An obvious but disturbing truth about Muslims living as minorities in non-Muslim countries is their general neglect of Da'wah among non-Muslims. Why is this so? This is a question that requires deep analysis to arrive at a correct answer. As an Ummah of one billion Muslims, da'wah to our non-Muslim neighbours and fellow countrymen hardly has any place among our goals and priorities. Very little of our resources are spent on this pivotal duty of Islam. As Muslim minority communities living within non-Muslim countries, we live totally indifferent to this primary duty to our neighbours. Neither do we make an Islamic impact on them, though we are more than a million strong in some Western countries. In India, Muslims are officially more than 130 million!
As Muslims in South Africa, we have a sacred responsibility to our fellow Muslims from the indigent and indigenous background. We are morally obliged to extend our helping hand to these families in our community. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: "The creation (humanity) is (ultimately) the family of Allah, hence the most beloved creation in the sight of Allah are those that do good to His family." Who is going to take care of the poor and down-trodden Muslims if the Muslims of means are not going to come to their aid? The Christian Missionaries? You bet they won't waste half-a-chance to do so. If every family 'adopts' another family, a lot of work can be achieved, Insha-Allah.
Edinburgh, UK: A MONTH-LONG Islamic festival got under way in the city today with a special ceremony.
The event at Edinburgh's Central Mosque, on Potterrow, was to be attended by council leader Jenny Dawe and Lothian and Borders chief constable David Strang.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MUHTARAMAH SHEHNAAZ SAHIBAH.
Driven out of her home by a cruel stepmother, sister Shehnaaz went through a great test, finally seeing the light of Islam. She married an Aalim and found herself in the beautiful city of Madinah.Here she is interviewed by Sister Asmaa of Armughan Magazine in India. Read her moving interview. Though the article is long, it is worth the read.
Jenna Govan was born into an Australian family. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she grew up with her mother and younger brother. This small family went to church every Sunday until Govan was 10 years old. At first they used to go to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, later they went to the Baptist Church.
Detroiter makes an impact on U.S. MuslimBY ALEX P. KELLOGG
He first felt the urge to convert religions when listening to the rhetoric of hip-hop lyricists such as south Bronx native KRS-One and the fiery-tongued Chuck D of Public Enemy.
The rhythmic Islamic references in those seminal raps, mostly asides, caught his attention, he says, and inspired him to dig further.
And so the black kid born in Detroit and raised in the South did convert from a southern Baptist to a northern Muslim.
He's now a spokesman for Islamic causes of every shade.
Dawud Walid's search for spiritual direction saw him skipping from college to college as a 20-something until he read Malcolm X's best-selling autobiography. The work traces Malcolm X's journey from Michigan to Mecca.
Walid's journey, though of course less celebrated, is not too far off from that one.
The 35-year-old is just over a decade removed from his conversion to Islam, and just 3 1/2 years from his first hajj, or religious pilgrimage to Mecca. Yet he's swiftly becoming a powerful presence in U.S. Muslim leadership.
For two-plus years, Walid has been the executive director of the Michigan office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Southfield; CAIR is headquartered in Washington, D.C., has 32 offices in the United States and Canada and is considered the leading civil rights group in the United States for Muslims.
Walid is everywhere, it seems. His eloquence and charisma have him speaking throughout metro Detroit and even nationwide, including appearances on CNN and C-SPAN.
In the spring, he was at Harvard University talking about the importance of getting out the black vote. This summer, he was on Free Press staffer Mitch Albom's radio show talking about a government raid of two Islamic charities, and in Kalamazoo speaking to thousands at a rally meant to promote diversity.
On Tuesday, he spoke before Hamtramck's City Council about an anti-racial profiling ordinance being voted on there.
He's tentatively scheduled to travel in October to Darfur in western Sudan with a delegation of African-American Muslim leaders from Detroit. The genocide-wracked region is all over Washington and Hollywood's geopolitical radar.
He speaks regularly at one of Detroit's largest mosques, Masjid Wali Muhammad, where he is an associate imam. The mosque was the first Nation of Islam temple in the country ever built, according to Walid.
"This job is 24-7," said Walid, a husband and a father of three, of his position with CAIR, which takes pride in highlighting potential injustices against practitioners of Islam in the United States. "There's never a break."
Walid is a moderate Muslim, but he doesn't like the term. He says mainstream tenants of the faith consider the religion inherently moderate.
Founded in 1994 by Sunni Palestinian immigrants, CAIR was initially perceived as more of a Sunni group. But the Michigan branch has made increased efforts to bridge the divide between the Sunnis and Shiites, which often spill blood in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East over their differences.
"Islam makes life easier, and it makes sense to me. In Islam, we have very clear directives and prohibitions," he said, pointing to the prohibitions against gambling and drinking as examples. "Having those frees the mind to contemplate other things."
For Walid, that means hours poring over books, often rereading them (recently, "King Leopold's Ghost," about the Belgian genocide in colonial Zaire, and "Emotional Intelligence," a book about alternatives to the IQ test). He listens to talk shows while at his desk at work or while driving between engagements, including those on which Muslims are often criticized.
"You may not agree with every perspective out there, but you always gain something small from listening to opposing views," said Walid.
It's a vision he says he lacked when he was young, though it was the diversity of his upbringing -- he recollects fondly the ethnically and racially mixed classrooms of his public school education in Richmond, Va. -- that grounded him firmly in moderate Islam.
He represents a swath of black American Muslims who've transitioned from the extremes of the Nation of Islam to the moderation of orthodox Islam over the past three decades, becoming part of America's growing and increasingly vocal Muslim minority.
"He represents the true image of a Muslim, which is always internationally tuned in," said Abdullah El-Amin, a 62-year-old African-American Muslim activist and Detroiter who also converted to Islam as a youth and has known Walid for years.
"Walid just naturally fits into that mold of Islam" that embraces diversity, El-Amin said. "He lives it and he believes in it, and he's doing a great job of bringing that part of the religion to life."
Najah Bazzy, a descendant of Middle Eastern Muslims and a Canton resident, recalls meeting Walid 8 years ago at a youth ministry and being taken by his enthusiasm.
"He's extremely media savvy," said Bazzy, 47 and a mother of four, who says she often finds herself sharing a podium with him at speaking engagements.
Bazzy, a Muslim, is the director of Zaman International, an interfaith charity that does work throughout metro Detroit. "He's a really good bridge builder between Sunnis and Shiites, too," she said.
But CAIR does have its detractors. The group has sometimes come under attack in recent years for its Muslim advocacy and criticized as being terrorist apologists.
Walid won't give out the names of his wife or children, and says he received credible death threats this summer. The FBI is investigating.
He sports a rounded, trim beard and looks vaguely reminiscent of darker-skinned Middle Eastern men. That makes him stick out as a target for anti-Muslim extremists, he admits.
"As an African American, I think we have to break out of the victim mentality -- and Muslims, too," he says.
"I don't think there's any contradiction between me being an American and me being a Muslim, either," said Walid, who says the assumption on that point is common. "I've been formed totally by the American experience."
Filipino embraces Islam
A FORTY-FOUR-year-old Filipino who has been working in the country since 2005 converted to Islam yesterday.
The conversion ceremony took place at the residence of Hj Yussof Hj Zainal, in Kampong Lambak Kiri.
Adrina Gusi changed her name to Nur Irdina Abdullah, after declaring her faith through the Syahadah _ the Muslim declaration of the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (Pbuh).
Nur means the light in Islam and Irdina can be translated to mean innocence, honour or modesty.
The conversion was conducted by a religious officer from the Islamic Dakwah Centre.
The owner of the house, Hj Yussof and his brother Hj Emran signed the form stating themselves as the official witnesses to the conversion.
Afterwards, a dzikir was held to bless the occasion and Nur Irdina was brought around the room to be sprinkled with perfumed Bunga Rampai and greeted by the guests as a new Muslimah.
In a brief interview with The Brunei Times, Nur Irdina said that she started developing an interest in Islam a decade ago after she separated from her husband.
Her then-husband was the son of a bishop in her village but was not religious and they never prayed, said Nur Irdina.
After the divorce, she began searching for a religion that would bring peace to her life.
"When I came to Brunei, I observed the situation here between the Muslims and Christians, it is different and I felt peaceful," she said, adding that back home, there were often conflicts between the two major religions.
"Here, you see the respect among (people)," she said.
"When I read the Shahadah, I felt so happy. It was the first time I have ever felt real happiness," she said.
She added: "Inside my heart, (the moment) I entered Islam, I feel that God was very near to me".
Her family back in the Philippines her brother and mother shared her joy in her newfound religion although they are still Christians.
One of Nur Irdina's sons has already expressed his desire to follow in his mother's footsteps."My son said to me (during a phonecall), 'If it's okay, I want to join (Islam) too'."
She will be leaving for home in October but has already made plans to return along with her sons and start a tailoring business in the country as a new member of the Muslim ummah.
The Brunei Times
How was their first Ramadaan
Ramadan 1981: A journey through Turkey, Islam and self
The summer of 1981 was hot in Turkey -- one of the hottest by far, many told me. I arrived not knowing what to expect, and since I knew basically nothing of Islam, I was unaware that my first visit to the country would coincide with Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish).
The purpose of my trip was to go to Konya and pay my respects at the tomb of Mevlana, the Sufi mystic, scholar and poet. I had been reading translations of his works for years and something resonated deep inside of me. Feeling it was time for a change in my life, I arrived looking for where life would lead me next.
The year before my journey I had met an elderly gentleman and his wife from Konya when they visited the United States to attend their son’s wedding. We felt an immediate warmth and closeness and they referred to me as their American daughter. Lovers of Mevlana themselves, they asked me to come and visit them in Konya, where they lived. How, I thought, could I pass up an opportunity like that? So, I quit my job in Texas and arrived on the heels of the military coup the previous fall. The country was still under martial law, with nighttime curfews in effect. I came with a touch of trepidation because the films “Midnight Express” and “Lawrence of Arabia” were the only films depicting Turks at that time. And Islam, well, I knew even less about that, except that Muslims in Iran were still holding American hostages. In spite of the misgivings of friends and family, I felt drawn to come to Turkey.
Since the couple I had come to see had a very small house and I did not want to impose, I stayed at a hotel near Mevlana’s tomb. Each day I would visit the tombs of Shems-i-Tabriz and Mevlana and then proceed to their tiny house nestled next to the cemetery walls. We spent the day talking about Mevlana and drinking endless glasses of tea. One day, though, Dede said: “Tomorrow is the first day of Ramazan, our month of fasting. You, of course, are not obliged to fast since you are not Muslim. But you might want to try fasting, to see how you feel. All religions have fasting. It is a way to purify your body, and to help you focus away from the material world. While fasting you learn to be more tolerant, more patient, and, inşallah, your faith will strengthen.” He then quoted from Mevlana: “The month of fasting has come, the emperor’s banner has arrived; withhold your hand from food, for the spirit’s table has arrived. The soul has escaped from separation and bound nature’s hands; the heart of error is defeated, and the army of faith has arrived. Fasting is our sacrifice, it is the life of our soul; let us sacrifice all our body, since the soul has arrived as guest.”
At the hotel I asked the desk clerk to have sahur delivered to me the following morning, and each morning I was there during the month. Surprised, he said: “But you are American. You are not Muslim. This is a very difficult thing you want to do. Inşallah you will benefit from it.” And so, each morning I ate before dawn, then went to visit the tombs and then to see Dede. The first couple of days were difficult, especially not being able to have any water in the heat. But soon I became used to it. One day, about halfway through the month, Dede decided that I should return to İstanbul and visit a friend of his there, explaining that there were more people in İstanbul who spoke English and who could answer my questions about Islam in more detail. I sadly took my leave of Konya, but knew that I would be returning again after Ramazan.
The bus to İstanbul left in the late afternoon. I knew that since I was traveling I was exempt from the fast for that day. I was surprised, however, when the bus pulled to the side of the road at sunset to allow passengers to share their iftar together. Men and women rose, pulling bags of food from the overhead storage bins and began passing back and forth up the aisle different tidbits to sample. An elderly woman sitting next to me made sure that I had a taste of everything that passed our way. Finally, the driver was satisfied that everyone had eaten their fill, and he started the bus on the journey again. I was very touched by the communal feeling of this particular iftar, with everyone joking, talking and sharing, even though most had never met before and would probably not see each other again.
After arriving in İstanbul I met with Dede’s friend, known to me simply as Efendi, who welcomed me like a long-lost family member into his bookstore near the Grand Bazaar. Each day I sat with Efendi in his bookshop, filled with questions that he answered through a translator. Before becoming a bookseller Efendi had been an imam, so any and all questions I had were patiently, and expertly resolved. I also read several books that he gave me that explained Islam, hadiths (saying of the Prophet Mohammed), and the prayers in great detail. Every evening, just before sunset, men and women would gather in the bookshop and then go together to a small mosque nearby. Sitting at tables in the mosque garden, everyone would wait in silence while men served the food -- dates, olives, home made soup, mounds of fragrant rice, tender bits of meat, and piles of pide, the tables were soon completely filled with food. Waiting for the ezan to signal the end of the fast, everyone waited, inhaling the rich aromas teasing the noses. After the main meal, desserts would arrive -- baklava, fresh fruits and pastries.
After the meal I would sit and talk with the women, listening and learning as I observed their roles within the group. Several were well educated and held professional jobs -- doctors, lawyers, professors, business women. Others were less well educated; some working outside the homes, some staying in the house tending to their families. In spite of the economic and social differences, all the women were equals here, and everyone treated each other with respect. A sense of camaraderie pervaded.
It was in this nurturing environment that I learned about Islam all through my first month of fasting. By the end of the month the fasting was relatively easy. After the studying I had done and the seemingly endless questions that were so patiently answered for me, I felt that I had in fact found what I had come looking for. At the end of the Ramazan Bayramı I went to see Efendi in his bookstore, sat before him, and embraced Islam, a religion that had seemed foreign and almost threatening just a few short weeks before. Thinking back on what had brought me to Turkey, I reflected on Mevlana’s words: “Why should I seek? I am the same as He. His essence speaks through me. I have been looking for myself.”
Christopher Bohar - USA/Satanist+Christian
My name is Christopher Bohar, my Islamic name is Muhammad Al-Amin after Our Beloved Prophet (PBUH). I am a 17 year old Sunni Muslim from Pennsylvania. I had no real interest in any type of Religion or Philosophy until about 4 years ago. At this time I was in Middle School and obviously I felt the need to experiment with certain things. I don't know how it happened but I got involved with the wrong crowd, they were Satanists, not the kind who are Devil-Worshippers but the kind who believe they are their own Gods-more or less Humanists. Their Philosophy seemed to make so much sense and I became a Satanist. At first I had the false sense of power but then it became Hell! I felt empty inside and became depressed, my grades dropped in school and friends came and went which made me feel even worse than before! After over a year of this I converted to Christianity for the first time. Since it is a God-based Religion, I began to feel God in my Life but I still felt as if something was missing. I had seen all the hypocrisies that the Bible makes and I made a conscious decision that this could NOT be the True Word of God. I only spent maybe three or four months in the Christian Faith but I still could not grasp the idea of a "Trinity" so I dropped Christianity and fell back into hating God and fell back into Satanism. Then September 11th happened. This event horrifed me and when the Media said the hijackers were Muslims I became upset, I cursed Islam and God, and became extremely angry at everything Islam. After I calmed down which took two or three weeks I actually began to take an indepth study of Islam to get a feel for it's Beliefs and Practices. I studied Islam here and there for about two months after September 11th. I read the Quran on the Internet and I learned that Islam is what I was looking for all along! I learned that Islam is not a Religion of Violence or Terrorism but a Religion of Understanding, Peace, Love, and Harmony with God and others. Only a few days after Ramadhan began, I took the Shahada and dedicated myself to Islam and God and rejected my old Satanic Beliefs. I realized I was not my own God and I realized that God was definitetly real. Just looking at His Glorious Creation is enough to convince any True Thinker of that! I participated in Ramadhan and read the Quran front to back and began to read the Sunnah/Hadiths. What the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said made so much sense to me! Islam didn't judge me or condemn me like Christianity tends to do but it embraced me to become a better Muslim which was really inspiring to say the least! The Quran taught me the Value of performing Good Deeds and having Faith and Worshipping God without Partner. As my Faith grew I started making Da'wah (Preaching Islam) over the Internet (mostly to Christians) and I was surprised to learn how close-minded many were to Islam even though both Islam and Christianity have SO MUCH in common with one another! I have made it MY DUTY as a Muslim to get through to Christians to at least accept the fact that we Worship the same God. A God who has taught me and is teaching me His Ways and now I can honestly look forward to Paradise and even if we get depressed or downed we can always rely on God to bring us back up when necessary! All Praise is due to Allah for leading me to His True Religion!
Wasalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Baraktuh!
(Ex-Satanist, Ex-Christian, Sunni Muslim for Life)
Taken from trueislam
Islam in Switzerland
Switzerland, and Geneva in particular, is often associated with emirs and other sheiks who enjoy sumptuous palaces, stroll along the harbor in the shade of the fountain and buy out the luxury shops. True, these visitors from the Gulf do exist, and they are well-known and highly appreciated by our businesses, however the bulk of the Muslim population has little to do with them.
The second largest religion in Switzerland
In 1990, the Muslim population was 152,200, or 2.2% of the Switzerland’s resident population. A surprising development for those who know that in the early seventies, there were less than 20,000 Muslims living in Switzerland. Islam is now the second largest religion in Switzerland, after Christianity.
The Muslim community of Switzerland is comprised of several nationalities, within which there are different cultures, languages and ethno-cultural particularities. In 1990, the vast majority (4/5) of the Muslim community was represented by Turk nationals (65,000 people or 42.8%) and nationals of the former Yugoslavia (55,000 people or 30.4%). The Muslim community from North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) represented 4% of the overall community, while the Lebanese community represented 3.3%.
The Muslim population is spread out evenly across Switzerland, and mainly in big urban centers (73% of all Muslims). The largest number is found in the cantons of Zurich, Aargau, St Gallen and Bern. It is interesting to note that 76% of the Muslims are settled in German-speaking Switzerland, and 14% in French-speaking Switzerland, which corresponds closely to the resident population distribution. The Turk community is more concentrated in German-speaking Switzerland, while the bulk of the North African community lives in French-speaking Switzerland. Nationals of the former Yugoslavia are spread here and there throughout the country.
It can be affirmed that the number of Muslims is surely underestimated, since, during the 1990 census, 3.1% of foreigners (an exceptionally high proportion) did not answer the question on religious affiliation. As for more recent figures, we have to resort to estimates of the non-governmental agencies, such as, for example, the Islamic associations or organizations in Switzerland. According to these sources, the number of Muslims in Switzerland is currently estimated between 200,000 and 250,000 people (from 2.8 to 3.5% of the resident population).
A fragmented community...
Whereas twenty years ago there were only three mosques in Switzerland (two in Geneva and one in Zurich), there are now almost 90, generally referred to as "Islamic Cultural Centers", sometimes open for the five daily prayers, and certainly open for Friday prayer. The increase in the number of Muslims is a phenomenon split between several communities and several attitudes.
Turks, Bosnians and Albanians are each organized round a mother house in Zurich, with branches spread throughout Switzerland. A particularity amongst the Turks reproduces the political divisions of the country: a portion of the centers are controlled by the Dyanet, the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs, through a representative at the consulate in Zurich. On the other hand, twenty or so of the other centers are run by the Milli G?rush, an off-shoot of Refah, the former Islamic opposition party.
In the face of these structured entities, the Arabist world is not only minority, but also organized in less of a hierarchy, more difficult to decipher: between the so-called "official" centers, partially financed by Saudi Arabia (such as the Fondation, in Geneva) or by the United Arab Emirates (such as the Stiftung islamische Gemeinschaft, in Zurich), and movements of the Tabligh are also present.
...that is trying to develop structure
For several years now, under the leadership of the very diplomatic Ismail Amin, who is of Egyptian origin and a former university professor of Arab philology, the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Zurich is attempting to structure the Muslim community: it brings together all the communities in the city, including the Dyanet and the Milli G?rush, including the Habache movement, including the centers that are connected with the Muslim Brothers or the Tabligh. Ismail Amin has also patiently developed contacts with the official Churches, Protestant and Catholic alike. The result is that the Muslims are given a better voice in the political issues that they hold dear.
All the same, there still exists a wide range of Muslim organizations in Switzerland, notably associations that run prayer locations and small local associations. .
Amal - USA/Catholic
As a young girl born in the Northwest of the USA, my dream was to become a nun. Growing up Roman Catholic, I saw the nuns have a spiritual presence that attracted me until I reached the age of 14. It was then I started having misgivings about Catholic doctrine, so I gravitated towards the Protestant faiths. The trinity was a lingering concern for me. I often just tried "to have faith" but my own logic overruled this, so many considered me "not serious enough to be spiritual". At the age of 20 I began talking religion to a cab driver, and heard the term Islam for the first time from a real person. The nightly news talked about Islam and the Muslims - sure, they were called terrorists. I presented this to my driver, who Alhamdulillah laughed softly and suggested I read Al-Quran. Actually, I read a few books on Islam first, then the Quran. This is when I knew I could have both my faith and logic, and Alhamdulillah I found I wasn't crazy after all. It took another two years before I took Shahadah, and another two before Hijab.
Alhamdulillah now at 29, I have my faith, health, oh, and a terrific husband as well (this is one of my first prayers or duas answered!). My story is not unusual, quite boring if you are not me I suppose, yet I never tire of telling others my story. I could tell of my family, that would be unusual. They have never been happier with me, although my sister still does not like my hijab, all members are in agreement, I am happier, more centered, and above all I have peace where before was chaos and confusion. It didn't happen over night, I have worked and am still working at this, you don't "convert" and that is it, everyday comes the struggle to learn, only now I welcome struggle. Inshallah, God Willing, my story has inspired someone, at any rate thank you for reading my story. May Allah Guide those who Search.
Jul. 29th, 1999
Taken from trueislam
Jenni Rauhala (Sumaiyah) - Finland/Christian
As-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allaah wa Barakaatuhu!
I wanted to add one more reversion story to the many already on your page. I was born in Finland, Northern Europe, about 20 years ago. My parents were Evangelic Lutheran, though not very strict about it. We went to the church a couple of times a year, mainly during Christmas time. I believed in God but not as the church teaches. As a kid this was no problem and I didn't think about it.
Like almost all of the kids in Finland I also went to a so called confirmation camp. It takes about a week. 15-year-old teens spend one week away from their families just learning about christianity, doing religious stuff and hanging out with the youthful and sometimes witty priests. Many teens get their "religious awakening" there because finally you have time to think about religion and nobody is calling you boring because of it. I also realized that I am a Believer. But not a believer in the church doctrine.
After the camp I started studying christianity harder trying to understand it. I even went through study period of the bible that lasted several months. That course qualified me to teach the bible to the younger kids. I worked for the church for like a year but already during that I knew christianity wasn't the Truth. But in the beginning I thought there was some hope that christianity might be it and I studied other branches of christianity. Then I went on to study judaism. That phase did not last for too long as the way they see Jesus (Alaihis-Salaam) is kind of distorted.
A couple of years earlier I had read the translation of the meanings of the Qur'an in my native language. I read it again, and got hooked. Yes this is what I was looking for. One True God! Then I started slowly getting some Muslims as friends. I visited a family in Turkey and there learnt some things about praying and hygiene and so forth. Internet also played a major role as I got to know sisters of my age that lived close by me. I started visiting these sisters. They had all been christians like me. I was certain that Islaam is the Way.
I started high school and Al-Hamdulilaah, in my class there was a girl who also was interested in Islaam. We ordered books together from Saudi Arabia. We visited London together and many of its mosques. We were studying Islaam so much and teaching each other what we knew. We even took the Shahadah on the same day, Wal-hamdulilaah!
As my interest in Islaam grew, the more my parents got alerted. They were ready to throw me out of their house. Or do anything. I was a minor so I could not wear hijaab though I so passionately wanted to. Things got worse and worse everyday but I told them I'd rather give them up than Islaam. As I reached the age of consent and started wearing hijaab, things got out of hand and I left home without telling them. I got married abroad to a good Muslim brother, Masha'Allaah.
An Imam advised me to get in touch with my parents and I was talking with them on the phone only two weeks after leaving home. I didn't know severing kinship ties was a sin but Al-hamdulilaah I was told by that Imam. After being married for two months I returned home. I stayed with my parents for some time and then returned to my husband's country. We have been married for almost two years now. Just today my mum was telling me that it is such a good thing there are so good men as my husband. As you can read, things have gotten better, Al-hamdulilaah. My mum has even started reading the Qur'an. Please make du'aa that she'll also receive this Guidance from Allaah (SWT)!
Taken from trueislam
Captive Turns to the Truth
To gain some insight into the true position of a woman in Islam, refer to Yvonne Ridley’s lecture “Behind Enemy Lines: The Story of a Taliban Captive.” Ridley, a British journalist, was captured by the Taliban for 11 days, and released upon the condition that she would read the Noble Quran.
Approximately two years later, Ridley converted to the Islamic faith and wrote a book, “Behind Enemy Lines,” describing and detailing her life experiences. Ridley believes that the Noble Quran is the “Magna Carta for women” and that “oppression is cultural; it is not Islamic.” Despite the regular impulsive outburst and critique of dozens of claims that Islam oppresses women, Ridley exemplifies the reality of a Muslim woman as a strong member of her society and the world.
Ibrahim Khalil Philobus Former Egyptian Coptic priest and missionary
Source: The Islamic Bulletin, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186
Al-Haj Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad, formerly Ibrahim Khalil Philobus, was an Egyptian Coptic priest who studied theology and got a high degree from Princeton University. He studied Islam to find gaps to attack it; instead he embraced Islam with his four children, one of whom is now a brilliant professor in Sorbonne University, Paris France. In an interesting way, he reveals himself saying: "I was born in Alexandria on the 13th of January 1919 and was sent to the American Mission schools until I got my secondary education certificate there. In 1942 I got my diploma from Asiut University and then I specialized in religious studies as a prelude to join the Faculty of Theology. It was no easy task to join the faculty, as no candidate could join it unless he got a special recommendation from the church, and also, after he should pass a number of difficult exams. I got a recommendation from Al-Attareen Church in Alexandria and another from the Church Assembly of Lower Egypt after passing many tests to know my qualifications to become a man of religion. Then I got a third recommendation from Snodus Church Assembly which included priests from Sudan and Egypt.
The Snodus sanctioned my entrance into the Faculty of Theology in 1944 as a boarding student. There I studied at the hands of American and Egyptian teachers until my graduation in 1948.
I was supposed, he continued, to be appointed in Jerusalem had it not been for the war that broke out in Palestine that same year, so I was sent to Asna in Upper Egypt. That same year I registered for a thesis at the American University in Cairo. It was about the missionary activities among Muslims. My acquaintance with Islam started in the Faculty of Theology where I studied Islam and all the methods through which we could shake the faith of Muslims and raise misconceptions in their understanding of their own religion.
In 1952 I got my M.A. from Princeton University in U.S.A. and was appointed as a teacher in the Faculty of Theology in Asiut. I used to teach Islam in the faculty as well as the faulty misconceptions spread by its enemies and the missionaries against it. During that period I decided to enlarge my study of Islam, so that I should not read the missionaries books on it only. I had so much faith in myself that I was confirmed to read the other point of view. Thus I began to read books written by Muslim authors. I also decided to read the Quran and understand its meanings. This was implied by my love of knowledge and moved by my desire to add more proofs against Islam. The result was, however, exactly the reverse. My position began to shake and I started to feel an internal strong struggle and I discovered the falsehood of everything I had studied and preached to the people. But I could not face myself bravely and tried instead to overcome this internal crisis and continue my work.
In 1954, Mr. Khalil added, I was sent to Aswan as secretary general of the German Swiss Mission. That was only my apparent position for my real mission was to preach against Islam in Upper Egypt especially among Muslims. A missionary conference was held at that time at Cataract Hotel in Aswan and I was given the floor to speak. That day I spoke too much, reiterating all the repeated misconceptions against Islam; and at the end of my speech, the internal crisis came to me again and I started to revise my position.
Continuing his talk about the said crisis, Mr. Khalil said, “I began to ask myself: Why should I say and do all these things which I know for sure I am a liar, as this is not the truth? I took my leave before the end of the conference and went out alone to my house. I was completely shaken. As I walked through Firyal public garden, I heard a verse of the Quran on the radio. It said: ‘Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Quran). They said: We have really heard a wonderful recital! It gives guidance to the Right, and we have believed therein: We shall not join (in worship) any gods with our Lord.’ (Quran S72v1-2) ‘And as for us, since we have listened to the Guidance, we have accepted it: and any one who believes in His Lord, has no fear of either a short (account) or of any injustice.’ (Quran S.72 V.13)
I felt a deep comfort that night and when I returned home I spent the whole night all by myself in my library reading the Quran. My wife inquired from me about the reason of my sitting up all night and I pleaded from her to leave me alone. I stopped for a long time thinking and meditating on the verse; ‘Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, verily thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah.’ (S.59 V.21) And the verse: ‘Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and the Pagans, and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": Because amongst these are men devoted to learning. And men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth: They pray: "Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in Allah and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?’ (Quran S.5 V.82-84)
Mr. Khalil then quoted a third quotation from the Holy Quran which says: ‘Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures), in the Taurat and in the Gospel; for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them what is bad (and impure): He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honor him, help him and follow the light which is sent down with him, it is they who will prosper. Say: O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: It is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger. The unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and His Words: follow Him that (so) you may be guided.’ (Quran S.7 V.157- 158)
Now that same night, Mr. Khalil dramatically concluded: “I took my final decision. In the morning I spoke with my wife from whom I have three sons and one daughter. But no sooner than she felt that I was inclined to embrace Islam than she cried and asked for help from the head of the mission. His name was Monsieur Shavits from Switzerland. He was a very cunning man. When he asked me about my true attitude, I told him frankly what I really wanted and then he said: Regard yourself out of job until we discover what has befallen you. Then I said: This is my resignation from my job. He tried to convince me to postpone it, but I insisted. So he made a rumor among the people that I became mad. Thus I suffered a very severe test and oppression until I left Aswan for good and returned to Cairo.”
When he was asked about the circumstances to his conversion he replied: “In Cairo I was introduced to a respectable professor who helped me overcome my severe trial and this he did without knowing anything about my story. He treated me as a Muslim for I introduced myself to him as such although until then I did not embrace Islam officially. That was Dr. Muhammad Abdul Moneim Al Jamal the then undersecretary of treasury. He was highly interested in Islamic studies and wanted to make a translation of the Holy Quran to be published in America. He asked me to help him because I was fluent in English since I had got my M.A. from an American University. He also knew that I was preparing a comparative study of the Quran, the Torah and the Bible. We cooperated in this comparative study and in the translation of the Quran.
When Dr. Jamal knew that I had resigned from my job in Aswan and that I was then unemployed, he helped me with a job in Standard Stationery Company in Cairo. So I was well established after a short while. I did not tell my wife about my intention to embrace Islam thus she thought that I had forgotten the whole affair and that it was nothing but a transitory crisis that no more existed. But I knew quite well that my official conversion to Islam needs long complicated measures and it was in fact a battle which I preferred to postpone for some time until I became well off and after I completed my comparative study.”
Then Mr. Khalil continued, “In 1955 I did complete my study and my material and living affairs became well established. I resigned from the company and set up a training office for importing stationery and school articles. It was a successful business from which I gained much more money than I needed. Thus I decided to declare my official conversion to Islam. On the 25th of December 1959, I sent a telegram to Dr. Thompson, head of the American Mission in Egypt informing him that I had embraced Islam. When I told my true story to Dr. Jamal he was completely astonished. When I declared my conversion to Islam, new troubles began. Seven of my former colleagues in the mission had tried their best to persuade me to cancel my declaration, but I refused. They threatened to separate me from my wife and I said: She is free to do as she wishes. They threatened to kill me. But when they found me to be stubborn they left me alone and sent to me an old friend of mine who was also a colleague of mine in the mission. He wept very much in front of me. So I recited before him the following verses from the Quran: ‘And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth: They pray: "Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in Allah and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?’. (Quran S.5 V.84) I said to him, "You should have wept in humiliation to God on hearing the Quran and believe in the truth which you know but you refuse. He stood up and left me as he saw no use. My official conversion to Islam was in January 1960.”
Mr. Khalil was then asked about the attitude of his wife and children and he answered: “My wife left me at that time and took with her all the furniture of our house. But all my children joined me and embraced Islam. The most enthusiastic among them was my eldest son Isaac who changed his name to Osman, then my second son Joseph and my son Samuel whose name is Jamal and daughter Majida who is now called Najwa. Osman is now a doctor of philosophy working as a professor in Sorbonne University in Paris teaching oriental studies and psychology. He also writes in ‘Le Monde’ magazine. As in regards to my wife, she left the house for six years and agreed to come back in 1966 provided that she keeps her religion. I accepted this because in Islam there is no compulsion in religion. I said to her: I do not want you to became a Muslim for my sake but only after you are convinced. She feels now that she believes in Islam but she cannot declare this for fear of her family but we treat her as a Muslim woman and she fasts in Ramadan because all my children pray and fast. My daughter Najwa is a student in the Faculty of Commerce, Joseph is a doctor pharmacologist and Jamal is an engineer.
During this period, that is since 1961 until the present time I have been able to publish a number of books on Islam and the methods of the missionaries and the orientalists against it. I am now preparing a comparative study about women in the three Divine religions with the object of highlighting the status of women in Islam. In 1973 I performed Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and I am doing activities preaching Islam. I hold seminars in the universities and charitable societies. I received an invitation from Sudan in 1974 where I held many seminars. My time is fully used in the service of Islam.”
Finally Mr. Khalil was asked about the salient features of Islam which have attracted his attention most. And he answered: “My faith in Islam has been brought about through reading the Holy Quran and the biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him. I no longer believed in the misconceptions against Islam and I am especially attracted by the concept of unity of God, which is the most important feature of Islam. God is only One. Nothing is like Him. This belief makes me the servant of God only and of no one else. Oneness of God liberates man from servitude to any human being and that is true freedom.
I also like very much the rule of forgiveness in Islam and the direct relationship between God and His servants.
‘Say: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls!, despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance) and submit to Him before the Chastisement comes on you: After that ye shall not be helped.’ (Quran S.39 V.53-54)