And The Crosses Broke
How I became a Muslim
From Riyaas Peter to Abdullaah
I was born on the 16th of November 1968 in a devout and practising Christian house, at birth my name was Riyaas Peter which my father had named me. My grandfather at one stage was the general secretary of the Pakistan bible society and my father was at a senior religious position amongst the Christians in Pakistan. My mother was also associated with Christian missionaries and my uncle was also a church minister.
My father had married in his student days and after marriage he focussed on religious studies and after completing his studies he separated from my mother as in no marital relationships, as according to the Christians beliefs wedlock is prohibited for priests and those who are already married abandon this relationship. The reason for this is, in Christianity the understanding for priests and religious leaders is that they are pure and maybe they think the bond of wedlock which is performed with god as the witness is impure!!!
I received my religious education from St. Patricks School and I was admitted into a Roman Catholic institute where I received education to become a priest and alongside this I also learnt missionary work. Further to this based on personal preferences and hobbies I also learnt how to play musical instruments especially the keyboard and harmonium.
I formed a musical group called the rolling stones and on Sundays I would go and sing hymns and play music concerning Jesus in the church and I would write the music to these hymns. As I was the son of a religious Christian minister I had no restrictions that prohibited me from doing anything rather I had full freedom and independence to whatever I wanted or wished, even if that was drink alcohol, as drinking alcohol is considered to be lawful and pure in Christianity.
I used to love my father a lot (even today I respect him greatly), I cannot remember if I ever lied to my father I would always speak the truth and even according to Christianity one should not be lying to Christian priests as they are saviours and can get your sins forgiven and they are the ones who can take you to paradise.
If I would ever commit a sin I would go to my father and he would say to me your sins are forgiven from the Messiah Christ. He would also say to me your the son of a Christian priest and you need to the religious propagator and hence forgive the peoples sins.
I would ring the church bells before prayer times and would recite the final prayer on the Sundays sermons, and after completing my missionary studies I started to engage in missionary work and started to visit different areas and admonish the people and I would especially encourage the youth to join the missionary work.
I was also a very powerful and orator and speaker, wherever I used to go for talks and lectures in the various churches most of members of my audiences were young people and due to my powerful speeches many of them would join the missionary work.
Just like all the other Christians I was a target of self happiness and arrogance that only Christianity was the true religion and I was lucky to be a Christian as god has chosen me to do his work.
What follows is my long search for the truth
Search for Tranquillity
I would often discuss matters of the religion with my father but whenever I would touch the topic of alterations and contradiction in the bible my father was never able to give me any satisfying or convincing answers and would rather say not to dwell on these things too much as god knows better about them and avoid discussions about the religion otherwise you will become a sinner. He would tell me to concentrate on those affairs that will help spread Christianity throughout the whole world and get the people to believe that Jesus is the true son of god and hence attain success and paradise.
Many questions concerning Christianity would arise in my head but no Christian scholar or priest was able to answer them for me so much so even my father had no answers. My father was never able to convince me and on the other hand I could not really discuss these issues with him as I would be sinning as he had previously told me.
I however kept my search ongoing and if any new issue or point concerning Christianity arose I would research it further in order to learn its reality. As I mentioned previously I had full freedom and independence and also access to the worldly goods but I would always feel even though I had everything I still felt an emptiness and as if something was lost by the way of peace and a sort of be-wilderness was attached to my heart.
I would spend a lot of time thinking and pondering about these affairs and about this be-wilderness and emptiness I was feeling and would think if these worldly things cannot bring tranquillity and peace to my heart what would?
As part of my duty I would have to ring the church bells and it would so happen when my time would come to ring the bells there was a mosque right opposite our church and coincidently the caller would be calling the people to the prayer ie saying the adhaan. Upon often hearing the words of the adhaan it would send me into an unusual state and what was even more unusual was that I never understood any of the words so much so that I would be mesmerised and would forget to ring the church bells and just listen carefully to the words of the adhaan.
I don’t know if this was just the words of the adhaan or the awakening of the inner Abdullah in me but all I know I would feel this amazing peace and tranquillity upon hearing the adhaan and an unknown power was pulling me. I would also sometimes go and stand outside the mosque and see the Muslims pray.
My father would often shout at me and I would have to face his anger due to my wondering to the mosque. I remember I would often stand below the big cross in the church and would pray that Oh God give me peace and guide me to the right path and finally one day my day of peace arrived.
The Search For The Truth
It was a Sunday and we were preparing for worship and as mentioned before I would sing hymns in praise of Jesus and after worship part of my duty was to also do the concluding prayer. My father asked me to ring the church bells to call the Christian worshippers to church and at the time I used to be proud that God had given birth to me in such a religion that God himself had sent his son for our guidance.
I hung the cross around my neck and headed to the church and started to ring the bells and then stood below the big cross and led the prayer and said oh Christ the saviour put into the hearts of people that they come to goodness as you are the one who knows the reality of the hearts, then a made a sign of the cross with my hands and sat down.
The people used to respect me a lot as I was the son of a priest and a future church minister and they would often kiss my hands and I would put my hand on their heads and pray for them.
When the people arrived my father also came and the people with respect stood up and my father made his way to the pulpit and asked the people to be seated and signalled to me to sing the hymns. My father gave a sermon about the crucifixion and how Jesus died for the sins of the world and that Jesus will forgive the sins of mankind. This was a very strange day in my life as my father was giving the sermon I kept on asking myself questions which were just confusing my mind. In the end I made the final prayer for the service and returned home with my father and yet another day was added to my uneasiness.
A Recurring Question in My Mind
If Jesus Christ was the son of God why did he die as we believed God was ever living and will remain even after the destruction of the earth so in the same manner the messiah should also remain forever? So the worldly leaders put him on the cross and yet he was not able to do anything nor was God able to save his son, so why was this?
I asked my father this question and he got very angry and hostile and in a strong tone he said to me Peter repent don’t say such blasphemous things and don’t reject things from the bible, and I pray that Jesus Christ saves you from misguidance and keeps you on the straight path and get yourself baptised again today and beware of saying such things in the future in front of other people.
After hearing my father speak in a strong and tone and having his voice raised I began to think to myself well maybe it’s me who is wrong so I returned and started to read the bible.
Reading Of The Bible
The same uneasiness and emptiness remained within me even when I was reading the bible and whilst I was reading I came across the following verse from Johns book,
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
After reading these verses from the gospel of John I went to my father and told him about these verses that Jesus Christ said he has to go away for the advocate to come and he will guide you onto the truth, so I asked my father has anyone come after Jesus Christ as he told us in the bible.
My father said no, no one has come however an Arab did come whose name was Muhammad (Sallalahu Alayhee Was-Sallam) and he claimed to be a Prophet but really he was a magician. He would speak in such a magic way that the people would just follow him and he called his religion Islam and his followers are Muslims and he spread his religion by magic and by the sword and those who never believed in him he killed. He would say he is a Prophet of God and so believe in me or otherwise die. My father went onto say Islam is in essence a religion of fear and ignorance and the Muslims are immoral and oppress their women and burn their opposers and this is what has been written about the Muslims by the historians and authors.
His father went onto say our religion has suffered immensely due to Islam and the greatest enemies of the Christians are the Muslim. So I asked my father I would like to research Islam. My father said to me Peter I am advising you if you want to research then research every religion or practise but do not research Islam and do not go anywhere near the Muslims as these people are magicians and they will do magic on you and they will separate you from your forefathers religions.
I listened to my father very carefully but my longing for the truth had increased dramatically and even more. I had already researched various other religions and decided to research Islam without the knowledge of my father in order to come closer to the truth. So now that I had decided to do my research the next questions was how was I going to do it.
TO BE CONTINUED………….