Dr. Gabriel Fouad Haddad

Another close friend of mine played a role in this conversion. This devout American Christian friend had entered Islam years before me. At the time I felt in my silly pride that it was wrong for an American to enter into the religion of the Arabs and for me, an Arab, to stand like a mule in complete ignorance of it. It had a great effect on me from both sides: the cultural one and the spiritual, because he was — is — an honest and upright person whose major move meant a great deal to me.

I had also come to realize that my early education in Lebanon had carefully sheltered me from Islam, even though I lived in a mixed neighborhood in the middle of Beirut. I went to my father’s and grandfather’s Jesuit school. The following incident is proof that there is no turning away of Allah’s gift when He decides to give it. One year, when I was 12, a strange religious education teacher gave us as an assignment the task of learning the Fatiha — the first chapter of the Qur’an — by heart. I went home and did, and it stayed with me all my life. After parents complained he was fired — “we do not send our children to a Christian school in order for them to learn the religion of Muslims” — but the seed had been sown, right there in the staunch Christian heartland, inside its prize school. Now here I was in the United States, knocking at the door of the religion of the Prophet, peace be upon him!

Days after I took shahada I met my teacher and the light on my path, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani of Tripoli, after which I met his own teacher, Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani of Cyprus. May Allah bless and grant them long life. Through them, after some years, my mother also took shahada and I hope and pray every day that my two brothers and stepfather will soon follow in Allah’s immense generosity. Allah’s blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, his Companions, and all Prophets.

 

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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