My mother comes from a Hindu Brahmin family. She changed her religion when she married my father. Why did it not happen the other way round? Although dad died 18 years ago mother did not switch back to Brahminism. I could think of few friends who had converted to Islam in the US and the UK. I find it quite strange that at a time when Muslims are on the receiving end in just about every corner of the world, citizens of the most advanced nations on this planet are getting attracted to switch over to Islam. What is the secret behind this attraction? How would I view Islam if I were a non Muslim?
If I were a non Muslim, my first impression of Muslims would be a critical assessment and here is why. A lot of Muslim immigrants find shelter in the west away from the murderous dictators back in their police states. Unfortunately, immigrant Muslims look at the land of refuge with hate. Contradictions in personality are difficult to hide, no matter how hard one tries to fake it, it simply shows up in minor details in body language, behaviors and overall attitude towards others. For instance, Jews like Muslims also harbor some attitude towards their host communities. Migrant jews may be credited for this phenomenon which does not earn much praise. Here is small comparison between these two communities from the eyes of a non Muslim non Jew observer:
Jewish community is probably more rigid in segregation than Muslims. For instance, the idea of sticking close to ones own religious community is more serious amongst Jews than in Muslims. Isolating children from the greater society also is stronger in Jewsih residential areas, with special emphasis on their particular community style education. Add to that the ideological training given to kids to dominate society by the accumulation of wealth, education and power, as a regular curriculum. It should be no surprise that the most influential persons in the west are of jewish origin. Their most preferred trade is ofcourse interest based banking. Jews over thousands of years mastered the art of interest-usury game more than any other community in the world. Its the signature profession of the jewish community.
Jewish schools do not teach Christianity. They say that an imposter by the name of Saul of Tarsus made up the doctrines of Christianity by giving divine attributes to Jesus Christ, therefore they see no reason to learn a religion based on fake premises. It seems that Jews do not have respect (let alone acceptance) for Jesus Christ, Yahya, and the disciples and helpers of Christ.
On the other hand, I see that the Christian community looks at Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) somewhat detached from the continuity of the Abrahamic faith. I don’t understand why they do this or more importantly how they manage to get away with this. Revelation, Prophethood, Day of Judgement, Resurrection, Heaven, Hell, Forgiveness, Mercy, Love, Compassion, Struggle, Kingdom of G-d, they are all rooted in the Abrahamic monotheistic religion. Islam just happens to be the last in this line and Prophet Muhammad PBUH is the last of the long line of prophets.
From the family of Abraham comes the family of Ismael and Isac, from Isac comes Jacob and from Jacob (also known as Israil) comes the twelve tribes of Israil. Prophets Joseph, Moses, John, Jesus, and Mu
hammad (Peace Be Upon All of Them) are part of the same line of prophethood, revelation, and divine help. To reject the revelation given to Christ is same as rejecting the revelation given to Moses or Muhammad (PeaceBeUponThemAll). To reject the sacred Injeel (Bible) would be the same as rejecting the Holy Torah or the Majestic Quraan. To reject one is like rejecting all others as well, similarly, accepting one is like accepting all others as well.
However, established religious institutions don’t want to think like that. As a result of this, Judaism ends with Moses, Christianity ends with Jesus Christ, whereas Islam seems to say something completely different than the first two.
Muslims say that firstly Islam is not the name of a religion as understood in the west. Islam is a way of life which has in it spirituality, economics, politics, law, society, education, healthcare and all other branches of human life that together make us civilized. It wants its followers to make rational understanding of religion, G-d and Prophethood in such a way that human life gets directed to the natural path which satisfies both the heart and the mind so that life of human beings can be regulated in the material as well as the spiritual world. The result of this simplistic concept is that it appeals to the poor farmer in a rice field in Bangladesh just as it makes an impact on the Chairman of a corporation in USA. There is no complicated concept of one in three or three in one, divinity versus human form, or original sin versus redemption of man. Islam is all about simplicity. This is where it seems to differ most with all other world faiths.
In Islam, a Muslim does not need to please any priest to enter Jannah (heaven). One does not have to be a millionaire to be worthy to his family´s love. A medical doctor or a school teacher or a street cleaner, all are equal in honor and dignity. Muslims pray shoulder to shoulder with other Muslims regardless of their social and racial diversities five times a day, bowing and prostrating before G-D as a mark of their submission to the Most Powerful.
Anybody can become a Muslim. Rich, poor, white, black, tall, short, whatever the mix may be, it doesn’t matter in Islam because the best of man is the one who has the awareness of G-d in him. Muslims call it TAQWA. Man with TAQWA is the successful man. His reward will be decided by the Most Merciful. Such a man will place his hope for the permanent good life in the Hereafter over the temporary good life of this world. This simplicity based worldview is an anti-depressant for many people whose lives have become victims of a materialistic greed filled rat race in the world of corporate shareholder value creation mania. its the type of world that turns a spiritual being into a simple material being which exists only for the pursuit of happiness, forgetting such concepts as morality, ethics, righteousness, God-consciousness and spiritual piety. Islam´s concept of Taqwa provides a meaningful solution out of this dark side.
For someone who comes from Christian or Jewish background Islamic belief system should be no surprise. The Majestic Quraan is the word of G-d just like Torah and the Injeel (Bible). prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a prophet, so were prophets Noah, Abraham, Isac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, John, and others, peace be upon them all. Its the same family tree having one simple mission, to guide mankind towards goodness.
For Hindus, Budhists and other faiths, Islam offers a way out of their complicated race driven in-human caste and class system. For those millions of Hindus who are considered low caste, untouchable, meant to perform only menial garbage cleaning jobs, Islam is their solution to live a life of honor for themselves and for their future generations. A Dalit untouchable Hindu will no longer continue to be a Dalit under Islam. His children will not be allowed to become victims of racial discrimination by the upper caste. Every human being was created by ALLAH SWT and to HIM we return, no human has the authority to degrade and dehumanize another human. This is a principle faith of Islam and it will not accept any compromise from Hinduism regarding this issue. Brahmins and Budhists also find this quality of Islam as truth from the Divine Creator. Submission to such doctrine is naturally easier than submission to racism.
The secret to Islam I think lies here. It is multi ethnic, multi racial, multi lingual and it appeals to rational thinking. It is simple in its creed, it has its original source safely secured in documentary evidence, and it has its spiritual and material appeals for just about every type of person. My friends who converted to Islam were impressed by its non racial doctrines the most. my mother was most likely convinced by its concepts of equality. For many others there might have been different reasons, which means there exists not one but many secrets in Islam which act as keys to our hearts.