Returning home after offering the `Isha (Night) Prayer, `Abdur-Rahman, an Indian national, sat down with a pen and a mind full of thoughts. He started writing his life story, “Pandit Bane Musalmaan” (i.e. a Hindu priest becomes Muslim) in his mother tongue, Hindi.
He works as a storekeeper in Saudi BTAT Construction Company, at the King `Abdul `Aziz Endowment Project opposite to the Holy Haram in Makkah.
Before coming to Jeddah (12 May, 2002) and before accepting Islam, `Abdur-Rahman was known as Sushil Kumar Sharma. His hometown is Amadalpur, a small village in the north Indian state of Haryana. He was born in an orthodox Hindu family who were privileged with conducting religious rituals in the village’s temple.
While staying in the company’s accommodation in Jeddah, one of his colleagues gave him some Islamic books in Hindi. Then, he was transferred to Riyadh to work for a project at Princess Nora University.
“It was at the company’s housing camp that I met a number of Muslims from India and Pakistan who explained to me the religion of Islam,” said `Abdur-Rahman.
“Among them was one of my closest friends, Saleem who hailed from Rajasthan (a northwestern state of India). Both of us shared the same room. During leisure time, he would narrate to me the stories of the Prophet of Islam and read out his Hadiths.
“My heart trembled. I began to question myself. What will happen to me after death? Will my sins put me in the Hellfire forever? I was afraid of punishment in the grave,” he recalled.
“I began spending sleepless nights. I knew it was a time for me to embrace Islam and become a true follower of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). At last, my lifelong search for truth ended here.”
“The next day morning I revealed my intention to embrace Islam to my friend Saleem and other colleagues in the camp. There was jubilation in the company. Everyone was happy, they congratulated and hugged me.”
“It was also the system of universal brotherhood with no difference of caste, color, creed or race that attracted me towards Islam,” `Abdur-Rahman said.
The following day a meeting with the members of the Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance in Al-Batha, Riyadh, was arranged. The Imam of the camp’s mosque asked him to say the Shahadah (i.e. the Testimony of Faith).
“I said La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasulu Allah (there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) wholeheartedly, accepting Allah as my Lord and Muhammad as His Messenger. The Imam suggested me to change my name to `Abdur-Rahman, which I readily accepted.”
Soon, `Abdur-Rahman was transferred to Bahra, a town located near the Makkah-Jeddah highway. “The project engineer there was very pleased to know that I had embraced Islam. He was very kind towards me and extended all help and cooperation,” `Abdur-Rahman said.
“But I wanted to be closer to Allah. I prayed to Allah to transfer me to Makkah. My prayers were answered and I was transferred to the project I’m working on currently which is located in close proximity of the Grand Mosque.”
His main concern now is his family back home.
“I now have a big task before me. It is to take the message of Islam to my family members.” `Abdur-Rahman has a wife and two sons, a seven year old and a sixteen year old.
“I have told them on phone that I have accepted the religion of Islam and have become a Muslim. At first, they did not believe me. My wife told me that she would decide only when I return to India on vacation. Every day, I am making Du`a’ and pleading to Allah to guide them to the right path and soften their hearts to accept Islam,” said `Abdur-Rahman with tears in his eyes.
“I may also face lots of opposition from relatives, friends and co-villagers. But I am determined to face them. I am confident that Allah will help me,” he added.
`Abdur-Rahman also had some words of advice for everyone else.
“I would like to convey the message to all non-Muslims in the world to accept Islam to be successful in this life and in the Hereafter. It also saddens me to see so many Muslims not following the religion of Islam as preached by our Prophet (peace be upon him). I appeal to them to stop imitating other people.”