Conversion of Yvonne Ridley to Islam

yvonne

The conversion of a prominent English lady journalist, Yvonne Ridley, to Islam is not something ignorable in the recent history. By embracing Islam a few years back, Ridley has, in fact, stunned the Western world. Unfortunately, such a thick smoke of bigotry has been spread around Islam by the so-called “civilized and educated Westerners” that it appears to them as a mere symbol of terror and tyranny. Conversion to Islam, therefore, by a distinguished personality, a woman in particular, amid this prejudiced environment, seems something unbelievable.

Yvonne Ridley (now Mariam Ridley) had no specific awareness of Islam before 2001 or the 9/11 incident. But astonishingly, the circumstances took a sudden turn, and Islam became the centre of Ridley’s thoughts. Professionally, she had been deputed to Afghanistan as a journalist by her newspaper for covering then-ruling Taliban, who were and are still regarded as the rigid, rude, uncultured and merciless warlords. Also, the Taliban had remained reluctant towards the western media, which had been exhibiting a hostile attitude against them.

Ridley entered into Afghanistan, donned with a long Burqa as a safety measure. Unfortunately, she was detected by the Taliban and immediately taken into custody. As a routine practice, the Western journalists always keep themselves ready to face any sort of risk, in pursuit of acquiring breaking news. Likewise, Ridley probably was also determined to face any sort of challenge inside Afghanistan for the same purpose. Unluckily, however, she was spotted and, as stated above, was imprisoned.

The interesting element in the story, however, is that the detention Ridley had suspected before and for whose evasion she had attired Burqa proved conversely a blessing to her. Her confinement in a house for ten consecutive days shook her from within. The Taliban’s compassionate and kind conduct toward Ridley pressed her to seek answers from her heart to such question as: “Are they really the rude and hard-hearted people, as my friends in the media portray?”

Detention of Ridley by the Taliban, however, provoked the entire ‘civilized’ society of the West, leading to a vast circulation of prejudiced and concocted news in their periodicals about the Taliban. With the detention of Ridley, the West had, in their sense, acquired a vivid and candid proof of the Taliban’s barbarism, whereas the facts were quite contrary. An absolutely unique and positive conduct was portrayed to the lady by the Taliban. Also, Ridley might have expected a torturous treatment from them, namely sexual abuse or physical assaults. However, no such behaviour was ever extended to her. Instead, they demonstrated a treatment which a brother extends to his sister or a father exercises over his daughter. This attitude obviously opened the eyes of Ridley and forced her to reconsider Islam. Later, after her release from the captivity, she disclosed to the media that the Taliban had left no stone unturned to leave a nice impression over her through their conduct.

“They honoured my feminism,” she once narrated. “Although the face veiling (Hijab) did never appeal to me, they made it incumbent over them to practice it with me. They never beat me,” she added, “never starved me and never insulted me. Any time they intended to visit me, they first used to knock my room’s door. They also provided me an absolute isolation for my lavatory requirements.” Ridley went on to narrate: “I remained in their confinement for ten days but never did they attempt to touch or sit just close to me, because of which I remained ever fearless from them.”

Still, however, upon return to her native land, the UK, after her captivity, the media flocked to her in an attempt to pick every minute detail of the Taliban’s conduct. “Were you ever molested, deemed like a toy, starved, gang raped or tortured?” A series of such questions were forwarded to her, but quashing their stance, Ridley replied: “No, no, never. They were never rude. They were nice fellows, aware of my pains and sorrows. They acknowledged the respect of women all the time. Although known as uncivilized Mullahs (clerics) by us, their behaviour still was marvelous.” But in place of getting pacified, the biased media flashed disgusting news against the Taliban in their journals: “She has been brainwashed. She is uttering all this because of the Taliban’s coercion. She is hiding several facts.” And so on and so forth.

Then, once in England, her mind instigated her to re-study Islam: a religion whose imitators had so nobly treated her when they could have exercised any cruelty. “Let it be revisited,” she decided. Taking in her hands the Holy Quran, the basic source of the Muslim faith, she exclaimed without the least hesitation that the Quran was the only book awarding peace and justice to the entire world. In a response to the editor of “Sunday Telegraph”, London, Ridley remarked: “I have found the Quran to be a beautifully written book prompting nothing but peace, love and understanding.” More amazingly, she added that the Burqas have been her favourite dress since then, and she puts them in her suitcase on every journey. “I still have the original one I was arrested in,” she informed.

Eventually, she stood up to proclaim: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.” By pronouncing this, she meant that her conversion to Islam was in no way coerced and that she had willfully thrown herself into the fold of Islam.

From then onwards, Ridley became a Muslim who remains ever impatient for the enhancement of her faith. Her soul then did not permit her to sit calm anymore. She already had in her mind the commandment of Allah (swt): “Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify!” (Al-Muddaththir, 74:2-3)

She bore the standard of Islam in her hands and devoted herself to its circulation, declaring publicly that Islam was the religion most suited to her.

I, the writer, once came across a comment made by a Muslim revert upon her acceptance of Islam, wherein she had stated: “I have not just embraced Islam but, in fact, have returned to it.” In other words, she had returned to her original and natural religion. She was referring to a Hadeeth, which informs that every infant coming into the world is born on natural faith (Islam), but later his parents, kinsmen and friends drag him towards some other faith (Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.). Likewise, Ridley had not just embraced Islam but had returned to her original belief.

The lesson we can learn from this story is that if the Muslims would correct their attitudes from within (their interactions, discourses, manners, etc.) and cultivate in themselves the charisma that attracts people, one-third of the world population, to speak safely, may fall into the folds of Islam.

Ridley is now a practicing Muslim, deeming it her due obligation to propagate and expand the truth of faith, which she has discovered. When she delivers speeches, travels across the world and wears a full-length Burqa, you will notice in her a lady, who is emotional for the circulation of Islamic tenets. We immensely respect her for returning to the original and natural faith.

Armageddon

Apr 11 Armageddon

The word ‘Armageddon’ is widely used for a severe bloody final war supposed to be fought in a small mountainous valley of Magdo (Jerusalem). This will be a divine battle between the forces of virtue and the forces of evil. It will be led by Dajjal, or the Antichrist, and Jesus Christ. For this purpose, they quote the Revelation book from the Bible: “And he (the angel) gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (16:16)

This madly propagated future war was also blindly believed and advocated by former US President Ronald Reagan, who often used to explain that such an enormous bloodshed will take place in the valley (up to 200 miles from Jerusalem) that the reins over the horses will sink in the blood, and the entire battlefield will get covered with the blood of horses and men. Reagan emphasized: “God will, on that day, permit the human nature to expose itself fully. All capital cities of the world, London, Tokyo, Paris, New York and Chicago, etc., will be annihilated.”

The most popular contemporary US Evangelist Jerry Falwell declares: “The final battle is a horrible fact, and we are part of the last human race. There will be a final clash and God will wipe off the entire planet of earth.”

US Christians deem this subject so significant that millions of books on the topic have captured the attention of the readers. The evangelists have coined a fresh terminology of ‘rapture’. They claim that Jesus will descend just before the war, lift all the Christians into the clouds and award salvation to them all. By rapture they mean the salvation in the sky at the hands of Jesus Christ. Rapture and Armageddon, therefore, are interlinked. An eminent scholar Karl Millen Tire remarks overwhelmingly: “Thanks to Lord. I will watch the ongoing events of the war sitting in the elevated seats of Paradise.”

Another prominent Christian preacher, Clloyd states that the first attack in the Armageddon will be made by Christ himself, who will use a totally new weapon. People will perish instantly and their tongues will dissolve inside their mouths. He tells his followers not to take Christ as a mere religious personality, but think of him as a five-star general.

Still another fundamental evangelist Lindsey states that since about a dozen nations today are in possession of nuclear weapons, we can annihilate the entire world for sure.

Although nothing of the above is true, the Christians are still striving hard to make it happen. They are looking forward to the re-arrival of their Messiah, the Christ. But, on the other hand, when we glance over the conduct of the Muslims, we feel ashamed. A sort of irrelevance and distraction has captured their minds. Nobody is worried about the horrible days that they are heading towards. Their activities, way of life, habits and matrimonies are indicating that they have no sense of the befalling calamity.

The only way open to the Muslims now is to submit to Allah (swt) and obey His commandments. Instead of involving in pomp and show, they should review their lavish style of living and spare a fair amount of their yields for the advancement of Islam.

Dajjal and the End of Times

Dajjal

Five Periods of the Ummah

In a very popular tradition, the Apostle of Allah (swt) has informed his disciples that:

Your religion originates with the prophethood and Allah’s mercy, and will remain as long as Allah (swt) wills so.

Then, Allah (swt) will replace it with the Caliphate ‘in the pattern of the prophet-hood’. Then Allah (swt) will end it.

Then, it will be succeeded by the tyrant kingship, which will last as long as Allah (swt) wills it! Then, Allah (swt) will end it also.

Then, there will be the reign of terror, which will stay as long as Allah (swt) wills so. Then, Allah (swt) will end it as well.

Then will return the same ‘Caliphate after the pattern of the prophethood’, which will administer the affairs of the people in pursuance of the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa), and Islam will take root on the Earth. This rule will please those who will belong to the heavens, and those who belong to the Earth. When it dominates, the heaven will generously shower its blessings, and the Earth will divulge all its treasures. (Musnad Ahmad)

According to this eye-opening Hadeeth, three eras have already passed. We are living between the fourth and the firth eras. The end of the entire universe is imminent.

Major Signs of the Qiyamah

The Prophet of Allah (sa) has predicted a number of signs before the first trumpet will be blown in the heaven. They may be classified into two categories:

(1) the minor signs and

(2) the major signs.

The major signs will affect the affairs of the entire world. Among the manifestations of those are:

  1. Dajjal;
  2. Imam Mahdi;
  3. Isa (as);
  4. The community of Gog Magog;
  5. Emergence of a vast and thick smoke;
  6. Revelation of a talking-beast on the Earth;
  7. Rising of the sun from the West;
  8. Waging of an ever bloody huge war against the Muslims;
  9. Re-victory of the Muslims of Constantinople;
  10. Imperialistic sanctions on Egypt and Iraq
  11. Erasing of the building of the sanctified Kabah.

Although the major signs will reshape the existing world totally in favour of the Muslims, no definite time has been predicted by the Prophet of Allah (swt). Which sign will appear first is, therefore, out of our jurisdiction. Thus, we cannot calculate the exact arrival time of the Dajjal, etc.

The writer is the Director, National Academy of Islamic Research, Karachi. He has authored multiple books on Dajjal and the end of times.

The Message of Kalima-e-Tayyaba

Vol 6 - Issue 4 The message of kalima

The first time the Holy Prophet (sa) raised his voice of invitation to call Allah (swt) the only Lord, he was, in fact, not the only one practicing such an idea in the Arabian Peninsula. History contains names of many people, who already at that time, believed in the oneness of Allah (swt).

Waraqah Ibn Naufal, a relative of the Messenger (sa), is an example of such men in Makkah, though he had passed away when the Prophet (sa) publicly called people to Islam. One of the great poets of that period Labeed Ibn Rabia was another believer in the unity of Allah (swt). These men, who worshiped the only Lord (swt), had been passing their lives quite peacefully among their polytheist brethren. They were never questioned, as to why they had adopted an absolutely different belief from that of their brothers. History does not report even a single instance of torture or coercion of these people.

This atmosphere of peace and coexistence was brought to an end by the same inhabitants of Makkah, when Muhammad (sa) publicly called them to accept the truest invitation of ‘La Ilaha Ill-Allah.’

This is an interesting point to consider: why did the leaders of Makkah react so angrily to Muhammad (sa) upon his call, as compared to their behaviour of coexistence for the two aforementioned men? Their belief was the same (the unity of Allah (swt)) and all of them were inhabitants of Makkah.

Yet another contrast: before the Prophet (sa) declared himself as the preacher of Kalima-e-Tayyaba, Makkans had repeatedly been acknowledging the unquestionable honesty and truthfulness of Muhammad (sa), while later on their reaction was so aggressive that the Prophet (sa) was forced to leave his homeland.

This is the point where we should start thinking in-depth about the factors responsible for the two different attitudes of Makkah’s leaders.

The answer is quite simple. Activities of the first innocent group of persons were confined to themselves only. They never propagated their ideas to others. In fact, they themselves were afraid that the outside sinful environment could endanger their beliefs and extinguish the feeble light of their truth. This is why we see them pass most of their time in caves, far away from the temptations of this world.

As soon as Muhammad’s (sa) voice was raised, all the dominating classes of the city got alarmed, because they instantly realized that this small sentence (Kalima) meant that they would now have to submit to a higher authority and give up many things which were a part and parcel of their lives. After embracing this new belief, they would at once stand accountable before Allah (swt) for every act they did. They would not be free to do as they please but would be allowed to act only as Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) required them to act.

This was the principal difference that they realized as soon as the Kalima of ‘La Ilaha Ill-Allah Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah’ was offered to them. Leaders and intellectuals of Makkah were, of course, very clever, so they did not delay in concluding that a new order of life is emerging from this small sentence – altogether different from what they had themselves developed so far. It was not simply a lip service, but a complete renovation of life.

Sensing this danger, they all united and rejected the call. They put all their force to create obstacles in the advancement of this call. First, they offered temptations and affections; then, used coercion and violence on the followers of the Prophet (sa).

Muslims were dragged on roads, tortured and even killed by the cruel lords of Makkah, only because they were found busy in dismantling the old order of their merciless leadership. The movement of Kalima-e-Tayyaba, however, could not be deterred, and Islam ultimately succeeded in enjoying the position of the greatest religion of the Arabian Peninsula.

The results came exactly the way the Quraish leaders had feared. Revolutionary changes occurred in the lives of those who embraced Islam. The ones who had no care for spilling of human blood earlier, trembled with fear even on the killing of a sparrow. Those, who used to bury their daughters alive with their own hands, started feeling proud about bringing them up.

Thieves and robbers sacrificed their properties for the sake of their Muslim brothers in an attempt to strengthen them financially. Their rulers became the actual servants of humanity, and their wealthy persons turned to be the squanderers of their own wealth.

They all submitted to Allah (swt) and got rid of the evils of the dark ages. They were affectionate, bore sacrifices and became committed well-wishers of the society. The atmosphere changed so much that those, who committed a sin, presented themselves before the Prophet (sa) for receiving the punishment.

Because of this result, the conduct of the leaders of Makkah towards the two categories of believers was absolutely different. The former men, having the belief in the oneness of Allah (swt), were pardoned on account of confining their beliefs to their own selves.

As against that, the Prophet (sa) and his companions took every effort to convey their message across the land by inviting people to unite around it. It was a challenge to the prevailing society, and a society based on evils does not ignore such a challenge. So this act provoked the Makkan polytheists commit violence to hinder its progress.

Now, this short account leaves us with the following questions: “What should be our role, as Muslims, in this world? Should we confine religion to ourselves only or should we commit to promoting it? Should we act as the former pious men acted, or should we enlighten the whole world with the light of Islam?” On the answer to these questions, rests the future of the world.

Kalima is not a lip service only. It is a Jihad. It guides us to rise and to correct the society, and it explains to us that the truth one has discovered should be conveyed further.

This is the commandment that was given to the Apostle of Allah (sa) by the Creator Himself: “O you Muhammad! Rise, warn and declare before the masses, the greatness of your Sustainer.” (Al-Muddaththir 71:1-3) It is, therefore, imperative that the Muslims of the world should rise and announce the call of Allah’s (swt) greatness. They should invite people to the Kalima, so that only Allah’s (swt) law and order is practiced throughout the world.

The writer is the Director, National Academy of Islamic Research, Karachi.