Coming Back to Islam: A
German Diplomat's Journey
8, 1980, I drove up to Venusberg Hill in Bonn, site of the diplomatic training
school of the German Foreign Office, to participate in a seminar on Islam. At
that time, I had no idea that only two years later I would find myself as a
pilgrim to Makkah. The Magnitude of the turning point I was about to face in my
life did not begin to drawn upon me until I had a chance to reflect on the
astute lecture by my Muslim colleague, Muhammad Ahmad Hobohm, and got into a
conversation with another speaker, Imam Muhammad Ahmad Rassoul, the
German-Egyptian head of the Islamic publishing house in Cologne.
I showed him a 12-page
manuscript I had been fine tuning for quite some time. In view of my cousin's
upcoming 18th birthday, I had drafted it to record for him the few things I
considered unquestionably true - from a philosophical point of view.
Rassoul's reaction was
astonishing: If I really was convinced of what I had written down, then I was a
Muslim! At first, I hesitated to believe him, but he subsequently convinced me
when he asked for the rights to publish my paper as 'Philosophical Approach to
A few days later, on
September 25, 1980, I professed my faith: I bear witness that there is no
divinity besides Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's messenger.
Trying to give an account of
one's spiritual growth - leading up to such a crucial step - is a rather
Besides, many a greater mind
has failed in this attempt. Tempestuous Omar, later to be the 2nd Caliph, had
been violently persecuting the Muslims up until his sudden conversion. It is
impossible to fathom why, in the midst of a family feud, he was won over by
Islam upon reading the 20th Surah, Taha...
The same is true for the
fascinating book about Muhammad Asad's (a Jew) Road to Makkah, where the
experience of conversion is mentioned in but a few scant lines which also ae not
very illuminating to the skeptical reader. In one passage, he even claims to
have soaked up Islam as if it were by osmosis. A similar thing obviously
happened to Christian (Abdul-Hadi) Hoffman during his instant conversion, which
'struck out of the blue'.
I, too, had felt Islam's
magnetic attraction for many years, if not decades, because I felt
intellectually and emotionally so much at home with Islam as I had been there
following passage was extracted from Murad Hofmann's Journey
to Makkah, pp. 27-28