Hajj Mustafa Ali
I Became a Muslim By Abdul Wahid Pederson
a Muslim of Scandinavian origin I am often met with the question of
why I became a Muslim. Yes,
I even ask myself from time to time, why Allah had picked me, out of
the multitude of people, and brought me to this blessed path of
I look back upon my life, I can naturally see, that my present
situation is a logical consequence of the sum of my acts and
thoughts up to this point. Thus
my converting to Islam or rather my accepting the fact, that
inwardly I have always been a Muslim was inevitable.
should start my story by telling that at the age of about 17 years,
I resigned from the Danish Church.
It did not satisfy me, neither intellectually nor, for that
many years following I became a free thinker.
I did not associate myself with an established
religion. I was a
confirmed believer, that there was a power greater than all of us,
which had to be found in all and everything. I believed in the One and was uncompromising in accepting
anything less than a God that was without partner, all-pervading,
energy unbound with limit or name.
the late sixties I got attracted to the flower-power movement, and
focused my way of living on the principle of generating love and
peace for myself and a healing for the entire world.
Also at the same time I stopped eating meat.
Not as a result of long and deep thought, but more as a
sudden inspiration. I
was so to speak caught red-handed with a piece of meat on my fork on
its way to my mouth, when suddenly it struck me that I should stop
eating it. I had, at
the time, no idea why this came so suddenly.
Yet it came with such force and clarity, without second
thought that I put it down. The
next moment, to my parents' surprise, I turned to them and told them
that, that was the last time I woul eat the flesh of animals.
the age of 21 I left Denmark to roam around the world together with
a close friend of mine. It
was not with any spiritual search in mind, only a desire to move.
traveled through Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Our guiding principle on our journey was to live by the
natural laws of Yin and Yang. We
applied it to our diet, which was strictly vegetarian, and to our
movements throughout the trip.
We supported each other helping one-another in the harmonious
and inspiring way that came to our hearts.
our travel we naturally came to live amongst peoples of many
different cultures and religions.
This inspired in me a desire to know where I fit into the
scheme of things. What
was my religion? And
where did I belong? I
felt I now needed to define myself in a more specific way.
I said earlier, at the age of 17 I had reached some conclusions
about my religious beliefs, at least I knew what I was not, but had
not spent much time and thought to what I might be.
was soon after we arrived in India, being so deeply impressed by the
spectacle that India is, I dove into Hindu culture and life and for
the most part became a practicing Hindu.
This experience lasted for several years.
These years opened up my interest in God and my formal search
began. It also led me
to some conclusions within myself.
But before specifying what these were, I wish to relate some
experiences I had as a Hindu in India which were of great importance
for my proceeding on my spiritual search.
a while I was staying with my guru (spiritual guide) near Ajmer
Sharif in Rajasthan Province of India, I got a sensational feeling
within. No matter what
question about life I could put to myself, a voice inside would
answer it with the very same answer over and over again.
Namely Love, God, or Truth These came not as three
individual answers but combined as a single one.
This was all that is and will ever be.
From then on for me everything else was a projection from
this fundamental principle. I
was totally saturated by the result of this condition, completely exalted
and obliterated in this sensation for a period of maybe three
other experience I want to relate took place again in India in the
ancient city of Humpy, now mainly consisting of ruins that remind
the visitor of the former days of glory and splendor.
Outside Humpy, right on top of a mountain, is a temple from
which chanting can be heard constantly, flowing out down and over
the old city. Together
with a group of other seekers, mostly foreigners we decided to visit
that place. On one fine
afternoon we set out on our journey.
The first leg of the journey was to cross a river; the only
way getting across was by the local ferry.
This ferry to our utter amazement turned out to be a huge
cooking pot that seated four just right as not to imbalance the pot
would be drawn to the other side.
In groups of four spinning and whirling we slowly crossed the
river without any major incident. Once we were all together we headed up the mountain.
temple was placed right above a place where two gigantic rock faces
met at an angle. At the very bottom of this angle a loudspeaker had been
lowered down. As we
approached it, it became clear to us that the chanting we heard
constantly in the old city was not as we imagined it, rows and rows
of chanting monks in their constant devotion.
It was only an illusion it was only a recording playing on
some hours of walking we found the night coming upon us and decided
to stay somewhere for the duration.
It was in this night of waiting that something happened to
me. The chanting went
on through the night and it became more and more intoxicating.
All of us in the group felt our hearts soar and little was
said between us the entire night. The only communications were the knowing glances and
reassuring smiles toward one another.
Each one of us was engulfed in some kind of meditation.
At one point I went to a nearby river to refresh myself and
while I was there by the water, it suddenly struck me, that if I
wanted to get closer to God I could do it immediately.
It came to as only one way to do it-in prostration.
I lunged forward prostrating myself for the first time on the
ground in front of the creator, submitted to the one and only
had come to this experience with complete certainty of the One and
only God. It further
came to my heart that if this were true then all truth and
everything came from this same source.
my arrival in Europe I did not bring anything of my Hindu practice
with me, all this I left behind.
The only thing I kept as a practice was Yoga.
I had now seen the similarities between all the world's
religions and I instinctively knew that they were all the same.
They were all the message of Peace.
Only the transmission through time and environment had made
them appear different. Each message was for its particular time. I now knew I had to seek the source of the spring to which it
all manifested from. A
place I could drink from the purest of waters.
I knew it had to be, but I did not know how to look.
I just have taken the first step.
was soon living in the countryside tending a garden.
I tried to turn my attentions towards the Lord in everything
I would do. Often I
would retreat to my room sitting there quietly in a cross-legged
position, praying and seeking His guidance.
In public amongst friends I would more often speak to them
about God and the eternal principle of God.
They found me so constant in my interest that they soon
nicknamed me the Priest or the Guru.
day I was approached by one of my old friends whom I had not seen
for years. He had
become a Muslim. We met
a few times, each time talking more and more about religion and
subjects connected to it. He
was going to the Sahara desert to learn some things from the Tuareg
tribes. He asked me to
join him. I immediately
agreed to come along. The
desert always fascinated me. Before
setting out I made a point to let him know that I was not in the
least interested in becoming a Muslim.
I would not mind living among them, but that I would not
convert to Islam.
few days later I left my house and went to Copenhagen to participate
in the last preparations for the travel.
He lived in a house along with other Muslims.
I moved in with them until we traveled.
Soon living with them, praying with them, eating with them
and discussing with them I finally came to see what until this point
I had been veiled from. I had arrived at the starting point. I could now put into practice outwardly what my heart was
yearning for inwardly. The
entrance to Islam was only to confirm what I already knew for
certain to be true. There
was no choice, the heart did not lie in what it now perceived in
front of it. The door
was now open and I took the step inside.
After entering its gate I realized that this is not only what
I had always been looking for but it was also what I, in reality,
already was. I had
always been a Muslim in my heart.
I am, and will always be grateful for being able to be gifted
this path and having certainty of the ever-flowing generosity of my
PRAISE TO THE LORD OF ALL. WHAT
IS HIS WILL IS REALITY, AND NOTHING ELSE IS.
Abdul Wahid Pedersen