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Posts Tagged ‘Greek Muslim’

Q.  I’m simply curious as to why a Greek would choose a religion that is so antithetical to his or her own culture. Beyond that, there are more general questions about Islam and its treatment of non-believers that I, as a non-believer, would like answered. Perhaps you can help.

A.  Thank you for asking about our religion and coming forth with your question.  I will answer the question based on my own experience as a Greek convert.  I know this is a really long post, but please bear with me.

(Special note to the questioner: Before we start, I have a special request, actually two.  First, I need you to forget about your culture for just a few minutes and think openmindely and objectively.  Second, I would like you to make a prayer.  I know you wouldn’t normally agree to this since you are an agnostic, but please, just try it.  It’s not going to hurt.  Turn to the one who created the heavens and the earth (whoever you think that is and even if it’s ‘unknown’) and say, ‘The one who created the heavens and the earth, if you have the power, strength and knowledge to create these, then you surely have the power to show me the truth. If you are out there, guide me to the truth, whatever that may be’  I know this might sound insane to you, but please trust me on this one. )

I’m serious, just try it.

For me, it all started when I was very young (about 7 years old, actually!) when I first started to contemplate on what the purpose of life is.  I’ve never really understood it but growing up, it would sometimes become a burning question that I did not have an answer to.  Without an answer, I would then often drift into “go with the flow” mode, where the purpose of life is the ol’ get a good education, get a good paying job, get married, by a house and a nice car…. and then, well, die.

I first met Muslims in my university classes.  Before that, they were always around me but I just never noticed.  I honestly naively thought that the entire world was full of Christians only! Can you believe it?  I thought it was a really strange thing that anyone would believe in some wierd god, oppress their women and speak some wierd language but I was still respectful to them because I felt sorry for them.

Later our discussions transformed into full-fledge debates at the student cafeteria.  I was their staunch opponent.  I started becoming more and more practising as a Greek Orthodox and going back to the church, perhaps because I felt that I had to defend my religion – everything that I was raised with. 

Without that much knowledge about Islam, it was harder to convince them that they were dead wrong, so when no one was looking, I would sneak into the library and try to find some books about Islam.  What I found were some books that looked like they were published 1000 years ago – they were so ancient, it seemed!  So, then I started to search online as well.  I needed some substantial evidence to prove that they were wrong.

Then everything changed.  I made a prayer that God show me the truth.   I wanted to know and I was so sincere in that prayer. 

I was absolutely sure that the truth would be Christianity and that the Muslims will soon find out but God had another plan for me. 

When no one was looking, I started to step back from my preconceived notions and started to think objectively for the first time in my life.  Why are Muslims so strict about not associating Jesus (peace be upon him) as God?  Don’t they know that we need Jesus to be a salvation for our sins?

I went to visit our local priest and asked him a lot of questions, especially about the trinity.  I finally had the guts to nonchalantly bring up the word ‘Islam’ (for all those Greeks out there, you know how hard that would be!) but as soon as I uttered that word, his eyes immediately bulged out of his head and he strongly suggested that I stay away from those bad people.  However, the problem was that he didn’t answer my questions with proper answers.  It was all a big run-around.

That just left me on my own to find out.  Slowly, with more and more research and evidence, my heart was realizing the truth of one God without partners but my mind was opposing it with all its might.  I just couldn’t even dream of leaving everything known to me – my religion, my culture, my family, my rituals and celebrations- behind.

Then it happened in my bedroom.  I was finishing up some more reading on the subject and contemplating heavily if Jesus is really God or not.  All of a sudden, within a few seconds, I felt something go through me very quickly, as if it was some fresh air or spirit washing out my heart and then BOOM (!), automatically, I felt this massive, I mean massive, sense of tranquility and almost said outoud, ‘Jesus is not God!’. 

Then immediately after that, I thought, ‘How in the world am I going to tell my parents that I am Muslim?’

I know what I am writing is going to be extremely difficult for some to believe.  No, I was not possessed by some devil or spirit.  Actually, I found when speaking to other converts that some of them related the same thing to me (before I even mentioned my story to them).  Now, after knowing more about Islam, I do believe that it was God answering my initial prayer and it was, perhaps, an angel, under the instruction of God, who cleansed my soul of the prior disbelief.

So, this is a super long post – sorry for that- so to conclude, I would like to answer your question, why would a Greek choose a religion so antithetical to his or her own culture?  Well, for a few reasons. 

First, it wasn’t my intention to do so.  In fact, it was the complete opposite but in my search for the truth, I found that it was that God is one without any partners.  I later found the answer to my question of what the purpose of life is explicitly mentioned beautifully in the Qur’an.

Second, after seeing all this truth, my priorties in life changed drastically.  I no longer was going with the flow for worldly success only.  I now had (and have) a primary goal of reaching paradise so whatever I can do to take me there, I will do.  If that is to leave some of my cultural aspects that contradict worshipping one God without associating partners, then I will do so. 

Third, becoming a Muslim does not mean I forfeit my culture.  In fact, Islam embraces diversity of all cultures.  For example, I have lots of friends who are Pakistani, Somalian, Arab, Greek, Bosnian, Canadian, British, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Spanish, etc who are Muslim.  Islam embraces culture and actually Islamic law is very dynamic in the sense that it changes with the people, culture, customs, generations, technology etc.

This is why we say we are Greek Muslim.  I hope that I have answered your question fully and that it has given you greater understanding of us.  I pray that the creator of the heavens and the earth show you the truth. 

I hope that we can create a discussion based on sincerity, honesty and respect.  I look forward to receiving your top 3-5 questions about the other aspects of Islam you have.

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We have approached the last 10 nights of Ramadan.  We are in the last stretch and it’s time to STEP UP.  Are you ready?  Here are some things you can do:

  • Focus on increasing your concentration (khushoo’) in prayer
  • Attend taraweeh prayers or itikhaf
  • Wake up early to pray longer qiyam-al-layl prayers
  • Donate your time or money (sadaqah or zakat) for a good cause
  • Write a huge dua list and go through it every day for the next 10 nights
  • Seek out Laylat-ulQadr

And don’t forget this beautiful dua:

One of the wives of the Prophet (saws) asked him the best supplication one could make to Allah in this blessed month, and the Prophet (saws) told her to pray like this: 

 

“Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa ‘fu ‘anna.”

 “O Allah, you indeed are the All-Forgiving. 

You love to Forgive; thus forgive me”.

 

What do you plan to do to take advantage of a reward that would count as 1000 months worth of reward?  List them here in the comments section.

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I just found out that there are daily heartwheel journal YouTube video reflections that are recordings taken from IslamChannel. 

 

Have you been feeling that you are not doing enough this Ramadan? 

Perhaps, your just going through the motions? 

 

Then, check out these really awesome short emanrush messages.

 

They are not your typical fluffy Islamic reminders.  They are short, to the point and practical – something you can implement immediately in Ramadan. 

 

Here’s a sample video:

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The day before Ramadan, I noticed I was getting symptoms of the flu and until today I’m still affected by it a bit.  Subhan Allah, the wierd thing is that I hardly ever get sick (alhamdulillah!) and I prayed that Allah make it a really blessed Ramadan for me but with my drowsiness, at first, I couldn’t put the two together.

Then after that, I heard of one brother getting into a car accident, a couple other brothers dying, another brother’s foot swelling up badly for no reason, a sister breaking her arm and another sister in bad health all of sudden.  Subhan Allah, may Allah have mercy on them.

So, it made me ponder.

And then I realized, this is by the mercy of Allah. 

What?  Doesn’t that sound a little off?  How can these accidents be a mercy?

It’s a mercy because of this hadith:

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira, the Prophet (saws) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”  [Bukhari]

You know what the other super amazing thing is? The dua of the sick person* is accepted insha Allah.  And the triple bonus is that the dua of the fasting (until he breaks his fast)** is also accepted.

So, glad tidings to those who are sick!

—-

 

Notes:

[MOD note: I could not find if this hadith was sahih or not] The Prophet (saws) has said, ‘When you visit a sick person, then tell him to make dua for you, because his duas are (accepted readily) like the duas of the Angels.’ (Ibn Maajah)

** The prophet (saws) declared, ‘Three men whose dua is never rejected (by Allah) are: when a fasting person breaks fast (in another narration, the fasting person until he breaks his fast), the just ruler and the one who is oppressed.'[Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi – Hasan]

 

 


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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I received four books about Islam in the Greek language.  Br. Hamza from Germany wants everyone to know that he ships these books out to you for FREE.  It’s nice to have these around in case you need to give it to a family member.

Contact Br. Hamza at uslim@web.de to order your free copy today.

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New video is up by our brother Hamza (Andreas) Tzortzis about his talk in Canada, “The White Hat Approach to God”, which is about the existence of God and the inimitability of the Quran.

 

The Intellectual Basis of Islam by Hamza Andreas Tzortzis

Br. Hamza resides in the UK.  For more information about him and his resources, you can visit:

www.inimitiblequran.com

http://hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com

www.hamzatzortzis.com

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