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“What is the purpose of life?” Ruben wondered as the going was getting tough. At that time, Ruben’s parents divorced, a close friend passed away of drug addiction, and he was experiencing financial difficulties. Desperate and overwhelmed, Ruben found himself struggling to find answers for his inquiries and decided to glance at religion. “As a child I was brought up to embrace Christianity, but my parents were atheists, so I tend to have a view of atheists.” Naturally, Ruben started investigating Christianity. He met several pastors and priests who answered his questions by providing their own interpretations and opinions of the Bible. Ruben was not convinced: “one priest from one church was believing one particular aspect of Christianity while the other was proclaiming another.” Afterwards, Ruben investigated Hinduism and was introduced to the elephant-headed god, but he found it difficult to digest: “Why not a lion? More powerful. For me, it was highly illogical and difficult to understand.” Ruben further investigated Mormonism and Judaism; however, not finding answers for his question, he turned to Buddhism. But the more he looked into it, he realized that Buddhism is “not a religion of God, but a nice way to live.”
One of Ruben’s friends, who happened to be a Christian, turned Ruben’s attention to Islam. His first reaction was that why he would investigate this religion of terrorism. Soon, he found himself walking into a mosque. Unexpectedly, the Imam of the mosque, Abu Hamza, welcomed Ruben in a very polite and friendly way. Ruben started asking several questions about the significance of our lives, death, and life after death. What struck Ruben most is that all of his questions were answered by citing verses from the Holy Book. He wanted to know why women wear Hijab, why a man can have four wives, and what happens to us after death. Eventually, Ruben took a Quran home, promising to respect the Book, and started reading it. He found that the Quran provided him with guidance and that it was not only logical, but also scientific.
Finally, Ruben was ready to embrace Islam. One summer night in Melbourne, as he was reading Quran, Ruben asked Allah to give him a sign that would push him to convert to Islam “maybe a bolt of lightning… maybe half of the house can fall down.” However, absolutely nothing happened. Ruben was very disappointed.
As he put back the Quran and turned back to where he was reading, the very next verse said: “for those of you who ask for sign, have we not shown you enough already. Look around you, look at the stars, look at the sun, look at water. These are the signs for the people of knowledge.”
Ruben realized that all of the signs have been there all along. “The fact that we have this world, the fact that there is this creations, these are the signs for all of us.”
Ruben continued investigating Islam for six months, and finally articulated Al- Shahadatayn. He says: “ It was a beautiful day I must admit. That day was the day I had more brothers than I could ever imagine, more sisters as well.”
After embracing Islam, Ruben, who now calls himself Abu Bakr, became more responsible and more reliable. His parents, who were initially worried that their son has turned to a terrorist, realized that their son is turning into a better person. Ruben’s father recently has asked his son for the Quran and wants to read it.
Ruben believes himself to have reverted rather than converted to Islam. The term “convert” is just a Western Ideal. But when you look into Islam, you realize that the term Muslim is “a state of what you are. So Islam means to submit your will to God.” Ruben continues to explain his idea that the tree in his backyard is doing what God has asked it to, accordingly, this means with respect to him, it has to be a Muslim. It is submitting its will to Allah. “When you are born, you are Muslim, you are acting in accordance to your nature, and it is only when you get older, and people teach you stuff, that you go away from Islam because you take someone else’s ideals. Then when you want to come back, you revert, because you were already Muslim when you were born.”
Nowadays, Abu Bakr is a psychologist and a film-maker. His story has reached people all around the world and touched them as well. May it please Almighty Allah to continue to bless this young man.
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