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She is an America girl whom Allah-in His wisdom and knowledge- has promised guidance to the one who seeks it. Sura Al-Imran, verse 73 states this fact: “Say: "True guidance is the Guidance of Allah: (Fear ye) Lest a revelation be sent to someone (else) Like unto that which was sent unto you? or that those (Receiving such revelation) should engage you in argument before your Lord?" Say: "All bounties are in the hand of Allah: He granteth them to whom He pleaseth: And Allah careth for all, and He knoweth all things.”
Emily has been born in a divided family. The mother is a Christian, who attends regular church, while her dad is an atheist. Being a scientific minded person, he couldn’t reconcile between Christianity and science. He is a researcher that specializes in paleontology, and cannot find in his wife’s religion what pleases his mind and conscience.
Often Emily accompanied her mother to visit the church, even though she’s not satisfied with this religion. The priests say incomprehensible things in the church. The language of the Gospel is difficult also. The stories told are illogical, and sometimes resemble children's fictional stories. Can anyone say differently about the story of Samson, and his mighty power stored in his long hair? This hero kills thousands in every battle. He would carry the city’s gate on his shoulder, the way one of us carries a small child. And if will meet a lion, he will slay it in half with his bare hands. However, if cuts his hair he will turn into a scrawny man. Samson is one of the heroes of the Bible. Bizarre stories are told about him in the book of Judges, which Jews and Christians believe in.
Reading the Torah, has led Emily to question the credibility of the stories and their significance. And what is the missing link in the biblical story of Adam’s sons? For her, what defies comprehension is: why has God accepted sacrifice of Cain, and did not accept the offering of his brother able? Emily will soon discover the answer later in the noble Qur'an. “Allah doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous.”
Emily asked her mother about the reason for being Christian. She wanted to know what she has favored it over other religions. Her mom’s reply didn’t go beyond following the inherited tradition of the parents and grandparents. Again, the Qur’an readily provides the answer. Sura Az-Zukhruf, verse 23 states the following: (We found our fathers following a certain religion, and we will certainly follow in their footsteps.)
Emily asked: How can humans worship an imperfect god, whether it is an idol made of stone that does not here? How can they idolize a tree that doesn’t harm or benefit? Alternatively, how can they worship a human being whose followers believed that he has lived on earth, has eaten and drank? Finally, he has been beaten, then crucified and died. And why has all had happened?! They say: it is for the love of humans, and to bear their sins. Hence, they will not be held accountable, and they can do whatever they want on this earth without reproach.
The absence of logic in the Christian beliefs made Emily's father leave the church and turn into an atheist. He sufficed himself with science instead of religion. He didn’t accept the idea of blind faith, vague notions, and grumbles that the pastors repeat constantly. He loved Christ, but he sees him as a decent human being.
“Why shouldn’t I be an atheist like my dad; he has adopted science over false religion," said Emily? Real science and true religion are two inseparable components.
Emily asked her father about his knowledge of Islam. He replied that he has read about it in some Orientalist books. And these aren’t reliable sources in spite of their claims of scientific objectivity and impartiality. Hence, they use these elements to conceal their hatred toward Islam. This faith has demolished their mighty armies in time of the Crusades. It has conquered their most important cities to become Muslim land. Jerusalem hasn’t been the first, nor won’t Constantinople be the last.
Emily’s father summed up his meager knowledge of the religion of Islam. It’s a faith of an orphaned boy who herded sheep. Later, he has become a merchant to a rich widow; it has also been said that he stayed secluded in a cave in prolonged meditation. He claimed an Angel had visited him, or so he has imagined. People also say he has been afflicted with epilepsy. Emily’s reply was astonishing; she asked her father again: Would epileptic people come up with such sublime verses? Allah says in Sura Al-Alaq, verses 1-5 the following: “(Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created- (1) Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: (2) Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, - (3) He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-(4) Taught man that which he knew not.(5))”
Furthermore, Emily mentions what had happened during the history lesson when the Professor ridiculed Islam and its decline of humanity-according to him. It has taken it from the peak of Christ's teachings to the ritual of a religion that crippled its followers with stagnation and inertia. The Prof has cited the example of a Saudi delegation visiting the U.S. for important trade negotiations. The members of the delegation stopped the negotiations to perform their prayer. He along with his students laughed at the followers of this religion who favored their prayer over the color of dollars?! What a strange world!
Emily responded to the laughter of her colleagues by presenting a research to the school. In it, she discussed the eligibility of the Palestinians to their homeland. She likened the persecution of the Jews to them to what Hitler has done to their grandparents, and what the Europeans invaders have done to America Indians. The research has caused Emily troubles with her parents. The school reproached her parents, wondering about how did these ideas seeped into their daughter’s mind.
On the cusp of the university, Emily decided to learn Arabic and read about Islam. She has and looked long for someone who will help in her task. Allah has led her to a young man named Mohammed Assami. This Arab Muslim who’s studying in that city will become after a while her husband Emily and the father to her children.
Her father has strongly opposed her reading a translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran, which Muhammad gave her. His anger knew no limits when Emily decided to study Arabic in her university life. He threatened her with expulsion from the house; a threat that soon became a reality, so Emily moved to university housing. She started working and toiling to earn her living and university fees. She has paid dearly for her frivolous decisions, which her father saw as acts of recklessness and arrogance.
Emily suffered difficult days away from her home and her parents. She has been almost driven to suicide or madness. Nightmares haunted her and robbed her sleep. She penned a letter to her parents saying: “you have the right to question why I am doing this to you and causing myself such misery? I swear I do not know, but day after day my desire [to learn Arabic] increases, as if the matter is not in my hand. Perhaps God wants to lead to me to Islam; and there is no power to fight the will of God.”
Mary, the Christian missionary came to visit her in her room repeatedly. She told her: “testify that Jesus the son of Mary is God; he is our savior from our sins. He will save you, and you will be among the winners.” The nun asked her for a final answer. Emily asked the sister to be given time to think it over. Emily muttered to herself: “if I followed her, I will have a way out in my life; my mother will be satisfied with me, and so will my dad. However, my mind hesitates, and what the Qur'an narrates is closer to my mind.” Thinking about the answer has drained all her energy. She threw her tired body on the bed; suddenly floating between slumber and consciousness, she heard a voice inspiring her to answer the nun: “I worship Allah.”
One day, Muhammad Assami told her about the secret behind refraining from food and drink in this day of Ramadan. It is the third pillar of Islam after the two Shahada and prayer. Muhammad was not performing his prayers regularly. Emily has been appalled by his failing duty of religion and duty of his Lord.
Emily married Muhammad. Within her chest, she felt something tugging at her heart to supplicate the Almighty God and cry out to Him. However, she still doubted His existence. «What will I lose if no one hears me? She lifted her gaze heavenwards and said pleadingly: “O Lord, if you do exist, help us in this marriage, and steady my husband on his religion, so he can teach me.”
At the beginning of 1961, Emily’s mom has died. She was overcome with grief, and spent many sleepless nights. When anxiety gripped her heart, and couldn’t fight it, she found solace in the Holy Qur’an. Peace and tranquility have settled back throughout her inner self. She has read about the great rewards Allah has in store for those who face calamity with patience. Sura Al-Baqara, verses 155-157 are clear proof to that: (Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, (155) Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return":-(156)They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.(157))
Emily traveled with her husband to his homeland, and got acquainted with his family members and relatives. She has disapproved their way of life, and has alienated them from Islam. She has read about this religion, its values and teachings. She realized that the Qur'an for these people is: “their neglected book, they read it to enjoy listening to its musicality only. Isn’t it the word of Allah for Muslims to follow? Has it become an instrument for particular events only?”
Anyone whose state is like this cannot teach Emily Islam. “I still believe the religion has great potential, but people are procrastinators.” She said, “I will seek knowledge through reading.” I must learn Arabic in order to possess the key leading all the way to Qur’anic science and its realities. Although she asked her husband repeatedly to teach her Arabic, he couldn’t do it due to time constraint and busy schedule. Exasperated, she lifted her hands to God asking Him: “Lord, I lodge my complaint to your Majesty! I have asked you to make my marriage a success, and you did. Then I asked you to keep my husband steadfast on the right path, and you did guide him. Finally, I asked you to make him teach me ... maybe I had rushed in this request, O Lord, forgive me the days go by; I am getting old, but my knowledge is not increasing.”
She went on talking to herself: «If God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. Therefore, change becomes inescapable.) Why don’t I read and teach myself?” And so Emily began to learn Arabic. She started with first, second and third grade primary books. She tried hard- despite the burdens and requirements of their children – to follow the Arabic language classes at the education institute she frequents. She spent long nights reading the translation of the Holy Qur’an. She has used the English interpretation and utilized it in her pursuit to master the language. Finally, Allah has opened her heart to Islam and fulfilled her third request. She started - thanks to Allah- repeating with the believers: (“Praise be to Allah, who hath guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah”) Sura Al-A’raf, verse 43.
We ask Allah Almighty to keep us and sister Umm Mohammed steadfast on His religion. He is indeed capable of guiding and helping us all stay on the straight path.
Dr. Munqith Bin Mahmoud Al-Sakkar
Researcher at Muslim World League
Translated by Sadok Salehi
Translator at Muslim World League