By a Convert
After being Muslim for eighteen years the writer of this letter, who requested to remain anonymous, received a letter from his sister, an European Christian, in which she confesses her hatred for Islam and his adopted ways. She writes that she wants to normalise their relationship for her prayers “rebounce from the ceiling”. She expresses her disappointment that her brother married a Malay girl rather than a White one.
The writer, who never suspected such hatred from a family member, replies.
“Ouch! Even though we are so far apart in distance and ways, your letter punched a big hole in my heart. But perhaps I deserve that. It in all probability is true that there existed very little communication between us but from your letter the reason is not far to find. But the issue is not a lack of communication; it goes much deeper than that. It is about prejudice and that hurts.
My dear sister, you say that you want to correct what was amiss between us. I applaud this yet remain sceptical. If you want to say, ‘Sorry for the hatred towards you’, I want to put you heart at rest. I have had a strange feeling that you hate my religion but I wrote this off against the assumption that this feeling was the result of ignorance. Yet ignorance fades; perishes and disappears. My question to you is: Did your ignorance regarding my adopted faith dissipate? Do you at all understand anything about Islam? I’m asking this for it is a basic principle without which no sincere change in relations can occur. You cannot ask for a revival of normalcy while the very cause of the abnormal relationship still exists.
I believe you view me as a sort of renegade. This I am most certainly not. The essential difference is that my total commitment to freedom of choice precluded me from presenting Islam to you, my family, more vigorously. Thus I am perhaps also guilty of contributing to that ignorance I am accusing you of harbouring. And for that I am intensely remorseful.
Islam convinced me how important the love of a family and parents in particular are. Even you admitted that since I converted to Islam many positive changes have taken place in my personality.
Forgive you? My dear sister, may Al-Mighty Allah forgive me for not being even closer to my beloved family. What you relate in your letter hurts. Yes, But forgive! There is nothing to forgive. A cardinal belief of the Islamic religion is that we have to be forgiving, for how else could we expect God to forgive us? He is the Forgiver. Without His Mercy we are lost. Forgive? It is not a consideration.
When I was small I was a real rebel. I vividly recall our dear father crying, ‘Oh God, what will happen to this child!’. I also recall that he took the Bible and read in Luke, ‘And the Hands of God is with him’. This, I firmly believe, was an indication that God had lofty plans for me. When God called me to Islam, I heard the Divine Call and replied ‘Labbaik’ (Here I am). Before this my life was a mess. God gave me direction by giving me Islam.
God says in the book Exodus, ‘You will have no other god but Me.’ God is Great! This is what we believe. Your God and my God is the same God. Don’t let ignorant people tell you otherwise.
The difference is that I believe God is Unique and nobody or nothing is equal to Him; that Jesus was a Prophet of God and not His son. I uncompromisingly believe that every baby is born sinless yet fall prey to the sins of this world. I firmly hold that if God should punish a person for the sins of his father such a god would be unjust, unfair and merciless and consequently can not be God. We expect absolute justice from the courts of law. Yet you are satisfied to accept that God is unfair, unjust and a tyrant. No, never!
We believe in Muhammad (Pbuh) only as a Prophet of God. He has no divinity.
We don’t hate Christians. On the contrary, are you aware that God says in the Holy Qur’an, ‘Of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) you’ll find the Christians the closest to you’. This due to our intense love for Jesus. Did you know that if I reject Jesus I cannot be a Muslim, or did your church tell you otherwise?
So much, dear sister, of what you know about us is based on ignorance. I again ask you: Ignorance perishes. Did yours?
There is nothing to forgive. But look into yourself. If it is, as I suspect after reading your letter where you castigate me for having married ‘another’ nation, that you view the Islamic faith as a ‘Malay’ religion, then the problem is much deeper; then it is one of racial prejudice. And with that I cannot help you.
Much within me has changed. I am not perfect. I only have perfection as a guiding light-the Qur’an. Without God I am nothing. Without God I am lost.
But, my dear sister, if I am a heathen as your church has told you, all my words are in vain and lies. Now remains the question: Who is correct, and who is not. I know. Do you?