EUROPEAN REVERT MUSLIMS. Presented by Rabi’atul ‘Adawiyah bt. Abdul Razak Nurul Liyana bt. Kamarul Fitri Munira Iskandar Edited by Dr. Md. Mahmudul Hasan International Islamic University Malaysia 2010. Muhammad Asad (1900-1992). Life. His original name is Leopold Weiss.
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EUROPEAN REVERT MUSLIMS Presented by Rabi’atul ‘Adawiyah bt. Abdul Razak Nurul Liyana bt. Kamarul Fitri Munira Iskandar Edited by Dr. Md. Mahmudul Hasan International Islamic University Malaysia 2010
Life • His original name is Leopold Weiss. • He was born in Lwow, Galicia (Poland). • He was a descendant of a long line of Jewish rabbis. • His father discontinued that religious tradition and became a barrister instead. • Muhammad Asad studied the Old Testament. • Studied philosophy and art history at the University of Vienn. • 1920: Moved to Central Europe and became a journalist. • 1922: Went to the Middle East.
1926: Reverted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Asad. - Muhammad: in honour of the Prophet - Asad: lion (as a reminder of his former name) • 1932: Travelled India. • 1947: Moved to Pakistan and became the country’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations. • 1952: Resigned in order to write his autobiography entitled The Road to Mecca. • 1955: Settled in Spain. • 1992: Died in Spain.
His Works • The Message of the Quran • The Road to Mecca • Islam at the Crossroads • The Principles of State and Government in Islam • Sahih Al-Bukhari: The Early Years of Islam • The Unromantic Orient: A Journey in the Middle East • This Law of Ours and Other Essays • The Spirit of Islam
The Road to Mecca • Published in 1954. • The autobiography is mainly about his reversion to Islam. • It describes his life and journey (spiritually and physically). • It narrates his experiences throughout the Arab world, India and the West.
Islam at the Crossroads • Written in the 1930s. • It is about materialism and how materialism has corrupted Western civilization. • Muhammad Asad also spreads the message about Islamic worldview through this book. • He suggests that Muslims should make use of Islam’s inherent values in order to create a better world.
The Principles of State and Government in Islam • Published in 1961. • Asad lays down, in unambiguous terms, the foundation of an Islamic state on the basis of Qur'anic injunctions and the Prophet's teachings. • Briefly, in an Islamic state true sovereignty lies with Allah and believers must conduct all businesses pertaining to the state and community through mutual consultation. • Within this framework, Asad also shows that an Islamic state has the flexibility to contain features of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, including the American institutions of presidency and the Supreme Court.
The Message of the Quran • Published in 1980. • Asad meant to devote two years to complete the translation and the commentary but ended up spending 17 years on the project. • He dedicates the Message to "people who think” in order to highlight the importance of using one's intellectual faculties to understand the Qur’an.
Marmaduke Pickthall (1875-1936 ) Novelist, Journalist, Muslim Scholar
Born in London in 1875. • Parents: Mary O'Brien and the Reverend Charles Grayson Pickthall. • He came from a middle-class family.
Education • Pickthallleft Harrow School after only six terms. • Then he travelled throughout Europe with his mother. • Returned to England in 1894 and sat for exams to enter the Levant Consular Service, but despite outstanding marks in language, he placed too low in other subjects. • So, he had to make a decision on what he was going to do.
Decision? because of the promise of "Eastern sunshine, palm trees, camels desert sand, as of a Paradise . . .” • He was convinced that the acquisition of Eastern languages would help him find a way into the Foreign Service. • Then he left for Cairo, Jaffa, Ramleh, Gaza, Carmel, Judea and Jerusalem.
Travelling and lingering in various cities, Pickthall became more and more enraptured with his surroundings. • His first attempt to revert to Islam. • Pickhtall's first novel, All Fools, was rejected by two publishers before it was published in 1900. • After his second novel Saïd the Fisherman was published in 1902, he bought up and destroyed all copies of All Fools.
For the next few years, Pickthall published a novel per year, including Enid, Brendle, and The House of Islam. • By 1907, ten years after his departure, Pickhall returned to the Near East, arriving in Cairo as a guest of a British official. • Because of his sympathies for the people of Syria and other colonised countries, Pickthall was critical of British rule. • In 1912, once again back in England, Pickthall began an association with The New Age that continued until he left for India in 1920.
In 1912 the Balkans were at war with Turkey, and Pickthall began to concentrate his energies on defending the latter. • He wrote a series of articles under the title "The Black Crusade," which The New Age Press later published as a pamphlet. • Pickthall condemns Christians for comparing Turks to Satan and for the approval of Bulgaria's Christian slaughter of Muslims. • He claimed: Turkish reform was a threat to Christians, and attacks on Turkish Muslims were attacks on the entire Muslim world.
By the end of 1912, Pickthall went to Turkey to see for himself the events he had been covering in his writings. • When Britain went to war with Germany in 1914, Pickthall declared his willingness to be a combatant as long as he did not have to fight Turks. • More and more, it was becoming obvious to Pickthall and his readers that he was a strong and eloquent proponent of Islam and its varied cultures.
Yet Pickthall's background assumed a loyalty to the rule of the Church of England. • However, the actions of the Christian community, especially missionaries, disappointed him. • Finally, in November 1917, at the end of a series of talks to the Muslim Literary Society on "Islam and Progress," Pickthall openly declared his acceptance of Islam.
1919: Pickthall worked for the Islamic Information Bureau. • 1920: Left for India to serve as the editor of the Bombay Chronicle. • 1927: Took over as editor of Islamic Culture. He gave eight lectures on Islam in the series "Madras Lectures on Islam" in Madras, India, later published as The Cultural Side of Islam.
1930: His TheMeaning of the Glorious Koran was published. • He returned to England in 1935 and died a year later. • The elegy in Islamic Culture summed up the life of this British Revert Muslim journalist and novelist as follows: Pickthall was "a Soldier of faith! True Servant of Islam!"
Life • Born in Germany in 1931. • Currently resides in Turkey. • Born as Catholic and reverted to Islam in 1980 at the age of 49. • Widely regarded as a prominent Muslim German diplomat and author. • His books and essays focus especially on Islam in the West.
Works Books: • Journey to Makkah • Islam: The Alternative • Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium • Islam & Qur'an: An Introduction • Der Islam im 3. Jahrtausend. Eine Religion im Aufbruch • Der Islam als alternative • Islam 2000 • Der Koran. Das heilige Buch des Islam • Koran
Essays: • Islam in the West • ’Mustaqbal al-Islam fī al-Gharb wa-al-Sharq’ [The Future of Islam in the West and the East,] and the possibilities of secularism and religiousness (co-author)
Education • Graduated from Union College in New York. • 1957: completed legal studies at Munich University and got PhD in Jurisprudence at 26. • 1960: Masters of Law from Harvard Law School.
Career • Research assistant for the reform of federal civil procedure • German diplomat: served at German Foreign Service as a specialist in nuclear defense. • 1983-1987: Director of Information for NATO in Brussels, Belgium • 1987-1990: German ambassador to Algeria • 1990-1994: German ambassador to Morocco
Reversion to Islam Experiences that led him to Islam: 1. Algerian War of Independence (1961) - found himself at the middle of a bloody guerilla warfare between French troops and the Algerian National Front that had been fighting for Algerian independence for the past 8 years. -witnessed cruelty and massacre faced by Algerians. -everyday at least a dozen were killed only for being an Arab or for speaking for independence.
"I witnessed the patience and resilience of the Algerian people in the face of extreme suffering, their overwhelming discipline during Ramadan [kept fasting], their confidence of victory [pray and depend on Allah] , as well as their humanity amidst misery.” - Amazed with the patience of Algerians. • He felt it was their religion Islam that made them so. • Therefore he started studying their religious book – the Qur'an.
2. Islamic Art • From his early life, he had been fond of art and ballet dancing. • However, all of the arts were overshadowed when he came to know about Islamic art (calligraphy, architecture of masjid and housing) which made an intimate appeal to him.
3. Christian doctrines He could not accept that: • Humankind is burdened with the Original Sin. • God had to have his own son tortured and murdered on the cross in order to save His creations.
When studying the Qur’an, he found the verse that provides answer to his dilemma: “…no bearer of burdens shall bear the burdens of another” (Qur’an 53: 38). - After that he prepared a 12-page manuscript about things that he considered unquestionably true from a philosophical perspective. -He asked a Muslim Imam to have a look at his manuscript. -The Imam said, “If you believe in what you wrote, then you are a Muslim!” -A few days later he declared himself as Muslim and pronounced shahadah.
After that… • Continued his professional career for 15 years. • Did not experience any discrimination in his professional life. 1984: German President, Dr. Carl Carster awarded him the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his service to the country. • German government distributed his book Diary of a German Muslim to all German foreign missions in Muslim countries as an analytical tool that can be a guideline on how to deal with Muslim communities.
Professional duties did not prevent him from practicing Islam. - Although he used to love red wine very much, now he would politely refuse the offers of alcohol. -As a Foreign Service Officer, he occasionally had to arrange luncheon for foreign guests. During Ramadan he would participate in the lunch, but with an empty plate in front of him.