MAHMÛD GUNNAR ERICSON
Paying hamd-u-thenâ (gratitude and praise) to Allâhu ta’âlâ, I begin my explanation. I testify to that there is no ma’bûd (god, being worthy of worship) but Allâhu ta’âlâ, and that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is His slave and Messenger.
I met Muslims five years ago. One day, one of my friends said that he had taken an interest in the Qur’ân al-kerîm and had been reading it. I knew nothing about the Qur’ân al-kerîm then. Upon learning that my friend had begun to read the Qur’ân al-kerîm, I decided to study the Qur’ân al-kerîm, too, lest I should be outclassed by my friend, and went to the public library in my hometown to try and find a Swedish version of the Qur’ân alkerîm.
I did find one, and presently began reading it. A book borrowed from the library could be kept for only fifteen days. Yet I was so deeply impressed by the Qur’ân al-kerîm that fifteen days would be too short. So, a couple of days after returning the book to the library, I would go back to the library and borrow it again.
Thus, returning the book after each fifteen-day period and borrowing it again a few days later, I read the translation of the Qur’ân al-kerîm again and again. Each time I read the Qur’ân alkerîm, I felt deeper admiration for it, so much so that I began to believe that Islam was a true religion. I had already decided to become a Muslim by the November of 1950. Yet I wanted to postpone my conversion until I had penetrated deeper into Islam and learned its inner essence well by examining it more closely.
To this end, I went to the public library in Stockholm and studied the books written about the Islamic religion. Among those books, I came across the translation of the Qur’ân al-kerîm rendered by Muhammad Alî. Although later I came to know that Muhammad Alî belonged to a heretical group called Qâdiyânî, or Ahmadî, I reaped many benefits even from the version translated by that incompetent person. I no longer had any hesitations as to that I should become a Muslim. It was at that time when I first began to talk with Muslims. From 1952 on I joined them in their acts of worship. I had the good luck to find a society founded by Muslims in Stockholm. I met them, and I learned many facts from them, too. During the (holy month of) Ramadân in the hijrî year 1972, I went to England, where I officially became a Muslim on the first day of ’Iyd in the mosque of ‘Woking’.
Islam’s logicality was what attracted me to it most. Islam does not contain anything that common sense would reject. Islam enjoins belief in the unity of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Allâhu ta’âlâ is Ghafûr and Rahîm (forgiving and extremely compassionate).
He continuously bestows blessings and gifts upon the human race so that they should live in comfort and peace.
Another aspect of Islam that I like best is that Islam is a religion that belongs not only to the Arabs but also to the entire humanity. Allâhu ta’âlâ is the Rabb of all classes of beings. This universal quality presents a sharp contrast with the Judaic religion, whose holy book always refers to the ‘God of Israel’.
One more thing that I love in Islam is that this religion recognizes all the prophets ‘alaihim-us-salawâtu wa-t-taslîmât’ that have come up to today, pays respect to them, and treats the believers of other religions with great compassion. A Muslim can pray anywhere that is clean, in a field and in a church alike. A Christian, on the other hand, will not even stay at a place close to a mosque.
The Qur’ân al-kerîm explains in the most beautiful style that Islam is the most true and the final religion, and that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the last Prophet: The third âyat of Mâida Sûra purports, “Today I have made your religion perfect. I have completed My blessings upon you, and I have chosen Islam as your religion.”
The nineteenth âyat of Âl-i-’Imrân Sûra purports, “Know this for certain: Islam is the (only) religion in the view of Allâhu ta’âlâ.”