Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Duke's Muslim Chaplain

For the last week I've been taking a Bayyinah class (103) at nights--offered by Br. Wisam. I'd recommend others to take it but since it won't be offered for at least another year or two, it doesn't seem useful.

But because I am taking it now, there are a few things in my mind lately about Islam--if you read Surat al-'Asr, for instance, to see those among mankind who are not in loss, and what they do. They believe, do (intentional) righteous deeds, enjoin the good, and stay steadfast on patience. So when I heard, yesterday afternoon, a story on NPR about the new Muslim Chaplain at Duke, that's what came to my mind.

The chaplain has an interesting story, coming from Turkey. As my Muslim readers probably know, Turkey is considered to be far more secular than religious, even anti-religious. And how does it happen that a boy whose parents have no interest in practicing religion, winds up travelling the world to pursue and advance the cause of that religion?

Simple enough. He saw his friends practicing Islam, and the contentment which they derived from it.

So when you find someone among your group who doesn't have as deeply religious background as you might have, don't rebuke him or expel him. Bring him (or her) in, and gently encourage them towards the practice of Islam, by following it yourself.

2 comments:

ibrahim from VA said...

he is a great guy... bro Abdullah. My brother is at Duke doing PhD. and I visited him in Ramadan. thats when... I met bro Abdullah at the Duke msa iftaar. After finding out that I am from Bangladesh, he told us his amazing travel story in Burma and Bangladesh and about his humanitarian work in military ruled Burma. I am really glad my brother and Duke msa is in good hands. May swt bless him.

mohamed ali said...

"So when you find someone among your group who doesn't have as deeply religious background as you might have, don't rebuke him or expel him. Bring him (or her) in, and gently encourage them towards the practice of Islam, by following it yourself."

One day in 1988 I happened to be sitting in class next to a girl whom I used to see smoking with her boyfriend (and you know what that means in a Muslim country). I don't know how I started "chatting" with her in writing while the teacher was giving the lecture. I asked her questions like "what do you think of the Koran?" etc. She explained that she had different beliefs from mine. After more than half an hour of this she wrote; "Now stop this, please: only my father can understand me".Less than three months later, I was stunned to see this girl wearing the hijab. One day the next year she found me standing by the door of a library, and we started a discussion, which she cut short, saying with a lovely smile: "I'm sorry to leaveyou now, but I have to collect my younger brother and then go to mosque for salaat al asr"! I then felt ashamed of myself, bacause salaat al asr was the last things on my mind at that moment.