Yusha Evans, for those who don’t know is an American Christian Priest that reverted to Islam in 1998, made a special appearance in Dubai for the Ramadan 2012 Forum where he gave a talk called “The Prophet of Mercy”.
His talk was based on one of the main attributes that the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) had, and that was MERCY. The religion of Islam and it’s followers have been under scrutiny and attack, way before 9/11 occurred. If you disagree with this notion, look back at Hollywood movies or series during the 90’s and you’ll notice that the villain is almost always some bearded villain from the desert with a thick accent. During this attack on Islam, the life of the Prophet has been magnified in the most negative light, describing him in the most degrading manner that I shall choose to omit mentioning.
One of the stories Brother Evans talked about, it’s also one of the many stories that I love telling friends and family about, is the story between the Prophet and his Jewish Neighbor.
Please bear in mind, that when the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) received revelations from Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), most of the opposition he received was actually through close family and friends, so it was nothing out of the ordinary for him to receive hatred and skepticism from his neighbors as well. Every time the Prophet would leave his house, he would find trash thrown at his door by the old woman who lived across him. So everyday as he’d leave, he’d pick up the trash that was dumped and move it aside or discard off it accordingly. This happened on a daily basis. One day, as the Prophet walked out of his house, he noticed something peculiar. On this day, there was no trash in front of his door, and realized that something must have happened to his old neighbor. He had concern for her wellbeing. If it was any of us, we’d probably be like ‘ Oh God I hope the old hag is dead’, but instead the Prophet inquired about her from other neighbors and found out that she was severely ill. Instead of jumping for joy and saying ‘ Oh she deserves it’ and ‘good riddance’, he knocked on her door. When he was ushered into the house, the old woman was shocked to see the Prophet standing by her side, asking about her health and wishing her well recovery. She was so taken back by his sincere consideration for her health that she said her Shahadah(testimony of faith) shortly after.
That was just one of the few stories that Brother Evans talked about. I would love to get into detail with the other stories he mentioned but on a blog…it would take forever. However, the best part for me in attending these talks and lectures, is to wait for the Q&A at the end. One of the men asked him if any of his own family had reverted to Islam considering that he goes all over the world to give Da’wah. Evans paused for a bit, and said that people assume that when you revert into Islam, your family automatically jumps in the bandwagon with you. As most of the Prophets of our time know, this is so far from the truth. In fact, it’s the families that are likely to resist the most. He did mention, that after he became Muslim, his character changed into a more positive one. So he started helping around the house a lot more, was more respectful towards his parents and grandparents, he was being more true to his word by not breaking promises, and it was his grandmother that first noticed these changes. She came up to him and asked him, what was going on ? When he confessed that he had entered into Islam and was now a Muslim, she said that as long as he’s become a better human being, he should stick to it.
One of the women in the crowd decided to ask Brother Evans a question. As she held the microphone, we could all hear her voice quivering. She said ” I’ve recently reverted into Islam, and I know in Islam we are told of the importance of our parents in our lives and how we should respect them completely.” She took a long pause and we could all hear her soft sobs, honestly it just broke my heart to hear this woman feel so much pain. After a minute or so as she tried to compose herself, she said ” My mother has told me repeatedly that she wishes I was dead and that I’ve betrayed her.” She could barely finish her sentence. As Brother Evans listened to her silently, we could all see that he could completely relate to her grief. His advice was to, no matter what, still be the best person you possibly can. To be patient through their ignorance and arrogance, and to put your hands together in supplication, as we would be surprised how powerful it is, to ask our Creator for His help and guidance.
It made me realize that as a person that’s born into Islam, and for many for us that are born Muslims, we have no idea how blessed we are in that aspect. There are reverts all over the world that are disowned by the ones closest to them. My mother is a revert herself, but lucky for her, her family was more open to her decision. I’m proud to say that my grandmother, who’s 86, and has been a devout catholic all her life, gave her shahadah two years back after reading the Qur’aan. If anything, I dedicate this article to all the new brothers and sisters of Islam that constantly have to battle their decision with family and friends. Know that you are not alone in this struggle of yours. If you yourself are facing a similar struggle, please write to us on your journey to Islam, so that you too can be a source of inspiration to many others out there who are facing the same struggles as you are.