On the occasion of this past ’Haj season, I could not help but recall my own ’Haj experience, including my path towards Islaam.
I have come a long way, and after having explored the many dark and evil sides of temptation, greed, and ignorance, remaining absurdly blind and insensitive to the consequences of my actions; I finally came to realize I was wasting my life and hurting others, and I lost all respect for myself.
It is then, at a time the devil could have rightfully claimed to have taken control, having addicted myself to a lifestyle that knew no bounds and no taboos, after having adorned my actions before my own eyes and masked their true nature; it was then, and I cannot explain how or why, that an invisible hand pulled me out from the deepest and lowest reaches humanly possible, and brought me to Saudi Arabia, on a job assignment.
Within weeks I felt a sudden urge to go to Makkah for ‘Umrah, then ’Haj, then ‘Umrah again, and again. And the intensity of that first moment I laid my eyes on the Ka‘abah has not faded away since.
There is something so special, peaceful, and magnetic about the Ka‘abah with people of all walks of life circling it and praying around it; people from the farthest reaches of the earth, a rainbow of people of all colour, race, culture, tongue, gender, and riches, showing humility, asking for forgiveness from the only One that forgives, and praying in unison, fearing the day we shall account for our actions.
I could not help but ask, why are they here, who told them to come here, what is it that made them embrace Islaam; and realized the great achievement of Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.), the last messenger of Allaah, and how noble, charismatic, and truthful he must have been; and the intrinsic ever-lasting powerful and appealing call of the revealed ’Qura~n, to Islaam.
My ’Haj experience helped me realize it is never too late to get back on track, and I am now trying to become a better person using the ’Qura~n as my guide, after having also realized in retrospection, how much Islaam is distorted in the eyes of many other people, sometimes Muslim people as well:
Some people incorrectly think Islaam invites people to killing other innocent people, or that Islaam encourages poverty, or that Islaam encourages ignorance instead of developing science, or that it gives men the right to mistreat women; and the more I tried to read the ’Qura~n and understand (not just read), the more I found out who we, the Muslims, really are.
After ‘Haj, I started attending the Friday prayer, whereas in the past my reasoning was clouded by self-demeaning superstition, that led me to believe in the propaganda and falsehood that such Imaams preached hatred, violence, and ignorance.
Instead I was blessed to find myself listening and learning from some of the most noble, pure, and truthful people alive. They came prepared, exposed facts, kept things in balance, explained what Jihaad was really about, and demonstrated how the teachings of the Holy ’Qura~n are directly relevant to this 21st century and to everyday life.
Enemies of Islaam, who were at a time my ‘friends’ when we shared a reckless existence, still try to test my faith and motives until today, by tempting me with premeditated and deliberate ‘spontaneous kind and insincere’ verbiage, and by fomenting and breeding doubt and scepticism.
They remain puzzled as to how a ‘highly-educated’, ‘rational’, and ‘successful’ person like myself, gifted with scientific prowess above average by existing standards, decided to change course and follow ‘non-sense’.
But the truth is that nobody talked me into it, except for Allaah himself, and that I embraced Islaam with a most critical mind, and I can confidently tell you today that I have been unable to find any flaw, or absurdity, in the ’Qura~n and the religion of Islaam.
I have approached the matter from every scientific perspective available to me, and every single time my faith has been strengthened: This shall be the subject of future articles, whereby I intend to show rationally, that the ’Qura~n is indeed the word of Allaah, and that Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.), could be none else than the messenger of Allaah.
Call it a ‘coincidence’ or what you may, it nonetheless remains true, that I was guided to Islaam when I was precisely forty years-old, and that I have long since paused and reflected on Allaah’s words from chapter of ‘Ala’h’qaaf’: [46:15-19]
NOW [among the best of the deeds which] We have enjoined upon man is goodness towards his parents. In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth; and her bearing him and his utter dependence on her took thirty months, and so, when he attains to full maturity and reaches forty years, he [that is righteous] prays: “O my Sustainer! Inspire me so that I may forever be grateful for those blessings of Thine with which Thou hast graced me and my parents, and that I may do what is right [in a manner] that will meet with Thy goodly acceptance; and grant me righteousness in my offspring [as well]. Verily, unto Thee have I turned in repentance: for, verily, I am of those who have surrendered themselves unto Thee!”
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