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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 9

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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 9

Holy Qur’ans Donated to Oakland and San

Francisco Libraries

Last month, three members of the Islamic Center of San Francisco

distributed complimentary copies of the Yusuf Ali translation of the

Holy Quran and other Islamic materials to the Oakland and San

Francisco libraries. The gifts were well received and will be put into

circulation in the respective library systems.

The group also met with the San Francisco Library’s Director for Jail

Services about the great need for educational materials about Islam

for use in the San Francisco jail system. It was learned from these

visits that there is a large and growing interest in Islam in all these

communities and that the libraries have a difficult time keeping up

with the demand for information. Of the various English translations

of the Holy Quran which are available, the most frequently request-

ed is Yusuf Ali’s. Since his translation is not as readily available as

others, these donations were especially appreciated.

Arrangements were made by the San Francisco Islamic Center group

to keep in touch with these library representatives and to serve as a

possible resource for them in case they have questions about Islam

or about informational services that we might be able to provide.

If any of our readers are aware of a need for copies of the Holy

Quran or other Islamic materials in their local libraries or other

appropriate institutions, please send the pertinent information to

the editor of the Islamic Bulletin who will assure it will be given

proper attention. The basic information which would be needed is

the name of the library system or institution, their address, phone

number, and contact person, if it is known.

OHIO - First State to Give “Full Recogni-

tion” to American Muslims

The State of Ohio has become the first state in the United States

to proclaim an annual “Islamic Day” following resolutions of both

the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives (H.B. 280). The bill

establishes October 30 as the annual date. It was reaffirmed and

signed by Governor Voinovich. [The bill was the result of efforts of

the Islamic Council of Ohio and its coordinator, Mr. Bashir Ahmad.]

AMC Report, Spring 1992.

Al-Haj Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad, formerly Ibrahim Khalil Philobus,

was an Egyptian Coptic priest who studied theology and got a high

degree from Princeton University. He studied Islam to find gaps to

attack it; instead he embraced Islam with his four children, one

of whom is now a brilliant professor in Sorbonne University, Paris


In an interesting way, he reveals himself saying: “I was born in

Alexandria on the 13th of January 1919 and was sent to the Amer-

ican Mission schools until I got my secondary education certificate

there. In 1942 I got my diploma from Asiut University and then I

specialized in religious studies as a prelude to join the Faculty of

Theology. It was no easy task to join the faculty, as no candidate

could join it unless he got a special recommendation from the

church, and also, after he should pass a number of difficult exams.

I got a recommendation from Al-Attareen Church in Alexandria and

another from the Church Assembly of Lower Egypt after passing

many tests to know my qualifications to become a man of religion.

Then I got a third recommendation from Snodus Church Assembly

which included priests from Sudan and Egypt.

The Snodus sanctioned my entrance into the Faculty of Theology in

1944 as a boarding student. There I studied at the hands of American

and Egyptian teachers until my graduation in 1948.

I was supposed, he continued, to be appointed in Jerusalem had

it not been for the war that broke out in Palestine that same year,

so I was sent to Asna in Upper Egypt. That same year I registered

for a thesis at the American University in Cairo. It was about the

missionary activities among Muslims. My acquaintance with Islam

started in the Faculty of Theology where I studied Islam and all the

methods through which we could shake the faith of Muslims and

raise misconceptions in their understanding of their own religion.

In 1952 I got my M.A. from Princeton University in U.S.A. and was

appointed as a teacher in the Faculty of Theology in Asiut. I used

to teach Islam in the faculty as well as the faulty misconceptions

spread by its enemies and the missionaries against it. During that

period I decided to enlarge my study of Islam, so that I should not

read the missionaries books on it only. I had so much faith in myself

that I was confirmed to read the other point of view. Thus I began

to read books written by Muslim authors. I also decided to read the

Quran and understand its meanings. This was implied by my love

of knowledge and moved by my desire to add more proofs against

Islam. The result was, however, exactly the reverse. My position

began to shake and I started to feel an internal strong struggle and I

discovered the falsehood of everything I had studied and preached

to the people. But I could not face myself bravely and tried instead

to overcome this internal crisis and continue my work.

In 1954, Mr. Khalil added, I was sent to Aswan as secretary general

of the German Swiss Mission. That was only my apparent position

for my real mission was to preach against Islam in Upper Egypt es-

pecially among Muslims. A missionary conference was held at that

time at Cataract Hotel in Aswan and I was given the floor to speak.

That day I spoke too much, reiterating all the repeated misconcep-

tions against Islam; and at the end of my speech, the internal crisis

came to me again and I started to revise my position.

Continuing his talk about the said crisis, Mr. Khalil said, «I began to

ask myself: Why should I say and do all these things which I know

for sure I am a liar, as this is not the truth? I took my leave before

the end of the conference and went out alone to my house. I was

completely shaken. As I walked through Firyal public garden, I heard

a verse of the Quran on the radio. It said:

“Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened

(to the Quran). They said: We have really heard a wonderful

recital! It gives guidance to the Right, and we have believed

therein: We shall not join (in worship) any gods with our Lord.”

(Quran 72:1-2)

“And as for us, since we have listened to the Guidance, we have

accepted it: and any one who believes in His Lord, has no fear

of either a short (account) or of any injustice.” (Quran 72:13)»

I felt a deep comfort that night and when I returned home I

spent the whole night all by myself in my library reading the

Quran. My wife inquired from me about the reason of my

sitting up all night and I pleaded from her to leave me alone. I

stopped for a long time thinking and meditating on the verse;

“Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, verily thou

wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear

of Allah.” (Quran 59:21)

And the verse:

“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers

wilt thou find the Jews and the Pagans, and nearest among them

in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, ‘We are

Christians’: Because amongst these are men devoted to learn-

ing. And men who have renounced the world, and they are not

arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by

the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears,

for they recognize the truth: They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe,

write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have

not to believe in Allah and the truth which has come to us,

seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company

of the righteous?’” (Quran 5:82-84)

Mr. Khalil then quoted a third quotation from the Holy Quran

which says: “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered

prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures),

in the Taurat and in the Gospel; for he commands them what is

just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what

is good (and pure) and prohibits them what is bad (and impure):

He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes

that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honor him,

help him and follow the light which is sent down with him, it is

they who will prosper.” Say:

“O men! I am sent unto you all,

as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongs the dominion of

the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: It is He

that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His

Messenger. The unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and

His Words: follow Him that (so) you may be guided.” (Quran


Now that same night, Mr. Khalil dramatically concluded: I took my

final decision. In the morning I spoke with my wife from whom

I have three sons and one daughter. But no sooner than she felt

that I was inclined to embrace Islam than she cried and asked for

help from the head of the mission. His name was Monsieur Shavits

from Switzerland. He was a very cunning man. When he asked

me about my true attitude, I told him frankly what I really wanted

and then he said: Regard yourself out of job until we discover

what has befallen you. Then I said: This is my resignation from

my job. He tried to convince me to postpone it, but I insisted. So

he made a rumor among the people that I became mad. Thus I

suffered a very severe test and oppression until I left Aswan for

good and returned to Cairo.

When he was asked about the circumstances to his conversion

he replied: “In Cairo I was introduced to a respectable professor

who helped me overcome my severe trial and this he did without

knowing anything about my story. He treated me as a Muslim for

I introduced myself to him as such although until then I did not

embrace Islam officially. That was Dr. Muhammad Abdul Moneim

Al Jamal the then undersecretary of treasury. He was highly inter-

ested in Islamic studies and wanted to make a translation of the

Holy Quran to be published in America. He asked me to help him

because I was fluent in English since I had got my M.A. from an

American University. He also knew that I was preparing a compar-

ative study of the Quran, the Torah and the Bible. We cooperated

in this comparative study and in the translation of the Quran.

When Dr. Jamal knew that I had resigned from my job in Aswan

and that I was then unemployed, he helped me with a job in

Standard Stationery Company in Cairo. So I was well established

after a short while. I did not tell my wife about my intention to

embrace Islam thus she thought that I had forgotten the whole

affair and that it was nothing but a transitory crisis that no more

existed. But I knew quite well that my official conversion to Islam

needs long complicated measures and it was in fact a battle which

I preferred to postpone for some time until I became well off and

after I completed my comparative study.”

Then Mr. Khalil continued, “In 1955 I did complete my study and

my material and living affairs became well established. I resigned

from the company and set up a training office for importing statio-

nery and school articles. It was a successful business from which

I gained much more money than I needed. Thus I decided to

declare my official conversion to Islam. On the 25th of December

1959, I sent a telegram to Dr. Thompson, head of the American

Mission in Egypt informing him that I had embraced Islam. When

I told my true story to Dr. Jamal he was completely astonished.

When I declared my conversion to Islam, new troubles began.

Seven of my former colleagues in the mission had tried their best

to persuade me to cancel my declaration, but I refused. They

threatened to separate me from my wife and I said: She is free

to do as she wishes. They threatened to kill me. But when they

found me to be stubborn they left me alone and sent to me an old

friend of mine who was also a colleague of mine in the mission.

He wept very much in front of me. So I recited before him the

following verses from the Quran:

“And when they listen to the revelation received by the Mes-

senger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they

recognize the truth: They pray: ‘Our Lord! We believe, write

us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not

to believe in Allah and the truth which has come to us, seeing

that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the

righteous?’” (Quran 5:84)

I said to him, “You should have wept in humiliation to God on

hearing the Quran and believe in the truth which you know but

you refuse. He stood up and left me as he saw no use. My official

conversion to Islam was in January 1960.”

Mr. Khalil was then asked about the attitude of his wife and chil-

dren and he answered: “My wife left me at that time and took

with her all the furniture of our house. But all my children joined

me and embraced Islam. The most enthusiastic among them was

my eldest son Isaac who changed his name to Osman, then my

second son Joseph and my son Samuel whose name is Jamal and

daughter Majida who is now called Najwa. Osman is now a doc-

tor of philosophy working as a professor in Sorbonne University

in Paris teaching oriental studies and psychology. He also writes

in «Le Monde» magazine. As in regards to my wife, she left the

house for six years and agreed to come back in 1966 provided

that she keeps her religion. I accepted this because in Islam there

is no compulsion in religion. I said to her: I do not want you to

become a Muslim for my sake but only after you are convinced.

She feels now that she believes in Islam but she cannot declare

this for fear of her family but we treat her as a Muslim woman and

she fasts in Ramadan because all my children pray and fast. My

daughter Najwa is a student in the Faculty of Commerce, Joseph

is a doctor pharmeologist and Jamal is an engineer.”

“During this period, that is since 1961 until the present time I

have been able to publish a number of books on Islam and the

methods of the missionaries and the orientalist against it. I am now

preparing a comparative study about women in the three Divine

religions with the object of highlighting the status of women in

Islam. In 1973 I performed Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and I am

doing activities preaching Islam. I hold seminars in the universities

and charitable societies. I received an invitation from Sudan in

1974 where I held many seminars. My time is fully used in the

service of Islam.”

Finally Mr. Khalil was asked about the salient features of Islam

which have attracted his attention most. And he answered: “My

faith in Islam has been brought about through reading the Holy

Quran and the biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace and

blessings of God be upon him. I no longer believed in the miscon-

ceptions against Islam and I am especially attracted by the concept

of unity of God, which is the most important feature of Islam. God

is only One. Nothing is like Him. This belief makes me the servant

of God only and of no one else. Oneness of God liberates man

from servitude to any human being and that is true freedom.”

I also like very much the rule of forgiveness in Islam and the direct

relationship between God and His servants.


“Omy servants who have transgressed against their souls!,

despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins:

for He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to your Lord (in

repentance) and submit to Him before the Chastisement comes

on you: After that ye shall not be helped.” (Quran 39:53-54)