A graduate of Cornell University, Brown University Medical School and George Washington University Hospital residency program, Laurence B. Brown is an ophthalmic surgeon, a retired Air Force officer, and the medical director and chief ophthalmologist of a major eye center. He is also an ordained interfaith minister with a doctorate in divinity and a PhD in religion, and the author of a number of books of comparative religion and reality-based fiction. His works can be found on his website, http://www.LevelTruth.com
Posts Tagged ‘revert’
Why these born and bred Aussies turned to ISLAM? Let’s hear from them:
WHO I AM
My name is AbdulHAQQ (formerly known as D T F Wong). I am of Chinese origin and was born in Brunei Darussalam (which has a predominantly Muslim population). I am 36 years old and male. I left Brunei Darusalam in 1977 to further my education in UK and am now settled in London UK. My education has mainly been at a missionary school (from kindergarten) related to the church and later for nearly 2 years at a Christian independent school in UK before entering College.
WHAT I WAS BEFORE
I was born into a Christian (protestant/anglican) family who were (and still is) actively involved in the Church. In a secular society, one could add that I had also accepted and followed secular laws and customs.I remained a Christian till I was 27.
WHAT I AM NOW
I am now a Muslim – have been for nearly 9 years since I left Christianity.
WHY I CHOSE ISLAM
According to Islam, guidance is of two kinds: a) Guidance of Taufiq i.e. totally from Allah, i.e. Allah opens one’s heart to receive the truth (from disbelief to Belief in Islamic Monotheism). b) Guidance of Irshaad i.e. through preaching by Allah’s Messengers and pious preachers who preach the truth, i.e. Islamic Monotheism. In my case, the guidance from God is guidance of taufiq. I say this because I was actively seeking the truth and was hardly preached by Muslims.
When I was 23 (and in my last year in college), I became god-conscious in a way I was never really taught in Christianity. I looked out of my window and observed the signs of creation (eg sky, trees, people, etc) and developed a strong belief in the existence of God. I was studying Architecture (in College) and for me – when I look at buildings I know that someone designed and built it. Same with the creation – the alternation of night and day, the bodily functions, etc led me to believe strongly that there was a Creator. Christianity tend to push forward the concept Trinity which many can’t explain and many accept to satisfy their spiritual instinct. I had no problems with Christianity at this point. However this new god-consciousness stayed with me. The way the Trinity was being ‘pushed to the masses’ by the Church as well as Christians left this new god-consciousness a personal experience for me.
I had never studied Islam even though I grew up in a predominantly Muslim country. At that time in Brunei Darussalam, non-Muslims were exempt from Islamic Education. One day I was passing by a Muslim bookshop and decided to enter (without any idea what I was looking for). I came across the Qur’an and decided to buy it. As any Muslim will tell you, the Qur’an instructs (time and time again) all mankind to observe the signs of creation around and affirm their believe in the Creator. This matched with the way that I had developed my new god-consciousness and I decided that there was truth in the Qur’an and Islam. The Qur’an also led me to question the authenticity of the Bible and the Trinity for the first time. I began searching and reading books questioning the authenticity of the Bible and the Trinity. Many Christians answer difficult questions on issues like the trinity with ‘God can do anything’.
I couldn’t fault Islam and the knowledge I was gaining had a profound impact on me more so than Christianity. I was slowly deciding to switch to Islam. Islam had a simple purity that anyone would appreciate – ie without the complexity of issues such as the Trinity. Islam allowed mankind to have an intellectual conviction on fundamental matters of belief. It didn’t leave the spiritual instinct in man to be satisfied by an emotional conviction such as one would say of idol-worshipping.
The decision to become Muslim was personal. When I told my parents that I had done so, my mother asked two of my uncles (who were in priesthood) to communicate with me – trying to convince me that Christianity was right. They failed and decided that I was not dragged into a cult and that I had made an informed decision – so they left me to continue as a Muslim.
As I continue learning and increasing my knowledge of the deen of Islam my faith in God increased. I became more aware of Christianity’s lack of guidance for mankind. Church services was man-made, Christian festivals/celebrations was man-made, arguments as to whether to accept homosexuality in Christianity or Christians at war, etc.
Islam had guidance for relationships between man/woman and God, between man/woman and himself/herself, and man/woman with other men/women. Islam had guidance on issues relating to economics, politics, education, social, legal/penal system, etc. In Islam there is guidance on how God wants us to pray, how to conduct Friday prayers, what and how to celebrate, what is right and wrong, what the penalties for crimes are, how to set up the state, what the state should implement, how the ruler should rule, etc. Islam offered guidance on establishing a society based on divine guidance.
Christianity placed heavy emphasis on faith/beliefs and seemed happy to co-exist in a secular world. Islam had laws and guidance for individuals and society. I believed this to be right – that the Creator would not leave the Created to argue and make laws of their own. The Creator knows best for the Creation. Anyone would follow instructions from the manufacturer to make best use of the manufactured item. Islam is submission to the will of God, our Creator. Muslim is one who submits to the will of God, our Creator. Society will only function well and in peace when we all submit to the will of the Creator.
I could not be a Jew – Jews are a chosen people (descendants of Judah of the tribe of Israel). Christianity I now see as a deviation from the real teachings of Jesus – leading mankind from guidance from God to guidance of man/woman. With a world dominated by man-made laws and the evident injustices in society, the time is ripe a return to laws from the Creator – as Islam offers. I am convinced I made the right choice in becoming Muslim.
Written by MosqueAdin
Friday, 09 February 2007
Macon Mayor Jack Ellis converted from Christianity to Islam and is now seeking to change his legal name to Hakim Mansour Ellis. Ellis, who was raised as a Christian in Macon, a city located in central Georgia, announced that he became a Sunni Muslim during a ceremony in the west African nation of Senegal.
He said he has been studying the holy Qur’an for years, and that Islam was his ancestor’s religion before they were brought to North America as slaves.
“Why does one become a Christian?” Ellis said. “You do it because it feels right. … To me it’s no big deal. But people like to know what you believe in.”
The 61-year-old mayor said he would keep his last name at the request of his two daughters.
Muslim converts usually change their name, though the practice is not typically required.
Ellis, whose mayoral term expires this year, doesn’t rule out future runs for elected office. But he said that he hasn’t considered how his conversion to Islam could affect his political career.
He says he is proud to be an American living in a country based on religious freedom.
In January, Rep. Keith Ellison took office as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress. The Michigan Democrat was born in Detroit and converted to Islam while in college.
His election raised debate in the United States, especially after he used the holy Qur’an to take oath of office.
Ellis, who was elected Mayor in July 1999, becoming the first black Mayor in the 176-year history of the city, said Muslims shouldn’t be portrayed as bad people simply because of the acts of a few.
“If anybody wants to know about Islam, I can hold an intelligent conversation,” Ellis said. “What I’ve found is how little we know about the religion.”
The history of Islam in the United States starts in the 18th century, with the first Muslim inhabitants. The sizeable Muslim community in the U.S. has increased greatly over the past one hundred years, mainly due to the increase in the number of Muslim immigrants, and the high rate of Americans who convert to Islam.
According to wikipedia, up to one-third of American Muslims are African Americans who have converted to Islam during the last seventy years.
— AJP and Agencies Last Updated
Vlog #10: How did you convert to Islam?
Why Do Westeners Embrace ISLAM? There are various reasons for it. In the first place, truth always has its force. The basic tenets of ISLAM are so rational, so natural and so appealing that an honest truth seeker cannot help being impressed by them. To take, for example, the belief in monotheism.
How it raises the dignity of man and how ite frees us from the grip of superstition! How naturally it leads to the equality of men, for all have been created by the same God and all are servants of the same Lord. For the Germans, in particular, the belief in God is a source of inspiration, a source of fearless, courage and a source of the feeling of security. Then the idea of life after death turns the tables.
Life in this world remains no more the main objective, and [a] great part of human energy is devoted to the betterment of the Hereafter. The faith in the Day of Judgement automatically spurs a man to give up misdeeds, for good deeds alone can ensure eternal salvation, although the wrong deeds may prosper here for a limited period. The belief that none can escape the consequences of the judgement of a Just, Impartial and Omniscient Lord makes one think twice beforeone does anything wrong and surely this internal check is more effective than the most efficient police in the world.
Another thing that attracts foreigners to ISLAM is its emphasis on tolerance. The the daily prayers teach one punctuality and the one month of fasting enables one to exercise self-control over oneself and without doubt punctuality and self-discipline are two of the most important attributes of a good man and a great man.
Now comes teh real achievement of ISLAM. It is the only ideology which has succeeded in instilling in its followers the spirit of observing the ethical and moral limitations without external compulsion. For a muslim knows that, wherever he is, he is being observed by God. This belief keeps him away from sin. As man is naturally inclined towards goodness, ISLAM also offers peace of mind and heart —and this is what is totally absent from the Western society of today.
I have lived under different systems of life and have had the opportunity of studying various ideologies, but have come to the conclusion that none is as perfect as ISLAM.
Communism has its attractions, so have secular, democracy and Nazism. But none has got a complete code of a noble life. Only ISLAM has it, and that is why good men embrace it.
ISLAM is not theoretical; it is practical. ISLAM is not departmental affair, it means complete submission to the will of God.
From “ISLAM, Our Choice”
–taken from the booklet entitled ‘Priests Embracing ISLAM’
I am ethnically a Russian Jew. My quest began when I was 19 years old. I was recovering from my stint with Scientology (yes I was brainwashed into it). My belief in God was uncertain. My goals in life were to be a rock star. I was living in my Pasadena apartment and working as a secretary. Funny, I know. One night I was walking to the kitchen, and encountered a dark fellow. I remembered asking him: “Can I keep this vodka in the fridge tonight?” We shook hands and went to sleep. After that point, my life changed drastically…
Priests and preachers entering Islam (Part 1)
Priests and preachers entering Islam (Part 2)