S. Rockwell (U.S.A.)
(Poet, Critic & Author)
The simplicity of Islam, the powerful appeal and the compelling
atmosphere of its mosques, the earnestness of its faithful adherents, the
confidence inspiring realization of the millions throughout the world who
answer the five daily calls to prayer --- these factors attracted me from
the first. But after I had determined to become a follower of Islam, I found
many deeper reasons for confirming my decision. The mellow concept of life
-- fruit of the Prophet's combined course of action and contemplation ---
the wise counsel, the admonitions to charity and mercy, the broad
humanitarianism, the pioneer declaration of woman's property rights - these
and other factors of the teachings of the man of Mecca were to me among the
most obvious evidence of a practical religion so tersly and so aptly
epitomized in the cryptic words of Muhammad, "Trust in God and tie your
camel". He gave us a religious system of normal action, not blind faith in
the protection of an unseen force in spite of our own neglect, but
confidence that if we do all things rightly and to the best of our ability,
we may trust in what comes as the Will of God.
The broadminded tolerance of Islam for other religions recommends it to
all lovers of liberty. Muhammad admonished his followers to treat well the
believers in the Old and New Testaments; and Abraham, Moses and Jesus are
acknowledged as co-prophets of the One God. Surely this is generous and far
in advance of the attitude of other religions.
The total freedom from idolatory ... is a sign of the salubrious strength
and purity of the Muslim faith.
The original teachings of the Prophet of God have not been engulfed in
the maze of changes and additions of doctrinarians. The Qur'an remains as it
came to the corrupt polytheistic people of Muhammad's time, changeless as
the holy heart of Islam itself.
Moderation and temperance in all things, the keynotes of Islam, won my
unqualified approbation. The health of his people was cherished by the
Prophet, who enjoined them to observe strict cleanliness and specified fasts
and to subordinate carnal appetites ... when I stood in the inspiring
mosques of Istanbul, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Algiers, Tangier, Fez and
other cities, I was conscious of a powerful reaction [to] the potent uplift
of Islam's simple appeal to the sense of higher things, unaided by elaborate
trappings, ornamentations, figures, pictures, music and ceremonial ritual.
The mosque is a place of quiet contemplation and self-effacement in the
greater reality of the One God.
The democracy of Islam has always appealed to me. Potentate and pauper
have the same rights on the floor of the mosque, on their knees in humble
worship. There are no rented pews nor special reserved seats.
The Muslim accepts no man as a mediator between himself and his God. He
goes direct to the invisible source of creation and life, God, without
reliance on saving formula of repentance of sins and belief in the power of
a teacher to afford him salvation.
The universal brotherhood of Islam, regardless of race, politics, colour
or country, has been brought home to me most keenly many times in my life
and this is another feature which drew me towards the Faith.