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Mohammad Zaki An-Najjar
No one has expected Zaki An-Najjar to become Muslim. He has been born to Christian parents in the early second quarter of the twentieth century. He has become a caller to Allah and His true religion. Zaki has been born in the Egyptian province of Tahta. He regularly frequented church since childhood; as a matter of fact, he has progressed in its ranks to become a pastor then a priest. The young Zaki worked as a carpenter, and this occupation hasn’t stopped from loving knowledge. He was an avid reader. He never stopped moving through religious book shelves, and has read many Bible’s books as well as the Qur’an. Years of research and scrutiny have been enough to switch the Priest Zaki an-Najjar to the Muslim scholar Mohammad Zaki An-Najjar. Once asked about his reversion to Islam, he said: “Becoming Muslim hasn’t come in one single mutation or overnight. It was rather the result of research and quest to find the truth. I have read the Holy Qur’an after studying the Torah and the Bible. I wanted to record the results of my research into these books about the truth that has guided me to the straight path.”
Between the years1949-1952 after becoming Muslim, Mohammad Zaki An-Najjar enrolled in the Tahta Religious Institute. He donned the Muslim dress, like the students of Al-Azhar. He went on to become a preacher calling to the way of Allah the Almighty. He later joined the ranks of the Muslim brotherhood. He was a great poet and a man of letters.
The Church never spared any efforts to lure him back to Christianity. Sometimes they promised him marriage from a Christian socialite. Other times they promised him promotion to the highest position in the church hierarchy. However, all the promises on earth wouldn’t be able to wipe the belief that has conquered his heart and engulfed his mind.
Mohammad Zaki An-Najjar recorded a synopsis of his experience and his reasons for leaving his old religion in a number of books. No books of his have been found, they seem to have been lost or disappeared. However, a look at the titles is a clear indication of the scholarly status of An-Najjar. In a book titled: “The straight path in reply to the people of trinity," he refutes the doctrines of Christians. Zaki has shown the distortion within the holy Bible in another one, titled: “the Barrel of the Gun Aimed at the Distorted Book." He has also written a tome calling to Islam and its principles that bears the title: “Guidance of Youth in Learning the Principals of Religion.” In dealing with the Prophet, he penned “Miracles of Mohammad (PBUH) in the twentieth century.” Finally, talking about Islam the religion he has embraced and its virtues, he wrote, “Savior of Humanity from the Yoke of Slavery” and “Life Dictum and the Constitution of Immortality.”
An-Najjar has fended off two of the most important suspicions of the skeptics of Islam, who prey on laymen. The first one has been the story of the prostration of the Prophet to the herons. It’s a story circulating on the tongues and pens of missionaries during his time. In a reply to them, he wrote a book titled “Rejection of the missionaries’ libel in the story of the herons.” In this book, he has refuted it as aberration and has shown its corroboration and text weakness. It wasn’t suitable as a matter of protest. All scholars have agreed about its weakness. Ibn Al-Arabi has said, “This story is extremely weak in its text”
It’s rather unfortunate that none of these useful books have reached us, except one. The book is “Bright Beacons in the Darkness of a Gloomy World.” In it, the author has discussed many issues pertaining to his choice of Islam over his parents’ and grandparents’ religion. At the start, he didn’t see his reversion to Islam a desertion of the religion of Christ (PBUH). After all, Islam “is the religion of early and later prophets and messengers. [That is] the meaning of Islam is to submit to what Allah has revealed in His books, and obey his messengers."
An-Najjar quoted verses of the Qur’an to support the validity of the concept of the unity of religion. Allah has sent His prophets and messengers with one religion and has named them all Muslims. All have shown utter surrender to Allah. On account of God, Mussa has said in verse 72 Sura Yunus: “and I have been commanded to be of those who submit to Allah's will (in Islam)” It means from those who submit to Allah the Almighty.
After him, Ibrahim has said in Sura Al-Baqara: “Behold! His Lord said to him: "Bow (your will to Me):" He said: "I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe."(131) and this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah has chosen the Faith for you; then, die not except in the Faith of Islam (132). Were you witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: "What will you worship after me?" They said: "We shall worship your God and the God of your fathers, of Abraham, Isma'il and Isaac, - the one (True) Allah: To Him we bow (in Islam).” (133).
As An-Najjar believes in Mohammad (PBUH), he sees himself honoring the Messiah by believing in the Paraclete’s (Extoller) Prophethood. Jesus has said about him: “ I have yet many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now (11), But when *he* is come, the Spirit of truth, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but whatsoever he shall hear he shall speak; and he will announce to you what is coming (12), He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall announce [it] to you (14)” [John 16-12/14].
An-Najjar looked carefully at what the messiah has said about his brother Mohammad “he shall glorify me." That is, he will revere and honor me. He realized that it is Islam that has exonerated the Virgin Mary from Jewish lies and accusation of adultery. He considered this to be the worst lie that has earned them God’s ire, hatred, and wrath. Their hearts were darkened, and their lights dimmed. Allah testifies to this in Sura An-Nissa, verses 155 and 156 “Nay, Allah has set the seal on their hearts for their blasphemy, and little is it they believe. That they rejected Faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge.”
An-Najjar has reviewed the causes of issuing this lie. He found out that it goes back to the birth of Christ without a biological father. He saw that this event-despite its miraculous aspect-is not beyond God’s ability. He is after all the Almighty. “Whoever created heavens, the earth and all the creatures of the worlds; the suns and moons, planets and orbits, is unable to make Mary carry a child without a man? Oh God, these are manifest error and great falsehood. Again, Allah gives evident proof of His might in Sura Ya-Sin, verses 81, 82, and 83 “Is not He who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?" - Yea, indeed! For He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, "be", and it is! So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will ye be all brought back.”
The Messiah has said, “He shall glorify me." An-Najjar states: “The Prophet of Allah has achieved that. He has glorified him and lifted the stigma off his mother... he has also cleared him and his mother from the obvious and unfair wrong done unto them.” He has done it a second time around when it resulted in the evidence of the innocence of Christ’s mother. This has come in the words of her son (PBUH) in the cradle; a miracle of great proportion that has rendered his detractors speechless. This miracle is the only proof of her innocence; may the peace of Allah be upon her. The Qur’an refers to it, while all Gospels that the Christians believe in its sacredness failed to mention it.
The Christ’s prophecy about the anticipated messenger (PBUH): “He shall glorify me” has been fulfilled by his brother Mohammad a third time. He rejected the distorted gospels’ accusation about his ungraciousness towards his mother. In the Gospel of John (2/4), Mary may be the peace and blessings of Allah be upon her asked her son to turn the water in the jugs into wine so the wedding party she was attending in the village of Qana can drink. In a harsh tone, “Jesus said unto her, Woman, what have I to do with you? Mine hour is not yet come.”
Again in the Gospel of Mathew 12/47, his mother may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon her, asking permission to come in. one of his disciple told him: “Behold, your mother and your brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee... But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” The Messiah, according to Mathew, has ignored his mother, disowned her and accused her of not doing God's will. An-Najjar sees it as a calamity that the Qur'an has cleared Christ of it and glorified him.
Again, in Sura Mariam, verses 30, 31, and 32, Allah says in the Qur’an: “He (Jesus) said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a prophet” And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; "(He) has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable.”
The fourth time the Prophet (PBUH) has glorified his brother the Messiah (PBUH) who has foretold his Prophethood. “He shall glorify me." It was his testimony exonerating him of what the Gospels have attributed to him of being crucified, slapped, insulted, tortured and stripped in front of people. He has been saved by Allah from this entire terrible ordeal. The Holy Quran tells a crystal clear testimony of Jesus surviving the conspiracy of the Jews and God raising him to Heavens. In Sura Al-Imran, verses 54 and 55, Allah states: “And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah. Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise you to Myself and clear you (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall you all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein you dispute.”
In his Bright Beacons, An-Najjar mentioned important scientific issues in the criticism of Christianity and the distortion of its books and beliefs. The Christians believe and still do in the crucifixion of Christ. In one of these issues, the author has shown evidence in the Holy Bible testifying that the Christ has never been subjected to this alleged degrading crucifixion. In Psalms 91, one of the sacred Jewish and Christians’ gospels, the following is noteworthy: “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.11 For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all the ways. 12 They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet.14 Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name.15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”
Here, is in this Psalm, a true and honest testimony to the salvation of Christ from the humiliating crucifixion as mentioned in the holy Qur’an. Allah has commanded the angels to raise him into Heavens. He has granted him long life as a reward for his sincerity and devotion in worshiping his Lord.
An-Najjar continues through his book-rather his books-citing evidence as to the reason why he has chosen Islam. They are shining beacons for those who got rid of unshakable loathsome intolerance. The books he has penned were a proof and guidance to those who seek the truth. He said: “I want the reader to come out with a clear answer, and attain the result I have reached if he abandons the loathsome fanaticism and partisanship. So if you read my synopsis wit care and attention, you will find the truth through clear evidence, and will appear to you unmasked. You will see yourself guided to certainty. You see; a wise person will follow the truth and adhere to it if he sees it.”
We supplicate Allah to keep us steadfast on the true faith, and have great mercy on the erudite scholar Mohammad Zaki An-Najjar.
Dr. Munqith Bin Mahmoud Al-Sakkar
Researcher at Muslim World League
Translated by Sadok Salehi
Translator at Muslim World League