Fruits for the Week

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4. Thomas Muhammad Clayton (American)

It was almost noon time. Dazed with the sweltering heat of the day, we were trudging along a dusty road, when, from afar, a singularly mellifluous voice began to caress our auditory senses. So rich a voice it was that the entire space seemed to be sated with it. As we walked past a cluster of trees, a bewildering scene came into sight.

It was such a scene that we hardly believed what we saw. Mounted in small wooden tower, an elderly Arab in an extremely clean long robe and wearing a white turban was performing (calling) the adhan. As he performed the adhan, he was in a trance, almost completely isolated from the world, and in the presence of his Creator, Owner.

As if hypnotized by this noble sight, we halted, and then, slowly, sat down on the ground. We did not know what the sound and words reaching our ears meant, yet they somehow moved us and instilled a mood of elation, relief into our souls.

Afterwards, we learned that the sweet words uttered by the Arab meant, “Allahu akbar” (Allah is the Greatest), “Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah” (There is no god to be worshipped other than Allah”. All of a sudden, many people appeared around us. Till hardly a moment before, however, we had seen no one around us. We did not know whence these people come, and there was an expression of great deference and love on their faces.

There were people of all age-groups and classes among them. They were different in their clothing, in their manners of walking, and in their appearances. Yet they all had the same expression of earnestness, great dignity and, at the same time, geniality on their faces. The number of comers increased incessantly, so that we felt as if the process of their increasing would never come to an end. At last the comers assembled.

They all took off their shoes and clogs and stood in rows. To our great amazement, no segregation of any sort was observed in the formation of the lines. White people, yellow people, black people, rich people, poor people, tradesmen, civil servants, workers stood side by side without any discrimination between their races or ranks, and performed their worship together. 

I admired so many different people’s brotherly coming together. It is three years now since I saw that sublime scene for the first time. In the meantime, I began to gather information about that lofty religion which brought people so closely together.

The information that I collected about Islam brought me all the closer to this religion. Muslims believed in one Allah and professed that men were not sinful by birth, which was quite contrary to the Christian inculcation.

They looked on them only as born slaves of Allah (swt), displayed profound compassion towards them, and wished them to abide by the right path and thus lead a comfortable, peaceful and happy life. Whereas in Christianity even an evil thought was deemed as a sin, Muslims defined sin only as a result of disobeying Allah (swt) or violating the rights of born slaves, and acknowledged man free as to his thoughts. According to the Islamic religion, man was responsible only for what he has done.

For the reasons I have cited above, I accepted Islam willingly. Despite the three years’ time since, I sometimes dream of the Arab muadh-dhin touching and effective voice and multifarious people’s running from all directions and standing in lines.

It is a doubtless fact that these people, who prostrate themselves altogether and indiscriminately, are doing so sincerely to worship Allah (swt).

  (To be continue)

by M. Siddik Gumus