Fruits for the Week

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2. Colonel Donald Rockwell (American)

Why did I accept Islam? For long time I have been greatly impressed by Islam’s clear logic and formal simplicity, by the magnetizing attraction felt towards its mosques, by the great solemnity and deep affection with which the adherents of that religion had devoted themselves to their faith, by the profound respect and pure sincerity in which all Muslims all over the world had been prostrating themselves simultaneously five times daily.

However, all these things were short of causing me to become a Muslim. Only after a thoroughgoing analysis of the Islamic religion, which resulted in my exploring a myriad of beautiful and useful aspects in it, did I become a Muslim.

A solemn and, at the same time, sentimental, attachment of life; a mutually consultative method in doing daily chores; a habitually soft behaviour flavoured with mercy and compassion in social lives, indiscriminately; charity of the poor; property rights, which women had been given for the first time; all these things, which were only a few of the many other revolutions that could only be evaluated as ‘the most tremendous’, and how aphoristical and concise a language it is through which Muhammad (saw) expresses these concepts! By cautioning,” Place your trust in Allah (swt); yet do not forget to tie your camel”, Muhammad (saw) conveys also that Allah (swt) commands His born slaves to put their trust in Him only after taking all sorts of necessary precautions. Then, contrary to Europeans’ assertions, the Islamic religion is not a religion for those idlers who expect everything from Allah without doing anything for their part. The Islamic religion commands everybody first to do their best and only then to put their trust in Allah (swt).   

The justice which Islam rendered to people of other religions was one of its aspects which had had a great impact on me. Muhammad (saw) commands Muslims to be benign towards Christians and Jews. Qur’an al-Karim acknowledges the Prophethoods of the other prophets as well, beginning with Adam (as) and including Musa (as) and Isa (as). This is an exalted sense of faith and a great model of justice, which other religions do not possess. While the believers of other religions are casting inconceivable aspersions on Islam, Muslims are answering them favourably.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Islam is that it has completely purified itself of idols. Where pictures, icons and signs are still being worshipped in Christianity, things of this nature do not exist in Islam. This is an indication of how pure and unstained a religion of Islam is.

The facts stated and taught by Muhammad (saw) have reached our time without any interpolation. And the Qur’an, which is the word of Allah, has been preserved in its pristine purity, exactly as it was revealed, without losing anything from the limpidity it had in the time of Muhammad (saw). The fabricated superstition and legends with which Christians have defiled the religion of Isa (as) are not the case with Islam.

Of the determinants that motivated me to become a Muslim, the last one was the fortitude and the will power that I observed in Islam. Islam induced an overall cleanliness, not only spiritually, but also physically. Examples of the features that make up this superior nature are not to overload the stomach when eating, to fast for one month every year, to be moderate in every respect, to be neither extravagant nor parsimonious in spending money.

In an exquisite style, facts that would guide humanity not only temporarily but also ever after were being inculcated into individuals. I visited almost all of the Muslim countries. I saw in person how all the Muslims in Istanbul, in Damascus, in Cairo, in Algeria, in Morocco, and in other Muslim cities observed all these rules and thereby led a peaceful life. They did not need ornaments, pictures, icons, candles, music, or other trivialities of the same sort to initiate themselves into the life-style leading to the sympathy of Allah (swt). The sense of awareness of the fact that they were the borne slaves of Allah (swt) and their acts of supplication before Him afforded them the greatest source of spiritual peace, happiness and flavour.

The qualities of freedom and equity inherent in the Islamic religion have always magnetized me towards it. Among Muslims, a person occupying the highest rank position and the poorest member of the society are equal before Allah (swt), and they are merely two individuals in the general recognition of fraternity. Muslims perform their acts of worship side by side in mosques. There are not any special places allotted for the leadership.

These are the causes for my becoming a Muslim. I wonder if it could be possible to conceive of causes more beautiful or more exalted than these.

(To be continue)

by M. Siddik Gumus