To Africa, that land of sunshine, of the whispering palm and the tropic moon, where the pad-pad of naked feet on sandy soil and the full-throated laughter of happy people is ever in one's ears, I give my thanks.
When I first landed on its hospitable shores, I was an ordinary callow English youth, content with the pleasures of the moment and with no thought of the life to come, but when, five years later, I returned to England for the third time, it and its people had given me the clue to happiness. And happiness, to me, is spelt as Islam --Islam, the only true faith. The only faith which alone can lead suffering world towards the Light.
During my first tour in Africa I was ashamed to notice the way in which the coloured population was treated by the Europeans, and to find that the Christian doctrine of the brotherhood of man was so completely ignored. I could not help reflecting on the unpleasant shock which awaited the native Christian converts when they left the shelter of the mission to take their place among their fellow Christians. Instead of the respect, sympathy and understanding which is always due to another soul and which, according to the teaching they had received, they had every right to expect, they would find, if such a thing were possible, that they had increased the antagonism of their co-religionists, and that they stood indeed further without the Christian fold than their pagan brothers.
In direct contrast was the very evident family spirit of the African Muslims, and the term "Muslim nation" took on a new significance for me. What could it be, I wondered, that bound them so closely together, when we Christians, in spite of our wonderful ideals, were as strangers to one another and ever read the Goloirous Quran; that wonderful Divine Revelation that could move the strongest man to tears. I did not know that the magnificent example of Muhammad(may the blessing of Allah be upon him) shone like a beacon through the Muslim world, guiding his followers on the right path.
I had been brought up in the Christian faith; I had been confirmed, and attended Communion; I had blindly accepted the doctrines of the Trinity, the Atonement and the Divinity of Christ. But when I gave the matter a little thought I found that I could not believe in these dogmas. I was unable to accept them as the Word of God. And when I saw that Christianity was accorded lip service only by its followers; that when ethicla and moral principles came into conflict with economics, the latter invariably prevailed; that when, in short, one's religion was apt to interfere with dividends, religion went by the board, then I cast around to find a faith that I could sincerely accept.
Imagine, if you can, my delight when I discovered that everthing I read about Islam coincided with my own views, and that the teachings of our Holy Prophet(Allah bless and keep him), answered all my questions. Surah after Surah of the Holy Quran revealed to me the Truth, and I gave thanks to Allah that He had, in His mercy, accepted my surrender.
Salim R. De Grey Firth