New Delhi: In what turned out to be a great union of sorts of a number of professionals and well qualified people from different parts of the country as they embraced each other and shared their views, experiences and difficulties after choosing a faith different from what they held earlier, a number of participants felt that people choosing other faiths must not be ill-treated and Muslims should accept them as members of their own extended families. Such filial embrace of love and affection is rare: a young son standing up and holding his father crying his heart out and wiping tears from the old and infirm father’s welled up eyes.
The emotional moment left many among the packed audiences teary-eyed. One after the other, dozens of men and women narrated the stories of their restless search for truth after which they decided to declare their faith in the Almighty Allah and in Muhammad as the final messenger whose guidance is to lead humanity to happiness and salvation.
The 6th annual “Reverts Get Together” dedicated to the theme of “Payam-e-Insaniyat” or Message for Humanity, organised by Islamic Da’wah Centre (IDC) in South Delhi’s Jamia Nagar on 6 March, was kind of a relief and refutation about the misgivings so widely spread that people are forced to convert. At least none gathered at the programme conformed to such allegations, rather many of them talked about the biases and discriminations that they had to face after their acceptance of another faith.
As Constitution provides freedom to every adult individual to choose a faith of his or her will, so does Islam oppose any “compulsion in religion”. These people coming from across regions having different religious and educational backgrounds chose their faith at their will and volition in their quest for peace and truth.
Sharing her experience as to what had led her to choose Islam, Somaiya Noor said, “Only good people get to know Islam.” Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Qasmi born as Sachin Arora considered it a blessing of the Almighty as “We did not forward any application for faith. It is a big gift from Allah.”
The general apathy of Muslims to their faith and more so their wrong and ill-practices were termed as reasons for their failure in their overall social conducts. Maulana Mohibbullah Nadwi said, “Problems do not come from others.” They come from Muslims themselves who have failed the teachings and true spirit of Islam. Remove evil with goodness. That is the message of Islam, Nadwi urged.
Maulana Ismail Rajah of Batley, UK said that deen (Islam) was not just about prayers. Our deeds and dealings in which our characters come to play are very important. He said that actions of Muslims were deterring many people from deen. A Da’ee’s (preacher’s) work is to communicate the message beautifully. Whether or not one accepts, should be left to Allah, he said.
Hafiz Ibrahim of Leicester, UK said that any service to humanity was actually a service to Islam because “Islam stands for humanity”. Aamir Rashadi of Rashtriya Ulama Council said that corruption will end from politics if the notion of reform that Islam proposes is implemented in it. However, he lamented that even Muslims who are in politics are not free from this evil: Thus the need for reform in politics.
Maulana Syed Mustafa Rifai Nadwi presided over the programme with whose soulful dua it ended. A large number of people from different States of India as well as abroad attended it. They were moved after listening to the problems faced by the people who chose a faith other than their old denominations. However, the stories of their unshakable belief in their pursuit of truth were highly appreciated.
Chairman of IDC, Mohammad Umar Gautam moderated the programme which began with Quranic recitation and a brief introduction of IDC. Qazi Fakhruddin Ahmed Qasmi, Qazi Muhammad Kamil, Prof. Mohsin Usmani, Dr. Rafiqul Islam, Zahid Ali Barmare (Qatar), Mufti Mustajabuddin Mazahiri, Advocate Aftab, Muhammad Sirajuddin Sheikh, Maulana Najeebul Hasan Siddiqui, Mohammad Yaseen Zaman, Dr. Obaidullah Qasmi, Chaudhary Iqbal-uddin, Kausar Alam, Aamir Abidi, Taqdees Fatimah, Ekram Khan, Harun Khan, Mohammed Rahil Hussain and other prominent people attended day-long the programme.
[Manzar Imam is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi]