Riyadh: Six men and four women reverted to Islam during the recent public lecture by Zakir Naik at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh.
Addressing the non-Muslim participants, Naik said: “The best decision of your life is choosing the right religion. Accepting Islam as a way of life is very simple. You have to pronounce the Shahada declaring ‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger’.”
Speaking to Arab News, some of the reverts spoke about the events that led to their decision of coming back into the fold of Islam.
Catherine Villahermosa, from the Philippines who has been in the Kingdom since 2010, said: “My Saudi employer presented a copy of the Holy Qur’an in my native language after noticing my interest in Islam. I started reading it and gradually began to understand the essence of the divine revelation. I listened to the call of my heart and decided to embrace Islam.”
Hanadi Mohammed, the Saudi sponsor of Villahermosa, said: “I have waited here the whole day to be with Catherine in her life-changing moment when she pronounces the Shahada. I am very happy for her.”
Another Saudi sponsor, Maha Al-Khatib, took along Jeneline Mimita, her non-Muslim domestic help, to listen to Naik’s talk.
“Even though Jeneline maintains her Christian faith, we never know whom Allah chooses to guide toward the right path tomorrow.”
Jeneline, who has been in the Kingdom for only three months, asked Naik, “How does the reference of Mary in the Bible and Miriam in Islam differ if both describe the same incidences.”
“We, Muslims, believe in loving and respecting all Prophets of Allah, including Prophet Jesus, and the messages that were revealed to them by Allah.”
Giovannie Bouzan, a nurse at King Saud Chest Hospital who preferred to pronounce her Shahada in the privacy of female volunteers from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) said: “At my workplace, I was touched by the polite and respectful behavior of the patients, doctors and other Muslims. Initially, I read a lot of Islamic booklets and propagation literature available at the bookstands at hospitals and wanted to know more about Islam. Soon I found myself reading the Qur’an in English and also started to fast during Ramadan. I even bought the Qur’an in English as a gift for my family and friends in the Philippines. Alhamdulillah, I am very happy to pronounce that I am a Muslim by faith, today.”
Fatima Mendoza, who reverted to Islam three years ago, enrolled herself with the Islamic Online University and has been continuously learning and knowing about Islam. Mendoza accompanied another sister from the Philippines, Nabe Muhi, to Naik’s lecture.
Muhi, who was a Christian when she arrived in the Kingdom in May 2013, said that she developed an interest in Islam and, with the help of her Muslim friends, started reading the Qur’an and listening to Muslim scholars. “In Islam I have found many answers that have guided me toward the light,” she said.