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There are a number of people who abandoned their former religions and accepted Islam. These people belonged to various races, countries, nationalities, colours, and professional groups. Forty two (42) of these people were asked several questions, such as, “why did you become Muslim?” “What are the aspects of Islam that you like best?” by some magazines or societies, or by their own friends. Their answers were quite clear and sincere. These noble people decided to embrace Islam after thinking over the matter for a long time and studying the Islamic religion with meticulous attention. Each and every one of their answers, which we have compiled from various books and magazines and we will paraphrase in the following passages, is of documentary value. There are many lessons to be taken from these answers, and those who read them will once again feel in their hearts the sublime nature of our religion.    

1. Muhammad Alexander Russel Webb (American)

He was born in 1846 in Hudson, United States of America. In a short time he was a very much loved and admired writer and columnist. He published magazines named ‘St. Joseph Gazette’ and ‘Missouri Republican’.

In 1887 he was posted as the American consul in the Philippines. After embracing Islam, he thoroughly dedicated himself to the promulgation of Islam and presided over the organization in the United States.

I was asked by quite a number of people why I, as a person who was born in the United States, a country with an overwhelmingly numerous Christian population, and who listened to the preaches, or, rather, foolish talks, made by Christian priests throughout his growing years, changed my religion and became a Muslim.

The brief account I gave them on why I had chosen Islam as my guide in life: I became a Muslim because the studies and observations I carried on indicated that men’s spiritual needs could be filled only with the sound principles established by Islam. Even as a child I had never had a disposition to completely dedicate myself to Christianity. By the time I reached the adult age of twenty, I was completely defiant towards the mystical and annoying church culture which interdicted everything in the name of sin.

Gradually I disengaged myself from the church, and finally abandoned it for good. I had an inquisitive and curious character. I would always search for causes and purposes for everything. I would anticipate logical explanations for them. On the other hand, the explanations provided by priests and other Christian men of religion did not satisfy me. Most of the time, instead of giving satisfactory answers to my questions, they would dismiss the matter with evasive prevarications such as, “We can not understand these things. They are divine secrets.” And “They are beyond the grasp of human mind.” Upon this, I decided to study, on the other hand, oriental religions, and on the other hand, books written by famous philosophers. I read various works on philosophy, such as those written by John Stuart Mill, by John Locke, by Immanuel Kant, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, by Aldous Huxley, and others.

The books written by these philosophers always dealt with such subjects as protoplasm, atoms, molecules, and particles, and did not even touch on reflections such as “What becomes of the human soul?” “Where does the soul go after death?” “How should we discipline our souls in this world?”

The Islamic religion, on the other hand, treated the human subject not only within the corporeal areas, but also along the spiritual extensions. Therefore, I chose Islam not because I had lost my way, or only because Christianity had incurred my displeasure, or as a result of sudden decision, but, on the contrary, after very minutely studying it and becoming thoroughly convinced about its greatness, singularity, solemnity and perfection.

Islam is based on belief in the existence and the unity of Allah, entire submission to Him, which spontaneously entails worshipping Him and thanking Him for His blessings.

Islam enjoins fraternity, goodness, and friendliness upon the entire human race, and advises them to be cleanly, spiritually, physically, verbally, and practically. Definitely, the Islamic religion is the most perfect, the most superior and the most conclusive of all the religions known to humanity so far. He passed away in 1335.

(To be continue)

by M. Siddik Gumus