Finding Peace at the Heart of Islam
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Obedient Angel

Join date : 2011-04-30
Posts : 2448



By: Iesha Javed

Brother Abdullah Bin Yousuf Al Ourane, is a revert From Italy who embraced Islam recently after he came into contact with Islamic teachings while travelling in Northern Albania. In this interview with Iesha Javed he tells us more about the emotional, spiritual and intellectual dimensions of his journey.

1. Asalamualaikum. Welcome brother to this Great faith that unites us all. How does it feel now that you have embraced Islam? How have you changed as a person?

Salamu aleikum, sister and first of all thanks for giving me the opportunity to express my beliefs and emotions due to my conversion to Islam.

I do not believe, I would never have thought of experiencing an emotion so intense as embracing the true religion. I felt a deep joy and serenity that I can't find appropriate words to describe. I seemed to return to childhood, the happiness that I do not remember to have experienced in recent years. Of course this state of being should be continuous, Insha Allah, and today when I have some discomfort or sadness it seems small and I think of my new situation and how I arrived there; I remember my beliefs, people who supported me and their embraces, to feel strong and serene again. My person has changed more positively, My daily routine has an added value since Allah came into my life, even with others I am more understanding and compassionate for those in need. Many people, who knew me even before my conversion, have found me more peaceful and some of them do not even know why.

2. Have you personally felt that Islam is indeed best suited to the original nature of man? Do you find it simple and logical or difficult?

I have often asked the meaning of human life on this planet and I never found an answer because I have always looked for in the wrong direction. I had to get to fit into the plan of Allah, because this was at least more clear and then had to act accordingly. If I manage to trace that piece of design that God has planned for me, then I become really that Muslim who He wants me to become. If indeed I can to do so I shall understand fully the meaning and everything, everything will be easier. I realize that it is not easy, that the distractions are many and that the human race, the media and all information is a diversion so that the plan of Allah is not clear that it is indeed a great nuisance and that it is easier for people to indulge into what they see around them to have happiness, but it is a mirage. True happiness seemed to come upon me like a flash, suddenly, with my shahadah. Masha Allah.

3. Do you feel in the present world condition it's difficult to follow Islam for Muslims or do you see the present crisis as an opportunity for Muslims to spread message of Islam?

The condition in which our world is going through is terrible, and today I am even more aware, thanks mainly to my vision, influenced by my religion. As far as I know my religion, in our Quran, we are told Allah has already planned all these things that are happening, Then, the view of the Muslims is fairly clear, not diverted. We, Muslims, have the duty to spread our model because it is simple, clear, honest and loyal towards creation. The message of Islam is given to every single Muslim, man and woman. It is not necessary that each of us has a great culture and wealth, is it vital that our individual style and behavior, private and public, is harmonious with the words of the Prophet, God rest his soul. Every doubt has a positive response in our Quran. If each of us Muslims, is faithful to the words of Allah, the crisis is bound to succumb, as far as we are concerned we must be role models, Allah, will decide, everything is in His hands.

4. Tell us something about your early life and how you spend your childhood and youth. What were the prevalent social conditions and beliefs surrounding you?

I was born and lived most of my childhood in a small village near the mountains of northern Italy and of course I never heard a mention of Islam. My family was of lowly origin and the predominant religion was work, then came in religious rituals. I always attended, as my companions, the village church and I have good memories of the priest, he was a good person and was kind to me. I went to school, first public and then the Catholic ones. However, despite being raised and educated with these religions, I have never been very captivated by it, I do not know why. Aside from my old parish priest I met often strict religious people, loving and very little interested in money and power. My intuitions on the body of the Catholic Church later found many confirmations, less positive in subsequent years. For me the religious question, took place as an addition to the state, bureaucratic, rather than carping impregnated with love and ideals. I do not want to generalize, I met some religious exceptions, but a few.

My youth was projected to gain employment, career and never true values. Perhaps the social conditions, I speak of the 70s, have influenced a whole generation much like mine. I had some interest in politics but I soon realized that it did not give me what I wanted. In fact, I always tried ideals for which it was worth living and I often lost sight of the true values.

5. How did you first come in contact with Islamic teachings and did any Muslims play an important role in giving you the message?

Last year, for professional reasons, I have traveled in northern Albania. My company rented an apartment right in front of a beautiful mosque. This vision, with the cadences of the prayers to speakers of the minaret were my first friends. For reasons of employment I subsequently entered into contact with colleagues in the Islamic faith.

Meanwhile, I began spending my evenings trying Islamic sites, for intellectual curiosity, for a certain charm and the Islamic world has had for me in recent years, but I had never explored. Through the internet I came into contact with a person who maintains a blog, "The Salafi Manhaj," this person, I later learned was from my town in Italy, Turin. Yet, I knew that she was Italian and converted, and always out of curiosity I began to follow her world. I found later, a reason to write and ask questions and read with interest your replies, as I began to look for other Islamic and Muslim web sites, without a particular order and not knowing where I would take this. Meanwhile friendship was born with these colleagues, Muslims, by accident and I've briefly lost sight of them since then and with a poor Imam of a poor village. This man, this Imam, Sunday invited me to his house, introduced me to his family and took me to see what he was doing in a small mosque, he alone, with few siblings. He gave me books to read, I downloaded through the internet the Quran in Italian and from there I began increasingly to go into this wonderful world. I used once a week to go to the mosque to pray with my brother Saimir, and talked more frequently and at a stretch about Islam. Meanwhile I enquired what happened to the sister who runs the blog, and I began to converse in parallel by both sides on this religion. Inwardly I knew what was happening to me but I found it difficult to admit. This attraction was becoming irresistible.
It began so simply, but behind all these circumstances there is, for me, really the hand of Allah that touched my shoulder and called. Before Christmas, returning to Italy, I asked the sister- Mujahida AmatAllah, to help me to take the Shahadah and organized a meeting with an Imam, so I completed the first stretch of the road.

6. Did any particular book on Islam or any biography of a Muslim personality influence your reversion to Islam?

Truly my return to Islam is not due to specific books or scholars. It was a return to what I say, willed by Allah the Merciful, I read and read mainly Koranic suras and papers, and some authors I do not know, like At-Tawil, Deedat, Pasquini Rahman and Zakir Naik, to name a few, but also much more that is spread on the internet, recommended from time to time by my supporters. I was very interested in the research environment, climate and people of Islam today; how it is lived and I perceived the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), how these people live each day the gift of faith. This was my great model, praise be to Allah, for this fate reserved for me to meet wonderful people. It is precisely the difference, do not read the lives of the saints to convert, but look at how Allah is Great, through his people, through his word and facts. Insha Allah.

7. When did you decide to embrace Islam and when did you actually take the Shahadah? What are the emotions connected to your shahadah?

When the signs of Allah become strong and numerous, you can not feel, you can not think that there is a "coincidence" that happens again and again. When you fall in love with someone you're attracted to lures in a compelling way from being loved. When your nights are populated by the same dream, when your days are marked by encounters, when your every thought is always turned to Him, your God, to His people, his words; your eyes are no longer blind, your ears listen to what previously sounded even when your knees bend to the prostration it is the time to orient your life to Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. There is no doubt. The emotions of my shahadah be public, open to all, a joy so great is not contained to only one heart. For every person with whom I could talk and I can speak, the first thing I said and I say is: I converted to Islam, now life is another matter.

8. How did your family and friends react to your reversion to Islaam? Was the overall reaction one of happiness or did you have to face criticism and opposition?

Yes, I confess that this question was a bit worried for the perception that is in my country towards the Islamic world in general, the perception created and nurtured by the propaganda policy. However it does not stop me, knowing what I might lose my research in exchange for a spiritual and social cause. Everything has a price. Then I turned to Allah in my prayers, praying that at least my children understand my choice, all the rest had no great importance. So it was, my daughters who do not share my views, they are very Catholic ... For the rest, well, I lost someone I thought was a friend; some open discussions, many silences came into my life. However, I confirm my decision every day, going on my way. I trust in Allah, He knows what is right for me. I found new friends, new experiences; nothing bothers me, loneliness is a consequence, I have, so more time for my reading, research and insights. I want to go on pilgrimage to Mecca, I'm going to breathe the air where he lived the Prophet, sinking ever deeper into my religion and thereby discover what Allah reserves for me.

9. Describe to us the atmosphere in Italy with regards to Islam and the Muslim community there.

I have lived outside of Italy for a long time, even before my conversion, and still. Apparently there is tolerance, but even this fact, "tolerance" is unpleasant, for there is little understanding. But how do we blame the people? Its Political advertising; the war in the Middle East, the so-called "terrorism", how can ordinary people understand what's really behind all this? The good people are intelligent, they have no problems to deal with a Muslim, the rest is to be forgiven. However it is not a serene atmosphere, we are not considered equal and diversity is a growing concern.

10. Having become a "Muslim by choice" what is your advice to those "Muslim by chance" who take Islam for granted?

In the town where I live now, to work in southern Albania, there are many Muslims by "coincidence", many young people. Perhaps it is because they are leaving little to a communist regime that had eliminated their entire social and religious ideal. Of course I am sad to see how they are deviated and non-believers. They are addicted to television, believe in a future that is rich and happy, they should try to know what their Allah reserves for them and to quickly return to the mosque to pray and adapt to the Quran.

11. In the present world condition what do you think should be attitude of Muslims to Non-Muslims? Don't you think we should be more sensitive to other faiths and beliefs?

I believe in what is written in the Quran. We must be understanding for our brothers who follow other religions. The path to Allah is only partially observed in men. Muslims are fortunate, very fortunate that they were chosen by Allah to be role models. The sensitivity must always distinguish us, however, we cannot forget that Allah is the One Creator and the others are in the wrong way. Our voice can not remain low, our heads and our knees bend only for Allah, for nothing else in the world. Our message must come loud and clear. Understanding and sensitivity are not to walk in silence beneath their windows.


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