My name is Muhammad Tim Humble and I accepted Islam at the age of 14. Its a very young age to accept Islam.
I was pretty rebellious. I had a very bad relationship with my parents. I was the type of person who wanted to rebel against anything and everything. I wanted to rebel against authority, the classroom… I was constantly getting in trouble in and out of school. I achieved a great deal academically. But it was always accompanied with getting myself in a lot of trouble.
Lets put it in another way: A desire not to submit to anything.
So (for example), I would take up smoking simply for the sake of annoying my parents. This was the kind of situation I was in before Islam. It reminds me of a verse which mentions that the one who turns away from my remembrance gets a very restricted, constricted, difficult, hard & pressured life. And no matter what wealth Allah (Subhanahu wa taala) gives an individual, this is the situation. Thus, you’re going to face difficulties in the Dunya, in the Barzakh and in the Aakhirah.
So I sort of felt this. As a group of friends, we were constantly betraying each other, running away and leaving on person to take the blame, get into fights with each other, leave each other on the side of the road, do anything to be evil towards each other, a lot of backbiting…
A major factor in my coming to the Deen, was that I liked to read. My parents tell me that from a young age, I was not a person who was particularly keen on the TV. I would rather be told a story, a poem, or a nursery rhyme or something like that, than to watch TV. And even from that age (probably around 11), I would read obsessively. I had gone through my dads book case completely by the time I was 13. And in there, there were even books on philosophy. I remember reading books in which religion played a major part. And I was never averse to the concept of God. I never went through a stage where I didnt believe that God existed. I just didnt know who God was.
When I was 11 or 12, and I wanted something really strongly, I remember I would pray. I was very firm on the concept of God although I didnt know who I was praying to.
And because I liked to rebel, I also like to rebel against my parents’ concept of religion. So I was very much skeptical of other peoples beliefs. I almost had a pride that I knew better and all these people didnt know what they were talking about. It gave something to motivate me to actually start reading.
I remember being distinctly unhappy with protestant Christianity. Mostly because it doesnt make any sense. I still believe that today and I say that to all the Christians I meet. Even the trinity makes no sense.
Allah (Subhanahu wa taala) talks in the Quran about people with eyes they dont see with, people who have ears they dont hear with, hearts they dont think with. Because of my rebellious nature, I was more than happy to reject & turn away from it.
Briefly I looked at Catholicism. More or less because I saw that the Catholics were practicing a bit more. But I thought Catholicism to make less sense than protestant Christianity. I didnt have it in me to go into a booth and say: you human being, forgive me. I gave that up pretty quickly.
And of course we came across the same issue. The issue that only Islam answers: If the devil is the cause of all evil, then how is it that God allows evil to happen? And of these things going through my mind. I sort of rejected them all.
Now, I would say this was my Fitrah (natural inclination of mankind to worship a God).
I looked at the eastern religions…very mystic. Again, I didnt really find substance. I looked into Buddhism for a while. I was just searching for a purpose in life. Why things are happening to me…why I was so badly depressed…why I was not happy…why me? And so I looked into a few different answers. The idea of reincarnation was even more ridiculous.
I came to the conclusion that they were all wrong, and I would simply continue with what I had and I left it at that.
Things got a bit better… I got into high school. I found better friends and abandoned my philosophical reading to a certain extent. I started to go through RE (religious education) lessons which was part of the national curriculum.
We had a neo-buddhist teacher, and she was not very friendly towards Islam. She would think that Islam sounds wonderful in theory, but Muslims dont practice it. And I was thinking that this doesnt really count. We cant really judge Islam by what Muslims do, but by what Islam is.
So I remember being (sort-of) thought the basics of Islam. The fact that she didnt believe in any of the Semitic religions helped, because she didnt try to emphasize on any of it. She came from the principle that Christianity didnt make any sense. And that helped a lot too.
The thing that stuck me was that the concept of God in Islam was something I could accept, and something that I could submit to completely. I felt: One God… all powerful, wills everything to happen, knows everything. Yes! that makes perfect sense to me.
And I suppose this is the beginning of the alarm bells that started to ring. She went through the prayer, the five pillars, the punishment. And I thought: OK, here are some people who have to pray. 5 times seems an awfully difficult. Praying all the time, constantly in touch with God. Constantly building a relationship with God. talking to God. Praying, supplicating… that makes perfect sense. So it registered within in. Zakat – thats much better than tax! Tax is absolutely horrible & oppressive. Everybody hates to pay tax. Everyone loves to pay Zakat. Its so easy to pay. You keep something for a year. This means you dont have a great need for it. Then you pay 2.5 percent, which is actually nothing. And SubhanAllah, if you thought that the world’s richest 20 paid Zakaat, it would have erased poverty completely. And then you see western form of charity: we give it in one firm, and take it with another. Countries are enslaved by banks and the financial institutions. My teacher was very factual about what Islam was, having little digs at the Muslims all the way through. But that sort of explanation of Islam made me think. And that got into a point that whenever she talked about Islam, something changed in here (pointing to the heart) for me to want and go and look at it. So I went home and went straight on the internet.
And of course you get so much rubbish on the internet when you start looking for things. Some of what I found was true and some was false. And here’s what made me think: The Quran. I particularly started to think about it. I heard about the Quran. And the first thing I heard about is that this is a book that has only one version: Arabic. Makes perfect sense. I thought: If Gods going to send a book, what is that book going to be like?
lets accept for a second that the Muslims are telling the truth. This book is the Book of Allah (Subhanahu wa taala). Speech revealed by God Himself. Lets have a look. What is this book going to be like? First of all, its going to be a pretty amazing book. Its going to be divine. Its not going to be your average kind of book. Its going to contain everything that every one would need – past present and future. I thought: if this book is from God, its not going to be irrelevant. Its going to (have to) be absolutely relevant. If God is all powerful, omnipotent and able to do anything, then His book is going to be absolutely relevant to my life today. Its not going to be a collection of stories.
The next is about the infallibility of the Quran. It has no mistakes in it. One of the Muslims pointed out the Ayah from (chapter) Al Baqarah: Dhaalik Al Kitaabu Laa Raiba Feeh… I thought: Who starts a book with (the verse): this book has nothing wrong with it. ? i.e. this book is absolutely perfect… It would be really stupid if people starting going through a book and found mistakes. Or if they went through the pages and found it wasnt all that great. But if it was really from God, then it is a book that must be absolutely perfect in every sense.
Next thought: The book has been there for a long time now. So somebody must have criticized it. I typed: whats wrong with the Quran, question mark. And I found some christian missionary websites. I found all of their accusations, doubts & misguidance… I made notes of it. Lets see what the Muslims have to say. But when I looked at what the Muslims had to say, they had a clear and simple answer for everything that they said. And that answer was more importantly verifiable. I looked into the prophet () himself and the things that was said about him. And everything that was said had a clear answer for it. And the answers were unashamed. Nobody concealed anything like the Christians would do.
I started to think: Essentially what does this come down to? The fact that he was an Arab? He wasnt from the place they expected him to be from? To be honest, if you look at almost all of the prophets, they were all sent from the middle eastern region. So why wouldnt Allah (Subhanahu wa taala) send another prophet from that region? Likewise, what did that prophet bring? Nothing for himself. He didnt seek any worldly gain. That leaves only thing: either he was suffering from insanity or he is telling the truth. And everything in his life says that he was absolutely saying the truth. Including that which he was doing. In fact the Christians will tell you that he was absolutely sane and he knew what he was doing, and (to continue, they would say that) he was very devious and so on and so forth. Thats what they’ll say about him. So if he is sane and he is telling the truth, and he doesnt take any advantage for himself…
So in the end I made the decision to accept Islam. My mom had already guessed it.
I went through a period of my life where I wasnt practicing very much, mostly because I couldnt find anyone to teach me. This is a huge problem I had. I absolutely criticize the Muslims for this. I then went through 4-5 years of struggling to practice Islam. One of the biggest problem with us (Muslims) is that we are excellent at getting Shahadas. Set up a table outside and you can have ten (InshaAllah) by the end of the day. What we’re really really rubbish at is keeping them within Islam. Its very important to think about how they (reverts) want to be treated, what are the problems they might be facing, and how to overcome them. This is what I struggled with when I became Muslim.
About this time I heard about the Islamic university of Madeena. I made the decision to go there. I applied. I had a huge problem. Found rejection everywhere I went. Alhamdulillah, I persevered and by the grace of Allah, I was accepted into the university.”
Muhammad Tim Humble
Currently living in Dubai
Former Christian & Agnostic