Why did you change from Bohra?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I am going in your personel life ,I know before you were Bohra ,So can u tell us what make you change from that & also can you write about how you got all this knowledge & how much time it took to get all this knowledge & the place where u learned all this things.I am sure you will reply this question.
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Why did you change from Bohra?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah is my witness, that whatever I am about to tell you about my personal life is absolutely true. The story is not sensational, nor is it one of a sudden change of heart, nor is it one particular incident which made me turn to Allah in repentance! It is just a simple, humane story and experience!
Allah has indeed blessed me with every possible nehmah there can be a healthy life, enough rizk, God-fearing wife, obedient and healthy children, brothers and sisters, parents, there is not a nehmah that I can think of which Allah has not blessed me with. And above all, Allah guided me to read and understand the Holy Quran and thus leave all the other beings that we bowed down to, and brought me to understand who our Creator is, and what are His Rights on His slaves.
I was born in a devoutly obedient Bohra family. My late father was given the laqab of sheikh by the leadership when I was probably an infant, thus I do not recollect the date. He spent all his life and probably all his wealth in the service of the daawat. He used to do regular ziyaafats in our house, which obviously was considered a big deal at that time Our whole lives revolved around the Syedna and his families, and my father was very close to some of the bhaisahebs and they were regular visitors to our place. Every year our holidays revolved around doing the ziyaarahs of all the graves of the past Dais in India. We basically grew up in a devoutly believing Bohra family attended every waaz in Aashura, attended regular prayers and the big nights in Ramadan, regularly visited the Raudat Tahera, went to the madrasa in Badri Mahal, etc. That was predominantly my Bohra knowledge base, and I just believed everything I heard in the waaz, even if it did not make sense. I was even enrolled to attend the Jamiat-us-Safiya in Surat, but due to some circumstances, I did not attend it. My parents used to force us to pray, and read Quran, etc. , but because I did not understand anything anyways, I just tried to avoid praying regularly. Just did all the basics and always tried to stay away from trouble. Whenever I asked any question to either my parents or my elders, they always rebuked me basically I was told to shut up and obey the Syedna, and believe like they believed that he will guide us to Paradise.
I was yet in my youth, but I always remembered my elders talking between themselves about the bhaisahebs and how each of them was trying to extort more and more money from them in different ways, and almost always got away with it. I also sat through several of the negotiations which were done prior to the salaam of the Syedna in the ziyaafats, and could clearly see that these people were more interested in money, than the actual deen. But I was too young, and had absolutely no knowledge just followed my father and my elders blindly and believed in everything they believed in, without ever using my common-sense or getting any guidance from the Holy Quran.
When I was about 18 years old, a muslim friend invited me to come to his house for an Islamic lecture from the Holy Quran. I was so engrained in the beliefs which I was taught from childhood, that I was absolutely closed to any ideas or knowledge which was not with the so called raza of the leadership. We were taught from childhood that the Quran is a Book which cannot be understood by us, and it was the sole monopoly of the Syedna and his family. Only they were authorized by Allah to understand it, and if we tried to understand it, like the other muslims, we too would be mis-guided! I was taught that each aayah of the Quran has several meanings, and each aayah has hidden meanings (taaweel) which we just could not comprehend.
Anyways, I attended this lecture at my friends house. The person giving the lecture read one of the Surahs from the Last Chapter and gave a lecture giving meanings for each word and each aayah. It was really refreshing and interesting for me to hear the meanings of the Quran. The lecture was set in a very informal atmosphere, unlike the waaz and darees I was used to going. After the lecture, the scholar asked if we had any questions on the subject or anything else in Islam. I was never allowed to ask any questions to the Bohra aamils or leadership or scholar, and this gave me a good opportunity to vent my questions on Islam. The scholar was extremely learned and a very kind and gentle man, who accepted any sort of questions with patience and answered each of them with hikmah and wisdom, always giving evidence from the Holy Quran, which obviously was irrefutable because whatever the Holy Quran says makes absolute logic and is acceptable to every person who has basic common-sense.
But I was so engrained in my ignorance from the little knowledge gained at the waaz, that I challenged the scholar in almost everything he said. I said that we Bohras were on the Right Path, and everything he was saying was incorrect!! The scholar tried to explain giving evidence from the Holy Quran, who Allah is, what are His Attributes, who is the Messenger of Allah (saws), what was his mission, and what kind of people will go to Paradise and what kind of people will go to Hell Fire all according to the Quran. But since I did not have an iota of knowledge from the Quran, and all my knowledge was from the waaz and here-say of the Bohras, I just kept on challenging him without any knowledge. But the scholar kept on answering all my questions with patience, no matter how rude or challenging they were and never ever showed any dissent! He regularly asked me to show him evidence, either from the Quran or the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws). And obviously I was not able to produce any! My only answer used to be that our Maula and our bhaisaheb does this and says this. And he used to say, I respect your Maula, but I also know that he is not the Creator of this Universe Allah is! and This Quran is His Book of guidance .. and He has appointed the Messenger Mohamed ar Rasool Allah (saws) . And your Maula is not the Master of the Day of Qiyaamah.. All his arguments were always based on the Quran and obviously I could not say anything to challenge the Quran.
I then started attending these weekly lectures from the Holy Quran regularly, although now I realize, I just closed my heart to the guidance of the Quran . And did not believe a word he said against my Bohra beliefs. I must have attended the weekly classes for almost 2 years and everytime I used to challenge everything he said, always believing in what the Syedna and the bhaisahebs had said! It came to a point where I used to get upset and was even rude at times but this scholar never showed an iota of dissent, and treated me better than most of the other listeners! He used to always tell me to read the Quran, but I always refused, saying that we were not allowed by the Bohra leadership, and would never read without the raza of the Syedna.
One day this scholar came to me in private, and by this time, I obviously started liking this brother for his patience, his wisdom, his straight-forwardness, his clarity of thinking, his manners, his politeness and his humbleness. Over the years he had not asked me for anything not even a dime! But this time, he told me to give him about $6.00. I did not know why he was asking me for this sum, but I gave it to him. He then gave me the translation of the Holy Quran in English and told me to read it, and clarified that the only reason he took the $6.00, was so that he would buy another Quran and give to another muslim who was away from the clear guidance of the Holy Quran. I took the Quran, because now I had paid for it, and kept in on my shelf for another six months without touching it. I was just too scared of touching it and to read it with understanding. I was happy with my lot, and Shaitaan made me believe that life was going on fine without the guidance of the Quran and then I had the promises made to us in the waaz by the Syedna, which I had heard myself, that he will be our intercessor and take us by our hands to Paradise! Thus both my life, and my hereafter were taken care of .
Subsequently, in one of the Quran lectures, the topic of shirk arose and the question-answer session with the scholar got heated and voices were raised. Believe it or not, this was about a 4-5 hour question-answer session, and it seemed that the scholar and I were just on the opposite sides. I kept on telling him that our Syedna is right, and He kept on saying that show me some evidence from the Quran. This is when, I took up the challenge and told the scholar that I would bring him the evidence from the Holy Quran !!
I went home, and prayed to Allah to guide me to the Truth, and started reading the Quran. I was looking to justify my beliefs as a Bohra and win the argument with the scholar.not trying to understand the Quran and get guidance. I read the Quran with a passion, and was desperately seeking some evidence that whatever we were taught as Bohras and whatever our forefathers were following was right! I came to the aayahs where Allah says that these people worship other beings, and I used to think, yes, we bow down in sajdah to the Syedna, but we do not really worship him! I came to the aayahs where Allah says that we have to pray to Him directly and ask Him for everything that we need and I used to justify that by saying, it is always Allah we are asking, but through the Syedna and other intermediaries! Everytime I came to any aayah which went against our Bohra beliefs, I used to try and somehow justify them.
I must have read a few Surah of the Holy Quran about 14 Surahs upto Surah Ibrahim! By now, Allah had closed all the doors of shirk and it was absolutely air-tight! There is just absolutely no place for any sort of shirk in the Glorious Quran! And I had absolutely no doubt that what our forefathers had taught us, and what the Syedna and the bhaisahebs taught us in the waaz had nothing to do with the Holy Quran They just told us the History of Islam rather than teach us anything from the Holy Quran itself. I was in a huge dilemma! And I remember I started crying profoundly in the solitude of the night!
I had to choose between what I was taught in the Bohra school since childhood, or I had to believe what the Quran was guiding towards. They were at absolutely two different ends of beliefs. One was a lie and the other the Truth! But the choice was basically simple: Allah only speaks the Truth, and anything that is against the Quran must be a lie. And I chose to live my life according to the principles and guidance from the Quran. Thus I immediately turned to Allah in repentance and begged for His Forgiveness and His Mercy.
This is when I really started reading. I read the Quran translation which was in one-volume! Then I got the translation of the Quran which was much more detailed and in six huge volumes, and Alhamdolillah, I read them all. I read translations by other authors I read with a passion anything and everything which was Islamic and from the Quran. And Allah, in His Sublime Mercy and Grace made the understanding of the Quran easy for me. I now believed everything the Quran said, and if anyone had any opinion, he must base it from the Quran. If not, then it was not the truth. The Truth is what Allah says in the Quran and anything that goes against the Quran, must be a lie.
The more I read, the more I realized how ignorant I was! This was an ocean of knowledge, and everytime I read the Quran, I would understand and comprehend a little more of it. I honestly do not remember now how many times I must have read the Quran with understanding in my life . And everytime I read it, Allah opens my heart a little more towards its understanding. There is absolutely no other book in the world, which one can read a thousand times, and still find it interesting, and still gain more knowledge from it! The Quran is absolutely incomparable and why not? These are the very words which the All Wise, All Knowing has revealed for the guidance of all mankind until the end of time!
But one thing I learned for sure the first time I finished reading the Glorious Quran with understanding: that no one can misguide anyone in Islam, if he has read the Quran, even only once!
Its been now about 13 years since I took the Quran as my guide and the Quran makes you realize that you are neither a Shia, nor a Sunni, nor a Bohri. You are a muslim! The Quran is still my only source of guidance, and I read a couple of Surahs almost every single day. And I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I am a student at the kindergarten stage of gaining knowledge in Islam!
And the noor and guidance of the Holy Quran is such that whoever is blessed with it, he just cannot help spreading this knowledge to whoever wants to listen to good caution. Once I had finished reading the Quran, I urged my immediate family members to read and understand the Quran. Obviously, I was treated with a lot of skepticism and antagonism by my family, but that never deterred me from telling them the Truth from the Quran. Suddenly, I had the answers for everything from the Quran, where as the others were just believing in here-say, and could not prove any of their beliefs from the Quran. Over the years, Allah blessed half my family to read and understand the Quran and become true muslims and the other half became more and more opposed to the understanding of the Quran. May Allah have mercy on them and guide them to read and understand the Holy Quran.
From my little experience in this battle between Truth and falsehood, I have realized that it is always the elderly and the women of the family who are the foremost in their opposition to the understanding of the Quran and to change their set ways even though they may realize the Truth! May Allah have mercy on them and guide them to the Truth.
The only duty Allah has laid on the believers is to invite the others to Islam
Allah says in the Holy Quran: Chapter 16, Surah An-Nahl Ayat 125: Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and excellent admonition and argue with people in the best manner. Your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Way and who is Rightly guided.
To guide or leave astray is in the Power and Domain of Allah Subhanah Alone..
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 28 Surah Qasas verse 56: You cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whomever He Pleases. And He best knows those who would accept guidance.
Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah, and everything is hymning His Praise. If all the humans of this world believed and hymned His Praise, it would not make an iota of difference in Allahs Position and Might! And if all the humans of this world dis-believed and invoked others instead of Allah, it would not make an iota of difference in Allahs Position and Might! He is indeed Independent and self Praise-worthy, and stands in no need of anybody or anything else! He is the One, the Unique, the All Mighty, the All Powerful, the Incomparable! We are in desperate need of Him for everything, and He is absolutely Independent and The All Mighty!
This is the simple and humble story of my reversion to my Creator! And I turn to Him Alone in Repentance. I have left the invocation of everything else, and turned to Him Alone for everything! I have left the people who do sajdah to animate and non-animate objects, and have come to do sajdah to the Lord of the Worlds Alone! I left far behind the degradation of being recognized at Abd-Syedna, and am proud to be recognized as Abd-Allah! Allah Alone is the One Who gave me my life, He Alone is the One Who will ordain my death, He Alone is the One Who will raise us all back to life again, and He Alone is the One Who, I hope, will forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgement! Thus to Him Alone I have turned in repentance.
May Allah help us, guide us, and forgive us our sins. May Allah give us the courage to read and understand the Glorious Quran; and leave the invocation and worship of men and graves, and come to the worship of our Lord and Creator, Allah Subhanah wa Taala Alone!
May Allah guide you and us to read and understand the simple and plain words of the Glorious Quran. May Allah increase our knowledge from the Holy Quran. May Allah guide us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,