Monthly Archives: November 2018
Born in Louisville, Kentucky to a Baptist mother and a Methodist father, Ali was named Cassius Clay. His father was a sign painter and his mother, Odessa Clay, was a housemaid. The American South was racially segregated at that time and the young Ali grew up with all the humiliations and restrictions that the Jim Crow laws enforced on African Americans.
When Muhammed Ali was 12, his bicycle was stolen and he reported it to a local police officer. He boldly declared to Officer Joe Martin that he ‘would whip the thief’ who stole his bike when he caught him. Officer Martin, who was quite amused by this bold and resolute young man, advised young Muhammad that he had better learn to fight and invited him to come and train at the gym he owned. Muhammed Ali took him up on his offer and the legen began. He would become the greatest ever heavy weight champion, winning the title 3 times and defending it 16 times. Ali was opposed to war and refused to fight in the Vietnam War. This resulted in him been banned from boxing for nearly four years. Throughout his life his battles in and out of the ring were many as he strove for perfection in every sphere of his life.
From a very young age Ali would question many aspects of the Christian faith and he challenged the idea of having to see himself as inferior because of his race and color. His mother was often bombarded by him with questions such as “Why is Jesus white with blonde hair and blue eyes?”, and “Why are all the men at the last supper white?” The fact that white people were always portrayed in a positive way and that African Americans were given subordinate positions did not miss his keen observational qualities.
Muhammad Ali’s fierce fighting skills were not only put to use in his boxing matches, but also against white supremacy and social injustices. Ali could not accept that the Christian faith interpreted the bible in a way that allowed for the degradation and subordination of anyone that was not white. Having been bothered from a very young age that beauty, goodness, truth and many other virtues were seen from the perspective of the white supremacy. He asked his mother, “Why is everything white?”, “the Angels’ food cake was the white cake and the Devil’s food cake was the chocolate cake. The president lives in a White House and Santa Claus was white. Everything bad was black, the little ugly duckling was black duck, the black cat was the bad luck and if I threaten you I’m going to blackmail you, I said ‘Mum, why don’t they call it white-mail, they lie too?”
He started questioning his beliefs and while touring around the world he realized that six hundred million people were Muslims. He noted that every third person was named Muhammad. He has said that even though he had found it extremely difficult to read at a younger age, and was probably dyslexic he started reading profusely after his conversion to Islam. He read the Quran, Islamic books and research books in order to find contradictions in the Bible. He kept notes on all that he discovered in his readings and spoke profusely at various events and lectures when invited. The link between Christianity and white supremacy is what caused Ali to drift away from the Christian faith and to oppose white supremacy with all his might. After all, African Americans had been robbed of their true religion, Islam, and that is one of the reasons why he rejected the name given to him at birth and opted to be named Muhammad Ali, after the prophet. The slaves had been named after the people who had bought them and had not kept their own names. In 1964, shortly after he won the coveted title, Ali joined the Nation of Islam. It was then that he said, “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it,” “I am Muhammad Ali, a free name – it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me.”
Muhammad Ali is the most well known American to convert to Islam. Later on, he met Malcolm X who became his spiritual mentor at that time. During a mass conversion of the Nation into Sunni Islam in 1974, organized by the son of the founder of the Nation of Islam Elijah Muhammad, Muhammad Ali converted to Sunni Islam. Muhammad Ali ceaselessly exalted the virtues of Islam as a universal and anti-racist religion. The absoluteness of Islam is embodied in the Hajj (pilgrimage) and the spirit of brotherhood and Ali endlessly spoke about it.
Ali was touched when he saw how many different cultures and races converged in one place to honor Islam. He was always warmly accepted wherever he went and was very articulate about the way Islam connected humanity; no matter what race or ethnicity they were. He once said, “You can go to any country and say, Asalaamualaikum. Walaikum salaam and you’ve got a home, you’ve got a brother.” The reason Ali chose to follow the Islamic path was that he “never saw so much love, never saw so many people hugging each other, kissing each other and praying five times a day.” Muhammad Ali was a person that most people felt deeply connected to because he was very approachable and had a wonderful way of transcending any prejudices that he encountered on his travels. We all know that racism exists worldwide and in many variations, but Ali’s graceful manner reminded the Muslim world that the Ummah (community) is meant to embrace the differences in race, class and culture.
Muhammad Ali never considered himself as elite and saw himself as no different to anyone else. His activism was grounded in his Islamic beliefs and he believed that human beings are obliged to do good and charitable things during their short time on earth. As a child growing up in a racially segregated Louisville, it was almost impossible for him to find a place to work out and he would run to the gym or to school in order for him to stay in shape. He returned as an adult and, without ever been asked, helped many charitable causes, and built a Museum for children in order to encourage them to reach for their dreams.
His belief, that by giving he was pleasing Allah and that actions were based on intentions, made him known for his generosity.
Muhammad Ali is known by his trademark statement “I am the greatest!” This was not a sign of arrogance. He is still the greatest heavyweight champion of all times. He was asked by an interviewer how he balanced his humility as a Muslim with this statement and Ali replied: “Allah is the Greatest; I am just the greatest boxer.” He was a pious person and showed utter humility and always gave credit to Allah for his victories.
Ali is the only celebrity to have turned down the offer to have his name placed on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. He so revered the Prophet Muhammad (S), that he did not want to have people stepping on his name and thus he is the only celebrity to have his star placed on the wall. Watch this video on the Walk of Fame.
Ali refused to play the role of the “submissive negro” and he attributed all his success and skill as a boxer to the Greatness of God. A Muslim fan once asked him if he was “As good a Muslim as he was a boxer, and he asserted that “No true Muslim will brag or even take a chance of saying he is good, because it is up to Allah to judge. God blesses me to be so great here, because all of the time I’ve been talking about God, pushing God, pushing religion. I’m not talking about me, how great and how much money I’ve got, I’m always giving the praise to God, so that’s why I’m as great as I am in this physical world, because I push Him first.”
Muhammad Ali never let an opportunity drop and he would take any question put to him and answer in a way so as to preach about Islam and the Oneness of God. He used his fame and stature to his advantage and would make people contemplate various issues pertaining to their faith, especially about man’s existence, life after death and how to prepare to receive Allah’s Jannah (eternal place of rest). He would take any opportunity to give Dawah( preach) and always encouraged the Muslims to get closer to Allah. He praised Allah and the religion of Islam and advised young Muslims to “Stay strong, read the Quran, pray and praise Allah,” in order to ward off the pressures of secular or anti-Islamic forces. Young people, he believed, should not compromise their beliefs. In many photos of Ali before a fight we see him standing with his hands raised in dua( prayer and supplication) to Allah. Prayer and dua were an essential part of his struggle and he attributed all obstacles, difficulties and all of his successes to Allah.
On his retirement, Muhammad Ali was asked how he was going to spend his time. He replied that he was going to prepare himself to meet his Maker, Allah. In interviews ,he often expressed that if we subtracted all the hours that we needed to sleep, watch television etc, and then he reckoned that he had about sixteen years to prepare for his death. Click here to watch his video interview.
He would remind people that the soul and spirit never die and that is why we must prepare them for heaven. His intention was to help people learn how to treat each other and he brought about peace and charitable work. He managed to do all this and more. “Islam is a religion of peace,” he would say.
Muhammad Ali’s adored his family and his 2 sons and 7 daughters. They speak of what a warm and gentle father he was to them and he always had his large family around him. In an interview two of his daughters revealed that he had over a hundred hours of recordings which he had made of them speaking to him and answering his questions and he played them back to them as they grew older.
”His daughter Hanna recalls how he taught her an important lesson about modesty. She had arrived at his home dressed in a revealing outfit. Instead of admonishing her he took her aside and lovingly said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He told his young daughter, “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”
When Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1979, he did not stop making himself available to charitable causes worldwide and he managed to negotiate the return of American hostages from Lebanon and Iraq. He even increased the active role in pursuing justice all over the world. With time the disease severely affected his mobility and his speech. “We as Muslims have to stand up against those who use Islam to advance their own personal gain,” – Ali has said. He remembered that though he was great, he was not The Greatest; that he was a servant of Allah (SWT).
On June 3, 2016, Muhammad Ali returned to his Lord. He is one of the most famous, most loved and most written about public figures in the last century. He has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine 30 times. He lit the Olympic Torch in the 1996 Atlanta Games and was the first Muslim to do so. To his last breath he challenged America to live up to its promises and refused to accept the unjust imposition of class and race. The former Attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder said, “his biggest win came not in the ring, but in our courts in his fight for his beliefs.” He never ceased to be an example to all and constantly reminded the people of Allah and the Islamic faith. He spoke the truth, he was never ashamed to be pious and he felt as much at home in the palaces that he visited as he did in the humble homes of the people of his home town. He knew how to handle the pressures of fame and the obligations that fame bring. He managed to channel his fame to a good purpose and lived his life according to his faith and the principles of Islam. This ambassador to humanity always managed to practice what he preached in every sphere of his life.
Muhammad Ali was buried in his home town of Louisville Kentucky. An estimated 100,000 people holding signs and chanting, “Ali!Ali!” lined up the streets as he was carried to his final resting place. His headstone was simple in keeping with Muslim tradition. Muhammed Ali was a Champion for all people and will be remembered fondly.
“Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return.” (Quran 2:156)
We ask Allah to have Mercy on him, forgive his sins and grant him the highest level in paradise, Jannat Al Firdous. Ameen.
Who made up the Trinity?
From 70 AD to a period situated sometime before 110 AD the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John were produced. They do not constitute the first written Christian documents: the letters of Paul date from well before them. According to O. Culmann, Paul probably wrote his letter to the Thessalonians in 50 AD. He had probably disappeared several years prior to the completion of Mark’s Gospel.
Paul is the most controversial figure in Christianity. He was considered to be a traitor to Jesus’s thought by the latter’s family and by the apostles who had stayed in Jerusalem in the circle around James. Paul created Christianity at the expense of those whom Jesus had gathered around him to spread his teachings. He had not known Jesus during his lifetime and he proved the legitimacy of his mission by declaring that Jesus, raised from the dead, had appeared to him on the road to Damascus.
It is quite reasonable to ask what Christianity might have been without Paul and one could no doubt construct all sorts of hypotheses on this subject. As far as the Gospels are concerned however, it is almost certain that if this atmosphere of struggle between communities had not existed, we would not have had the writings we possess today. They appeared at a time of Hence struggle between the two communities. These ‘combat writings’, as Father Kannengiesser calls them, emerged from the multitude of writings on Jesus.
These occurred at the time when Paul’s style of Christianity won through definitively, and created its own collection of official texts. These texts constituted the ‘Canon’ which condemned and excluded as unorthodox any other documents that were not suited to the line adopted by the Church.
The Judeo-Christian have now disappeared as a community with any influence, but one still hears people talking about them under the general term of ‘Judaistic’. This is how Cardinal Daniélou describes their disappearance:
‘When they were out off from the Great Church, that gradually freed itself from its Jewish attachments, they petered out very quickly in the West. In the East, however, it is possible to find traces of them in the Third and Fourth centuries AD, especially in Palestine, Arabia, Transjordania, Syria and Mesopotamia. Others joined in the orthodoxy of the Great Church, at the same time preserving traces of Semitic culture; some of these still persist in the Churches of Ethiopia and Chaldea,’
The ‘official’ confirmation of the ‘victory’ over the true followers of Jesus by Paulinian Christianity was enshrined, as we have already seen, in the outcome of the famous Council of Nicea which was held in 325 AD – when the Roman Emperor Constantine, who at the time claimed to be ‘neutral’ on the grounds that he was not a Christian, decided that the Paulinian version of Christianity represented the true teachings of Jesus, and that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John should become the officially accepted gospels, and that all other gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were to be destroyed – along with whoever was found to have them in their possession – a decision which resulted in many of the early gospels being lost for good, and millions of Unitarian Christians being martyred in the years that followed.
It was also at the Council of Nicea, after over two centuries of debate, that Jesus was officially granted divine status, and, with the official instatement at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD of ‘the Holy Ghost’ as the ‘third person’, the doctrine of Trinity which had begun to emerge during the intervening period finally came of age, some three and a half centuries after the disappearance of Jesus.
Shortly after the Council of Constantinople, the Roman Emperor Theodosius made it a capital offence to reject the doctrine of Trinity, thereby laying the foundations for the Mediaeval and Spanish Inquisitions which were to flourish centuries later – by which time the doctrines of the New Covenant, and of Original Sin, and of the Atonement and Forgiveness of Sins, and of the Trinity, had become so deeply embedded in the Christian psyche that no amount of reformations, ancient or modem, and however well-intentioned, could dislodge them.
Thus it is a matter of historical fact that it took several centuries for the doctrine of Trinity to be developed – as part of a long drawn out cultural and philosophical process, characterised by fierce conflict and at times often confused debate – which explains why the doctrine is never actually described in detail within any of the texts of even the official Paulinian version of the New Testament as being central to Jesus’s teaching.
This can only be because the contents of the early Christian writings – both of the Judeo-Christian and of the Paulinian Christians – had already been finalised prior to the formulation of the doctrine, and were already too well-known to be tampered with too extensively, by the time that the doctrine had reached the stage where it was formally expressed in writing.
The most that the Paulinian Church could hope to achieve was the systematic and complete suppression of all the Judeo-Christian writings which clearly and unequivocally affirmed the Oneness of God as well as confirming the continuity of both teaching and behavior which existed between Moses and Jesus, peace be on them.
Once the doctrine of Trinity had been formally adopted and declared to be the official doctrine of the Pauline Church, one of the inevitable consequences of this decision was that out of the three hundred or so Gospels extant at that time, only the four which were selected as the official Gospels of the Pauline Church were permitted to survive. The remaining Gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered to be destroyed completely.
It was also decided that all Gospels written in Hebrew should be destroyed. Edicts were issued stating that anyone found in possession of an unauthorized Gospel would be put to death. This was the first well-organized attempt to remove all the records of Jesus’s original teaching, whether in human beings or books, which contradicted the doctrine of Trinity. In the case of the Gospel of Barnabas, these orders were not entirely successful, and mention of its continued existence has been made up to the present day:
Pope Damascus (304-384 AD), who became Pope in 366 AD, is recorded as having issued a decree that the Gospel of Barnabas should not be read. This decree was supported by Gelasius, Bishop of Caesaria, who died in 395 AD. The Gospel was included in his list of Apocryphal books. ‘ Apocrypha’ simply means ‘hidden from the people’. Thus, at this stage, the Gospel was no longer available to everyone but was still being referred to by the leaders of the Church. In fact, it is known that the Pope secured a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas in 383 AD, and kept it in his private library.
There were a number of other decrees which referred to the Gospel. It was forbidden by the Decree of the Western Churches in 382 AD, and by Pope Innocent in 465 AD. In the Gelasian Decree of 496 AD, the Evangelium Barnabe is included in the list of forbidden books. This decree was reaffirmed by Hormisdas, who was Pope from 514 to 523 AD. All these decrees are mentioned in the Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts in the Library of Chancellor Seguier, prepared by B. de Montfaucon
The writings of Barnabas – which include his Epistle as well as his Gospel’ – are also mentioned in the Stichometry of Nicephorus as follows:
Serial No. 3: Epistle of Barnabas … Lines 1,300
and again in the list of Sixty Books as follows:
Serial No. 17: Travels and teaching of the Apostles.
Serial No. 18: Epistle of Barnabas.
Serial No. 24: Gospel According to Barnabas.
This famous list was also known as the Index, and Christians were not supposed to read any of the books listed in it On pain of eternal punishment.
It is interesting to note in passing that a Greek version of the Epistle of Barnabas (which is mentioned by two of the most well known early church fathers, Origen (185-254 AD) and Eusebius (265-340 AD) in their writings) is in fact to be found in the Codex Sinaiiicus – perhaps the earliest Greek version of the New Testament known to be in existence today and dating from the 4th or 5th century AD – although it has been excluded from all modem versions of the Bible.
Although Christian polemicists have repeatedly attempted to allege not only that the Italian translation of the Gospel of Barnabas is a mediaeval forgery, but also by implication that the Gospel itself is a forgery – written by a Muslim convert in the fifteenth or sixteenth century AD – this clearly cannot be correct, given the number of recorded references to the Gospel of Barnabas which were often made long before the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.
As regards other later references to the Gospel of Barnabas, the Gospel is also, recorded in the 206th manuscript of the Baroccian Collection in the Bodleian Library in Oxford which dates from the 6th or 7th century AD. Cotelerius, who catalogued the manuscripts in the Library of the French king, listed the Gospel of Barnabas in the Index of Scriptures which he prepared in 1789. There is also a solitary fragment of a Greek version of the Gospel of Barnabas to he found in a museum in Athens, which is all that remains of a copy which was burnt:
It is interesting to note that consistent with the observation by Grabe in Spicilegium Patrum, I, 302, Toland found that the 39th Baroccian manuscript contains a fragment that is an Italian equivalent to the Greek text. Thus Toland’s conclusion was that the extant Italian translation of the Gospel of Barnabas was identical to the ancient Gospel of Barnabas. In the same year, Reland in De religione Mahommedica (1718) discovered that the Gospel also existed in Arabic and Spanish.
Mr. Johnson’s conclusions regarding all the various references to the various versions of the Gospel of Barnabas are significant:
Grabe’s knowledge of a Greek version of the Gospel and its equivalence to the later Italian manuscript makes it highly plausible that today’s Gospel of Barnabas is in fact the Evangelium Barnabae listed by the Sixth century Gelasian Decretal and the Sixth or Seventh century Cod. Barocc, 206’s list of 60 books. I say, ‘highly plausible’ because no early Greek manuscript is known to be in existence today.
However, it is equally certain that Christian claims that the Gospel of Barnabas is a forgery of some fifteenth or sixteenth century renegade Muslim, are simply vain attempts to dismiss a Gospel that strikes at the heart of contemporary Christian Christology. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians admitted the centrality of this doctrine to the entire body of Christian faith:
“Tell me, if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is void of content and your faith is empty too. Indeed, we should then be exposed as false witnesses of God, for we have borne witness before Him that He raised up Christ … “
Clearly, if there is an early Greek or Hebrew copy of the Gospel of Barnabas in existence somewhere, then a comparison between it and the Italian translation would end the dispute as to the authenticity and reliability of the Italian version once and for all.
In the fourth year of the Emperor Zeno’s rule in 478 AD, the remains of Barnabas were discovered, and a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas, written in his own hand, was found on his breast. This is recorded in the Acta Sanctorum, Boland Junii, Tome II, pages 422 450, published in Antwerp in 1698. It has been claimed by the Roman Catholic Church that the Gospel found in the grave of Barnabas was that of Matthew, but no steps have been taken to display this copy. The exact contents of the twenty-five mile long library of the Vatican continue to remain in the dark.
The manuscript from which the current English translation of the Gospel of Barnabas was made, was originally in the possession of Pope Sixtus V (1589-1590). He had a friend, a monk called Fra Marino, who became very interested in the Gospel of Barnabas after reading the writings of Iraneus, who quoted from it extensively. One day he went to see the Pope. They lunched together and, after the meal, the Pope fell asleep. Father Marino began to browse through the books in the Pope’s private library and discovered an Italian manuscript of the Gospel of Barnabas. Concealing it in the sleeve of his robe, he left and came out of the Vatican with it.
This manuscript then passed through different hands until it reached ‘a person of great name and authority’ in Amsterdam, ‘who, during his life time, was often heard to put a high value to this piece.’ After his death, it came into the possession of J.E. Cramer, a Councilor of the King of Prussia. In 1713, Cramer presented this manuscript to the famous connoisseur of books, Prince Eugene of Savoy. In 1738, along with the library of the Prince, it found its way into the Hofbibliothek in Vienna, where it now rests.
Toland, a notable historian of the early Church, had access to this manuscript, and he refers to it in his Miscellaneous Works, which was published posthumously in 1747. He says of the Gospel: ‘This is in scripture style to a hair,’ and continues:
“The story of Jesus is very differently told in many things from the received Gospels, but much more fully … and particularly this Gospel … being near as long again as many of ours. Someone would make a prejudice in favour of it; because, as all things are best known just after they happen, so everything diminishes the further it proceeds from its original.”
The following extract from the Gospel of Barnabas, for example, (which is taken from the translation of Lonsdale and Laura Ragg) describes what is alleged to have taken place immediately before the miraculous feeding of the five thousand – an account which, as well as furnishing an explanation as to why such a large crowd had gathered in the first place, cannot be found in the four officially accepted Gospels, and for obvious reasons, since it describes how Jesus publicly demonstrated that he could not possibly be identified with God, simply by comparing his human attributes with God’s divine attributes:
“Accordingly the governor and the priest and the king prayed Jesus that in order to quiet the people he should mount up into a lofty place and speak to the people. Then went up Jesus on to one of the twelve stones which Joshua made the twelve tribes take up from the midst of Jordan, when all Israel passed over there dry shod; and he said with a loud voice: ‘Let our priest go up into a high place whence he may confirm my words.’
Thereupon the priest went up thither; to whom Jesus said distinctly, so that everyone might hear: ‘It is writ ten in the testament and covenant of the living God that our God has no beginning; neither shall He ever have an end.’
The priest answered: ‘Even so it is written therein.’
Jesus said: ‘It is written there that our God by His word alone has created all things.’
‘Even so it is,’ said the priest.
Jesus said: ‘It is written there that God is invisible and hidden from the mind of man, seeing He is incorporeal and uncomposed, without variableness.’
‘So it is truly,’ said the priest.
Jesus said: ‘It is written there how that the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, seeing that our God is infinite.’
‘Sa said Salomon the Prophet,’ said the priest, ‘O Jesus.’
Said Jesus: ‘It is written there that God has no need forasmuch as He eats not, sleeps not, and suffers not from any deficiency.’
‘So is it,’ said the priest.
Said Jesus: ‘It is written there that our God is every where, and that there is not any other god but He, Who strikes down and makes whole, and does all that pleases Him.’
‘So it is written,’ replied the priest.
Then Jesus, having lifted up his hands, said: ‘Lord our God, this is my faith wherewith I shall come to your judgement: In testimony against every one that shall believe the contrary.’
And turning himself towards the people, he said, “Repent, for from all that of which the priest has said that it is written in the book of Moses, the covenant of God for ever, you may perceive your sin; for that I am a visible man and a morsel of clay that walks upon the earth, mortal as are other men. And I have had a beginning, and shall have an end, and am such that 1cannot create a fly over again.”
The publicity which Toland gave to the Vienna manuscript made it impossible for it to share the same fate as another manuscript of the Gospel in Spanish which also once existed. This manuscript was presented to a college library in England at about the same time that the Italian manuscript was given to the Hofbibliothek. It had not been in England long before it mysteriously disappeared.
The Italian manuscript was translated into English by Canon Lonsdale and Laura Ragg, and was printed and published by the Oxford University Press in 1907. Nearly the whole edition of this English translation abruptly and mysteriously disappeared from the market. Only two copies of this translation are known to exist, one in the British Museum, and the other in the Library of Congress in Washington. A microfilm copy of the book in the Library of Congress was obtained, and a fresh edition of the English translation was printed in Pakistan. A copy of this edition was used for the purposes of reprinting a revised version of the Gospel of Barnabas thereafter,
The new English edition, understandably, has caused the present Christian Church a certain degree of irritation – for if the contents of the Gospel of Barnabas are true, then it clearly follows that most of the versions of Christianity which exist today – and accordingly the various Churches which promote them – do not have very firm foundations
This is because the Gospel of Barnabas confirms that Jesus was not God, nor the ‘son’ of God, and that he was neither crucified in the first place, nor subsequently ‘raised from the dead’ thereafter. As we have already seen, it was Paul himself who pointed out that if Jesus was neither crucified nor raised from the dead, then the bottom falls out of the Paulinian thesis:
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead …”
Accordingly virtually all the established churches, however near or far they are to each other, have united in their various efforts to discredit the English version of the Gospel of Barnabas by discrediting the Italian edition from which it was translated.
In a manner reminiscent of the way in which the Russian edition of The Protocols of the EIders of Zion has been constantly branded as ‘ a forgery’ in order to discredit any translation of it into another language, so with the Spanish and English translations of the Gospel of Barnabas, it has been claimed that the Italian version is a forgery – and, by implication, that even the much earlier Hebrew and Greek versions which, as we have just seen, are known to have existed at a very early stage in the history of Christianity, must also have been ‘forgeries’!
Perhaps the most sustained and scholarly attempt aimed at discrediting the English edition of the Gospel of Barnabas has been the book written by David Sox entitled, somewhat misleadingly, ‘The Gospel of Barnabas’. Only a few lines of the English translation are actually quoted by him, and the underlying purpose of his book is clearly to put off as many people as possible from actually reading the Gospel of Barnabas itself and making their own minds up about its authenticity!
Given that David Sox’s brief was to ‘prove’ that the Italian version of the Gospel of Barnabas is a forgery, his methodology is transparently clear:
Having ascertained that the binding of the manuscript in Vienna dates from approximately the 16th or 17th century – although not necessarily the manuscript itself, which may date from an earlier period and which could have been bound and rebound several times before ending up in its present binding for all we know, but certainly not an earlier manuscript from which it may have been copied, let alone an even earlier manuscript in Greek or Hebrew from which it may have been translated – David Sox then had to find a likely forger:
It had to be someone who was clearly familiar with both the Old and the New Testaments as represented in the Vulgate Bible – so that repeated references could be made to Old Testament events and prophecies whenever this was appropriate; it had to be someone who had converted to Islam, but who nevertheless would be ‘clever’ enough not to make the ‘forgery’ correspond too closely or entirely with what the Quran says about Jesus (for example, describing the Prophet Muhammad as ‘the Messiah’ who would come after Jesus, whereas the Quran confirms that Jesus was the Messiah whose coming had been foretold by Moses; or, for example, confirming the traditional nativity story given in the officially accepted Gospels, rather than giving an account of the birth of Jesus which corresponded with the account which is given in the Quran;
or, for example, not mentioning various miracles of Jesus which, as we shall see in Chapter Eleven, are described in the Quran, but not in the officially accepted Gospels); and it had to be someone who had the ability to ensure not only that the ‘forgery’ did not correspond exactly with what is in the Quran, but also that at least a third of the contents of the ‘forgery’ confirmed exactly what is in the other officially accepted Gospels, that at least another third expanded on what is in the other officially accepted Gospels without contradicting them, and that the remaining third – even if it contradicted what is in the other officially accepted Gospels – nevertheless appeared to be ‘in scripture style to a hair’, to use the phrase coined by Toland. It could not have been a particularly easy brief!
There was, however, one obvious possible candidate: According to the Preface to the Spanish translation of the Gospel of Barnabas, Fra Marino – the monk who is said to have stolen the Pope’s copy of the Italian version – had subsequently embraced Islam. ‘If we can only prove that he did not really steal the Pope’s copy at all,’ we can see David Sox thinking, ‘but that in fact he actually wrote it himself – then we will have succeeded!’ Naturally this hypothesis would depend heavily on establishing beyond any doubt that not only the binding, but also the Italian manuscript itself was written between approximately 1580 and 1600 any proof of which is very conspicuous by its absence.
Of course, short of having access to an authentic and voluntary confession by Fra Marino, it would be impossible to ‘prove’ such a thesis, some four centuries after the alleged event, even ‘on the balance of probabilities’, and let alone ‘beyond any reasonable doubt’, as David Sox in a roundabout way himself accepts, when he admits that ‘the reader is faced with a great amount of speculation’ in his book. However he nevertheless attempts the impossible, perhaps in the hope that, by at least raising this possibility and making it seem plausible, any version of the Gospel of Barnabas might as a result be sufficiently discredited not to be taken too seriously by anyone who happened to come across it.
We are accordingly presented with the fruits of David Sox’ s laborious searches through the official records for the period within which the Italian manuscript was probably bound to see if there is any mention of a Fra Marino who not only had the requisite talents to be able to produce such an interesting ‘forgery’, but who also would have had the necessary motive needed to sustain what would have been such a demanding and, if he were to be found out by the Inquisition, such a dangerous, task.
David Sox was only able to come up with one possible candidate: a former Inquisitor of Venice – who probably would have been more likely to have burnt the Gospel of Barnabas than written it! – who according to the records was officially reprimanded on two occasions for being too lenient with heretics, and who was subsequently demoted from his position and replaced. From these scant details, David Sox concludes that Fra Marino was not only somehow driven to embrace Islam, but also must have decided to forge the Italian version of the Gospel of Barnabas as an act of revenge against his successor, although how such an act could have actually adversely affected his successor (who probably would have been delighted to burn the offending ‘forgery’ had he ever come across it) is never clarified.
This scenario is extremely tenuous, to say the least, especially when in fact the Italian manuscript receives hardly any publicity whatsoever for the next four hundred years and not until the English version of it begins to be widely circulated some seventy years after the Italian version has been translated into English by Canon Lonsdale and Laura Ragg!
Unfortunately for David Sox there are no contemporary records which depict the successor of an ex-Inquisitor (who happens to be called Fra Marino) tearing his hair out in desperation as hundreds of gullible Italians inexplicably embrace Islam after reading the infamous Gospel of Barnabas. Indeed there is no real ‘proof’ that the Fra Marino to whom the Preface to the Spanish version refers is none other than our ex-Inquisitor from Venice.
In all probability there were literally tens, if not hundreds, of Fra Marinos in Italy during the time of Pope Sixtus V not all of whom would have been recorded in what few records have survived up until today, and any one of whom might have been the Fra Marino who stole the Pope’s copy of the Gospel of Barnabas.
Furthermore, as regards the Fra Marino selected by David Sox, although it is recorded that he was an Inquisitor, and that he was reprimanded, and that he was demoted (but not dismissed), there is no record that he either subsequently embraced Islam, or that he was burnt at the stake for embracing Islam, or that he fled the country in order to avoid the clutches of the Inquisition after accepting Islam. If, as David Sox has attempted to argue, Fra Marino himself wrote the Gospel of Barnabas ‘in revenge against his successor’, surely the Gospel would have been publicised at the time, and surely there would have been a public outcry as a result. It appears that David Sox could find no such record.
Thus in spite of all his long hours of research, his carefully arranged footnotes and cross-references, and his lucid style, David Sox’s hypothesis remains unlikely, implausible and unconvincing. It is highly unlikely that any impartial court of law today could possibly conclude, on the ‘evidence’ presented by David Sox, that the link needed to substantiate his allegation of forgery which he seeks to establish in his book has been proved. Indeed one cannot help concluding that perhaps the main reason why he has gone to such great lengths in his attempts to prove the highly improbable, may well be that it is because the contents of the Gospel of Barnabas are in fact true.
It is however to his credit that in spite of all the farfetched speculation – of which, as we have already seen, he admits there is ‘a great amount’ – David Sox does have the intellectual honesty to admit that, ‘The Jesus of the Gospel of Barnabas is on many occasions similar to that of the canonical Gospels,’ – although he then adds, ‘ because, of course, the former book depends on material contained in the latter.’ It is possible, however, that it is in fact the converse of that statement which is nearer the truth:
It is possible that the reason why there is, in fact, such a marked similarity between the contents of The Gospel of Barnabas and that of the other Gospels is that the Italian translation is not a ‘forgery’, but rather a faithful translation of a much earlier Greek or Hebrew or even Aramaic version, which was in existence long before the Quran was revealed, and on which the writers of the four officially accepted Gospels perhaps depended -for it is now generally accepted that the three earliest accepted Gospels, known as the Synoptic Gospels, were in part derived from an earlier unknown Gospel which today’s researchers often refer to as the ‘Q’ Gospel, for want of a better name.
It is possible that this earlier unknown Gospel could be the original Gospel of Barnabas, although it is clear from the following analysis contained in Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s book, The Bible, the Quran and Science, that the ‘Q’ Gospel may well have been a collection of different narrations, rather than one complete document:
The problem of sources was approached in a very simplistic fashion at the time of the Fathers of the Church. In the early centuries of Christianity, the only source available was the Gospel that the complete manuscripts provided first, Le. Matthew’s Gospel. The problem of sources only concerned Mark and Luke because John constituted a quite separate case. Saint Augustine held that Mark, who appears second in the traditional order of presentation, had been inspired by Matthew and had summarised his work. He further considered that Luke, who comes third in the manuscripts, had used data from both; his prologue suggests this and has already been discussed.
I’m very honored to have this opportunity to address you here. And I want to say that this is not a lecture…I don’t think that I’m prepared to lecture. But it’s sort of…advice to myself. Because I see myself sitting in these chairs in front of me. Just a few days ago, few years ago, just a little while ago – I was sitting right there where you are, whatever nationality – it doesn’t matter. A human being that was not aware of Islam. And at that particular time, I was someone who did not really understand… the purpose of life!
So with that note, I would request you to think of what I’m saying to you just as information and as advice – not a lecture. The information which I wish to share with you, it may seem a bit extensive. When you consider the capacity of the human brain and the amount of information it can store and that it can decipher – then with the few pages of information today, I’m sure it will not overburden you.
It is my responsibility to address the topics of our discussion today – what is the purpose of our life? And also ask the question – “What do you know about Islam?” I mean – what do you really know about Islam? Not what you’ve heard about Islam; Not what you’ve seen as actions of some Muslims, but – what do you know about Islam?
I’m honored to have this opportunity, and I would like to begin by saying that all of you have an equal responsibility… And that responsibility is to read or listen – with an open heart and an open mind.
In a world filled with prejudice and cultural conditioning, it is very hard to find people that are able to take a moment to think. To think about life objectively, to try to arrive at the truth about this world and the real purpose of our lives. Unfortunately, when you ask most people the question – “What is the purpose of our life?” which is such a fundamental and important question, they will not tell you what they have concluded through observation or analytical reasoning. In most cases, they will certainly tell you what someone else said… Or they will tell you what is commonly presumed by others. What my father said the purpose of life is, what the minister of my church said the purpose of life is, what my teacher in school said, what my friend said.
If I ask anyone about the purpose of eating, “Why do we eat?” Most people will answer, in one word or another, “It’s for nutrition!” Because nutrition sustains life… If I asked anyone why they work? They will say, because it’s necessary in order to support themselves and to provide the needs of their family. If I asked anyone why they sleep, why they wash, why they dress, etc., they will answer – “This is a common necessity for all human beings.” We can follow this line of questioning with a hundred questions, and receive the same or similar answers from anyone, in any language, in any place in the world, simple! “Why is it, that when we ask the question, ‘What is the goal and the purpose of life?’, that we get so many different answers?” That’s because people are confused, they don’t really know. They’re stumbling in the dark. And rather than saying, “I don’t know,” they just offer any answer that they’ve been programmed to answer.
Let’s think about this. Is our purpose in this world simply to eat, sleep, dress, work, acquire some material things and enjoy ourselves? Is this our purpose? Why are we born? What is the object of our existence, and what is the wisdom behind creation of man and this tremendous universe? Think about that question!
Some people argue that there is no proof of any divine origin, there is no proof that there’s a God, there’s no proof that this universe has come about through any divine purpose. There are people who believe this way – and they say that perhaps this world came about by chance. A big bang, and this whole great world with all of its orchestration just came together. And they argue that life doesn’t have any definite purpose and that there’s nothing that can be proven through either logic or science that there is a God, or purpose, or any divine reason behind this world.
Here I would like to mention a few verses from the Quran that address this subject.
“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding, who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the creation of the heavens and the earth, (and conclude), “Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose, glory to You! Grant us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” [Quran 3: 190-191]
In the above verses, Allah has mentioned very clearly to us, by first drawing our attention to the creation of our own being. The different postures of the human body, the different attitudes of people. He draws our attention to the heavens. The alternation of the night and the day. The firmament, the stars, the constellations… And then He says to us that He has not created all of this for any foolish purpose! Because when you see the design of it, you know that the design of it is very powerful and very precise. And something very powerful and very precise that is beyond our own calculation and imagination – it cannot be foolish. It cannot be just thrown together.
For instance, if you took ten marbles and numbered them one to ten. And all of them were different colors. And you put them inside of a bag and you shook the bag. And then, closing your eyes, reached inside that bag and I told you, “Pull out marble number one. And then pull out marble number two. And then pull out marble number three, in order.” What’s the chance of you pulling out those marbles in order? Do you know what the chances are? Twenty six million to one! So what are the chances of the Heavens and the Earth being thrown in a big bang, and being orchestrated like they are? What’s the chance of that?
My dear respected guests- we have to ask ourselves one more question… When you see a bridge, a building, or an automobile – you automatically consider the person or the company that constructed it. When you see an airplane, a rocket, a satellite, or a large ship – you also think about how incredible a vehicle that it is. When you see a nuclear plant, an orbiting space station, an international airport equipped with everything, also if you consider other structures that exist here, in this country – you have to be thoroughly impressed with the engineering dynamics that are involved.
Yet, these are just things that are manufactured by human beings. What about the human body with its massive and intricate control system? Think about it! Think about the brain— how it thinks, how it functions, how it analyzes, stores information, retrieves information, distinguishes and categorizes information in the millionth of a second! The brain does all of it constantly. Think about a brain for a moment. This is the brain that made the automobile, the rocket ship, the boats, and the so and so. Think about the brain and who made that. Think about the heart, how it pumps continuously for sixty or seventy years – in taking and discharging blood throughout the body, and maintaining that steady precision throughout the life of that person. Think about it! Think about the kidneys – what kind of function they carry? The purifying instrument of the body, which performs hundreds of chemical analyses simultaneously and also, controls the levels of toxicity in the blood. It does this automatically. Think about your eyes – the human camera that adjusts focus, interprets, evaluates, and applies color automatically. The natural reception and adjustment to light and distance – all automatically. Think about it – who created that? Who has mastered that? Who plans that? And who regulates that? Human beings – themselves? No… of course not.
What about this universe? Think about this. The Earth is one planet in our solar system. And our solar system is one of the systems in the Milky Way. And the Milky Way is one of the constellations in that galaxy. And there are millions of galaxies like the Milky Way. Think about that. And they are all in order. They are all precise. They are not colliding with each other; they are not conflicting with each other. They are swimming along in an orbit that has been set for them. Did human beings set that into motion? And are human beings maintaining that precision? No, of course they’re not.
Think about the oceans, the fish, the insects, the birds, the plants, and bacteria, the chemical elements that have not been discovered and cannot be detected even with the most sophisticated instruments. Yet, each one of them has a law which they follow. Did all of this synchronization, balance, harmony, variation, design, maintenance, operation, and infinite numeration – did this happen by chance? And also, do these things function perpetually and perfectly also by chance? And do they keep on reproducing themselves and maintaining themselves also by chance? No, of course not.
To think so would be illogical and foolish. At the very least it would indicate that however it came to be, it is totally outside the realm of human capabilities. We would all agree to that. The being that is deserving of praise and gratitude is the almighty power – God. God created all of this, and is responsible for maintaining all of this. Therefore, God is the only one that deserves of praise and gratitude.
If I gave each one of you a hundred dollars, for no reason, just for coming here, you would at least say, “Thank you.” However, what about your eyes, your kidneys, your brain, your life, your breath, your children? What about that? Who gave you that? Is He not worthy of praise and thanks? Is He not worthy of your worship and your recognition? My brothers and sisters that, in a nutshell, is the purpose and the goal of this life.
Allah says in the Quran:
“I have not created the jinn, the spirits, nor the human beings, for any other purpose except to worship Me.” (Quran 51: 56)
This is what God Almighty said. So our purpose in this life is to recognize The Creator and to be grateful to The Creator. To worship The Creator. To surrender ourselves to The Creator, and to obey the laws that He has determined for us. In a nutshell, it means worship. This is our purpose in this life. And whatever we do in the course of that worship– the eating, the drinking, the dressing, the working, the enjoyment between life and death– all of this is just consequential. We have been created for worship – that’s the purpose of our life. I believe that even someone who is scientific or analytical would agree with that purpose. They might have some other ulterior purpose within themselves, but that’s something they have to deal with between themselves and Almighty God.
Now on to the second half of our topic. What do you know about Islam? Not what you’ve heard about Islam. Not what you have seen in the actions of Muslims, because there’s a difference between Islam and Muslims. Just like there’s a difference between a man and a father. A man who has children – he is a father, but being a father is a responsibility. If a man does not fulfill those responsibilities, he is not necessarily a good father. Islam is a rule and an order. If a Muslim does not fulfill these rules and orders, he is not a good Muslim. So you cannot compare Islam by Muslims.
We hear the terms ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ quite often. And we read about Islam and Muslims in the periodicals, textbooks of colleges and universities. We hear and see a lot of inaccurate, misleading, and purposeful misinformation through the media. And I have to admit that some of this misinformation and misrepresentation have been perpetuated by Muslims themselves. Yet one of every five persons in this world of some five billion people is a Muslim! One out of five people in this world is a Muslim! This is a statistic that you can verify in the encyclopedia, or the almanac, or in other sources that you like to look at. How is it that if one out of five people in this world is a Muslim, that we don’t know something about Islam? The facts about Islam. If I told you that one out of five people in this world was Chinese, which is a fact – there are one billion Chinese in the world, one out of five people is Chinese! Then we know the geographical, the social, the economical, the political, the philosophical, the historical factors about China and Chinese! How come we don’t know about Islam?
What is it that joins so many different nations and this universal configuration into a common fraternity? What makes a brother or sister in Yemen my brother or sister, and I’m from America. And makes this brother from Eritrea my brother or sister. And makes another brother from Indonesia my brother. And from Africa my brother. And another one from Thailand my brother. And from Italy, Greece, Poland, Austria, Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, China, from Spain, from Russia, and so forth… What makes them my brother or sister!? We with different cultural and psychological backgrounds! What is it about Islam that automatically embraces us and joins us together as a brotherhood? What are the accurate characteristics of this misunderstood way of life that is followed by a great part of humanity?
I will try to provide you with some facts. But in addition to this, as I’ve mentioned to you before, it is necessary for you to be open-minded and open-hearted – because, if I turned the glass upside-down and poured water on it, I’ll never get a glass of water. It has to be the right side up. Facts alone do not lead to understanding, but rather a combination of tolerance, ambition, and the ability to appreciate and accept the truth when you hear it.
The word ‘Islam’ means surrender, submission, and obedience. Surrender, submission, and obedience to the law of Almighty God. You can say ‘Allah.’ You can say ‘The Creator.’ You can say ‘The Supreme God,’ ‘The Supreme Force,’ ‘The All-Wise,’ all of these are His names.
Muslims use the Arabic word for God, Allah, because in Arabic there is no other expression. The word Allah cannot be applied to any created thing. Other words that people use for Almighty are also applied to created things. For example, “the almighty dollar.” “Oh I love my wife, she is tops!” Or, “He’s the greatest.” No, no, no, no… But the word ‘Allah’ can only be applied to the One who has created all of this that we have previously described. So from this point, I’m going to use the word ‘Allah,’ and you know whom I’m speaking about.
The word ‘Islam’ is derived from the root ‘Salama’ – it means to be at peace. Therefore, a Muslim is a person who surrenders, submits, and obeys the law of Almighty God.
And through this submission obtains peace and serenity for themselves. We can immediately see, that by such a definition, the Arabic word ‘Islam’ describes the same manner and behavior of all the well-known and respected prophets and messengers of Almighty God… All of them including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, John the Baptist, Suleiman, Jesus the son of Mary, and Muhammad (May Allah’s peace be upon them all.) All of these men, these prophets and messengers, came from the same Almighty God, with the same message, with the same chain of transmission, and they said one thing – obey God! Worship Almighty God and fulfill the purpose of life and do good actions, and you will be rewarded with another life. That’s all they said! Don’t make it more than that! That’s all they said, regardless of what language and what time, whom they came to – that’s all they said.
If you read the scriptures carefully, without your own interpretation or somebody else’s addition or fabrication – you will find that this was the simple message of all those prophets who confirmed one another. Not one of those prophets ever said, “I am God – worship me.” You will not find it in any of the holy books that you have – not the Bible, not the Torah, not the New Testament, not the Psalms of David – you will not find it in any book. You will not find it in the speech of any prophet. Go home tonight and palm through all the pages of your Bible, and I guarantee you – you will not find it once. Anywhere! So where did this come from? That’s something that you’ll have to investigate.
We can easily see that by such a definition, the Arabic word describes what all the prophets did. They all came and submitted themselves to God; Surrendered themselves to God; Called the people to God; And asked the people and insisted upon the people to do deeds of righteousness. The Ten Commandments of Moses – what was that? The speech of Abraham – what was that? The Psalms of David – what was that? The Proverbs of Solomon – what did he say? The Gospel of Jesus Christ – what did he say? What did John the Baptist say? What did Isaac and Ishmael say? What did Muhammad say? Nothing more than that!
“And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer, and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.” [Quran 98:5]
This is what Allah said. And they were ordered nothing except to worship Allah, being sincere toward Him. And this was the straightway, this was the original message.
By the same token, it would also be appropriate here to consider both prophets and messengers as Muslims, because a ‘Muslim’ is what? Don’t think about the Arabic terminology, don’t think about how we address them— don’t think about Mecca, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. No! Think about what the word ‘Muslim’ means. ‘He who surrenders himself to Almighty God, and obeys the laws of the Almighty God,’ in that case whether naturally or in a dialectical manner – everything that surrenders to the law of Almighty God is a Muslim!
So, when a child comes out of a womb of its mother at the time that God has ordered – what is it? It’s a Muslim. When the sun goes around in its orbit – what is it? It’s a Muslim! When the Moon goes around the Sun – what is it? It’s a Muslim! The law of gravity – what is it? It’s a Muslim law! Everything that submits to the Almighty God is a Muslim! Therefore, when we willfully obey Almighty God we are Muslims! Jesus Christ was a Muslim. His blessed mother was a Muslim. Abraham was a Muslim. Moses was a Muslim. All the prophets were Muslims! But they came to their people and they spoke different languages. The prophet Muhammad (SAW) spoke the Arabic language. And so, in the Arabic language, the one who submits and surrenders is Muslim. Every prophet and messenger of Almighty God brought the very same and fundamental message– ‘Worship Almighty God and be sincere towards Him.’ As we examine the message of each of the well-known prophets, we could easily conclude this fact.
Where there is a conflict, it is a result of false assertions, fabrications, exaggerations, personalized interpretations of alleged writers, historians, scholars, and individuals. For instance, let me point something out to you that you may have already looked at. As a Christian, I’ve looked at it before I became a Muslim and… I didn’t understand it. How come throughout the Old Testament God is always referred to as One–the Master and Lord and King of the Universe. And that in the first commandment given to Moses, He did not allow anybody to worship any graven images; Or to bow down to anything in the Heavens, or the Earth, or the sea below – He’d never allow that. All the prophets said that there is only One God. Throughout the Old Testament, this is repeated over and over again. And then, all of a sudden we get four testimonies – four Gospels called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew who? Mark Who? Luke who? John who? Four different Gospels that were written forty- eight years apart. And none of these men, who did not collaborate with each other, none of them, wrote their last name. If I gave you a check for your pay this month and I wrote my first name on the check and told you to take it to the bank – would you accept that check? No, you wouldn’t… If the policeman stopped you and asked for your identification or passport and you only had your first name, would that be acceptable to him? Could you get a passport with your first name? Did your mother and father only give you one name? Where in the history of men is one name accepted as a documentation, where? Nowhere! Except in the New Testament.
And how can you base your faith upon four Gospels that are written by four men that didn’t seem to know their last names? Then, after those four Gospels, there are fifteen more books written by a man who was an apostate who killed Christians, tortured Christians, and then said that he in a vision saw Jesus. And he was commissioned as an Apostle of Jesus. If I told you that Hitler, after he killed all the Jews, then he himself decided that he wanted to be saved. And he met Christ or Moses on the path and he became a Jew. And he wrote fifteen books and added them to the Torah – would this be acceptable to the Jews? No, you wouldn’t accept that. So how can four books written by men without a last name, and fifteen other books written by another man–and this is the first time that God is called a man, and the first time that God is called three, and the first time God was given a son– how is this acceptable to Christians? How? Think about it! We won’t argue that point. I’ll just give you something to think about.
The advent of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not bring a new religion or a way of life as some people ominously claim. On the contrary, the prophet (SAW) confirmed the life and message of all the previous prophets and messengers. Both through his personal conduct and through divine revelations he received from the Almighty. The sacred scripture that Muhammad (SAW) brought is called the Quran. It means ‘that which is recited.’ Because Muhammad (SAW) did not write the Quran. He did not author the Quran. Nobody came and helped him write the Quran. And nobody collaborated with him on this. The Angel Gabriel recited the words to him! And Almighty God made his heart a receptacle of that. The Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) heart was a receptacle of revelation and we have this Quran that has been preserved for years without any change. Is there any other book in the world that you know of that has been preserved as it was revealed without any change? No book… Only the Quran.
Don’t take my word for it! Go to the library and read what the Encyclopedia Britannica, or the World Encyclopedia, or the Americana’s Encyclopedia, or any other universal encyclopedia of the world that was not written by Muslims. Read what it says about Islam, the Quran, and Muhammad (SAW). Read what non-Muslims say about the Quran, Islam, and Muhammad (SAW). Then you will accept that what I’m saying is universally documented and clear! That Muhammad (SAW) is the most profound individual in the history of humanity. Read what they say. That the Quran is the most incredible, the most profound piece of literature in the annals of history! Read what they say. That the Islamic way of life is categorized and so precise and dynamic! …It has never changed.
The sacred scripture that Muhammad (SAW) received is called ‘The Quran.’ And each of the prophets and messengers also received the scripture. In the Quran, these prophets, their scriptures, their stories, and the principle of their mission is mentioned with profound detail. Did Muhammad (SAW) meet them, talk with them, eat with them, and collaborate with them to write their biographies? No, of course, he didn’t. In the Quran, Muhammad (SAW) is referred to as the messenger of Almighty God and the seal of the previous prophets– which is the limit of his role as a human being.
“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” [Quran 33:40]
Muslims do not worship Muhammad, we’re not ‘Muhammadans.’ We have not the right to change the name ‘Muhammad’ and say we are ‘Muhammadans.’ No, the people who had followed Moses, they were not ‘Moseans.’ The people who followed Jacob were not ‘Jacobites.’ Or the people who followed Abraham were not ‘Abrahamians.’ Or ‘Davidians.’ …No, no, no. So how do people call themselves ‘Christians?’ Christ did not call himself a ‘Christian,’ so how do people call themselves ‘Christians?’
Jesus Christ (PBUH) said that whatever he received from Almighty God was the word of God, and what he heard is what he said! That’s what he did! So how do people call themselves ‘Christians?’ We have to be Christ-like! And what was Christ like? He was a servant of the Almighty God; so we should be servants of Almighty God, that’s all!
As the final scripture and divine revelation, the Quran makes the very clear and concise statement, “This day have I perfected your religion and completed my favor upon you. And chose the Islam as a complete way of life.” [Quran 5:3]
So through the Quran, the word ‘Islam’ came. Because, when the building is complete, you call it ‘a house.’ When the car is on the assembly line, it is not ‘an automobile’ – it is in the process of assembly! When it has been completed, it has been certified, it has been test-driven – it is now ‘an automobile.’ When Islam was completed as a revelation, as a book, as an example through the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it then became ‘Islam.’ It became a complete way of life.
So it is the word that was new… But not the practice…not the prophet…not the order from God…not a new God…not a new revelation…But only the name, Islam. And as I said previously, who were all the prophets? They were all Muslims. Another distinction to keep in mind is that Muhammad (PBUH), unlike his predecessors – he did not come to the Arabs or to his own people exclusively. No… Therefore, Islam is not a religion of the Arabs. Although the Prophet Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, was born in Mecca, a city in the Arabian Peninsula, and was an Arab by birth, he did not bring Islam to only the Arabs. He brought Islam to all people.
Although the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language, it dispels any inclinations or assertions that the message of Muhammad was limited or meant for the Arabs exclusively. In the Holy Quran Allah says, “And you have not been sent, oh Muhammad, except to the all of humanity.” [Quran 21:107]
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over a Black nor a Black has any superiority over a White; except by piety and good actions.
As such, Muhammad (PBUH) is the finality and crown of the great prophets and messengers before him. Most human beings–they simply don’t know this information. And since I am making reference to the Quran to support my presentation, I will give some background information on the Quran itself. First of all, the Quran makes the claim that it is the product of divine revelation. That is, it was sent down from the Almighty God to Muhammad for inspiration.
Allah says, “Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire.”
“It is no less than inspiration sent down to him.” [Quran 53:3-4]
Muhammad is not speaking for himself, his ideas, his own ambition, or his own emotion and feelings. But, this is a revelation which is being revealed to him! This is the statement of Allah. Therefore, if I am to convince you of the authenticity of the Quran, I must prove – one, that it was impossible for Muhammad to have manufactured such a book. Secondly, I must prove that it was equally impossible for any human agency to have created it. Let us think about this.
The Quran makes the statement, “And we created the human beings from the hanging clot that was clinging to the wall of the womb.”[Quran 23:13]
“Created man from a clinging substance.” [96:2]
How did the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) know that the embryo started out as a clot hanging and clinging to the wall of the uterus of the mother? Did he have a telescope? Did he have a cystoscope? Did he have some kind of x-ray vision? How did he receive this knowledge, when it was just discovered forty-seven years ago?
Likewise, how did he know that the oceans have a barrier between them to separate the salt and the fresh water?
“And it is He Who has let free the two seas (kinds of water), one palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter, and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them.” [Quran 25:53]
How did he know this?
“It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.” [Quran 21:33]
How did he know that the Sun, and the Moon, and the planets are all swimming in an orbit that had been ordered for them? How did he know this? And on, and on, and on – how did he know these things? These things have just been discovered twenty five or thirty years ago. Technology and science, the sophistication of which you and I well know have just been discovered. How did Muhammad (PBUH), who lived more than 1500 years ago– an uneducated shepherd who was raised in the desert, not knowing how to read or write– how could he know something like this? How could he produce something like this? And how could anyone else living with him, before, or after, produce something that has just been discovered recently. That’s impossible!! How could a man who never left the Arabian Peninsula, a man who never sailed on a ship, who lived more than 1500 years ago –make such clear and astounding descriptions that were just recently discovered in this half of the twentieth century?
Also, if this is not enough, let me mention that the Quran has a hundred and fourteen chapters, over six thousand verses. And there were hundreds of people in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who memorized this book entirely. How did that happen? Was he some kind of genius? Did anyone memorize the Gospel – any of them? Did anybody memorize the Torah, the Psalms, the Old Testament, the New Testament? Nobody has done that. Not even the Pope.
But there are millions of Muslims today who have memorized this entire book. This is the ambition of every Muslim. Not some – but every! How many Christians have you ever met in your life, that has memorized the Bible? None. You’ve never met any Christian that memorized the whole Bible because you’ve never met a Christian who even knew what was the whole Bible. Why is that? Because, Christians themselves have over seven hundred different denominations, and there are approximately thirty-nine different versions of the Bible–with different books and different versions. The different number of verses and the different number of chapters. And they don’t agree to that. So how could they even memorize what they don’t agree about.
It’s just some facts about the Quran. The Quran has been universally preserved without the slightest alteration of any kind in fifteen centuries. And I’m not speaking in a condemning fashion. I’m a person who was a Christian. A person who found out these things by my own investigation. A person who is now sharing this information with you. Overturning some rocks for you to look under. And it’s up to you!
Just think about if all of this were true. Would you agree that this book is quite profound? And unique, to say the least? Would you be honest enough to say that? Of course, you would, if you were honest. And you are. Within yourselves, you have to come to that conclusion. Many other non-Muslims came to the same conclusion. People such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Winston Churchill, to name a few. Many more and I could go on, and on, and on. They came to the same conclusion. Whether they accepted Islam openly, or not. They came to that conclusion– that there is no other literature in the world as profoundly as the Quran, a source of wisdom and healing and direction.
Now that we have settled the issue of authenticity of the Quran, let us turn to another subject matter: the basic themes of the Quran. The supreme oneness of Almighty God, which includes His names, His attributes, the relationship between God Almighty and His creation, and how human beings should maintain that relationship. The continuity of prophets and messengers, their lives, their messages, and their overall mission. The insistence upon following the final and universal example of Muhammad (pbuh), the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers. Reminding human beings of the shortness of this life and calling them towards the eternity of the life hereafter. Life hereafter, meaning after here. Hereafter, you leave this place and you’re going somewhere; I don’t mean tonight. But after you die and you leave this Earth, you are going somewhere, whether you accept it, or don’t know about it; You’re going there, and you are responsible because you have been told– even if you have rejected it. Because the object of this life is not for you to sit here, and after this do nothing and have no effect. Every cause has an effect! And you came into this life for a cause and a purpose, and it must have an effect! It must warrant some sort of effect! You don’t go to school to just stay there! You don’t go to work not to get paid! You don’t build a house and don’t move into it! You don’t get a suit made and don’t wear it! You don’t grow up as a child and don’t become an adult! You don’t work without expecting a reward! You cannot live without expecting to die! You cannot die without the expectancy of the grave! And you cannot expect that the grave is the end. Because that would mean that God has created you for a foolish purpose. And you have not gone to school, worked, or done anything, or have chosen a wife, or chosen the name of your children for a foolish purpose. How could you assign to God something less than yourselves?
In an attempt to capture and convince the imagination and faculties of reasoning, the Quran goes through great length and beauty to expound upon the oceans and rivers, the trees and plants, the birds and insects, the wild and domestic animals, the mountains, the valleys, the expansion of the heavens, the celestial bodies and the universe, the fish and the aquatic life, the human anatomy and biology, human civilization and history, the description of paradise and hell, the evolution of the human embryo, the missions of all the prophets and messengers, and the purpose of life on Earth. And how could a shepherd boy, born in the desert, who grew up illiterate and could not read– how could he expound upon things that he was never exposed to? The most unique aspect of the Quran, however, is that it serves to confirm all the previous revealed scriptures. And, after examining the religion of Islam, you should decide to become a Muslim, you do not have to consider yourself changing your religion! You are not changing your religion…You see, if you lost some weight, you wouldn’t throw that $500 suit away–of course you wouldn’t! You would take it to a tailor and say, ‘Listen, take this in a little bit for me, please. Make some alterations to this because I like this suit.’ Likewise, with your belief, your honor, your virtue, your love of Jesus Christ, your attachment to God, your worship, your truthfulness, and your dedication to Almighty God – you don’t change that and throw it away! You hold on to that! But, you make alterations where you know that the truth has been revealed to you! That’s all!
Islam is simple: to bear witness that there’s none to be worshiped except Almighty God. If I asked any of you to bear witness that your father is your father–how many of you would say, ‘Yes, my father is my father; My son is my son; My wife is my wife; I am who I am.’ Then how is it that you hesitate to bear witness that the Almighty is One and the Almighty God is the only One, and that the Almighty God is your Lord and your creator? Why are you arrogant to do this? Are you being glorious? Do you possess something that God doesn’t possess? Or, are you confused? That’s the question you have to ask yourself.
If you had the chance to put things straight with your conscience, and to put things straight with God, would you do so? If you had the chance to ask God to accept the best of your deeds, would you do so? If you had the chance to do this before you died, and you thought that you would die tonight, would you not hesitate to bear witness that there’s only one God? If you thought that you would die tonight and that in front of you was paradise and in your back was hellfire, would you not hesitate to bear witness that Muhammad is the final messenger of God and representative of all the prophets? You would not hesitate to bear witness that you are one of those who would like to be written down in the book of God as those who submit!
But, you think you’re gonna live a little while. And of course, you’re not ready to pray every day! That’s because you think you’re gonna live a while. But how much is ‘a little while?’ How long ago was it when you had a full head of hair? How long ago was it when your hair was all black? You got aches and pains in your knees and elbows and in other places! How long ago was it when you were just a child, running and playing without a care? How long ago was it? It was yesterday! Yes. And you’re gonna die tomorrow. So how long you wanna wait?
Islam is to bear witness that Almighty God is God, the only God, the only One without any partners. Islam is to acknowledge the existence of the Angels who were sent with the duty of revealing the revelations to the prophets. Carrying the message to the prophets. Controlling the winds, the mountains, the oceans, and taking the life of those whom God has ordered to die. Islam is to acknowledge that all the prophets and messengers of Almighty God were righteous men. And that they were all sent by Almighty God acknowledging the fact that there will be a final day of judgement for all creatures. Islam is to acknowledge that all good and evil has been proportioned by Almighty God. Finally, Islam is to acknowledge that there will definitely be a resurrection after death.
Islam is like a big house. And every house has to be built with a foundation and pillars to support a house. Pillars and a foundation. And you have to build a house with rules. The pillars are the rules! And when you build your house, you must follow the rules.
The fundamental duties incumbent upon every Muslim are simple, and are summed up in just 5 simple rules, the so-called Five Pillars of Islam: Belief, Worship, Fasting, Almsgiving, and Pilgrimage.
The most important rule of Islam is to uphold the strict code of monotheism. That is, to not accept any partners with God. Not to worship anything along with God. The believer worships God directly without the intercession of priests or clergy or saints. Not to say anything about God that you have no right to say. Not to say, ‘he has a father, a son, a daughter, a mother, an uncle, an aunt, a board of trustees.’ Not to say anything about God that you have no right to say. When you bear witness, you sentence yourself. You take the sentence that you want. You either sentence yourself to peace and paradise, or you sentence yourself to confusion, frustration, hellfire and punishment. You sentence yourself.
So ask yourself, “Do I bear witness that there is only one God?” When you ask yourself that question, you should answer, “Yes, I bear witness.” Then ask yourself the next question. Do I bear witness that Muhammad is a messenger of Almighty God? “Yes, I do bear witness.” If you bear witness to that, then you are a Muslim. And you don’t have to change what you were. You just have to make alterations in what you were–in your thinking and practice.
Finally, I ask you an honest and direct question: Have you have understood what I said to you? If you agree with what I said and are ready to enter Islam, you are ready to become a Muslim. To become a Muslim, you must first declare the Shahada “the testimony”; which is to declare the belief in the Oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet.
Ash-hadu anlaa ilaaha ill-Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulu llah.
“Which means that you believe that there isn’t any God except the one and only true God who created everything “Allah” and Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Please see Video for correct pronunciation!
May Allah bless us. May Allah guide us. I would like to say to all of the non-Muslim readers of this publication—Be very honest with yourself. Think about what you have read. Take this information with you and absorb it. Sit down with a Muslim person and let them explain a little further to you the beauty of Islam. Take the next step!
When you are ready to accept Islam and become a Muslim, wash yourself before formally becoming a Muslim. Accept Islam. Know about Islam. Practice Islam. And enjoy the bounties that Allah has bestowed upon you, because faith is The most important rule of Islam is to uphold the strict code of monotheism. That is, to not accept any partners with God. Not to worship anything along with God. The believer worships God directly without the intercession of priests or clergy or saints. Not to say anything about God that you have no right to say. Not to say, ‘he has a father, a son, a daughter, a mother, an uncle, an aunt, a board of trustees.’ Not to say anything about God that you have no right to say. When you bear witness, you sentence yourself. You take the sentence that you want. You either sentence yourself to peace and paradise, or you sentence yourself to confusion, frustration, hellfire and punishment. You sentence yourself.
If you don’t put it into practice, you lose it like a fragrance. May Allah guide us. May Allah help us. And I appreciate the honor of being able to speak to you through this publication.
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
[Arabic for “Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings.”]
Waa’il Abdul Salaam, formerly Austin Roe – How he converted to Islam by his own volition at the age of merely 10 years
A lesson for Parents, Doctors, Children Etc.
Waa’il (formerly Austin Roe), now 13, he converted to Islam by his own volition at the age of merely 10 years old. He movingly describes how difficult his childhood was and how the touch of Islam has changed his life entirely around. Many children who grow up to be aggressive or violent are often the result of their environment – whether within the home or without. They are not inherently as such. A right environment and guidance with love and mercy can make them rediscover themselves and rekindle their thought process and inherent potentials. The story of Waai’l Abdul Salaam will bear this out.
He contributed his story so that it may serve as a lesson for parents, doctors, as well as children.
My story of becoming a Muslim at the age of ten years old might be unusual, but it was very real for me. I want to share my story so that it might be beneficial for other kids who are going through the same problems I went through. I was born into a family with a mother who was Roman Catholic and a father who was Baptist. When I was born, I had one sister who was a year and a half older than myself. When I was six weeks old, my father took me from my crib and ran off with another woman. He left my mother alone with my sister. He hid me and was involved in drugs. I remember the first few years of being very hungry and alone. I remember how I was very angry and had a bad temper.
During those first few years, my mother’s friends got her a job as a bartender so that she could support herself and my sister. After a while, one of my father’s friends went to her and told her where I was because he was afraid something bad was going to happen. My mother came right away and found my father and his friends doing drugs. She saw me running around being neglected, and so she picked me up and left with me. I did not really know her. I guess maybe I thought I was being kidnapped or something, so I threw temper tantrums every chance I got and became even angrier.
Eventually, my mother finally got me to smile, learn how to hug, and even say I love you – things I did not know how to do when she found me. She had two of us kids to support and herself, and so she wound up spending more time working at the bar, which meant we were left with lots of different babysitters.
Then one day my father came to the house where we lived and took me back to where he was living with another new lady. By the end of that year, my father tried to put me in school, which did not work. I did everything bad I knew just to get into trouble.
The school called and said that I could not continue in the school because of my behavior, and so I was taken back and dumped at my mother’s doorstep. She was happy that I was back and took me to my sister’s school. I thought I was getting left again, and so I threw a fit, hit my teachers and other kids. The school called my mother and said I could not go to school there either. I was mad at everyone. I did the worst things I could think of at every chance I got. This time my mother got on a plane with me and we flew to her mother’s house – far across the country – in another state. She was very loving but very strict about my throwing fits. She did not yell but whenever I destroyed something or had a tantrum, she would hold my hand and walk outside with me to a pile of small wood blocks on the side of the house. She would tell me to move all the little wood blocks from one side of the driveway to the other and when I was done to come and let her know. Then she would go back inside and leave me there by myself. At first I was so mad at her, but by the time I finished moving the little blocks, I was not mad anymore. It was like a game.
By the end of the eight months that I lived with my grandmother, I stopped throwing tantrums, liked to sit on her lap and listen while she read bible stories and poems to me until I fell asleep. I learned all my school lessons, knew how to ride a horse, and I absolutely knew how to move blocks around. At the end of that time, it was time for me to go back home, and I was doing so well that I got to ride on a plane all by myself (with an escort of course). I felt very grown up and very happy. She told me that I was going to be just fine, and that whenever I got angry or sad or lonely, I should think about God. She said I should always remember how He took care of all the people in the Bible and if I would ask Him she knew He would take care of me too. She told me that if I got upset or angry, I should never hurt anyone. Instead, I should just pray to God until I was not angry anymore.
After I got back home, my mother was happy because I was not hurting people or throwing tantrums. I was eating well and not afraid to sleep. I was happy almost all of the time. My mother worked all the time while babysitters took care of my sister and a new brother who was born while I was away. My father knew that my mother had to work to take care of us and yet he would never give her even a penny to help. He divorced her without telling her.
Then again my father came one day. He saw how good I had turned out and just like before, he took me away.
The new lady my father was living with was so cruel. I lost a lot of weight. I am not sure how things happened, but it was during that time that I supposedly split my head open on monkey bars at the school, and supposedly was hit by a jeep in front of their home. I do not remember those things too clearly, but I do remember his girlfriend picking up a two-by-four and hitting me with it in the front yard. I also remember my father slamming my head into the kitchen table because I did not write fast enough. He and his lady friend would threaten me by convincing me that the devil would come out of my bedroom floor and take me to burn in hell if I got out of bed while they were having drug parties.
This went on until I was in fourth grade. My father used to show me a big baggie filled with drugs he was then getting from a doctor and telling me how good they made him feel. His house was filled with dirty magazines and MTV movies and it all seemed normal because that was all I ever knew back then. I did not know there was any other way to live. I had long forgotten how my grandmother had taught me to pray and I could not remember the wonderful days I spent with her riding horses, being hugged, and read to about God. All the bad stuff at that age seemed to push the good stuff away. When it was time to start fourth grade I acted uncontrollably at school, hoping that I would get sent back to my mother or grandmothers. I did not stop until I got what I wanted, and it worked. I was taken back and left with my mother. By then she was working around sixty hours a week. She would come home tired, yelling and screaming and expecting us to take care of ourselves and not give her any more trouble. I wanted attention from her, and so I went back to being a brat and being mean to my sister and my new little brother whom I resented even more.
By the end of the first month of that school year, I was the worst I had ever been. My mother could not cope with me one minute longer. My father had already made me go to doctors who put me on five different kinds of medicines – from Ritalin to even worse drugs – to try to control me, but even that did not work. In fact, that stuff made me worse. I beat up other kids, started fights, accused them of doing things they did not do, stole things, lied, refused to obey the teachers, or do any work. School to me was a place I was going to play and do whatever I wanted to do. I knew they could not do anything about it. I thought I was really something and all I thought about was myself. They sent me to the hall, to the office, to home, and even put a box around me in class to keep me from bothering other kids, but I still did not give up.
Do not get me wrong here – I am not saying all these to sound cool. I was an idiot to say the least – I know that now. I want other kids to know that it does not have to be that way regardless of their family problems. So, if I do not say how bad it had gotten they will not be able to understand. I was only ten years old then. I am almost fourteen now. When I look back about what I was at ten, I cannot believe that I am the same person, or that the kid I am telling you about above was for real. But he was for real and he was me! Most people would not believe that a ten-year-old kid could be as bad and do as bad things as I did. It all finally came to an end for me when, one day, I called the home of a kid, pretending to be another kid, and told them that their boy was missing. You can image how much trouble I was in then. That only got me into more drugs from the doctor. All those drugs made me see things and hear things that were not there and made me angry enough to be dangerous. I do not believe anyone should put their kids on those drugs even if the school insists. Adults just have no idea what those drugs do to kids or what they make kids think about. I am proof to tell you that kids are not going to admit to parents or doctors or anyone about having horrid thoughts because of the drugs. Anyway, when the drugs were not helping and I was getting into even more trouble, it was at that point they threatened to put me out of the family forever. All of a sudden, my mother did not want to put up with it anymore. My father did not want me either. I did not know what was going to happen to me.
When I least expected it, there was a couple who offered to take me into their home and try to help me. They did not have children living at home, and so there would be no one for me to hurt. They would also homeschool me until my behavior got in check. Neither of them drank used drugs. They were not going to give me any drugs and promised to me that I did not have to go to a bunch of doctors unless I was physically sick. It was my last chance. I said okay and I was put on a plane and sent to their home. They picked me up from the airport. It was Jumaana and her husband Waseem. All of a sudden I felt different. Here was a new couple. The family back at my home already knew my routines, so they caught me right away every time I did something wrong, but these two did not know how I operated. At first, I tried to be loud and a real brat. I did a good job for a few days, reminding them both that they said I did not have to take all those drugs. They looked like they did not know what to do with me exactly but they reassured me that their promise was good.
They had a room all ready for me when I arrived. The walls were pale blues, my favorite color. It had a blue carpet and blue drapes and even a blue bedspread. There was a desk, just for me to use, and even a small fish tank with fishes that swam in and out of the rocks. It had a light that stayed on all night. It was incredible. I never had anything like that for myself. I used to sleep on the floors on a blanket or on a couch in the living room before. As the days passed, the drugs were draining out of my body. It made me tired and drowsy most of the first few weeks and I slept a lot. I was ten years old but weighed only forty-eight pounds because the drugs make one too sick to eat. By the end of the first month, I gained several pounds and felt better than I had in a long time. I did not want to be put up with that stuff ever again. The following month, my homeschool box was delivered to the house and Jumaana began to teach me every day when Waseem was at work.
I could see how different it was in Jumana’s and Waseem’s house. At certain times, for example, Jumaana would leave the room to go to her room. I would pretend to keep working, but I could not help but notice that she would put on a long scarf over her head and a small rug on the floor. I was not sure what she was doing back then, but she would be praying. I watched her do that every day. Finally one day I asked about it. I think that was when I stopped being so bad and started wondering about other things. I would see their house was different, quieter, and more peaceful – something I could not think of because for ten years I had only known people who were either drugged up or drunk, or just plain mean. This was like a different planet, one might say. I did not exactly know what to think about it, but I did start liking being there. I tried not to get too attached because I thought that one day I would get sent away again, which always happened and I did not want to think about it. That is why I would have a couple of good days and then I would go back to my old ways.
Every day I asked more and more questions. Jumaana or Waseem would do their best to answer them. I wanted to learn to pray too, and so one day I asked if I could pray with her. She said I could and even opened her closet and gave me na ew blue velvety prayer rug. I followed everything she did and I listened to every word, but I could not remain still and be always wiggling and moving around. After a couple weeks I could remain motionless, and I felt very peaceful inside. I never remembered feeling that way before. One evening, after I had gotten settled into bed for the night, Jumaana came into my room and asked if I was doing okay. I told her yes and she said she thought I had become quieter lately and wondered if there was anything I needed. She and Waseem always talked nice to each other, and I never heard them fight or anything like what the people did in my old home. I could not believe how nice they were to one another, they were now talking to me that way too. I could not quite figure things out. I thought maybe it would be okay if I told her that I wanted to be a Muslim too. I really did want to be and I did not know how to do it. So, I just came out and said it, “I want to be a Muslim”.
She smiled and asked if I knew what being a Muslim was. I told her I did not but I wanted to be one. She tucked me in, gave me a hug, left the room and came back with some children’s books on Islam. That night I read them until I fell asleep. The next day I finished the books and I could not get enough to read. I read about saying Shahada and so I told her right away that I needed to say it, so that I could be a Muslim. They reminded me that I was only ten years old and so maybe I would need to study more first. I told them that I had already read all the books and I had to say the Shahada that very day. I know I was young, but it did not seem that way to me at the time, because all I knew was that I had to become a Muslim. It was right for me and I knew it – right from the beginning. Later that night, on December 29, 2000, I officially said the Shahada to Jumaana and Waseem, and I became a Muslim.
Jumaana continued to teach me at home and I passed the fourth grade and the fifth grade all in one year. I was also given the privilege to read whatever books I wanted from the shelves of books Waseem and Jumaana had. They had books on all religions, but I read every one they had on Islam. I asked lots of questions about the difference in religions because I did not know why everyone in the world was not following Islam. I went to the library of the little town where we lived and got to know the librarian there. She ordered me lots more books on Islam and would ask me questions about it too. She said that I knew a lot for my age and was surprised about how much I knew about Islam. Then after I read everything they had, I would go to the big public library in downtown and find all kinds of books on Islam. I knew I could never be anything except a Muslim.
My parents did not want me to come back and live with them ever. They only remembered me the way I was when they sent me away. I also did not want to go back to my old way of life, or live with them with the drinking, drugs, fighting, and chaos either. They had not sent any money to take care of me during the entire first year I lived with Jumaana and Waseem. Waseem was ready to retire but he kept on working just to take care of me. Jumaana also had given up her writing to teach me at home. They had done these things because they cared about what happened to me. I really did not want to ever leave them. So, after I lived with them for a year, the courts granted me a legal adoption. It was the only way they could have the right to make decisions about my schooling and other legal issues since they were not considered my parents. Because my parents had not had contact with me and never sent any support for the whole year, the court could make me go into a home or foster care if it wanted to. I was so afraid that if my parents all of a sudden wanted to take me back because I was so much better, then they would do the same things to me they had before. I also knew they would never let me stay as a Muslim.
I prayed so hard every day – five times a day or more – asking Allah to help me. Adoption in this country is the only way to assure legal rights. More than anything, I wanted Waseem and Jumaana to adopt. I was so happy when the court felt it was the best thing for me too. The papers were filed and my parents were notified accordingly. But they did not even bother to contact the court to contest it. In fact they quickly signed the papers to give me up. I was happy about that, actually. Then on the day of the adoption, the judge even told me that I could change my name. I chose “Waa’il” because it meant “one who returns for shelter”, and I did feel like I went to Jumaana’s and Waseem’s home for shelter. I also felt like I had returned to Islam, and so that was a shelter for me inside. It was the best thing in my whole life that ever happened to me. Because of the delays in removing the parental rights of my birthparents, the date for my adoption was changed, making it fall on the first day of Ramadan in 2001. It was, as if, Allah was blessing me over and over again.
Three and a half years have now passed by, and I see how incredibly different my life has been from what it used to be. Sometimes it is hard to look back and think what it used to be like before becoming a Muslim. Having had such a stubborn and defiant attitude during those first ten years of my life still affects me sometimes, but I am still very different from what I was back then. People do not think me as a thirteen and a half year old when they meet me – most of them think that I am a lot older. I think it is probably because of having such a tough life from the time I was born until I came to live with my new parents. They encourage me to keep at least some kind of contact with my family, which is fine because I know that they cannot come and take me away anymore or tell me that I cannot be a Muslim. I know that I am safe. I also believe that Allah made it all happen, which makes that negative period of my life more bearable now when I remember it. For, I have found Islam and found Allah, which I probably would not have found if all that stuff had not happened. At least, this is how I think now.
My sister came and spent a week during her school break this last December/January. I had not seen her in over three years. She is fifteen now and flew here on her own to stay with us for the week. She was shocked at the changes in me. I had grown to five feet ten inches in height from being half her size when I left, which made me tower over her by almost a foot. I also outweighed her by fifty pounds, after having last been seen a scrawny skeleton of a kid. When I left I was wearing a Rugrats hat and Harry Potter clothes from television and cartoon shows. When she saw me this time, I was wearing a Kufi – or one of my other kinds of Islamic caps – and a Kurris. When I left I had been a loud, troublemaking, obnoxious brat who had failed three out of five grades and who could not even write a complete sentence, and she hated me. This time she saw me polite, quieter, having passed all my grades, and even skipping a whole grade which put me in the same grade as she was. Sometimes she would see me stop whatever I was doing and go to prayer five times a day. She hated me when I left home at age ten, and was expecting me to be the same. Now, she told me after a couple days of being with us that she could hardly believe that I was that same person. She really liked me as her brother now. She found out that I was a Muslim. Because I had changed so much, she asked a ton of questions about Islam, took back a bunch of Islamic books I gave her, and told everyone back there that they just would not believe how different I was. Now, every once in a while, my mother will let my brother and sister call, and she even talks to me for a few minutes. I send books for them to read about Islam and I hope that someday they will all become Muslims too. I know they would be so much happier if they did.
My life seems a hundred years away from the way it used to be. I have become a Muslim now going on for four years, been blessed with new Muslim parents, had my adoption finalized on the very first day of my very first Ramadan, learned my prayers in Arabic, read my new parent’s entire library of books on Islam, exhausted the public libraries of their Islamic books, been given a new name and a new life. I do not know what else I could ask for. I am studying very hard to finish my high school in another two years. I will be sixteen by then, but I feel like I am a lot older. I know now that I did not need drugs to make me behave. I did not need anger to get me through all those years of chaos. I did not need to be so hurtful to others just to get attention. I did not need to cause such chaos for others. What I needed all along was Islam. I needed Allah. As I realize now, instead of these schools and parents putting their kids on Ritalin and other junk, they should put their time and money in studying Islam and teaching their children about Allah. When nothing else worked – and believe me a lot of people tried to get me straightened out – Allah did it. Allah can do anything and everything. When He does something for you, that is the way it is supposed to be.
I am Waa’il Abdul Salaam and this is my story.
Thirty verses proofs – No crucifixion
Jesus Christ was neither killed nor was he crucified, as alleged by the Christians and the Jews, but that he was alive! because:
1. Jesus was reluctant to die! He had worked out a strategy of defence to repel the Jews. Because he wanted to remain alive!
2. He beseeched God for help. With strong crying and tears for God Almighty to keep him alive!
3. God ‘heard’ his prayers which means that God accepted his prayers to keep him alive!
4. An angel of God came to strengthen him: In the hope and belief that God will save him alive!
5. Pilate finds Jesus not guilty! Good reason to keep Jesus alive!
6. Pilates wife was shown a dream in which she was told that – ‘No harm should come to this just man.’ In other words that he should be saved alive!
7. Supposed to be on the cross for only three hours. According to the system in vogue, no man could die by crucifixion in so short a time which means that even if he was fastened to the cross – he was alive!
8. The other two – his ‘crossmates’ on their respective crosses were alive. So Jesus too, for the same period of time must be alive!
9. Encyclopedia Biblica under article ‘cross’ – column 960 says: ‘When the spear was thrust – Jesus was alive!
10. ‘Forthwith’ came there out blood and water: ‘Forthwith’ means straightaway, immediately which was a sure sign that Jesus was alive!
11. Legs not broken – as a fulfilment of prophecy. ‘Legs’ can be of any use only if Jesus was alive!
12.Thunderstorm, earthquake, and darkening of the sun all within 3 hours! To disperse the sadistic mob to enable his ‘secret disciples’ to help, keep him alive!
13. Jews doubted his death: They suspected that he had escaped death on the cross – that he was alive!
14. Pilate ‘marvels’ to hear that Jesus was dead. He knew from experience that no man can die so soon by crucifixion. He suspected that Jesus was alive!
15. Big roomy chamber: Close at hand, and big and airy for willing hands to come to the rescue. Providence was out to keep Jesus alive!
16. Stone and ‘winding sheets’ had to be removed: Only necessary if Jesus was alive!
17. Report on winding sheets. German Scientists who carried out experiments on the ‘Shroud of Turin’ said that the heart of Jesus had not stopped functioning – that he was alive!
18. Ever in disguise! Disguise not necessary if Jesus was ‘resurrected’. Only necessary if he was alive!
19. Forbade Mary Magdalene to touch him ‘Touch me not’ for this reason that it would hurt; because he was alive!
20. ‘Not yet ascended unto my father’ In the language of the Jews, in the idiom of the Jews, he was saying, ‘I am not dead yet’, in other words, ‘I am alive!’
21. Mary Magdalene not afraid on recognising Jesus. Because she had seen signs of life before. She was looking for a Jesus who was alive!
22. Disciples petrified on seeing Jesus in the upper-room. All their knowledge about the ‘crucifixion’ was from hearsay, therefore, they could not believe that Jesus was alive!
23. Ate food again and again in his post ‘crucifixion’ appearances. Food only necessary if he was alive!
24. Never showed himself to his enemies. Because he had escaped death by the ‘skin of his teeth’. He was alive!
25. Took only short trips. Because he was not resurrected, not spiritualised, but alive!
26. Testimony of men around the tomb “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”That he is not dead, but alive!
27. Testimony of angels “angels who had said that he was alive!”Did not say, ‘resurrected’ but the actual word uttered by the angels was ‘Alive!’
28. Mary Magdalene testifies “they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, they believed not”.
Mary did not vouch for a spook, or ghost or spirit of Jesus but a Live Jesus. What they could not believe was that the Master was alive!
29. Dr. primrose testifies: That the ‘water and the blood’, when Jesus was lanced on the side, was on account of an upset in the nervous vessels because of the scourging by staves. Which was a sure sign that Jesus was alive!
30. Jesus had himself foretold that his miracle will be the miracle of Jonah! According to the Book of Jonah, Jonah was alive, when we expected him to be dead; similarly when we expect Jesus to be dead, he should be alive!