Dr. ’UMAR ROLF FREIHERR VON EHRENFELS (Austrian)
He was only a small child when he felt a growing concern for the orient and began to study the Islamic religion. His sister Imma von Rodmesrhof writes about this inclination of her brother’s in detail in a book of hers, which was published in Lahore in 1953. At a very young age, Rolf travelled in Turkey, in Albania, in Greece, and in Yugoslavia, and joined prayers in mosques although he was a Christian. Eventually, the warm feelings of closeness that he had been harbouring towards Islam resulted in his embracing Islam in 1927, from then on he chose the name ’Umar for himself. In 1932 he visited India, and published a book entitled ‘The Place of Woman in Islam’. When the Germans invaded Austria during the Second World War, Rolf fled to India. Accepted and supported by Akbar Haydar, he carried on anthropological studies in Assam, was appointed as a professor of anthropology for the University of Madras in 1949, and was awarded with a gold medal by the ‘Royal Asiatic Society’, which was located in Bengal. His books were also published in the Urdu language.)
1) Islam contains the good aspects of all the world’s religions known to us. All religions are intended for men’s living in peace and tranquility. Yet no other religion has managed to teach it to
people as explicitly as Islam does. No other religion has been successful in imbuing with such deep love towards our Creator and towards brothers of the same faith.
2) Islam enjoins a perfect submission to Allâhu ta’âlâ in a mood of peace and tranquility.
3) A retrospective look into history will automatically expose the fact that the Islamic religion is the final true, heavenly religion and that no other religion will appear.
4) Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’, who communicated the Qur’ân al-kerîm, is the final prophet.
5) It is doubtless that a person who enters the Islamic religion will automatically have separated himself from his former religion. Yet this separation is not so big as it may be anticipated.
The tenets of belief are the same in all the heavenly religions. Qur’ân al-kerîm acknowledges the heavenly religions before itself. Yet it rectifies the wrong beliefs inserted into these religions afterwards, exposes the religion of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ in its essential form, and declares that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the final prophet and that no prophet will come after him. In other words, Islam is the true and perfect form of other religions. Various clashes of interests and contrasting ambitions have made men inimical towards one another. And this animosity, in its turn, has been exploited by other people, who have tried to change religions into rival camps and thus to build their worldly advantages on religions, which, in actual fact, are essentially paths guiding to knowing Allâhu ta’âlâ. In fact, it takes a little alertness to see that the Islamic religion acknowledges the other heavenly religions and that it purifies them of the human interpolations that they had been subjected to in the course of time. To accept Islam, therefore, means to render a spiritual and material service which is needed by all people, men and women alike.
6) In no other religion has the concept of brotherhood among people been stated so expressly as it has been in Islam. All Muslims, regardless of their race, nation, colour and language, are brothers of one another. Whatever their political views are, they are brothers of one another. No other religion possesses this beauty.
7) Islam is a religion which gives women great rights. The Islamic religion has allotted women the most proper place. Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ stated, “Paradise is beneath a mothers’ feet.”
The Islamic religion respected the works of art made by people of other religions, and did not demolish them like barbars. As they were building mosques like Fâtih and Sultân Ahmad (Blue
Mosque) in Istanbul, they did not feel averse to modelling some of their architecture after that of Saint Sophia. Throughout history, Muslims have displayed greatest justice and mercy towards people of other religions. For reasons such as these, I chose Islam for my faith.