An ex-Jewish Rabbi explains the
circumstances which led him to accept Islam.
By Moisha Krivitsky
The Rabbi of
Makhachkala synagogue embraced Islam. Every person
has a different way of coming to the Truth. For
Moisha Krivitsky this way led through a faculty of
law, a synagogue and a prison. The lawyer-to-be
becomes a Rabbi, then he converts into Islam and finds
himself in prison.
Musa (this is the name he has adopted when he
became a Muslim) lives in a small mosque in Al-Burikent,
a mountain area of Makhachkala, and works as a
watchman in the Central Juma mosque.
Musa, before we began talking, you asked what we were
going to talk about. I said: About you.
What's so interesting about me? If you wondered.
Then I live in the mosque..
How did you come to live in the mosque?
Well, I just dropped in... and stayed.
Did you find the way easily?
With great difficulty. It was hard then, and it isn't
much easier now. When you go deeply into Islam its
inner meaning, you understand that this religion is
very simple, but the way that leads to it may be
extremely difficult. Often, people don't understand
how a person could be converted into Islam from the
other side, as it were.
But there are no
other sides here. Islam is everything there is, both
what we imagine and what we don't imagine.
Musa, as a matter of fact, we were given this fact as
a certain sensation: a Rabbi has turned Muslim.
Well, it has been no sensation for quite a long while
already - it's more than a year that I did this. It
was strange for me at first, too. But it wasn't an
off-the-cuff decision. When I came into Islam, I had
read books about it, I had been interested.
Did you finish any high school before coming to the
Yes, I finished a clerical high school. After
graduation, I came to Makhachkala, and became the
And where did you come from?
from far away. But I have already become a true
Daghestani, I have got a lot of friends here - both
among Muslims and people who are far from Islam.
Let's return to your work in the synagogue.
was quite a paradoxical situation: there was a mosque
near my synagogue, the town mosque. Sometimes my
fiends who were its parishioners would come to me -
just to chat. I sometimes would come to the mosque
myself, to see how the services were carried out. I
was very interested. So we lived like good
neighbors. And once, during Ramadan, a woman came to
me - as I now understand, she belonged to a people
that was historically Muslim - and she asked me to
comment the Russian translation of the Quran made by
She brought the Quran to you - a Rabbi?!
Yes, and she asked me to give her the Torah to read in
return. So I tried to read the Quran - about ten
It was really
hard, but gradually I began to understand, and to get
a basic notion of Islam. (Here, Musa looked at my
friends son, the six-year old Ahmed, who had fallen
asleep in the mosque courtyard. "Should we probably
take him inside the mosque?" asked Musa.) And that
woman had brought back the Torah.
It turned out to
be very difficult for her to read and understand it,
because religious literature requires extreme
concentration and attention.
Musa, and when you were reading the translation, you
must have begun to compare it with the Torah?
had found answers to many questions in the Quran. Not
to all of them, of course, because it wasn't the
Arabic original, but the translation.
But I had begun
to understand things.
Does it mean that you couldn't find some answers in
don't know, there's Allah's will in everything.
those Jews who became Muslims in the times of the
Prophet, couldn't find some answers in Judaism, but
found them in Islam.
were attracted by the personality of the Prophet, his
behavior, his way of communicating with people. Its
an important topic.
And what exactly were the questions that you couldn't
find answers to in Judaism?
Before I came into contact with Islam, there were
questions which I had never even tried to find answers
to. Probably, an important part here had been played
by a book written by Ahmad Deedat, a South African
scholar, comparing the Quran and the Bible.
There is a key
phrase, well-known to those who are familiar with
religious issues: e g Follow the Prophet who is yet to
cometh. And when I studied Islam, I understood that
the Prophet Muhammad is the very Prophet to be
followed. Both the Bible and the Torah tell us to do
invented anything here.
And what does the Torah say about the Prophet?
wont be able to find this name in the Torah. But we
can figure it out using a special key. For example,
we can understand what god this or that particular
person in history worships. The formula describing
the last Prophet [may the mercy and blessings of God
be upon him] is that he would worship One God, the
Sole Creator of the world. The Prophet Muhammad
matches this description exactly.
When I read
this, I got very interested. I hadn't known anything
about Islam before that. Then I decided to look
deeper into the matter and see whether there were any
miracles and signs connected with the name of the
The Bible tells
us that the Lord sends miracles to the prophets to
confirm their special mission in peoples eyes.
I asked the
alims (scholars)about this, and they said: Here's
a collection of true hadeeths which describe the
miracles connected with the Prophet. Then I read that
the Prophet had always said that there had been
prophets and messengers before him.
We can find
their names both in the Torah and in the Bible. When
I was only starting to get interested, it sounded
somewhat strange for me. And then...
Well, my own
actions led to what happened to me. Sometimes I get
to thinking: why did I read all this? Perhaps, I
should say the tauba (a prayer of repenting)
right now for having thoughts like that.