By Muhammad `Umar Rao
It is Allah’s grace that I’m blessed with the religion of Allah, Islam. I’m Muhammad `Umar Rao from India. I embraced Islam 6 years back, at the age of 18. I would like to share my story with you all. Perhaps, this would make a difference for non- Muslims to really think about the truth. I have narrated my story to two brothers, Alhamdulillah, they were convinced that my decision and choice is an excellent option. They started reading the Glorious Qur’an and also embraced Islam few days later.
I come from a middle class orthodox Brahmin family. My mother is a teacher and my father works as a textile engineer. My religious education was at my maternal uncle’s place. That’s why I became an orthodox Hindu. Also, my whole family’s education was always against Muslims, which was nailed in me deeply.
I was associated with RSS for few years; I hated Muslims to the extent that, in all public functions, I wanted to give high volume for music sound boxes to ensure that the Adhan should not be heard at all. I used to go round the town visiting all temples to complete my everyday worship. I was liked, appreciated in my family for being orthodox and encouraged to do more.
My Meeting with Islam
In the summer, my mother asked me to work for a Muslim business firm, which I refused because from my childhood background about Muslims. My mother did not force 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 it and started concentrating more on studies aiming at a better job. Meantime, my mother and sisters worked for two months in part time for this Muslim. They were highly impressed with him.
I hated this person because I did not like the fact that they were praising a Muslim whom I always detested. I was pushed and insulted for not being useful to the family, so I started working for the same Muslim person though I hated him before going to him. After getting 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 that my religion is true, and from there, I started doing comparative.
By now, I was always eager to know more about Islam. I started reading English translation of the Glorious Qur’an (by `Abdullah Yusuf `Ali). This changed my entire student life. I was stuck with fear and doubts. I realized the fact that everything that I’m doing is wrong. My religion is all about imaginations, myths and false stories. I had many questions 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 and people around me; who has seen God, the Almighty, to paint or make images of God? All answered me that none has seen God, which is as true as mentioned in many places in the Glorious Qur’an. 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 have been doing it.” The next day I read a verse in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Al Baqarah which reads:
When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah 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? (Al-Baqarah 2:170)
And Allah Almighty says:
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. (Al-Baqarah 2:134)
When I read this I was shocked to see something which I just questioned my mother last night. This ayah (verse) hit me right deep inside. I slowly stopped worshipping idols, and stopped doing Pooja, since shirk (Polytheism) is the only sin which will never be forgiven. I started practicing the teachings of Islam in secret. There were few quotes from the Glorious Qur’an in which Allah says:
This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)
I realized that the answers of all the questions that I have in my mind are in the Qur’an.
By the grace of Allah, I started conveying message of Allah at my home with the little knowledge I had. I wanted to complete my B.E. and I thought that conveying the truth would make it easy in the long run for me and my family. Yet, after my final year of diploma, I was pushed to the wall. Then, the time came where I had no choice but to quit my family. My sister also embraced Islam and joined me. We had to live out of our house for more than a year without a job or regular source of income. Alhamdulillah, Allah made our ways easy to be firm on the truth.
As Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:
Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. (Al-`Ankabut 29:2)
After a while, praise be to Allah, Allah opened doors of opportunities for us. I had quit my previous job as I was unable to perform my five times prayer. By the Grace of Allah, now I’m blessed with a better Job. By the Grace of Allah, Almighty He has chosen us, there’s nothing more required.