Account of Naweed Ahmad Marty
My name is Naweed Ahmad Marty, and in the following lines I will try to describe the main events which, by the grace of Allah, led me to convert to Islam. I pray to Allah, Who has guided me to the truth, that He may allow me to express what is in my heart in the best possible way.
I graduated in 1986, and at the time in France, compulsory military service was in place. With an engineering degree, however, it was possible instead to perform a civil service abroad. By chance, I went to the United States, and worked for 18 months as a research assistant at the University of Kansas.
Arriving there, I met an Algerian Student: Said Saim. Being able to speak French with him was a big help. He befriended me and his help was very precious, to enable me to settle in this new place. Our relationship was very amicable, I understood rapidly that he was a devoted Muslim while I was raised in a catholic family, but not practising.
We both had a keen interest in football, so he invited me to join in the games played by a group of students. One afternoon, during a game, we were playing in opposite teams, and he tried to dribble pass me. I tried to stop him and he fell over, although I barely touched him. He was lying on the ground and could not get up. I thought he was pretending, in order to get a penalty. He was taken to a hospital, and I was told that his ankle was broken. After a few hours, I brought him back home. I felt very bad and he was stuck in bed for several weeks.
I was feeling quite guilty about so I started to visit him every other day, to offer my services and keep him company. His favourite topic of discussion was Islam. I was not really interested, but I knew that this was making him feel much better.
I was surprised by his love and admiration for the Prophet of Islam, and the description he gave me of his character was very different from the image I had.
After his complete recovery, I would visit him regularly and particularly liked discussing with him the relation between science and religion. He offered me a Quran with an English translation and as soon as I started reading it, I was fascinated by its wisdom and the absence of discrepancy with science. I couldn’t really find any contradiction with human nature either.
One day I came across those verses:
And when Allah will say, O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah,'” he will answer, “Holy art thou. I could never say that to which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou wouldst have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is only Thou alone Who art the Knower of hidden things.” I said nothing to them except that which Thou didst command me – Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord” And I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst cause me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them, and Thou art Witness over all things. (Ch 5 : 117-118)
This gave me a terrible shock. Tears came to my eyes. Suddenly 2000 years of Christian teaching crumbled in front of my eyes. Even without being able to read Arabic, the translation of the Holy Quran was so beautiful and clear that I was convinced that no human being would have been able to produce it.
I knew at that moment that I would have to become a Muslim, although after consideration, I decided to wait as I thought it would be too difficult to give up my habits and change my life; therefore I decided to wait until I become 50 or 60 years old. At that age I thought that I would probably be strong enough not to worry about what people would think. I wondered about what would happen if I were to die before converting, but quickly dismissed this idea, quite certain that God would give me enough time.
I also started to pray, once or twice a day, I didn’t know how to do it so I just prostrated on the floor like I had seen Muslims do. I didn’t really know what to expect and was quite surprised that my prayers were being answered and I was finding comfort and help.
My research project finished, I returned to France and started my first job. After a few month I realised that it was not what I was looking for. I took a few days off and went to The Hague in Holland to interview with an oil company. I wanted the job very much. Unfortunately, I was going through a difficult period; feeling depressed and tired. The interview didn’t go well. That evening, back at the hotel I prayed and asked Allah to give me this job, and in exchange, I would not wait until I was older to convert and would do it immediately. Four weeks later I received a telephone call. I was hired.
A few months passed and I had forgotten about my promise.
Then one day, while reading the Quran I came across this verse:
“Allah will not call you to account for such of your oaths as are vain, but He will call you to account for the oaths which you take in earnest … And do keep your oaths. Thus does Allah explain to you his Signs that you may be grateful.” (Ch 5: 90)
This verse could have been written for me. I was in the second category and reminded that Allah had fulfilled His part of the bargain. I immediately picked up a telephone book and looked for addresses of Muslims associations. There were a few listed and didn’t know which one to choose. I closed my eyes, put my finger down on the page, and picked one at random.
I went there many times, but could not find the courage to go inside. Finally, after much hesitation I walked to the door and knocked. My heart was beating very fast. A man opened the door and inquired on the purpose of my visit. I just said that I wanted to become a Muslim. Without a word, he took me to a sitting room, brought me a cup of coffee and left. A few minutes later, another man entered. He was the president of this community in Holland. I explained again the purpose of my visit and then he asked me if I had heard of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. I replied in the negative and added that I didn’t mind which group it was, I just wanted to become a Muslim.
So he started to explain their beliefs: Jesus came back to earth, as a new person named Ahmad. The “first “Jesus didn’t die on the cross but escaped to India. They were persecuted in Pakistan, forbidden by the Saudi government to go to Hajj, and the list went on… I listened to him speechless and bemused. Absolutely nothing of what he said was making any sense. It was like waking up from a bad dream.
I went home very confused. I reflected on what happened and concluded that there must have been a purpose to this visit. The most reasonable explanation was that Allah brought me to this sect of lunatics to warn me that the world of Islam was not this ideal image I had. On the other hand, all the Prophets have been rejected in the past; could it be true?
In the evening, while preparing some tea on a gas cooker, I remembered the story I had read in the Quran of Moses and his young companion forgetting their fish, and this was a sign. I wondered if Allah would also give me a sign. Looking at the stove, I thought that if I forget to turn off the gas, this would be a sign and I would go back to the mosque and enquire further. That evening I forgot to turn if off 3 times.
It had been a very emotional day, so I thought it was probably just a trick of my mind. I implored God to forgive me if I make a mistake, and guide me to the right place. I went to bed even more confused, not believing the claim of this community, but with the intention to visit them again, as promised.
That night, I had a dream. I was in the sitting room of the mosque and the president of the community, walked in. He wore a blue suit, extended his hand and said: ‘I congratulate you for your conversion’. I also knew from the dream that this would happen within 3 months.
I can’t really explain how I felt. The dream was so bright and clear and I had never experienced anything like this.
The following morning I went again to the mosque, I met the missionary who explained the teaching of Ahmadiyya and gave me a few books. I didn’t need much convincing.
A few months later, by the grace of Allah I became an Ahmadi Muslim. The first time I came to attend the Friday prayer, exactly like in my dream, Mr H. Verhagen, the president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Holland came to me and told me “I congratulate you for your conversion”
When I look back at all these events, I am amazed to see that breaking the leg of my friend Said is probably the best things I have done in my life!
Allah knows all things, and you know not. (Ch 2: 272)