Saturday, February 28, 2009

Challenges of Becoming Muslims - Last Week's Talk at the Muslim Converts' Association

Many years ago when he was 19 years old and in the Army, a Muslim convert sergeant by the name of Fauzi Rodriguez advised Mudpie to make himself useful and volunteer at the Muslim Converts' Association on weekends instead of going out and falling down drunk like most soldier boys. Mudpie was bored, and sauntered down to the then-newly formed Muslim Converts' Association, and helped them to do what he was used to doing - carrying heavy objects and arranging them where needed.
Mudpie was stuck.
He volunteered from then on, and counts some of his best friendships from his association with Darul Arqam (that's the Association's Muslim name).
There was a teacher there who taught what was called a "Beginners' Class on Islam". He was a university graduate from my university, spoke English well, and yet was traditionally trained in Islamic religious studies. He was passionate about bringing the message of Islam to non-Muslims, and also as much, to Muslims who needed a different pitch. Mudpie was his trainee and student, and he was Mudpie's mentor.
Many years later, Ustaz Zulkeflee left Darul Arqam and went over to Pergas. We kept in touch, although less frequently, until Mudpie helped out in the driving-and-carrying duties for a series of talks on Islamic Thought and Civilisation conducted by Pergas and ISTAC. This was Mudpie's introduction to Pergas, which inducted him into another, different world.
Ustaz Zulkeflee later fell ill with a stroke, and could not talk or move.
So it was with much happiness that Mudpie discovered Ustaz Zul was back, and giving a talk last Friday. Although the thrust and content was not a surprise to him, Mudpie was happy just to go and see the man who had, at a critical juncture of Mudpie's life, helped him take the other, less trodden, path.
May God bless Ustaz Zul and give him health and strength always.

Here is the presentation from his talk, with his kind permission.


1 comment:

Percicilan said...

I had the same path.
Only that I came to Pheng Geck as a geeky 14 years old.
Kind of made friends with the next door's neighbour's alsation dog 'Roza' who will always be at the side while Ustaz Zhul teach, as though listening together.

I miss that terrace house. And Ust Zhul. And the youth room. And the swing. And the... ahhh memories..and yes, Roza. Hidup lagi ke tak anjing tu. Long after Pheng Geck house no longer belonged to Darul I actually went back to visit Roza.. hehe