Karen Henderson, Professor of Jewish who amazed with Islam

Two weeks ago, after Friday I found a scrap of paper on my office desk at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York. It contained roughly reads, “I have been Trying to reach you but never had a good luck! Would you please call me back? Karen. “

Since for many other busy, I put off calling her back until two days ago. “Oh! thank you so much for getting back to me! “she said when I introduced myself from the Islamic Center of New York. “I am really sorry for delaying to call you back,” I said, asking who and what the background of the caller.

“Hi, I am sorry! My name is Karen Henderson, and I am a professor at the NYU (New York University), “he said.

“And so what I can do for you?” I asked. He then asked if I was there a few minutes to talk over the phone. “Yes, Certainly I have, just for you, professor!” Candaku. “Oh .. That is so kind of you! “he replied.

She then recounted about himself, his family background, profession, and even social status.

“I am a professor who teaches sociology at New York University,” he began. But according to him again, as a sociologist, he not only taught at the university but also undertakes research in various places, including overseas.

Karen had already visited many countries for the purpose of research, including two countries that it refers to as a source of inspiration. Namely Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“I spent more than three years in the country, mostly in villages,” he said. “For three years, I have many memories of the people. They are very amazing, “he continued.

Karen was not talking on the phone nearly 20 minutes. While I listened intently and without interrupting though. In addition Karen speaks very interesting, informative, and presented in clear language, made me more interested to hear. Perhaps because he was a professor, so in speaking he is very systematic and eloquent.

“Karen, it is a very interesting story. I am sure what you do like my experience too. I live in Pakistan 7 years, and have the opportunity to visit many areas that do not you mention, “I said.

“But do you want to tell this story?” I asked again

Apparently Due to breath, then answered. But this time with a soft voice and rather slow.

“Sir, I want to know more about Islam, the religion of these people. They were sweet, and I think I have been inspired by them in many ways, “he said.

But since the not too let to me a lot of talk over the phone, I asked Karen to come to the Islamic Center the next day, Saturday. He would also agree and disepakatilah at 1:30 pm, exactly the hour when I was teaching in a special class of non-Muslims, Islamic Forum for non-Muslims.

The next day, Saturday, I arrived a bit late. At around 12 noon I arrived, and the security said that there had been a woman waiting for me. “She is the mosque.” (Meaning in women’s prayer room). I immediately asked the security to call the woman to the office to see me.

Soon there came a woman dressed in the style of South Asia (India Pakistan). A pair of shalwar and Gamiz, complete with hood-style head coverings Benazir Bhutto.

“Hi, sorry for coming Earlier! I can wait at the mosque, if you are still busy with other Things, “said the middle-aged woman aged 40 years. He’s clearly a white American, probably of German descent.

“Not at all, professor! I am free for you, “I smiled.

“Please sit down, I leave about five minutes,” ask me to just look around weekend school program that day.

When finished looking at some classes on that day, I returned to the office. “I am sorry Professor,” I say.

“Please do call me by name, Karen!” She said with a smile.

“You know, I prefer to call someone the full respect. And I really do not know how to call you, “I said. “In some countries, people love known by their professional titles. But I know, in America is not, “I continued with a chuckle.

We then lost in the conversation in a variety of ways, ranging from hot issue of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in an American comedy cartoons, up to Karen’s own origins.

“I am a born Jew. My parents were Jews, but you know, especially my father, he does not believe in religion anymore, “he said.

Even thought his father was often judge the concept of god as a mere means of repression (pressing) throughout human history.

But according to Karen, although not believe religion and claimed not to believe in god, his father still celebrate Jewish holidays, like Hanukkah, Sabbath, etc..

“This celebration, as the Jews most, no more than a legacy of tradition,” he explained. “I think Judaism is not a religion, in a sense more about the culture and family,” he added.

In my heart I say that they are not new to me. About 60 percent or more Jews in the United States is among the sects ‘reform’ (reformer). They had made fundamental reforms in their religion, including in matters of faith or belief. “Cult of reform” for example, did not believe anymore in the Hereafter. I still remember a discussion at the Marble Collegiate Church years ago about the concept of life.

The speakers are me and a priest and rabbi of Central Synagogue in Manhattan. When we have come to the issue of the day Hereafter, Rabbi pleaded not believe it.

Suddenly one of the attendees who are also students of Russian Islam I stood up and asked, “So, if you do not believe in life after death, why should you go to the synagogue, wearing yarmukka, giving charity, etc.? Why do you feel need to be honest, helpful to others? And why should we avoid the things that we should avoid? “So the question at that time.

The Rabbi smiled and said simply, “We do all because of what we should do,” he said. Hear the Rabbi, all present only smiled, and even a lot of laughs.

Back to Karen, we then lost in a dialogue about the concept of happiness. According to him, as a sociologist, he has conducted many studies in a variety of issues related to their field. Never been to Latin America, Africa, some European countries, and also Asia, including South Asia. “But one thing I must tell you, the Pakistanis and Afghans are very wonderful people,” she recalled.

“What makes you really wonder about them,” I asked.

“A lot, their religiosity. Among others, their commitment to religion. But I think the most amazing thing about them is their strength, and enduring in nature in everyday life, “he said.

“I wonder how these people are so strong and seem happy even though life is very challenging.”

I never thought when Karen suddenly shed tears in the middle of our conversation.

He is a senior professor who, though still young in age. But also an incredible experience, made me listen more.

In the midst of talking about ‘difficulties of life’ people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially in the mountains, he shed tears but with a smile. “I am sorry, I’m very emotional with this story,” he said.

I immediately took control. I told him about the concept of happiness according to Islamic teachings. Even spoke at length about the life of the world while, and how Islam teaches the afterlife itself.

“No matter how you live your life here, it is temporary and unsatisfactory.

There should be several places, sometimes where we will live eternally, where all the dreams and hopes will be fulfilled, “I explained. “This belief gives us great strength and determination to live our lives fully, no matter how the situation can surround life itself,” I explained.

Without the call to prayer was echoed Dhuhr. I immediately stopped talking. Karen seems to understand that when the call to prayer heard, then we should listen and respond. Maybe he himself does not understand what should be spoken, but he smiled when I apologized to stop talking.

After prayer, I went on a bit, then I ask Karen, “So, what really makes you call me?”

“I want to tell you that my mind constantly remember those people. My memory reminds me of how they are happy, while we in America live in clover, but full of happiness shortage, “he said as if angry.

“But why do you have to come and talk to me?” Pancingku again.

She changed her seat, but it seems very serious and said. “I’ve been thinking about this for quite a long time. But I really do not know what to do and how to continue it. I want to be a Muslim, “he said firmly.

I quickly explained that to become a Muslim it’s actually very easy. Difficult is the process of finding guidance. So it seems you’ve gone through that process, and is now headed to the final level.

“My question is do you really believe that this is a religion that you believe to be the truth,” I said.

“Yes, no doubt,” he answered firmly.

I immediately called one of female school teachers to teach weekend to Karen ablutions. Turns out he was able ablution and prayer, just have not memorized the prayer readings.

After praying Dhuhr, Karen guided me recite, “Ash-hadu laa ilaha illa Allah’s ash-hadu wa anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah” with full khusyu ‘and followed by cries of hundreds of pilgrims present Takbir.

Only the prayer which accompanies, Karen Henderson may be maintained and strengthened in faith, grow up to be Islamic fighters in the field as a professor of social sciences at a prestigious university in the U.S.. Amen!

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