In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Last time, we spoke of the conversion of Magdi Allam, a prominent (non-practicing) Muslim intellectual in Italy to Catholic Christianity. Everyone braced for a violent Muslim backlash…that really did not come. And it should not have.
Despite Mr. Allam’s claims to the contrary, at the core of Islam’s belief system is the fundamental sanctity of human life and complete freedom of choice. There is no reason for Muslims to get angry if the Pope chooses to publicly baptize any Muslim. In fact, if the Pope were to baptize the Shaikh of Al Azhar University, that should have absolutely no effect on the belief of the faithful. It does not diminish the truth of Islam’s message.
Going even further, if all the world’s Muslims were to convert to other faiths, that still would not diminish from the truth of its message. Islam would still be alive and well if there were only one Muslim left on earth.
It would not be the first time that the world had only one believer.
Remember our Master and Father Abraham (pbuh)?
He was the only believer in his entire town, yet it did not shake his faith in God. His father rejected him after learning that Abraham did not worship idols as he did. Not only that, he threatened his life: “Do you dislike my gods, O Abraham? Indeed, if you do not desist, I shall most certainly stone you to death! Now begone from me for good!” (19:46)
Still, his faith neither weakened nor wavered.
When he showed his people the fallacy of their idolatry, they hardened their hearts and decided to burn him alive, despite knowing that Abraham (pbuh) spoke the truth to them. The Qur’an eloquently describes the scene:
Then he cast a glance at the stars and said, “Verily I am sick [at heart]!” And at that they turned their backs on him and went away. Thereupon he approached their gods stealthily and said, “What! You do not eat [of the offerings placed before you]? What is amiss with you that you do not speak?” And then he fell upon them, smiting them with his right hand. [But] then the others came towards him hurriedly [and accused him of his deed]. He answered: “Do you worship something that you [yourselves] have carved, the while it is God who has created you and all your handiwork?” They exclaimed: “Build a pyre for him and cast him into the blazing fire!” (37:88-97)
He was all alone in his belief, but still, his faith neither weakened nor wavered.
Fast forward to our Noble Messenger Muhammad (pbuh), and the famous Night Journey (Isra‘ and Mia’raj). This incident proves unequivocally that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was indeed a truthful Prophet. After the miraculous journey to Jerusalem and beyond, the next day the Prophet was sitting quietly at the Ka’abah, thinking through the amazing events of the past night.
His most bitter enemy, Amr ibn Hisham, noticed that something was the matter, and he inquired what happened. The Prophet (pbuh) told him that he went to Jerusalem and back in a fortnight. Amr ibn Hisham held in his laughter, and told the Prophet (pbuh) to continue telling his story. Then Amr ibn Hisham told everyone to come and listen to the Prophet, and he declared that at last, the lies of the Prophet have been exposed.
It was truly a remarkable test of faith for the believers: the Prophet claimed that he went to Jerusalem, to Heaven, and back in one night. It took them one month by caravan, one way, to get to Jerusalem. For the Prophet (pbuh) to claim that he went there and back in a fortnight was completely unbelievable. In fact, some Muslims actually left Islam when they heard this, because they just could not believe the Prophet (pbuh) would do this.
One of the Muslims ran hurriedly to Abu Bakr (r), the Prophet’s most trusted Companion. The Muslim was terrified for the future of Islam, because what the Prophet was claiming was truly unbelievable. Abu Bakr’s faith did not waver: he said, “If Muhammad said it, he has indeed spoken the truth!”
At that moment, the believers – the ones who remained steadfast – were all alone, yet their faith neither weakened nor wavered.
And it proves the truthfulness of the Prophet. If the Prophet (pbuh) was a fraud, as some people claim, why would he subject himself to public ridicule by openly claiming that he went to Jerusalem and back in less than one night? If he was trying to gain followers and converts, why would he say such an outrageous thing, knowing that no one will believe him, if he were not saying the truth?
No matter what may happen, Islam will always remain alive in the hearts of the believers. No matter how many Muslims may convert, that in no way, shape, or form speaks to the “falsehood” of Islam’s message. As I said before, Islam is confident in the truth of its message, and so should it be with its followers.
This confidence comes through loud and clear in this verse: Say [O Muhammad], ‘The truth is from your Lord:’ Let him who wills believe it, and let him who wills, reject (it). (18:29) The Qur’an doesn’t care about numbers; the Qur’an doesn’t care if people reject its message. The rejecters will have to answer for their rejection before God one day.
So, let us not be confused by the conversion of “Muslims” to Christianity, who then proceed to smear Islam with the exact same thing as everybody else. It is nothing less than smoke and mirrors, and they try to extinguish the light of God with the feeble messages that come from their mouths. Yet, as God says:
God has willed to spread His light in all its fullness, however hateful this may be to all who deny the truth.