Sunday, 15 February 2009
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Every time you see convert stories in the Muslim media, they always give the Good News. The Heavens opened up and angels with Stratocasters started playing. There was a rosy hue all around and you are given a passport of bliss. Everybody lived happily ever after. That is not the reality.
Ye shall certainly be Tried and Tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil, - then that will be a determining factor in all affairs. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:186)
When we speak of tests, the affliction of any human being is an examination for all involved. As the Bible itself says:
35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; 36 naked, and you covered Me; sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.
About ten years or so, there was a female convert who suddenly dropped off the scene. She became uncontactable and no one really knew where she was. My friend, who taught her when she was still learning about Islam thought it highly unusual. So he turned detective and roped in a few others to look for her. Like more than few, she converted because of a relationship with a Muslim. Unfortunately, in this case, the Muslim boyfriend was far from an exemplar of the faith. He had managed to get her pregnant and then claimed that the child was not his. When her Hindu parents discovered her conversion and her pregnancy, she was thrown out of the house. She had disgraced her family.
Pregnant, rejected, with no place to go; she severed all links with the Muslims as well since she felt ashamed. Like most people, she had thought herself alone. An island of pain and misery in a sea of humanity. So, she tried to kill herself but failed. As a result of the attempted suicide, she ended up at the Institute for Mental Health. It was several weeks later that my friend and his Muslim posse managed to track her down. By that time, she was discharged from IMH and was staying with her aunt. Eventually, it was through the efforts of the resident social worker that she was eventually reconciled with her mother. She was also persuaded to keep the baby. What is heartening is that the people involved knew enough not to judge but to help. And that is what we need sometimes, to suspend judgement.
It is said that Shaykh Abu Sa’id ibn Abi al-Khayr (q.s.) wrote
“Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it does not matter
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times,
Come, yet again, come, come.”