Reviewing by : A.J. Kassem

   It is important for the investigator of truth to understand the reasons for people embracing Islam in spite of the obstacles and dangers which surround the religion in recent times and in the Arab Peninsula centuries ago. The results of a recent survey in Saudi Arabia on 500 new Muslims indicated that the main reasons that lead them to embrace Islam were four:

1- The clarity of the Islamic creed and law.
2- The manners and good behavior that they encountered with Muslims.
3- The act of prayer and the importance that Muslims give to it.
4- The respect that Muslims give to ‘Isa (Jesus Christ)

Before looking for the true reasons that lead people to embrace Islam throughout history, we should take note of two things:

1- Islam was born in a climate of strong opposition in many forms such as refusal, suspicion, deformation, social and economical boycott, violence, torture, imprisonment, and killing.

2- The Prophet Mohammad didn't have any material offers or worldly incentives to offer people who accepted his invitation to follow the religion of Islam.

Before he converted to Islam, Abu Dhar Alghifari, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "We heard that a man from Makkah claims that he is a prophet and that he gets orders from Heaven". Then he said to his brother, Anas, who was an accomplished poet, “Go to Makkah, meet him, speak to him, listen to what he says, and then give me a report about him”. When Anas returned, he said, "I have heard the words of priests, but his words are different.  They are also different from poetry. I swear by Allah, he is truthful. I have seen a man who orders to do good and forbids evil". Abu Dhar was not satisfied with his brother's report, so he, himself, went to Makkah, met the Prophet, listened to him, accepted his message and became a Muslim. (narrated by Al-Bukhari)


An-Najashi, the 7th century king of AlHabasha, now known as Ethipia, asked Jafar ibn Abi Taleb, on behalf of the Muslims, “What is this religion that makes you leave your people but not convert to my religion?” Jafar said, “O king, we were ignorant idolaters. We used to eat dead carcasses, we did atrocities, broke family bonds, harmed our neighbors, and our strong oppressed the weak until Allah sent to us a Messenger from us. We know his lineage, truthfulness, loyalty, and chastity. He invited us to worship the One and only God, and to leave the idols and stones that our ancestors adored. He ordered us to tell the truth, be loyal, pay visits to our relatives, treat our neighbors well, and stop killing and injuring people.  He forbade us from doing atrocities, telling lies, taking the orphan's property unlawfully or to wasting it, and speaking badly about women. He also ordered us to worship Allah alone, not associate anything with Him and pray. We believed in him and we followed him based on what he brought" (narrated by Ahmed)

Islam has come as a way of life for people. It has come with a law that benefits people from all the walks of life, and give them the keys to the highest levels of existence. The verses of the Qur'an have an impact on people's lives and civilization.

Hercules, the king of the Romans at the time of the Prophet, asked his soldiers to bring him one of the Arab businessmen who came to his country for commerce to ask him about the prophet who sent him a personal letter asking him to convert to Islam. The soldiers found Abu Sufyan, a leader of the opposition to the the Prophet, with some other businessmen and brought them to the king. Hercules asked Abu Sufyan, “What does he ask you to do? Abu Sufyan answered, “He asks people to pray Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, give charity, tell the truth, be chaste, and keep good relations with relatives".

Since Hercules knew from the signs of prophecy in the Gospel of the coming of Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, he said to Abu Sufyan, “If what you say is true, he will rule this place which is now under my feet. I knew he was coming, but I never thought he would be one of you. If I knew, I would be loyal to him and would hope to meet him. If I were with him, I would wash his feet". (narrated by Al-Bukhari)


Abdullah ibn Salam, a scholar and leader of the Jews in that time, mentioned that the teachings of Islam and its greatness were the cause of his embracing Islam as he had read in the Torah about the appearance of the last prophet. He said, “When the Prophet arrived at AlMadinah, people hurried to him. When I saw him, I knew that his face was not a face of a liar. The first thing that I heard him say was, “O people, greet each other with peace (salam), feed the hungry, pay visits to your relatives, pray at night while people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise peacefully." (narrated by Ibn Majah)

The Arabs are people who are characterized by perceptive minds and strong memories. They value wisdom, generosity, faithfulness, confidence, courage, and patience. They lived in the desert as free as birds and as proud as lions. Nothing could change these people for the better except a religion so clear that it affected their minds, souls, moralities, and behavior. Allah, the Almighty said in the Quran:

{هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ} [الجمعة: 2]


"He is the one who sent among the unlettered ones (the Arabs) a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom. Indeed, they used to be in manifest error" (Al-Jumu'ah: 2).


Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “While we were sitting with the Prophet in the masjid, a man on a camel came in, made the camel kneel down, tied it to the masjid and then asked, “Who is Mohammad among you?” The Prophet was reclining. We said, “This mansitting down”. He said to him, “O son of Abdul-Muttalib”. The Prophet said, “Here I am”. The man said, “I am asking you firmly, so don't be angry”. The Prophet said, “Ask as you like”. The man said, “I ask you by your Lord and the Lord of the people before you - is it true that Allah has sent you to all people?” The Prophet said, “By Allah, yes”. The man said, “I ask you, by Allah, does Allah order us to pray five times a day?” The Prophet said, “By Allah, yes.” The man said, “I ask you, by Allah, does Allah order you that we should fast (the daylight hours of) a month in the year?” The Prophet said, “By Allah, yes”. The man said, “I ask you, by Allah, does Allah ask you to take alms from the rich and give it to the poor among us? The Prophet said, “By Allah, yes”. The man said, “I believe in what you preach and I am representative of my people. I am Dimam ibn Thaalabah from Bani Saad ibn Bakr”. (narrated by Al-Bukhari)

Regarding the role of good character in Islamic propagation, Allah, the Most High said about His prophet:


{وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ} [القلم: 4].


"And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character". (Al-Qalam:4)


The Prophet said, “I was sent to complete good manners". (narrated by Ahmed)

Safiyah bint Hoyayn, one of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “I have never seen anybody who behaves better than the Messenger of Allah". (narrated by AlTabarani)

The Prophet used to say, “The best people among you are the ones who behave the best” (narrated by AlBukhari).


He also said, "A person should behave with people as he likes them to behave with him". (narrated by Muslim)


Islam encourages generosity with a pure intention.  A person who truly wants to help people without wanting anything from them wins their hearts.

Allah says in the Quran:

{وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِيناً وَيَتِيماً وَأَسِيراً . إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاء وَلَا شُكُوراً} [سورة الإنسان 8 –9]


"And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Allah), to the the poor, the orphans, and the captives, (saying) "We feed you seeking Allah's Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you". (Al-Insan: 8, 9)


The Prophet said: “Refrain from coveting what is in this world, and allah will love you.  Refrain from coveting what is with other people, and other people will love you”. (narrated by Ibn Majah)

Consider, for example, the forgiveness of the Prophet of his tribe, Quraysh after he was given power over them at the conquest of Makkah.  These were people who committed injustices against him to the point of torturing and killing some of his friends and close family members. The Prophet forgave all of them in one of the greatest acts of humanity and tolerance. After he entered Makkah and cleaned the holy sanctuary of all traces of idol worship, he stood at the door of the Kaabah and said, "O people of Quraysh, what do you think I will do to you? They said, “Good things - you are a noble man, son of a noble man. He said, “Go, you are all free". (Seerah Ibn Hisham)


The worship of Muslims, especially prayer, had a great influence on people to embrace Islam. When a prisoner of war was brought back from Alnajd (modern day Riyadh) to the Prophet, the man eventually embraced Islam on his own accord. He was the ruler of a place called AlYamamah and his name was Thomamah ibn Athal. The Prophet gave him with some food that his wife had cooked and asked him, “What do you have to say, Thomamah?" He said, "I have all good, Mohammad. If you kill me, you kill a culprit, and if you free me I will be thankful. If you need money, ask what you please". The next day, the Prophet asked him, "What do you have to say, Thomamah?" He said, ''What I told you before; if you free me I will be thankful''. He left him until the day and asked him, "What do you have to say, Thomamah?" He said, ''I told you what I have''. Then the prophet said, "Let Thomamah free". So Thomamah walked not far from the masjid, washed, returned to the masjid and said: ''I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah. O Mohammad, by Allah, I never hated a face on earth more than I hated yours. Now your face has become the best of all faces for me. By Allah, I didn't hate a religion more than yours, but now your religion is the best for me. By Allah, I didn't hate a land more than yours, but now your land is the best for me". (narrated by AlBukhari)

Thomamah’s previous perception of Islam had been distorted by the false propaganda of the Makkan polytheists. When he was a prisoner, he had a chance to learn about Islam. He was affected by the way Muslims prayed five times in the masjid. He saw how Muslims treated each other and, above all, how well he was treated by the Prophet.

The Muslims believe in all of the prophets and messengers whose names were mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and by the Prophet Muhammad as well as those who were not mentioned including Ibrahim, Musa, David, Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. Their mission and source of revelation was one.

Allah, the Most High, said


{وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ .. (36) } [النحل: 36، 37]


“And verily, We have sent among every group of people a messenger (proclaiming), “Worship Allah (Alone) and avoid ( or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities i.e. do not worship Taghut beside Allah).".

From them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some who deserved to stray. So, travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). (36) If you want guidance, then, indeed, none can guide those whom Allah lets go astray." (An-Nahl 36, 37)


{يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِمَّا كُنْتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنَ اللَّه نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُبِينٌ }[المائدة: 15].


"O, people of the scripture - Our messenger has come to you explaining much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and ignore. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light and a clear book". (Al-Ma'idah 15)

The Muslims creed is moderate regarding Isa Ibn Maryam; between the Jews who neglect him and dispraise him, and the Christians who worship him. Muslims believe that he is one of the greatest prophets, born out of a miracle, and will return in the last days. His name appears in the Holy Qur'an eighteen times, whereas the name of Muhammad appears only four times. Jews and Christians who recognize the truth of the Islamic belief in ‘Isa as a prophet are naturally inclined to embrace Islam.

Allah says in the Quran,


}يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِنْهُ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ انْتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا (171)} [النساء: 171].

"O people of the Scripture - do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah but the truth. The Messiah Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam was a Messenger of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit created by Him, so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Don’t say three (gods), that is better for you. Allah is the One (and only) God), glory be to Him and exalted is He from having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the Heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs" (An-Nisa' 171)


The four aspects of Islam that influence people to it mentioned in this article is not an all-inclusive list. The person who considers the reasons for people choosing Islam as a religion will find that all of them are connected to the Qur'an. It is the greatest miracle that Allah gave to Prophet Muhammad and he exemplified it with his noble character and dedication to the truth.

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