses he quoted struck me. After that I began to observe his life. Everyday we shared each other’s belief and eventually became close friends. In one occasion, we went to Balad (the commercial district of Jeddah) to post some letters. There, I happened to notice many people watching video of a debate by my favorite “preacher”. My Muslim friend told me that the favorite “preacher” I was telling him happens to be Ahmad Deedat and apparently a famous propagator of Islam. I told him that, our pastors back home had made us to believe that he is just a “great preacher”. They kept to us his real identity that he is a Muslim propagator! Whatever their intention was, definitely, it was to keep us away from knowing the truth. Nevertheless, I bought the videotape as well as some books to read about Islam. In our residence, my Muslim friend told to me about the stories of the prophets. I was really convinced but pride kept me away from Islam. Seven months later, another Muslim friend from India went to my room and gave me an English translation of the Qur’aan. Later on, he brought me to Balad and accompanied me to an Islamic Center nearby. There, I met one Filipino Brother. We had some religious discussions and related to me his life before when he was a Christian. Then he lectured to me the teachings of Islam. That blessed night, on the 18th of April 1998, without compulsion, I finally entered Islam. I announced my declaration of faith called the shahadatain, Allahu Akbar! Before I was following a blind faith. But now, I see the ultimate truth that Islam is the best and complete way of life designed for the whole of mankind, alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alamin. My prayer is that Allah will forgive us all our Ignorance regarding Islam and Guide us to the siratal mustaqeem (straight path) leading to Paradise. Ameen.

Story # 154 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: MAHESH CHANDRA SHARMA (MOHD. AKBAR) KARNAL, HARYANA, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born on 7th July 1977. My father was a Hindu Pundit. He was engaged in performing religious rites, make Birth sketches and other Hindu rites. He died one year before I became Muslim. I have one sister. When I was in school, I did not like all these rituals which my father performed. I even talked to him about it, but he used to say that at least it earns living for him and the family. 02. I used to get up early in the morning and take bath. Once when I was in high School and my exams were due. My mother asked me to pray to their gods before I went for exam. When I reached temple, I saw (rather Allah made me see) that one dog entered the temple. It ate what sweets were placed before the idol and then urinated on the head of Idol. This took my faith away from these idols and I went to my exams without prayer. 03. When my results came, I got First Division. Next year when I was in 11th standard, my father fell suddenly sick and his condition became very serious. My mother insisted that I go to temple and pray for his recovery. Forced I went to temple and prayed whole night…. But when I returned , my father had died. That was the second stroke that alienated me from these idols and their worship. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 04. I then went to a Church to become Christian, but when I saw the statue of jesus there, I came back. Then some one told me that I should meet Maulana Kalim Sahib, who visits this place on such and such time. I waited and when Maulana came, I told him my story. He consoled me on my father’s death and then explained me about Islam. 05. He told me that there is no time for death, it could come any time and my end would be same as my father’s. He also gave me his small booklet “Your Trust…” and asked me to read it.

After some hesitation, I got convinced and told Maulana that I am ready to become Muslim. He was very happy to know it. I recited KALIMA in front of him and he gave me my new Islamic name. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 06. I was very confident that my mother will be very happy to see that I have found the true path….but when I went home and told her, she became very angry. She told me that I have dishonored family name. She pressed me to come back to my old religion, I said that now this is impossible. I was so much against idol worship that I broke the idol in the temple which was near my house….this caused a lot of mayhem in the community. 07. Police arrested me and started beating me mercilessly…some one told my mother, she came running to Police station. When she saw me being beaten like that, she could not control herself. She fell in between me and sticks of Police and screamed, if you beat him because he has converted to Islam so am I!! Beat me if you want. This took me away all my feeling of pain and I thanked Allah for giving guidance to my mother in this way. : Later my sister also accepted Islam. D. How I saved my Islam: 08. There were very few muslims in my area. After consulting with Maulana , I brought my mother and sister to Delhi. I had to face many difficulties to make both the ends meet….there were many trials but Allah helped me at every juncture and I got a good job to run a darning factory in Delhi. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 09. My advice to muslims is that they should feel pity on people like us, we who are unhappy with our religion and are in need of truth and correct path. They should bring to us the message of Islam and they should present themselves as true reps of Islam.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Sept. 2003

Story # 155 Why I Became Muslim? ROSY CARLOS (SHARIFA CARLOS), USA I was born in a poor Christian family. My parents could not afford higher education for me, so they were advised to enter me into a Christian Mission and they would take care of my higher studies. So I went to California to study in a Christian Mission. All my hopes of higher studies were shattered when I went to that mission, because all they taught was Christianity and Anti Islamic courses. Arabic language was part of the curriculum but the teachers were Christians. It was told to me that purpose of all this Islamic knowledge and Arabic language is that soon I would be placed in one of Muslim countries and work amongst their women for Christianity. If I did my work diligently and achieved some thing remarkable, I would be fixed for life in some well know organization like UNO or its affiliates. I was destined to work in Egypt. Before going there I was shown many films about poor conditions of Egyptian Muslim women and how much they were suffering under Islam. I was full of confidence and my abilities when I landed in a remote Egyptian town and started my mission activities. When I started talking to these poor Muslim women, I found that it was me who was lacking something. Whenever I used to tell them about beauties of Christianity they would counter with some quality of Islam which was lacking in Christianity. Soon I realized that their faith is based on much solid grounds than it was told to us in the mission school. When these Egyptian girls used to recite Quran, I was almost mesmerized…. I visited Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo and talked with scholars there. They told me that there would be a seminar shortly in which many renowned scholars would take place. I was very eager to attend this seminar and ask my doubts about Islam from them. I was much impressed by the simplicity of the event and down to earth approach of renowned Muslim Scholars, so different from pomp and show which Christian Church luminaries display when they visit any where. I talked to these scholars who gave questions to all my doubts. We discussed about the Unity of Islam which is cornerstone of Islam. They gave me very convincing answers to all my doubts. One more thing I noticed that whenever I asked any doubt, they would give answer immediately and without much going round the bush. However whenever they asked me any question, I had no answer or a very far fetched answer. This convinced me that Islam is the true path and it is preserved in its pristine beauty. While no one can make the same claim about Christianity which was changing with time and is still changing.

I then decided to accept Islam on the hands of these scholars and I thank Allah that He guided me to the right path. (abridged)

Story # 156 Why I Became Muslim? BEGUM AMINA LAKAHANI, OHIO, USA When a western women like myself turns towards Islam, the road is long and sometimes difficult…The western culture uses its women towards its own goal. TV Commercials are indented with lessons that teach everyone what they must desire. A slim figure seems essential because the clothing advertised exposes everything on a western woman. There are books by millions, about how to be a sex symbol, how to make friends….the system feeds upon itself. Such was my thinking before coming to Islam. When I approached Islam, first by reading the Quran and then by studying Islam, I wondered at its simplicity. Life in the western culture is so endlessly complicated by false needs and desires. At first Islam seems to be unintelligible to a westerner simply because we are always taught that the life must befilled with self gratification and self seeking pleasure… Islam is more logical yet it contradicts every thing that I was ever taught. When one spends an entire lifetime demanding self-abuse in the name of freedom, the prospect of a life dedicated to Allah, instead of selfish desires, becomes frightening as well as exciting. The mere notion that there is a better way, is difficult to accept, because we are always taught that the western way is the only way….Therefore the first step towards Islam requires courage and conviction. Islam is a total life system that enjoins respect for the purity of life. It insures purity of family life as well as purity of the individual. A woman is a special individual in the eyes of Allah and not just a produce for commercialization….A Muslim woman is a respected member of the Muslim community contributing in a positive way to family and community life… Muslim woman must be stronger and more confident than other woman. To be a Muslim living in western world today is a great responsibility, but the rewards may be blessing for all mankind. I am proud of being a Muslim woman because only in Islam are Allah’s blessings so bountiful… (Abridged) Source:: Yaqeen International Pakistan July 7-22, 1991 Page 47

Story # 157 Why I Became Muslim? Christopher Patrick Nelson , Islam Saved My Mental Health and Returned My Soul http://news.pacificnews.org/news/ Note: Nelson writes for Silicon Valley De-Bug, a PNS publication by young workers, writers and artists in Silicon Valley. I am a 26-year-old Irish American who converted from Christianity to Islam in order to save myself. Although I never had a problem taking the Prophet Jesus as a role model for a way of life, I needed more specific guidance with day-to-day behavior – my own was out of control. After studying Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism, I concluded that the example of the Prophet Muhammad served as a blueprint for a comprehensive spiritual life. And that saves me. Literally. Let me explain. When I turned 14 I was put in a psychiatric ward for my out-of-control behavior. I felt high and acted on any impulse as though it were a fabulous idea. I would try to kiss girls I just met, as if we had been going out for a long time. Not a good idea. Then the pendulum would swing from high and energetic to low and depressed. I found no pleasure in anything. I wanted to sleep all the time, and, far worse, I wanted to die. I slit my wrists several times. .. If that sounds funny or even romantic, that's not how it feels. Mania might be fun, but the ensuing depression is pure hell. It sneaks up on you like the devil, insidiously. I remember staring at something innocuous, like a coffee table, and suddenly being overwhelmed by the conviction that life is meaningless. Western medicine may help, but it does not cure me. Medication was mandatory at the adolescent psychiatric ward in San Jose. We had seven group therapy sessions a day, chores, wretched meals, and then medication time. As the shrinks mixed and matched my meds I felt as if I were wading through thick oatmeal. Eventually, outside the mental institution I found something that finally helped me with being bipolar: Islam. I'd always felt, deep down, that my illness had something to do with my soul. Western medicine – drugs and therapy – could, therefore, never cure me. How could it when it does not even

recognize that I have a soul? Islam, on the other hand, taught me how to purify my soul from disease … I found the emphasis on reciting certain invocations to God most helpful. In order to protect themselves from demonic elements that can do harm, followers of Islam recite prayers. The discipline and the act of praying helped me deal with my mania directly. Reciting prayers, though, may not be for people who just want to deal with mental distress. And I'm not at all suggesting that people go off their medications just yet. There are prerequisites to the effectiveness of the practice, such as the belief in what one recites. And it's about more than just prayer: a strict life is a must. Avoidance of pork and intoxicants, as well as a supportive, mosque-based community are crucial parts of being Muslim. Dealing with mental illness is a lifelong struggle, but now I feel that I am finally in control. I have a soul. And Islam teaches me how to purify it. (Abridged)

Story # 158 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: SUNIT KUMAR SURYAVANSHI (ABDUL RASHID) HARIDWAR, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a village near HARIDWAR in a religious Hindu family. I have three brothers and one sister. I was educated in Hindu GURUKUL type school. These are schools sun by very orthodox Hindus. I was very active and used to take part in every function. 02. I was very much interested in dancing and had learned to do very good Break dancing. My body was especially suited for breaking dancing and I was very much in demand due tot this specialty. However there was a Muslim religious man, who used to prevent me from dancing and such type of things, saying that men have not been made to do such things. Slowly and slowly he told me about Islam and its teachings. He took me to mosques and showed me some Muslim schools. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 03. I got interested in islam, I accepted Islam on his hand and then he sent me to Phulat to meet Maulana Kalim Sahib. He helped me in understanding Islam and its teachings. Very soon I learned about prayer and how to recite Quran. I even grew full beard and was dressed like any Muslim. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 04. For some months I stayed in Phulat and did not contact my family. Then Maulana Sahib asked me to contact my family and work on them. I phoned my parents and told them about my accepting Islam. They did not react at that time and told me that my sister’s marriage is to take place on such and such date and I should be present there. Even if I am renegade from my ancestor’s religion I am still her brother.

05. I reached there and brought some presents for my sister….they did not say any thing…but after end of marriage…they took me to a room and locked it from inside, then they asked a barber to shave off my beard. I requested them to leave my beard alone….but they did not listen. I was very ashamed to meet Maulana in this condition…but he told me not to worry. Allah will reward me for this. D. How I saved my Islam: 06. I lived in Phulat and did course in Computers and now I am busy in DTP works in MAWANA. I go with Maulana in his missionary missions and try to educate people about Islam and its basic teachings. Alhamdolillah more than twenty people have accepted Islam on my hand. Earlier I used to wait for Maulana to make them Muslims and recite KALIMA, but Maulana told me not to wait for any one, because no one knows when the end will come. E. My Missionary activities: F. Present Situation: I try my best to live my life according to Islam as far as I can.

(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of March 2003.

Story # 159 Why I Became Muslim? MARCILIA ANGELLO (FATIMA ABDULLAH), ITALY I was born in Geneva in a very devout Christian Family. After completing my primary education I moved to Rome to complete my further study. I joined Arts academy, I was very beautiful to look at, so I got offers for modeling, which I did in my spare time. After completing my graduation, my next target was Film Industry. Because of my looks, my modeling background and my talents, I soon become a famous star in Italian Cinema. I was living with my “Live-in” husband and both of us were very happy and had every thing in the world so to say. But something happened in that period which changed our lives for ever. We had to shoot one of the film on WW-2 in MERCI MATROUH city of Egypt. I was once waiting there when I found a few people going towards a small building in the town. They took off their shoes, washed their hands, faces and feet and then appeared to do some sort of exercise. I watched with interest this act and then it became a sort of habit to me to watch these people performing this act. When I asked someone about it, they told me that these are Muslims and performing their five regular daily prayers. This kept me thinking about the purpose of my own life….I went to Islamic center in Rome and they gave me some booklets about Islam. When I went for more they gave me more finally I got convinced about message of Islam and asked them to join it. I had thought that the ceremony would be long and elaborate and it would take at least couple of weeks, I was surprised when the ceremony was over in a few seconds and I became a Muslim. I had left the film line already, soon I became a volunteer of the local Islamic Center. My Livein Husband left me even though we loved each other very much. He asked me to see hi from time to time. I soon started visiting him and talking Islam to him….slowly and slowly he also got convinced of the truth and decided to accept Islam. The ceremony was soon over and we became husband and wife once again, this time according to rites of Islam. My husband jokingly recalls that “I never thought becoming Muslim would be so easy, I thought they would demand a few hundred heads of Non Muslims to prove my faith!!!” So in the end it was that scene in a small Egyptian Mosque, which became my reason to come into Islam (abridged).

Story # 160 Why I Became Muslim? IRENE (AIYESHA) WENTWORTH FITZ WILLIAM U.K. Note: She was a noble British lady born in 1914. She went to Egypt to make a study of Comparative religions. She got so much impressed by teachings of Islam that she became Muslim in 1931. Following her example her younger sister also accepted Islam. She performed Hajj in 1935. Here she writes in one of the magazines. I am going to address more particularly to the Non Muslims who are not as well acquainted with the noble character and life of the holy prophet. The prophet Mohammad’s character and qualities were those which appeal especially to my own countrymen and women, namely courage, loyalty, kindness and greatest generosity to a fallen foe. His courage was exceptional, at the commencement of his great work, he stood entirely alone. His clansman and people of his own tribe were against him, and he fought for his cause against apparently overwhelming odds. It was his courage and faith in Allah that brought him victory. Previous to the days of prophet, the Arabians had sunk to the lowest degree- drunkenness, immorality and idolatry were at their heights. The Kaaba which since the days of Abraham had been used as the House of God was filled with idols of stone and wood…It was a most courageous acts of Prophet to cleanse Makkah of those idols. Mentioning Makkah, I should like to say here that it seems to me a grand thing that the holy cities of Makkah and Medina are again visited by Occidentals as well as Orientals. This is as was in the days of prophet. Every one desires World peace, well, there is nothing which will better accomplish that than the festival at the end of the pilgrimage at Arafat, where all nationalities, Black, White, brown Yellow, all dressed alike, Kings, Beggars, Poor and Rich side by side, offer up one universal hymn of praise to Allah… The prophet banned all intoxicants. He was the first prophet to raise the status of women. Up to that time women had no real status, in fact, the Arabs used to bury their female babies alive. All this the prophet stopped and instituted laws, 1356 years ago, establishing women’s rights, that alas do not exist even today in some European countries.. To this day, In Islamic laws which the prophet introduced, a woman’s possessions, whether money, land or anything else are her own, even her husband cannot lay a hand on them.

There is a great misconception amongst Christians as regards to women in Islam. For example many Europeans have said to me “As per your prophet, you have no souls”. How this fallacy has crept into the Christian imagination is incomprehensible. (Abridged) Source:: The Islamic Review Sept. 1938 Vol. 26 Story # 161 Why I Became Muslim? FAUZUDDIN AHMAD OVERING, Preacher and Social Worker, Holland http://www.islam4all.com/newpage61.htm It is difficult to say how my first interest in the Eastern world was aroused. It was purely linguistic at first. I started learning Arabic when still at the primary school, when I was about twelve or thirteen, some thirty years ago. But as I had no one to help me, I did not make much headway at first. It goes without saying that by the study of Arabic I came into contact with Islam. I bought several books about; though all were written by Western authors and, therefore, not always unbiased. I became convinced of the truth of the Prophet's mission (the peace and the blessings of God be on him). But my knowledge about Islam was rather restricted, and I had no one to guide me. The book that influenced me most was E.G. Browne's History of Persian Literature in Modern Times. This brilliant work contains parts of two poems that were decisive for my conversion: the Tarj-Band by Hatif of Isfahan, and the Haft-Band by Mohtashim Kashan. At first Hatif's poem appealed to me most. It gives a beautiful visionary picture of a soul in turmoil, in a struggle for a higher conception of life, in which I discovered - on a lower level, of course - my own struggle for Truth. although I cannot agree with some to its couplets, it taught me at least one great Truth: There He is One, and there is naught but He, That there is no god save Him alone. According to the wish of my mother, and in accordance with my own inclination, I went to a special school for religious instruction, not because I adhered to its religious principles (which admitted broadmindedness) but some knowledge of Christianity was thought necessary for a general education. I think the Principal of the School was rather surprised when at the end of the curriculum I handed in a composition in which I confessed my adherence to the Islamic faith.

My faith in those early days was, however, irrational. It was a conviction, which, though genuine, was not yet armed by reason against the first onslaught of the rational materialism of the West. It is then that the question arises: Why should one choose Islam! And why not maintain the religion in which one happens to be born (if any)! The answer is contained in the question itself; Islam means being at peace with oneself, the world and the god that is, it consists in submission to the will of God. Though the beauty and majestic terseness of the Qur'an is lost in translation, I will quote God's own words: "O soul that art at rest. Return to thy Lord, well-pleased with Him, well-pleasing Him. So enter among my servants. Enter my Garden-the Paradise." (Al-Qur'an LXXXIX: 27-30) Islam, therefore, is the only pure religion not a religion marred by mythology, like Christianity and other religions. Compare the Christian doctrine that an infant is responsible for the sins of its forebears, with God's consoling words: "And no soul earns evil but against itself, and no bearer of a burden shall bear the burden of another". (Al-Qur'an VI:165). "We do not impose on any soul a duty except to the extent of its ability." (Al-Qur'an VII:42).

Story # 162 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: VIKRAM SINGH (MOHD. AKRAM) MEERUT, UP. INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a village (which is now within the city) of Meerut, UP. My father was a farmer. I have four brothers and three sisters. I did my MA in History. I started LLB course, but did not continue after first year. My family were very religious minded. When I grew up, I used to think about God and how He would be. I used to ask, who will be the Creator of this universe and what will be His powers. 02. When I went to temples and I saw people worshipping the idols made by their own hands, I used to wonder as to how illogical these people are. I used to say, you made these idols, you clothe them you put food before them, you make the place cool….how will they help you, when they cannot even help themselves. People had no answers but said that I was a madman. I used to read in papers that this statue was stolen from this ancient temple and these ornaments stolen from this temple….these incident confirmed my thinkings that these idols cannot do anything. 03. Then I started going to these Gurus who are so abundant in India. I saw that these people ask other to shun pleasure of this life and lead simple life….but their own life style is full of luxury and they indulge in every pleasure of life. Then I studied life styles of SADHUS and find many of them living naked and young girls and women worshipping them…that is enough to disgust any right thinking men from them. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 04. Then I decided to know about Islam. There were many Muslims in my village. They told me about Islam and its teachings. To me they seemed very reasonable. The thing which impressed me most was their concept of Last day and individual accountability. I once went to Muslim graveyard to witness burial of Muslims. I found it was much better and dignified than our Hindu concept of burning the dead body.

05. I was slowly and slowly getting attracted to Islam….when my grace of Allah, Maulana Kalim Sahib visited our village on 12th October 2002. I was very much impressed with his speech and his personality. I accepted Islam on his hands the same day. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 06. When news of my conversion reached to my family, they became very angry and tried every thing to turn me back. What more Muslims of my village were also afraid from my conversion to Islam. When I feared for my life, I complained to Police about my safety. Local Police inspector also told me to come back to my old religion (typical Hindu Police in Secular India – MUQ). 07. They asked me where I will be safe, I named Phulat. So they left me there and I was very happy to be near Maulana and learn about Islam and take part in missionary activities. E. My Missionary activities: 2. On Parents. 08. My father used to come and meet me in Phulat. He used to ask me to come back to my old religion and I used to reply to him very harshly. Maulana told me to talk to them with respect, irrespective of what he says. I tried that and now his anger has reduced. He comes and listens to me about Islam. I am hopeful and I also pray to Allah to open his heart to Islam. 3. On Family members / Others. I also present Islam to members of my family who come to meet me. Some of them have got convinced and accepted Islam. Some are thinking of accepting it/ G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 09. We all are children of one parent and one Creator. There are more than 300 Millions of Dalit people in India who are broken from inside. If we Muslims bring Islam to them, they will be happy to accept it and get their honor back.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of October 2003.

Story # 163 Why I Became Muslim? KISHAN LAL (GHAZI AHMED) INDIA / PAKISTAN Note: This story is set during the period when British were ruling India and duration partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. I was born in District of Jhelum in 1924 and we belonged to a well to do Hindu family. My father was working in the Jammu and Kashmir state. Our family was Santan Dharmi (Old Orthodox Hindus). By the time I reached 8th standard I felt attracted towards Islam and started to know more about Islam from Maulana Abdul Rauf, a local Muslim Scholar, so much so, I asked him to make me Muslim. But he said that you are still young and I fear for your life. One night I dreamt that I am standing in Kaaba Mosque, the Prophet of Allah is present and I am being introduced to him. When he asked my purpose, I told I want to become Muslim….he hugs me and reads some thing in Arabic and makes me Muslim…..when I told this dream to Rauf Sb. He made me Muslim but asked me to hide it from my parents. Things were like that when I dreamt one night as if I am in a jungle with some kids and a huge black man is standing before us. He is asking every one, who is his God, those who say any other thing, he leaves them alone, those who say Allah, he kills him. When my Turn came and I told Allah is my God, he hit me with much force…I started weeping…then again I saw the Prophet of Allah….he consoled me and told not to fear from this demon, he cannot harm you anymore now. When I went back and repeated my answer, the demon was powerless to harm me. When I got up, I realized that Now I should declare my faith openly. I did so and soon every one turned against me. My father came back from his job and they all started beating me. They made me prisoner in one room….somehow I got free and run to Maulana Rauf, who took me under his protection. My father appealed in local court that I have been kidnapped by Muslims and being kept a prisoner. The judge was a Sikh who called me, Maulana and my parents in the court. I told in court that I have become Muslim by my own free consent and do not want to go back with my people who torture me to turn back from Islam. The judge ordered in my favor….my father then appealed against this judgment….the judge this time was an Englishman, who after hearing my story from my lips kept up the judgment. My father appealed again and the Judge this time was a Muslim. He ruled that since I was a minor, my parents have more right for my custody. He ordered me to be handed over to my family. In the car my father told me that I paid this much some as bribe to judge. He ridiculed

me by saying that you want to join with such people!!! I told that I became Muslim at the hand of Prophet and such actions would not deter me from the path. Next period of my life was full of tortures and beatings. My father tried to use force, coercion, coaxing, and every thing in his power to turn me back from Islam. He even brought Hindu Pandits to answer my doubts…nothing could turn me back. I was kept permanently chained in a small room. When news of my tortures reached some Muslims….some of them planned to get me free even at the cost of risks to their life. Somehow I got free and run back to Maulana, who sent me away to a remote place away from the reach of my family. There I studied Islam properly in a Madarsa and got real knowledge about Islam. By that time I had reached adulthood and had no fear from my family. The partition events of 1947 brought me back to my family, in order to save them from any harm. I was always with my family till they left for India. One of my Aunt had kept a large sum of money to take care of and hand it to her when she was finally on the way to India. When I handed it over to her on the train going to India…some of Hindu passengers observed that I did it because I have Hindu blood in me. I told, I did it because I am Muslim now, if I was Hindu, I would have already taken that money!!! Thereupon some observed that if all Muslims were like you, we would have no need to flee to India!!! After partition I got a job in the education department, I got married and then retired from Govt. Service in 1980. My job is now relating my own story to my fellow Muslims in Pakistan and tell them what it means to be a Muslim. When I see present conditions of Muslims in Pakistan, I fell saddened. These breaking into sects and each arguing with others are not what Islam and Quran and prophet taught us. Quran asks all Muslims to jointly hold the “Rope of Allah (Quran) and be not stand divided” 3:103. I feel that my story would remind some Muslims and Non Muslims as to how precious is their faith and how some people have given everything to enter into it. (abridged)

Story # 164 Why I Became Muslim? 'Allah came knocking at my heart' By Giles Whittell, The Times UK, 7 January 2000 http://www.themodernreligion.com/convert/convert-british-knocking.html Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been a surge in conversions to Islam since September 11, especially among affluent young white Britons Six months ago Elizabeth L. — a graduate in political science, the daughter of affluent white British parents, an opponent of terrorism in all its forms — climbed Mount Sinai at night to watch the desert sunrise from its summit. “It was the stillest, most peaceful place I’ve ever been,” she says. “I could hear my feelings come up from within me, and in one surreal moment it all seemed to come together.” Last Friday, at 4.45pm, Elizabeth went to Regent’s Park Mosque in Central London and converted to Islam. It wasn’t hard. She didn’t even have to wear a scarf. Witnessed by two Muslim men and nine other friends squeezed into the imam’s office, she pronounced, in Arabic learnt from a tape the night before, the words she will repeat like a mantra five times a day for the rest of her life: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Afterwards there was a modest celebration at Al-Dar on the Edgware Road. Elizabeth and her well-wishers sipped mint tea and smoked apple-flavoured tobacco from a hookah. There was no booze, but she never drank much anyway. Why has she done this? “I know it sounds clichéd, but Allah came knocking at my heart. That’s really how it feels. In many ways it is beyond articulating, rather like falling in love.” It was, in other words, intensely personal. As she read the Koran and prepared for her conversion, the September attacks came and went and failed to derail her spiritual journey, despite their proven link to a fundamentalist Islamist terror network. In as far as they featured in her thinking, they even elicited some sympathy. All terrorism is cowardly, she says. “But I can see why people get fed up with the West. Capitalism is enormously oppressive.”.. They are people like Elizabeth (who asked for her name to be changed because she has not told her parents yet); like Lucy Bushill-Matthews, a 30-year-old graduate of Newnham College, Cambridge, who flirted with Islam as a student in order to dismiss it, but found it “so simple and logical I couldn’t push it away”; like “Yahya”, whose father is a pillar of the Anglo Establishment and who feels that Islam “fits right into British tradition”; and like Joe AhmedDobson, a son of the former Labor Minister Frank Dobson who believes that Islam transformed his spiritual life — and helped him to get a first at university.

If there is something familiar about these people’s startling choices, there should be. We have been here before, or at least Imperial Britain’s adventuring classes and their moneyed gap-year successors have. T. E. Lawrence fell hard for the romance and otherness of Islam and came to embody them for succeeding generations even though he never converted. Gai Eaton, a former British diplomat now in his seventies, did convert. His influential work Islam and the Destiny of Man has become required reading for bright young Anglo-Saxons turning to his adopted faith, often as an expression of dissatisfaction with a Western culture that appeared to have offered them everything. Matthew Wilkinson made headlines when he converted and changed his name to Tariq in 1993; he was a former Eton head boy. He and Nicholas Brandt, another Etonian and the son of an investment banker, swapped their destinies as scions of the Establishment for a Slough semi shared with four other Muslims. Lord Birt’s son, Jonathan, forsook a fast track into the ranks of the great and the good by converting in 1997 and starting a PhD on British Islam. So did a son and a daughter of Lord Justice Scott, the scourge of Tory sleaze and the chairman of the Arms to Iraq inquiry. And so did Jemima Khan. “My decision . . . was entirely my own choice and in no way hurried,” the 21-year-old daughter of the billionaire James Goldsmith declared angrily after suggestions that she had converted to marry Imran Khan, the former Pakistan cricket captain. ..Her plea seemed hard to credit in the circumstances, but it is a common one from educated British women trying to persuade baffled non-Muslims that conversion did not mean surrendering their independence or their critical faculties. For Lucy Bushill-Matthews, it meant the reverse. “When I went to Cambridge I joined the Christian and Islamic societies and all three political parties,” she says. “I wanted to explore all the possibilities in order to dismiss them.” Yahya, too, chose Islam from the broadest possible religious gamut. He was raised in a highprofile London family that, because of his father’s position, could not be seen to favour one faith over another. He then took a degree in comparative religion — the theological equivalent of a blind wine tasting — and Islam, quite simply, won. “It’s pure monotheism,” he says. “It has a clear moral system and an intact tradition of religious scholarship. No scripture expresses its message of the oneness of God as clearly as the Koran. It also has a remarkably rich mysticism, which may be what appeals to middle-class white Brits like me.” Yahya converted five years ago. Now 33, he is at Oxford writing a PhD on British Islam and is dismayed not just by last September’s attacks, but also by the mauling he says his religion has suffered since in the media, even — or especially — at the hands of would-be sympathisers. “It’s very painful for all of us to be associated with such sickening barbarism (of the attacks),” he says. “That’s not what we signed up for. And now we can’t portray our religion in undiluted

form. It’s always mediated by someone else. It’s incredibly frustrating to have Polly Toynbee trying to save you from yourself.” All those I spoke to agreed that Christianity claims to answer the same yearnings for meaning and guidance. All had rejected it on intellectual grounds. Why grapple with mental puzzles such as the Holy Trinity and Original Sin, they asked, when the alternative, asserting neither, proved to them so much more satisfying? (Abridged)

Story # 165 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: SATISH CHANDRA GOEL (MOHD. USMAN), BULANDSHAHAR, UP, INDIA A. Family Background: 01I was born in the city of BULANDSHAHAR, UP which has historical importance. My father was having a big Grocery shop. I have one younger brother. My father died when I was in Intermediate, so I could continue my education further and started sitting on the Shop. My business grew and I opened a whole sale shop for my brother also. We were quite successful in our business. 02 I was married to a wealthy trading family of Muzaffarnagar. My wife is a very gentle lady, she is a Post Graduate. We have two sons and one daughter. My father was very generous in spending on religious causes. I also inherited this habit from me. I used to give lavish money for any religious cause, including building and renovation of Muslim mosques. 03. My father had constructed an old market and the shops were rented to many people, two of them were Muslims. We decided to reconstruct the market and sent notice to all the shopkeepers to vacate the shops. We were also ready to pay them some money to compensate for their inconvenience. Now one of the Muslim shopkeeper went to the Imam of local Mosque and told him the situation. After learning details, Maulana told him to vacate the shop immediately as Islam does not allow for any Muslim to violate his trust or contract or agreements. 04. Next day when I went to market, I saw the shop keeper vacating the shop. I officered him 100,000 rupees, but he refused to take it saying that Islam does not allow it. I was amazed and I asked that if his religion has rules for renting shops also. He told me , yes my religion gives instruction for all spheres of life. B. How and Why I accepted Islam:

05. I went to Imam Sahib of the mosque and asked him did Islam has rules for such small matters also. He told me not only this but even smaller matters than that are also covered in islam. He said that it is mistake of Muslims that have not spread the real islam to Non Muslims of this country. I was very impressed by his talk and then I used to visit him regularly and he gave me some books on islam. 06. I got interested in Islam and he told me to go to Phulat and meet Maulana Kalim Sahib there. I met Maulana and accepted Islam on his hand. He named me USMAN and told that this was the name of one of the companions of our prophet, who was very rich and used to spent lots of money on religious causes. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 07. Maulana asked me to deal kindly with my family and spend more an more money on them. He asked me to deal with them kindly and with patience and ask them to read his small booklet “Your Trust…” I purchased lots of new clothes for my children and special dress for my wife and mother. Then I used to bring gifts very frequently for all of them. This continued for many days. 08. One day I told my wife not to cook any dinner as I will bring I from the famous restaurant of my city. After dinner when every one was happy, I took out that small booklet and asked my wife to read it loudly to the family. She started reading, but after a page or two, she could not control herself and started weeping. I took the booklet and I read it to them. 09. Then I asked my mother, Is she ready to burn in hell fire. She said that I cannot bear a small burn, how can I bear the hellfire. After some thought, My mother, and my wife decided to accept Islam. Then all our children also became Muslim. I took all of them to Phulat and Maulana gave them new Islamic names. D. How I saved my Islam: 10. Maulana had told us not to declare our Islam not for the time being. But the news spread and my family members were very unhappy. My in-laws took my wife and children away. But my wife had read the stories of early Muslims and what they had to undergo to save their faith, so she stood firm. Son they gave up and we were united and free to practice our faith, Alhamdolillah. F. Present Situation:

11. I gave back the key of Shop to my Muslim tenant , saying that this shop is his now for ever. I have got much more than shop in lieu of it. The other Muslim shopkeeper, went to court, he lost the case and also had to pay all the cost. I also had pity on him and I also gave them the key to the shop. I am busy in Missionary activities and many people have accepted Islam on my hand, Alhamdolillah. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 12. We should tell people about real Islam. There are so many Islamic teachings, which are so reasonable and logical that every one will be attracted to it. Muslims have kept their religion to themselves and have not propagated it to their brothers living in their neighborhood.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Dec. 2008

Story # 166 Why I Became Muslim? Dr. R.K MALHOTRA (DR. AHMED SAEED) DELHI, INDIA Dr. RK MALHOTRA is the elder brother of Mr. V K MALHOTRA, the well known leader of Delhi BJP, who served as Chief Minister of Delhi and also as Minister in Indian Cabinet. His family migrated from Pakistan during partition. His family is well educated and very influential. RK completed his studies from St. Stephen college Delhi, did his B. Sc and M. Sc in Chemistry and then went to Oxford for doctoral studies. He served in London for six years and then came back to India hearing about his parent’s illness…let us pick up the thread from that point onwards. I attended to my father during his long illness and was deeply shocked when he died in 1989. Within 9 days my mother also died and this was a dual blow to me. At least I felt contended that I was able to attend to my parents in their old age, which is so different from what I saw in West. In that state of mind, I decided to renounce the world after this dual blow, I visited all well known pilgrimage centers in India…I was surprised to see that what is going on in the name of religion is really the business deals. Each so called Guru has his own party and they are in race with each other to collect maximum number of disciples and wealth and position. Disgusted I came back to Delhi and there met Swami Kalyan Deo, who was engaged in social work and in educating poor. I agreed to join his trust and help him in education field. There also I smelt same type of worldly atmosphere. I was not feeling happy and whenever I used to discuss religion with Swami Ji, he would give not give me clear answers. I felt that he was also in search of truth. I left the trust and joined Delhi Public School and was soon made Principal of one of its branch, later I rose to the position of Administrator and member of committee to establish more branches of DPS in other parts of India. Now I come to the curious part of my story, while I was retuning from Ahmedabad (where I had gone in connection of establishing DPS branch), the train was late and I was waiting on the platform. It was noon time…suddenly I saw a group of twenty or so porters moving in a group in one direction…I thought that they want to demonstrate for some cause and I should find out and help them if I could. I was surprised when I saw that these people picked up water pots (LOTAS in Hindi) and washed their faces, hands and feet. Some of them cleaned their teeth with a stick and then they arranged themselves into rows….one of them went forward and lead them into prayer. All members followed the leader. After end of prayer, they put back every thing in its place and went back to their work. This was my first encounters with Muslim prayers. I started thinking what religion would instill so much discipline in such poor and uneducated people? I must study about this religion. Back

in Delhi, I went to Jama Masjid area where they sell Islamic books. When I told them that I want to learn about Islam, they gave me two books, “What is Islam?” by MAULAN MANZOOR NOMANI and “Ideal Prophet” by MAULANA SULAIMAN NADWI (English translations of two very good books on Islam and prophet’s life in Urdu-Ed.). When I read those books, I immediately realized that Islam must be the true path. Later I read Hindi Translation of Quran and my conviction was confirmed. Now I decided to become Muslim, but it was not that easy. My name and family connections were known to every one and no one in Delhi was ready to convert me (for want of repercussion and back lash-Ed.). I went to more than twenty Muslims Imams and Scholars, but no one found enough courage to come forward. I was desperate and in the mean time my sister died and I was present at her cremation. I saw her burning in flames and thought that this could be my end too. Some one advised me to go to PHULAT Village in MUZZAFARNAGAAR and meet MAULANA KALIM SIDDIQUI. I went there and accepted Islam on his hands. . He told that he understood position in Delhi. When I announced my conversion to my family… they all were taken back. I was offered all sorts of rewards and positions to turn back….but how could I? I was not in this for money or position. My wife joined me in Islam and on advice from Maulana I went to Oman to work in an International School. During my stay in Oman I continued in my Islamic work…I am glad to report that many of my students and teachers (from west) got convinced of truth of Islam. Many of them accepted Islam and some even established Islamic schools in their countries. My advice to Muslims in India is that if they do not wish to introduce Islam to Non Muslims, then at least they should not become a hindrance. In the end I feel fortunate that Islam invited me itself…what would have happened to me if the train was on time on that fateful day in Ahmedabad! !!! (Abridged)

Story # 167 Why I Became Muslim? AIYESHA ONG, BUDDHIST MALAYSIA I was born as a Buddhist but I was not taught any thing about Buddhism, its teaching or its principals. All I know about Buddhism was following my parents to the temples during festive seasons…We used Joss sticks to prey to the idols, or even colored disks with inscriptions on them. When we prayed, we prayed for our own good, making up a very long ‘shopping list’. In Malaysia, Chinese think they are superior. Most Chinese are either Buddhists or Christians and there is very small minority who are Muslims. These Chinese Muslims are looked down upon. All the Malays are Muslims and Chinese consider them as stupid and lazy. Therefore to associate with any Malays was a terrible ‘sin’. To the older generation of Chinese, Islam is only for Malays, and since all Malays are Muslims, Islam is a stupid religion… Because I was brought up in that society, I also accepted their ignorant way of thought. Because of racial tension in my country, I did not trust any Malays and so my knowledge of Islam was practically nil. I was never a religious person at home, so when I came to England, I became an Atheist. All of my friends were not religious either. All we were interested in was amusement and entertainment, It was after two years in England and one broken marriage that I met a Muslim Malay. He gave me a few books on Islam and in order to please him I read them. I was very suspicious of Islam but I was willing to learn and soon my interest grew. Then one day I came across a copy of the book “Islam our Choice”, I read that book carefully and the feelings of those brothers and sisters expressed in that book made a great impression on me.. What really impressed me most about Islam was its moral teachings. One must dress decently and cover up one’s body. Another aspect of Islam that attracted me was cleanliness, which in Islam is very important. Cleaning after call of nature, and performing WUDU before going to prayer was natural and very wise. Against my parent's wishes, I became a Muslim after six month of studying the religion…I became a Muslim because I believe in Allah as the only God and Mohammad is His prophet….

(Abridged) Source:: The Muslim (London) Oct-Nov 1974 Vol. 12 p 10-11

Story # 168 Why I Became Muslim? Testimony of Ihsan Chua Gim Sam Ihsan Chua Gim Sam, 23, born a Taoist, who when he was 9 years old believed in Christianity because of a threat and later in his young teens followed the teachings of Buddha, shares with Sister Muneera Al-Adros, his path toward embracing Islam. Ihsan's story was published in the "Muslim Reader", Oct-Dec 1994. This is a publication of the Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore. According to a Hadith, when a child is born, he or she is like a white cloth, it is the parents that will colour the white cloth to be red, blue, green or yellow. My parents are Taoists, therefore I was brought up as a Taoist since my birth. During my childhood years, I believed and accepted Taoism even though I did not know anything about it. .. When I was about 9 years old, a school teacher told me and some of my school mates that we should all become Christians. We were told if we do not become Christians, we will have to die as a punishment for being a non-Christian. I was very afraid of that threat. Thereupon I became a believer of two religions - Taoism (because of my family) and Christianity (because of the threat). As I grew older, I could not decide which religion I should be practicing. During my third and fourth year in Secondary School, I opted to study Buddhism as a subject in Religious Knowledge because it was known to be the easiest paper to study for. I was influenced by the Buddhism doctrine because it is very logical and practical. The concept of benevolence in Buddhism struck a chord in my heart. I followed the teaching of Buddhism as closely as possible but I did not become Buddhist I found that even though Buddhism is based on good principles and practices, however, it lacks the presence of a supreme being - God. When I joined St. Andrew's Junior College, a missionary aided school, it was compulsory for all students (except Muslim students) to attend the school's weekly chapel service. During the service, we sang songs and listened to sermons. At the end of some of the services, we were asked if any of us would like the become Christians. … However I could not settled down with one one-denomination of the Christian faith. I kept changing from one church to another. I was still searching for inner peace and could not make up my mind as to which church I should be attending…. While I was still active with the church, I got to know a Muslim whom I tried to talk to about Christianity. She was very sure about the truth of her religion but she did not know how to explain its truth to me. There was no way I could convince her about Christianity. It made me

wonder because many Muslims even those who are drug addicts, they are all "dead sure" that Islam is the true religion. I decided to ask my Muslim friend what is so true about her religion that its followers will not renounce it. She did not know how to explain to me but instead told me to get information on Islam from Darul Arqam, the Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore. I agreed to her suggestion even though I regarded Islam as a religion of terrorism and a religion that does not make sense. My reasoning was that if the religion is good, the people will be good. … My family has been against Islam because of what always happened in the Middle East as well as the Malay workers that my father hired, all of whom happened to be lazy and always misbehaved. Since I had agreed to visit Darul Arqam, I went on ahead to the Association. On my first visit I attended the orientation class and was introduced to Brother Remy. I was shocked and impressed over two things that he told me. First, he pointed out that Islam is not based on emotion unlike Christianity. I contemplated these words and was surprised at my reaction to those words. Secondly, he said, "Don't convert first, until you ask questions as much as you want and when you have no more questions to ask, then only convert." In Christianity, you 41cannot ask questions because the more questions you ask the more confused you become. After highlighting those two points, Brother Remy recommended to the Orientation class the book, "Islam in Focus". I was shocked at what I found in the book. Some issues which I felt was not logical in Christianity but had no way to resolve them, I found the answers in this book. I was also shocked to find in the book what I believed and like about Buddhism are actually Islamic beliefs. There are many similarities in the principles in the principles of Buddhism with that of Islam. Since I got a lot more information from Islamic sources on Christianity, I was not satisfied. What I found out about Christianity from the Islamic sources, I checked with various encyclopedias and other different sources. I found that all the information I got from the Islamic sources were genuine facts. When I took a closer look (closer than I ever did before) at the prophecy, "the spirit of the truth will come and lead people to all truth," I could clearly see that this prophecy was referring to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his message. This prophecy did not point out to Jesus (a.s.) because the early Christians could not decide on the identity of Christ. To this date they are still arguing regarding the identity of Christ. During my study on Islam, I also tried to learn about Islam from Christian books and I found them to be malicious. With the knowledge I have on Islam, I could refute all the false claims made by Christians. One example is the claim that they made about God in Islam - "that of being seen as so far away and cannot be reconciled with His creations." I know this is not true because in Islam, God is close to His creation, as close as to a person's jugular vein. "It was We who created man, and We know that dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein." (The Holy Quran, [50:16])

Later on, when my family found out that I was a practicing Muslim, there was chaos. It became more chaotic when I observed fasting during the month of Ramadan. I was almost driven out of my house. The situation at home continued to be strained for several months thereafter. I did not eat at home. I was accused of not loving my family anymore. There were constant quarrels between my family and I. I tried to explain Islam to them but they just did not understand. I grew afraid to go home. I stayed out late at night. One day, my mother approached me and told me not to be out so late at night. She said my father had expressed concern about my late nights. She suggested that I buy my own food and she would cook separately for me. Now, most of the time my family and I eat halal food at home. It is more convenient for my mum to cook dishes where not only my family members can eat but also her Muslim son. Situation at home has improved for the better except for the occasional harmless nagging that I get from my family. Alhamdulillah.

Story # 169 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: RAJESHWAR (ALAUDDIN) PANIPAT, HARYANA, INDIA A. Family Background: 01.I was born in a small village in PANIPAT, HARYANA. My father had a small piece of land, in which he used to grow vegetables. I had two sisters older than me. We were a poor family. My father first married my two elder sisters and then I also got married. Three years after my marriage, my father died and next year my mother also died. These deaths affected me very much and I took to drinks. 02. My wife was a very good women, she opened a shop in the village and took care of me and my children. I had five sons and three daughters, Some how my wife worked very hard to make both ends meet, I do not know how. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 03. Once I was lying in a field, totally intoxicated, my wife took me to Imam of local; mosque and asked him to do anything, so I can get over my drinking habit. He told that I have one Maulana in Phulat, who can do this thing, but he would ask you to become Muslim. My wife told him that she is ready to do anything, if I could be cured me of this bad habit. 04. When I reached Phulat and told Maulana about the condition imposed by the Imam, he told that it is not conditional to become Muslim. A man should accept Islam for the sake of Allah and to save himself or herself from the hell fire. He then asked me to go to a doctor, who used to give medicine for curing people from this habit. I went to him and he gave me medicine to be taken every day….in ten days or so, I stopped drinking. 05. When I got cured, my wife took me back to Phulat and thanked Maulana and told that she was ready to become Muslim. Maulana sahib then explained Islam to us and what it means for our future life…. Myself and my wife accepted Islam with open hearts and we got new Islamic names.

Then all our children also accepted Islam and got new Islamic names. Then Maulana sahib told my wife that I should go with a Muslim Missionary party for forty days, to cement my condition of staying away from Alcohol. I went for forty days and in that period I learned about prayer and other things of daily needs. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 06. People of my village first very happy that I got cured of my sickness and bad habits, but slowly and slowly they started opposing me and my family. I discussed with Maulana and we left that village and went to a nearby town and opened a small grocery shop. My children are now studying in an Islamic MADARSA and learning Quran and other things. My wife is also active in missionary activities. D. How I saved my Islam: 07. Once my eldest son ran away from house and my wife was very much concerned by his absence. Some one rumored that my family people killed him. This made her condition worse….we contacted Maulana and he told us to pray special prayer and pray to Allah. Me and my wife spent who night in supplicating to Allah to bring our child back and in the morning, we got the news that our son was back. This strengthened our faith on Allah and His Mercy on us. F. Present Situation: 08. Maulana sent me to work with a Contractor in Calcutta. After working for some time, he was impressed by my work and made me the storekeeper of his factory. He then sent me to NANDIGRAM for a new site and I started my missionary activities there. Many labours accepted Islam on my hand Alhamdolillah. Every one was worried when the trouble started there, (Village agitation re. NANO project there- MUQ). But Allah kept me safe. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 09. It is Muslim’s duty to preach and tell Islam to every one. If they do not do it, then they are not doing the duty imposed on them by their Prophet, PBUH. We should try our best to save every one from hell fire.

(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Jan. 2008.

Story # 170 Why I Became Muslim? HERA LAL (BILAL AHMED) AZAMGARH UP INDIA. I was born in a Hindu family and my father and brothers came to Delhi in search of work. My father had a small shop in Delhi and I used to help him occasionally. We were poor and in Delhi, it is not easy to get a house for poor people. There was a small embroidery workshop nearby which was owned by a pious Muslims. It was arranged that during night, I would sleep with other workers of the workshop in a small room. Now it was the practice of the owner to read every night FAZAIL A’MAL (a popular book dealing with rewards for actions). I used to listen to these words every night and soon got attracted to these words. So much so that I requested to be taken into the faith of Islam. The owner cautioned me to take care that my fathers and brothers do not know about it, otherwise I would be tortured and even lose my life. Accordingly I took care to hide my prayers and fasting from them, but soon they found out. I told them boldly that I have become Muslim and no persuasion or torture would now turn me back from the true path. Well I was beaten mercilessly…was taken back to my ancestral village and tortured there. I was sent to another village, where my mother was from (to change the environment so to say), but all proved fruitless. They showed me to many soothsayers and village quacks to heal me from my sickness. But all proved fruitless. So much so that one day, I told my father, even if you cut me into pieces, I will not turn away from worship of true God. When all their efforts failed…they left me alone and I got enrolled in a Muslim Madarsa to learn and study about Islam, and Quran. Later my father told me that village priest had told him to kill me, otherwise I will turn all of them away from their ancestral religion. I tried to explain Islam to my father and other members…..in the end they got convinced of the truth of Islam. But my father told “What you say is true, Islam is the correct religion….but I cannot leave religion of my forefathers ..what other people will say and feel” I remembered the story of Uncle of our prophet, who gave similar reply to our prophet from his death bed. In the end I realized that it is Allah which grants guidance to those who ask for it and strive for it. I have one uncle who works in Saudi Arabia….I know he is very close to accepting Islam (abridged).

Story # 171 Why I Became Muslim? An African Missionary (Name Withheld), Burundi Note: God guides sincere souls to His true path, irrespective of the circumstances. The nuns looked so clean and smart in their starched white habits. They looked like the saints in the pictures…I dreamt that I could be one of them. I got excellent grades in exams every year and I was asked if we would like to study religion, they thought we were pious for our ages…I could not wait to tell my father, who surprisingly said “absolutely not”! He would not like that kind of life without husband and children for his girl. He enrolled me in another school. Years spent as Roman Catholic Mission School at Burundi made me tough as we competed against boys.. I was interested in religion and excelled in languages…I accepted a full scholarship to a University in Cameroon. I later got admission in Faculty of Theology in Belgium.. My language ability and my mastery of some African dialects attracted them as a good candidate for missionary work. As the years went by, I began to see thru the layers of theology and found the superficiality of their teachings. I was not alone in seeing so many contradiction in Old and New testaments. To learn that Trinity is only once mentioned in New Testament was a surprise.. After graduation from the University, I took a position in Nairobi Kenya. The Church was very anxious to have an African in a position such as this. They had many programs for women…I was sent to regional office in Togo… I had been facing much mediocrity from the Church and at the same time I had Muslim friends who were very comfortable in their knowledge of God, who prayed five times daily and who had many virtues. They believed in what they said, in contrast to the Church. I had never been taught any thing about Islam except a superficial introduction, so I did a lot of reading about the religion. I cannot say that to convert to Islam was easy; it was very difficult. But when one is searching for the truth there is no way to deny it. The decision was also difficult for economic reasons as I had one of the highest paying jobs with many perks. I resigned from my position citing my conversion as my reason and immediately lost my job and salary, housing and medical benefits. I became destitute in one day!

My family does not like my Hijab but they admire the moral aspects of Islam…The spiritual climate of West Africa is ripe for Islam and there are many projects that need to be done. This is what I have been trained to do and so my path is straight and narrow. (Abridged) Source:: Islamic Voice , Feb 1997, p 18

Story # 172 Why I Became Muslim? "The Best Speech is the Speech of Allah, And the Best Guidance is the Guidance of Muhammad" by Jameel William Aalim-Johnson http://www.pbs.org/muhammad/essays/johnson.html Note: Jameel Aalim–Johnson , is Chief of Staff for Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. Raised as a Christian, he converted to Islam in his early 20s. He now organizes the weekly Muslim congregational Friday prayer on Capitol Hill. Raised in a church-going Christian household, I was always a believer in God and organized religion. Even after watching "Roots," I still believed that the religion of God was Christianity and I fully expected that one day I would be baptized and join the Church. However, television had opened my mind to the realization that other people believed as strongly in their religion as my family believed in its own. I also had to consider the circumstances that resulted in my Afro-American family residing in America in the first place: the transcontinental slave trade of Africans. On my mother's side of the family we can trace my great grandparents to their time as Virginia slaves. As we are well aware, Africans brought here to become chattel slaves were not allowed to speak their native tongue, maintain their family names, engage in their native customs, or practice their native religions. They were forcibly converted to Christianity, although the converted did not achieve an improved status of spiritual brotherhood with his converter. That summer, perhaps because I missed being in school, I went on a reading frenzy. Two works I read that summer were The New Testament and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Malcolm's autobiography was completely captivating. I found myself reading it when I woke up in the morning, on the train going back and forth to the city, when I came home in the evening, and before going to bed at night. I, like many others, was intrigued by Malcolm's transformations from street criminal to Black Muslim minister to orthodox Muslim and international figure. The more I began to study the Christian doctrine, the more I began to see a divergence between it and the Bible. On the other hand, the more I began to study the way of the prophets, from Adam to Jesus (peace be upon them all), I found it coincided with the doctrine and the way of life espoused by Islam. More and more, my conversations turned toward religion, particularly among my friends and colleagues. I was not, however, ready to discuss my Islamic leanings with family members. All that changed on February 15, 1988 with what has so far been the saddest day of my life: the day

my father died… I said goodbye to my father William, from whom I derived my middle name and nickname, and I promised him, (or promised me, or promised Allah, I am not sure who, perhaps all), that I would stop wasting time, I would soon accept Islam as my way of life, and I would pray for my father's soul. Over the next three month's I began to take what I thought of as additional steps toward accepting Al-Islam. Some of these 'steps' were more superficial than others, such as wearing a kufi (prayer cap) from time to time along with certain buttons that were symbolic of various Muslim and cultural groups. I began to identify more with Muslims that I saw in the street, in stores, or on the subway, including those from questionable, unorthodox organizations. Even before taking shahada, the public declaration of one's belief in Allah and Muhammad as his prophet, I fasted for the first time during the month of Ramadan. That first year of fasting had to be one of the most difficult disciplines I had ever undertaken. It wouldn't realize until later years that refraining from eating and drinking was actually the easy part. My two closest friends, then known as Curtis and David, were also making this transformation with me. David we saw only rarely that year as he was then busy repaying a debt that had come due from his pre-Islamic business activities- if you get my meaning. Shortly after Ramadan ended, Curtis came by the house and told me that he had visited a masjid (mosque) called Masjid At-Taqwa in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with a Muslim that he worked with. While he was there he chose to take shahada. I told him that at some point I would like to go visit with him to see what the mosque was like. One Saturday, we went by Masjid At-Taqwa for Curtis (now Saifudiyn) to take care of some business with the assistant imam. Because the assistant imam was not there when we arrived, we spent some time at a restaurant next door eating and chatting with some brothers from the mosque. I always remember them making jokes whose punch lines had Islamic references. Saifudiyn and I both laughed, not because we understood the joke, but because of our mutual confusion. An African American brother named Abdul Kariem seemed to give particular attention to us. Just as we were about to leave someone started to call the adhan, the call to prayer, at the mosque. Abdul Kariem informed us that this late noon prayer was very important and that we should stay and perform it with them. After demonstrating how to wash before prayer, he turned to me and said that it seemed like I was ready to take shahada. I agreed that I was. After the prayer Imam Siraj Wahaj conducted my shahada. Just afterwards, a brother in the mosque asked me what my name was and when I said James, he began to call me Jameel. Leaving the house that day I'd had no intention of taking shahada yet; I only intended to visit a mosque for the first time in my life. By the time I left that mosque, however, I had entered the fold of Islam and all my previous sins had been washed away. As the Prophet Muhammad taught us from the Qur'an, "Men plan, but Allah is the best of planners." As I look back on those early days just before and just after taking shahada, and when I consider my most significant shortcomings at that time, I am reminded again of my arrogant attitude

toward non-Muslims. As I began to change and see the world through different eyes, focusing more on the spiritual and less on the material, I had difficulty understanding why others didn't see what I saw. …(Abridged)

Story # 173 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: JEETENDRA KUMAR (MOHD. AKBAR) HARDOI, UP, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in the city of HARDOI, which is near Lucknow. My father was a small farmer. I have one brother and one sister. And my age at present is 22 years. I stopped my education after High School. In my city, there are many mosques. When I used to pass by the mosques when the prayers were going on, I used to listen to the recitation of Quran. The sound attracted me very much and every often tears would come to my ears, even if I did not understand a word of it. In early morning prayers when the recitation is longer, the effect was stronger. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 02. Once I asked the local Imam, why you people do not tell Islam to non Muslims. I have read that during the time of prophet, there were very few Muslims and they used to invite other people to Islam. Why you Muslims have stopped that work and what answer will you give to your prophet? I had a Muslim friend named Saddam and I used to ask him about Islam. He was able to answer some question and many questions, he was not able to answer. 03. Once I saw him in the company of a Islamic Missionary party that had come from Lucknow, I went to them and asked their leader, why you only tell your message to only Muslims and do not tell it to Non Muslims? He told me that we work mainly amongst Muslims, but we have another group who work mainly on Non Muslims. You go to Phulat and meet Maulana Kalim Sahib or Maulana WASI Sahib there, they would be able to help you. 04. I reached Phulat and met both these people. They first gave me small booklet “Your Trust….” And afterwards I accepted Islam on their hands. I stayed there 15 days and I learned prayer and how to read Basic Arabic language.

I used to see that many people used to come to Maulana, every one with different problem and situations, but when he met Maulana, his problem was solved and every one used to think that Maulana loves him most. 05. He sent me to a lawyer to complete the official formalities. He asked about my Islamic name, I asked if it is a must, he said it is not a must, but it helps in the long run. I said that I like the Word AKBAR when it is called in prayers….he then named me Mohd. AKBAR. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 06. I have a feeling that my family will not oppose my decision to become Muslim. My mother loves me very much and I am very hopeful that she will become Muslim. But first I will spend forty days along with the Missionary party, when I come back, I will start work on my mother and other family members.

F. Present Situation: 07. I feel that many Hindus are very simple, no one told them what Islam is really. They have misconceptions and wrong opinion about Islam and Muslims. Recently one LALA JI accepted Islam, he had spent 2, 500,000 Rupees on the Demolition of Babri Mosque….he thought that he spent that money in the cause of God…. But his young son was killed in accident and that opened his eyes. Now he has spent the same amount of money to build a mosque in his city… Allah gave him guidance in this way. There are many cases like that, when one is active in this field, he sees and hears many cases like this, G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 08. I would like to warn my Muslim brothers, that they should remember their responsibility of conveying this message of Islam to every one. If they do not do that, Allah will question them on the last day…. I do not know what answer will they give there.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of May 2009.

Story # 174 Why I Became Muslim? Dr. KAMLA SURAYYA DAS , Kerala India Note: Dr. Das was a well respected poet and writer in Malayalam language. She was born in 1934. Her conversion to Islam in 1999 caused a furor in Indian and World Media. Before her conversion to Islam, she was well respected at all levels, but after her conversion all sorts of accusations were leveled at her. Here she provides her own response to these accusations. Yes, let the world know that I have become a Muslim. Islam which is a religion of peace and love. Islam which is a perfect code of life. Moreover, I have not reached this decision emotionally or suddenly, I have studied Islam with lot of care and consideration for a long time. After my careful studies, I reached to the conclusion that it is Islam which gives maximum protection and rights to women. One of the best part of Islam is that instead of worshipping innumerable gods in Hinduism, I am worshipping only One God, the True God, who is my Creator and Sustainer. I was very much attracted by the Muslim women dress code especially the BURQA (a type of Hijab popular in Indian subcontinent). It saves women from hungry grazes of men. It gives them protection. I was using this dress occasionally for past 34 years while going for shopping, going out and even on some foreign tours. I found that every one respects a women clad in BURQA and no one teases her. Islam has given maximum freedom and rights to women and thru out history, there was no system who gave more rights to women than Islam. She has been given rights as a daughter, sister, wife and as a mother. I do not think that it is slavery for women to reside inside in her house and take care of her husband and children and contribute in making a happy family life. No system can work unless there be some sort of restriction and bounds on one’s action and Islamic system also provides that. It is not Islam but social inequalities which has usurped rights of women. The blame should be placed on these inequalities rather than on Islam. I want to introduce Islam in this new millennium as a living and true religion, a religion which is based on science, reason and logic. I wish o dedicate my talents of poetry in the praise of Allah and His religion. I am now in advance age, but I say that in my experience I never felt the peace and tranquility in my entire life, like what I felt after accepting Islam (abridged and based on many interviews).

Story # 175 Why I Became Muslim? My Conversion from Christianity to Islam, Hussein Amin http://www.islamfortoday.com/webmaster.htm Note: Mr. Hussein Amin is an Irish, he accepted Islam in 1998. He was having a Catholic Background Introduction I have submitted my story of conversion to Islam mainly for the benefit of other (would-be) western converts, especially those who, like myself, come from a genuinely religious Christian background. Whilst Christianity and Islam have much in common, there remain fundamental differences about which no compromise is possible, principally concerning the Christian doctrine of Trinity and the belief that Jesus is divine. I converted to Islam before I became Internet-aware and had to do all the research for myself. It was essential to me that my investigation of Islam result in intellectual and theological satisfaction. I trust that others from a similar background to mine will find that some of my experiences along the path from Christianity to Islam serve as useful pointers and starting points for investigation in their own spiritual quest. Jesus - Son of God? Where I did have a real problem, though, was with the role of Jesus. I had been brought up a Catholic Christian, believing in the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son plus the Holy Spirit - three persons in one god. Islam rejects this and teaches the absolute oneness of God (Tawheed) and specifically that Jesus, though a great prophet, was only human and not divine. (There are many Quranic verses which are very specific, omitted for space-Ed.) Islam preaches pure monotheism…. Chapter 112 of the Quran is quite explicit about this: He is God, the only One, God the Everlasting. He did not beget and is not begotten, And none is His equal. Saint Paul and the early Christian Church:

..As my knowledge increased, I came to reject what I now regarded as the doctrinal innovations of the foremost evangelist of the early church, Paul of Tarsus, usually referred to as Saint Paul the Apostle. Paul was not an Apostle at all. In fact, he personally never even met Jesus, yet claimed to receive visions of Jesus which overrode the first-hand historical and theological knowledge of those who had known and followed Jesus during his actual ministry. .. For the original Jewish disciples of Jesus the notion of a literal and physical Son of God would have been blasphemous and in direct contravention of the First Commandment…. Saint Paul's missionary work was overwhelmingly directed at polytheist pagans in the northern Mediterranean. In Corinth he gave up in exasperation on the Jews who stayed faithful to the worship of God alone and to the oneness of God The Questionable Validity of the New Testament As for the four Gospels…. these were compiled from unreliable third and fourth-hand accounts long after Jesus' lifetime. Mark, 65-75 AD, Luke: 80-85 AD, Matthew, 85-90 AD, John: 95-140 AD.. In addition, it seems silly to have to point it out but Jesus, his apostles and disciples were Jews whose scriptures were in Hebrew. However, the new testament was written in Greek. … It is not credible that the Jesus and his followers would be quoting from a foreign language translation containing significant differences rather than from the Hebrew original of their Jewish scriptures. This casts further doubt on the accuracy of the New Testament and again undermines its validity as a basis for doctrine…. Jesus was regarded by his disciples and other contemporaries as a prophet. They do not acclaim him as an incarnation of God or the Son of God. My Journey from Catholic Christian to Arian Unitarian to Muslim: As a result of my studies and after much soul-searching, I came to reject Pauline church doctrinal innovations such as the Trinity, a concept unknown to Jesus' disciples and not definitively established as official church doctrine until as late as 381A.D. I found myself in sympathy with the more purely monotheist beliefs of the late third and early fourth century priest Arius of Alexandria and others such as Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia (later Patriarch of Constantinople), their teacher, the respected priest and martyr Lucian of Antioch and, in later decades, Roman Emperor Constantius II. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Arianism as a heresy:

What the encyclopedia fails to mention is that what they are describing as heresy was, in fact, official church doctrine in the middle of the fourth century. For example, after the Council of Ariminum in 359A.D. St. Jerome wrote, "the whole world groaned and marveled to find itself Arian". This prevailed until after the death of Constantius and his fellow Arian successor when a changing political climate within the Roman Empire resulted in the persecution of Arian Christians and the conclusive imposition of Trinitarianism as official church doctrine at the Second General Council in 381A.D. When I too came to the conclusion that Jesus was not divine, I had crossed an essential hurdle in terms of mindset and beliefs. Whether or not Jesus is divine is the absolute crux of the matter as far as any believing, theologically aware Christian is concerned. Once I had come to this new understanding of Jesus, it was but a small step for me to be able to accept a later prophet and embrace Islam … it made sense to me that God should send a new prophet, Mohammed, to call mankind back to the correct worship of himself, the one true god. There are 25 prophets recognized by name in the Quran. All but three of them are also mentioned in Jewish or Christian scripture: I had now reached the point where I genuinely wanted to be a Muslim in my own right, .. For I see my conversion to Islam not as a rejection of what I regard as true Christianity, simply as a rejection of the tangent or erroneous path along which Paul and his followers led astray the new, gentile, former polytheistic Christians of the Greco-Roman world. Sadly, all major forms of modern Christianity - Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism - stem from Paul. The Catholic Encyclopedia states that Arianism has never been revived (although it concedes that such eminent figures as Sir Isaac Newton and Milton displayed Arian sympathies). What it fails to acknowledge is that Arianism has, for the last fourteen hundred years, been incorporated within Islam. There is no one left within Catholicism, Protestantism or Orthodoxy to espouse the oneness of God. Statement of Theological Beliefs With a clear conscience and with none of the mental torment on this issue that I had to face when I first started studying Islam, I can now state that I believe Jesus to have been an entirely human prophet of God, one of the greatest prophets of God and worthy of the utmost respect, but that he was neither an incarnation of God nor the Son of God. I believe Mohammed to have been a later (the last) prophet of God. And just as the true Christianity of Jesus' genuine apostles in Jerusalem is the successor to Judaism, so is Islam, the final revelation of God's word, the legitimate successor to and fulfillment of original JerusalemJewish Christianity…

I rejected Christianity as it is known to us today because I no longer believed in the doctrine of Trinity and the claim that Jesus is God. I came to believe wholeheartedly in the oneness of God. And I judge this belief to have found its best expression in the religion of Islam. Whatever the future may hold in terms of personal relationships, I will continue to hold these beliefs. And I am sickened by the politicized hate-filled philosophy, which passes itself off as Islam when in fact not only does it violate the most basic Islamic rules of warfare, it is often indicative of a complete lack of trust in God's promise that no one will have to suffer more than they can endure. What a long list of recent examples - September 11, Palestine suicide bombings, the mid-Atlantic shoe bomber, the Tunisian synagogue massacre, the ongoing slaughter of thousands of innocent Muslims by Muslims in Algeria, the Bali bombing, the Moscow theatre massacre, and now apparently even the Washington serial sniper. These extremists have set the cause of the spread of Islam back decades. At times I can't help but echo the lament of British convert, Michael A. Malik: "Islam is wonderful, but I can't stand the Muslims!" Thanks to Parents Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my parents - devout, practicing Catholics - who, although strongly disapproving of my conversion to Islam on theological grounds, have accepted my decision and have continued to show me great love, understanding, sensitivity and practical support. I have been most blessed in this regard.

Story # 176 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: RAM JI LAL GUPTA (MOHD. OMAR), LUCKNOW, UP. INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a trading family near Lucknow. My date of birth is 6 Dec. 1939. My father had a big shop. For past six generations, we have only one son in the family. I was the only son of my father and he was the only son of my grandfather and I had only one son. After ninth standard I started helping my father in his shop and discontinued my study. My father was member of Hindu Extremist Political Party, JAN SANGH which was forerunner of present BJP. Hatred of Islam and Muslims was in our blood. 02. I was married to a very good lady. Her family had very good relations with Muslims…. During marriage ceremony many Muslims were invited and one Muslim was incharge of food arrangements. I refused to eat in this condition but people asked me to cool down. Our marriage took place in 1952 and for nine years we had no issue. Then in 1961 my only son YOGESH was born. I educated him in good colleges and he was always a topper in his class an school. I had decided him to further the cause of Hindu Extremism… 03. But he inherited his mother’s love an closeness to Muslims. He was very much opposed of my communal bias and hatred of Islam and Muslims. He used to discuss this issue many times with me….but I was in a different world then. I considered Muslims to be outsiders and invaders, who made India and Hindu slaves and destroyed their temples and idols. My son used to argue against this hypothesis, and he said that there were three kinds of invaders in India: 04. First came the Aryans, they established their government here and made millions of local residents as their slaves for eternity. They exploited these poor people in every way imaginable. Then came Muslims, who united India to be one country for the first time in its history. They taught people of this country how to dress, how to talk and how to dress. They showed us how to build houses and palaces. Red fort, Taj Mahal and thousands of such buildings show their good taste and advancement in architecture.

05. Then came British, who enslaved people of India and took its gold and silver out of this country. They killed and hanged people by thousands. But I never used to listen to these talks of YOGESH and was living in my own world of hate and bigotry. 06. Babri mosque agitation gave a new meaning to Hindu Extremism. I was part and parcel of that agitation. I spent my every energy for that movement and I was present in Ayodhya on 6 Dec 1992, when the mosque was being demolished. In fact I was commanding one unit of people engaged in demolition. When I returned, I gave a big party to celebrate the demolition… disgusted my son left the house … I must have spent close to 2,500,000 Rupees on this cause. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 07. We had demolished the mosque… but I had a fear from inside. The date of 6 December was a day of bad omens for us. On 6 Dec. 1993, there was a fire and short circuit is one of my warehouse and good worth close to a Million rupees were lost. We used to suffer some or the other misfortune on 6 Dec….the worst was yet to come. On 6 Dec 2005, my only son YOGESH had gone to Lucknow in his car. A truck hit his vehicle and he and driver died on the spot. He left a son aged 9 and a daughter aged 6. 08. This made me almost insane and I was not in my senses. My wife took me to many physicians, temples and every where else, but every thing was useless. Then she took me to HARDOI in the famous Islamic Madarsa…. I got some peace. One scholar there gave me a small booklet “Your Trust returned to you” by Maulana Kalim from Phulat. I read that book and then he gave me some more books on islam 09. These books convinced me of truth of Islam and the follies which I was following. The month of December was close and I wanted to become Muslim before 6 Dec. On 5 Dec I asked many Muslims to make me Muslims, but no one came forward. Some one told Maulana about my case and he sent one man, who was himself the one who participated in the Babri mosque demolition, to me. He met me on 22nd Jan and I recited KALIMA on his hands and I became Muslim. 10. I them thanked Maulana on phone and told him that I had spent so much money to demolish one house of Allah (during the period for my ignorance) now I will spend the same and more for construction of House of Allah. What affects me most is the condition of my son YOGESH, he was so close to islam, but he went from this world without reciting KALIMA, what will happen to him? Maulana consoles

me by saying that in such cases, the angels of Allah help the person in reciting KALIMA before their death. I am sure that this must have happened with my son YOGESH. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse 11. My wife became Muslim without much effort… I am sure she was half a Muslim already and it was a trail for her to live with so much Anti Islamic and Anti Muslim man like me for all these years.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of June 2009.

Story # 177 Why I Became Muslim? SARAH BOOKER, USA I was born in New York and had a very beautiful body. My only aim in life was to look as beautiful as possible. I was constantly busy in buying best clothing, shoes, perfumes and jewelry. I used to exercise regularly to keep by body is best shape and form…but somehow I used to feel unhappy. I tried to solve this “illness” by drugs, dancing and even joining spiritual clubs….but the illness kept on getting more serious. I was in that state, when the events of 9/11 occurred and I discovered that every one in America was turned against Muslims and a “New Crusade” was started. This caused me to get interested in Muslims. Then I joined a social group that was engaged in Women Rights and I became a social worker. During this work I met a senior member who was engaged in providing right and justice to all humans irrespective of their color, religion or background. I was impressed with this attitude and also started helping him in his works. During this work I studied English Translation of Quran. I found it to be totally different from what Western Media had projected it to be. Found that in Quran Allah speaks to humans directly without any other entity between Him and His Servants I got convinced of the truth of Islam and I accepted this faith and bought Islamic dress and Hijab. When I first wore Hijab, I felt that now I am free for the first time.!!! I who felt “freedom” in Mini Skirts, Bikinis and Shirts….found that Islamic Hijab protects me from the hungry gazers who would feast on exposed portion of my body. Those “Admirers” of my beauty were nothing but hunters looking at their prey!!! While I was in this state, it paned me to learn that certain priests and Church groups, so called women rights groups and civil rights groups have started a movement against Islamic Hijab. Some call it backwardness, others call it restriction of female movement and others that it is against National Integration!!! I marvel at the dual standards of these people. They would give the right to women to expose her body….but when she wants to voluntarily cover it, they want to stop it!!! I am still an activist of Women Rights but now as a Muslim woman. I advise Muslim women to know their rights and duties which Islam gives them. They should help their husbands to better understanding and upbringing of their Children as a good Muslim. They should fight for their rights of Hijab. What I had taken as “My Right of Freedom” to expose my body for others was nothing but a form of “Slavery” to Satan and his followers. By going against my own Creator, I

could never become free. That is the advice which I wish to give all my Muslim Sisters who are living in west or Islamic countries. They should not accept that “freedom” at any cost.

Story # 178 Why I Became Muslim? KARIMA BRINNS , USA I belonged to a Christian family living in IOWA in the Mid West. If you know, Church is very powerful in Mid West and no can live in peace by ignoring Church there. I had a religious bent of mind and used to go regularly to the Church and listen to the sermons. But I had a belief that God is only one, He alone is present everywhere and is Most Powerful. While in Church we practically worshipped Jesus and we could reach God only thru the personality of Jesus. Secretly I believed in only one God. Then I used to listen to all sweet talks in Church, but when I used to come out of Church, I would find a totally different world. How come Church has no influence in personal life of people, why we have to go to Church only on Sunday, that too for a short period and have the rest of week to ourselves? There were many such questions, which would come into my mind and did not get any reply. If I asked priests, they would tell me that religion and intellect are not related. Just believe what is written. Then I was troubled by so many contradictions in various versions of the Bible. When I asked our local priest, he replied “How does it matter, any way?” It was in this state of mind that I graduated from high school and before joining college, I took a tour of Europe. May be I could find some answers to these questions during my tour of different European countries. I was in Spain, visiting ALHAMRA Mosque in Granada, when my I suddenly felt fascinated by the most beautiful calligraphy I ever saw. Pillars and walls were decorated with it. I watched for much time and asked the local guide, what language is this? Arabic he replied. I collected every tourist information in Arabic thru out my tour of Spain and other European countries. In University, I took Arabic as a special subject (I had only two more students in the class), the teachers felt troubled my showing this much attention to this language. I used to do my home work with the Calligraphic pen and even visited Muslim locality in Chicago to get more samples of Arabic righting. In my second year I took Mid eastern studies and attended many lectures where this was discussed. I even attended special lectures on Quran. Once I took the English Translation of Quran to my home for homework, I was so fascinated by it, that I went on reading like a Novel. It answered many of my doubts which I had from my earlier days. It told me as to how to live for other six days of the week. I went to my teacher, to get more books by the same author. He told me that I was reading the English Translation of Quran, and as per Muslims the author is God Himself and there are no sequels to it!! Muslims believe that this book is preserved as it was revealed and no changes have been done to it. This was a new thing for me.

I decided to learn more about Islam and see a Muslim country by my own eyes. I visited Egypt and spent most of my time seeing mosques, Arabic Calligraphy and listening to Quran being recited in most beautiful of all tones. So much so that one day…one Muslim asked me “If you are so much interested in Islam and Arabic, why did not I become Muslim?”. “But I am already a Muslim!!” I told him. He then told me that to be officially recognized as a Muslim, I have to declare my faith in front of two witnesses…I did so and they gave me a certificate…. I kept is along with all other Arabic literature I had with me…..I was Muslim long back….Arabic and Quran had converted me long back (abridged).

Story # 179 Why I Became Muslim? TIM WEIS Globe and Mail Update Note: Tim Weis is an Edmonton-based environmental consultant and advisory board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada. I was born and raised in Ontario. I have European lineage. I am a Muslim. I am a Westerner. I feel the sorrow and the confusion of both caught within the so-called war on terror. With a foot in both worlds, I can see how both are looking and talking past one another, without a great deal of introspection. Let me start by saying I condemn the horror in Beslan. I felt sick to my stomach watching the news and cried when I saw mothers burying their children. Yet I remember the same feeling in my stomach the day Russian tanks rolled into Groznyy and flattened a city of more than a million people. I condemn that, too. I condemned the attack on New York City, and I condemned the thousands of children killed in Iraq. I've condemned the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and I've condemned the brutal occupation of East Timor. After each subsequent atrocity, one community looks to the other to condemn it unconditionally. In one form or another, someone from the "guilty by association” community speaks out against what happened. But those asked to do the condemning most likely had nothing to do with the atrocity and don't appreciate the insinuation that they support the slaughter unless they explicitly deny it. While this game of condemnations will unfortunately continue, it is likely to do little to prevent the next atrocity. Rather, an inward examination on both sides needs to begin. Civilian attacks, hostage beheadings, and the murder of schoolchildren are so far removed from Islamic principles that we in the Muslim community have a difficult time believing that it could be "one of us.” As such, we force ourselves to view the news at best as intentionally uncontextualized media coverage and at worst as conspiracy theories. Rare is it that we reflect on how we got to a point where the perpetrators of these crimes don't see themselves as the radicals and extremists that the rest of the community does. The Muslim world needs to recognize that, somewhere in the legitimate struggle for emancipation and selfdetermination, a line has been crossed. At the same time, occupations, collateral damage and prison torture are equally far removed from democratic principles, such that we in the West have a tough time believing the extent to which they are happening. As a result, we have a tendency to assume that "the other side” must be exaggerating or even fabricating their grievances, leaving us susceptible to the simplistic

rationale that they ”just hate us,” and this blind rage can only be dealt with a sweeping yet blunt sword. The ”West” needs to acknowledge that, somewhere in the legitimate desire for human and economic security, a line has also been crossed. And crossing the proverbial lines has led us collectively down slippery slopes in opposite directions, from where we are now able to dismiss unthinkable horrors without losing too much sleep by saying: ”Yes, it is terrible. But don't forget about [insert appropriate atrocity here].” Although it shouldn't, it needs to be said that the vast majority of Muslims are appalled by what is being justified in the name of their religion. The vast majority of Westerners, meanwhile, deplore the civilian death toll we have racked up in the name of freedom. I know it needs to be said because I have heard people say the exact opposite. Clearly, the vast majority of humanity does not think butchering others is a good idea, and yet we are somehow caught in this whirlwind of simplistic rationalizations for murder as the body count climbs. The only way I see out is to painfully examine our own complicity in the problem. How did it come to this? How did we not stop it? In today's globalize world, no one can claim complete immunity from the events on the planet. I understand the paradox within which I live - condemning the occupation of Palestine while living on land that was taken from the First Nations. Yet I, we, Muslims and Westerners, cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by such contradictions. Rather, let them spur us into action to rectify what we can within ourselves and our own lives. It is too easy to cast blame on someone else and believe that the roots of the problem lie elsewhere. ”Be the change you want to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi, a great Eastern thinker, once said. Voltaire, a great Western thinker, warned: ”As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.”

Story # 180 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: BALWINDER KAUR (AIYESHA), FIROZEPUR, PUNJAB, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born on 3 June 1965 in a Sikh family in FIROZEPUR, Punjab. My father was Mr. Fateh Singh who was an educated landlord in the area. I graduated from Sri Gobindsingh College. I was married to a Police Officer. He is now a Deputy Superintendent, we have two sons and one daughter and all of them are studying. I had a younger sister who was very beautiful, she was also married to a police officer. Her husband loved her very much. But after marriage, she was always sick. Despite every effort, her health did not improve. When all medical options were exhausted, her husband took her to many temples and places of worship, but she was not cured. 02. She went to a Muslim lady, who used to practice Islamic system of supplication cure. She got some relief , but that lady told her , that she will become fully OK, but she will have to accept Islam. She consulted her husband, who told her, that he only wanted her health, Muslim or Non Muslim, it did not matter with him. The lady referred her to contact Maulana Kalim Uddin Sahib of Phulat. She talked to him on phone and told that she wanted to come to Phulat to accept Islam. Maulana told her, that she need not have to come to Phulat for that and she could recite KALIMA over phone itself. In fact Maulana almost forced her to recite KALIMA on phone and gave her Islamic name Aiyesha, 03. I was with her that night when she recited KALIMA and her condition immediately improved. Her face was radiant as with inside pleasure. She was very happy and prepared food and fed her husband. After some time she started saying that, I am seeing heaven and all good people are surrounding me…she went on saying that untill she became silent and when we touched her, she had died. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 04. I was very close to my sister and her face and the ease with which she died affected me very much. I saw her in dreams and she was sitting on a throne and wearing very good clothes.

I told my husband that I also wanted to become Muslim for one or two weeks to feel what Aiyesha felt…. When I asked him repeatedly, he agreed for me to become Muslim for a week or two. 05. I spoke to Maulana in Phulat and arranged for my trip there when he will be present there. When I told Maulana my intention to become Muslim for a week or two, he told that Islam is not like a dress that you change every now and then. It is entering the faith for full life. I was perplexed, because I was not prepared for becoming Muslim for life. Maulana then explained fundamentals of Islam to me and what it means to be a Muslim. He also gave me a small booklet “Your trust returned to you” and asked me to study it and then decide.. 06. After some thoughts and discussions, I decided to become Muslim and recited KALIMA in front of him. He congratulated me and gave me the same name as that of my sister. All family members of Maulana treated me like a member of that household. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 07. I came back very happy and told my husband that I have decided to become Muslim for life. First he seemed to ignore me, but when I remained firm on islam and asked him also to become a Muslim, he got annoyed. We had arguments every day, Maulana told me, that I should not have sexual relationship with my husband, but I can live with him in the hope of converting him. I prayed to Allah to open hearts of my husband for Islam whole night. 08. Next day when I asked him to become Muslim, he agreed and accepted Islam on my hand. I was very happy and all my children also became Muslim. Then after some time, my husband was killed in an accident in course of his police duty. This was a very strong trial, but Allah gave me strength to stay firm on my faith. 09. I was yearning to perform Hajj, but I could not go alone. I started working on my brother and asked him to become Muslim. I told him that Baba Guru Nanak had also gone to Makkah to perform Hajj. After some persuation, he accepted Islam and we went to Makkah top perform Hajj. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. I would like Muslims to be grateful for the gift of faith which they have. A day with faith is better than one century of life without faith.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Sept. 2006

Story # 181 Why I Became Muslim? AMINA JENIAT, USA I was born in LA state of USA in 1956. My parents were devout Catholics, we later moved to Florida where I completed my education and joined modeling profession. I got married and had three children. Our financial position was very good and apparently I had no worry in the world so to say. But I was not feeling happy, I was missing something. In my childhood days I was attracted to religion and had memorized many passages of the Bible. I left modeling and joined University to do further studies, I was 30 years at that time. In my class there were many African American and many Muslims also. I had very bad opinion about Muslims, and used to equate Muslims with hate, violence and terrorism. I thought may be God has commissioned me to save these wretched Muslims. But I used to observe that these Muslim students were different from other students. They did not mix freely with girls and would shun any party where alcohol was to be served. Whenever I used to explain to them beauties of Christianity, they would smile and keep quite. I was frustrated in my efforts to convert any of them. Then I thought, let me study about Islam, then I would present to them the mistakes of Islam. On the outset, I did not notice any of the qualities with which Christian writers and priests associate Muslims with. I started reading English translation of Quran. I was surprised that it provided answers to all question which rise in the mind. On the other hand Bible leaves many doubts and questions unanswered. I studied more about Islam and discussed it with Muslims students, I discovered that Islam really is totally different from what is projected in Western Press and Media. When the truth was manifest to me, I declared my new faith on 22 May 1977. Now my trial period started.. My husband who loved me left me and I had left to parent the two children….I lost my job because my firm did not like my conversion to new faith….then US family court decided that if I want to parent my children I have to leave Islam and come back to Christianity!! I had to surrender custody of my children. I had only one support in this period of trial….My Allah ….My God….I used to prey him all the time, to help me overcome all these trails and give me a way out. I busied myself in the missionary work of Islam and soon married a Moroccan Muslim, who was Imam in a local Mosque and used to recite Quran in a most beautiful voice and manner. Well I gave birth to a son from this new marriage, who is now 10 years old and very handsome….

I have established many Women study circles where we discuss the rights and duties which Islam gives to women. Many US women are wonderstruck when they discover how much honor, right and protection Islam provides to them. I praise Allah that he has blessed me with converting many Women and men to Islam. One last word….My old family is coming closer to Islam….the eldest son accepted Islam and took the name Farook. (abridged)

Story # 182 Why I Became Muslim? LORENZ (AIYESHA) AL SAEED, USA One day when I was six years old, my parents gave me a shiny quarter, and told me to put it in the collection plate for Church “to give it to Jesus for his work” When I returned the quarter was still in my pocket, because I frankly told my parents that Jesus was not there!! My parents were more amused than concerned… I had descended in a family that had three Christian ministers as my grandparents….I attended al Episcopal Private School, where we studied world religions during our last term. Trinity was a point which I never understood, I felt it was not logical. How could one Father (the Great Spirit), plus His Son (Jesus) and one Holy Ghost all be together as one, inside one being? It was logically impossible, and I had been raised to use rational thoughts to make decision in my life…I continued reading Bible every night with my father after dinner, looking for answers and enjoying stories of historical prophets. In high school I met some more students from the Middle East, who sensing my inner dissatisfaction, asked me if I had ever learned about Islam. I found some books on Islam in school library, including a English Translation of Quran. My grandfather encouraged me to read these books as according to him, Islam contained a good moral code of living.. The more I read, the more my understanding and excitement grew. I found the answers to all my questions and more! At the age of 17 I began regular Prayers (SALAT) and even completed my first month of fasting…That summer I took the train to Bloomington Indiana to attend Muslim students lectures and seminars…I stayed in campus with other Muslims for a week…. I moved to Houston to seek employment….one evening at an international costume party I met a polite gentleman whom I later found to be an intelligent Saudi Student. We married shortly and thru him God has let my dreams come true. We have three children and he has taken me to perform hajj. I am content and satisfied and greatly thankful to the Almighty God for accepting my prayers… (Abridged) Source:: Saudi Gazette 13 April 2001, p9

Story # 183 Why I Became Muslim? Walter 'Abdul-Walee' Gomez Source: http://www.islamfortoday.com/waltergomez.htm My conversion to Islam has alarmed many friends and family members. It seems to them strange and odd for a Latino like me to become a Muslim. Catholic and Protestantism are the leading religions in Latin America so these are reasonable religions for any Latin American to convert to, but when my family follows either Catholic or Protestant domination's, why Islam?... My story begins at my birthplace, El Salvador, a beautiful tropical country located in Central America, …I was born in 1975, from middle class of the poor, yes we were poor but we had the blessing of food. My father came to America in 1978, to make some quick money and he kept coming and going back for a period of 4 years .. In 1983, he left El Salvador again but with intentions to bring the family and stay for good. So after my father left, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather who was a Protestant, and I used to listen to the Biblical readings and I used to love looking at the pictures in the Bible. I used to ask, "does anyone still dress like the people drawn in the bible, with long robes, turban and beards" and they replied "No" it was long-time ago. In 1984 my father sent a letter to my mother telling her come to America, ..We left El Salvador in August, . We arrive in National Airport of Washington D.C. three weeks after we left El Salvador. After spending time here in America I found out that religions are thrown away by society and are considered private, and not a way of life to many. ..in 1990, my first year in High School, what a joy!!! I was so happy the first day, and my cousin Ana warned me to be careful because seniors threw freshmen in lockers, but I didn't care I was happy… We started going to clubs, drinking, using drugs, and of course women were not excluded. This period of time was the most dangerous of my life. We used to fight for stupid things. I almost got shot on the metro (train) in Washington D.C. for a stupid argument between my friend and some young kids.. . My friend at that time was confused what the true Islam was, his Islam looked weird to me. He believed that Nation of Islam was the true Islam; he did not know the differences, that the real Islam was not racist like Nation of Islam was. .. He pushed on about Islam, telling me to read his Koran, so I did. I was amazed to see Jesus, Moses, Abraham, and many more Prophets of the

Bible in this Koran. He told me "We believe Jesus is a Prophet of God, not the son of God nor God himself" and immediately responded that I believe in the same In 1995, I went to work at a cafeteria at a University a year after I graduated from High school. At work, I saw so many cultures and different religious people. I still had hate towards nonLatinos, yet my first week at work a group of students came to buy some stuff at the store I worked, and they were fighting amongst each other, that everyone wanted to pay. This incident was very touching to me because I was a very giving person yet my friends took advantage of that quality. All the people in that group who came into the store wanted to pay for the others… I replied to him that I used to study Islam for political reasons. He asked, "Why did you stop?" I told him that I didn't know where to get more information about Islam. He looks at me with joy and he said I have an American Muslim friend that converted six month ago. The next day they came to visit me, and I saw this white male dressed like the people in the Bible and looked like Jesus. My heart felt this peaceful calm feeling that I still feel. .. For two months, Muslims were coming to me with books, pamphlets, and just to talk. In September, I went to a party with my friend and I really got drunk that night and almost got into a fight, but my friend reminded me that I was studying Islam, so I stopped and asked him if we can go home. The next day, at 9:00 in the morning I woke up with this disgusting feeling and the phone rang. It was my friend from the University. I told him to please pick me up and take me to the Mosque. He came like a lighting flash to my house. I was nervous and happy at same time. We arrived at this beautiful Mosque Darul-AlHijra in northern Virginia ten minutes away from my house. At 10:00 a.m. the teacher came, very calm, and not pushing and asked me if I believed that God is One, I said, "Yes." He asked if I believed that Jesus is a Prophet and the son Mary? I said, "Yes." Do you believe that Muhammad is the Last Prophet of God, in doubts, I replied "Yes." At that moment in doubts of Muhammad, I said to myself, “If I believe in the teachings of Islam, I must be a fool not to accept in the one who brought it, I told the teacher that I was ready to became a Muslim (in submission to God); He told me to repeat: "I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship than Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah" At this point, I could smell the mercy and the sweetness of heaven, felt the presence of God in my torn, sick heart. I felt clean brightness in my new way of life. My life was ready for the next journey on earth, the journey to Paradise. All Praises are due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds that He has invited me to Islam, from among billions of people in the earth to be a Muslim. My thanks are due to Allah the Almighty, for inviting me to His House Makkah in 1997 for Um-rah. (Abridged)

Story # 184 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: PUSHPA BHAGAT (JAMILA), PATIALA, PUNJAB, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a poor family in RAJPURA, PATIALA, in a Bhagat family. My father’ name was Shiv Ram Bhagat, and my Mother’ Somi Bai. We were three sisters. At the age of 20, I was married to a rich family. My aunt thought that by marrying into a rich family, I would be very happy. But my husband was a very cruel man and man of many vices. I was treated no more like a made servant in their house. 02. I some how pulled on and I had two boys and one daughter. I started to open my own workshop for tailoring and darning. Most boys working in my workshop were Muslims. I was impressed by their sense of dress and specially their women as they covered their bodies. So much so that I wanted to accept their faith. They were poor Muslims and told that our Baba will come on such and such day and will make me Muslim. 03. He was of the group that visit graves and do many rites there, I was not knowing much and I also started doing as he was doing. I started facing difficulties from local Muslims and they started objecting to my life style…. My business also suffered and I did not know what to do. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 04. At that stage, I met some serious Muslim brothers and Sisters, who educated me about real Islam and the error into which I had fallen. Then I accepted Islam all of a new and learned prayer and fasting and started to live as a true Muslim should live. I educated my sons and daughters in the Islamic way and one of my son memorized whole Quran, Alhamdolillah. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society:

05. My husband had forgotten about me and my children for close to 25 years. When he got retired, he invested his retirement fund into buying a house and shared it with his son from another wife. 06. Soon his condition deteriorated and I saw his daughter in law treating him like a dog and give her food like a dog. I had pity on him and on the advice of my eldest child, started working on him. He had many vices; drinking alcohol was one of them. 07. I prayed to Allah for his guidance… It so happened that he heard about Islam in a lecture and his heart was opened for Islam. He accepted islam and we were re-married according to Islamic rites. And he has not touched alcohol since that day. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 08. My children were grown up and married when I became Real Muslim. I talked to them about Islam and after some discussions my sons decided to become Muslim. But it was different working on their wives and they were very form in their beliefs. I asked a Muslim sister who was active in missionary activities to come to our house and talk about Islam. 09. My daughter in law was hearing the talk….the sister presented Islam and its teachings is such a manner that Allah opened her heart for Islam. At the end of talk, she decided to become Muslim, Alhamdolillah. 3. On Family members / Others. 10. I take part in Islamic missionary activities and speak to both Muslim and Non Muslim sisters. It is having effect and many sisters have decided to become Muslim after my interactions with them, Alhamdolillah. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 11. My advice to Muslims is that they should share their faith with Non Muslims. There are thousands of Non Muslims who are very much interested in islam. Many Hindus spend their money in building mosques, and other things for Muslims. If Muslims share their religion with them, things will change in India.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of July 2008.

Story # 185 Why I Became Muslim? S. P. Singh Gautam (Mohd. Omar Gautam) India Note: Mr. Gautam was born in Fatehpur UP is a well to do High Caste Hindu Family. He got his B. Sc and M. Sc. Degrees in Agriculture from Pant Nagar University in 1980 and 1984. He accepted Islam in 1984 and due to opposition from local Hindu groups had to discontinue his studies and take shelter elsewhere. When I was 15 years old, I used to mediate on the rites and ceremonies that we used to conduct as Hindus. Are they true and what is the logic behind that. Before that we were never told as to why we were Hindus and why do we worship these idols and do all these elaborate rites. Who created us all, what is the purpose of our life. What will happen to us when we die? Why there are so many gods and goddesses in Hindu religion? Why a large number of people have been made untouchable? Etc etc. When I used to ask our elders these sorst of questions, they really had no answers. They only advised me to follow the religion of my forefathers were. After all how they could be all wrong? But these replies did not satisfy quest for knowledge. When I reached Pant Nagar University, I devoted most of my spare time in reading books by noted Hindu Scholars and Philosophers. I read Vedas, Puranans, Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata…..I read biographies of Gautam Buddha, Vivekananda, Param Hans, Gandhi, Nehru etc. ….so as to know the secret of their success. I got very much confused and decided to renounce this world and spend rest of my life as hermit, in search of God and truth…. Then it came to mind as to not ask my own creator for guidance and ask Him to show me the right path…I did and the path opened for me in a strange way!!! I made a scooter accident and was hospitalized for a few days. One of my fellow student, one named Nasir Khan used to visit me daily in hospital and console me. He helped me during my stay in hospital and during my rehabilitation period. Once I asked him, as to why he was taking so much pains for me….He answered that it was his duty as a Muslim to help others in distress….I got impressed by this reply and wanted to know more about Islam, which gives such good advice. He gave me some books about Islam and I started studying them. I read Hindi translation of Quran, life history of prophet of Islam, life histories of early Muslim Caliphs and Islamic history in general. In six months and after reading 50 odd books, I got answers to all my questions as to who my Creator is, Why I am on Earth and what will happen to me when I die… I got convinced the truth mentioned in Quran that Allah will show guidance to those who seek it My declaration of Islam met with much resistance at my University…I was ridiculed… threatened and physically abused. The news was published in local Hindi Newspaper…so much

so that I had to run away from University and could not complete my studies. I joined Jamia Millia University in Delhi to complete MA in Islamic studies. After much opposition from my family…soon the things changed and many of my family members accepted Islam and the number is increasing. My own analysis is that most Hindus did not get true message of Islam and this is the fault of Muslims in general. If they propagate truth, then the situation could be quite different from what it is these days in India.

Story # 186 Why I Became Muslim? CASSANA (AIYESHA) MADDOZ NABLISI, USA Note: Sister Aiyesha was one of the exchange students, who was sent to Saudi Arabia to attend Shariah College. She had close contacts with many prominent Saudi citizens of Jeddah. She accepted Islam in late 1970 s. Here she tells story of her conversion to Islam My formal education goes slightly beyond the norm, after high school, a got a Bachelor’s degree in International studies, with 2 of 7 years I studied Arabic. I also studied Arabic with private paid tutors. I am a graduate of Naval school and have worked in US navy. I was sent as exchange student to attend Shariah college at Jeddah University….I later earned master’s degree in International Education Development. I came to Islam, taking my SHAHADAH in Northern Nigeria, where I was visiting In-laws of my second marriage, who was a diplomat in Northern Nigeria. Local people in Nigeria introduced me to Islam, and informed me that it was the most important facet of the historical pasts of people who were taken out of Africa. I was not entirely ignorant of Arabic Quran as during my studies I had gone thru English translation of Quran by Abdullah Yousuf Ali. Some credit to my conversion should go to Elijah Mohammad , thru whom many black people in USA learned about true Islamic teaching as a non racial Universal faith for all mankind… I have visited many Islamic countries and have attended many conference on Islamic and other topics. I have also written many books to teach English language to people whose mother tongue is not English… (Abridged) Source:: Why woman are accepting Islam? Pages 20-25

Story # 187 Why I Became Muslim? The Story of a Jewish Boy - Finding Islam in Cyberspace By Musa Caplan Prior to my conversion to Islam, I lived my life as a Jew. Although my family was not traditional, I learned Judaism from traditional Jews. I went to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, and an Orthodox Jewish school. I lived, and continue to live, in a Jewish community in the United States where there is little diversity… I developed a strong interest for studying other religions as well as my own. I paid special attention to Islam, for I knew it was a religion not much different than Judaism. We share many similar prophets (peace be upon them all), morals, values, and most importantly, we worship the same God … I was lucky because I knew many Muslims online, Regardless, when I heard of a terrorist attack, similar to many others, I figured the cause of it was Islamic extremists. Many times I was not wrong. But then you must ask yourself, what makes these people go to the extreme? Does their religion really teach to kill innocent people? The reality is that it does not. .. Another astonishing factor that led me to Islam is the scientific truth written in the Qur'an. The Qur'an mentions the human embryonic development long before it was discovered by science. The Qur'an also mentions how mountains are formed and talks about the layers of the atmosphere! These are just a few of so many scientific discoveries mentioned in the Qur'an 1400 years before discovered by science. Here is one of the key factors that led me to explore my heart to find the truth of life. In Arabic, the word Islam comes from salama which means "to submit"; "purity" and "peace" come from the same root. The person submits to the One, the Merciful, and the Most Beneficent Allah; whereas other religions are named after people: Judaism comes from the tribe of Judea, Christianity from Jesus Christ, etc. Islam is a word derived from a verb; anyone who submits to Allah and believes in all the prophets is a true Muslim. Many of the great prophets mentioned in the Old Testament lived prior to Judaism and Judea; they submitted to God, and therefore they were all Muslims. And we shall live as the prophets lived, for they were great human beings. Considering my situation of being very young and living in an all-Jewish area, it would be difficult to have my beliefs accepted. My parents and relatives are very respectful, but I am unsure how they would react if it is their own son who reverts to Islam. So for now, I am unable to live out an Islamic life to the fullest, but thanks to Allah, I am able to pray five times a day, I am able to study Islam online, and at least I am openly able to believe in one God and express those feelings. In some ways it can be very difficult. …When studying Qur'an, my advice to you is to read it for yourself. Looking at biased websites, you are not able to see the full content of a verse. "Go forth to war" will be a phrase you can find on prejudiced sites in order to make you think Islam is a religion of war. But if you read on, you will see the Qur'an specifically says only with those who first wage war with Islam. (abridged)

Story # 188 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: RAM VEER (MOHD. TAYYEB), MUZAFFAR NAGAR, UP. INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a farmer family in a small village in MUZAFFARNAGAR District. My father was a very good person and he was a small farmer. We had seven brothers and sisters, two have died and now we are only three brothers and two sisters. I studied upto high school and then left studies. I was married to a good wife, but I fell into bad habits and divorced my wife. After that I fell into society of bad people and we formed a sort of Gang. 02. I decided to make a Tube well and do farming in my ancestral land. We dig the tube well, but no water came out. Some one told me to give some sacrificial things to the well in the name of Hindu gods. I offered the sacrifice but still no water came out. I had a Muslim friend, who said that he will offer two units of prayer of water came out. I also said the same thing and this time water came out with full force. Now my friend said that I must offer the prayers. We went to a mosque and I offered the prayer. 03. Then the question came about light for the tube well, village people refused to help me in this. But the same Muslim friend said that if you become Muslim, he will help me in getting light. I said that Muslims will not keep me seeing my habits and past record. He said that once I became Muslim, all those bad habits will go away. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 04. We were in search of some one who will make me Muslim and teach Islam to me. I was refereed to go to Phulat and meet Maulana Kalim Sahib there. I went there and met Maulana and told his story of my life. After hearing that, he said that Islam is religion of peace and it wants it members to be peaceful and do not cause mischief on the land. He said that I have to repent from all my bad habits and specially drinking.

05. I was not sure that I will be able to leave my habit of drinking. But he said me that I belong to a fighting race, If I decide something, I will be able to do it. This encouraged me and I stopped drinking from that day. This gave me so much confidence that I am able to cure many persons from this bad habit… He sent me with a Missionary party for 40 days and during that time I learned prayer and other day to day maters of Islamic life. 06. Them Maulana arranged for my marriage with a very good Muslim girl of near by village. He did not wanted any trouble from my family members, so he planned marriage to be performed silently. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 07. My father came to know about my marriage and he came to attend it. He was very happy to see me transformed so much and able to shun all my bad habits. He congratulated Maulana and expressed his gratitude for all he did for correcting me. He said that he supports my decision to become Muslim. There was some resistance from villagers , but my father stood firm and the villagers had to keep quite. E. My Missionary activities: 2. On Parents. 08. My father is very impressed with Maulana and he meets him often. I am sure that he has accepted Islam on the hands of Maulana. Myself and my wife presented Islam to my mother, she got convinced but is afraid from her family members. But we asked her to recite KALIMA to us and do not declare her faith openly. 3. On Family members / Others. 09. My two brothers have become Muslim. I am working on other members of my family and pray Allah to open their hearts for islam. Many of my friends are also interested in islam, seeing how it has changed me. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 10. Islam is a religion of peace, it is irony that because of actions of some misguided people (and Media’ propaganda)… it is being linked with Terrorism.

Muslims are more in jails as compared to their population in the country. It is because these people do not practice Islam in their daily lives.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of March 2006.

Story # 189 Why I Became Muslim? Balbir Singh (Mohd. Amir) Panipat, Haryana, India Note: I heard this story myself from Mr. Balbir Singh, so I am a witness to what I am writing. Since it is translated from vernacular, so I cannot guarantee its accuracy word by word. I was born in a village of Haryana. State of India. We belong to the Rajput family. My father was a very good and pious person and he was headmaster in the local school. He was a true humanist and he used to tell us about the atrocities committed against humanity during pre and post partition riots of 1947. I on the other hand was influenced by the extreme right wing attitudes of RSS and Bajrangdal one of its militant affiliates. My father used to caution me against violent policies of these outfits and used to tell me that no good would come out of it, as violence is not the solution of any problem. But in my youth, I was brainwashed by the stories of past atrocities committed by Muslims against Hindus during Mogul and other past dynastis. Haryana unit of Bajrangdal was most powerful unit in India. I took active part in Babri Mosque Demolition drive and I was the main organization (for my district) when Mr. LK Advani (BJP Leader) came to our town during his famous Rath Yatra in 1990. I along with many people of my village took pledge to destroy Babri Mosque and re-built Ram Temple at its site. Me and my friend Yoginder were present at Ayodhya when Babri Mosque was demolished in broad day light on 6th December 1992. In fact when Mr. Advani and Ms Uma Bharti exhorted us to “Give one push and remove the mosque”, myself and Yoginder were amongst the first lot who climbed on the dome of Mosque and started demolition work. We were present when the Mosque was finally raised to the ground and a make shift temple was erected at the site. We were very happy on the return journey and carried some of Mosque bricks as “trophies” for our village. There was lot of jubilation and felicitation when we reached our village. At the advice of Yoginder, every one was asked to come forward and urinate on the “cursed bricks”!!! My father however was very sad at our actions and forbade me to enter the house. You have demolished a place of worship, a place of prayer and want me to appreciate it? was what he said. In my youth I could not understand my father. I was perplexed that I am being honored by every one in village on my “Heroic deed” and my own father is ashamed of me!!! Soon a strange change started to come on me and my friend Yoginder. We felt as if we were being watched and something bad is going to happen to us. Every Muslim face felt as some one who is going to kill us. Yoginder slowly lost his senses and became violent against his own family members. On many occasions he tried to molest sexually his own mother. Despite every treatment his condition worsened and he was kept in chains all the time.

Then some one advised his father to take him to a Muslim Scholar and let him find the cure. The Muslim Scholar told Yoginder to repent sincerely for his crime and become Muslim. When Yoginder did as he was advised, he became normal after a few days. He told me what happened to him and advised me to take the same path. The story of my friend and my own condition also made me realize my folly. I also went to the same Muslim scholar and he gave me books about Islam to read. When I read those books, I got convinced of the truth of Islam and became Muslim and took the name of Mohd. Amir. Yoginder took the Islamic name of Mohd. Omar. Mohd. Omar took an oath to built 100 new mosques to undo (if it can ever be undone) the mistake of demolishing Babri Mosque. I pledged to free and populate 100 mosques which are under control of Non Muslims. Since that day, we are both are busy in our tasks. Now one advice which I want to give to my Muslim friends in India. The present situation and Anti Islamic feelings which they experience in India is mostly due to their own doing. They never took their message of Islam to Non Muslims living in India. Most of Hindus are peaceful and peace loving people. Muslims have nothing to fear from bulk of Hindus. That is the only way for Muslims if they want to survive in India, otherwise they will always be target of Media and these hate monger groups.

Story # 190 Why we became Muslim? From Times Online, May 29, 2010 (Sheila Rock) 1. It’s a controversial time for British women to be wearing the hijab, the basic Muslim headscarf. Last month, Belgium became the first European country to pass legislation to ban the burka (the most concealing of Islamic veils), calling it a “threat” to female dignity, while France looks poised to follow suit. In Italy earlier this month, a Muslim woman was fined €500 (£430) for wearing the Islamic veil outside a post office. 2. And yet, while less than 2 per cent of the population now attends a Church of England service every week, the number of female converts to Islam is on the rise. At the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, women account for roughly two thirds of the “New Muslims” who make their official declarations of faith there – and most of them are under the age of 30. 3. Conversion statistics are frustratingly patchy, but at the time of the 2001 Census, there were at least 30,000 British Muslim converts in the UK. According to Kevin Brice, of the Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University, this number may now be closer to 50,000 – and the majority are women. “Basic analysis shows that increasing numbers of young, universityeducated women in their twenties and thirties are converting to Islam,” confirms Brice. 4. “Our liberal, pluralistic 21st-century society means we can choose our careers, our politics – and we can pick and choose who we want to be spiritually,” explains Dr Mohammad S. Seddon, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Chester. We’re in an era of the “religious supermarket”, he says. Dr Benil Hafeeq K.P Consultant Nephrologist, MIMS and IQRAA Hospital, Calicut

Story # 191 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: RAM KUMAR (MOHD. HUDHAIFAH) BASTI, UP, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in a landlord family of Eastern UP on 13 August 1957. I have one brother who is Engineer and one daughter who is married to a lecturer. I did my Intermediate in 1977, one of my uncle was working in UP Police. On his advise I also joined Police and during service did B. Com. 02. While on Training in Flora Academy, its Director A. A. Siddiqui advised me to do PH. D is Criminology. I took leave from my service and completed my Ph. D. Based on my performance I was promoted to the level of Dy. SP. I was posted in the CID (Secret Investigation). Our family was known for its Anti Muslim bias. One of the reason could be that many decades ago, one of our branch accepted Islam and got settled in FATEHPUR, HASWA. Then some families of Backward caste in our village accepted Islam to save themselves from insults and discrimination from High caste Hindus. In fact I had all the ingredients which can make it difficult for anyone to become a Muslim. But Allah had different plans for me. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 03. Nine members of one family from Ghaziabad accepted Islam in Phulat on the hands of Maulana Kalim Sahib. Father, Mother, four sons and three daughters. Eight people became Muslim on that occasion, but since one boy was married, they told that he will accept Islam later after convincing his wife. Maulana gave them Islamic names and asked them to complete official formalities. This news was leaked to Media and caused a big commotion. Many Hindu organizations came to oppose this decision and alleged that these people were bribed to changed this religion. 04. I was asked to investigate the matter, I reached Phulat with two inspectors and asked Maulana about this allegation.

He welcomed us with a smiling face, asked to bring tea and breakfast for us , and then asked how can he help us. His confidence and ease convinced us that he was innocent and sincere. 05. When I asked about this bribery allegation, he told us that this is totally wrong. These people came of their own free will to accept Islam and I made them Muslim and then I asked them to go to Govt. offices and complete all official formalities. We are living in Secular country and our constitution gives us right to practice and propagate our religion peacefully. What is wrong in that? I had no answer for that. He then told me, what benefit would any religion have by bribing people to come to their religion. What good will they do to the religion? 06. He then told me that there is a common misunderstanding amongst Non Muslims that our prophet came only for Muslims. He came for all people and not only to Muslims. He then told me that all humans are brothers unto each other and they are sons of same father and mother. He then told me that as a brother it is my duty to save your from any harm. And the biggest harm is that I see you burning in hell on the last day. 07. He then asked me to become Muslim and save me from hell fire. I had no answer for these things. He told me that I am asking you to become Muslim, because I know I am right. If you think that you are right, you should have asked me to become Hindu. 08. He went on asking me to become Muslim…again and again and when we were leaving he gave us a small booklet in Hindi “Your trust returned to you”. Myself and both my fellow Police Inspectors were very much impressed by this bold stand of Maulana. When I reached home and read that booklet… this impressed me very much. Then I got Hindi Translation of Quran and studied it. This convinced me about truth of Islam. I went to Phulat and accepted Islam on the hands of Maulana. He named me Mohd, HUDHIFA saying that one companion of prophet of that name, did secret jobs for our prophet. 09. Maulana sent me along with an Islamic missionary party for forty days. I learnt Prayer and other things of daily needs during that period. E. My Missionary activities: 1. On Spouse / Children 10. When I came back from that travels, I was posted at Allahabad. I told my wife every thing , she was a very simple lady, she did not oppose me in the least and accepted Islam without much argument.

It so happened that we had no issue during our ten years of marriage. I prayed Allah to give us a issue to strengthen the faith of my wife and we were blessed with a son in the 11th year of marriage, after three years we were blessed with a daughter also, Alhamdolillah . 3. On Family members / Others. 11. During my Allahabad stay, I declared my change of faith officially and got the necessary papers from the court. Some officers in my dept. got very angry and they suspended me from the job. investigation when they came to know of real facts, they restored me back to my job. During

12. My two inspectors who went to Phulat… one of them accepted Islam, He faced many problems from his family and his wife left him, but he remained firm. The other one is Muslim from inside but is afraid to declare it after seeing the condition of other man. I am working on members of my family, the results are mixed

G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 13. Islam is the truth and they should not shy or afraid to spread the truth. Falsehood can never overcome the truth, whatever may be the condition. A light from lamp, can overcome whatever may be the level of darkness. 14. Most of Hindus in India are simple and loving people. When Islam can convince some one so hard and biased as myself, it would be very easy to convince simple people.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Oct. 2006

Story # 192 Why I Became Muslim? Yvonne Riddley, UK Note: Yvonne Riddley was BBC reporter, captured by Taliban in Afghanistan before the start of hostilities in Dec 2001. She spent ten days as captive and was released by Taliban just before the start of war. Her later conversion to Islam brought her into lime light once again. Many “theories” for this conversion were put forward, here the lady presents her own story in her own words (This is translated from Urdu vernacular, so absolute accuracy as to wordings cannot be guaranteed). Being a reporter made me objective in my thoughts and means. When the UK newspaper and BBC decided to sent me to Afghanistan, I immediately agreed. I tried for Afghanistan visa thru Pakistan, but could not get one. So I decided to enter Afghanistan without proper visa. The mule on which I was riding suddenly changed the route and I found myself alone in a strange neighborhood. The mule was stopped by a young Taliban. My dress and camera gave me away, the camera was taken away and I was made to wait. I was full of apprehension as to what this “Barbaric and Uncivilized” people would do to me, a western and Christian woman, who has entered illegally into their territory. After some delay, a woman came and searched me for hidden weapons etc. This was my first surprise!!! These “Barbaric and Uncivilized” people did not touch me until a woman came to search, while in my “Civilized and Cultured” country, I would be “pawed” immediately without waiting for any woman!! After my “arrest” I demanded use of Satellite phone, when my request was denied (might be for fear of pinpointing their location-Ed.), I resorted to hunger strike. I thought that this “Cruel and Evil” band would care least whether I consumed food or not. It was surprise for me when I started receiving strings of people, of all ages, old and young, male and female, all requesting me to start eating!!! They even offered to bring bear for me if I required that. When I got a temperature, they even called a doctor for me. All this surprised me. Once I was told that Commander of Taliban is coming to meet me, they requested me to behave properly with him. There was a knock on my door, I opened it (I had key to my room!!! Another surprise), the Commander appeared before me. He was dressed in a long gown and had a beautiful face and a full beard. He asked me what I think about Islam. I was diplomatic in my answer and highlighted many good qualities of Islam. “Then why don’t you accept it? “ was the next question. I could not answer this question…so he told me that soon you will be released, but promise me that you will take up study of Islam when you go back. I gave my promise. Next day, I was taken to another place and I found that many Western Women were prisoners and they were reading Bible. I later learned that these missionaries also entered Afghanistan illegally and were preaching Christianity to Afghanis. What was peculiar, was that Taliban did not do any thing to the Bible and gave it all due respect. That was another surprise for me that

these “Barbaric and Uncivilized” people give this much respect to other people’s scriptures (What American Soldiers did with Quran at GITMO and ABU GHARIB is known to every body –Ed.). Many days passed and each new day brought more and more surprises to me. I was able to watch the respect and regard which they showed to women. They never mistreated us or subjected us to any hardship. I was the most outspoken and complaining of the lot. I tried to break as many rules as I could do….the maximum “Punishment” I received was that I was denied use of Satellite Phone which was given to other inmates!!! One thing which I never forgot was the uproar that which open drying of my washed clothes caused. I had also washed my undergarments and put them out in the sun to dry. Soon I was requested to take them inside…I refused….they asked again me to remove them as they could tempt people …I again refused and they gave me Title of “Evil Women”!!! Finally just one day before American Bombardment started, they told me that they would soon take me away from harm’s way and release me near Pakistan Border. I could hardly believe my ears. They are worried about my safety, when their own lives are in extreme danger. …..Soon I was back in “Civilized and Cultured land” and was swarmed by media person, each asking about what happened to me when I was “in Dark and Medieval” age Afghanistan!!! They did not seem to believe me, when I told that I was treated with respect and was not harmed in any way. Well after my release I remembered my promise to the Taliban commander. My studies about Islam opened my eyes and I decided to join the “Biggest Brotherhood” on the face of this earth and accepted Islam in June 2002!!! (abridged)

Story # 193 Why we became Muslim? Joanne Bailey, Solicitor, 30, Bradford

1. “The first time I wore my hijab into the office, I was so nervous, I stood outside on the phone to my friend for ages going, ‘What on earth is everyone going to say?’ When I walked in, a couple of people asked, ‘Why are you wearing that scarf? I didn’t know you were a Muslim.’ “I’m the last person you’d expect to convert to Islam: I had a very sheltered, working-class upbringing in South Yorkshire. I’d hardly even seen a Muslim before I went to university. 2. “In my first job at a solicitor’s firm in Barnsley, I remember desperately trying to play the role of the young, single, career woman: obsessively dieting, shopping and going to bars – but I never felt truly comfortable. “Then one afternoon in 2004 everything changed: I was chatting to a Muslim friend over coffee, when he noticed the little gold crucifix around my neck. He said, ‘Do you believe in God, then?’ I wore it more for fashion than religion and said, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ and he started talking about his faith.

“I brushed him off at first, but his words stuck in my mind. A few days later, I found myself ordering a copy of the Koran on the internet. 3. “It took me a while to work up the courage to go to a women’s social event run by the Leeds New Muslims group. I remember hovering outside the door thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ I imagined they would be dressed head-to-toe in black robes: what could I, a 25-year-old, blonde English girl, possibly have in common with them?

4. “But when I walked in, none of them fitted the stereotype of the oppressed Muslim housewife; they were all doctors, teachers and psychiatrists. I was struck by how content and secure they seemed. It was meeting these women, more than any of the books I read, that convinced me that I wanted to become a Muslim.

“After four years, in March 2008, I made the declaration of faith at a friend’s house. At first, I was anxious that I hadn’t done the right thing, but I soon relaxed into it – a bit like starting a new job. 5. “A few months later, I sat my parents down and said, ‘I’ve got something to tell you.’ There was a silence and my mum said, ‘You’re going to become Muslim, aren’t you?’ She burst into tears and kept asking things like, ‘What happens when you get married? Do you have to cover up? What about your job?’ I tried to reassure her that I’d still be me, but she was concerned for my welfare.

6. “Contrary to what most people think, Islam doesn’t oppress me; it lets me be the person that I was all along. Now I’m so much more content and grateful for the things I’ve got. A few months ago, I got engaged to a Muslim solicitor I met on a training course. He has absolutely no problem with my career, but I do agree with the Islamic perspective on the traditional roles for men and women. I want to look after my husband and children, but I also want my independence. I’m proud to be British and I’m proud to be Muslim – and I don’t see them as conflicting in any way.”

Story # 194 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: ANIL RAO (ABDUL RAHMAN) WARRANGAL, AP, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born on 13th August 1944 in Warrangal, AP. My father was a big trader in the city. I did my High School in 1959, Intermediate in 1961, B.Sc. in 1964 and M. Sc. In Physics in 1966 and registered myself in Ph. D. My father wanted to get married, but I wanted not to be fettered with these matters, so much so that I ran away from Home and went to Haridwar, the well known Hindu holy city. I vowed to lead a life of celibacy. There were many Ashrams in that place, I went to them one by one, but they did not impress me. 02. One of my friend who was working in BHEL there, advised me to go to Rishikesh, another Hindu holy city and join Ashram there. I went and after searching , I joined an Ashram run by Swami Nityananad. He himself was a Physics Professor in the University of Allahabad, but left it and started this Ashram. Many educated persons were living in that Ashram. I studied there for six years and then Swami JI tested me and awarded me the degree of Shastri. My father was searching for me every where, he and my brother located me and came to meet me after seven years, They wanted me to come back, but I told them to leave me alone in the study of religion and spend my life in religious cause. They left me, but said that I will not eat from the charity. They paid all charges for my six years of stay there and also left a large sum of many to take care of my future expenses. 03. I was in the search of truth, but after close study and lots of discussions my inner self was not satisfied. That Ashram was run by people of Arya Samaj. Every one knows that founder of this movement was very much influenced by Islamic concept of Monotheism. He borrowed many concept from Islam, but in the end, criticised Islam in his book. It was said that Arya Samaj is based on reason and logic. During my stay and study, I got many doubts, I used to tell them to Swami JI, and his answers did not satisfy me. In fact I found that Swami JI himself was not convinced of his answers, but he did not want to admit it.

04. After 13 years of leaving my dears and nears and after every type of hard rituals and people calling me Shastri JI, I did not find any improvement in my inside. Then in 1992, It so happened that SONI PAT, HARYANA branch wanted to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Swami JI deputed me to go and supervise the function and act on his behalf. This was a great honor for anyone and people in Ashram congratulated me for getting this recognition. 05. That night, I prayed to God, that I have left everything in the world to find you, but I am still not found the way to you. Help me and get me a true teacher who can answer my doubts and lead me to correct path. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 06. I took roadways bus from Rishikesh to Baraut, and then took another bus that was going to Sonipat. My fellow passenger was Maulana Kalim Uddin Sahib of Phulat. I was dressed in my traditional Hindi SADHU dress. Maulana welcomed me and asked about my destination. and when I said about my purpose. He asked me about my faith, when I told that I was Arya Samaji, he said that he had read that book of ours, Satyarth Prakash and wanted to ask some questions from a learned man. It is very fortunate that he found me. 07. Then he posed some questions to me and I was surprised that they were more or less the same which I my self asked from Swami JI. I did not have any convincing answers to these questions. After some time, Maulana told me that he was a Muslim, and though he does not know every thing about Islam. He will answer my questions about Islam. 08. He started by saying that most Non Muslims are under false impression that Prophet Mohammad, PBUH was only sent for Muslims. In fact he was sent for all people and all nations. Then he told me about some incidents from the life of prophet and how much he and his early followers had to suffer in the cause of faith. His talks and his explanation of Islam convinced me that Islam is the true path and that was what I was searching for and what I prayed to God the night before. I asked him, what they do to make any one Muslim, he said nothing, you just declare your faith. 09. I was dressed in the same Swami cloth and he named me Abdul Rahman, saying that this is one of the best liked name by Allah. After reciting KALIMA I found that I have entered into daylight from the dark night I was under. 10. It transpired that Maulana was on the way to a small village, where many ignorant Muslims had left islam and accepted Hinduism.

He asked me to go with them in the same clothes. When we reached that village, and gathered these new Hindus and I told that I was a Hindu Scholar and today I have accepted islam, they were very much impressed. It had a positive effect on them, and we are very hopeful that they will come back to Islam, Inshallah. 11. Then Maulana sent me along with a Muslim Missionary party for forty days to learn about prayers and Quran and other day to day matters. I wanted to go back to Rishikesh and work in the Ashrams there. How many learned people like me were searching for truth there and unable to find any answer. I told Maulana this thing, but he told me to go to my home town of Warrangal for one year and work on my family members. E. My Missionary activities: 2. On Parents. 12. When I reached Warrangal after all these years, I found that both my parents were dead. They were always remembering and waiting that I will return one day. I was filled with sorrow and remorse, that my parents left the world without Islam. My father was very close to islam. He liked Muslim, his driver was Muslim. House hold help was Muslim… he had many Muslim friends…. But no one came and asked him to become a Muslim. 13. This saddened me so much that I wrote a letter to Maulana Ali Mian, the well known Islamic Scholar of Lucknow as to who will be responsible for these people dying without Islam. What answer these Muslims will give to Allah and their prophet on the last day? 3. On Family members / Others. 14. My brother, his wife and their children accepted Islam. There was some problem with their business in Warrangal… so they sold every thing and started a new in Gulbarga and now they are well off I did not want to marry to start with and that was the reason of my leaving home, But Maulana told me that our prophet did not like Muslims to remain unmarried, I got convinced and married a poor girl. I have one son and one daughter, Alhamdolillah. F. Present Situation: 15. Then I went back to Rishikesh and met swami JI and told him about Islam. He got convinced and recited KALIMA but he was afraid to declare it in open. But before his death, he

got courage and told his disciple that he has become a Muslim and should be buried and not cremated. They made a SMADHI for him and buried him, instead of cremating him. Many people in his Ashram are now studying Islam and I am very hopeful. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 16. My appeal to Muslims is that they should have a feeling for people like us…. Who find that our parents and other elders went from this world without accepting Islam…because no one even asked them to become a Muslim.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of Sept. 2005

Story # 195 Why I Became Muslim? Cynthia (Amina) USA Cynthia gained much Media attention during days of President Ford, when she influenced Roberdo, a Mafia don, to shun the criminal activities and join Islam. Her feat considering that she was a physically challenged person was all the more remarkable. She was affected from Polio in the early childhood and confined to a wheel chair. But her zeal and determination never caused this disability to stand in the way, what she wanted to get or do. Let us hear from her own lips her story. People consider me as Handicapped, but I never consider myself as one….How come any Muslim be handicapped? With the Powers of Allah behind him, he can never be handicapped. My own story is proof of it!!! I was born in American Black Christian family. We were Christians only in name and the religion did not mean any thing to us in the real world. Since I was confined to wheel chair, I used to read a lot in my spare job. I was amazed to read as to how Malcolm-X and his friends were able to convince so many drug addicts to shun that habit and come to Islam. I also decided to know about Islam and got some books on Islam and read it. This caused a very positive change in my attitude towards Islam. I decided to visit the local Islamic Mosque. Now this mosque was built and was looked after by another New Muslim from black community. His name was Mohammad Yousuf. I was much impressed by his story and his talks and his zeal in propagating Islam. I read a lot and then convinced myself as to the truth of Islam and decided to join the faith. My announcement of new faith at home was initially ridiculed by my parents and friends. They thought that it would a passing whim. But when I took to Islamic dress code and shunned Alcoholic parties….then they realized my sincerity. I did face many hardships at their hands, but Allah gave me strength to bear it all. I remained firm to my faith despite so much opposition. Then I decided to work in prison and preach Islam to the inmates there. I got much success there and many convicts decided to embrace Islam. While conversing with one of the inmates he told me “Why I do not work on Roberdo”? Who is Roberdo, I asked? "He is the Mafia Don and drug lord for this area" was the reply. So I decided to meet this Roberdo. I reached his palatial villa one evening. The security guard would not let me in….The noise brought Roberto out of the Villa. When he saw me (on wheel chair) he let me in and asked me what I wanted. I told him to leave the evil path and do not spoil the society. He denied everything but on my persistence agreed to give me five minutes every day to hear me out…

Well the five minutes extended to tens and then to hours. In the end Roberdo got convinced and decided to shun the evil way and gave himself up to authorities. This brought lots of fame to me and many media persons interviewed me. I also had visits from many renowned persons including Mohammad Ali. I was really sorry when Roberdo was shot down in prison by one inmate (for fear of exposure to others thru Roberdo)…. So I am not handicapped at all!!! How can be I when Allah is on my side!! This is my advice to all others (abridged)

Story # 196 Why we became Muslim?

Aqeela Lindsay Wheeler Housewife and mother, 26, Leicester

1. “As a teenager I thought all religion was pathetic. I used to spend every weekend getting drunk outside the leisure centre, in high-heeled sandals and miniskirts. My view was: what’s the point in putting restrictions on yourself? You only live once. “At university, I lived the typical student existence, drinking and going clubbing, but I’d always wake up the next morning with a hangover and think, what’s the point?

2. “It wasn’t until my second year that I met Hussein. I knew he was a Muslim, but we were falling in love, so I brushed the whole issue of religion under the carpet. But six months into our relationship, he told me that being with me was ‘against his faith’. “I was so confused. That night I sat up all night reading two books on Islam that Hussein had given me. I remember bursting into tears because I was so overwhelmed. I thought, ‘This could be the whole meaning of life.’ But I had a lot of questions: why should I cover my head? Why can’t I eat what I like?

3. “I started talking to Muslim women at university and they completely changed my view. They were educated, successful – and actually found the headscarf liberating. I was convinced, and three weeks later officially converted to Islam. “When I told my mum a few weeks later, I don’t think she took it seriously. She made a few comments like, ‘Why would you wear that scarf? You’ve got lovely hair,’ but she didn’t seem to understand what it meant.

4. “My best friend at university completely turned on me: she couldn’t understand how one week I was out clubbing, and the next I’d given everything up and converted to Islam. She was too close to my old life, so I don’t regret losing her as a friend.

“I chose the name Aqeela because it means ‘sensible and intelligent’ – and that’s what I was aspiring to become when I converted to Islam six years ago. I became a whole new person: everything to do with Lindsay, I’ve erased from my memory.

5. “The most difficult thing was changing the way I dressed, because I was always so fashionconscious. The first time I tried on the hijab, I remember sitting in front of the mirror, thinking, ‘What am I doing putting a piece of cloth over my head? I look crazy!’ Now I’d feel naked without it and only occasionally daydream about feeling the wind blow through my hair. Once or twice, I’ve come home and burst into tears because of how frumpy I feel – but that’s just vanity. “It’s a relief not to feel that pressure any more. Wearing the hijab reminds me that all I need to do is serve God and be humble. I’ve even gone through phases of wearing the niqab [face veil] because I felt it was more appropriate – but it can cause problems, too.

6. “When people see a white girl wearing a niqab they assume I’ve stuck my fingers up at my own culture to ‘follow a bunch of Asians’. I’ve even had teenage boys shout at me in the street, ‘Get that s*** off your head, you white bastard.’ After the London bombings, I was scared to walk about in the streets for fear of retaliation.

“For the most part, I have a very happy life. I married Hussein and now we have a one-year-old son, Zakir. We try to follow the traditional Muslim roles: I’m foremost a housewife and mother, while he goes out to work. I used to dream of having a successful career as a psychologist, but now it’s not something I desire. 7. “Becoming a Muslim certainly wasn’t an easy way out. This life can sometimes feel like a prison, with so many rules and restrictions, but we believe that we will be rewarded in the afterlife.”

Story # 197 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: RAM PHAL (NOOR MOHD.) DADRI, UP, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in the village of Dadri, Meerut. My father was a small father and he died 25 years ago. I had one elder brother who was a very good person. He was very emotional and merciful in nature. He was always helping anyone in need. He was working in the small town of KHATAULI. 02. Near by there was in a furniture shop where Maulana Kalim Sahib of Phulat was sometime visiting. Maulana used to talk about Islam and my brother was listening to his talks with interest. One day my brother saw a dream, that there is a golden chariot which is going to a golden palace. Some people are sitting in the chariot and many people are trying to get into it. When my brother tried to board it, Maulana asked him to get down as he was not a Muslim 03. When my brother woke up, he was very much alarmed and he went to Maulana and asked him why he prevented him to go to paradise. Maulana told that he did not know about this dream and only Creator of this universe can stop anyone from going there. He then asked him to accept Islam if he wants to go into paradise. My brother told that he has his mother living, and he will make some arrangement for her and then come back and become Muslim. 04. My brother had a small piece of land, he asked my son to take it but promise that he will take care of his mother. Then he went to Phulat and accepted Islam. Two days later it was found that he died in the night while he was praying and was in the act of prostration. B. How and Why I accepted Islam: 05. Death of my brother affected me very much, one night I saw him in dream and he was dressed in full Islamic dress with full beard etc…he asked me to go to Phulat and accept Islam if I want to save me from hell fire.

06. I usually do not have dreams, but this was very special. I went to Phulat and told Maulana about it. He told me that my brother wanted to help me and then he asked me also to become Muslim. I decided to became Muslim and recited KALIMA on his hand, he gave me the same name which he gave to my brother. C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 07. I came back very happy and told my wife. She became very angry and told every one in the village about it. There was gathering of village elders to decide about my case. Some said that let us blacken his face and parade him sitting on a donkey. Some said that he should be killed. There was a retired principal living in the village, he said that this is age of reason, you should convince him that your religion is better than Islam. This stunned them as they did not have argument to prove that their religion is better than Islam. 08. Of all people my uncle who was chief of village was very much so against me, so much so that he even tried to poison me, but Allah saved me and he himself got poisoned. When my mother came to know about his treachery, she accepted Islam. Then my son also accepted Islam. But village people were our enemies, so I left my village and started living in Phulat. 09. Then I started a small business in Meerut and my mother and my son are also living with me there. I am active is Islamic missionary activities with the Adivasees in India.. Specially In MP. I hope and pray to Allah to give guidance to these people.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of July-Aug. 2005.

Story # 198 Why I Became Muslim? Heera : Budhana, Muzzaffarnagar, UP, India Note: The scenes described in this story might seem improbable to many western readers, but these are not so unheard of in third world countries. If I say that I was the cruelest, worst and at the same time the most fortunate person, then I would not be wrong. I was born in a rabid Anti Muslim village in Muzaffarnagar District of UP India. I had an elder brother who was as Anti Muslim as I was, and both of us participated in Anti Muslim riots that took place in Meerut in 1987 and in 1992 in wake of Babri Mosque demolition. We took lives of many Muslims with our own hands. My brother had two sons and two daughters, while I had no issue. One of these daughters (Named Heera), once eloped with a Hindu boy, who belonged to a robber clan, she was rescued from there by a Muslim boy. Once she returned back, she started having a soft corner for Muslims and then even brought some Islamic Books in the house. We threatened her of dire consequences if we saw such books in our house. However none of our words and actions had any effect on her and she came closer and closer to Islam and then she became Muslim. She chose Hira as her Islamic name. We turned her out of our house and she went to live in Delhi with the family of Muslim scholars who converted her. While living in Delhi, she had a dream that her mother was engulfed in fire and was screaming for help….This convinced Hira that her mother needed to be saved from hell fire. In spite of warnings given to her by Islamic preacher, she returned back to village and started her missionary activities in our own house!!! We were outraged when we saw that she was able to convince many of our own family members about Islam!!! Her mother (the wife of my elder brother), who died shortly afterward, told us before dying that she has become Muslim and should be buried and not burned (as per Hindu custom). We could not agree to this in view of our family pride and that we would become laughing stock in the village. Then we saw Hira’s brother and sister also having soft corner towards Islam. I and my brother decided that only way to stop this Islamic influence in our family was to strike at the source itself. So we decided to take the extreme step and invited Hira to visit with us to a neighboring village. I feel that Hira did had some intuition of what was to come…because she took an early bath….wore new clothes and said her last prayer (Namaz or Salat) before she left with us. We had already dug a five or six feet ditch in a secluded spot and had five liter of Petrol can with us. When we reached the spot, we threw her in the ditch and pore petrol on her….and what more (I still shudder to think about it) lit a match to it. She was immediately engulfed in the fire.

But her reaction was not what we expected….instead of crying for help….she said loudly…O Allah you are watching this!!!....O Allah are you satisfied with your Hira…O my father…O my uncle do not die until you are Muslim….then she started saying something in Arabic and her voice downed down… From that time on…a strange change came over my brother…he stopped talking to any one and was lost in thoughts…soon he became ill and we lost all hopes of his recovery….He called me before dieing and told me that he wanted to become Muslim and wanted to be buried as a Muslim. I was at a Dilemma as how to do this in our village. I decided to take my brother to Delhi (not far away from our village) and put him in a small hospital. He accepted Islam and died shortly afterwards…I gave his body to local Muslims to be buried in Muslim graveyard as a Muslim. After death of my brother, I was totally shattered. Islam which I hated so much…had taken deep root in my own family and I was powerless to do any thing about it. I was in the same mood and was returning to my village in a private omnibus. This omnibus belonged to a Muslim, who had turned on an Islamic cassette played over the bus PA System. This cassette explained about the concept of Unity of God and Man’s accountability for his deeds after this life. I kept on listening, my stop came, but I bought extra ticket so that I should listen to this tape completely. This cassette changed my outlook and I decided to know more about Islam. I went to Delhi and there I discussed with the Islamic preacher who had converted Hira and told the whole story and what I had done to that poor girl. I was not sure that will my sins be forgiven once I became Muslim. He said that once you enter Islam all your past sins are forgiven and you start a new life!!! Soon I got converted to Islam and now most of my family is Muslim. When I see my past and my presence I feel that indeed I am the most fortunate man on this earth. Whenever I recollect, what I did to my beloved Hira, the following passage from Quran seems to become alive before my eyes: “Woe to the maker of the pit (for fire). Fire supplied (abundantly) with fuel; Behold! They sat over against the (fire). And they witnessed (all) that they were doing against the believers. And they ill treated them for no other reason than they believed in Allah, Exalted in Power- Worthy of All Praise” (85:4-8) I feel that this passage of Quran was revealed for persons like us. (abridged)

Story # 199 Why we became Muslim?

Catherine Nursery school teacher, 31, North London

Heseltine

1. “If you’d asked me at the age of 16 if I’d like to become a Muslim, I would have said, ‘No thanks.’ I was quite happy drinking, partying and fitting in with my friends. “Growing up in North London, we never practised religion at home; I always thought it was slightly old-fashioned and irrelevant. But when I met my future husband, Syed, in the sixth form, he challenged all my preconceptions. He was young, Muslim, believed in God – and yet he was normal. The only difference was that, unlike most teenage boys, he never drank. “A year later, we were head over heels in love, but we quickly realised: how could we be together if he was a Muslim and I wasn’t? 2. “Before meeting Syed, I’d never actually questioned what I believed in; I’d just picked up my casual agnosticism through osmosis. So I started reading a few books on Islam out of curiosity. “In the beginning, the Koran appealed to me on an intellectual level; the emotional and spiritual side didn’t come until later. I loved its explanations of the natural world and discovered that 1,500 years ago, Islam gave women rights that they didn’t have here in the West until relatively recently. It was a revelation. 3. “Religion wasn’t exactly a ‘cool’ thing to talk about, so for three years I kept my interest in Islam to myself. But in my first year at university, Syed and I decided to get married – and I knew it was time to tell my parents. My mum’s initial reaction was, ‘Couldn’t you just live together first?’ She had concerns about me rushing into marriage and the role of women in Muslim households – but no one realised how seriously I was taking my religious conversion. I remember going out for dinner with my dad and him saying, ‘Go on, have a glass of wine. I won’t tell Syed!’ A lot of people assumed I was only converting to Islam to keep his family happy, not because I believed in it. 4. “Later that year, we had an enormous Bengali wedding, and moved into a flat together – but I certainly wasn’t chained to the kitchen sink. I didn’t even wear the hijab at all to start with, and wore a bandana or a hat instead. “I was used to getting a certain amount of attention from guys when I went out to clubs and bars, but I had to let that go. I gradually adopted the Islamic way of thinking: I wanted people to judge me for my intelligence and my character – not for the way I looked. It was empowering.

5. “I’d never been part of a religious minority before, so that was a big adjustment, but my friends were very accepting. Some of them were a bit shocked: ‘What, no drink, no drugs, no men? I couldn’t do that!’ And it took a while for my male friends at university to remember things like not kissing me hello on the cheek any more. I’d have to say, ‘Sorry, it’s a Muslim thing.’ “Over time, I actually became more religious than my husband. We started growing apart in other ways, too. In the end, I think the responsibility of marriage was too much for him; he became distant and disengaged. After seven years together, I decided to get a divorce. 6. “When I moved back in with my parents, people were surprised I was still wandering around in a headscarf. But if anything, being on my own strengthened my faith: I began to gain a sense of myself as a Muslim, independent of him. 7. “Islam has given me a sense of direction and purpose. I’m involved with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, and lead campaigns against Islamophobia, discrimination against women in mosques, poverty and the situation in Palestine. When people call us ‘extremists’ or ‘the dark underbelly of British politics’, I just think it’s ridiculous. There are a lot of problems in the Muslim community, but when people feel under siege it makes progress even more difficult. 8. “I still feel very much part of white British society, but I am also a Muslim. It has taken a while to fit those two identities together, but now I feel very confident being who I am. I’m part of both worlds and no one can take that away from me.”

Story # 200 Why We Became Muslims:
(Stories of New Entrants to Islam, thru Missionary Activities of MAULANA KALIM UDDIN of Village PHULAT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, India) Note: These are stories from India, the local color is predominant, some points may seem strange to those who are not familiar with Indian social life.

The Case of: VINOD KUMAR KHANNA (MOHD. KHALID) JULLUNDHAR, PUNJAB, INDIA A. Family Background: 01. I was born in the famous city of Jullundhar in August 1956. Our ancestral home was in Patiala. My father was a Mech. Engineer and he was working in the Hydel Dept and has recently retired from the post of Executive Engineer. I am also an electrical engineer and I also got a job in the same department. I was posted in Jullundhar for 15 years and have been transferred on promotion for past 3 years. 02. Almost 13 years back on 19 April 1992, I was returning from Delhi by the Super Fast train. The train stopped in Muzaffar Nagar and a bearded gentleman from Muslim Community entered my compartment and took their seats apposite me. When the train started to move and gathered speed, a villager sitting in a s eat opposite, asked when the station of Muzzaffar Nagar will come. The Maulana told that Muzaffar Nagar station had just passed…. The villager immediately took his belonging and went to door and wanted to jump from the train. 03. But Maulana held him by hand and said that if he jumped from the fast moving train, he would certainly die. He should get down at the next station and then take another train. This went on for some time, ultimately Maulana brought him back to his seat. When the train stopped at next station, Maulana took his luggage and helped him get down in proper man and came back and took his seat 04. I was watching this episode with interest and shame. That Time Babri Mosque agitation was in full swing and here was a Muslim scholar saving the life of a Hindu and me a Hindu did not do any thing. I left my seat and took the seat apposite Maulana and asked him, why did he save the life of a Hindu man in such a way. I am feeling very much ashamed and I wish to die with shame. B. How and Why I accepted Islam:

05. Maulana kissed my hand and said that I have human feeling left in me. He then told me that In Islam there are right for every one. Our traveling companions also have a right and our prophet told us to treat every one with respect and help them. I asked him who he was, he told me that his name is Kalim Uddin and he is resident of a small but historical village called Phulat. I told him that I am an Engineer in Jullundhar. 06. He then told me about Islam and gave me a small booklet called “Your trust returned to you”. He then gave me the name and telephone numbers of two people in my city, whom I can contact if I wanted to learn more about Islam. I read that small booklet and after what I had seen the “working example of Islam” from my eyes, I got convinced that Islam is the true path. I therefore decided to accept Islam. I was told not to declare my Islam for one year. 07. But after one year, I said I am an educated man and I have accepted Islam based on its truth, why should I hide and I be afraid. Therefore I went to court and declared that I have accepted Islam C: What was reaction of spouse , parents, family and society: 08. I went home and I told my wife and my father about my Islam. Everyone except my father criticised me. My father said that I was a learned person, if I have become Muslim after studying it, I have right to do so. But I should make such decision after thinking of every thing. Later a Muslim scholar told me that I cannot live with my wife, since I am a Muslim and she is a Hindu. I consulted Maulana Kalim Sahib about it, he advised me not to treat this matter so hastily. 09. I should try to understand feelings of my wife and I should continue to live with her and explain Islam to her slowly and with love and patience and I should also pray to Allah to open her heart for Islam. I took his advise and went on working on my wife, after four years, Allah opened her heart for Islam and she decided to accept Islam and my children also became Muslim. 10. Then I went to Hajj with my wife and five children in year 2000. After my Hajj and visit to Madina Allah opened my heart fully for Islam and now I find that every teaching of Islam is as per reason and logic. I started calling people to islam in my city, I targeted poor people and many of them accepted Islam. Even priests of three Sikh Gurudwaras also accepted Islam. Alhamdolillah.

E. My Missionary activities:

2. On Parents. 11. During my Hajj, I prayed to Allah for guidance of my parents and my sisters and other members of my family. After returning from Hajj, I went to my father and he was ready to become muslim. He was very much impressed with one Sufi Saint and when I described about Hajj rituals to him, he became Muslim. After three days , My mother also became Muslim, My widowed sister also accepted Islam without much difficulty. Alhamdolillah. G. My advice to Muslims / Non Muslims. 12. Muslims should present themselves as working models of Islam. See how a small incident in my life, lead to so many hundreds of people accepting Islam. Unless Muslims recognise their responsibility, they cannot do Missionary activity in India and in the world.
(Translated from Vernacular Urdu and abridged) Source: Monthly ARMAGHAN of May 2005.

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