By Muhammad Jawed
3 April 2015
Col. Donald S. Rockwell, a poet, literary critic, author, editor in chief of Radio Personalities, and author of the books, ‘Beyond the Brim’ and ‘Bazar of Dreams,’ was attracted to Islam from the very beginning owing to its powerful appeal, its simplicity, the compelling ambiance of the mosques and prayers. But he delved deeper to find greater reasons to embrace Islam.
The simplicity of Islam, the powerful appeal and the compelling atmosphere of its mosques, the earnestness of its faithful adherents, the confidence inspiring realisation of the millions throughout the world who answer the five daily calls to prayer — these factors attracted me from the first.
But after I had determined to become a follower of Islam, I found many deeper reasons for confirming my decision.
The mellow concept of life — fruit of the Prophet’s combined course of action and contemplation — (included) the wise counsel, the admonitions to charity and mercy, the broad humanitarianism and the pioneer declaration of woman’s property rights.
These and other factors of the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were to me among the most obvious evidence of a practical religion so tersely and so aptly epitomized in the cryptic words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Tie it and rely (upon Allah).”(At-Tirmidhi, 2517)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave us a religious system of normal action, not blind faith in the protection of an unseen force in spite of our own neglect, but confidence that if we do all things rightly and to the best of our ability, we may trust in what comes as the Will of God.
The broadminded tolerance of Islam for other religions recommends it to all lovers of liberty. Muhammad (peace be upon him) admonished his followers to treat well the believers in the Old and New Testaments; and Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all) are acknowledged as co-prophets of the One God.
Surely this is generous and far in advance of the attitude of other religions.
The total freedom from idolatry is a sign of the salubrious strength and purity of the Muslim faith. The original teachings of the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) have not been engulfed in the maze of changes and additions of doctrinarians.
The Qur’an remains as it came to the corrupt polytheistic people of Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) time, changeless as the holy heart of Islam itself.
Moderation and temperance in all things, the keynotes of Islam, won my unqualified approbation.
The health of his people was cherished by the Prophet, who enjoined them to observe strict cleanliness and specified fasts and to subordinate carnal appetites.
When I stood in the inspiring mosques of Istanbul, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Algiers, Tangier, Fez and other cities, I was conscious of a powerful reaction (to) the potent uplift of Islam’s simple appeal to the sense of higher things, unaided by elaborate trappings, ornamentations, figures, pictures, music and ceremonial ritual.
The mosque is a place of quiet contemplation and self-effacement in the greater reality of the One God.
The democracy of Islam has always appealed to me. Potentate and pauper have the same rights on the floor of the mosque, on their knees in humble worship. There are no rented pews or special reserved seats.
The Muslim accepts no man as a mediator between himself and his God. He goes direct to the invisible source of creation and life, God, without reliance on saving formula of repentance of sins and belief in the power of a teacher to afford him salvation.
The universal brotherhood of Islam, regardless of race, politics, color or country, has been brought home to me most keenly many times in my life and this is another feature, which drew me toward the Faith.