One of my Hindu Doctor friends in Gujarat has experienced a similar experience. Now, he has become a Muslim. He told me he finds reason and common sense in the book.
When I was in my teens, about 17, Islam and the Quran did not appeal to me, and I chose to become an Atheist and remained one for the next 30 years. However, I attended Juma prayers on Fridays, Joined in for the Bhajans in the Hindu temple across my home, attended Mahabodhi center for discourse on Buddhism, and attended lectures on Vedanta Bhavan, and visited the Catholic church. I also learned about Sikhism through our customers in our Flour Mill, and my neighbor and friend was a Jain.
My lecturer A Ramachandra, a Sai baba Bhakt, and I had many discussions on religion in college and at my home; my Maternal Grand Father Shaikh Husain, sometimes my father and our friend Hujjatul Islam Hussain Saheb carried on conversations on the Shia and Sunni Islam. My exposure was to most of the religions prevalent in my town. We did not have the Bahai’s and Jews at that time in my place.
I saw every faith claiming to be valid, and I had asked bluntly, provide me a certificate, signed by God, authenticating your religion. Of course, religions are about belief.
Now and then, I will go back to the Quran, and every time I decided it was not for me. The last time I said that to myself was when I asked Baba, my father-in-Law, if Islam was the only religion acceptable to God – he took me over to his room, pulled the Quran, and showed me 3:85, and I did not say anything to him but said to myself again, Islam is not for me.
To cut the story short, I was stunned by a verse from the Bhagavad Gita, which said, finding the truth is your responsibility. Indeed, it is.
So, I rejected everything I knew about Islam and started searching for an inclusive religion, which acknowledged others’ validity, offered universal guidance and Justice, freewill, mercy, caring for others as its cornerstones. All religions provided that despite the practices of their followers. I could have chosen any faith, as all of them offered guidance to live a good life.
Finally, in 1999, I chose Islam because I aligned with its pluralistic values. Like Jeffrey lang was driven by verse 2.2 in the video, verses 49:13, 109:6, 2:256, 17:70, 2:136, 59:8, 2:62, and a few others caused me to choose Islam.
Now, I thank God, I have done extensive learning and continue to learn about Islam. I also thank my right-leaning, supposedly Islamophobes (which they are not) who pointed to me where the problem is – the Quran’s mistranslations. Indeed, that is what makes them fear Islam and become belligerent towards Islam to combat their survival. About 30 verses are deliberately mistranslated to place a wedge between Muslims and others and injected arrogance in them. On top of it, the Hadith, Tafseer, Seerah, and other literature have occasionally portrayed the Prophet negatively instead of a Merciful man.
Even today, I am taken back when I hear a few, a handful of learned Muslims believe in what was dished out to them as Islam without questioning it.
I am committed to Pluralism in particular. As a Muslim, I am committed to portraying Islam as a guide to create cohesive societies where every human feels secure about his/her faith, race, ethnicity, and culture. I have conducted several workshops on the Quran and have responded to mistranslations, including Geert Wilders, Noni Darwish, Robert Spencer, and a lot of them. I have always welcomed the Quran’s Criticism, the Prophet, and Islam, and I will continue to accept it. As it makes me run and find the answers and the wisdom and share back with them, which some of them accept and some reject calling it Taqiya. You will love my response on Taqiya in the book American Muslim Agenda.
One of these days, I will write the full story, some of my Muslim friends can relate with it.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, author, community consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. Mike is deeply committed to Free speech, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism and a fellow at the World Muslim Congress, a Think Tank and author of the book American Muslim Agenda, building a cohesive America. He has dedicated his life to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers on issues of the day. Everything about him is at www.TheGhousediary.com.