President, The English Muslim Mission
Born in London I was brought up Christian of the Protestant persuasion.
In 1930, in my teens, I was confronted with the problems normal to a
reasonably intelligent young man, these problems being basically relating to
the reconciling of everyday affairs with the claims of religion and here I
came across the first weakness of Christianity. Christianity is a dualism
which regards the world as sinful and seeks to turn its back on the
realities of life, projecting its hopes into a future world. As a result of
this there is created a Sunday attitude towards religion which has no place
in the rest of the secular week. At this time in England there was a great
deal of poverty and social discontent which Christianity made no attempt to
resolve. More emotional than knowledgeable, with the enthusiasm of youth I
rejected the Church and became a Communist.
Communism has a certain satisfaction at an emotional adolescent level but
again it did not take long to realise the hateful nature of Communism based
upon class warfare, in itself immortal. Having rejected the materialism of
Communism I turned to the study of philosophy and religion. The unity which
I observed all around me led me to identify myself with what is known as
Pantheism, a natural law religion.
We in the West find it difficult to acquaint ourself with Islam for since
the days of the Christian Crusades there has been either a conspiracy of
silence or a deliberate perversion of Islamic matters. Anyway at the time
living in Australia I asked for a copy of the Holy Qur'an at the Sydney
Public Library, when I was given the Book and was reading the preface by the
translator, the bigotry against Islam was so obvious that I closed it up.
There was no Qur'an translated by a Muslim available. Some weeks later in
Perth, Western Australia, I again asked at the library for a copy of the
Qur'an stipulating that the translator must be a Muslim. It is difficult to
put into words my immediate response to the first surah, the Seven
Opening Verses: Then I read something of the life of the Prophet (peace be
on him). I spent hours in the library that day, I had found what I wanted,
by the mercy of Allah. I was a Muslim. I had not at this time met any
Muslim. I came out of the library exhausted by the tremendous intellectual
and emotional experience I had received. The next experience, I still ask
myself: was it true or was it something I had dreamed up, for in cold print
it seems impossible to have happened. I came out of the library intending to
get myself a cup of coffee. I walked down the street and raising my eyes to
a building beyond a high brick wall I saw the words `Muslim Mosque' I
straightway said to myself `You know the truth, now accept it'.
`La illaha illalah Muhammad ur Rasul Allah' and so by the mercy
of Allah I became a Muslim.