John Mohammed Butt is an Islamic scholar and broadcaster, noted as the first and (as of 2011) only Westerner to graduate from Darul Uloom Deoband.
Arriving in Swat in 1969, he was impressed by the tribal way of life and settled in the area, learning Pashto and Dari (he speaks a total of seven languages). He converted to Islam in 1970. He then spent eight years studying at Darul Uloom Deoband, graduating in 1984, the only Westerner to do so since its foundation in 1866.
For more go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mohammed_Butt
“Despite its origins in 7th century Arabia, it [Islam] works everywhere, and this is itself a sign of its miraculous and divine origin […] Islam, once we have become familiar with it, and settled into it comfortably, is the most suitable faith for the British. Its values are our values. Its moderate, undemonstrative style of piety, still waters running deep; its insistence on modesty and a certain reserve, and its insistence on common sense and on pragmatism, combine to furnish the most natural and easy religious option for our people […] Islam is the true consanguinity of believers in the One True God, the common bond of those who seek to remain focussed on the divine Source of our being in this diffuse, ignorant and tragic age. But it is generous and inclusive. It allows us to celebrate our particularity, the genius of our heritage; within, rather than in tension with, the greater and more lasting fellowship of faith.”
“Our doctrine could not be more straightforward. The most pure, exalted, uncompromising monotheism: the clearest idea of God there has ever been. A system of worship that requires no paraphernalia: no crosses, confessionals, priests or pews. Just the human creature, and its Lord. The Hajj and Umra also take us back to an ancient time, as we wear the simplest of garments, and perform primordial rites that reconnect us with the symbolic centre, around the purest building there has ever been. The fast of Ramadan is also timeless: bringing us into contact and continuity with one of the oldest of all religious devotions […] By stepping inside the protecting circle of Islam, the human creature is thus reconnected to the ancient simplicity and dignity of the human condition. Islam allows us to reclaim our status as khalifas: Allah’s deputies on earth.”
-Dr. T. J. Winter
For more about Dr. T. J. Winter go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Winter
A lecture by Dr. Jerald F. Dirks. Following are some key points from the lecture:
- There were Muslim expeditions to America much before Columbus. 4 such instances are mentioned by the speaker. There is also evidence that Muslim languages had impact on some native American languages.
- There were Muslims with Columbus also. There were at least one Muslim and three Moriscos. Moriscos were people who outwardly converted to Christianity from Islam to avoid persecution during Spain Inquisition.
- Expeditions sent after Columbus also had Muslims playing important role in expeditions.
- Later Muslims were brought to America as slaves from Africa. About 20 to 30 percent of the slaves were Muslims.
- Slaves continued to practice Islam. One Hafiz slave wrote entire Quran from memory which is still preserved.
- Average age of the slaves doing hard labor was 15 years only. There were slaves which were doing supervision or were kept at home, they had a chance to live longer.
- Slaves were kept in very bad condition during the journey that brought them across Atlantic. In one instance, 30 % of them died on the way.
- Muslims fought for American independence against British empire.
The purpose of the lecture is to bring home that its perfectly okay being Muslim and American at the same time and Muslims have a long history in America.
A lecture by Dr. Jerald F. Dirks where he explores the early history of Christianity and the Islamic concepts that existed in Christianity of that time. The key ideas explored in detail are:
- Jesus (pbuh) was sent only for the children of Israel.
- Jesus Christ (pbuh) was not crucified.
- Jesus (pbuh) was a Prophet of Allah. He wasn’t God.
There were three positions in early Christians regarding divinity of Jesus (pbuh).
- Jesus is God.
- Jesus is God and Man at the same time. (Contemporary Christianity believes in this)
- Jesus is Man and a Prophet.
- Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that believe Jesus was adopted as God’s son (Son of God) at his baptism.
Dr. Jeffrey Lang is currently a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Kansas in the US. In this lecture, he narrates his story of conversion to Islam and also explains the verses of Quran which deals with the questions which he had as an atheist. Following are some key points from the lecture:
- His mother was a very wonderful person – very caring and religious. During his childhood, he saw his mother being badly mistreated by his father. The sufferings of his mother lead him to reject the faith in God. He became an atheist at a very early age.
- Later in his life he started reading an English translation of Quran. He got involved in the intellectual explanations which Quran has to provide on different topics related to Human existence. The Quranic world view started making sense to him. As he got more involved in Quran, he had some spiritual experiences also. By the time, he finished reading Quran he was sure that this a message from God and he became a Muslim.
- While reading Quran as an atheist, there were three topics in which he was most interested:
- Intellect (why humans have intellect by which they can raise powerful questions against existence of God?)
- Choice (why humans have choice by which they can make others suffer and go against the commandments of God?)
- Suffering (why there is so much suffering in the world? why children have to suffer?)
- He goes through the story of Adam in Quran and other verses to explain how it answers the above Questions.
- He emphasized the following points in the Quranic story of Adam:
- The mistake by Adam to eat from the forbidden tree was just a slip according to Quran, it was not a huge sin.
- Contrary to Christianity, woman is not blamed for this mistake.
- When angels asked God that why He is going to put a creation on Earth which will create lot of mischief, they basically raised the question of suffering.
- The story demonstrates human intellect and choice before humans were put on Earth. The teaching of names to Adam signifies intellect while Adam eating from forbidden tree signifies choice.
- Different religions have different concepts about human suffering. Some say we have to transcend it, some say its punishment primarily etc. The speaker explains that the Quranic concept of suffering comparing it with that of other religions.
- According to Quran, humans should grow spiritually in this world, they should grow closer to God. To become closer to God we should become merciful, forgiving, generous etc. as God is the most merciful, most forgiving and most generous.
The lecture has 17 parts, last 5 parts (13 to 17) are the Q & A session.
Jumuah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) delivered on the 1st of October 2010 by Ahsan Hanif at Green Lane Masjid, Birmingham UK, on the topic of the rights of animals in Islam (submission to God alone in peace) and the mercy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) towards them.
Shaykh Ahsan Hanif hails from Birmingham, UK where he was born and raised. At the tender age of 13, he had already achieved one of his greatest milestones: committing the entire Qur’aan to memory. It was not surprising to learn that in the year 2000, he gained a scholarship to enter the Islamic University of Madinah. After completing his Arabic diploma, he graduated from the Faculty of Shari’ah in 2006 with honours. During his time in Madinah, he was fortunate enough to gain ijazah in the Qur’an as well as study under a number of well known scholars, such as Sh. Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad, Sh. Muhammad ibn Muhammad Mukhtar al-Shinqiti, Sh. Sulayman al-Ruhayli and many more.
He is currently one of the Imams and Khateebs of Green Lane Masjid and is also pursuing his PhD at the University of Birmingham.
Muhammad Heft describes his journey to Islam. From $35000 in debt to Christianity, Muhammad found true Salvation in Islam!