His name is Suleiman, became a Muslim just about a month ago. I mentioned to him that Allah must have loved him so much to grant him the light of Islam from his entire family, then the trial of having the same family castigate him.
His story reminds me alot of the Mus’ab ibn Umayr (ra), the blessed sahaba who in his pre-Islamic days lived on the lap of affluence and luxury. He wore the most expensive perfumes and shoes from guess where, Yemen! Yemen must have been the Paris or Rodeo Drive of that day!
After he became a Muslim, Mus’ab’s mother was very cross with him, she could not fathom how his son would choose the religion of Muhammad (pbuh) and forsake the idol worship he had been born in. To her, his son was literally dining with the enemy, a fact that she could not live with.
Considering the kind of influence she had in Makkah due to her status and wealth, she should have resorted to any means to punish his son. But a mother’s love in spite of it being unconditional took a twist in Mus;ab’s case. She imprisoned him in a corner of the house so he could suffer the consequence of his choice.
Back to Suleiman. He had come to Mombasa to visit an uncle of his, a stuck up gentleman who at that point (i say at that point coz Allah in His immense Rahma may yet grant him Hidaya) hated Islam. Well, he still does to a point, calls it the religion of ‘terrorists’ and ‘beheaders’. He told him of his reverting to Islam and that same day he got kicked out of the house!
Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” – (The Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, 2: 256)
He is just a very young boy, 18 years and cleared high school just about 2 months ago. He has no ID card and thus cannot get a job.
Alhamdulillah, kind brothers came to the rescue and as we were in the process of assisting him to get a place to stay he was hosted at a local masjid. He attempted to visit his uncle’s place to pick his clothes, instead, he got a beating!
They vowed to frustrate his efforts as a New Muslim.
Threatened to call the police on him claiming he had been ‘radicalized’ to join a terrorist group.
Promised to cut him off completely from any assistance they had planned to offer him, like paying for his college fees and such.
Suleiman developed ulcers as a result, it is always a terribly hard thing to imagine that the people you have known all your life would cut you off in such a cruel manner all because you claim that your Lord is Allah….
…..I mean, it’s not like he had converted to Idol worship where he was now worshipping supposed deities curved from wood and stone. He was worshipping Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of everything that is and ever will be!
True to their promise, they called the CID on him after they traced a call he had made using a cellphone owned by a brother who stays close to the masjid. Using whatever means they could, they had the brother summon Suleiman from the masjid and once he was out they flashed their police IDs and bundled him into a waiting red saloon car, straight to CID station.
He was scared, definitely, but angrier even on finding his uncle inside the vehicle. On arriving at the station, they did the usual questioning, threatening to end his life coz as they claimed he had joined Al Shabab and that graduated him Summa Cum Laude as a bona fide enemy of the state.
Now, from our side we know that even the Kenyan Constitution guarantees freedom of worship. it would have been in our right to demand fair treatment of this brother, but to what end?
By going in and confronting the family while claiming that Suleiman has every right to be what he wants to and that he should be left alone to practice whatever religion he feels is right for him, would it have been the right action?
What image would it have portrayed of Islam? Would we still preach the message of peace while we go confronting families in this manner?
Besides, the entire family were extremely agitated at his decision, going in at that time would have aggravated the situation even further,perhaps even jeopardising Suleiman’s well-being. In their defence, the family would have claimed that we are forcing him into Islam.
We decided to give them a little time for the anger to subside so we can seek dialogue in a proper manner. Who knows, dealing with the situation this way would perhaps give the family a different and better perspective of Islam.
As of now, Suleiman is doing well in spite of his father’s insistence that he should go back to Christianity. He is praying at home, mostly and whenever he gets time he makes it to the masjid.
As i mentioned, his story reminds me so much of Mus’ab ibn Umayr and the struggles he went through for the sake of Allah; so much to a point that when he was martyred in the battle of Uhud, and they wanted to shroud him with his cloth it was so tiny that when they covered his head, the legs were left exposed!
Working at our revert centre here has developed in me immense respect for the struggles that New Muslims face coz these are the people who Allah has loved by giving them the Ne’ema of Islam.
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere: Quran 2:155