List of converts to Islam

List of converts to Islam

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The following is a list of notable people who converted to Islam from a different religion or no religion. This article addresses only past professions of faith by the individuals listed, and is not intended to address ethnic, cultural, or other considerations. Such cases are noted in their list entries.

At this juncture, it is appropriate to indicate that it is central to Islamic belief that every human being born into this world is a Moamen. It is the upbringing of the child by the parents that keeps the child to practice or not practice Iman as a mature teenager. If someone comes into the fold of Islam, he/she has technically reverted to Islam, rather than converted to Islam. Hence, it is better to refer to conversions as reversions.

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[edit] From Abrahamic religions

[edit] From Christianity

Yusuf Estes, a convert to Islam, is the National Muslim Chaplain for Muslim Americans.[1]

Claude Alexandre de Bonneval as Humbaracı Ahmet Paşa

Jimmy Cliff, Jamaican reggae musician

Muhammad Ali- a convert to Islam.

Malcolm X- famous Muslim convert and civil rights leader

Timothy Winter at Al-Hidayah (26 August 2007)

Chris Eubank British boxer

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Former Jewish actress, Leila Mourad

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  • Leila MouradEgyptian singer and actress who rose to fame in the 1940s and 1950s.[169]
  • Leopold Weiss or Muhammad Asad see below.
  • Lev Nussimbaum – prolific author on the topics of Middle East and Russian history; the Nazi propaganda ministry included his works on their list of “excellent books for German minds” before discovering he was an ethnic Jew. [170]

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Mgumbe Gumbatiqua Former Porn star

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[edit] From Dharmic religions

[edit] From Buddhism

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Parameswara (sultan) the Palembang prince of Hindu descent.

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See also: List of Sahaba

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West African leader Samori Ture who fought European colonialism

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Ice Cube, famous rapper , actor, screenwriter and director.

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Francis Bok a Sudanese ex-slave forced to convert to Islam

  • Anusim of Meshhad, Jewish community in 1839. Most continued Jewish practices in secret and many of their descendents returned to Judaism in the early 20th century.[317]
  • Francis BokSudanese-American activist, from Christianity; later returned to his Christian faith.[318]
  • Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig – while Ramattan TV showed footage of the two converting, both denied the conversion, explaining they had made statements on a gunpoint.[319] According to Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, professor of sociology and history at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, also denies that any valid conversion took place.[320]
  • Joseph ben Judah ibn Aknin – 12th century Jewish philosopher, forcibly converted by Almohads, lived as crypto-Jew.[321]
  • Sabbatai Zevi – convert from Judaism, 17th century mystic, pseudo-Messiah and the self-proclaimed “King of Jews”. Converted ostensibly of his own free will as “Aziz Mehmed Effendi“, in September 15, 1666 while in prison. Although, some speculate that he may have been executed for treason had he not converted,[322] Muslim authorities were opposed to his death.[323] He lived his remaining ten years as a public Muslim favoured by the Sultan. Some of his Sabbatean followers became the Donmeh, who behave externally as Muslims.
  • Jacob Frank – publicly converted to Islam in 1757[322] and to Christianity in Poland but actually presented himself as the Messiah of a syncretic derivation of Shabbatai Zevi‘s Messianism.
  • Omar SharifAcademy Award-nominated Egyptian actor who has starred in many Hollywood films. He converted formally to Islam in the 1960s to marry a Muslim woman, however at present he does not follow any religion.[324]
  • Abdul Rahman al-Iryani, President of North Yemen from 1967 to 1974; converted to Islam as a child.[325]

24 December 2008

Zakir Naik

Zakir Naik

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Zakir Naik

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik
Full name Zakir Abdul Karim Naik
Birth October 18, 1965 (1965-10-18) (age 43)
Mumbai, India Flag of India

Zakir Abdul Karim Naik (born: October 18, 1965) is an Indian public speaker, and writer on the subject of Islam and comparative religion. By profession, he is a medical doctor, attaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from Maharashtra, but since 1991 he has focused only on preaching Islam.[1]

Zakir Naik is also the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF)[1][2] —a non-profit organization that owns and broadcasts the free-to-air TV channel network Peace TV from Mumbai, India and he is also the founder of the Islamic International School in Mumbai, India.

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[edit] Biography

Zakir Naik was born on October 18, 1965 in Mumbai, India and is of Konkani descent.[3] He attended St. Peter’s High School (ICSE) in the city of Mumbai. Later he joined the Kishinchand Chellaram College and then studied medicine at Topiwala National Medical College and Nair Hospital in Mumbai. He then received his MBBS degree from the University of Mumbai. In 1991 he gave up his activity as a medical doctor and started working in the field of Da’wah or proselytizing of Islam[4]

Naik says he was inspired by the late Ahmed Deedat[5] who had himself been active in the field of Da’wah for more than forty years[6]. According to Naik, his goal is to “concentrate on the educated Muslim youth who have become apologetic about their own religion and have started to feel that their own religion is outdated”[7] and that it was the duty of every Muslim to remove “misconceptions” about Islam to counter what he considers as the Western media’s anti-Islamic bias in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the United States. [8] He has lectured and authored several books on Islam and Comparative religion[9] as well as those directed towards removing “misconceptions” about Islam.[10][11] Some of his articles are also frequently published in Indian magazines like the Islamic Voice.[12][13][14]

Thomas Blom Hansen, a sociologist who held academic positions at various universities, has written that Naik’s style of memorizing some portions of the Qur’an and hadith literature in various languages, and travelling abroad to debate Islam with theologians, has made him extremely popular in Muslim circles. Although he usually speaks to audiences of several hundreds, it is the videotapes of his talks which are widely distributed. His talks are usually recorded in English, to be broadcast at weekends on several cable networks in Mumbai’s Muslim neighborhoods,[7] and on the channel Peace TV, which he co-promotes. [2][15] Topics he speaks on include: “Islam and Modern Science”, “Islam and Christianity”, and “Islam and secularism”, among others.[7]

[edit] Lectures, debates and controversies

Delivering a lecture titled Why Westerners embrace Islam in November 2002 at the at King Fahd Hospital auditorium in Jeddah, Zakir Naik argued that Islam offers practical solutions to various problems facing the West such as adultery, alcoholism and filial ingratitude. Naik also stated that “despite the strident anti-Islam campaign, 34,000 Americans have embraced Islam from September 2001 to July 2002.” He cites a report published in the Time Magazine which said that about 60,000 books on Islam and the Orient have been written between 1800 and 1950 alone. [16] [17]

In 2004, Naik visited New Zealand[18] and then Australian capitals at the invitation of Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia. In his conference in Melbourne; according to journalist Sushi Das, “Naik extolled the moral and spiritual superiority of Islam and lampooned other faiths and the West in general”, adding that Naik’s words “fostered a spirit of separateness and reinforced prejudice”. [19] Khushwant Singh, a prominent Indian journalist, argues that Naik’s pronouncements are “juvenile” and said that “they seldom rise above the level of undergraduate college debates, where contestants vie with each other to score brownie points”.[20][21] Political Analyst Khaled Ahmed considers that Zakir Naik, by his claims of Islam’s superiority over other religious faiths, practices what he calls reverse Orientalism. [22] In a lecture at Melbourne University, Naik argued that only Islam, gave women true equality.[23] He stressed the importance of the headscarf by arguing that “revealing Western dress” makes women more susceptible to rape.[24] Naik asserted that about 2700 rapes took place daily in the United States. Under Islam, he said, a man who raped a woman was punished with the death penalty.[23]

In August 2006, Naik’s visit and conference in Cardiff (UK) were the object of controversy when Welsh MP David Davies called for his appearance to be cancelled. He described him as a ‘hate-monger’, and said his views did not deserve a ‘public platform'; Muslims from Cardiff, however, defended Naik’s right to speak in their city. Saleem Kidwai, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, disagreed with Davies, stating that “people who know about him (Naik) know that he is one of the most uncontroversial persons you could find. He talks about the similarities between religions, and how should we work on the common ground between them”, whilst also inviting Davies to discuss further with Naik personally in the conference. The conference went ahead, after the Cardiff council stated it was satisfied that he would not be preaching extremist views.[25][26] Following a lecture by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006, Naik offered to engage in a live public debate with him, but the Pope has not responded to this invitation.[27][28]

In November 2007, the IRF organized a 10-day international Islamic conference and exhibition titled The Peace Conference at the Somaiya grounds in Mumbai. Lectures on Islam were presented by Naik as well as twenty other speakers.[29] During one of the lectures, Naik provoked anger amongst members of the Shia communities at the conference when he mentioned the words “Radiallah ta’la anho” (meaning ‘May Allah be pleased with him’) after mentioning the name of Yazid I and made remarks that the battle of Karbala was political.[29][30] Others however believed the comment was blown out of proportion.[31].

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Islamic Research Foundation – Introduction (Dr. Zakir Naik)
  2. ^ a b Mazumdar, Sudip (2006-01-23). “Beaming In Salvation”. Newsweek International. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10854375/site/newsweek/.
  3. ^ Zakir Naik
  4. ^ http://drzakirnaik.com/Home/AboutMe/tabid/54/Default.aspx – Biography of Dr. Zakir Naik from DrZakirNaik.com (A website constructed by his students)
  5. ^ Spreading God’s Word Is His Mission – Arab News
  6. ^ Muslims Mourn Ahmed Deedat, IslamOnline.net, August 8, 2005
  7. ^ a b c Hansen, Thomas (2001) (in English). Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay. Princeton University Press. p. 177. ISBN 0-691-08840-3.
  8. ^ Media Urged to Counter Anti-Muslim Bias – Arab news, Sunday 9 October 2005
  9. ^ Ten Most Common Questions asked by Christian Missionaries against Islam by Dr. Zakir Naik on IRF.net
  10. ^ Books Authored by Dr. Zakir Naik
  11. ^ FAQs on Islam by Dr. Zakir Naik
  12. ^ Prohibition of Alcohol in Islam – Islamic Voice
  13. ^ Was Islam Spread by the Sword? – by Dr. Zakir Naik
  14. ^ Are Ram And Krishna Prophets Of God? – Islamic Voice
  15. ^ Syed Neaz Ahmad (February 23, 2007). “Peace TV Reaching 50 Million Viewers – Dr. Zakir Naik”. Saudi Gazette. http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25960&Itemid=146. Retrieved on 2007-05-18.
  16. ^ New Muslims on the rise in US after Sept. 11
  17. ^ Time Magazine, Islam, Orientalism And the West; Monday, Apr. 16, 1979
  18. ^ “Scholar clears the air about Islam ‘labels’” (PDF). Te Waha Nui. September 6, 2004. http://www.tewahanui.info/pdfs/4/twn04pg04.pdf. Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  19. ^ “Between two worlds”. The Age. July 28, 2005. http://www.theage.com.au/news/sushi-das/between-two-worlds/2005/07/27/1122143904716.html. Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  20. ^ One man’s belief is another’s shackle – Khushwant Singh
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ “Second opinion: Zakir Naik’s ‘reverse orientalism’ —Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review”. Daily Times. December 16, 2003. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_16-12-2003_pg3_4. Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
  23. ^ a b Islam’s gender debate at the fore
  24. ^ The clash of ignorance
  25. ^ Row over Islamic preacher – WalesOnline.co.uk
  26. ^ Cleric’s address hailed a success
  27. ^ Dr Zakir Naik invites Pope Benedict XVI for open interfaith dialogue – Pak Tribune, September 29, 2006
  28. ^ Pope Benedict’s Provocative Utterances op ed by Latheef Farook, South Asia News Agency, October 18, 2006
  29. ^ a b Justice, peace & unity: The cornerstone of Islam by By Syed Neaz Ahmad, Saudi Gazette, March 31, 2008
  30. ^ Row over Islamic preacher’s remarks
  31. ^ Dr. Zakir Naik’s Remarks on Yazid Spark Anger Among Muslims

[edit] External links