Asalamu Alaikum! This is very comforting to know…
Asalamu Alaikum! This is very comforting to know…
I transcribed this because sometimes the text in the video was hard to see or did not hover long enough to be read. My remarks are in brackets. Correct spelling and grammar inserted were necessary to make for better flow of reading. Click on the link below to view the video.
What Happened To Bob “The American Doctor” When He Visited Saudi Arabia?
Transcribed 8 January 2016 by Tara Umm Omar
Dr. Ghrama Alshehri, General Surgery Consultant in Aseer hospital.
There was an American eye doctor who had faced terrible health issues which led him to the intensive care in the hospital.
He was a typical American man, with blue eyes and blond hair. He was also a very conservative Christian.
This man used to have a dream that occurred every other night while he stayed in the hospital.
In his dream, he sees Jesus [Isa, ‘alayhi as-salam] telling him to go to Saudi Arabia and spread Christianity there.
When he got better, he told his wife about this dream and she insisted that he goes and does what he had been guided to do in this dream.
He told her he would think about it.
After a while, he received a call from the Saudi embassy who had a job offer for three months if he wants.
Then he told his wife about this offer and she pressured him to accept the offer in order to spread their religion.
Her attitude was weird because she was actually a very sweet lady but in this case, she was firm and insistent!
He accepted the offer and worked in a hospital in Aseer.
When he arrived at the airport, he started preaching to people about Christianity, saying that Jesus died for us [as in died for our sins].
There was of course no response.
Then he started to preach to us, “his colleagues”.
The host: didn’t he know that you all were Muslim?
The guest: of course!
The host: so he claims that he came to save Muslims from the ignorance.
The guest: he was amazed by our generosity and hospitality.
One day, he suggested to debate about religion.
I said sure, the difference between us is that you say Jesus is God’s son and he was crucified and buried.
If that is true and you have witnesses, I will happily accept all that is mentioned in the Bible [astaghfirAllah!]
The Bible says that all the disciples were dead after that incident so there wasn’t any witnesses of the crucifixion!
Christians assume that Jesus was buried for three days then was risen from death. How can that be proven when all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, narrate Mary Magdalene’s story in a different version?
Mark’s gospel claims that she was alone by the grave. Whereas Matthew’s gospel narrates that she wasn’t alone. She was joined by another woman named Mary and angel Salome. The third gospel claims that there were men with her. Finally, the last gospel mentioned various names.
The host: so the stories were contradictory!
The guest: indeed.
In the first gospel, Mark says that she saw Jesus and spoke with him. Then in the second one she said she didn’t see him. In the third one, she said she saw angels.
The host: and he kept listening to you?
The guest: yes, he was silent.
The host: did he read all four gospels?
The guest: yes, he read them all.
His name was Bob. I said: Bob, can you tell Dr. Sameer, who is another eye doctor, about this Mary Magdalene who was mentioned in all the four gospels.
Bob laughed and said that the gospels say that Mary Magdalene had a schizophrenic personality and was inhabited by seven devils [a’oodhu billah!]
The guests are laughing at their fellow guest because of his poor English.
The guest: anyway, the doctor didn’t have any witnesses.
Then I asked him, when you were in America, what was your impression about us?
He replied by saying, terrorists.
I said, have you seen any since you came here?
He said, no.
The host: he used to hear about the bad reputation but now he can see for himself that it is not true.
The guest: yes, after that he converted to Islam. But before that, he asked me if he could attend one of our prayers. He wanted to see what prostration feels like. After he saw how great it feels, he was pleased and said, I can’t wait anymore. I want to announce my conversion to Islam but I’m worried about my wife’s reaction.
The host began laughing because of the irony of this. His wife is the one who sent him to spread Christianity and now he became a Muslim!
The guest: his wife called him everyday to see how things were going with that journey!
We told him to call her and see. He called her and she asked him how many people he had converted until now.
He told her that it was a very hard mission because it wasn’t easy to persuade Muslims since they are very attached to their religion.
She said, so are the Muslims in America. I couldn’t persuade anyone but you must keep trying.
He said, they continuously read Qur’an and memorize it. I’ve read it too and it has beautiful ethics.
She said, I have also read it. It is true that Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] is a prophet and the Qur’an is a heavenly book. I didn’t send you to deny this fact, I sent you to spread your religion.
He said, they are incredibly generous people and I hadn’t seen any terrorism.
She said, I know that. Even American Muslims are decent and aren’t terrorists. That is just the medias actions [opinions].
Then she asked him, have you become a Muslim now? Because if you have, I don’t want our relationship to end.
He said, yes, Muslims can remained married to Christians.
The host laughed and said, he began referring to himself as a Muslim already.
His wife said, so you admit it!
He said, yes, I’ve converted to Islam.
She said, so you will start praying and fasting Ramadan?!
The host: it seems she has knowledge about Islam.
He said, yes, I will perform all Islamic orders.
She said, even the prayer before dawn fajr prayer?
He said, that prayer is the best!
She said, haven’t you noticed that I’ve been going down to the cellar [basement] and locking the door before dawn every single day for the last two years?
He surprisingly said, you’re a Muslim?!!
She said, yes, I sent you to Saudi Arabia to convert to Islam.
Bob was shocked!
She said, you are stubborn headed! You had to see for yourself that these people are not terrorists!
The hosts: this lady is consistent.
“Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning (priests), and men who have renounced the world (monks), and they are not arrogant. And then they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth. They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe, write us down among the witnesses.’ (Surat Al-Maida 82-83)”
This was what happened to the former British Catholic Priest Idris Tawfiq on reciting Islam’s holy book, the Quran, to his students at a school in Britain. And this was one of the important steps in his journey of conversion to Islam.
During a recent lecture he gave at the British Council in Cairo, Tawfiq made clear that he has no regrets about his past and what he holds in regard to what Christians do and his life at the Vatican for five years.
“I enjoyed being a priest helping the people for some years. However, deep inside I was not happy and I felt that there was something not right. Fortunately, and it is God’s will, some events and coincidences in my life led me to Islam,” he told a packed hall at the British Council.
A second important coincidence for Tawfiq was his decision to quit his work at the Vatican, a step followed by making a trip to Egypt.
“I used to think of Egypt as a country of Pyramids, camels, sand and palm trees. I actually took a charter flight to Hurghada.
Shocked to find it similar to some European beaches, I took the first bus to Cairo where I spent the most wonderful week in my life.
This was my first introduction to Muslims and Islam. I noticed how Egyptians are such gentle, sweet people, but also very strong.
“Like all Britons, my knowledge about Muslims up to that time didn’t exceed what I heard from the TV about suicide bombers and fighters, which gave the impression that Islam is a religion of troubles. However, getting into Cairo I discovered how beautiful this religion is. Very simple people selling goods on the street would abandon their trade and direct their face to Allah and pray the moment they heard the call to prayer from the mosque. They have a strong faith in the presence and will of Allah. They pray, fast, help the needy and dream to have a trip to Mecca with the hope of living in heaven in the hereafter,” he said.
“On my return I resumed my old job of teaching religion. The only compulsory subject in British education is Religious Studies. I was teaching about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and others. So everyday I had to read about these religions to be able to teach my lessons to the students, many of whom were Arab Muslim refugees. In other words, teaching about Islam taught me many things.
“Unlike many troublesome teenagers, these students set a good example of what a Muslim could be. They were polite and kind. So a friendship developed between us and they asked if they could use my classroom for prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan.
“Luckily, my room was the only one with a carpet. So I got accustomed to sitting at the back, watching them praying for a month. I sought to encourage them by fasting during Ramadan with them, even though I wasn’t yet a Muslim.
“Once while reciting a translation of the holy Quran in class I reached the verse:
“And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth.”
To my surprise, I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I tried hard to hide it from the students.”
Read the rest of the article, A Former British Catholic Priest Accepts Islam After Reading The Quran
Why Vatican Catholic Priest Converted To Islam?
Vatican Priest Converted To Islam
Photo Credit: Muslims For Allah
On the authority of Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam, said: “Part of the perfection of someone’s Islam is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.” [Hadith hasan – Recorded by Tirmidhi, hadith #12 of the 40 Hadiths Compiled by Imam An-Nawawi]
The Prohibition Of Interfering In Other People’s Affairs
By Sh. Khalifa Ezzat
London Central Mosque Ltd & The Islamic Cultural Center
April 16, 2010 – Jumada Al-Awwal 2, 1431
Dear brothers and sisters: Islam urges us to follow Dear brothers and sisters noble manners and honourable values that spread respect and affection among Muslims. It also warns us against following bad manners and dishonourable values. It was the mission of Prophet Muhammad to proclaim and call for these noble manners and values. He said in a Hadith, ‘I was sent to complete good morals and noble manners.’
Among these good manners and morals is to leave and ignore that which does not concern you; and not to interfere in other people’s affairs. The Prophet said, ‘From the good manners of Islam is to leave that which does not concern him.’ [Al-Tirmidhi]
A sign of one’s excellence in religion is that he ignores what does not concern him, including all things said or done. The Muslim should only participate in what concerns him, such as anything that is his property, right, obligation or under his control. To be concerned with something entails preserving and taking care of this thing that one is allowed to be concerned with.
As for the matters that do not concern one, there are many. Usually, when a person tries to interfere in such matters that do not concern him, he frequently uses his tongue. Muslims are ordered to utter only good words. Many people ignore the fact that in Islam, words are considered as actions. Such people care not about preserving their tongue from uttering evil or nonsense.
Dear brothers and sisters: Know that everyone should only talk about what might lead to benefit. When talking and being silent are equal in benefit, then the Sunnah is to be silent. This is because to be talkative will usually lead to uttering evil, even if it starts with seemingly harmless words. One should always be on the safe side, a state that is indeed desired.’ When a person utters only good words, he gains respect in his community. Likewise, if he is talkative and nosy, disrespectful then a bad reputation is the result.
The scholars explain that only things of true worldly benefit and the next life should concern one. Everything else is, in reality, is a waste of time and should, therefore be left, even when not in itself legally disliked or impermissible.
As for the merely permissible, it is the way of those seeking the path of the next life to have high intentions in such matters, which make them rewarded acts.
Some early Muslims said, ‘Whoever busies themselves with that which does not concern them misses out on much of that which does concern them.’
The Prophet [pbuh] said, ‘Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say what is good or remain silent.’ The Prophet [pbuh]:1. ‘O Messenger of Allah, which of the Muslims is best?’ And he said, ‘He who the Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand.’
Read more here.
Photo Credit: Tawheed Movement
The First Muslim-American Scholar: Bilali Muhammad
By Lost Islamic History
24 February 2014
An unfortunate misconception among today’s American Muslim community is that Islam has only been present in America for less than 100 years. Many American Muslims are children of immigrants who came to the United States from the Middle East and South Asia in the mid-nineteenth century, and thus wrongly assume that the first Muslims in America were those immigrants. The reality, however, is that Islam has been in America for far longer than that. Besides possible pre-Colombian Muslim explorers from al-Andalus and West Africa, Islam arrived on America’s shores in waves through the Atlantic slave trade from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. While hundreds of thousands of slaves arrived in America during this time, the stories of only a few have been preserved and are known today. One of the most enduring and unique is that of Bilali Muhammad.
The Slave Trade
As European nations began to colonize the New World in the 1500s, a demand for cheap labor arose. Plantations, mines, and farms needed workers throughout North and South America, and the native population of the New World proved unsuitable due to their lack of immunity to European diseases. As a result, European powers such as Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain looked south, towards Africa, for a source of slave labor they could exploit.
Thus, European slave traders began arriving at ports in Africa, looking to buy slaves. Generally, Europeans did not go and capture slaves themselves. Instead, they would commonly pay local rulers to go to war with other African states, capture warriors, and sell them to be taken to America. The African rulers would be paid commonly in weapons, which would further perpetuate the cycle of violence and enslavement. The entire system worked to handicap Africa’s social, political, and economic development, and the results of this genocide are still felt in Africa today.
Estimates vary, but over 12 million Africans were probably forcibly taken from their homelands to serve as slaves in America, with as many as 20% of them dying on the trans-Atlantic journey known as the Middle Passage. Since much of the slave trade was focused on West Africa, a large number of those slaves were undoubtedly Muslim. The savanna kingdoms of Mali and Songhai had long been centers of Islamic civilization in West Africa and a huge Muslim population existed in the region.
One of the many Muslim slaves taken to America was Bilali Muhammad. He was from the Fulbe tribe and was born around 1770 in the city of Timbo, in what is now Guinea. He came from a well-educated family, and received a high level of education himself in Africa before being captured as a slave some time in the late 1700s. He was fluent in the Fula language along with Arabic, and had knowledge of high level Islamic studies, including Hadith, Shari’ah, and Tafsir. How he was captured is unknown, but he was originally taken to an island plantation in the Caribbean, and by 1802, he arrived at Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia in the southern United States.
At Sapelo Island, Bilali was fortunate enough to have Thomas Spalding as a slave owner. While conditions across the South were horrendous for slaves, who were forced to work throughout the day and were commonly denied such basic necessities as clothes and stable shelter, Spalding gave certain freedoms to his slaves that were absent elsewhere. He did not push the slaves to work more than six hours per day, had no white slave drivers, and even allowed his Muslim slaves to practice their religion openly, a rare freedom in the deeply Christian South. Bilali was even allowed to construct a small mosque on the plantation, which very well may have been the first mosque in North America.
Because of Bilali’s relatively high level of education, he rose to the top of the slave community, and was relied upon by his owner to take care of much of the administration of the plantation and its few hundred slaves. Perhaps the most remarkable account of Bilali Muhammad’s leadership and trustworthiness occurred during the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. Spalding reportedly left the plantation with his family, fearing a British attack, and put Bilali in charge of the plantation’s defense. He even gave Bilali 80 muskets to defend the island with, which were distributed among the plantation’s Muslim population. Bilali kept true to his word and managed the plantation while his owner was gone and turned it back over to Spalding after the war. The fact that a slave owner trusted his slaves so much as to give them control of the plantation along with weapons speaks volumes about the character and trustworthiness of Bilali Muhammad.
The Bilali Document
As a well-educated Muslim from West Africa, Bilali no doubt brought his Islamic education with him to America. This is evidenced by a thirteen-page manuscript he wrote and gifted to a southern writer, Francis Robert Goulding, before he died in 1857. The manuscript was written in Arabic, and was thus unreadable for most Americans for decades. It made its way eventually to the Georgia State Library by 1931, who attempted to decipher the manuscript, which was popularly believed to have been Bilali’s diary.
After years of effort that involved numerous scholars as far away as al-Azhar University in Egypt, scholars finally managed to decipher the manuscript. It turned out that it wasn’t a diary at all, but was actually a copy of passages from a treatise on Islamic law in the Maliki madhab written by a Muslim scholar of fiqh, Ibn Abu Zayd al-Qairawani in Tunisia in the 900s. The Risala of Ibn Abu Zayd was a part of the West African law curriculum prevalent in Bilali’s homeland in the 1700s when he was a student. When he came to America as a slave, he was of course unable to bring any personal belongings with him, and thus his copy of the Risala was written entirely from memory decades after he learned it in West Africa. This exemplifies the level of knowledge present in West Africa, even as it was ravaged by the Atlantic slave trade.
The Bilali Document is thus probably the first book of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) ever written in the United States. And while Islam slowly died out among the African American community in the United States in the nineteenth century, it is important to recognize and appreciate the stories of the the first American Muslims. They were not a small, inconsequential group. They numbered hundreds of thousands and despite almost insurmountable difficulties, they struggled to preserve their Islamic heritage under the oppression of slavery. The story of Bilali Muhammad is a perfect example of the efforts of this early American Muslim community, one that could inspire American Muslims of the present, whether they be of African descent or not.
Diouf, Sylviane A. Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. New York: New York UP, 1998.
Dirks, Jerald. Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy. Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications, 2006.
Photo Credit: Lost Islamic History
Have you ever seen the masjid of Bilal ibn Rabah (may Allah be pleased with him)? Bilal was the first person to make the adhan (call to prayers).
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: When the Muslims arrived at Medina, they used to assemble for the prayer, and used to guess the time for it. During those days, the practice of Adhan for the prayers had not been introduced yet. Once they discussed this problem regarding the call for prayer. Some people suggested the use of a bell like the Christians, others proposed a trumpet like the horn used by the Jews, but ‘Umar was the first to suggest that a man should call (the people) for the prayer; so Allah’s Apostle ordered Bilal to get up and pronounce the Adhan for prayers. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book #11, Hadith #578)
Narrated the merits of Bilal bin Rabah the freed slave of Abu Bakr. The Prophet said (to Bilal), “I heard the sound of your shoes in Paradise just in front of me.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book #57, Hadith #97)
(52) Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: Umar used to say, “Abu Bakr is our chief, and he manumitted our chief,” meaning Bilal. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book #57, Hadith #98)
Scene from the movie, The Message, Bilal giving the first call to prayer…
Photo Credit: Islamic Landmarks