by Syed Soharwardy
(Islamic Supreme Council of Canada)
The recent escalation of hostilities against the Final Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has backfired on the opponents of Islam. On one side the false propaganda against Islam and Prophet Muhammad has made many non-Muslims sympathetic towards Muslims and brought them close to Islam. On the other side these hostilities against Islam and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has further strengthened the bond between Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers. There has been renewed commitment from ordinary Muslims to safeguard the honour of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him). In other words, the oppression of Muslims and badmouthing of fanatics about Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has made Muslims stronger Muslims and brought rational thinkers of the non-Muslim community closer to Islam. The conversion towards Islam did not decrease with the increase in the propaganda against Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Islam. In fact, the conversion towards Islam in Muslim and non-Muslim countries has increased over the last two years.
Recently, a new trend has emerged among the non-Muslim teenagers. The nonstop propaganda against Islam inspires teenagers more than the people of old age. Depending upon the personality, this propaganda causes two types of reactions in young boys or girls. Some of them become more biased and violent against Muslims but some of them become more curious about Islam. “Why so much propaganda against Islam? Why does everybody seem to be angry with Muhammad (Peace be upon him)? LET’S FIND OUT!!!.” This phrase “lets find out” becomes a blessing for a person.
In Canada, the most effective resource to provide “the truth” to these non-Muslim youth is not Imams and scholars but it is that teenager, Muslim boy/girl who has good understanding of Islam and have friendships with non-Muslim teenagers. The young Muslim boys and girls in schools, colleges, universities and at workplace like McDonalds, KFC, etc. can be very effective in bringing non-Muslim youth into Islam. These non-Muslim youth are fed-up with the prejudice that has victimized a significant segment of the society (i.e. Muslims). The daily hate mongering in the media has created a rebellion in these young boys and girls and they see Islam and Muslims as victims of the society. It creates sympathy in their hearts, which brings them closer to Islam.
Let me share with you a recent story of a teenager converting to Islam in Toronto. For privacy reasons I have used fictitious name in this story.
Daniyal, 16 year old Muslim boy who loves basketball. He is also an active member of his basketball club. He is very outgoing and a hard working teenager. His parents, originally from Pakistan are very strong and pious Muslims. Daniyal also works at an ice cream shop on a part time basis. Daniyal and John have known each other for a long time. A few weeks ago, Daniyal was practicing basketball with John, an 18 year old non-Muslim boy. During the play John asked Daniyal “Why does everybody hate you (Muslims)?”
Daniyal, “I have no idea.”
John, “I am serious, I do not like this. I do not see any thing wrong with you. In fact, you are my best friend”.
Daniyal, did not reply. They kept on playing. While playing they talked about other things of common interest.
After the game while they were changing in the locker room, John asked Daniyal “I want to know about your religion”.
Daniyal smiled and said let’s go TimHortons (A Canadian coffee and donut shop), we will talk. Both of them ordered hot chocolate. They sat across a table. Daniyal asked John, “let me explain to you my beliefs and you tell me where you find a problem?” He explained the basic beliefs of Islam. The importance of family values and cleanliness. Daniyal told him some of the stories of Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) life. He explained why people of Makkah hated him while they knew that he was the most honest and pious person.
John almost cried when he listened the story of Prophet Muhammad’s journey towards “TAIF”. John asked one more question about terrorism. Daniyal’s reply was quick, and opened John’s heart. Daniyal said, “Terrorists have no religion. They have their own agenda”. He asked John, what was the religion of Robert Pickton, Uni-bomber, Timothy McVeigh, Hitler, etc..” Instead of answering the question John told Daniyal, “I want to be a Muslim, just like you”. Daniyal laughed but John did not. Daniyal could read John’s face, it was serious but shining. Daniyal stood up and said think it over I will see you tomorrow.
Next morning John came to Daniyal’s house. He knocked at the door. Daniyal’s father opened the door. “Good Morning”, said John.
“Good Morning, please come in. Daniyal is sleeping,” Daniyal’s father told John. While, John was sitting in their drawing room. Daniyal’s father called Daniyal from downstairs “Daniyal, John is here”.
Daniyal’s father smiled and sat down next to John. “How are you?” “I am fine, thank you”. He paused and asked, “did Daniyal talk to you about some thing?”. Daniyal’s father smiled and tried unsuccessfully to control his tears. “Yes, he told me that you want to be a Muslim”, Daniyal’s father said. “Are you sure you want to be a Muslim? Have you spoken with your parents about it?” Daniyal’s father asked him.
“Why can’t I be a Muslim? What’s wrong with me?” John asked as he was now frustrated with these questions. “Yes, I have discussed with my parents……
(to be continued to Story of Two Teenagers #2)