Returning to his
room after praying Isha Salah, Abdur Rahman, 42, an
Indian national, sits down with a pen and a mind full
of thoughts. He is writing the story of his life,
"Pandit bane Musalmaan" (Hindu priest becomes Muslim)
in his mother tongue, Hindi.
He works as a
storekeeper in Saudi Binladin BTAT Construction
Company at the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project
opposite to the Grand Mosque.
Sharma, he was known as when he first came to Jeddah
on May 12, 2002. His hometown is Amadalpur, a small
village in the north Indian state of Haryana. He was
born in an orthodox Hindu family who were privileged
with conducting religious rituals in the village's
While staying in
the company's accommodation in Jeddah, a colleague of
his gave him some Islamic books in Hindi. He was then
transferred to Riyadh to work for a project at
Princess Noura University for Women.
"It was at the
company's housing camp that I met a number of Muslims
from India and Pakistan who explained me the religion
of Islam," said Abdur Rahman.
"Among them was
one of my closest friends, Saleem who hailed from
Rajasthan (a northwestern state of India). Both of us
shared the same room. During leisure time he narrated
the stories of Prophets of Islam and read out Hadeeth
(sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and
blessings of God be upon him).
trembled. I began to question myself. What would
happen to me after death? Will my sins put me in the
hellfire forever? I was afraid of punishment in the
grave for the sinners and non-believers," he recalled.
"I began to
spend sleepless nights. I knew it was time for me to
embrace Islam and become a true follower of Prophet
Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon
him. At last my lifelong search for truth ended here.
"The next day
morning I revealed my intention to embrace Islam to my
friend Saleem and other colleagues in the camp. There
was jubilation in the company. Everyone was happy,
they congratulated and hugged me.
"It was also the
system of universal brotherhood with no difference of
caste, color, creed or race that attracted me towards
Islam," Abdur Rahman said.
day a meeting with the members of the Cooperative
Office for Call and Guidance in Al-Batha, Riyadh, was
arranged. The Imam of the camp's mosque asked him to
say the Shahada.
"I recited La
ilaha illAllah Muhammad-ur-Rasool Allah
wholeheartedly, accepting Allah as my Lord and
Muhammad as His Messenger. The Imam suggested me to
change my name to Abdur Rahman, which I readily
Rahman was transferred to Bahra, a town located near
the Makkah-Jeddah highway. "The project engineer there
was very pleased to know I had embraced Islam. He was
very kind towards me and extended all help and
cooperation," Abdur Rahman said.
"But I wanted to
be closer to God. I prayed to God to transfer me to
Makkah. My prayers were answered and I was transferred
to the project I'm working on currently which is
located in close proximity of the Grand Mosque."
His main concern
now is his family back home.
"I now have a
big task before me: To take the message of Islam to my
family members." Abdur Rahman has a wife and two sons
– 16- and 7-years-old.
"I have told
them on phone that I have accepted the religion of
Islam and have become a Muslim. At first they did not
believe me. My wife told me she would decide only when
I return to India on vacation. Everyday I am making
Du'a and pleading God to guide them to the right path
and soften their hearts to accept Islam," said Abdur
Rahman with tears in his eyes.
"I may also face
lots of opposition from relatives, friends and
co-villagers. But I am determined to face them. I am
confident that God will help me," he added.
also had some words of advice for everyone else.
"I would like to
convey the message to all non-Muslims of the world to
accept Islam and be successful in this life and in the
hereafter. It also saddens me to see so many Muslims
not following the religion of Islam as preached by
Prophet of God. I appeal to them to stop imitating