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How I came to Islam
As a child I had won several prizes for proficiency in the Scriptures, but the more I learn of my religion the more sceptical became of it. At fourteen years of age I went through the rites of "Confirmation" in my church. By going through this ceremony I expected to banish all my doubts and fears, and to be able to face my troubles aided by the Spirit of God (which, I was informed, would enter my body through the fingers of the Bishop who laid his hands on my head). Instead of strengthening my belief, however, this ceremony only added to my growing conviction that my religion was a mass of foolish superstitions and ridiculous rites.
By the time I had left school and gone to a University, this suspicion had become a certainty; the Christian Church, as I had been shown it, meant little or nothing to me.
I could admire Jesus as a noble saint and martyr, to make a God of him seemed to me to be decidedly unreasonable, and certainly not in keeping with his own teachings. Although I found it a simple matter to discover fallacies in the creed I had discarded, it was more difficult for me to discover a more logical one to take its place. Christianity was a mass of contradictions and superstitions. Rationalism offered at best a very unsatisfactory belief: and there appeared to be no reasonable religion to combine the best elements of all the different faiths I had read and heard about!
I almost despaired of finding an established creed which would include all the ideas I had formulated; and for a long time I tried to satisfy my self with vague beliefs of my own.
One day I chanced on a copy of "Islam and Civilisation" by Khawaja Kamal-ud-Din.
As I read it, I realised that nearly all my own beliefs were included in the doctrine the little volume expounded.
The broad outlook of Islam, as opposed to the intolerance of the Christian sects, the learning and culture in the Islamic countries of the Middle Ages, compared with the ignorance and superstition of other lands at that time, the logical theory of compensation as against the Christian idea of Atonement, were a few of the points that first struck me. Later I came to realise that here was a faith as wide as humanity itself, ready for the guidance of rich and poor alike, and able to break down all barriers of creed and colour. Through the Muslim Mission, I obtained some more detailed information of the teachings of the Holy Prophet. The Imam of the Mosque at Woking was always ready to answer any of my criticisms, and his friendly and interesting letters did much to encourage me to inquire further about this :faith that was being revealed to me. I was so confident in Islam and its ability to fulfill all spiritual needs, that after a month or two I almost regarded myself as a Muslim.
I wisely decided, however, not to rush matters, but to consider this new religion of mine from all angles before I finally adopted it for my guide in life.
It has always been a theory of mine that things easily come by are easily lost, and likewise beliefs lightly adopted are often just as lightly discarded. Therefore, I read as many criticisms of Islam as I could, specialising in books written about the Holy Prophet and his message by Western writers. Some of what I read was not always favourable to Islam, but the better and more unprejudiced writers were generally forced to admit the value of Islam and its doctrine to civilization, and in some cases even to testify to the truth of its message.
I put my beliefs to a further test by discussing them with a learned friend of mine whose opinions I have always valued very highly. I discovered to my surprise that he shared most of my views,-in fact he was a Muslim without realizing it himselfl There must be thousands of people like him; people who have discovered Islam for themselves not realizing that their own ideas were taught by Muhammad hundreds of years ago. During the'past few months my faith in Islam has grown, and I am now supremely confident that I have found the truth at last. Now that I have a religion, I can really understand and follow, I feel that I can face life with renewed vigour. Incidentally, since I found my real faith, I have had more good fortune and happiness in my daily life than I have had at any time previously. It is one of my ambitions to bring the light of Islam to some of those who are as dissatisfied with their own beliefs as I was, and to give them that peace of mind which is the keynote of our great and glorious creed.
T.H. Me C Barklie
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