H.F. FELLOW (G.B.)
I am a naval officer. I spent a major part of my life on the sea. I served the British navy in the First World War in 1914 and in the Second World War in 1939. Even the most perfect tools and machines of the twentieth century are far below the capacity to resist the terrific forces of nature. Let me give you a small example: we have no means as yet to defend ourselves against fog or storms. A warlike situation adds a lot more to these dangers. A naval officer has to be always very careful. The British navy holds a book that contains the Queen’s Directions and the Directions put by the Admiralty. The book embodies not only records such as the duties of a naval officer and the procedures to be followed at times of danger, but also a list of awards, citations and rewards that are to be bestowed in recognition of good behaviour and distinguished services, salaries and pays, and even when an officer will retire. In addition, it contains the penalties imposed for offences and acts of disobedience. If this book is observed with due diligence, life on the sea will be easy and orderly, danger will be minimized, and naval officers will lead a peaceful and happy life.
May Allâhu ta’âlâ forgive me my fault and sin! Never oblivious to the great difference and always observant of the due respect, I have compared the Qur’ân al-kerîm to that book. Allâhu ta’âlâ is the authority who has laid down these principles in the Qur’ân alkerîm. He teaches in extremely explicit and exquisite expressions and in a language intelligible to everybody how all men, women and children over the world should act, from what directions danger will be coming and what should be done against it, and how the good and bad behaviours will be rewarded. For the recent eleven years, since I retired, that is, I have been growing flowers in my garden. It is in this period when I have seen once again the greatness of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Plants and flowers grow only with the command of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Nothing you plant will grow without His command. However hard you may try, and whatsoever you may do, your endeavour will yield results only with His support.
Without this support all your effort will come to naught. It is in no one else’s capacity to predetermine the weather conditions required for the growing of plants. With one command of Allâhu ta’âlâ, bad weather will set in and ruin everything you have planted. Men have devised various systems in order to preestimate the weather conditions. Weather conditions are forecast today. It makes me smile to myself. For only one per cent of these forecasts turn out to be correct. The only determinant in this matter is the decree of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Beautiful flowers do not grow in the gardens belonging to those who do not obey the commandments of Allâhu ta’âlâ.
This is only a retribution which Allâhu ta’âlâ visits on them. I believe with all my heart that the Qur’ân al-kerîm is the Word of Allâhu ta’âlâ and that Allâhu ta’âlâ chose Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ as His Messenger to communicate that sacred book to the entire world. The Qur’ân alkerîm is in full concordance with man’s worldly life, and it contains rules unsullied with the insertion of exaggerations and superstitions and which are perfectly logical, so that people with common sense will find them entirely true and right. Rather than bringing pressure to bear on the sense of fear inherent in man’s nature, the tenets of worship in the Qur’ân al-kerîm appeal to love and respect.
Having lived for long years in a Christian society and under Christian influence, a Christian needs convincing preliminary persuation to abandon his religion and become a Muslim. However, after examining Islam, I did not need any external persuation. For I had spontaneously believed in the fact that this religion is a true one. No one compelled me to become a Muslim.
Nor was I under anyone’s influence. Muslims answered most of my doubts whose solutions I had not found in Christianity, and they satisfied all my mental expectations. I therefore became a Muslim by myself and willingly.
I have realized that the pure religion brought by Îsâ ‘alaihissalâm’ and Islam are essentially the same. Yet the pure Nazarene religion was completely defiled with the superstitions, rites and credal tenets borrowed from idolatrous cults afterwards and turned into what has now been called Christianity. It was so repulsively fraught with the polytheistic accessions that Martin Luther, for the purpose of purifying his religion, had to reform it and to establish the Protestant sect, whereby he, let alone repairing the religion, impaired it all the more badly. As the Queen of England, Elizabeth I, struggled against the Catholic Spaniards who posed a threat against her country, the Ottoman Turks carried on their holy war against the Catholics in Europe. As Protestants and
Muslims, these two empires fought against the idolatrous Catholics. The one thing that escaped Martin Luther’s attention was that nine hundred years before him Muhammad ‘alaihissalâm’ had cleansed and purified the defiled Christianity and all the other religions.
Today’s Christianity is infested with idolatrous elements and superstitions. For a long period of time Christianity has remained as a religion where injustice, cruelty and savagery are all but legalized, and it still maintains this horrendous identity in itsexactitude. I would like you to recollect the unjust verdicts that the Spanish Christians gave at the tribunals called the Inquisition The Sephardis who escaped from their cruelties were provided sanctuary only by the Muslim Turks, who treated them as human beings.
Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ asked his umma to obey the Ten Commandments which Allâhu ta’âlâ had given to Mûsâ ‘alaihissalâm’ on Mount Sinai. The first of these commandments is this: “I am the Lord thy God, …” “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” On the other hand, Christians have disobeyed this commandment by increasing the number of gods to three. I did not believe in three gods before converting to a Muslim, either. I always accepted Allâhu ta’âlâ as only one compassionate, forgiving and guiding being. That was the only reason which led me to Islam. For Muslims’ belief in Allâhu ta’âlâ was identical with my thoughts.
The manner of life you are to lead is totally in your own hands. If you are, say, an accountant and embezzle money from the employer’s safe, one day you will be caught and wind up in prison. If you drive carelessly on a slippery road, your car will topple over and you will end up in a hospital with one or two broken bones. If you drive too fast and have an accident for this reason, you, again, will be responsible for it. It would be a grave act of immorality to lay the blame for all these faults on someone else. I do not believe in the hypothesis that people are bad tempered by birth. It is a definite fact that human beings are born with a good moral quality. A group of theorists assume that some people are evilspirited by creation, which I reject. In my opinion, what makes a person’s soul evil is, first of all, his parents, next his environment, next the subversive publications, and next evil company.
Another factor that should be added is harmful tutorship. Children are inclined to idealize the behaviours and thoughts of their parents, school teachers and writers and try to follow their examples.
Sometimes, without any apparent reason, children exhibit rebellious and mischievous behaviour. At such times they must be toned down with gentle, but at the same time serious, exhortation.
But if we ourselves exhibit inconsiderate behaviour and thereby set a bad example for them, we cannot convince them of their wrong behaviour. How could we dissuade our children from doing the vices that have become our daily practices? That means to say that first of all we have to exhibit a perfect example for our children. We should be able to chastise them when necessary. You
know that Britons are fond of sports. Sports is something that is almost sacred to us. If a person does something disingenuous or acts in a crooked way in a sports activity, he will be punished immediately and lose most of his honour. The Islamic religion has laid exquisite and very beautiful behavioral maxims and ideal lifestyles, which could be, as it were, compared to our sports rules. During my research in the Islamic religion, these rules won my admiration. It was this logic and order that led me to the true religion of Islam.
Here is the second one of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth:” (Old Testament, Exodus: 20- 4) On the other hand, today’s Christian churches are full of images and icons, and Christians prostrate themselves before them!
One thing I had always mused with consternation about was that all those tremendous events, such as the miracles of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, his crucifixion, [which is a Christian belief], his resurrection and ascension to heaven after having been intered, had had very little impact on that time’s Jewish, Roman and other Palestinian community, and their life-styles had not changed at all. The Jews had been quite indifferent towards Îsâ ‘alaihissalâm’, so that it was only centuries later that Christianity began to spread. Contrariwise, the Islamic religion communicated by Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ spread far and near in a very short time, immediately changed the life-styles there, and civilized the semi-barbarous people. I think the only reason was that the
original Îsawî religion deterioted in a short time and changed into a perplexing, semi-idolatrous new Christian religion, while Islam, on the other hand, was a logical religion intelligible to everybody.
Between 1919 and 1923 I was appointed to a naval duty on the Turkish waters. That mellifluous voice that called daily from the minarets and said, “There is only one Allâhu ta’âlâ. Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is His Messenger.” How lovely it sounded to my ears! Most of the books about the Islamic religion that I had been reading contained contumelies against Islam. Their discourse followed the rules of a certain textual stratagem wherein the first step was to cast aspersions on the last three hundred years’ Turkish Sultans, who were Khalîfas at the same time, the second step was to associate the acts of atrocity and injustice already ascribed to them and reinforced with the slanders that Turks were mendacious, deceitful and venal people and that they had been oppressing the minorities, with the Islamic culture, which was their source of education, and the final step was to conclude that a Muslim could never be as honest as a Christian. Did the Islamic
religion really deserve the blame? I could never believe it.
Eventually, I decided to resort to a Muslim man of religion to acquire true information. In the meantime, I looked for Islamic books written by Muslims. Some Muslim religious men living in Britain found the books I needed and sent them to me. When I read these books, I saw what a pure religion Islam was, how brilliantly it shone throughout the Middle Ages, how brightly it illuminated the dark Christian world, how, unfortunately, in the wake of a general inattention to religious principles growing in the process of time, the Islamic world gradually lost its vigour, and the recent efforts to restore it to its former state. Today’s scientific improvements could find no place in the Christian religion. Conversely, they are in perfect concordance with Islam.
Consequently, the blame for the decline that the Islamic world has been suffering falls not on the Islamic religion, but on today’s Muslims, who have fallen short of fulfilling the requirements of this pulchritudinous religion with due strictness. I no longer had any doubts as to the merits of the Islamic religion now. So I embraced Islam willingly.
Today, some European philosophers and writers argue that religions are unnecessary. You must be sure that arguments of this sort ensue from the preposterous tenets of Christianity and from its superstitions which would never receive a welcome in the twentieth century. The Islamic religion, on the other hand, does not contain any of such toxins. Christians can never understand why Islam should meet with such universal acceptance, and they call Muslims ‘eccentric people’. This is an entirely wrong accusation.
My final remarks are these: I chose Islam because it is a religion which is both theoretical and practical, easy to understand and logical, perfect in
every respect, and an exemplary guide for humanity. The Islamic religion is, and eternally will be, the best way that will lead man to the love of Allâhu ta’âlâ and to happiness in this world and the next.
 Old Testament, Exodus: 20-2,3.