, by DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI
The first convert to Islam was not a man. It was a woman, Khadeejatul Kubra, a respectable trader and merchant.
The first martyr of Islam was also not a man. It was a poor woman, Sumaiyah, wife of Yasir, killed by Abu Jehel with a spear.
4 OUT OF 5
What is surprising in this context if women of America are showing the way to men. And 4 out of 5 converts are women over there? Islam also permeates lives of Hispanics. Muslim way of life is constantly influencing African Americans. It is estimated that within the next 10 years, more than half of them will be Muslims.
And remember, we are talking about America, not Timbuktu, which has since long been waging an undeclared and much denied war against Islam and its adherents, of course not by the common Americans but by US administration.
A question that inevitably baffles everybody is: What a neo-convert sees in Islam and Muslims, who happen to be on evil days and evil tongues for the last one century?
What after argument and counter-argument emerges is that it is not worldly razzle dazzle that attracts the converts. The Americans already live in a Shangrilla of Opulence. It is, and must be, the fact that Islam solves problem of the Hereafter in addition to the problems of this world which appear to be secondary when compared to that of the first category.
The “Pew forum on religion and public life” has seen the issue in a wider perspective: “Islam is already the fastest growing religion in Europe. Driven by immigration and high birth rate, the number of Muslims on the continent has tripled in the last 30 years. Most demographers forecast a similar or even higher rate of growth in the coming decades.”
The response of American women converts as to what attracted them in Islam usually is: Islam gives us self-respect, dignity, equality, status, protection and recognition. Above all, we did not want to be seen as sex symbol, which Islam has ensured. Islam provides solution to several dilemmas.
The disenchanted white Christians and Jews, at the time of conversion, express the opinion that Quran is brief and-to-the-point and holds details of solutions of daily problems. It is read and understood by a king and commoner alike. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) holds paramount position, yet he is not viewed as a god. They find the concept of trinity confusing. The idea of One God is appealing. Converting to Islam also means that now one is a part of the larger Ummah. Thus outcasts find a sense of belonging.
Mr. Moin Ansari, an expert on the subject, quotes converts: Prophets and stories found in the Bible, both the old (Torah) and the new Testament (Injeel) such as the creation of Adam and Eve, the story of Noah and the flood, the events in the life of Abraham and his sons, the Psalms of David and the Kingdom of Solomon, the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt led by Moses, Jesus preaching the Injeel (good news) to the World – are present in the Holy Quran as well. Christians and Jews who convert to Islam often comment that they are attracted to the Muslim faith partly because of its similarities to Christianity and Judaism in general: the common basis between the three great Abrahamic religions being One Almighty God (Allah).
There is however a depressing aspect also. After their release from the prisons, the African Americans are not whole heartedly accepted by their families. This fact causes immense problems for the converts. The support system is obviously weak and needs to be strengthened.
That African Americans are taking interest in Islam is alright; that American African women have given lead in conversions to Islam is also a remarkable fact for which much credit however goes to the difficulties in their lifestyle. The point is: why American intellectuals, professionals, university teachers, lawyers and business tycoons have shown callousness in this regard? Have the preachers of Islam, at a mass scale tried to present their ideology as an alternative to their fellow countrymen? Have they ever, at a massive scale, been apprised of what is Islamic diplomacy, Islamic politics, Islamic economy, Islamic business and commerce etc.? Have the converts entered into a heart-to-heart talk with the non-converts? Have the Americans in general ever been reminded of the sanctity of marriage as a time-honoured institution? Have they ever been reminded of the significance of chastity, fidelity and faithfulness in conjugal relations? Have they ever been convinced of the pitfalls of their usury-oriented economic system and benefits of interest-less banking? If not, what is the hallelujah about?
The depth of moral degeneration in the west as a whole necessitates for the westerners to be earnestly convinced in the rudiments of a civil society. Otherwise how would you explain the fact that majority of today’s American population has, on their own admission, been conceived on the wrong side of the quilt. They have to be initially convinced that man is the finest and the noblest creation of God on earth. And man has been sent here not as an evolutionised form of amoeba, but as God’s vicegerent upon earth, with the brief, ‘erase off the evil and usher in virtue’.