The following is the excerpt of the interview with Miss Ayesha Bridget Honey, an English convert to Islam.
Q: Please tell us how you came to embrace Islam and what was your age at that time?
A: Three and a half years back The Almighty illuminated me with the Light of Islam. At that time I was 21 years old. The family I was born and grew up was from the religious point of view, no different from the generality of the British homes. My mother is a Christian but she doesn't practice religious worship and rituals. My father, however, did not believe in any religion. While studying at the English Church School, I was not satisfied with some of the basic beliefs of Christianity, especially the concept of Trinity and the belief in atonement that God or Jesus had ransomed the people and by accepting the cross had atoned for all their sins.
I was infatuated with philosophy and my desire to know the Truth was intense. At the age of 15, I read the book Tao Teh Ching, which is a collection of the Chinese philosophy of Tao. I was influenced by its thought. Then when I found some introductory information about Buddhism. I decided to go into depths of both these philosophical beliefs. At the age of 17 I went to Canada to continue my education. My program was to get the secondary school degree so that I could get admission in a university to learn the Chinese language.
In Canada, I came to know
the Hindu philosophy and read the holy books of the Hindus. The three beliefs:
Tao Teh, Buddhism and Hinduism, which I knew by now, possessed beauty, profundity
and exaltion, but none of them could satisfy my mind or my feelings. The
founder of the Tao philosophy wandered in remote corners of the world as
a mystic and an ascetic. In search of truth, Buddha left his wife and family.
The books of Hindu are basically ethical but are all human ideas of collective
life in society only based on hallucination. These questions bewildered me.
I could not believe in any of these faiths. After all, what could I believe
in? What is the purpose of life? The tension and restlessness grew. After
joining the university, I got the chance to be introduced to the Muslims.
Before that, I had neither read nor heard anything on Islam. In fact like
the other people in the West, I also harbored prejudices and misunderstandings
about Islam. But, at the university the Muslim students explained their basic
beliefs to me in a calmly and nice manner and gave me some books to read.
When I started reading these books carefully, their style of presentation
and the freshness of explanation and the commentary surprised me. I was extremely
impressed by the logic and argument with their concepts of The Creator and
the Universe. I embraced Islam three months after I came to know about it.
Islam, as a European Muslim has put it - is like that of a complete and perfect
geometrical pattern whose every part completes its other parts and its real
beauty lies in the harmony and cohesion of these parts and it is this characteristic
of Islam which has a profound influence on the human beings. Seen from a
distance, Islam's deep insight into the generality of things, motives, deeds,
its explanations about the Muslim government will amaze you and if you look
at its details you find it an incomparable guide for social life based as
it is on straightforward and true ethical values.
Q: Did you face any difficulty or embarrassment after you accepted Islam?
A: People who have little ability of think are usually full of bigotry against Islam. They often make fun of Muslims, sometimes behind their backs. On the other hand, they never tangle with the irreligious and unbelievers. They in fact respect them for their so called "free thought" but Muslims and Islam irritate them. Inspite of this, I did not meet with any major difficulties worth mentioning except the annoyance I caused my parents by abstaining from the wine and pork.
Q: Do you think Islam can influence modern civilization in any way?
A: Today the Western world is living in darkness. There is not even the slightest light of hope to show the way for deliverance of the soul and the self. Any person who is aware of the actual state of the European societies can see this universal restlessness and the worry which is hidden behind the false glare of progress and material excellence. Now people are searching for a way out of their difficulties but they can see no way out. There is only one choice before them and that is to go on advancing towards the hell of destruction and disaster. The beautiful harmony between the demands of the body and the needs of the soul which Islam presents has strong attraction for the West today. Islam can show modern civilization the way which leads to the real success and salvation.
Q: In your opinion what is the method of propagating Islam?
A: Before worrying about spreading Islam, it is necessary that in our life and needs we should attain the standards Islam demands of us. It is thought that if we become missionaries of Islam then we need not worry about anything else. It is necessary for us to know Islam fully and only then to become its missionaries so that we may be able to answer all questions and objections. The importance should be stressed on the living and the leading by example. It is essential for us that we make ourselves the exemplary human beings as the Holy Qur'an wants us to be.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186