Description: Sufyaan Gent was born Maurice Alexander Gent. Prior to
embracing Islam, he tried various Christian sects, but nothing ever seemed
By Maurice Alexander Gent
Published on 11 Jan 2010 - Last modified on 10 Nov 2013
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> Stories of New Muslims
Whilst working as a civil servant in London, he met a
Muslim lady who later became his wife. She had been brought up as a Muslim,
but was not practicing her religion. Nevertheless, she had enough faith to
insist that her future husband embrace Islam before marrying him. After living
several years as a notional Muslim, not having the slightest idea about
praying, fasting or about the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of
God be upon him, he attended a Muslim study circle with an idea of getting an
academic knowledge of Islam to impart to his son.
On listening to the obvious, plain and simple truth of
Islamic teachings, he became fascinated with this great religion. He started
to practice it and from there took it to his wife. Their life was transformed
from weak belief to a life dedicated to worshipping God alone.
Sufyaan has organized several weekend conferences and
Islamic exhibitions and is currently involved with the Islamic Society of
“Before I became aware of Islam I had a strong belief in
God, but I could not find an exact expression of that belief in any of the
churches I attended. There always seemed to me to be a hypocrisy about
churchgoers, a sanctimonious ‘holier than thou’ attitude which contradicted the
kind loving nature that I saw in Jesus. I could never understand why you
needed to go through Jesus or a priest or vicar to get to God. It seemed like
taking insurance through a broker, providing work for someone but not getting
anything extra in return.
“I tried to live as I felt a Christian should live,
caring for my family, working hard, trying to be honest, and not interfering
with others. Then, in 1977, I met my future wife, who was a student in London,
where I lived at that time.
“She explained to me the Islamic belief that there is
none worthy of worship but Allah and that all Prophets were simply telling the
same simple truth, that there was only one God and that mankind was born to
worship Him. She explained that there was no difference between working and
praying, as everything was an act of worship to be carried out according to
Consequently, I gladly accepted Islam in 1977 and we
were married. However, my lifestyle did not change, I just went on living as I
had before the Shahadah ( the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and
that Muhammad is His Messenger), and this state of affairs continued until 1987.
It was then that I started reading about Islam with a view to trying to teach
my son about his religion before he started school. He was about three years
old at that time.
When I began to read I realized how I had not been
fulfilling my obligations to my creator. I thought that by declaring “There is
none worthy of worship but Allah” I had done enough. Very soon I started to
realize that I had to pray, fast, pay Zakat, go on pilgrimage when I could
afford it, and become part of the Muslim community.
So, Alhamdulilaah, (“all praise be to God”), I started
to do these things. It was, as stated in the Glorious Quran, as if the “Scales
were lifted from my eyes.” Now, I long for the time for prayer, I love the
month of Ramadhaan, I gladly pay Zakaat, and I performed Hajj in 1992, all
thanks to God.
It is difficult not to get bloated with your own
importance as a new Muslim. You get used to being given special treatment by
your Muslim brothers, and this is something we should try and avoid, as there
is no difference between the believers. The devil will try to exploit human
weakness and make you think you are special, and so we must pray to avoid this
I look forward to the time when the Muslims take the
message of Islam to the non-Muslims here. We must lead by example, as we are
the best of nations so we must behave as such.
Through honesty, truthfulness, polite behavior and
caring for all humanity is how Islam spread in the beginning. We must get out
of a ghetto mentality and we must also avoid the other extreme of becoming so
anglicized that we lose Islam altogether.
Islamic teachings show us that everything is in balance;
we must make our presence felt by helping to provide a moral lead to society,
but at the same time keep an Islamic identity as opposed to a nationalistic
Now, as a Muslim, I cannot understand the attractions of
pubs, discos, nightclubs, expensive holidays and so on. If you are amongst a
community of believers you derive your pleasure from sitting with them,
discussing the wonders of our Creator, or by enjoying with your family and
doing things together, living in a closely knit environment of mutual love and
respect. Non-Muslim households miss these benefits with everyone in the family
looking for their own personal enjoyment.