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

To Know more how you can benefit from the Muslim Times, go to our Homepage or About Us page

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.

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.


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


Categories: Quran

3 replies

  1. An 86-year-old man named Henry ( Bradford ). Henry had been relying on a stairlift for several years to navigate the stairs in his home. As time went by, the stairlift required servicing due to wear and tear.

    Henry was determined to find a reliable company to fix his stairlift, so he began his search. He came across our company . Little did he know that this phone call would change his life in unexpected ways.

    The company promptly sent over a technician named Ahmed, a warm-hearted and knowledgeable individual. Ahmed arrived at Henry’s home and assessed the stairlift. During the repair process, Ahmed and Henry struck up a conversation. They discovered they had a shared interest in learning about different cultures and religions.

    Henry, being an open-minded person, was intrigued by Ahmed’s Islamic faith. He expressed his curiosity and desire to learn more. Ahmed gladly shared his knowledge and experiences, answering Henry’s questions with patience and respect.

    Over time, Henry’s interactions with Ahmed sparked a deep interest in Islam. He found solace and inspiration in the teachings and principles of the religion. As Henry delved deeper into his newfound passion, he realized that he wanted to embrace Islam and become a part of the Muslim community.

    With Ahmed’s support and guidance, Henry began his journey towards conversion. Ahmed connected him with local Islamic organizations and scholars who could help him learn more about the faith. Henry attended classes, engaged in discussions, and embraced the teachings with a heart full of enthusiasm and humility.

    The transformation wasn’t just limited to Henry’s religious beliefs. The newfound faith provided him with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper connection to the world around him. He felt a profound sense of peace and joy, knowing that he had discovered a path that resonated with his soul.

    As word spread through the community about Henry’s conversion, he received an outpouring of support and encouragement. The local Muslim community welcomed him with open arms, offering friendship, companionship, and further guidance in his spiritual journey.

    Henry’s story touched the hearts of many, serving as an inspiration for others to explore their own spiritual paths and seek understanding across cultural and religious boundaries. His journey proved that it’s never too late to embark on a new chapter in life, embracing change and finding enlightenment.

    With his stairlift repaired and his heart filled with newfound faith, Henry continued to live his life to the fullest. He became an active member of the Muslim community, contributing his wisdom and life experiences to help others on their own spiritual quests.

    And so, in this small town, a humble stairlift repair transformed into a beautiful tale of self-discovery, unity, and the power of genuine connections. Henry’s story serves as a reminder that unexpected encounters can lead us down extraordinary paths, enriching our lives in ways we could have never imagined.

Leave a Reply