Bismillah Rahman ar-Raheem.
The moment my life changed was when I picked up the Quran. At 26 years old, this book was going to change everything for me.
So what led me to read it, and why should you too?
Firstly, I am one of those people who doesn’t really trust the news, and media. I understand what is reported is a story being “framed” and there are reasons bigger than the story sometimes which control the “framing”. What I mean is how a story is presented has often got an “agenda”.
After September 11th, suddenly there was a lot of rhetoric in the news about Islam. People were saying the Quran says this or that. Muslims do this or that. For my part I found I tended to empathise more with the Muslim spokes people, as while I don’t agree with or support the attacks that were made (and the Muslims I heard on the news weren’t either, and the Muslims I know now don’t either), I can understand that American (and British) foreign policy has created great harm and mischief across the earth. Look at most places where you have border disputes between two nations and then look back at the History and you will find England had a hand in the drawing up of the border itself. The point is actions have consequences and humans are not infallible. We do things which are harmful to others, and really one person cannot be self-righteous over another until they have lived and experienced the same, and then choose a different path.
Look at the Middle East now and you will see the heaving, straining lines of European drawn up borders collapsing one by one. Iraq was once the jewel of the Middle East but the English had problems from day one convincing its diverse inhabitants they were one country. No surprise then, that now this country is splitting apart.
ANYWAY I digress. So I mean I could see where some critics of Europe and America were coming from.
I wanted to see for myself what this book actually said. At that time I decided to read it. But I didn’t. The worldly life was keeping me busy, and my mind occupied with other things.
Time went by, this and that happened (to be continued another time), and I found myself living a quiet life among Muslims in the desert. The strangeness of their ways, wonderful, but often confusing to the outsider, made me curious. I wanted to understand the people that were showing me, a complete stranger, such generosity and tolerance.
Allah put the thought into my head “well why not read it now, you have time”.
I obtained a copy and opened the first page of my translation/ and Arabic Quran and began to read.
In an instant, and then over the following months and years my world was changed irrevocably.
I would urge anyone who is curious about Muslims and Islam to pick up the Quran and read. Don’t base your opinions on what other people tell you it says, on short extracts you may have seen, or what you think about world politics. Pick it up and read with an un-prejudiced heart and you will be amazed.
When I had finished I was a long way from acting like a Muslim, but my heart was a Muslim. I only knew that this book could not be read and felt, and then put down and forgotten about. I was compelled to be Muslim and from then I started to learn more, and to start to try to practice the Religion of Islam.
I haven’t looked back since and I can now say that the best day of my life was when I first read the words:
Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
1:1 In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy!
Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-’ālamīn
1:2 Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds,
Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm
1:3 the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy,
Māliki yawmi d-dīn
1:4 Master of the Day of Judgement.
Iyyāka na’budu wa iyyāka nasta’īn
1:5 It is You we worship; it is You we ask for help.
Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm
1:6 Guide us to the straight path:
Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna an’amta ‘alayhim ġayril maġḍūbi ‘alayhim walāḍ ḍāllīn
1:7 the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray.
Subhana Allah (glory to God) the world is a wonderful, fantastical place.