The recent escalation of hostilities against the Final Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has backfired on the opponents of Islam. On one side the false propaganda against Islam and Prophet Muhammad has made many non-Muslims sympathetic towards Muslims and brought them close to Islam. On the other side these hostilities against Islam and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has further strengthened the bond between Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers. There has been renewed commitment from ordinary Muslims to safeguard the honour of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him). In other words, the oppression of Muslims and badmouthing of fanatics about Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has made Muslims stronger Muslims and brought rational thinkers of the non-Muslim community closer to Islam. The conversion towards Islam did not decrease with the increase in the propaganda against Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Islam. In fact, the conversion towards Islam in Muslim and non-Muslim countries has increased over the last two years.
Recently, a new trend has emerged among the non-Muslim teenagers. The nonstop propaganda against Islam inspires teenagers more than the people of old age. Depending upon the personality, this propaganda causes two types of reactions in young boys or girls, . Some of them become more biased and violent against Muslims but some of them become more curious about Islam. ” Why so much propaganda against Islam? Why does everybody seem to be angry with Muhammad (Peace be upon him)? LET’S FIND OUT!!!.” This phrase “lets find out” becomes a blessing for a person.
In Canada, the most effective resource to provide “the truth” to these non-Muslim youth is not Imams and scholars but it is that teenager, Muslim boy/girl who has good understanding of Islam and have friendships with non-Muslim teenagers. The young Muslim boys and girls in schools, colleges, universities and at workplace like McDonalds, KFC, etc. can be very effective in bringing non-Muslim youth into Islam. These non-Muslim youth are fed-up with the prejudice that has victimized a significant segment of the society (i.e. Muslims). The daily hate mongering in the media has created a rebellion in these young boys and girls and they see Islam and Muslims as victims of the society. It creates sympathy in their hearts, which brings them closer to Islam.
Let me share with you a recent story of a teenager converting to Islam in Toronto. For privacy reasons I have used fictitious name in this story.
Daniyal, 16 year old Muslim boy who loves basketball. He is also an active member of his basketball club. He is very outgoing and a hard working teenager. His parents, originally from Pakistan are very strong and pious Muslims. Daniyal also works at an ice cream shop on a part time basis. Daniyal and John have known each other for a long time. A few weeks ago, Daniyal was practicing basketball with John, an 18 year old non-Muslim boy. During the play John asked Daniyal “Why does everybody hate you (Muslims)?”
Daniyal, ” I have no idea?”
John, ” I am serious, I do not like this. I do not see any thing wrong with you. In fact, you are my best friend. “.
Daniyal, did not reply. They kept on playing. While playing they talked about other things of common interest.
After the game while they were changing in the locker room, John asked Daniyal ” I want to know about your religion”.
Daniyal smiled and said let’s go TimHortons (A Canadian coffee and donut shop) we will talk. Both of them ordered hot chocolate. They sat across a table. Daniyal asked John ” let me explain to you my beliefs and you tell me where you find a problem?” He explained the basic beliefs of Islam. The importance of family values and cleanliness. Daniyal told him some of the stories of Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) life. He explained why people of Makkah hated him while they knew that he was the most honest and pious person?.
John almost cried when he listened the story of Prophet Muhammad’s journey towards ” TAIF”. John asked one more question about terrorism. Daniyal’s reply was quick, and opened John’s heart. Daniyal said, ” Terrorists have no religion. They have their own agenda”. He asked John, what was the religion of Robert Pickton, Uni-bomber, Timothy McVeigh, Hitler, etc..” Instead of answering the question John told Daniyal ” I want to be a Muslim, just like you”. Daniyal laughed but John did not. Daniyal could read John’s face, it was serious but shining. Daniyal stood up and said think it over I will see you tomorrow.
Next morning John came to Daniyal’s house. He knocked at the door. Daniyal’s father opened the door. “Good Morning”, said John.
“Good Morning, please come in. Daniyal is sleeping” Daniyal’s father told John. While, John was sitting in their drawing room. Daniyal’s father called Daniyal from downstairs ” Daniyal, John is here”.
Daniyal’s father smiled and sat down next to John. “How are you?” ” I am fine, thank you. He paused and asked did Daniyal talk to you about some thing? “. Daniyal’s father smiled and tried unsuccessfully to control his tears. “yes, he told me that you want to be a Muslim”, Daniyal’s father said. “Are you sure you want to be a Muslim? Have you spoken with your parents about it ” Daniyal’s father asked him.
” Why can’t I be a Muslim? What’s wrong with me? ” John asked as he was now frustrated with these questions. ” Yes, I have discussed with my parents several times and last night I told them that I will be becoming Muslim”. “What did they say?” Asked Daniel’s father. “My father does not seem to have problem with it but my mother was not happy. But don’t worry, she will be all right.” What about your other brothers and sisters? Daniyal’s father asked. ” They will be OK too” John said quickly as he does not want to talk about them. Meanwhile, Daniyal came down and shook hands with John.
Daniyal still wanted John to think about it further . Daniyal sat on the sofa on the apposite side of the room and said, “I was not expecting you this early morning”. John did not reply. Daniyal looked at his father and asked him if he and John could go for a walk. They both went out. While they were walking down the street John asked Daniyal ” What do I need to do to become a Muslim”. Daniyal said, “You have to take Shahadah”. “What is that?” asked John. “That you declare that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His last Messenger ” said Daniyal. “lets do it” John shouted. “Not so fast, you have to be cleaned before you take Shahadah”, Daniyal looked at John and smiled. ” I am clean ” said John. “No you are not clean as required by Islam” said Daniyal. Then Daniyal explained to him how to take shower and clean his body. He asked him not to drink alcohol and eat pig meat. Daniyal asked him to comeback at dinnertime and have dinner with his family.
Daniyal and John went back to their houses. Daniyal told his parents and other three brothers and sisters that John will be coming back this evening and will be reverting to Islam. His mother asked him in Urdu “Aray Usko Khanay pe Bulaya hota” ( You should have asked him to join us on the dinner). Daniyal said, ” Yes, I have invited him for the dinner”. Daniyal’s mother raised her hands and thanked Allah for giving this great opportunity. She yelled with excitement at her husband ” Can you please go to the grocery store and bring rice and Halal meat”. It became an “EID” day for the entire family. Everybody was looking forward to the dinnertime.
At about 5:30 PM someone knocked at the door. Daniyal ran and opened the door. John was standing, he smiled and said Hello to Daniyal. “Come in, we have been waiting for you”. Daniyal told him. As John stepped in side the house he smelled the food. ” Your mom must be cooking Biryani. This smell makes me very hungry”. John whispered in Daniyal’s ear. ” You can eat as much as you can ” Daniyal replied. Daniyal’s father came and hugged John. The other two Daniyal’s younger brothers also greeted John and shook hand with him. While sitting in the drawing room with all men John could hear the conversation between Daniyal’s mother and sister behind the curtain in the living room.
” So, what is your final decision John? “ Daniyal’s father asked John. ” it is the same, I have taken shower and ready to take “Shada” (he meant Shahadah). Daniyal’s father gracefully stood up and said, ” I am not an Islamic scholar. We will go and see our Shaikh (scholar) after the dinner and he can give you some more information about Islam. However, I want to be little selfish. I want that the blessing of Allah should fall on this house and on my family for bringing you in the Islamic community. I want that your friend should bring you into Islam. Please repeat after Daniyal”. John repeated word by word after Daniyal ” ASH HA DU AN LA ILA HA ILLALL HO WA ASH HA DU ANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDO HU WA RASOO LOH” ( I BEAR WITNESS THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH AND I BEAR WITNESS THAT MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him) IS HIS SERVANT AND THE MESSENGER).
Everyone hugged and shook hand with John. The love and respect he received from Daniyal’s family touched his heart. They all had dinner together. Behind the curtain Daniyal’s mother and sister were anxiously reminding everyone to make sure that plenty of food is on the table.
Later, at night Daniyal, his father , his brothers and John attended a Dhikr (zikr) gathering in Scarborough where I got the opportunity to answer some of John’s questions and explained to him the lifestyle of a Muslim. I was very impressed with the questions of this young man and the firmness of his beliefs.
Within a week, Daniyal helped another 14-year-old boy to revert to Islam. On some other occasion I will share that amazing story with you as well.
This story reminds us that we must remain optimistic with Allah. On one side, some of the current Muslims have taken Islam for granted and are giving bad names to Muslims. On the other side the enemies of Islam want to destroy Islam and Muslims because it threatens their empires. However, Allah has His own arrangements, which often are not understood by ordinary human beings. I am very optimistic about the future of Islam in North America but I am not optimistic about the future of current Muslims. The biggest problem with us that we do not practice what we preach. We make decisions and judgments about people while those decisions and judgments are the rights of Almighty Allah alone.
But the young Muslims like Daniyal and John have different perspective of Islam, which is based upon rational thinking and fairness. More and more Muslims of such thoughts will bring more and more blessings of Allah upon human beings.
May Allah guide us and make us faithful to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the Holy Qur’an. Ameen
Mr. Syed B. Soharwardy is Founder and President of Muslims Against Terrorism (M-A-T)