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In the mid-twentieth century, Isaac Hilal Masiha has been born in Egypt. He has been born to Christian parents who were the cause of deviating the built in instinct that Allah deposited has in the minds of people.This natural sense is the singularity of Allah and his veneration.They have doused the flame of faith in the heart of the newly born babe. The prophet (PBUH) said: “Every child is born on instinct; his parents will make him a Jew, or Christian or Magian.It’s the like of an animal giving birth to another. Do you see any lamb born with severed ear?Isaac grew up Christian worshiping Christ other thanGod. He began studying theology on Sunday school. He joined the School of Theology in Beirut until he received his Masters degree. He progressed in the churchpriesthood hierarchy. He moved from being deacon to the pastor, before obtaining the highest leadership positions in the church.He has become a pastor in the Christian Church. Later, he became president emeritus of the Egyptian associations for the salvation of souls in Africa and West Asia.
In the early period of his church life, Isaac has read the Bible. Throughout its pages, he has witnessed the derogation of prophets’ and the vices attributed to them even the scum of humans wouldn’t dare to do. Noah has been accused of drinking alcohol; David of adultery, Solomon of idol worship. He was always wondering: Is it possible for prophets to be like this? How could the Bible accuse the prophets of such vices? Would Allahsend them to convey His message if whatthe Torahsaysabout them is true?
Any Christian will not be pleased accusing his church pastor or his country’s bishop of such vices. As a matter of fact, Catholic Christians see the infallibility of the Pope as decided by the First Vatican Council in 1870. Would the Christians selecttheir priests and popes better than God's choice of His prophets and messengers? Why would they reject any vile accusation leveled at their priests?Yet, they accept that in the integrity of the noble prophets of God?
Perish the thoughts; may the peace and blessing of my Lord be upon them.
Many questions have been raised in the depths of Isaac’shuman nature.They are objecting to and rejecting the attribution of vices to God’sprophets. There are questions looking for answers, yet, no one can provide any. The Reverend Isaac has been teaching the people in the church; however, he was himself looking forsomeonecapable of answering theever-present common sense questions in his mind.No large amount of money lavished on him could buy his misgiving and doubts. These questions have also plagued the sleep of the clergy around him.
In 1979, the Reverend Isaac began his thesis for the Master at the Seminary College in Cairo. His research objectivity took the better of him; he has reached a conclusion in his research. He has found thatChrist has announced the coming of a prophet in the Biblical texts. He will be called the Paraclete; a Greek word meaning (the praised one).The Reverend has seen a clear sign to the prophethood of Mohammad (PBUH). Nevertheless, the Gospel of Johnattributes this to Christ,(PBUH): “sorrow has filled your hearts, but I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John, verses 7-8.
Reverend Isaac Hilal has paid dearly for his objectivity; his thesis has been refused after four years of effort and perseverance. He hasbeen accused of madness. It’s the same ridiculous lie that misguided people have described the advocates of the truth in every age and country. These are people of similar thoughts and related discourse. In Sura Adh-Dhariyat, verses 52-53 Allah confirms their claims: (Similarly, no messenger came to the Peoples before them, but they said (of him) in like manner, "A sorcerer or one possessed"! (52) Is this the legacy they have transmitted, one to another? Nay, they are themselves a people transgressing beyond bounds! (53).)
Isaac will never forget the sixth day of August 1978. He was sitting in the bus withhis church cloak when aboy came aboardselling Islamic books. The Reverendbought the chapter thirty of the Qur'an and another book. Unable to overcome his curiosity, he started to read the Qur’an. His life has turned upside down. The verses of this book completely destroyed the foundation of his faith and shook the depths of his conscience. The clear sounding verses of Sura Al-Ikhlas have made the Reverend stop and think. Allah says:(Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; (1) Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; (2) He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; (3)And there is none like unto Him. (4)). Furthermore, he wonderedhowChrist could be god, when he is born froma woman? He couldn’t believe in the divinity of someone who needs food and drink. He couldn’t accept associating partners with God the Eternal, who is serving his creation, and who is in need of anyone or anything?
One must question himself on how to talk about the divinity of Christ and equate him to Almighty God. Allah has neither anequal nor a son?
Sura Al-Ikhlas has been the second beacon in the life of Reverend Isaac. It has come after the scream of his inner self and its questions that caused him a lot of problems within the church.
During his work in the church, his innate conscience rejected the recognition of the so-called sacrament of penance.The offender or the wrong doer will confess his guilt to the priest. The latter will grant him a pardon absolving him of his sins. The priest will then declare his innocence and forgives him. (He will get a new slate until he commits another sin). Isaac was wondering: How can I forgive others their sins,while I need someone to forgive mine? Is Paradise so cheap to the extent that any priest in the Church can grant it to whomhe pleases? All thesequestionsandothers have robbed him his sleep. His awakened mind couldn’t hide them away. Furthermore, he has become addict to alcohol, an element that added to his miseries. To this example and many others, Allah says in Qur’an in Sura Taha, verse 124:(“But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.”)
Isaac hasasked many questions that caused him some troublewith the church. Unable to answer them, and exasperated with his conduct,the church decided this time to incarcerate him. The jail has been located in the priory of (Mary Mina) in Wadi Natroon, where he has spent one hundred humiliating days. He has suffered all types of beatings and indignity at the hands of his jailers. Finally, he has been released to the senior monk to reason with him, and bring him back to the so-called church’s straight path.
However, the senior monk has talked to him in a tone he wasn’taccustomed to hear before in the church.He told him: son, be patient! Remember, whoever fears Allah will prepare him a way out; He shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do one single righteous deed.Be sure to settle your affairs confidentially.
At first, Reverend Isaac didn’t understand the secret behind the monk’s strange rationale and words; he has been puzzled by his speech. One day, hecame to see the monk in his retreat only to discover something shocking. He has caught him off guard performing the Muslim prayers.The senior monkadmitted that he was Muslim concealing his conversion to Islam for the last twenty-three years. During this period, the monk said, he has found solace in the Qur'an and deep faithwithin his heart.
Reverend Isaac Hilal has been released, and returned to his church tomake peopleunderstand what he was unable to fathom. He has come back carrying in his heart three blazing elements. These have awakened the call of instinct: Sura Al-Ikhlas, the complex of the confessional, and the priest’s silhouetteas he performed the Muslims’ prayer.
Late in 1979, the church has commissioned Pastor Isaac in a missionary trip to Sudan. There, he has distributed large amounts of money on poor Muslims. In his presence, these wretched souls have declared to him their switch to Christianity. They were hoping to get more money from him to feed their sons, cloth their bodies, and buy medicaments.He then boarded the ship (Marina) accompanying them back to Egypt, where they will be initiated in their new religion.
In the cabin14 resides the new apostate Abdul Maseeh whose previous name was Mohammed Adam. The Reverend Isaaccame to see him in his cabin, and found him praying like the Muslims do. He told him: “how could you pray like them after severing your ties with your previous religion?
With an answer that could have shaken mountains, Abdul Maseeh- or if will say- Mohamed Adam answered firmly: -“I've sold you my body for your money, but my heart, my soul and my mind belongto Allah Almighty alone. I wouldn’t sell them for the treasures of the world; and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
This reactionhas startled the priest who is still skeptical about the legitimacy of his faith.The firmnessof Mohamed Adam has changedthe roles;it has made the prey into hunter. Suddenly, the hunter fell prey to the truth;the truth that has rattled his heart for a long time.He returned to Egypt to announce his conversion to Islam; this move has cost him dearly. He waived his rights to what heowned in bank savings and real estate funds. He gave itall upwillinglyfor Islam, for the tranquility of the heart,and for the peace of mind. His heart haslong suffered the darkness and control of falsehood.Now, he iswriting a new chapter in sacrifice for the sake of the true faith and belief. The verse 207 of Sura Al-Baqara fits Isaac perfectly(And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah: And Allah is full of kindness to (His) devotees.)
The story of Isaac reminds us of one of the good righteous predecessors, to whom the prophet said: “What a profitable transaction Aba Yahiya!” The prophet (PBUH) gave Suhaib Ar-Roumi the promise of abundant rewards when he favored the hereafter on this ephemeral world. You see; Suhaib has relinquished hiswealth and worldly assets in Makkah in exchange for Islam, paradise, and God’s pleasure. He sets on a journey to migrate to Medina joining the new faith. It’s a lucky sale and propitious exchange Suhaib concluded! The one who follows the tracks is indeed fortunate. After all, paradise is surrounded with adversity.“He who is afraid of the pillage of the enemy, sets out in the early part of the night. And he, who sets out early, reaches his destination. Be on your guard that the commodity of Allah is precious. Verily, the commodity of Allah is Janna.” Islam is the road to paradise; whoever prefers it, will sacrifice everything for it.
Leaving his wealth behind to the church hasn’t been the last trial faced by the new Muslim Isaac Hilal.Three assassination attempts have been perpetrated by his relatives. One has almost cost him his life, hasn’t been Allah’s providence. Allah says in the Qur’an, Sura Al-Baqara, verse 214: (Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah?" Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!)
However, the greatest tragedy that has touched Isaac was the immolation of his parents. They have protestedtheir sons freeing himself from worshiping the Messiah, to worshiping the Lord of Christ.Doubtless he loved his parentsand keenonkeeping them alive. Nevertheless, his love for Islam was greater and the certainty of the truth that has touched his heart. Sura At-Tawba, verse 24(Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.)
Earlier in time,Saad I Abi Waqqas (ABPH) remained steadfast; he didn’t budge despite facing a great trial. His mother wanted to exploit his love and obedience for her. She said to him: “O Saad, what this religion, you have followed? If you don't leave it, I won’t eat or drink until I die; then people will accuse you of matricide.”Her self-assured son replied: “Do not do my mother; I won’t leave this religious for anything. Oh mother, you know, by God, if you had a hundred souls that will leave your body one after the other. I won’t forsake my religion. So, feel free to eat or not to eat.”
Isaac is still residingin Jordan, far away from his family and his country. We supplicate Allah to keep steadfast on the truthand guidance.
Dr. Munqith Bin Mahmoud Al-Sakkar
Researcher at Muslim World League
Translated by Sadok Salehi
Translator at Muslim World League