Transcribed from Review of Religions
I come from a religious Muslim family in Egypt where I was brought up and educated. After I finished my studies in Cairo University, I married and came to England with my husband in the year 1979.
I always had some interest in religion because I was always worried about those who do not believe in religion or even in the existence of God. This made me very keen to read many books about Islam and also to study the Holy Quran, hoping to find good arguments to satisfy these people.
When I came to England, I started to mix with other people from different countries and this increased my knowledge about many religions of the world. I also started to know more about Christianity especially through a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses who used to visit me regularly to preach their religion. I welcomed them with the intention of preaching Islam to them and for this reason I started to read the Bible and other books about Christianity. It hurt my feelings very much to find people worshiping gods other than Allah, our Creator, and I felt disturbed and troubled to find that the Muslims were not doing much to stop this.
I became more interested to increase my knowledge about Islam. The division of Muslims into different sects annoyed me very much. I did not approve of what they were doing. I could see that Muslims were not practising the true Islam which was described in the Holy Quran and that they were giving a very bad impression about their religion presenting it as a religion of terrorism and bloodshed. I became full of enthusiasm to preach Islam and to explain to non-Muslims that what they see from Muslims is not really the true Islam. Some people warned me that I should not talk about my religion to non-Muslims as this is dangerous to my own faith and also because Islam is not a missionary religion. But I had a different view. I felt that Islam is a beautiful religion and if Allah has sent me this lovely gift, then it is my duty to share it with other people. I felt that preaching Islam is a kind of Zakat and I believed that if my faith was going to be affected by talking to other people about it, then this will only mean that I am not following the right religion.
Then in the year 1989 there was a big uproar raised by Muslims all over the world against the book Satanic Verses. This really exhausted my patience. Of course I did not support the author of the book nor did I agree with what he had written, but neither could I tolerate the reaction of the Muslims which was, in my opinion, not Islamic in any way. They thought that they were acting in the name of Islam but I felt that Islam was innocent of what they claimed and I felt sorry for non-Muslims who were presented with this wrong image of this peaceful religion and hence they were bound to reject it. I looked around me and could not find a single person, including myself, who was practising true Islam. I thought of my own people back home in Egypt. They were also not practising true Islam. Even the very religious among them were still not what I call true Muslims. They were very weak and helpless and they were also very passive. They keep their religion to themselves and do not preach it to others. I also thought about the Companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. They practised the teachings of the Quran in word and action. They were righteous, kind, strong and active. They enjoyed unity and cohesion. They fought their enemies together as one hand. They were united under one banner and they followed one leader and had one common purpose to achieve. This was to obey orders of Allah and to spread the message of Islam in the whole world. They were what I call true Muslims. But where are they today? I could not see them around me. They only existed fourteen hundred years ago. I wished that I would have been born at their time to enjoy the blessings of striving in the cause of Allah and to be able to spread His message to the whole world. I wished to defend Islam, yet I needed guidance. I needed someone to explain to me the correct teachings of the Holy Quran and to teach me how to become a true Muslim. I felt very helpless and depressed. And with all my heart I prayed to Allah to bring His true Islam back to the world with all its glory and power and to grant it victory over all other religions.
It was the month of Ramadhan and Allah the Gracious was very quick to answer this prayer because a non-Ahmadi Muslim colleague at work happened to notice my interest in preaching Islam to others and hence he mentioned that he knew about a sect of Islam, called Ahmadiyyat, whose followers also preach Islam, but they believe in a Prophet who came to the world after the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. I thought that this is yet another sect of Islam which went totally wrong. I was interested, however, to know more about it so that I could understand why people strayed away from their true religion. My colleague brought me some Ahmadiyya literature given to him by an Ahmadi friend of his wife. At that time he warned me saying that these Ahmadis are regarded as Kafirs (disbelievers) by other Muslims.
I started reading the Ahmadiyya literature. One of the books was Introduction to the study of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad. This book had a hidden beauty in it which cannot be explained in words but can only be felt by the heart. The way it presented the religion of Islam through the life of the holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the way it dealt with explaining the Bible passages was very impressive. I could feel the deep love which the author had for the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. At that stage of course, I was not thinking about believing in Ahmadiyyat because of the prophethood claimed by the founder of the Movement. I liked the cause of Ahmadiyyat very much and I felt it was a great error to describe Ahmadis as Kafirs. I decided to talk to those Ahmadis and try to change their belief in the so called prophethood because otherwise, I could see that they were really true Muslims.
So I went to meet the Ahmadi lady who provided the literature that I read. I was watchful on every word and action from her and I found that she was a very good Muslim. We became friends very quickly and we discussed many topics. One was: What happened to Jesus after the crucifixion? I had no previous belief regarding this subject and I never cared to think about it before. But at that time I remembered that my mother had told me once that some Muslims believe that Jesus, peace of Allah be on him, will return to the world before its end. She herself, however, was not sure of that. When I asked her how would we recognise him if he really comes back, she answered that if someone claims to be him and does not change the Holy Quran or any of the teachings of Islam and he glorifies Allah and honours the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, then he must be truthful in his claim.
I started to become confused. I read more Ahmadiyya literature. The writings of the founder of the Movement were so good and so perfect that reading them gave me great pleasure. The love of Allah and of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was in every letter of his writings. But my belief that the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was the last prophet to come to the world was very strong and it prevented me from even considering his claims. I also thought that if this was true, we Arab Muslims would have known it a long time ago. And I sometimes feared that I might be displeasing Allah even by thinking about this matter.
Then a few weeks later, my Ahmadi friend took me to visit Islamabad in Tilford. This visit changed my life. I saw, with my own eyes, an organised Muslim community whose main mission is to preach Islam peacefully without force and whose Islam is what I call true Islam. I met more Ahmadis on that day and I was very impressed by their views and beliefs. What impressed me most was their interpretation of some verses of the Holy Quran. I always thought that the Arabs were the best ones who could understand the true meanings of the Holy Quran. But after that day, this was no longer my belief. I could feel the love and sincerity and devotion of the people I met. They worked together as one team and they followed one leader. I felt that the Hand of Allah was helping and protecting them. A very strange feeling came upon me as if I was seeing the Companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with my own eyes, as they resembled them in many ways.
I returned home on that day with a different heart. I wanted to belong to this Community. But the belief in the prophethood of the Promised Messiahas was preventing me from doing this. I started thinking deeply on the matter and I asked myself: How can a person who could write such perfect writings about Islam be a liar? How can a person whose followers could achieve all this goodness be wrong? How can a person who had in his heart this true love for Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, be pretending falsely to be a Prophet? And for the first time I started thinking that there is a possibility that the Promised Messiahas could be true in his claims. I turned to Allah seeking His guidance to the right path and I spent that night thinking and praying and by the morning of the next day the truth dawned on me as clear as the sun on a bright day.
I could see that Allah, the All-Seeing, the All-Hearing and the All-Knowing, is aware of what is happening in the world and because He is the Gracious and the Merciful He could not have neglected His servants. I could understand that Allah, Who had sent His Prophets in the past, could not stop this bounty now when we are in a great need for it. I could see that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, did not come to end the blessings of prophethood and deprive humanity from it benefits, but he came to present it to his followers and teach them how to attain it. I could see the cure of all the ills of the world in Ahmadiyyat.
It is the shelter for the misguided, helpless Muslims who are separated and weak. Allah has founded the Community that will unite them all under one banner and will be their source of strength and power. It is the remedy for the non-Muslims who do not know the true Islam. Allah has sent the Community whose members could present the true image of Islam in their person by following the teachings of the Holy Quran. Allah has raised the Community that will defend Islam and bring back its power and glory. All this could not be possible without a person sent by Allah and guided by Him to plant the seed of this Jama’at. In fact, I discovered that the prayer which I had prayed two months earlier in Ramadhan was already answered, by Allah the Gracious, one hundred years ago, in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – The Promised Messiah, peace of Allah upon him, and the fault was in me for not recognising him. But Allah is perfect without any fault.
Then I thought about my husband and my only son who was only six at the time. I also remembered my family and friends back home in Egypt. I knew that I might lose them all by declaring the truth of Ahmadiyyat. But the lovely truth that Allah has revealed to me, manifested His unlimited Grace and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and hence, for His sake, I could lose everybody and everything. And Allah says in the Holy Quran:
Say, if your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your kinsfolk, and the wealth you have acquired, and the trade whose dullness you fear, and the dwellings which you love are dearer to you than Allah and his Messenger and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah comes with His judgment; and Allah guides not the disobedient people. (9:24)
And for me there was no need to choose or decide because definitely Allah and his Messenger and striving in His cause were dearer to me than everything else in the world put together.
I read the conditions of the initiation into the Ahmadiyya Movement. Even this was to me another proof of the truth of the Community. It was exactly what I wanted to do in my life and hence I did not lose any time and i took the Bai’at. On that day I was told that the path of Ahmadiyyat was not an easy one. I was very happy to hear that. I remembered my wish to have been born at the time of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, so that I could help him in spreading his true message and so that I could strive in the cause of Allah, and now Allah has granted me the chance to fulfill my wish.
A few days after I took the Bai’at (initiation). It was Eid-ul-Adha. It was the first time for me to pray behind an Ahmadi Imam. It was also the first time for me to cry during my prayers. I was crying to thank Allah for this great blessing that He has sent to the world and for showing me its truth. I was also crying to ask forgiveness from Him because I could not recognise and follow His Messenger before that time.
I was very happy when I heard the sermon on that day which was naturally about sacrifice. For the first time in my life, I heard a sermon that could enter straight to the depths of my heart. And for the first time, I could realise that true wisdom behind the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha, which I celebrated many times before, and I also came to know about the sacrifices of the Ahmadi Muslims and the story of the first two Ahmadi martyrs.
This was my first lesson on Ahmadiyyat.
I was so moved by what I heard that I felt a strong desire to participate in the sacrifice of the Community. At that time I prayed to Allah to allow me to present whatever I own to help in spreading the Message of Ahmadiyyat to the world. Since that day, whenever I encountered any difficulties or whenever I had to lose something or somebody in the way of Allah, I felt happy because this meant that Allah was accepting my prayers. As a matter of fact, I cannot say that i really lost anything because whatever I lost, Allah has given me far better bounties in its place and I am, today, much happier that I was ever before. (Al Hamdo Lillah).
I also learnt another important lesson. If I wanted to really preach Islam, I had first to practise true Islam myself because nobody can give something that he does not posses. So I started to reform myself. I dedicated all the time I could to follow every teaching in the books I read. By the Grace of Allah, I read many books at that time including the Five Volume English Commentary of the Holy Quran, which gave me great pleasure. It added a new dimension to my knowledge of the Holy Quran and it opened for me new gates for my thinking and understanding. In Egypt, I have read and listened to many commentators on the verses of the Holy Quran, but I never came across something like this “Five Volume Treasure”.
Till that time I had not been able to meet the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, but I kept writing to him for prayers and I listened to his speeches that reached me on tapes and I tried to follow his instructions carefully.
I discovered that I never knew Allah as I have known Him now.
Before that, Allah was to me, the One who created everybody and everything in the universe and provided for all the needs of His creatures, then, by this, His work came to an end. But now I see that Allah is also the Great Sustainer Who is still sending His blessings to the world and Who is still providing His creatures with all their needs and I can see that He is the Bestower of Favours Whose provisions are continuous and will never come to an end.
I thought before that Allah was the Great Master who sat high in heaven on His throne, watching everything happening in His kingdom, and while His creatures could send Him their prayers, they were not allowed to meet Him or even approach Him. But now I can see that Allah is the Loving and the Compassionate One who is not only seeing and hearing His creatures but is also speaking to them and answering their prayers. The One whose door is always open for anybody to reach Him. He is always ready to guide whoever seeks His nearness to the straight path that leads to Him.
I thought before that Allah was the Supreme Being who lived far away but I discovered that He is also the close Friend Who is encompassing the whole universe and living inside and around His servants.
I used to regard my Prayers as an obligation towards Allah, so that once I finished them, I could then forget Him and carry on with my other tasks in life. Now, however I regard my prayers as the means by which I can attain nearness to Allah so that, after I offer my prayers, my relationship with Him will be stronger and closer. I can now understand the object of my creation and I feel contented only by the remembrance of Allah and obeying His commandments.
It was about nine months from taking my bai’at, that I was able to meet the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, the living representative of Allah. It was a great experience for me. In him I could see the complete picture of Ahmadiyyat and the fruits of the tree of Khilafat that the Promised Messiah, peace be on him has planted. I could see through him the unity of Allah whose plan is to unite the world under one leader and I could also see in him the fulfillment of the promise of Allah to the true believers, to make them the successors of the world and to grant Islam the final victory.
May Allah help him in all his noble works and crown all his efforts with success.
I do not claim that I have reached the end of my journey towards Allah. In fact, embracing Ahmadiyyat is only the beginning of this endless journey. However, by following the teachings of Ahmadiyyat, anyone can progress and advance quickly in th straight path that leads to Allah.
I thank Allah for having guided me to this beautiful truth and I pray that everybody in the world will be cured and guided to it. And may peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Holy Prophet of Islam who brought us this beautiful religion of Allah and who, through acting fully on the teachings of the Holy Quran, was the perfect exemplar for mankind and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Promised Messiah who revived this same religion for us and, through following in the footsteps of his Master, he proved to the world that even today, anybody can enjoy meeting his Creator. He is the one who wrote:
Our Paradise is in or God. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring even though one may have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing even though one may have to lose one’s self to acquire it. O ye, who are bereft, run to this fountain and it will satiate your thirst. It is the fountain of life that will save you. What shall I do, and by what drum shall I make the announcement that this is your God, so that people might hear? What remedy shall I apply to their ears so that they should listen? If you belong to Allah, rest assured that Allah will indeed belong to you. (Noah’s Ark)
May Allah enable us all to follow his example, to reach our destination and to be able to spread the message of Ahmadiyyat to the whole world.