Formerly Senior Chaplain at St. Mary's Church (Anglican) in Quetta, Pakistan. Doctorate in Theology (Th.D.)
[M.H. Durrani was formerly Senior Chaplain at St. Mary's Church in Quetta, Pakistan, and holds a doctorate in Theology. This testimony is taken from a tract he wrote called "Islam - The Light of My Life". After 24 years as an Anglican priest and missionary, he received God's Guidance, and became a Muslim. He performed the Shahadah - the Islamic testification of faith, with Maulana Fazlur-Rahman Ansari Al-Qaderi, President of the World Federation of Islamic Missions. Dr. Durrani's meditations on the noble life and inspiring example of the Prophet Muhammad :saw: are particularly instructive. He has also authored a number of books on topics related to Islam and Christianity, some which are listed in an appendix following his testimony. - Editor]
Thirty years ago, at a very young age, I became a Christian under the influence of a Mission School. I have spent most of my life in the Church of England as an Anglican Priest from 1939 to 1963. Islam came to me as the spring comes to the cold earth after the dark winter. Thus I came back to the fold of the religion of my forefathers: Islam.
For my coming back to the fold of Islam the cause is the inspiration given to me through a dream where in I seem to have been blessed with the personal blessings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Now I praise God and pray for His Holy Prophet and I am overjoyed to find the Prophet (peace be upon him).
A change of heart comes from Almighty God. In fact, without His guidance all our learning, all our searching and all our efforts to find the trught may even lead us astray.
We need conviction without which no argument, how so ever skillful, neither any eloquence how so ever impassioned, nor learning how so ever deep, will ever make a man satisfied unless he has the proof he has the proof within his own soul. The only way to have it, is to receive it as a free gift from God.
Now, the point that I want specially to emphasise is that each one of us has a guiding vision; if we follow it faithfully it will bring us satisfaction. At one time or other, whether it be during youth or in the prime of our life, or in old age, every one has a dream, a vision and inspiration, an ideal, a sense of a finger pointing at him, out of our voice calling upward to higher life: "This is the way, walk ye in it." We may not be able to explain it but God fulfils Himself in many ways; He sends to each a vision which each one can understand.
To each in His Mercy, hath God allowed
His several pillars of fire and cloud
I mean by this the light that shines into a man’s soul when he realises for the first time the high and solemn purposes of life. Can’t you remember such an experience, when in some moment of depression and disillusionment your whole soul cried out in revolt against the futility, the emptiness, the dreary monotony of your existence? Has God created, you have said to yourself, for nothing better than this; to get up in the morning and go to work, to serve the Bully Ragging employer who gets the best work out of his men or to slave at a desk or in a shop, to face the endless fret and worry on how to make both ends meet? Surely, life has something more satisfying to offer than this. I have an intellect, a soul, a personality, some independence of character, some capacity for high achievement, but it is all being crushed out of me by the cruel tyranny of petty circumstances. And then, amidst the dark night of your depression, there shone out, suddenly, a gleaming star of hope. You caught a vision of what your life was meant to be and might be. Through some word of scripture, through the voice of some preacher, through the haunting cadence of some remembered poem, God spoke to your soul. He opened your eyes to see the inner meaning and purpose of your work. He showed you that the routine, the drudgery, the hardship, which seemed to be slowly pressing the life out of you, were in reality his instruments for the formation of your character, his opportunities for the unselfish service of your fellowmen.
What a wonderful difference it makes to a man's whole outlook when he grabs the great truth that life is a vocation, a call to make his little corner of the World a better, brighter, sweeter, happier place. What a power there is in simple goodness, to draw men heavenward: words may be misunderstood, and actions may be misinterpreted, but the light that radiates from a soul trying to live up to the highest that he knows, touches and blesses all who come near to him. That is the debt we owe to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him)
I venture to say there is not a single convert who does not owe his gratitude to Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) for his love for him, help, guidance, inspiration and as the example of a good person whom God in his great love has sent to us to follow.
Again, we may have all experienced not once but many times the same word, same example, same deep inward inspiration, arousing us out of our lethargy and indifference awaking within us the spirit of divine discontent, bidding us to gird our loins to journey forth on the road that leads to God. Thank God, I was not disobedient unto the Heavenly vision.
Homeward we are often led along the stranged ways, unexpected turnings take us back to bygone days—suddenly we go astray, though straight the track appears—and we find we have struck the road of the forgotten years.
I have eventually taken up the study of the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I realised that it is great sin to condemn that Holy man of God who established the kingdoms of God among the people who were unruly warfarers, idol worshippers and doers of all kinds of disgraceful things. He not only changed their modes of thought, their very habits and their morals but also brought them under one banner, one law, one religion, one culture, one civilization and one form of government. That nation which had not produced a single great man worth the name for centuries gave birth, under his influence and guidance, to thousands of noble souls who went forth to far off comers of the world to preach and teach the principles of Islam, morality and codes of living.
He fulfilled his mission not through any wordly lure, oppression or tyranny, but by his captivating manners, his endearing moral personality and his convincing teaching. With his noble and gentle behaviour he befriended even his enemies. He won the hearts of the people with his love.
When he began preaching, the ignorant nation turned against him. Abuses and stones were showered at his august person. Every conceivable torture and cruelty was perpetrated on him. This continued not for a day or two but uninterruptedly for thirteen long troublesome years. At last he is exiled. But he is not given respite even there. He is tormented in various ways in his abode of refuge. The whole of Arabia is incited against him. He is persecuted and hounded down continuously for full eight years there. He suffered it all, but he did not budge an inch from the stand he had taken. He was resolute, firm and inflexible in his purpose and stand. His nation offered to accept him as its king and to lay all the riches of the land at his feet if only he would leave preaching his religion and spreading his message. But he chose to refuse the tempting offers and to suffer for his cause, instead. Why? Why was it that he cared not a jot for riches and luxury, kingship and glory and ease and plenty? One has to ponder over it deeply to find an answer.
Can any one imagine a higher example of self sacrifice, fellow-feeling and kind heartedness towards his fellow beings than that a man ruin his own happiness for the good of others, while those very people for whose betterment he is striving his utmost should stone him, abuse him, banish him and give him no quarter even in his exile, and that inspite of it all, he should refuse to abstain from striving for their well-being?
Can any sincere person undergo so much suffering for a false cause? Can any dishonest speculator and visionary exhibit such firmness and determination for his ideal as to stick to his guns to the very last and remain unruffled and unperturbed in the face of dangers and tortures of every conceivable description when a whole country rises up in arms against him?
This faith, this perseverance and this resolution with which he led his movement to ultimate success is, therefore, an eloquent proof of the supreme truth of his cause. Had there been the slightest touch of doubt and uncertainty in his heart, he could never have been able to brave the storm which continued in all its fury for twenty one long years. What more proof of perfect honesty of purpose, uprightness of character and sublimity of soul can there be? Who else can be a more truthful person than he who received such unique gifts and embellishment through a secret channel and still he outrightly pointed out the source of all his enlightenment and inspiration?
All these factors lead to the irresistible conclusion that such a man was the true Messenger of God. Such was our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was a prodigy of extraordinary merits, a paragon of virtue and goodness, a symbol of truth and veracity, a great apostle of God, His Messenger to the entire world. His life and thoughts, his truth and straight-forwardness, his piety and goodness, his character and moral, his ideology and achievements—all stand as unimpeachable proofs of his Prophethood. Any human being, who studies without bias his life and teachings will testify that verily he was the true Prophet of God, and the Quran is the true Book of God. No unbiased and serious seeker after truth can escape this judgement.
Appendix - Works by Dr. M.H. Durrani
1. Muhammad The Biblical Prophet (S.A.W). Published by International Islamic Publishers; 2nd ed edition (1983)
2. The Quranic Facts about Jesus. Published by International Islamic Publishers; 1st ed edition (1983)
3. Infallibility of Prophets. Published by International Islamic Publishers; 1st ed edition (1984)
4. An Advisory Study on Infallibility of Prophets. Published by S. M. Mir (1971)