Alexander Russell Webb (U.S.A.)
Diplomat, Author & Journalist
About the Author:
Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb was born in 1846 at Hudson, Columbia
county, New York. Educated at Hudson and New York he became an essayist
and a short-story writer. He took to journalism and became the editor of
St. Joseph Gazette and of Missouri Republican.
In 1887 he was appointed United States Consul at Manila, Phillipines. It
was during this assignment that he studied Islam and joined its fold.
After becoming Muslim he extensively toured the world of Islam and devoted
the rest of his life to Missionary work. He also became the head of the
Islamic Propaganda Mission in U.S.A. Mr. Webb died on 1st October 1916.
I have been requested to tell you why I, an American, born in a country
which is nominally Christian, and reared under the drippings, or more
properly perhaps the drivelling, of an orthodox Presbyterian pulpit, came to
adopt the faith of Islam as my guide in life. I might reply promptly and
truthfully that I adopted this religion because I found, after protracted
study, that it was the best and only system adapted to the spiritual needs
of the humanity. And here let me say that I was not born as some boys seem
to be, with a fervently religious strain in my character. When I reached the
age of 20, and became practically my own master, I was so tired of the
restraint and dullness of the Church, that I wandered away from it and never
returned to it ... Fortunately I was of an enquiring turn of mind --- I
wanted a reason for everything, and I found that neither laymen nor clergy
could give me any rational explanation of this faith, but either told me
that such things were mysterious or that they were beyond my comprehension.
About eleven years ago I became interested in the study of Oriental
religions.. I saw Mill and Locke, Kant, Hegel, Fichte, Huxley, and many
other more or less learned writers discoursing with a great show of wisdom
concerning protoplasm and monads, and yet not one of them could tell me what
the soul was or what became of it after death... I have spoken so much of
myself in order to show you that my adoption of Islam was not the result of
misguided sentiment, blind credulity, or sudden emotional impulse, but it
was born of earnest, honest, persistent, unprejudiced study and
investigation and an intense desire to know the truth.
The essence of the true faith of Islam is resignation to the will of God
and its corner stone is prayer. It reaches universal fraternity, universal
love, and universal benevolence, and requires purity of mind, purity of
action, purity of speech and perfect physical cleanliness. It,
beyond doubt, is the simplest and most elevating form of religion known to
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