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Why I accepted Islam?
I will endeavour in this short article to outline briefly the circumstances which led to my finally embracing Islam, trusting that same may prove of some interest both to my Muslim and non-Muslim readers.
I was brought up from early childhood in an atmosphere of religion, as it was intended that I should ultimately enter the priesthood, but God willed it otherwise, and instead I entered my present profession; therefore, at least, I cannot be accused of taking my consequent step without full knowledge of the facts.
My work and studies having created fresh interests in my life, I naturally found less time at my disposal to devote to religion than hitherto, and, consequently, as time passed finding myself free of the religious influences of my younger days, I began to reason for myself, and eventually I found that I was questioning even the most fundamental principles of a religion which I had until then accepted verbatim; but nevertheless I still continued to fulfill my obligations to God.
About this time came the Great War, and I was drafted with my Regiment on service to the Near East. During this period (some four years) I had the extreme good fortune to make several good friends in Cairo, and it was the result of discussions I had with these good people, who explained to me certain passages of the Holy Qur' an, that sowed the seeds in my mind of the doctrines of a religion which I was destined some years later to adopt.
Upon resuming my civil occupation, there followed a period In my life in which, owing to the renewal of my studies and my work, I found little time to devote to the serious study of religious matters; and when I ultimately did, I found that I was no longer able to reconcile myself to the teachings of the Christian Faith, and, as a result, I discontinued my attendance at Church, as I was convinced that any other course under the circumstances was hypocritical.
It was some time later that I recalled to my mind the earlier discussions that I had with myoId Egyptian friends, so, in the hope of gaining enlightenment, I devoted a considerable amount of my spare time to a thorough study of an English translation of the Holy Qur' an, and as I read over and over again certain of the words of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him!) I could not help but see that here at last in Islam I had found the true faith for which I had been seeking so long. And the knowledge gave me a totally different outlook on life, as if, after groping endlessly about dark and obscure byways, I had at last come upon a bright and illuminated thoroughfare.
It was not long after this that I visited the Mosque at Woking and consulted Maulvi Abdul-Majid, to whom I would like to record my appreciation of his kind advice and assistance, and thereupon joined the Holy Brotherhood of Islam. "All praise to Allah!" And from that day, needless to say, r have felt a different being, having a purpose in life.
I will not attempt to discuss here the fundamental principles of Islam which I am content to leave in more able hands. There is a point, however, which to my mind deserves mention, as one who has closely followed the religious observances of both Muslims and Christians. That whilst an average Christian having attended Church Service on a Sunday, which is invariably carried through by a Clergyman and in which the worshipper often takes a rather inactive part, he or she considers their obligation to God fulfilled until the following Sunday. Whereas by comparison the Muslim prays regularly each day individually, either in a Mosque or in the privacy of his home, and even when Friday prayers are said in congregation this individuality is still retained, each Muslim praying independently to Allah without the need of any intermediary or elaborate ritual.
I would like to say that I feel confident, that if only people in this and other Western countries can be brought to appreciate the full meaning of Islam, and what it stands for, the ranks of Islam will be daily swelled, only unfortunately there is a vast amount of misapprehension in the minds of many Free Thinkers and others who still cling to their old creed simply because they require the moral courage ,to abandon a faith, with the principles of which they are' at variance, and to embrace Islam.
Not one of the least ofthese is the idea that Islam is peculiar to the Oriental races and not adapted for everyday life in Western countries. This is, of course, a wrong notion, but it, nevertheless, exists in the minds of the majority and requires contradiction in a practical form, and that is to publish for the benefit of the uninitiated the fact that members like myself have joined and are still joining the ranks of Islam and thus give added confidence to our potential brethren of tomorrow.
It is, therefore, essential, to my mind, for this reason alone, if no other, that a building, worthy of Islam, should be acquired and maintained in Central London, where all Muslims could meet and, what is more, by publicity nonMuslims should be attracted in numbers to listen to worthy propounds of the Holy Faith and also see the Faithful ones at prayer, thus giving confidence to those who have a wrong conception of Muslim prayers.
Without such an effort as this, numbers will be lost to Islam, as how otherwise are we to get in touch with those who are wavering in their beliefs and are awaiting enlightenment. For surely I am only one example of hundreds of thousands.
What is more, the prestige of Islam is to be borne in mind. The capital of the British Empire and the center of the world without an edifice worthy ofIslam? Unbelievable!
Walker H. Williams
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