“Thus, (it is a fact that) whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast for Islam; and whomsoever He wills to let go astray, He causes his breast to become strait and constricted, as if he were climbing towards the heaven. Thus Allah lays the abomination (of flight from and hatred of Islam) on those who do not believe.”
This Quranic verse indicates that it is Allah who leads one to the truth and that not all are guided to it. This point is made in other verses of the Quran as well. See, for example, verse 35 of the same surah and 32:13; 28:56; 14:4.
Allah chooses whom He wills to guide to the truth and to open their breasts up to Islam. Likewise, Allah can also lead a person astray and make the person’s breast constricted so that they are unable to receive the truth into their hearts.
It is a great favour from Allah if He leads a person to Islam. In fact, there is no greater favour which can be bestowed on a human being. Why Allah guides some while others are left to go astray is not a question that I am able to answer.
As for the one who has been led to the truth, it is not due to their own goodness, but due solely to Allah’s favour. If we are one of the favoured ones we must never attribute goodness or superiority to ourselves but instead give all thanks and praise to He who has led us to the truth and has enshrouded us with His Mercy. For without this guidance, and without this Mercy we would be doomed to perdition.
And I want here in this article to thank Allah for leading me to Islam and opening my breast to its message so that I could have the honour of being called a Muslim. I can assure you that I am unaware of any trace of goodness within myself.
Allah allowed a series of events to take place in my life for this to happen, and I could never have known about this in advance. That I would have to leave my own province and move to another part of the country for this to happen is not something I planned in advance. And this series of events, which are too complicated to explain here in this brief article, would bring me to the position where I would take my shahada.
It was in the afternoon of February 22nd 1993 that I entered the Oxford Street mosque in London Ontario and at the hands of Shaykh Muwaffak Algalaieni, now a member of the Assembly of Muslims Jurists of America and from a family of highly respected scholars, I, at the age of 28, repeated the words of the shahadah and at that very moment, which also happened to be the first day of Ramadan, became a Muslim.
Why me? I can’t answer that question. All I know is that Allah favoured me.
A little over a year after becoming Muslim I got discouraged and was about to drop out altogether. I was at a very low point in my life and was limiting my attendance at the Mosque to only the Friday prayers.
Then a miracle took place which changed the course of my life. I met who was to be my future wife. She is from an excellent and religiously observant family and has supported me all these years with both her example and knowledge.
In September 1994 Sheikh Algalaieni married us and we have been together ever since. She has told me that I am the best husband she could ever hope for, but the opposite is actually true. It is a real, yet underserved blessing, that Allah sent her my way. I do not think I would have made it without her.
I would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge Ishaq Al-Qutub who was a huge help to me during the time of my decision to become Muslim. His kindness will always be remembered with great fondness.
Hidayah (guidance) from Allah is a mysterious thing and I may never know the answer to the question why me? But I am very thankful that Allah has indeed guided me to Islam and I cannot imagine being anything else other than a Muslim.