Muslim Converts – The Companions of Our Time
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 7.73MB
A friend of mine from Philadelphia was a Carmelite monk. He studied in Rome, he could read the Bible in Greek and Latin. He knew bishops and cardinals.
A short time before he was ordained. He was doing some mission work trying to spread his faith. When he encountered a Muslim, and they had an exchange, the Muslim said to him, I'll become a Christian. If you can answer just one question. What's that? He asked, show me just one place in the Bible, where Jesus tells us to worship him.
Immediately the monk started listing the verses he had memorized by heart that the Christians have used in support for the Trinity for centuries. No, no, wait a second, the Muslim guy said, I don't want something in implied from the text.
I don't want the words of the narrator. I want a direct quote from Jesus Himself, telling me to worship him. The monk said he would go do some research and get back to him, they exchanged phone numbers. At first, the monks thought it was going to be easy to meet this challenge. But the more and more he looked and researched, the more frustrated he became that he could not find a direct quote, it did not seem to exist. And the more and more he thought about it, the more and more it bothered him. How could the most central and defining part of the Christian faith be based on such flimsy evidence? You would think that there would be direct quotes there would be explicit evidence
for the Trinity on every page. But there wasn't the divinity of Jesus, the idea of the Trinity, the middle of all based on interpretation, and innuendo.
After some time talking back and forth with his new Muslim friend, that monk accepted us No.
But that's not the point of the story. The point of the story is what happened next. First of all, he dropped out of the Christian order that he was a part of, and the Christian church was not happy. They actually called him from Rome, trying to persuade him to stay in the order. They told him that they would take care of him for life that he could live out the rest of his days in Rome, hanging out with cardinals and bishops. Just forget about this Islam. He refused.
Second of all, his family was furious. They had put him in the monastery in the first place. They were a Catholic family and they were proud of their son. Now that he was a Muslim, they disowned him.
They kicked him out of the house. They told him not to come back. Fast forward a little bit. He got married to a Muslim woman and he started a family and named his first son 100.
His parents still weren't happy with him, but they wanted to get a little bit involved in his life because of the kids. Still, his mother refused to call her grandchild by the by his first name well, Hamlet, she cannot bring herself to say the words, she would simply say him.
That individual knows something about how the Companions felt.
Another friend of mine also a convert, actually, a classmate of mine and Medina, converted to Islam when he was 13 years old. He lived with his aunt and his elderly grandmother at the time, and even though his grandmother was supportive, his his aunt was not. They kicked him out of the house at age 13, making him homeless.
He told me that the only place he had to go, where he could stay was the mystery.
There were times when the only thing that he had to eat was plain pasta noodles, that he would soak in a glass of water placed on the windowsill so would catch the sunlight and warm up a little bit.
This is another example of an individual who can relate to the Companions. And we have many such individuals right here in our own community. I count over 20 converts that I'm in touch with regularly in the Mohawk Valley. They know what the companions went through because they are going through it themselves right now. They have to face pressure, even violence sometimes from their family, their friends,
and the Society for the choice that they made to follow a laws guidance. I'm not even a photographer, they log on who he used to say that whoever doesn't know life before Islam doesn't really know Islam.
Sometimes when things are too comfortable for us when they are handed to us on a silver platter, we don't appreciate it fully. Sometimes we take it for granted if we don't have to earn it ourselves. And when this happens, sometimes we give up too easily.
In the face of pressure for every teenager who stops wearing hijab, to fit in at school, there's a convert somewhere who was wearing hijab for the very first time, and is worrying how her friends and family will react for every tip for every teenager who asks people to call them Mo, instead of Mohamed, because they're shy about their name, and they don't want to stick out, there's a convert somewhere changing their name to Mohammed, or naming their own child Mohammed despite the treatment that they're about to receive from their family or their friends. Even if you can't relate to our convert brothers and sisters, because you were blessed with a headstart. There's two very, very
important ways that you can support people in their situation, the companions of our time. First, be easy with them, and be gentle.
Maybe the new person hanging around the masjid is like that 13 year old convert with nowhere else to go.
Maybe the person who shows up to Iftar and heaps up a big plate of food and goes back for seconds. Maybe he has been slow cooking noodles on the windowsill for the last week.
You are only seeing people for a small small snapshot of their lives and you don't know what other struggles they are facing when they leave the message you make the masjid a place of refuge for them.
The second way to support them
is to hold on to this gift of Islam and to hold on to it with pride. Don't give it up. Don't backslide be a role model of strength, of confidence and of dignity. Hold on to your Islam and don't apologize for it.
They need to see people who take breaks from work and school to make their prayers. They need to see people who are refusing porque and alcohol at work or at school. They need to see people fasting during Ramadan. You don't realize who's watching.
There are people watching and taking courage from the example that you set.
Remember, if Allah azza wa jal had willed, none of us in this entire Masjid would have ever heard of Islam.
But for whatever reason, ALLAH SubhanA favored us with guidance.
You were given the single greatest gift that anyone could possibly be given.
So now, what will you do with it?