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Conversion Stories New Muslims

A Former Priest’s Journey to Islam

By Idris Tawfiq

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth.” (Quran 5:83)

I enjoyed being a priest helping the people for some years.

However, deep inside I was not happy and I felt that there was something not right. Fortunately, and it is God’s will, some events and coincidences in my life led me to Islam.

A Trip to Egypt

I used to think of Egypt as a country of Pyramids, camels, sand and palm trees. I actually took a charter flight to Hurghada.

Shocked to find it similar to some European beaches, I took the first bus to Cairo where I spent the most wonderful week in my life.

This was my first introduction to Muslims and Islam. I noticed how Egyptians are such gentle, sweet people, but also very strong.

Like all Britons, my knowledge about Muslims up to that time didn’t exceed what I heard from the TV about suicide bombers and fighters, which gave the impression that Islam is a religion of troubles. However, getting into Cairo I discovered how beautiful this religion is.

Very simple people selling goods on the street would abandon their trade and direct their face to Allah and pray the moment they heard the call to prayer from the mosque. They have a strong faith in the presence and will of Allah. They pray, fast, help the needy and dream to have a trip to Makkah with the hope of living in heaven in the hereafter.

Teaching about Religion

On my return I resumed my old job of teaching religion. The only compulsory subject in British education is Religious Studies. I was teaching about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and others. So everyday I had to read about these religions to be able to teach my lessons to the students, many of whom were Arab Muslim refugees. In other words, teaching about Islam taught me many things.

Unlike many troublesome teenagers, these students set a good example of what a Muslim could be. They were polite and kind. So a friendship developed between us and they asked if they could use my classroom for prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Luckily, my room was the only one with a carpet. So I got accustomed to sitting at the back, watching them praying for a month. I sought to encourage them by fasting during Ramadan with them, even though I wasn’t yet a Muslim.

Once while reciting a translation of the holy Quran in class I reached the verse:

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth.” (Quran 5:83)

To my surprise, I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I tried hard to hide it from the students.

The following day, I was taking the underground and noticed how terrified the people were. I was also afraid of the repetition of such acts in Britain. At the time, the Western people started fearing this religion they blamed for terrorism.

However, my previous experience with Muslims took me to a different direction. I started wondering ‘Why Islam? Why do we blame Islam as a religion for the action of terrorists who happened to be Muslims, when no-one accused Christianity of terrorism when some Christians have acted the same way?

Meeting Yusuf Islam

One day I headed to the biggest Mosque in London, to hear more about this religion. Getting into London Central Mosque, there was Yusuf Islam, the former pop singer, sitting in a circle talking to some people about Islam. After a while, I found myself asking him ‘What do you actually do to become a Muslim?’

He answered that a Muslim should believe in one God, pray five times a day and fast during Ramadan. I interrupted him saying that I believed all this and had even fasted during Ramadan. So he asked:

‘What are you waiting for? What is holding you back?’ I said:

‘No, I don’t intend to convert.’

At that moment the call to prayer was made and everyone got ready and stood in lines to pray.

I sat at the back, and I cried and cried. Then I said to myself:

‘Who am I trying to fool?’

After they ended their prayers, I headed to Yusuf Islam, asking him to teach me the words by which I announce my conversion.

After explaining its meanings to me in English, I recited after him in Arabic that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

My book

I decided to write this book “Gardens of Delight: a Simple Introduction to Islam” to give non-Muslims an idea about the basic principles of Islam. I tried to tell people how beautiful Islam is and that Islam has the most extraordinary treasures, the most important being Muslims’ love for each other.

The Prophet says: “Even a smile to your brother is a charity.”


Source: allamericanmuslim website

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

 
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Categories
Conversion Stories New Muslims

Four Reasons Make Us Convert to Islam

Many articles could explain how easy it is to convert to Islam. A real convert tell his/her stories, and we can share their elation and excitement. There are even articles that explain exactly how to become Muslim.

Converting to Islam liberates a person from slavery to man-made systems and lifestyles.

Many advantages are gained by converting to Islam, the most obvious one being the sense of calmness. Establishing a relationship with God in the most pure and simple way is liberating and exhilarating.

1. Converting to Islam liberates a person from slavery to man-made systems and lifestyles

Islam emancipates the mind from superstitions and uncertainties. It liberates the soul from sin and corruption.

Submission to the will of God, does not curtail freedom, on the contrary it gives a very high degree of freedom and filling it with truth and knowledge.

Once a person accepts Islam they are no longer slaves to fashion, or consumerism.

On a smaller but equally as important scale Islam liberates a person from the superstitions that rule the lives of those not truly submitted to God.

A believer knows that good and bad luck do not exist.

Both the good and the bad aspects of our lives come from God and as Prophet Muhammad explains all the affairs of a believer are good:

“If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him”. (Muslim)

After a person is freed from manmade systems and lifestyles he or she is free to worship God in the correct manner.

A believer is able to put his trust and hope in God and sincerely seek His mercy.

2. Converting to Islam allows a person to truly experience God’s love.

Converting to Islam allows a person to achieve God’s love by following His guide to life – the Quran, and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.

When God created the world He did not abandon it to instability and insecurity.

He sent a rope, firm and steady, and by holding tightly to this rope an insignificant human being can achieve greatness and eternal peace.

God makes His desires perfectly clear, however human beings have free will to please or displease God.

Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love God then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), God will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran 3:31)

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. (Quran 3:85)

There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in God, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And God is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (Quran 2:256)

3. A benefit of converting to Islam is that God promises Paradise to the believer

Paradise, as described in many verses of Quran, is a place of eternal bliss and it is promised to believers.

God shows His mercy to the believers by rewarding them with Paradise.

Whoever denies God or worships other than Him will be doomed in the Hereafter to the hellfire.

Converting to Islam will save a person from the torment of the grave, suffering on the Day of Judgment and eternal hellfire.

4. A convert to Islam can achieve happiness, tranquility and inner peace

Islam itself is inherently associated with inner peace and tranquility.

When one submits to the will of God he or she will experience an innate sense of security and peacefulness.

Perfect happiness exists only in Paradise.

There we will find total peace, tranquility and security and be free from the fear, anxiety and pain that are part of the human condition.

However the guidelines provided by Islam allow us, imperfect humans, to seek happiness in this world.

The key to being happy in this world and the next is seeking the pleasure of God, and worshiping Him.


Source: Islamreligion.com

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