“I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”: Imam Bassam Obeid said that in Arabic and in English. Both Arthur and his wife Theresa repeated after the Imam. Imam congratulated them on their embracing Islam.
Arthur recalled how he stumbled upon Islam. He had stopped at Tariq Ali Khan’s store to change his tires. That is when He met Ali. Ali’s honesty and respectful customer handling attracted him. He inquired: “Are you Muslim?” They entered in to a conversation and Arthur asked for a Quran. Ali gave him one with a condition that the book will be treated respectfully to which Arthur readily agreed.
For some time Arthur read Holy Quran long hours in the night and the next day he would ask Ali many questions to get the message right. Ali introduced me to Arthur and we decided to meet at my home for lunch. It was a great experience for me and for Arthur exchanging thoughts for several hours in one sitting. Later that day I took him to Masjid Mustafa to attend Abu Yusuf’s granddaughter’s aqeeqa. He was amazed at how calm everybody was at the masjid. Everyone who met him treated him with respect. Islam has already made an impression on him.
He presented the idea to his wife Theresa and her reaction was: “I am with you in your journey”. The very next day I and my wife Thafseera were honored to host Arthur and Theresa along with their son at my home for dinner. This was her first experience close-up with Muslims. At dinner table Arthur told me and Ali: I will talk to Theresa tonight and will let you know within 24 hours what direction I am taking.
In the morning Arthur visited Ali. The Family decided to revert to Islam. He was in tears and very excited to adopt the new faith. We scheduled to formally announce their testimony on Friday the 25h of April. Ali and Arthur’s family had arrived at the ICC masjid before I and Thafseera. I saw Arthur sitting on a chair in the rear of the masjid eagerly waiting for the Imam to call him.
Imam Bassam Obeid delivered the sermon quoting verses from the Holy Quran highlighting Allah’s call to submit to him, the only one creator and cherisher. Both Arthur and Theresa looked very happy after their embrace of Islam.
I asked Theresa and Arthur how they felt saying the testimony. Theresa told me “I felt pretty good about it”. Arthur said “I felt as if a load was lifted away from me”.
In the evening I met Arthur and his family at ICC. They had come to an intro session with Abdul Qadir who dedicates a good chunk of his time every week inviting people to Islam and helping new Muslims learn how to practice it. He would teach a new Muslim the opening chapter of Holy Quran , Al Fatiha with the help of transliteration. Then he would go to teach ablution and Salat. “For someone like Arthur who is committed it will only take 2 – 3 hours to learn the basics”: Adbul Qadir said.
Abdulghani Chaoui who was also helping Abdul Qadir emphasized on the need for knowledge to which Arthur said “Yes I want to learn and show my people the light that I am guided to”. Before his testimony He called his uncle who reverted to Islam long time ago and told him his decision to embrace Islam. His uncle said “This is the best thing I have heard in my family in the last 30 years”.
Arthur thanked Allah for guiding him. He left Los Angeles CA with his family only a year ago with just $4000 in his pocket and arrived in Charlotte for a new phase in his life not knowing what surprises were awaiting here. He could never imagine how changing a tire could end up changing his faith putting his life on a highway to Paradise prepared for those who submit.