THOMAS IRVING (Canadian)
To tell you why I became a Muslim, I have to explain what I felt before and after embracing Islam, my first contact with Islam and the faidh that it inspired into me. First of all, let me tell you that thousands of Canadians and Americans think exactly as I used to think before becoming a Muslim; they have the same feeling of dissatisfaction; and they are awaiting the scholars of Ahl as-sunnawho will teach them the essence of Islam.
As I was a child, I held fast to my faith, Christianity, with both hands. For I needed a religion to feed my soul. However, as I grew older, I began to see a number of faults in Christianity. The stories told about the life of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and his being the son of God, –may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us against saying so,– sounded like superstitious tales to me. My personal logic would never accept them. I began to ask myself questions, such as, “If Christianity is the true religion, why are there so many non- Christians in the World?” “Why do Jews and Christians share the same basic religious book and differ in other respects?” “Why are non-Christians doomed to perdition though they have no other apparent faults?” “Why do many nations choose not to become Christians?”
It was in those days when I met a missionary who had been serving in India. He complained to me, “Muslims are very obstinate. They insist that the true religion is Islam, and not Christianity. So all my efforts to Christianize them end up in failure.” These statements were at the same time the first definition I had heard of Islam. A sensation of curiosity towards Islam, seasoned with a high degree of admiration for Muslims who had been so staunchly attached to their religion, began to blossom in my heart. I felt that I should observe Islam more closely, and began to attend lectures on ‘Oriental Literature’ in the university. I saw that what the oriental people had been rejecting in our belief was the doctrine of ‘trinity’, and that they accepted the belief of ‘One God’, which was perfectly agreeable with common sense. It was certain that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ had announced his religion as one based on belief in One God, and himself as a mere born slave and Messenger of that One God.
The God he had mentioned should be a merciful God. Nevertheless, that beautiful and true belief had been smothered with meaningless legends, superstitions and heresies inserted into Christianity by idolaters, and the pure belief in the One Merciful, Compassionate God had been adulterated into a tripartite godhood, which was accessible only to priests and which, so to speak, created mankind with a share from the original sin. Then, a new religion with a new prophet was necessary to restore the humanity with that pure and intact belief in One God. Europe, on the other hand, was awash in semi-barbaric cruelty in those days.
As savage tribes were invading countries, on the one hand, a small minority was perpetrating all sorts of vices under the mask of religion, on the other. The human race was moaning desperately under the talons of idolatry and irreligiousness, when, [according to historians], seven centuries after Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, in the oriental horizons, there rose Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wasallam’, the final Prophet of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and he began to communicate to people the true religion of the true God, which was based on belief in One God.
When I read and learned all these facts, I believed in the fact that Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ was the final true Messenger of Allâhu ta’âlâ, because:
1) As I have said above, people needed a new prophet;
2) All my thoughts concerning Allâhu ta’âlâ conformed with the religion spread by that great Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’;
3) As soon as I read the Qur’ân al-kerîm, I sensed that it was the Word of Allâhu ta’âlâ. The facts communicated by the Qur’ân al-kerîm and the hadîth-i-sherîfs [utterances] of Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam’ satisfied me in every respect and infused a sense of peace into my soul. And this is the reason why I became a Muslim.
You can be sure that, as I have already said, thousands of Americans and Canadians sense the same deficiencies and errors in Christianity. Sad to say, though, they have not had the same chance I did to do a thorough research into the Islamic religion; they need a guide.
After attaining that belief in Islam, I embarked on a study of the books published about Islam. I would like to touch upon a few of the works that I could recommend in this connection. An Indian well-wisher sent me a book captioned ‘What Is Islam?’, written by Q.A. Jairazby H.W. Lovlegrove. I would specially recommend the book. It is a book that describes Islam in the best way. Spreading the book worldover would be a useful service for the promulgation of Islam. I read an English version of Qur’ân al-kerîm rendered by Maulvi Muhammad Alî, and I liked it. In addition, I read some other books, and I did not neglect magazines publicizing Islam. In Montreal, I found many works published in French about Islam.
Some of them praised Islam, while others were intended against it. But Islam’s greatness could not be buried even under books written for the purpose of reviling it. Instead, they were no more than other sources of evidence corroborating for me the fact that Islam is the true religion.