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An Ex-Jewish Rabbi Explains What Led Him to Islam

Every person has a different way of coming to the Truth. For Moisha Krivitsky this way led through a faculty of law, a synagogue.  The lawyer-to-be becomes a Rabbi, then he converts to Islam.

Today Musa (Moisha Krivitsky) lives in a small mosque in Al-Burikent, a mountain area of Makhachkala, and works as a watchman in the Central Juma mosque.

Interviewer: Did you find the way to Islam easily?

Musa: With great difficulty. It was hard then, and it isn’t much easier now. When you go deeply into Islam and its inner meaning, you understand that this religion is very simple, but the way that leads to it may be extremely difficult. Often, people don’t understand how a person could be converted into Islam from the other side, as it were. But there are no other sides here.  Islam is everything there is both what we imagine and what we don’t imagine.

Interviewer: Musa, as a matter of fact, we were given this fact as a certain sensation: a Rabbi has turned Muslim.

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Musa: Well, it has been no sensation for quite a long while already – it’s more than a year that I did this.  It was strange for me at first, too.  But it wasn’t an off-the-cuff decision.  When I came into Islam, I had read books about it, I had been interested.

Interviewer: Did you finish any high school before coming to the synagogue?

Musa: Yes, I finished a clerical high school.  After graduation, I came to Makhachkala, and became the local Rabbi.

Interviewer: And where did you come from?

Musa: Oh, from far away.  But I have already become a true Daghestani, I have got a lot of friends here – both among Muslims and people who are far from Islam.

Interviewer: Let’s return to your work in the synagogue.

Musa: It was quite a paradoxical situation: There was a mosque near my synagogue, the town mosque.  Sometimes my friends who were its parishioners would come to me – just to chat. I sometimes would come to the mosque myself, to see how the services were carried out. I was very interested. So we lived like good neighbors. And once, during Ramadan, a woman came to me and asked me to comment the Russian translation of the Quran made by Krachkovsky.

Interviewer: She brought the Quran to you – a Rabbi?!

Musa: Yes, and she asked me to give her the Torah to read in return. So I tried to read that translation of the Quran – about ten times.

It was really hard, but gradually I began to understand, and to get a basic notion of Islam.

Interviewer: Musa, and when you were reading the translation, you must have begun to compare it with the Torah?

Musa: I had found answers to many questions in the Quran.  Not to all of them, of course, because it wasn’t the Arabic original, but the translation. But I had begun to understand things.

Interviewer: Does it mean that you couldn’t find some answers in Judaism?

Musa: There is Allah’s will in everything. Apparently, those Jews who became Muslims in the times of the Prophet, couldn’t find some answers in Judaism, but found them in Islam.

Perhaps, they were attracted by the personality of the Prophet, his behavior, his way of communicating with people. It’s an important topic.

Interviewer: And what exactly were the questions that you couldn’t find answers to in Judaism?

Musa: Before I came into contact with Islam, there were questions which I had never even tried to find answers to.  Probably, an important part here had been played by a book written by Ahmad Deedat comparing the Quran and the Bible.

There is a key phrase, well-known to those who are familiar with religious issues: e.g. Follow the Prophet who is yet to come. And when I studied Islam, I understood that the Prophet Muhammad is the very Prophet to be followed. Both the Bible and the Torah tell us to do it. I haven’t invented anything here.

Interviewer: And what does the Torah say about the Prophet?

Musa: We wont be able to find this name in the Torah. But we can figure it out using a special key. For example, we can understand what god this or that particular person in history worships. The formula describing the last Prophet (peace be upon him) is that he would worship One God, the Sole Creator of the world. The Prophet Muhammad matches this description exactly.

When I read this, I got very interested. I hadn’t known anything about Islam before that. Then I decided to look deeper into the matter and see whether there were any miracles and signs connected with the name of the Prophet.

The Bible tells us that the Lord sends miracles to the prophets to confirm their special mission in people’s eyes.

I asked the scholars about this, and they said: Here’s a collection of true hadiths which describe the miracles connected with the Prophet. Then I read that the Prophet had always said that there had been prophets and messengers before him.

We can find their names both in the Torah and in the Bible.

Should I understand you, Musa, that you now feel a great responsibility for becoming a Muslim, or do you have some other feelings?

Yes, responsibility, but something else as well. I can’t put my finger on it now. When a person knows Islam well, he’s got both his feet firmly on the ground. Islam helps a person understand who he is, where he comes from, what he is there for.

The Quran tells us not everyone believes. We have to face that it’s predestined and we can do nothing about it. What we have to do is tell the truth about Islam, to show it by our own example.

Interview taken by Laila Husyainova

Abridged from