Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Story of my greatest achievement in life

My Reversion Story
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

My name is Sachin and I am 32 years old. My journey to Islam is a result of guidance offered to me by an Egyptian woman. Hence, I dedicate this story to her. She has become my spiritual guide and sister.

I belong to an orthodox but progressive Hindu family. There are four sects in Hinduism. I come from the Brahmin sect, the most prestigious and educated category among the Hindus. I followed my parental faith in the learning phase of childhood. My approach to the Almighty started as a pagan with polytheistic devotion to our Hindus gods, and I was quite aware of the sectarian discrimination that prevailed in my society.

I always wondered about the originator of this universe, His strength, vastness, and many more things. All answers to my queries about the Almighty were not answered by my parent's ideology. We human beings have selected some of our masterpieces and called them the Seven Wonders of the World. However, indeed these Wonders of the World stand nowhere in comparison to the creation of the Almighty. A mere glimpse, not of things far but of things around us, makes me tend to believe in the existence of a Supreme Authority who must be their Designer.

My mind was then caught between two ideologies: monotheism and polytheism.
Amazingly, my first active and realizable encounter with Islam was in 1989 (I was only 15) when my city fell into communal violence. The violence was widespread and killed innocent people. As a Hindu then, I was filled with anger toward Muslims. This wave of violence again struck my city in 1990 and 1992. I was a rigid Hindu then and took part in several anti-Muslim demonstrations in those tense years. When the situation calmed down, I developed some curiosity toward Muslims and Islam. Though I was not yet mature, indeed something from inside compelled me to begin to scrutinize Muslim society.

I belong to a society whose social infrastructure I have never respected, yet I have always noticed that a force unifies Muslim society. Initially I thought that, being a minority community in India, Muslims are bonded together for safety concerns. However, I soon realized that the unifying force is not driven by political or security measures. It is something else. With close scrutiny, I came to realize that this central force which bonds Muslims together is related to the first pillar of Islam, namely tawheed (the Oneness of God). Unlike my community where people are divided on account of their differences in rituals, ALL Muslims are unified by worshiping the same God, practicing the same `ibadat (acts of worship) — same salah (ritual prayer), fasting at the same time, etc. This exploration, though not driven by spirituality, indeed sowed the seeds of tawheed in my mind. I came to know the concept of monotheism. Until then, I never knew about the Oneness of God.

My mind was then caught between two ideologies: monotheism and polytheism. In 1994, I was preparing for my medical entrance exam. To study physics, I began to go to a Muslim professor. It was the month of Ramadan. One day I was there at the time of iftar (meal to break the fast), and heard the Adhan. A faint sound of the Adhan always crept to my house, but it was not understandable. For the first time then, I listened to an Adhan from a nearby mosque. The voice of the Adhan gave me gooseflesh. I felt in a state of mind like never before. It seemed to me as if the Adhan was rising from the mosque up to the heavens. I found myself in a sedative condition of utmost peace.

For the first time, I was able to know the Almighty, and I found myself on the doorstep of the religion of Allah.

Driven by this realization of peace and spirituality, I bought a copy of the Qur'an, and I started reading it. With every word I read, my brain was being washed. By the grace of God, I went on smoothly to accept the word of God surah after surah. It was so simple, distinct, and clear. I wandered through the content of the Qur'an, from the way of dealing with your neighbor to the creation of universe. When I reached Surat Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112), I literally lost my sense of equilibrium. Its four ayahs pierced my heart. Allah says what can be translated as:

[Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.]

I can say for sure that such a clear concept of God is not found in any other religious scriptures. The question of what God is like has always disturbed me, and I wonder at how distinctly God has defined Himself in such four lines. As I read this surah, it seemed to me as if the Almighty was Himself explaining His own attributes in such simple language in front of my eyes. For the first time, I was able to know the Almighty, and I found myself on the doorstep of the religion of Allah. As a student of science, I was also stunned by the scientific facts mentioned in the Qur'an. My trust in the Qur'an and the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) was established.

However, I remained at the doorsteps of the religion of God for a long time. I was not able to free myself from the captivity of my inherited faith. Though I was not following it, a fear always overcast my mind of the repercussions of accepting Islam. Hence, my journey to Islam came to a halt for awhile. However, after this pause, Allah the All-Knower sent me a soul to guide me to my destination. She gave me a gentle push to enter the religion of God. In the month of Ramadan on my birthday I accepted Islam upon her encouragement. That soul is now my spiritual sister. Allah guided me to realize His Oneness, to endorse the truth of the Qur'an as His authentic word, and to accept Prophet Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets in my heart long before I practiced the pillars of Islam. However, I owe her credit for giving me the courage to eventually make my decision and be a true Muslim.

Though I expect a tough reaction from my father, my submission to Allah is firm.
I never felt myself close to God as a non-Muslim and never felt a sense of satisfaction through my acts of worship. With the acceptance of Islam, there has been an enhancement of my spirituality, as now I pray as a monotheist to the real Creator of the universe. Now I spend my late evening hours in the mosque instead of wasting them among friends. After offering my salah, I reach a state of mind that I can only describe as peaceful. I am trying to apply the word of Allah in every activity in my life. My dedication toward my wife has multiplied. The vulgarity that frequently overtook me now seems to have subsided. My family members say I have changed in many aspects. Above all now, I am committed and submitted to the real Lord of this universe.

Except my wife and mother, no one is aware of my Islamic identity. My wife is a simple woman who willingly accepted her Muslim husband. My mother does not comment on this issue except advising me to be fully devoted to whatever path I follow. Though I expect a tough reaction from my father, my submission to Allah is firm. My father and brothers are big critics of Islam, and the issue of jihad is their weapon. I am trying to teach Islam to my wife, and in fact, one of my goals is to be committed to da`wah after I enrich my knowledge of Islam.

Though I find myself amidst many problems related to my new identity, I am striving hard to dedicate myself spiritually to Allah. My spiritual sister tries endlessly to provide me with the knowledge I need about certain issues and to back me with spiritual strength.

Many times I wonder whether it is reality or fiction that I am now a submitter to Allah. Every individual is born as a Muslim. Therefore, I prefer to call my inclusion in the Ummah of Islam (nation of Muslims) as a reversion and not conversion. For me, being a Muslim is the greatest reward from the Almighty. Hereby, I pray that Allah enlightens the dwellers of dark.
Regards.
Sachin.

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