Sufyaan Gent was born Maurice
Alexander Gent. Prior to embracing Islam, he tried
various Christian sects, but nothing ever seemed quite
By Maurice Alexander Gent
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 God praise 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
organized several weekend conferences and Islamic
exhibitions and is currently involved with the Islamic
Society of Britain.
"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.
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 God's will.
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
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 trap.
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.
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.
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 one.
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