Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Prof. Dr. ABD-UL-KARIM GERMANUS (Hungarian) Why did they become Muslim?


Prof. Dr. ABD-UL-KARIM GERMANUS (Hungarian)

(Prof. Dr. Germanus is a professor of 'Oriental Languages' in
the University of Budapest and has a world-wide reputation. During
the First and Second World Wars, he travelled in India and in
the meantime worked as a teacher in the University of 'Shanti
Naketen,' which was under the directorship of Tagore. [Rabindranath
Tagore (1861-1941), Bengali-Indian writer.] Later he moved to
Delhi, and became a Muslim in the 'Jamia-I-Milliyya'. Prof. Germanus
has been looked on as a great authority in literary areas, especially
in the Turkish language and Turkish literature.)

I was only a fresh adolescent that could just as soon be called
a child. On a rainy day, I incidentally found an old illustrated
magazine. It contained pictures of apparently overseas countries.
I was leisurely turning the pages, when, all of a sudden, one
of the pictures caught my attention. It illustrated some one-storied
small houses surrounded with rose-gardens. On the roofs of the
houses sat people in elegant attirements listening with rapt attention
to someone who must be conducting a conversation under the dusky
firmament that was hardly illuminated by the half moon. The people,
the dresses, the houses, the house yards were entirely different
from those in Europe. As far as I could figure out from the writings
under the picture, the picture was an illustration of some Arabs
listening to a public story-teller in a small Arabian town. I
was sixteen years old then. As an Hungarian student seated comfortably
in an armchair in Hungary, I looked at the picture and imagined
myself being there, among the Arabs, listening to the mellow and
at the same time strong voice of the public story-teller, which
gave me unusual pleasure. This picture gave a direction to my
life. Immediately, I began to study Turkish. For the orient had
already entered my periphery of concern. As I improved my Turkish,
I observed that the Turkish language contained very few Turkish
words and that the Turkish poetry had been enriched with Persian
and its prose had been reinforced with Arabic. Then, learning
both these languages was prerequisite for a wholesome understanding
of the orient. As soon as I took my first vacation I decided to
go to Bosnia, which was closest to Hungary. I set out immediately.
When I arrived in Bosnia, I checked in to a hotel, where the first
question I asked was: "Could you tell me where to find the
local Muslims?" They directed me to a place. I went there.
I had picked up only a smattering of Turkish. Would that be enough
for me to communicate with them? The Muslims had come together
in a coffee-house in their quarter, basking in the relaxation
of a peaceful environment. They were grave-featured, big-bodied
people wearing baggy trousers belted with sashes and carrying
bright-sheathed daggers tucked into their sashes. The turbans
on their heads, their ample baggy trousers and daggers gave them
a somewhat weird appearance. Bashful and timorous, I stole into
the room and skulked into a corner. Sometime later, I noticed
that they were talking secretly and softly among themselves and
casting quick glances at me. I was sure they were talking about
me. I recalled the stories we used to hear in Hungary about those
Christians killed by Muslims. Frozen with fright, I helplessly
awaited the time when they would "slowly stand up, stride
towards me, unsheathe their daggers, and slaughter me." I
began to make plans of escape, yet I was too frightened to move.
Minutes passed, I do not know how many. At last, the waiter sauntered
towards me with an odorously steaming cup of coffee. As he gently
placed the coffee on the table before me, he politely gestured
with his head towards the source of the offer: the very Muslims
who were only a moment before the source of my thrilling dread.
When I looked at them with trepidation, one of them looked back
with a cordial and amiable smile and nodded a hello to me. Trying
to curve my lips quivering with terror into a smile, I nodded
back. There! My imaginary enemies rose to their feet and made
for me.

My violently palpitating heart on the verge of cessation, I waited,
saying to myself, "They are going to attack me now."
Yet, to my amazement, they sat around me in a friendly manner.
They greeted me once again. One of them held out a cigarette.
As I lit the cigarette, in the dim light of the match, I perceived
in amazement that these men, whom we had been prejudging as barbarians
in the distance, had a very deeply venerable expression of blessedness
on their faces. My awe-stricken stiffness began to thaw. With
my extremely poor Turkish, I attempted to talk with them. By the
time the first Turkish word left my mouth, their features had
already been suffused with all the graces of a blissful expression.
We were friends now. The very men whom I had been expecting to
attack with daggers invited me to their homes. They showed me
warm hospitality. They treated me with tender kindness. All they
wanted was to provide me comfort and to do me good. Such was my
first contact with Muslims. It was followed by a number of events
in succession. Every new event raised another curtain from before
my eyes. I visited Muslim countries one by one. For some time,
I received education in the University of Istanbul. I visited
lovely places in Anatolia and in Syria. During this time, I learned
Arabic and Persian as well as Turkish, on account of which I was
later appointed by the University of Budapest as a professor in
the Institute of Islamic Works of Art Research. I found many old
works of art that had been collected in the university for centuries.
I began to study them. I learned many beautiful facts. In the
meantime, I gathered information about the Islamic religion. The
more I studied those works, the deeper into my heart did Islam
penetrate, and the more highly was I impressed by the books that
I read, [especially by the Qur'an al-karim and by the books of
Hadith-i-Sharif]. At last, I decided to go to the orient and to
examine the Islamic religion more closely. This time my journey
took me all the way down to India. My soul was empty, and therefore
it was thirsty. The first day I arrived there I dreamt of Muhammad
s.a.s. He was wearing plain but extremely valuable garments. A
very fragrant scent emanated from the garments and reached me.
His polite, extremely beautiful, lovable and bright face and his
light-radiating and sweet eyes benumbed me. With a very sweet
but imperative voice, he spoke to me in the Arabic language, and
said: "Why are you sad? You already know the path ahead of
you. You have attained the level to choose the right path. Do
not wait any longer, and immediately join that path!" My
body was shaking all over. I said to him, in Arabic, "Ya
Rasulallah (O the Messenger of Allah) s.a.s.! You are the Prophet
of Allah. I believe in this now. But will I attain peace if I
become a Muslim? You are a very great being! You always overcame
your enemies and always showed the right way. But will I, a poor,
helpless born slave, be able to keep in the path that you will
show?" Muhammad s.a.s. looked at me gravely and recited the
seventh, the eighth, the ninth and the tenth ayats of the Naba'
Sura in the Qur'an al-karim, which purported, "Have We not
created the earth as a dwelling place for you and the mountains
as a support? We have brought you in pairs to the world, and We
have given you the blessing of sleep so that you may rest."
As he recited them, the words that he uttered rang sweetly like
the tuneful sound of silver bells. I was all of a sweat when I
woke up. I began to wail, "O my Allah, I cannot sleep any
longer. I cannot solve the mysteries around me and hidden under
thick covers. O Rasulallah! O Muhammad s.a.s.! Help me! Illuminate
me!" I was, on the other hand, afraid to hurt that great
Prophet s.a.s.. Sounds that I could not understand came out of
my throat, and I was in convulsions all over. Finally, I felt
as if I were rolling down into an abyss, and woke up, soaked in
sweat. My heart was palpitating vehemently, and bells were ringing
in my ears.

On a Friday, the following incident took place in the Shah Jihan
Mosque in Delhi: A fair-haired, dull-and-white-complexioned young
stranger was entering the mosque among some old Muslims. It was
me. I was clad in Indian garments. Yet a gold medal that I had
been awarded in Istanbul shone on my chest. The Muslims in the
mosque were eyeing me with amazement. I and my friends reached
a spot close to the Minbar. A while later the voice calling (the
invitation to prayer termed) the adhan was heard. I watched the
approximately four thousand people stand up with a quick motion
softened with reverent solemnity and make lines, with the same
orderliness and speed as you could see in a military drill. So
they began to perform the (prayer called) namaz, and I joined
them. It was an unforgettable moment for me. When the performance
of the namaz and the khutba was over, Abd-ul-Hayy held me by the
hand and took me to the Minbar. As we were edging our way towards
the Minbar, I was extremely careful lest I should disturb the
worshipers squatting on the floor. At last, I reached the Minbar
and began to climb the stairs. No sooner had I taken the first
step than I saw myriad faces under white turbans like in a field
of daisies turn towards me. The scholars surrounding the Minbar
were encouraging me with heartening looks. This look of theirs
gave me the strength that I needed. I looked around. A tremendous
sea of people lay before me. With their heads raised, they awaited
my speech. I began to talk slowly in Arabic, "O you the highly
respectable people who have assembled here! I have come here from
a very distant country in order to learn what I could not learn
there. I have attained my goal here, and my soul enjoys full peace
now." Then I went on, explaining the high position Islam
occupied in history and the various miracles which Allahu ta'ala
had created through the hands of His great Prophet Muhammad a.s.,
and adding that the recent decline of power observed in Muslim
states was consequent upon the general laxity that Muslims had
been showing in their religious obligations. I continued my speech
by stating that some Muslims had been putting forth the pretext
that an individual's efforts would have no effect on events because
everything depended on the Will of Allahu ta'ala and therefore
it would be futile to work, and that, on the contrary, Allahu
ta'ala declared in the Qur'an al-karim, "Nothing shall be
corrected unless men correct themselves, and nothing shall be
accomplished unless they exert themselves," and that He had
promised to help anyone who worked. I quoted ayat-i karimas from
the Qur'an al-karim commanding that people should avoid helpless
situations by working hard, and I explained them one by one. Finally,
conducting a general prayer, I dismounted from the Minbar.

As I left the Minbar, an extremely loud expression, "Allahu
AKBAR",[Allah id the greatest.] articulated in chorus, thundered
in the mosque. My intense excitement had built to such a climax
that I could not see my whereabouts. All I could sense was that
my friend, Aslan, was holding my arm and trying to pull me out
of the mosque as soon as possible. "Why are we in such a
hurry," I wanted to know. "look round," was the
warning reply. I turned my head. O my Allah! Right behind me was
the entire congregation, running hard, trying to catch me. And
catch they did. Some of them were holding me, hugging me, some
were trying to kiss my hand, and others were begging me to invoke
a blessing on them. And I was begging, "O my Allah, do not
let an incapable born slave like me to appear as an exalted personage
in their eyes!" I was so embarrassed that I felt as if I
had stolen something from these pure Muslims, or as if I had betrayed
them. That same day I realized that being a popular politician
meant possessing immense power. Misusing such power given by the
people of a country would lead the country to total destruction.

That day, I told my brothers that I was an incapable born slave,
and went back home. But their friendliness and love and the respect
they showed to me lasted for weeks. They showed so much love to
me that its effects will be adequate for me till the end of my

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