It was a summer day.
The golden sun had lit the late afternoon sky, its rays piercing between the branches of the tree that stood in front of me.
It was a favorite spot of mine to sit, at the walkway that led to the front porch steps of my house. Not hot nor cold, I wished the weather would be like this every day.
I enjoyed the occasional soft breeze as it would ruffle the leaves of the tree. It mimicked the sounds of ocean waves crashing.
From both ends of the city block, I could hear the breeze scrape leaves against the pavement with occasional interruptions of footsteps.
Twirling a leaf in my hand, I would enter into a soothing trance. But today, it would not last for long.
The screeching of brakes interrupted the rhythmic passing of cars in the street.
A car had made a sudden stop parallel to the tree. I stopped twirling. Trance broken, I looked on as the car door opened at a forty-five-degree angle. The windows seemed to be tinted, I wondered who the driver was.
The pages of a magazine fluttered as it flew out of the car.
It landed on the pavement and slid towards the tree. The car then sped off. I wondered if the magazine fell out of the car by accident and if the driver would circle the block to pick it up.
The magazine’s cover had illuminating colors that blended with the sunlit sky. Maybe the driver was done with the magazine and wanted to get rid of it or let someone else read it, I thought.
My eyes fixated on the magazine as the breeze periodically edged it closer to me. Minutes passed and the driver did not come.
By now, I had convinced myself that I should pick up the magazine and quench my curiosity. I walked over and lifted the magazine off the ground.
I looked at the cover as I held the magazine in my hand under the tree.
There was a cool bearded man with long hair, his arm extended with confidence but humbly bent, smiling at those around him.
I glanced at the title and it read “The Watchtower”. I took the magazine to my room and skimmed through the pages. One name that kept coming up was “Jesus”, and how we had to have him part of our life.
As a youngster, my ‘Google’, in the days before the internet, was my mom. I walked down the stairs and headed towards the kitchen. Standing at its entrance I asked:
“Mom, who’s Jesus?”
She was at the sink, washing dishes. She turned her head and said:
“He is one of the Prophets.”
I was surprised. It was the first time I was introduced to the Prophet Jesus. I had known about Muhammad, Moses, Noah, and a few others, but not Jesus. “I have this magazine that says he is the Messiah”, I said in an inquisitive tone.
“Yes, we believe he is the Messiah and he will return”, she said. I felt a sense of relief, I wasn’t missing out on this cool bearded person. We believe in him. A few years later, during my senior year in high school, my dad was watching TV while having tea.
As I walked past the room, he signaled for me to sit down. I looked at the TV screen and there was a white-bearded man speaking with an accent, I thought to myself:
“This is going to be one boring lecture.”
I reluctantly sat and started to listen to what the man had to say. My dad’s signal for me to sit changed the course of my life, forever.
It took me a few minutes to understand the man’s accent. He was talking about questions that came across my mind before, but I never pursued their answers.
He gave answers to questions I was asked by visitors at my front door on Sunday mornings. He spoke about Jesus in detail, who was he and who he was not. He went into detail about the Quran and the Bible, quoting directly from their texts.
The more I listened, the more I wanted to listen. The speaker was Ahmed Deedat. I got hold of every VHS tape I could of Ahmed Deedat’s lectures and memorized much of them.
My Sunday morning visits were never the same anymore. I was actually able to have a discussion with my visitors about Jesus Christ.
It was very interesting to me that my belief in Islam and the Prophet Muhammad had led me to believe and revere Jesus Christ.
My ancestors came from India, who were originally Hindus. It was Islam that brought Jesus Christ into the lives of my ancestors when they chose to embrace Islam.
What parts of the world would never have heard of Jesus Christ if Islam was not embraced?