Our Beacon Forum

From Christianity to Salafi Religion to Islam
By:Mubashir, Canada
Date: Thursday, 29 March 2012, 6:53 am

From Christianity to Salafi Sect of Sunni
Religion and Finally to Islam!

Chibuzo Ohanaja

While I am now a firm believer in Islam, I can not state that my journey to the
true message of Islam was easy. My Journey to Islam represents a long and
unwavering quest for truth and God that I encourage all people to take. This
quest for truth is a quest that few people of my background embark upon and I
would have never thought years ago that I would be in the state of mind that I
am in today.

My parents came to the U.S about 30 years ago from Nigeria and are both
doctors, my mother is an Optometrist and my father is a Neuropyschiatrist in
Dallas, Texas. Growing up I considered myself a Christian not adhering to any
particular sect since my father is an agnostic secular humanist but my mom's
side of the family is Catholic. I was very active in sports in high school and was
even active in Christian-Athlete study groups. Additionally, I was an avid reader
of the Bible and would read Biblical passages every night before I went to sleep
at night as a habit. I never had any type of exposure to any other type of faith
and never thought of any reason to look in to any other religions. My first
exposure to Islam occurred when I met my best friend in high school whose
family is from Pakistan. His family was a traditional Sunni Muslim family and
taught me a general knowledge of Islam that made me interested but not enough
to revert.

After High School, I decided to go the University of Notre Dame, which I was
encouraged to do by mother because of the strong religious environment that the
school offered. Due to the fact that it is the biggest Catholic university in
America, the catholic culture is very strong at the school. The curriculum is very
much based around Christian theology and philosophy, particularly Catholicism.
Nevertheless, I attempted to expand my knowledge during my college
experience and took Arabic as my friend from home encouraged me that it was
an interesting language to study. I discussed the decision to study Arabic with
my academic advisor. I was surprised when he strongly discouraged me from
studying the language but, regardless of his warning I decided to take the
chances and ended up loving the language so much it became my second major.
Once I learned the language I wanted to learn more about the people who spoke
this language and ended up taking classes offered at my university on Islam.
Although, the classes were very general I was able to expand my studies by
doing outside readings and research and I became enamored with Islam.

Although, I did not believe in many of the doctrines of Christianity my vast
amount of study of Islam made me reflect about my own set of beliefs and
outlook on life. I questioned my own beliefs and pondered about my purpose of
existence in this world. This type of deep reflection led me to deeply study Islam
based on its central authority the Quran and every other religion that preceded it
and has claimed to supersede it, brought me to the conclusion that Islam was the
most pragmatic and rational system of living that had ever come into this world.

I decided to revert at the age of 20 and even made a formal announcement on
my 21st birthday at a local Masjid near my home in front of the community.
From those months onward I continued to learn more Arabic and read more
about Islam not only from a religious perspective but also from a political
perspective as it is today. I started going to the mosque more often and for a
while, I saw myself getting away from focusing on the Quran and instead
focused on the rituals and sunnah (traditions) from hadith that so many Muslims,
mostly mullahs and members of Tabligh-i Jamaat, at my local mosque were
telling me were mandatory i.e. eating zabiha, sleeping on the correct side, doing
zikr by reciting la illaha illa allah multiple times to attain higher taqwa, growing
a beard, changing my name, removing all pictures and images from the walls of
my room because I thought pictures were forbidden, eating with my right hand
because Satan eats with his left ,belief in absurd hadith such as the miraj
(ascension), referring to religious mullahs by the title of Maulana meaning “Our
Lord” or “Our Master” which entails the grossly offensive act of shirk
(associating partners to our only Lord) and so forth. From that point on I had
become a blind follower of false tradition and did not even realize that I had
gotten myself into a sect. I began to blindly accept the ignorant, irrational ideas
of mullahs without reflection or self confirmation. The Quran warns mankind
about blind following information

17:36 And you shall not follow blindly any information of which you have no
direct knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and conception) you must
verify it for yourself. In the Court of your Lord, you will be held accountable for
your hearing, Sight, and the faculty of reasoning.

It seemed like I had fallen into the same way of thinking before I reverted.
Eventually, I began to come out of my shell when I studied abroad in Cairo,
Egypt, during a summer in hopes of improving my Arabic and learning more
about Islam. Although I met many people and made new friends during my time
in Egypt, I began to start questioning many things from Muslims which I saw as
non Quranic, such as, Muslim men wanting a dark spot on their foreheads
(Zebibah) from prostrating so much on the ground, the poor treatment of women
in the society, the lack of social action, large amounts of impoverished people,
the lack of education of the majority of people and the widespread superstitious
and irrational beliefs propagated by Mullahs in the media and in the mosques.
Before I continue, I feel that I must clarify what I mean by the term Mullah. By
Mullah I do not mean to insult any person who has true knowledge of Islam but
a specific mentality with some common traits. A mullah is extremely closeminded
and is unable to engage in any rational discussion and takes pleasure in
vain arguments. He is very arrogant despite being thoroughly ignorant. He has
derogatory beliefs about women, and his knowledge is neither good for this
world or the next. Thus, for these reasons I believe the Mullah mentality is a
detriment to humanity.

I took a philosophy course taught by a professor who was a German-American
whose observations of what he saw around the Muslim world were often the
focal points of his lectures. The professor kept pointing out to the students about
how irrational people mostly Muslims were in the county. Most of the time he
didn't even bother to teach philosophy, he just made fun of the ignorance of
Mullahs in the past such as (Al-Ghazzali) and present, Egyptian Muslims and
religion in general since he was an atheist. His most harsh statement came one
class after he made fun of some of the common statements and actions by
Mullahs in Egypt and then boldly stated without any hesitation in front of the
class that Islam ruined Egypt. I was surprised that the Egyptian students did not
say anything in defense, but then I thought to myself how could they if they
believed the nonsense that was taught to them by mullahs? How have the
Muslims who were once staunch defenders of the use of reason rational and
logic in religion fall into such ignorance?

After the program was over I came back home to the U.S. With a changed
understanding about Islam I started to attend the mosque by my house more
frequently and began to hear many irrational things preached during khutbahs:
our Salafi Imam yelling loudly and frequently hitting his hand on the podium
violating the Prophet’s sunna which he claimed to uphold, and ascribing
insulting statements to the Prophet Muhammad such as "Don't ever come to me
and say you lost your wallet in the Masjid just like the hadith of the Prophet
s.a.w.s 'If a man loses his wallet in the Masjid I pray to Allah that he never finds
it'". After hearing that horrible hadith I decided to look more deeply into the so
called saheeh hadith collections and found some of the most absurd things. I
went to the Masjid one night with one of my friends to ask the Imam a few
questions about the science of hadith especially since he had a lecture about it
the previous night.

To start the discussion I asked him a few questions about some of the common
ridiculous hadiths such as, the Planet of the Apes like hadith in which a group of
monkeys stoned a monkey for committing adultery, Allah revealing his thigh to
Muhammad, and Moses running bare naked after the stone that stole his clothes.
I then began to ask him even harder questions and since he knew that these
hadiths were ridiculous and were causing me to doubt belief in Hadith instead of
accepting them he told a blatant lie to my face denying that they were even in
the hadith collections. He then went on and started to yell saying "You know
what! If somebody wants to tell me that there is something wrong with these
hadiths and the sahih collections tell them to come here, and I’ll tell them that
they are stupid! I’ll tell them they are stupid!" At that point, my friend and I
were shocked about his behavior and reaction. In attempt to prove his case, then
the Imam went on and told me step by step the science of hadith and the criteria

for authenticity, which made his argument even worse. At the end of his rant he
said "you know hadith are not perfect and it is possible to make mistakes but
ultimately the system is good. You know there is one hadith that some scholars
often deny but I don't see why? It says that Moses one time saw the Angel of
Death in a cave and punched him in the face and ran away, I don’t see why that
can't be true?" At that moment I turned to my friend in even more awe, shocked
at the ridiculous degree of gullibility of not only an Imam but a grown man.
What I find even more surprising is that you would expect Imams such as him
who have PhD's from here in the West to be from a different stock than what you
find in the other parts of the world but the truth is they are not.

Even after arguing and pleading with him even more about why Mullahs choose
not to remove such ridiculous hadiths especially since they inspire many
orientalist works in the West invoking condemnation, humiliation and false
propaganda on Muslim around the world he had no answer. He did not seem to
care; he just kept on avoiding my questions and continued repeating “don’t let it
ruin your aqeedah!" At that point I was confused and turned to the Quran and
was reassured by my research that many of the absurdities were not present
inside and the and the ones that were inside were due to the misguided
approaches to translations of the Quran that have been based on Hadith and
Taqlid. The final straw came when I came back home and attended the local
mosque for Friday prayer. The exact same Imam was there giving his typical
hadith based khutbah, glorifying the hadith collectors of the past and neglecting
the beautiful message of the Quran in his speech. He then came to a point in his
speech where he discussed people in the Muslim Ummah who reject hadith and
Sunnah outside the Quran calling them Kafirs-“infidels”. I found this statement
of his to be hitting too close to home and was directed at me and probably others
people in the community who approached him with similar questions. The Imam
then stated "Don’t come to me and say that this is unreasonable and irrational.
No, you see brothers and sisters those who reject the hadith, don’t mind them.
They don’t have the mind to understand and grasp the Quran. Their brains are
too small for them to understand the Sunnah they are too dumb". At this point, I
was disgusted by this man's speech but even worse, no one else in the
congregation was aware of the irrationality of his statements.

Suddenly, I realized that this was one of the sole reasons why Muslims are in the
state they are in today. Through my research I realized that in the third century
after Prophet Muhammad, the so-called Imams of tradition, history, Fiqh
(religious jurisprudence) and Hadith (the most unreliable sayings of the exalted
Prophet Muhammad, collected on hearsay centuries after his death) imposed a
religious Martial Law on people. Thus, Muslims became bound by the same
shackles the Quran so effectively broke, which liberated people from physical
and mental slavery. The dynamic, rational and humane system of life for all of
mankind in the Quran had been converted into a religion or Mazhab that entailed
nothing but wishful thinking, empty rituals, fabrications and dogmas. The Quran
rightly states “Do not ever lose heart, and do not grieve, for you are bound to
prevail if you are truly believers" (3:139). It further states, “God has promised
that those of you who will believe in the Divine laws and strengthen human
resources, He will make them rulers on earth, as He granted rule to the previous
nations" (24:55).

Thus, the religious teachings prevalent today among Sunni and Shiite
population, has little to do with the message of the Quran. The true Islam was
implemented in the lifetime of the exalted Prophet Muhammad and his noble
companions 14 centuries ago. No objective mind can deny the glory of humanity
in that period in history. Human dignity, women’s rights, rule of law, justice and
equity, freedom of religion, speech, true democracy, and sanctity of human life,
are well documented in the surviving golden pages of history by scholars and
intellectuals.

I believe that many Muslims everywhere must have been asking themselves this
question: is the Quran wrong? No, what is wrong is not the Quran. The problem
is in the inherited false religious teachings that are made-up and promoted by the
religious leaders. Muslims must turn back to the Quran. Now that I had seen the
light of the situation everything started to make more sense. Since then I have
felt a renewed sense of enlightenment and intellectual freedom based on
knowing Islam rationally through the Quran. I have realized that the Quran
grounds mankind kind in reality and much of the world’s problems today are
result of people being out of touch with the reality of their existence. I believe
any distorted system or outlook on reality can have harmful effects and can
misplace our judgment. Muslims must reform their understanding of Islam, their
schools and reform their governments. Muslims must refrain from preaching the
man-made dogmas and instead focus of the true Islam in the Quran. They will be
doing a great service to Islam, Muslims, the West, and the entire world if they
revert to the Glorious Quran.

After a long journey through much searching I have come to know the simple
message of Islam and what it truly means to be a Muslim (one who submits or
causes peace, balance and security with himself and God’s creation). After much
research, I have come to the same conclusion as many great modern Muslim
scholars such as Dr. Edip Yuksel, Dr. Shabbir Ahmed and Ghulam Ahmed
Parwez . I have come to a strong belief and conviction that only the true Islam
embedded in the Quran can save mankind. But as the Quran states, “God does
not change the condition of a nation until they first change themselves” (13:11).
Thus, only when we as Muslims, change our way of thinking will Islam return
as a beacon of light for all of humanity.

Messages In This Thread

From Christianity to Salafi Religion to Islam
Mubashir, Canada -- Thursday, 29 March 2012, 6:53 am
From Christianity - Thanks to my Mu'min Br
*Dr. Shabbir, Florida -- Thursday, 29 March 2012, 11:08 am
Re: From Christianity - Thanks to my Mu'min Br.
Mubashir, Canada -- Thursday, 29 March 2012, 11:14 am