Testimony of Sharafuddin - Malay Christian, Muslim Apostate
I am Sharafuddin, and I from an ethnic Malay Muslim family in the Malay Peninsula (Semenanjung Malaysia). From the earliest times, I underwent a rigorous Islamic education system that was both intensive and serious. My parents ensured that I studied the Islamic subjects like Usuluddin, Quranic Studies and others.
All this helped me to be careful and sensitive in the matters of spirituality and religion. I thoroughly enjoyed deepening my knowledge and experience particularly in matters of piety and the writings of religious writers and traditional Islamic knowledge (fiqh and theology).
From that point on, as a teenager I was already diligent in fulfilling my duties as a God-fearing Muslim. My siblings also realised this fact and my propensity towards spiritual things and the Islamic religion.
Upon reaching my early adulthood, I successfully gained entry into my ‘dream University’, at that time, I was still looking for answers to life’s questions within Islam, and I subscribed to the assumption that ‘Islam is the so-called “natural religion” of men, that should be followed by everyone’.
A little by little, my thought life began expanding, especially when I had lively discussions about religion with my friends and the Varsity Professors. One reason why I had to expand my thinking was simply that I was dissatisfied with the routine of my Islamic religious practices, plus how spiritually unsatisfying my religious piety was as a Muslim. What I mean is: even though I established the din of Islam as required, and I satisfied the demands of my fardu-ain, I discovered that Allah or God was very distant and far away from me as ever. Even though there are Islamic slogans like “Allah is only a prayer away..” this is actually not an experience that is truly original to Islam. Even though I was very diligent in my piety to Allah, I had never experienced directly, nor was given an assurance of, His ‘love and His mercy’ (ar-rahman ir-rahim) personally.
On the other hand, Allah is also very remote and distant from His believers! He conducts everything that happens in their lives from a remote distance. Its not at all surprising because the Muslim teaching of bila tashbih that advocates such a thinking! Even though in name, Islam teaches that Allah is ‘loving and compassionate’ towards His creatures, the Muslim concept and teaching of bila kayfa and bila tashbih nullifies and denies the believers any understanding or conception of ‘love and compassion’ that can be understood naturally and/or in the normal and accepted sense such things as are commonly understood here on Earth. These two ‘traits of Allah’ are “conceptually beyond the reach of normal human comprehension and understanding”.
Muslims are expected to believe in such things, in a real sense, blindly, that is, with the submissive attitude of taqlid-the unquestioning acceptance of the rulings of earlier authorities! This itself is in consonance with the demand of ‘bila kayf(a)’to believe without asking ‘How?’ So we can see how Islam resists the use of the Mind to uncover truth to get to the true bottom of things. It is no surprise at all that we as growing Muslims, were soundly and regularly scolded, rebuked and even punished for asking ‘too many’ questions about doubtful and dubious aspects of Islamic teachings, the Qu’ran and the Hadith, by our ustazs/ustazahs (Islamic teachers). The typical response was: “These are God’s words, just believe it and obey it!” Later, we found out that they themselves were at a total loss, unable to handle and much less answer our honest questions with any semblance of intelligence or logic!
It was these kind of experiences which contributed to the shattering of my confidence and conviction in the veracity and truthfulness of Islam and its teachings. This religion also condemns strongly all kinds of ‘idol worship’ and ‘idolatry’. Muhammad, founder of Islam himself advocated the Muslim creed ‘'La-illa ha-ilallah', ‘There is no God but Allah’. Strangely but true, across the whole of the Islamic world since his time until now, all of the Muslims MUST daily bow in the direction of Mecca, towards the Black Stone housed in a heretofore pagan temple called the ‘Ka’abah’. Intelligently, if God or Allah is invisible; and everywhere, why make millions of Muslims bow and pay homage towards a former pagan Temple in Mecca with a black meteorite in it? Especially if there is no corroborating evidence whatsoever, that’s convincing enough proving that any of the other Prophets –like Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David or Jesus Christ and so forth, had EVEN set foot in Mecca, ever! What is the real significance to make compliant on all Muslims to bow towards the ‘hajarul aswad’ which is nothing more than a piece of black meteorite that fell out of the sky (and such happenings take place in other desert places the World over!) and now made into a glorified object of worship. This stone cannot speak, see, hear or breath, its nothing more than a piece of rock.
Nevertheless, all these practices MUST be followed and complied with faithfully, by all Muslims, without asking How? or Why? in the spirit of taqlid at all times. Muslims are not allowed to ask How or Why this Bowing towards the Kaabah and to the Black stone in it does not qualify as Idolatry and Object-worship or even polytheism! Even though it was only a piece of space rock that is blind and dumb or mute, does not breath, but can be kissed and idolised by people – is that not how also the sin of Shirik starts? And is at least a source for it?
Eventually, deeply dissatisfied with Islam, I decided to study on my own the works of non-Muslims to find out their views on life and the hereafter. I did this without any outside influence or inducements, but purely on my own initiative and to broaden the scope of my horizon which had been terribly limited by the Islamic world-view. In particular, I was drawn to the works of former atheists who eventually came to embrace a faith or belief system of some kind.
One of them was the scholar C.S.Lewis, a thinker, intellectual and philosopher from Oxford University, England. He had struggled intellectually and spiritually for a time over issues like eternity, divinity as well as intellectual atheism. He himself was a former atheist, and so he had himself questioned many things related to Christianity, as well as other religions. However in the end, he rejected atheism and had embraced Christianity. Then, Lewis produced a number of scholarly works that reflected on his own quest, as well as writings supporting the validity and authenticity of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
One of his works was entitled Mere Christanity, and I was very attracted to the contents of this book of CS Lewis. I was drawn to its main points, its clarity of explanation and elucidation, most importantly, it was intellectually and spiritually satisfying to my own quest and search for the answers to my Questions, particularly for real spiritual truth. At this time, I also began a personal and sincere study of the Christian Gospel, especially to uncover and to understand the full teachings of Jesus Christ –whom we address as Sayidina Isa Al-Masih.
I was finally drawn to one passage of Scripture of the Holy Gospel, which elucidates about the real Love of GOD to me, that was:
“For GOD so LOVED the World, that He gave us His one and only Son, so that all who believe in him should not perish (be destroyed) but would have everlasting life..”
John 3 verse 16.This is the TRUE and real expression of the love of God, for me. How far different from Islam’s teaching of His ‘love and mercy’ – which actually cannot be known and understood! Many of my Muslim brethren also misunderstand and misinterpret the term ‘Only Son’ of God, and they thus reject it irrationally. In truth, the true and living God does NOT need a consort or a wife to produce this ‘Son’ for Him at all! And the Gospel or the Bible never teaches that this Son of God was the product of a union between almighty God and ‘His wife’! Unfortunately, this is a false accusation regularly thrown at Christians based upon a serious (but shallow) misunderstanding of this term found in the Quran, and which continues to breed prejudice and misunderstandings against the Christians!
The Sonship of Jesus Christ in the Gospels is never meant in a Biological, physical and/or sexual/conjugal sense in the Bible. Christians themselves have never understood this term in this wrong way. In fact, knowledgeable Christians would be the first to condemn vehemently this biological and sexual/conjugal misinterpretation of the expression ‘Son of GOD’! As this concept is not found in the Christian Scriptures.
In the Malay language, we use expressions like ‘son of the river (Anak Sungai)’, ‘son of the key (Anak Kunci)’, ‘child of the Moon (Anak Bulan)’ and so forth to mean ‘river tributary’, ‘a keychain/key holder’, and the crescent Moon respectively. Do we ever misinterpret these terms to mean physical or biological ‘Sons’ at all…Definitely not, Never!
In time, I then accepted and embraced the matchless grace and blessings of Almighty God that was given to me through Jesus Christ – our one and only Sayidina Isa Al-Masih, this I did wholeheartedly and totally. Today, my whole family and I have also come to embrace and experience the great blessings and guidance of God Himself that He has bestowed on to mankind through His LIVING WORD – who is His beloved Son. We have no problems or issues whatever with the teachings and truth expounded by Sayidina Rabbani Isa A.M. as found in the BIBLE. And all this has been very worthwhile indeed!I would like to conclude my Testimony by quoting from that famous work of C.S.Lewis, entitled Mere Christianity :
"If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier and simpler. But it IS NOT. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about."
C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1943, Page 145)May the living and true God bless your own quest with His matchless Grace!
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