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Dr. Abdu Abdulmalik Ibrahim
In the last quarter of the nineteenth-century, Abdu Ibrahim Abdulmalik Malik has been born to Orthodox parents in Cairo. He grew up in a wealthy family that could educate him at a time where it was so difficult for anyone else to acquire any degree of education.
During his studies at the secondary level, Abdu Ibrahim accompanied both Mohammed Tawfiq Sidky, and Ahmad Najib Barrada. The three of them stayed long hours studying together in a small room at the house of Mohammed Sidky. Nothing would interrupt their studies unless his two companions had to stop to wash and pray. Meanwhile, he will simply watch them performing their duty. In his heart, he was always wondering about the truth that Allah loves. Does it lay in Islam the religion of his friends of which he knows nothing? Or is it in Christianity that his friends neglected to follow arising from the way they grew up? Being devoted to his friends, he wished he could give them a lifeline to worship Christ rather than worshiping Allah.
One day, curiosity has gotten the better of Abdu. He made ablution with his friends, and asked them about its secret and philosophy. He couldn’t get a credible answer from any one of them. The two young men, like many other Muslims, don’t know their religion, but the bare minimum.
His friends’ reply contained no answer, has forced Abdu to tell them, frankly, that they are all imitators. Abdu follows Christianity, yet he didn’t choose it as faith. He was brought up in it since childhood. And so is the case of his two companions; they are Muslims, yet they know a little about their religion. Again, he was very blunt with them when he said: “we aren’t worthy to be followers of a faith if we don’t know its substance. How about if we make a pledge to seek the facts of religion? We must search for the difference dividing us despite the feelings of friendship and love for each other” And so a pact has been struck between the three friends. They have decided to cast away the cloak of tradition and undertake the means of science and investigation. They should be serious in their search for the true religion.
Years of reading and study in the books of religions and lengthy discussions with the scholar Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Rida, have ignited the sparks of faith in Abdu’s heart. In the corridors of the Faculty of Medicine, he confided to his two companions of his intention to embrace Islam. Faith has moved his inherent self through viewing human bodies that he and his colleagues used to dissect in the anatomy classes. Everything around him calls for Allah’s reverence, and the belief in the Creator. These elements transcend the Almighty Lord above human traits, which Christians believe in.
Abdu Ibrahim responded to the advice of his two companions. He decided to conceal his conversion. He was wary of the influence of his father and his retaliation, which threaten to stop his career in the Faculty of Medicine. He has spent two years praying privately in his room. He used to stay away skipping meals at the tables of his family throughout the days of Ramadan. However, his secret was soon discovered when he forgot his pocket Quran in his coat pocket. His brother and mother snitched on him as they saw him secretly praying in his room. Then, the fasting of Ramadan was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Together, these factors have made the young man to face a difficult test, far more strenuous than the test he is preparing for in his final year at the College of Medicine.
Abdu’s father erupted like a volcano, and spilled very harsh words at his son. These fell on him like whip lashes on raw flesh. You're a misguided son, how dare you to leave the religion of our fathers and grandfathers, do you know better than them?
It’s a doltish logic blamed on the unbelievers by the Qur'an when they said in Sura Az-Zukhruf, verse 23: “("Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are, in their footsteps, following.")” Abdu met the challenge headstrong; a defiance that would make the mountains crumble. The young man declared that he was sticking to his religion. He even wished his parents, and siblings will follow him on the path of guidance. He has treaded this road for quite some time now; he embraced Islam through a long study and research. He has taken prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) as an example. Sura Maryam, verses 43,44 and 45 relate the following: “("O my father! To me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a way that is even and straight. (43) "O my father! Serve not Satan: for Satan is a rebel against (Allah) Most Gracious. (44) "O my father! I fear lest a Penalty afflict thee from (Allah) Most Gracious, so that thou become to Satan a friend." (45))”
Abdu’s father weighed the matter wisely, and decided to use the priests to debate the misguided son and return him back to the churches fold. He followed Pharaoh’s way when he challenged Moses (PBUH), and invited him to the debate: (“So make a tryst between us and thee, which we shall not fail to keep”) Sura Ta-Ha, verse 58 explains what Abdu’s father wanted.
On the promised day, the pastors met to converse with the young man. He came ready armed with the corresponding directives of Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Rida. Furthermore, he has read two books “Showing the Truth” written by Rahmatullah Al-Hindi, and “Suppression of Crosses” Abu Obeida Al-Khazraji.
The young man amazed his interlocutors’ priests for over three days. He has debated them with clear evidence and irrefutable proof. He also told them that the Christian origins were a reproduction of the pagan nations preceding the birth of their faith. He showed and revealed to them the flaws of their religion as much as he could within the time frame allowed to him. They couldn’t find anything in his questions and his answers but to accuse him of insanity and pour eternal curses on him. Abdu had no choice but to leave his father's house a fugitive. He sought refuge at his friend Mohammed Sidky’s room; not as a visitor, but as a tenant.
This blow has fallen hard on the young man. He is about to become a medical doctor. However, its impact is far better and more pleasant than the malice of infidelity that deprives the seeker of truth of sleep. Despite all this, he sees his agonies as a welcome taxation that he will readily pay for the faith he has embraced. He felt this faith will give him the serenity of the heart, delight in this world, and bliss in this world and the hereafter: The new convert realized a price will be paid in exchange for something dear. And the verses 2 and 3 of Sura Al-Ankabut are clear evidence to this effect. Allah will test people to know how much they can bear for the sake of salvation. He is the all-knowing the all-seeing. “(Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe," and that they will not be tested? (2)We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false. (3))”
Dr. Abdu Ibrahim's married the daughter of the Azhari Sheikh, Abdul Hamid Mustafa. Allah blessed him with the first of his children. He has surprised everyone by calling him (Isa); a name love by Muslims no doubt. After all, it is the name of the greatest prophets and messengers of Allah. However, selecting such a name to his son among others in the world has raised doubts about Dr. Abdu. Doubters started to whisper, and innuendo stated to spread. Do you think he grew nostalgic to the religion of his parents? Why shouldn’t they doubt, especially after his Christian family visited him and congratulated him for the birth of his newborn (Isa)? They thought it was an omen for his return to his old religion again?
Reproachfully, Sheikh Abdul Hamid told him about his dubious choice. Soon, however, the doctor dispelled his doubts by saying: “I have always asked Allah to bless me with a son I would call Jesus. The more people call him by (Isa Abdu); or mention him - absent or present; it would be a reminder to the testimony of monotheism. A testimony that there is no God except Allah alone; and that Jesus (PBUH) is His servant only. He is neither God, nor his son.”
The reader will wonder long when he knows that the Christians’ books, despite changes and distortions, are explicit in calling Christ Abdullah (the servant of Allah). The book of Isaiah called him (my servant) in the alleged prophecy about him. “Behold, my servant whom I uphold” (Isaiah 42/1). Furthermore, the Gospels in which they believe says, in many places, from the bondage of Jesus to God and his humility in worship like all other human beings. He selected one instance to show this act. Mark related in his Gospel: “he was praying there” (Mark 1/35) Once more, in the Gospel of Luke, it tells how Jesus “knelt on his knees and prayed” (Luke 22/41). And again, that he “went out to the mountain to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God” (Luke 6/12). So, Christ is the servant of Allah. He prayed to God in front of him like any other faithful worshiper of God.
If so, why do Christians worship Jesus, who idolizes Allah? Why don’t they venerate Allah, the Creator of heavens and earth instead of the man who has been created by Allah?
The world is constantly changing, and things don’t stay the same. Dr. Abdu’s father financial situation has taken a turn for the worse. His dad turned from riches to rags. He turned to his son for help in paying a debt that almost made him homeless. However, the son who admittedly was sated with the values of Islam extended a helping hand to his father and gave him eight hundred pounds in gold. It was a large tender of money met with reproach by Sheikh Abdul Hamid and his daughter. The doctor’s wife saw all their lives savings ended up with her infidel father in law. It is his father who had expelled his own son when he insisted on his conversion to Islam.
However, Dr. Abdu presented his wife and her father with the strongest and ultimate of arguments. The money he has given to his infidel father was in lauded compliance to verses he has learned from the holy Qur’an. These, recommend kindness and good company of parents. Furthermore, compassion is called for, even if parents were unbelievers and try hard to dissuade their son and make him renounce his religion. Verses 14 and 15 of Sura Luqman in the Qur'an come to support the decision of Dr. Abdu’s help to his father. “(And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. (14) "But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did." (15))”
Dr. Abdu Ibrahim died in Cairo before reaching the age of forty. He caught typhoid fever in the locality of his work where he had been infected by his patients in the hospital. He went to meet his creator, Allah Almighty in 1918. He gave the world his son Dr. Issa Abdu Abdul Malik. He has become one of the most modern scholars in Islamic economy. He was the pioneer of establishing Islamic banks. The idea germinated in his mind, and flourished to become a reality. Such feat was realized through lectures and writings, which amounted to thirty books; a legacy of substance to the Islamic renaissance in the twentieth century.
Dr. Abdu had another son, Dr. Mohammed Abdu Abdul Malik; professor of engineering in Switzerland’s universities. He is the author of useful scientific research on the desalination technology.
We supplicate Allah to bless Dr. Abdu Ibrahim. He has done his Muslim nation proud of his children. We ask Allah to include us and him in His mercy. Allah is indeed most charitable and kind.
Dr. Munqith Bin Mahmoud Al-Sakkar
Researcher at Muslim World League
Translated by Sadok Salehi
Translator at Muslim World League