T.H. Mc. BARKLIE
Although I was Irish and most of the Irish people were adherent to the Catholic church, I was raised with a Protestant education. However, I was only a child when I took a hearty dislike to the Christian tenets I was being taught and began to maintain a healthy skepticism about them. By the time I reached the university level of education, which subsequently added quite a few novelties to my knowledge, my skepticism had already developed into judgement. The Christian religion would give me nothing. Then, I began to feel deep repugnance towards it, which, by and by, unfolded itself in a form of categorical denial. So urgently did I feel the need to find “a guide to lead me to the right way” that I had to improvise a credo whereby to satisfy myself protem. For a considerable period of time I had to do with this complicated mood.
One day I came across a book entitled ‘Islam and Civilization’. As soon as I read it, I saw in great amazement and joy that all the hopes I had been cherishing, all the questions that had been gnawing at my mind, and their answers as well, were contained in the book. In contrast with the reciprocal acts of cruelty and oppression among the Christian sects, Islam’s peaceful and lively principles had been guiding humanity on the lightsome way of truth. The sources of knowledge and civilization had risen in the Muslim countries and sprinkled their lights on the darkened life of Europe which had been moaning under multifarious forms of savagery. In comparison with Christianity, Islam was by far a more logical and more useful religion.
What made me fall for Islam at first sight was its rejection of the Christian dogma that “Men are sinful from birth and therefore they have to expiate their sins in the world.” In the process of time, learned the other Islamic principles pertaining to the humanities and civilization and admired the greatness of that religion. Islam did not differentiate between the rich and the poor. In Islam, people of all races, colours and languages were brothers, not only in theory, but also in practice. At one stroke, it levelled down the differences of wealth, position, race, country and colour among people. It was for this reason that I embraced Islam.