by Mike Ghouse
You will be amazed to learn that many non-Muslims have really understood the essence and purpose of Islam, Here is the story of Swami Laxmi Acharya.
The story of Swami Laxmi Acharya is similar to my account. He wrote an anti-Islamic book based on how Islam was represented to him, and before I became a Muslim around the late ’90s, I had questioned everything about Islam. As a young man, I had walked away from Islam based on erroneous translations of a few verses from the Quran and certainly some bad hadiths.
Acharya sought to find the truth, so did I. I was propelled by reading a verse from the Bhagavad Gita that challenged me that finding the truth was my responsibility, and the Bible had said, the truth brings relief and peace.
Acharya bought the Hindi translation of the Quran and found the truth – the Quran is the book of guidance, and he is on a mission to correct the misunderstandings. Whereas, I chose to empty everything I knew about Islam as a child growing up. Even if an Imam says this is “Islam,” I would not blindly believe in it. I had to find the truth on my own.
Acharya said Islam means making a regular human to a good citizen. That was what I wrote in the chapter Essence of Islam in the book American Muslim Agenda.
Both the Acharya and I are on the mission to correct the misunderstandings. Islam and the Quran are pure wisdom to create a better world for every human being.
My first suggestion to most Muslims out there is to open their minds to criticism of the Quran, Allah, Prophet, and Islam. Instead of getting angry, cursing the other and blaming the world, find the truth, you will find wisdom in the Quran. Indeed, all the Prophet had said in his last sermon was to stick to the Quran, and you cannot go wrong. For 150 years after the death of the Prophet, there was no other book other than the Quran. That is all we need.
By the way, please go to the site, www.IslamAwakened.com, it presents every verse with 50 plus translations, see how different and similar they are. It is your responsibility to find the essence of Islam. At this time, I will suggest sticking to Muhammad Asad and Laleh Bakhtiar’s translations to get the Quran’s full wisdom.
After you become a confident Muslim, you can study the secondary literature that includes hadiths, tafseers, seerah, and other books; you will see how these books do not fully represent the Quran’s values.
Please check out two brand new chapters in the book American Muslim Agenda, never been written in the Islamic literature, Islam’s essence, and the 12 Islamic Values to pair with Islam’s five pillars.
By the way, I don’t have a degree in Islam from Al-Azhar or any Islamic university. I have Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) last suggestion to read and understand the book. He never said to go to Al-Azhar or some Imam to learn about Islam.
Insha Allah, I will do a workshop, as I have done before (http://quraanconference.blogspot.com/ ), to understand the essence of Islam and God’s wisdom for all of us, yes, all of his creation to live in harmony and securely.
Please visit the YouTube Channel “Essence of Islam”
We just started this channel, and each video posted is a collection of talks by Muslims and non-Muslims with a focus on the Essence of Islam.
Mike Ghouse, Author, American Muslim Agenda.