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Present Islam's real message through deeds, Muslims told
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 01 - 2016

It is incumbent upon all Muslims to present the real image of Islam to the world through their deeds and good manners rather than sheer rhetoric, speakers emphasized at a function organized in Jeddah to felicitate 24 people who have embraced Islam recently. They also called for concerted efforts to remove misgivings about the divine religion, and end the tendency of wrongly linking Islam with terrorism and extremism.
The function, organized by Moulana Hifzur Rehman Seoharvi Academy at Lasani Restaurant last Friday, honored the reverts who included 16 Indians, six Filipinos and two Sri Lankans. A few of them — Abdullah, Abdul Hafeez, Ruknuddin, Muhammad, and Isa — shared with the audience their journey in the pursuit of truth.
Congratulating the reverts, speakers hoped that they would all adhere to Islamic teachings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and prepare themselves to get the promised reward of paradise from Almighty Allah.
The program started with the recitation of a few verses from the Holy Qur'an and its translation by Dr. Muhammad Bebani, a consultant physician from Makkah. Dr. Bebani owns the smallest copy of the Qur'an and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The audience listened carefully to the words of some of the reverts who shared their excitement at entering into the fold of Islam. The words of John, who adopted the new name of Abdul Hafeez, were highly impressive. A Roman Catholic from the Mindanao region of the Philippines, Abdul Hafeez, a communications engineer, said that the adhan (the call to prayer) had an electrifying impact on him that eventually enlightened his life. "Everyday, I used to hear the adhan five times from a nearby mosque, and that had a big impact on me. So I wanted to study what is behind this call and subsequently started reading books on Islam."
Since childhood, he said, he had a lot of unanswered questions and doubts and was curious and impatient to have convincing answers. "Neither my parents nor friends were able to answer these questions or clarify my doubts. I worked at Birla Group in Bangalore, India, as a communications engineer and traveled around three continents, and also visited Spain where my mother used to work. During all these trips, I pursued my search for the ultimate truth and tried to find the answers for my questions."
Abdul Hafeez said his arrival in the Kingdom, in search of a better career in 2014, was a turning point in his life. "With the bountiful grace of Almighty Allah, I am delighted to have convincing answers for the questions and the doubts that lingered in my mind for several years. Thanks to my friends and colleagues who took me to the Islamic propagation centers where prominent scholars and Dawa workers were instrumental in guiding me on to the divine path," he said, adding that it was Islam that made his life meaningful and worthy. "When I saw the Holy Kaaba, I cried and that was the climax of my spiritual pursuit," he said.
Some others also shared their inexplicable experiences in Islam while others found it very difficult to find words to express their unique feelings and excitement upon embracing Islam.
The dignitaries who spoke on the occasion included well-known preacher Sheikh Badr Al-Khanbashi, former Pakistan minister Chaudhry Shahbaz Hussein, and noted Islamic preacher Sheikh Salman.
In his speech, Sheikh Badr congratulated the new Muslims, saying: "Allah has chosen you among millions of people to find the Truth. It is a great blessing to have the guidance from Allah." He cited the example of Abu Taleb Bin Abd Al-Muttalib, paternal uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). "It was the earnest desire of the Prophet (pbuh) to see his uncle embracing Islam. Though the Prophet (pbuh) wished his shahadah (proclamation of the Oneness of Allah) even on his death bed, apparently Allah's guidance had not come to him."
Sheikh Badr, who is also general manager of Atig Toys Company, urged Muslims to practice Islam in all walks of life. "We should become the best models through practicing Islam in our daily life. Indeed Islam is in deeds not in words and this is the way to attract people into the fold of the divine religion," he said.
Congratulating the reverts, Chaudhry Shahbaz Hussein said: "You might have suffered a lot of difficulties in your path to the divine faith. But you can now feel delighted and enjoy as you are among the most blessed people in this world and the hereafter."
Sheikh Salman, a priest turned Islamic preacher, emphasized that Islam never allows any believer to use coercive tactics under any circumstances in the propagation of the divine religion. Calling Islam as a religion of good manners, he urged Muslims to become great human beings in their dealings with other people, especially with the followers of other religions.
Sheikh Salman, who served as a priest in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh before reverting to Islam in 1993, is working as a preacher at the Call and Guidance Center under the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Jeddah's Industrial Area. "We are preaching the beauty of Islam and presenting it in the proper way, especially among non-Muslims. We teach them the meanings of the Holy Qur'an, give them Islamic literature and clarify their doubts in a gentle and wise manner, and never compel anyone to embrace the religion by offering material gains," he told Saudi Gazette.
"I am in charge of propagation among expatriates in Hindi and Telugu languages, and the ministry has provided us with a lot of literature in these languages. People are very smart and if they are fully convinced about the true religion and are blessed with guidance by Allah, then only they come forward to spontaneously pronounce the shahadah," he pointed out. The academy's General Secretary Ashfaque Ahmed and Anwarul Haq Qasmi also spoke on the occasion. Books on Islam and other gifts were distributed to the reverts by the dignitaries, including Sheikh Badr Al-Khanbashi, Chaudhry Shahbaz Hussein, Ihtiram Ilahi, Masud Marfani, Muhammad Ahmad Hashmi and Siyadat Ali Khan.
In his concluding speech, Bahjat Najmi, founding president of the academy, congratulated the reverts, saying that they are the VVIPs of today's function as Allah honored them with His guidance. He emphasized that propagation of Islam is a duty of every Muslim. "We will be held accountable in front of Almighty Allah if we fail to disseminate the message of Islam, which is the only way of life acceptable in front of God, among the people in our surroundings."
Najmi denounced the misinformation campaign being unleashed by the anti-Islam forces in India that the spread of Islam was under coercion. "If Muslim rulers, during their 800-year-old reign, used any force for conversion, the percentage of Muslims would never have remained less than 20 percent of India's 1.25 billion population at present," he said.
Najmi, who is the grandson of the late Moulana Hifzur Rehman Seoharvi, a famous freedom fighter, member of parliament and noted Muslim personality of India, also explained the activities of the academy, especially its annual honoring ceremony of new Muslims. The academy engages in distributing books on Islam among followers of other religions, in addition to free distribution of literature on rituals of Haj and Umrah as well as prayer mats and other souvenirs among the pilgrims. Najmi thanked those firms, organizations and philanthropists who continue supporting the academy in carrying out its noble mission and activities.

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