Allah’s Mercy operates in
By Mahfooz ur Rahman
September 14, 2011
It was 11 PM the other night and I finished revising my article ‘What I found in
Islam’ for sending it to the magazine for printing it . I wanted to sending it
to any medium in the USA or the UK to convey my thoughts to a maximum of people
. I made a silent prayer and I found what I was looking a medium with a large
reading public . Today while writing the piece , the power was off twice .Each
time I said a small prayer . The light came on in a jiffy .
To those who live in the secular and skeptical west think , I must be talking
through my hat . I am saying that because I have been seeing harsh comments
about Islam made such people in the western publications . But where I live it
is a normal feature . Two centuries of British rule could not eliminate the
belief of an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis or for that matter , the Muslim
Writing on a vast subject as God’s Mercy is a hopeless task indeed. Because if
all the trees are made to pens .and the oceans are made to ink , still God’s
Mercy cannot be described so our beliefs goes. Therefore , I am choosing a tiny
facet of the subject’ God’s Mercy’ to write on.
To revert to my beliefs . Our love and Islam are ingrained our hearts and souls
from infancy . Our thoughts cannot be suppressed whatever the world thinks of us
. In our subconscious , we always look towards Allah for guidance and help. Till
today a very tiny minority thinks otherwise . I refer to an amazing incident I
read in an Urdu book ‘Talaash’ (The search for the truth ). The author had a
guest . During discussing about an ‘Islamic System ‘ , the guest tells his host
that they had such a system where he came from . Their whole life revolved the
remembrance of Allah and His Prophet , Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be
upon him) .
I also quote Rudyard Kipling saying ‘East s East and West is West . The twain
shall not meet’. Despite our saying the world has become a small village ,
thoughts differ . Islam continues to play a prominent part in our psyche whereas
the secular west as various writers , books and comments in newspapers and
journals show Christianity does not satisfy . Church and Papacy are both rotten
. Christianity is a myth and a fiction . There are more than eighty versions of
the Bible.. They have no need for religion any more Most people in the west are
self declared agnostics. Family life has been eroded .
In the developed world a fear of recession and economic meltdown prevails. USA
has a GNP of $ 14 trillion and has a national debt of about an equal amount.
Such fears has replaced Islamophobia is the number one issue in the next year’s
American presidential elections .
The fallout of this year’s tsunami in Japan is a debate on nuclear versus
convential power plants The Prime Minister’s resignation was a minor matter. The
cost of reverting convential power plants to Japan will be phenomenal Already
its economy shows a static growth.
Paul Samuelson , the eminent economist ,once wrote in 1967 that if wealth gave
happiness , the people of the USA would have been the happiest people on earth .
In developed countries every human activity is programmed from the cradle to the
grave in an urge to succeed and be number one. In a survey published in an issue
of TIME published a decade earlier even the routine of children is programmed .
In some years , mental fatigue may set in . Pakistan is rapidly following the
Scientific advancements has taken a quantum leap that has brought every kind of
knowledge to one’s finger tips through the introduction of the internet. Clones
of humans and animals are being made . But man in the developed world has
forgotten the knowledge of who made him.
An article I read recently said that Islam has emerged as the fastest growing
religion in the west . 20000 people are becoming Muslims annually in the USA
alone according to a post in the Huffington Post kept on revolving in my mind
since then .I read in one of the Islamic books written by one of great Muslim
saints , Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh that when God Almighty favours and shows His
Mercy , He sends one of His good men to guide the other person .
An instance of it was that I was sitting with a family , close friends of mine
once. During discussions said to his wife , a Dutch lady , that the family can
settle in the Netherlands if she is dissatisfied with the conditions prevalent
in Pakistan . She observed that the respect enjoyed by ladies in Pakistan is
nowhere found . She used to sit with her children while Religious teacher taught
the children the Holy Quran observing a proper decorum as prescribed by Islam.
Before the introduction of the internet we in Pakistan , were unaware of the
cases of women in the west embracing Islam . However , we know now that the fear
of Islam overtaking the west . The phantom of Islamophobia is haunting the west
. European nations are taking measures to stop the flow of Islam . But these
measures cannot stop . Demonising Islam is increasing the curiosity of people to
read the Holy Quran . The views of a few prominent people who have read the Holy
Quran and embraced Islam are
Tony Blair , former British Prime Minister, (we don’t know whether he has become
a Muslim ) In an interview with the Daily Mail of London , he said “I read the
Bible every day. I read the Quran every day, partly to understand some of the
things happening in the world, but mainly just because it is immensely
Reading Islam’s holy book ensured he remained ‘faith-literate’ said Blair,
adding that he believes being faith-literate is crucial in today’s globalised
This isn’t the first time that the former British Premier had spoken so highly
of the religion. In 2006 he said the Quran was a ‘reforming book, it is
inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is
practical and way ahead of its time in attitudes to marriage, women and
He praised the Muslim faith as being ‘beautiful’ and that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
as being ‘an enormously civilizing force’.
Lauren Booth Last October, Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth raised eyebrows
after announcing that she had converted to Islam after what she described as a
She has converted to Islam following a visit to Iran, claiming she is a “proud
member” of the Muslim community.
Lauren Booth has given up alcohol and pork, prays five times a day and has not
ruled out wearing a burqa in the future, she told The Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Conversion to Islam
According her own account after her release, during her captivity she was asked
by one of her captors to convert to Islam; she refused, but gave her word she
would read the Qur'an after her release.
In freedom, she kept this promise, as she said partly to find out why the
Taliban treated women as they do. She said it changed her life.
The Qur'an, she says describing the holy book of Islam, is a "magna carta for
women". She converted to Islam in the summer of 2003, stating that her new
faith has helped put behind her broken marriages and a reputation as the "Patsy
Stone of Fleet Street." When comparing her treatment to female prisoners' held
in American custody, such as Aafia Siddiqui, she said that in Taliban's custody
she was given her full privacy as a woman, and was handed the key to the door of
her cell to lock from the inside. In 2004, she described her journey of
faith for the BBC's religion site (see A Muslim in the Family), as well as in
other publications and on other occasions in which she emerged as a "fierce
critic of the West"
In his book ‘Shahab Nama’ the late. Mr. Qudratullah Shahab mentions Mr.
Witteveen , a Dutch national ,former MD , IMF and a former Finance Minister was
The comments of people from around the world to Omar Sacirbey‘s article
Conversion To Islam One Result Of Post-9/11 Curiosity
posted on the ‘Huffington Post ‘ are very heart warming and inspiring . Young
boys and girls ,many as young as twelve, from mostly the USA commented how they
became Muslims.I wish I could annex their views.
Aminah assilmi (She has been named among the 500 most influential current
Muslims in the world).
However none of the cases are as inspiring as the case of Aminah assilmi . I am
sure others would have similar experiences to tell .
Says Tarek Elmessidi
“She was a renowned female scholar of Islam. She traveled around the United
States to give lectures ; her personal story has admired hundreds of individuals
,she is also President of International Union of Muslim Women , the organization
that has many achievements under its belt.
She said "I am so very glad that I am a Muslim. Islam is my life. Islam is the
beat of my heart. Islam is the blood that courses through my veins. Islam is my
strength. Islam is my life so wonderful and beautiful. Without Islam I am
nothing, and should Allah ever turn His magnificent face from me, I could not
It all started with a computer glitch.
She was a Southern Baptist girl, a radical feminist, and a broadcast journalist.
She was a girl with an unusual caliber, who excelled in school, received
scholarships, ran her own business, and were competing with professionals and
getting awards – all these while she was going to college. Then one day a
computer error happened that made her take up a mission as a devout Christian.
Eventually, however, it resulted into something opposite and changed her life
It was 1975 when for the first time computer was used to pre-register for a
class in her college. She was working on her degree on Recreation. She
pre-registered for a class and then went to Oklahoma City to take care of a
business. Her return was delayed and she came back to college two weeks into the
class. Making up the missed work was no problem for her, but she was surprised
to find that the computer mistakenly registered her for a Theatre class, a class
where students would be required to perform in front of others. She was a very
reticent girl and she was horrified to think about performing in front of
others. She could not drop the class for it was too late
Failing the class was also not a choice, for she was receiving a scholarship
that was paying for her tuition and receiving an ‘F’ would have jeopardized it.
Advised by her husband, she went to her teacher to work out some other
alternative to performing, such as preparing costumes, etc. Assured by the
teacher that he would try to help her, she went to the next class and was
shocked by what she saw. The class was full of Arabs and “camel jockeys”. That
was enough for her. She came back home and decided not to go back to the class
anymore. It was not possible for her to be in the middle of Arabs. “There was no
way I was going to sit in a room full of dirty heathens!”
Her husband was calm as usual. He pointed out to her that God has a reason for
everything and that she should think about more before quitting. Besides, there
was the scholarship that was paying her tuition. She went behind locked doors
for 2 days to think about. When she came out, she decided to continue the class.
She felt that God gave her a task to convert the Arabs into Christianity.
Thus she found herself with a mission to accomplish. Throughout the class, she
would be discussing Christianity with her Arab classmates. “I proceeded to
explain to them how they would burn in the fires of hell for all eternity, if
they did not accept Jesus as their personal savior. They were very polite, but
did not convert. Then, I explained how Jesus loved them and had died on the
cross to save them from their sins. All they had to do was accept him into their
hearts.” They still did not convert, and so she decided to do something else: “I
decided to read their own book to show to them that Islam was a false religion
and Mohammed (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) was a false Prophet”.
At her request, one student gave her a copy of the Qur’an and another book on
Islam. With these two books she started on her research, which she was to
continue for the next one and half years. She read the Qur’an fully and another
fifteen books on Islam. Then she came back to the Qur’an and re-read it. During
her research, she started taking notes that she found objectionable and which
she would be able to use to prove that Islam was a false religion.
Unconsciously, however, she was changing from within which did not escape the
attention of her husband. “I was changing, just in little ways but enough to
bother him. We used to go to the bar every Friday and Saturday, or to a party,
and I no longer wanted to go. I was quieter and more distant.” She stopped
drinking and eating pork. Her husband suspected her of having an affair with
another man, for “it was only for a man that a woman changes”. Ultimately, she
was asked to leave, and she soon found herself living in a separate apartment
"When I first started to study Islam, I did not expect to find anything that I
needed or wanted in my personal life. Little did I know that Islam would change
my life. No human could have ever convinced me that I would finally be at peace
and overflowing with love and joy because of Islam."
Throughout these times, she continued studying Islam and although she was
changing subtly from within, she remained a devout Christian. Then one day,
there was a knock on her door. It was a man in traditional Muslim robe, who
appeared to her as a “man in a long white night gown with a red and white
checkered table cloth on his head”. His name was Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik and he was
accompanied by three other men in similar dress. She was very offended by Muslim
men coming to her in nightgowns and pajamas. She was further shocked when Abdul-Aziz
told her that he understood that she waited to be a Muslim. She replied that she
was a Christian and she did not have any plan to become a Muslim. However, she
had some questions to ask if they had the time.
At her invitation, they came inside. She now brought up the questions and
objections that she noted down while she was researching. “I will never forget
his name”, she said of Abdul-Aziz who proved to be a very patient and
soft-mannered person. “He was very patient and discussed every question with me.
He never made me feel silly or that a question was stupid.” Abdul-Aziz listened
to every question and objection and explained it within the proper context. “He
explained that Allah had told us to seek knowledge and questions were one of the
ways to accomplish that. When he explained something, it was like watching a
rose open – petal by petal, until it reached its full glory. When I told him
that I did not agree with something and why, he always said I was correct up to
a point. Then he would show me how to look deeper and from different directions
to reach a fuller understanding.”
It would not be long before she would externally submit to what she had already
been submitting to internally during the last one and half years. Later in that
same day, this Southern Baptist girl would declare in front of Abdul-Aziz and
his companions: “I bear witness that there is no god but God and Mohammed is His
Messenger.” It was May 21, 1977.
Conversion to Islam, or to any other religion for that matter, is not always a
simple thing to do. Except for a few fortunate ones, a new Muslim usually face
consequences. The convert may face isolation from family and friends, if not
pressure to go back to the family faith. Sometimes, a convert may even face
sever economic hardship, as in the case of those who are asked to leave the
house because of converting to Islam. Some converts are fortunate to continue to
be well respected by family and friends, but most of them face minor to severe
hardship especially during the first few years after the conversion.
But the difficulty that Aminah Assilimi had to go through and the sacrifice that
she had to make for the sake of her conviction and faith is almost unheard of.
There are few who could rely so much on Allah as she did, standing firm and
meeting the challenges, making sacrifices, and yet maintaining a positive
posture and influencing people around with the beauty of what she found and
She lost most of her friends, for she was “no fun anymore”. Her mother did not
accept her becoming a Muslim and hoped that it was a temporary zeal and that she
would soon grow out of it. Her “mental health expert” sister thought that she
lost her mind. She attempted to put her in a mental health institution.
Her father was a calm and wise man. People would come to him for advice and he
could comfort anyone in distress. But when he heard that his daughter became a
Muslim, he loaded his double-barrel shotgun and started on his way to kill her.
“It is better that she be dead rather than suffering in the deepest of Hell”, he
She was now without friends and without family.
She soon started wearing hijab. The day she put it on, she was denied her job.
She was now without family, friends, and job. But her greatest sacrifice was yet
She and her husband both loved each other very much. But while she was studying
Islam, her husband misunderstood her for her apparent changes. She became
quieter and stopped going to the bar. Her changes were visible to him and he
suspected her of having affair with another man, for whom she must have been
changing. She could not explain to him what was happening. “There was no way to
make him understand what was changing me because I did not know.” Eventually he
asked her to leave and she started living separately.
After she openly accepted Islam, it went worse. A divorce was now inevitable.
This was a time when Islam was little known, much less understood for what it
is. She had two little children whom she loved dearly and whose custody should
have rightfully be given to her. But in a grave violation of justice, she was
denied their custody just because she became a Muslim. Before giving the formal
verdict, the judge offered her a harsh choice: either renounce Islam and get
custody of the children, or keep Islam and leave the children. She was given 20
minutes to make a decision.
She loved her children very dearly. It is perhaps the worst nightmare that a
mother can have: asked to willfully leave her child - not for one day, month, or
year, but forever. On the other hand, how could she keep the Truth away from her
children and live as a hypocrite? “It was the most painful 20 minutes in my
life”, she said in an interview. Those of us who are mothers and fathers,
especially of young children, little imagination is needed to feel the pain and
torment that she must have passed every second in those 20 minutes. What added
further to her pain was that according to doctors, she could never bear another
child because of certain complications. “I prayed like I had never done before …
I knew that there was no safer place for my children to be than in the hands of
Allah. If I denied Him, there would be no way in the future to show my children
the wonders of being with Allah.”
She decided to retain Islam. Her two dear children – one little boy and one
little girl – were taken away from her and given to her ex-husband.
For a mother, is there a sacrifice greater than this – a sacrifice that is done
for no material reason but only for faith and conviction?
“I left the court knowing that life without my babies would be very difficult.
My heart bled, even though I knew, inside, I had done the right thing” . She
found comfort in the following verse of the Qur'an:
There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can
seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is
there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth
to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass
aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the
heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them
for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (Quran 2: 255)
Perhaps the air of Colorado was too thin for justice. Or perhaps there was a
plan in Allah’s greater scheme of affairs. Aminah Assilimi later fought back and
took her case to the media. Although she did not get custody of her children
again, a change was made in the Colorado law that one cannot be denied child
custody on the basis of his or her religion.
Indeed Allah’s love and mercy engulfed her so much that, as if, she has been
granted the touchstone of Islam. Wherever she goes, people are touched by her
beautiful words and Islamic manners and become Muslim.
By accepting Islam, she became a changed person, and a much better person. So
much so that her family, relatives, and people around her started appreciating
her mannerism and the faith that brought about such changes in her. Despite her
family’s initial reaction, she remained in touch with them and addressed them
with respect and humility, just as the Qur’an enjoins the Muslims to do. She
would send cards to her parents on different occasions, but she would always
write down a verse from the Qur’an or the Hadith without mentioning the source
of such beautiful words of wisdom. It was not long before she started making a
positive influence among her family members.
The first to become Muslim was her grand mother. She was over 100 years old.
Soon after accepting Islam, she died. “The day she pronounced Shahada, all her
misdeeds had been erased, while her good deeds were preserved. She died so soon
after accepting Islam that I knew her “book” was bound to be heavy on the good
side. It fills me with such a joy!”
Next to become Muslim was her father, the one who wanted to kill her after she
became Muslim. Thus he brought alive the story of Umar ibn Khattab. Umar was a
companion of the Prophet who persecuted the early Muslims before he converted to
Islam. When he heard one day that his sister became a Muslim, he went out with
an open sword to kill her. But upon hearing some of the verses from the Qur’an
that his sister was reciting, he recognized the truth and went straight to the
Prophet and accepted Islam.
Two years after she (Assilmi) accepted Islam, her mother called and said that
she appreciated her faith and hoped that she would keep it. Couple of years
later, she called again and asked her about what one would need to do to become
a Muslim. Assilmi replied that one had to believe that there is only One God and
Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) was his Messenger. “Any fool
knows that. But what do you have to do?”, she asked again. She replied that if
that is what she believed, then she was already a Muslim! At this, her mother
said, “Well … OK. But let’s not tell your father just yet”.
She was not aware that her husband (Assilmi’s step father) had the same
conversation with her a few weeks earlier. Thus the two lived together as
Muslims for years in secret without knowing that the other was also a Muslim.
Her sister who wanted to put her in mental institution accepted Islam as well.
She must have realized that becoming Muslim is indeed the most healthy and sound
thing to do.
Her son, upon becoming adult, accepted Islam. When he turned 21, he called her
and said that he wanted to become a Muslim.
Sixteen years after the divorce, her ex-husband also accepted Islam. He said
that he had been watching her for sixteen years and wanted his daughter to have
the same religion that she had. He came to her and apologized for what he had
done. He was a very nice gentlemen and Assilimi had forgiven him long ago.
Perhaps the greatest reward for her was yet to come. Assilmi later married
another person, and despite the doctors’ verdict that she could never conceive
another child, Allah blessed her with a beautiful boy. If Allah (swt) makes a
gift to someone, who can prevent Him? It was truly a wonderful blessing from
Allah (swt), and so she named him “Barakah
The sacrifice that Assilmi made for the sake of Allah (swt) was tremendous. And
so Allah (swt) turned in mercy to her and rewarded her with enormous blessings.
Her family discarded her after she accepted Islam, and now by Allah’s mercy,
most of them are Muslim. She lost her friends because of Islam, and now she is
being loved by so many. “Friends who loved came out of nowhere”, she said.
Allah’s blessings came upon her so much that wherever she goes people are
touched by the beauty of Islam and accept the Truth. Both Muslims and
non-Muslims now come to her for advice and counseling.
She lost her job because of wearing hijab, and now she is the President of the
International Union of Muslim Women. She delivers lectures nationwide and is on
high demand. It was her organization that successfully lobbied for the “Eid
Stamp” and had it approved by the United States Postal Service, but it took many
years of work. She is now working on making the Eid Day as a national holiday.
She has tremendous trust on Allah’s love and mercy and she never looses faith on
Him. She was once diagnosed with cancer some years ago. Doctors said that it was
in an advanced stage and that she would live for another year. But her faith in
Allah (swt) remained strong. “We must all die. I was confident that the pain I
was experiencing contained blessings.” As a brilliant example of how much one
can love Allah, she mentions about a friend of her named Kareem Al-Misawi who
died of cancer when he was in his 20’s:
"Shortly before he died, he told me that Allah was truly Merciful. This man was
in unbelievable anguish and was radiating with Allah’s love. He said: “Allah
intends that I should enter heaven with a clean book.” His death experience gave
me something to think about. He taught me of Allah’s love and mercy."
All praise is due to Allah, she continues to live in good health. She now thinks
that having cancer was the greatest blessing that she ever had.”
Se met with a car accident and she died