What led Professor Arthur Alison to embrace Islam?
Professor Alison declared that Islam is the religion of truth and inborn nature with which Allah has created man. He said it is necessary to use scientific facts as a means of Dawah in the west, adding that it was the most appropriate way.
Professor Arthur Alison is the head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the University of London. For several years he had been the president of the British Society for Psychological and Spiritual Studies. In the course of his study of religions, he got acquainted with Islam. When he compared Islam with the religions and creeds he had studied, he found it suited his inborn nature and satisfied his requirements.
He was invited to the First Islamic International Conference on the Medical Inimitability in the Qur’an held in Cairo in September 1985 under the auspices of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate. In the conference he presented a paper on the psychological and spiritual methods of therapy in the light of the Holy Qur’an, in addition to another paper on sleep and death in the light of Verse 42 of Surah Zumar (39) in the Qur’an which he presented in collaboration with Dr Mohammed Yahya Sharafi. The facts presented were an eye opener to him.
At the concluding session of the Conference, attended by Shaikh Jad Al-Haq, the Egyptian Minister of Awqaf, Dr Mohammed Ahmady and Dr Mohammed Yahya Sharafi, Professor Alison declared that Islam is the religion of truth and inborn nature with which Allah has created man. Then he uttered the two testimonies (Shahadatain), saying that he bears witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.
In an interview given to the Arabic-weekly, Al-Muslimoon, he narrated the story of his conversion to Islam saying:
“In the course of my study of psychology and related subjects as the president of the British Society’ for Psychological and Spiritual Studies, I got acquainted with religions. I studied Hinduism, Buddhism and some other religions and creeds. When I studied Islam, I compared it to other religions.
“During the conference on Medical Inimitability in the Qur’an, I could realize that the difference was great. Then I was convinced that Islam is the most proper religion that befits my inborn nature and conduct. In the heart of my hearts I had felt that there is a God controlling the Universe. He is the Creator.”
“Therefore, when I studied Islam, I found that it did not conflict with reason and science. I believe that is the revealed religion from the one and only God. As I witnessed the truth, I uttered the two testimonies. The moment I uttered it, I was overwhelmed by a strange and ineffable feeling mingled with ease, comfort and satisfaction.”
He went on to say that the material world is now in a critical stage, what they say and see, does not explain the facts precisely. Here lies the responsibility of Muslims who could meet the wandering and perplexed humanity.
Prof Abdullah Alison added that he, along with Dr Mohammed Yahya, had presented in the conference on the Medical Inimitability in the Qur’an a paper focusing on the meaning of the Qur’anic verse: “it is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death; and those that die not during their sleep He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends back the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” (39:42)
Through this verse, he said, they could prove that death and sleep are similar phenomena in which souls depart from the body. In the case of sleep, the soul returns to the body but in death it does not. This verse reminds us that “taking the souls” means both sleep and death. This fact has been proved through parapsychological studies which are related to three main domains:
Out of Body Experience
Some persons are reported to have this experience in which they found their bodies in some other place or lying on a bed. Studies have revealed that about 10 to 20 per cent of the cases subjected to study had this experience.
When some persons dream, they know that they are dreaming. Experiments have proved that sleep is the departure of the soul from the body.
Coma resembling death
Suffering from various ailments, some persons enter a coma. The attending physicians declare them to be clinically dead. But due to some medical aids that may regain consciousness. These persons narrate strange events they saw during this state. Such experiences are worthy of study scientifically and in the light of the Qur’an.
Prof Alison added that when he attended the conference and learned various facts in the Qur’an and Sunnah related to the creations which have been confirmed by science, he realized that Qur’an could in no way be a human creation. What was revealed to the Holy Prophet 1,400 years ago proves that he is the Prophet of Allah. Therefore, the professor said, he uttered the two testimonies and became a Muslim with the name Abdullah Alison.
He spoke on the necessity of using scientific facts as a means of Dawah in the West, adding that it was the most appropriate way. The Western way of pursuing knowledge, he says, creates an impression that man is a limited quantity of cells and the universe a bunch of visible and audible objects.
Whenever man discovers something, he realizes he is more and more in the field of psychology and related subjects, this fact becomes more clear.
The learned professor disclosed that he may set up an Islamic Psychological Studies Institute in London in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah and the studies related to Medical Inimitability in the Qur’an, with a view to showing the scientific facts, contained in the Qur’an, to the West.