A British Convert to Islam: ‘I found Qur’an mother of all philosophies’

Source: Arab News

By Myriam Francois-Cerrah, who became popular when she was a child for acting in the 90s hit film ‘Sense and Sensibility.’ Now she is gaining more popularity for being one of a growing number of educated middle class female converts to Islam in Britain. She has recently contributed to a series of videos on Islam produced in the UK titled, “Inspired by Muhammad.”

I embraced Islam after graduating from Cambridge. Prior to that I was a skeptical Catholic — a believer in God but with a mistrust of organized religion.

The Qur’an was pivotal for me. I first tried to approach it in anger, as part of an attempt to prove my Muslim friend wrong. Later I began reading it with a more open mind.

The opening of Al-Fatiha, with its address to the whole of mankind, psychologically stopped me in my tracks. It spoke of previous scriptures in a way, which I both recognized, but also differed. It clarified many of the doubts I had about Christianity. It made me an adult as I suddenly realized that my destiny and my actions had consequences for which I alone would now be held responsible.

In a world governed by relativism, it outlined objective moral truths and the foundation of morality.

Aside: Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran

As someone who’d always had a keen interest in philosophy, the Qur’an felt like the culmination of all of this philosophical cogitation.

It combined Kant, Hume, Sartre and Aristotle. It somehow managed to address and answer the deep philosophical questions posed over centuries of human existence and answer its most fundamental one, ‘why are we here?’

In the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), I recognized a man who was tasked with a momentous mission, like his predecessors, Moses, Jesus and Abraham (peace be upon them all).

I had to pick apart much of the Orientalist libel surrounding him in order to obtain accurate information, since the historical relativism which people apply to some degree when studying other historical figures, is often completely absent, in what is a clear attempt to disparage his person.

I think many of my close friends thought I was going through another phase and would emerge from the other side unscathed, not realizing that the change was much more profound.

Some of my closest friends did their best to support me and understand my decisions. I have remained very close to some of my childhood friends and through them I recognize the universality of the divine message, as God’s values shine through in the good deeds any human does.

I have never seen my conversion as a ‘reaction’ against, or an opposition to my culture. In contrast, it was a validation of what I’ve always thought was praiseworthy, while being a guidance for areas in need of improvement. I also found many mosques not particularly welcoming and found the rules and protocol confusing and stressful.

I did not immediately identify with the Muslim community. I found many things odd and many attitudes perplexing. The attention given to the outward over the inward continues to trouble me deeply.

There is a need for a confident, articulate British Muslim identity which can contribute to the discussions of our time. Islam is not meant to be an alien religion, we shouldn’t feel like we’ve lost all trace of ourselves. Islam is a validation of the good in us and a means to rectify the bad.

Islam is about always having balance and I think the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) message was fundamental about having balance and equilibrium in all that we do.

The Prophet’s message was always that you repel bad with good that you always respond to evil with good and always remember that God loves justice so even when people are committing serious injustices against you, you have a moral responsibility and a moral obligation in front of God to always uphold justice and never yourself transgress those limits.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘Forgive him who wrongs you. Join him who cuts you off. Do good to him who does evil to you and speak the truth even if it be against yourself.’

Islam’s beauty really becomes to its own when it becomes manifest; and it becomes manifest when you make it into a tool for the betterment of society, human kind and the world.

The ideal from an Islamic perspective is for ethics to become living ethics, to become an applied body of values and not remain unfortunately as it often is cloistered somewhere which is some more divorced from reality.

Reference

Additional Reading

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

BBC Talk show: Almost 100,000 Britons have converted to Islam

The Holy Quran as the Miracle of the Holy Prophet

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1 reply

  1. Islam started since the first prophet (pbuh). And so did Islam continue to Moses (pbuh), Jesus (pbuh) and then the final prophet Mohammed (pbuh). God has send prophets to all nations at all times. So I think you don’t even know what Islam means.

    You have to understand Regarding the violent Verses in the Qur’an according to their Context, where those verses Were Revealed, what was the purpose, and why they Were Revealed & What was the condition of Muslim & you have to be contextualize.

    Verses regarding violence were Revealed during wars, or when Muslims were expelled from their homes, and killed, and butchered, then hose violence Verses were revealed to take Action against Enemy of Muslims and Islam !

    Islam is a peaceful religion, terrorism arose in response to the massive killings done by the west in Muslim lands, starting with Afghanistan, and now the Arab world where the West is interfering now.

    As a Muslim I’m taught that I have 2 kinds of brother, brothers in Islam, and brothers in humanity, that’s why I love everyone unconditionally. I believe in the truth and the truth is that Islam does not allow the deaths of innocents and you’re cherry-picking and misinterpreting and taking out of context. According to Islam, as a Muslim who studied it for more than a decade, is AGAINST the killings of innocents. Don’t judge a faith from the misguidance of others. It is a sin in Islam to kill innocent people including children, women and elderly. You are fooled by your media and anti-Islamists misinterpreting the sources of Islam.

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Nevertheless, the West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to the media, prejudice, and ignorance. Islam is often looked upon as an extremist, terrorist religion. Many people hate Islam and do not want to acknowledge its true teachings. In contrast to what many Westerners think of Islam, Islam is a peaceful religion, which does not promote any forms against the teachings.
    Terror is the biggest business today at home and abroad. Everyone is a beneficiary. The government gets more clout and more powers over the lives of its hapless subjects through new terror laws and activation of old ones in an atmosphere where no one dares to question the motives of the politicians over the vital issue of “security”. Security forces get immunity for illegal acts and crimes for which they win medals, rewards, promotion and huge funds with no accountability attached.

    Newspapers and TV channels improve their circulation and ratings sensationalising real and imaginary terror stories with total impunity as no one would dare question their rightful concern for our safety and security.

    The vast majority of Europeans and Americans know very little about Islam. They know hardly anything about its history and its teachings and do not particularly want to learn, according to a German academic. Very few westerners are bilingual. On the other hand, majority of Muslims are bilingual and have an associated knowledge of other cultures. In this respect, they are far ahead of many western citizens.

    Islamic studies is a “Strategic subject” that, when accurately and effectively taught, can aid community cohesion and extremism, according to British Ministers. Islamic studies should be part and parcel of National Curriculum instead of citizenship education so that all state , church and private school children could learn and understand Islamic traditions and values. The subject must be taught by Muslims.

    Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    There is no compulsion in Islam, otherwise, there would be no Hindu in India and not a single Christian in the Middle Eastern countries. Muslim rules Spain for 800 years but one can’t find a single Muslim in Spain. All of the were either slaughtered, exiled or converted to Christianity by force. Even Jews were expelled from Spain but the Ottoman Sultan gave them asylum in Turkey and you can still find them in Istanbul. What you have done with American Indian, Aborigines and Black community. You have destroyed their cultures, languages and faiths. They have adopted all your evil traditions and values and still they are the underdogs of western society. You want to do the same with Muslim communities living in the west. You want them to adopt your way of life and forget our languages. This is the main reason why we do not want to send our children to your rotten schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods to preserve and transmit their cultural heritage and languages and to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. At the same time they need to learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity.

    Islam will grow despite of strong opposition to Muslims in the west. Islam is not any new religion, Islam means to submit your will to one and true Lord, who is the Lord of the Thrones. Who sent Adam,Abraham,Ishmael,Isaac,Joanna,Lot,Joseph,Moses,Jesus and Muhammad( Peace and blessings of God be on them all),The Quran Honours Mary as the women chosen above women of all the nations and there is a chapter dedicated to her in Quran called chapter 19, Mary and Jesus(Peace be on him) was the mightiest messengers of God, he was born miraculously without any male intervention, he healed all the blind and sick by God’s Permission. And no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ as the messenger of God, and Jesus is coming back to this world, and this is our emaan our faith. Jesus says in the Bible that” on that day many will come to me and say, “Lord have we not done mighty works in thy name, in thy name cast out devils. Jesus says” You evil people depart from me, I never knew you”.

    Islam the faith that was the FIRST to give woman rights, the veil is not to cover for husbands but as a source of empowerment for woman so that they can be treated as an individual rather than a sex item for the male, ask Helen Flanagan about the respect she receives!!! Islam will grow despite of strong opposition to Muslims in the west. Islam is not any new religion, Islam means to submit your will to one and true Lord, who is the Lord of the Thrones. Who sent Adam,Abraham,Ishmael,Isaac,Joanna,Lot,Joseph,Moses,Jesus and Muhammad( Peace and blessings of God be on them all),The Quran Honours Mary as the women chosen above women of all the nations and there is a chapter dedicated to her in Quran called chapter 19, Mary and Jesus(Peace be on him) was the mightiest messengers of God, he was born miraculously without any male intervention, he healed all the blind and sick by God’s Permission. And no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ as the messenger of God, and Jesus is coming back to this world, and this is our emaan our faith. Jesus says in the Bible that” on that day many will come to me and say, “Lord have we not done mighty works in thy name, in thy name cast out devils. Jesus says” You evil people depart from me, I never knew you”

    A Western Girl understood how Muslim men are dedicated for their families, At least they come home every day not drunk and do not abuse their wives and children. More and More white women realize the importance of family lives as their childhood will be full of miseries and they don’t know whose their fathers are and they also realize how women are burdened to up bring the children on their handwork, where men only see than as objects of sexual satisfaction. ISLAM is the complete way of life and more and more women will accept Islam as their way of Life and Insha Allah the whole world will turn to Islam and only Islam has the answers for the problems faced by modern women. I urge all the Muslims in the west to call people towards Islam and be generous with the poor and unfortunate. Never sleep until your neighbour is well fed, take care of old, and the concept of old age homes shall vanish from the society and all the old parents shall be taken care of their children. Spread the Word.

    Islam does respect women, I converted to Islam 10 years ago and have never found any aspect to be bad. It is nothing like how Islam is portrayed in the media. I think if they love each other and she is converting because she wants to then that is great. Surely it is better that getting drunk and falling out of nightclubs with different men every weekend. Actually in Islam Covering goes both ways not only for women. By covering, women force men to address their minds not their bodies as we do in the west. As for multiple marriages, did you know that Islam is the only religion to limit the number of wives a man may take down to 4. Whereas in Christianity and Judaism there is no limits to how many wives a man may take, it is only common law that outlawed polygamy, not religion.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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