Real & Wonderful Stories
Compiled by: Abdurahim bin Mizhir Almalki
During my childhood, I was brought up in the Catholic faith, particularly, within the Aglipayan sect. My grandfather and aunt are faith healer. They worship idols and spirits. I witnessed many sick people who came to my grandfather and aunt to be healed, and they were healed.
When I reached the age of seventeen, I noticed that there are many religions having different types of doctrine, however, using one common source – the Bible. Every one of them claims to be the true religion. I asked myself, “Shall I remain with my family’s faith or try to attend and listen to another religion?” One day my cousin invited me to attend a Pentecostal church. My motive was only to observe what they do. I witnessed that they employ singing, clapping, dancing, crying and rising of hands in worship to Jesus. The pastor preached about the Bible. He mentioned the most common verses quoted by all preachers pertaining to the divinity of Christ, such as John 1:12, John 3:16 and John 8:31-32. I became a Born Again Christian. I accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and personal savior. Everyday, my friends took me to the church. Two months later they baptized me. I became a regular member of their congregation. Five years passed, and our pastor convinced me to be a volunteer worker in the ministry. Later on, I became a lead singer, worship leader, and Sunday school teacher. Eventually, I became a full-time worker in the ministry.
I began teaching people about the Bible and its doctrines. I read the Bible twice from cover to cover. I committed myself to memorize chapters and verses of the Bible for the purpose of protecting the faith I was to defend. With the position I attained, I became proud of myself. I often told myself that I did not need other teachings or scriptures beside the Bible. However, within me, there was still spiritual emptiness. I prayed, fasted, and served to fulfill the will of the God I worshipped, but I only found happiness when inside my church. This feeling of happiness was not constant, even when I was with my family. I also noticed that some of my friends who were also pastors were materialistic. They indulged themselves in illicit relationship with women, corruption, and thirst for fame.
Nonetheless, I blindly continued to hold firm to my faith. This is because I knew, according to our teachings that “many are called but few are chosen.” I always prayed to Jesus Christ to forgive my sins as well as their sins. I thought that he was the solution to my problems, and as such, he could answer all my prayers. However, looking into the lives of my co-pastors, one could not find among them a good example. Thus, my faith began to decline. Still, I strove hard to work to serve my congregation.
One day I thought of going abroad, not only to work but also with the intention to proselytize the name of Jesus as Lord. My plan was to go to either Taiwan or Korea. However, by divine will, I got a visa for Saudi Arabia. Immediately, I signed a three year contract to work in Jeddah.
A week after I arrived in Jeddah, I observed the diverse lifestyles of different people and their languages and customs, even the food they ate. I was totally ignorant of other cultures. In the factory there was a Filipino coworker that happened to be a Muslim and who could speak Arabic. Although there was a little apprehension, I asked him about Muslims, their faith and beliefs. I thought Muslims were killers who worship Satan, Pharaohs, and Muhammad (pbuh) as lords. I shared with him my faith in Christ. In response, he told me that his religion is totally different from my religion. He quoted two verses from the Holy Qur’an. One which says: “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (5:3) And another which says: “You worship not beside him except [mere] names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. Legislation is not but for Allah. He has commanded that you worship not except Him. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.” (12:40)
The verse struck me. After that I began to observe his life. Everyday we shared each other’s beliefs and eventually become close friends. On one occasion we went to Balad (the commercial district of Jeddah) to post some letters. There, I happened to notice many people watching a video of a debate by my favorite “preacher.” My Muslim friend told me that he was Ahmed Deedat, a famous propagator of Islam. I told him that our pastors back home had made us believe that he was a “great preacher.” They concealed his real identity and that he was a Muslim propagator. Their intention was definitely to keep us away from the truth. Nevertheless, I bought the videotape as well as some books to read about Islam.
In our residence my Muslim friend told me stories of the prophets. I was really convinced, but pride kept me away from Islam. Seven months later another Muslim friend from India came to my room and gave me an English translation of the Qur’an. Later on he took me to Balad and accompanied me to an Islamic center nearby. There, I met another Filipino brother. We had some religious discussion, and he related to me his life before, when he was a Christian. Then he told me some teachings of Islam. That blessed night, on the 18th of April, 1998, I finally entered Islam and announced my declaration of faith!
Before I was following with blind faith. But now I see the ultimate truth that Islam is the best and most complete way of life designed for the whole of mankind. My prayer is that Allah will forgive us all our ignorance regarding Islam and guide us to the straight path leading to paradise. Ameen.