By: Bayynat editor
The following is an edited story of a convert.
“By God’s grace I am blessed with religion of God.My name is Mohammed Umar Rao and I am from India. I embraced Islam at the age of 18. I shared my story with two persons. All praise and thanks be to God, they were convinced that my decision and choice is best, they started reading Qur’an and also embraced Islam”.
Muhammad Umar Rao, a former Hindu, who hated Muslims and held opposing views against the religion and its followers. He started reading the Quran to find discrepancies in the Book of God but ended up embracing Islam.
“I come from a middle class orthodox Brahmin family; my parents worked in private firms. My mother was a teacher and my father a textile engineer. My religious education was at my maternal uncle’s place, that is how I became orthodox and my whole family education was always against Muslims, which was [deeply embedded in my conscience].
I was associated with RSS for few years; I always hated Muslims to the extent that in all public functions I wanted to give high volume for music sound boxes to ensure that the Adhaan (Call to Prayer) not be heard at all. I used to go round the town visiting all temples to complete my worship everyday. I was appreciated in family for being orthodox.
In the summer, my mother asked me to work for a Muslim business firm.I disagreed because I hated Muslims since I was a child. My mother stopped forcing me on this; I worked few summers with a non-Muslim so I was able to satisfy my parents. Later, I quit that part time job because I did not like the job and started concentrating more on studies aiming for a better job. Meantime, my mother, sisters worked 2 months in part time for a Muslim man. They were highly impressed with him.
However, I had always hated this person because I did not like the fact that my people were praising a Muslim whom I always hated. I was insulted for not being useful to the family, so I started working for the same Muslim man though I hated him before going. After getting a job in his shop I started hating him more because the non-Muslim employees of that shop embraced Islam, I took this challenge to teach him a lesson claiming my religion is true and from there, I started doing comparative studies with whatever common sense which God had blessed me then.
By now, in a bid to know more about Islam, I started reading English translation of the Holy Quran.
This was the turning point in Rao’s life:
This changed my entire student life; I was stuck with fear, doubts, I realized the fact that whatever I was doing was wrong, my religion is all about imaginations/myths and false stories. I had many questions, doubts like where am I heading to, what should I do? What is my duty? Why has the message of truth not reached all of us? Many questions came to my mind and my entire student life went in this hunt of truth.
I started questioning my parents, people around that who has seen God Almighty to paint/make images of God, all answered me that none has seen God which is so true as it is mentioned in many places in The Quran.
Finally, some mythological stories broke my faith down. The stories of Ganesha, Chamundeswari, Ram, Sita etc. did not make sense to me. I could no longer imagine them as gods.
When I questioned my parents that Vedas are against Idol Worship and why do we still practice it, my mother scolded me saying we are supposed to do it as our forefathers did it, the next day I read a verse in the Quran, Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2) which reads:“When it is said to them: ‘Follow what God has sent down.’ They say: “Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.” (Would they do that!) Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?” (2:170)
…and: “That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.” (2:134)
When I read this I was shocked to see something, which I just questioned my mother last night. This verse hit me right deep inside. I slowly stopped worshipping idols, and stopped doing Pooja (A Hindu ritual for prayer), since shirk (Polytheism) is the only sin which will never be forgiven. I started practicing the teachings of Islam in secret in the beginning. There were few (themes) from chapter Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2) which (mean that) there are few who accept Islam wherever it profits them and not wholeheartedly (and that they) are hypocrites.
Also: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5:3)
I realized that for all the questions that I have in my mind, the answers are present in the Quran.By grace of God, I started conveying message of God at my home with little knowledge I had, I wanted to complete my B.E. meantime, conveying the truth would make it easy in the long run for me and my family, but after my final year of diploma I was pushed to wall, then the time came where I had no choice but to quit my family, my sister also embraced Islam and she joined me. We had to live out of our house for more than a year without a job or regular source of income. All praise be to God, God made our ways easy to be firm on truth.
As God says in the Quran: “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.” (29:2)
Over a period, Alhamdulillah, God opened doors of opportunities for us, I had quit my previous job as I was unable to perform my five times prayer. All the opportunities that came my way were from the mechanical industry which demanded that I work in shift and compromise my prayer. After quitting that job/mechanical profession for 1+ year, I did not get any job where I can perform 5 times prayer, Grace of God, I started working as faculty for 2000 rupees for a year and now I’m blessed with a better Job. By the Grace of God, Almighty God has chosen us, there’s nothing more required.