LONDON – While Christianity remains an integral part of Britain’s religious history, Islam has become a strong contender over the past decade, with reversions registering in their thousands year after another.
“At a time when personal freedom, over-sexualisation and moral liberalism have taken over and broken down Britain’s moral compass, more people find solace in Islam’s compassionate but yet clear guidelines,” Annie Simpson, who holds a Phd in comparative religious studies and philosophy, told OnIslam.net.
“As society becomes more permissive and on many levels more morally pervert, individuals yearn to re-centre their lives around God.
“Islam offers people much more than just a belief in God, for many it becomes the matrix upon which, and around which, they can exist and make sense of the world … From chaos to order,” she added.
According to government data, UK Muslims made out about 2.7% of the population in 2011.
Conversions to Islam are better understood as the manifestations of people’s desire for spiritual guidance.
In a study conducted by Faith Matters in 2011, the organization found that, “Converts do not represent a devious fifth column determined to undermine the Western way of life. This is a group of normal people united in their adherence to a religion which they, for the most part, see as perfectly compatible with Western life.”
In Brighton for example (East Sussex), Al Medina Mosque has had to build two additional floors to its original building, as well as organize a dual Friday prayer rotation, whereby worshippers are given the possibility to attend an early or later prayer.
The expansion of the mosque was a result of a huge growth in the number of Muslims over the past decade, after Brighton’s Muslim population increased for more than quadruple.
Hussein Ali Al Bogheti, an Islamic scholar from Yemen, who came to the UK back in the late 1990s explained that Islam’s clear sets of rules, the integrity of its message and the clarity of its teachings made it most appealing to Britain’s disengaged youth.
“Islam offers answers and solace. Truth is a powerful thing; it resonates in one’ soul and transforms the mind,” he told OnIslam.net.
“Conversions have always been the driving force of Islam in the sense that its light will continue to overcome the shadows. While lies and deceit can find many forms, truth is only with God.”
Happiness At Last
Lisa Hamilton, a civil engineer from Bournemouth, explained how, following a holiday in Tunisia, she and her husband chose to embrace Islam as their religion.
“Born into a regular British setting from atheist parents, my childhood and transition into adulthood was uneventful,” she told OnIslam.net.
“Two years ago I decided to visit Tunisia with a friend … suck in the culture and history. As part of our package a guide took us to the city of Keirouan, an important religious centre of the Islamic world we were told and home to a magnificent Mosque.”
Arriving the Keirouan, Hamilton had the first chance to hear the Adhan (call to prayer), and the spiritual call changed her life altogether.
“I remember arriving in Keirouan quite late in the afternoon. We only got settled in our hotel room when out of the quietness of the early evening I heard Adhan (prayer call),” she recalled.
“In the stillness of that moment, this sound, this chant just seemed to fill the air, making everything else recede … to this day I don’t think I ever heard anything quite so beautiful than this Imam’s call for the prayer. And even though at the time I had no idea what words were being called out, my heart understood their beauty.”
“The following day I found myself in Keirouan mosque, admiring its architecture, the magnificence of Islamic carvings and drawings.”
Admiring the Islamic culture and beauty, Hamilton decided to study Islam after returning to Britain.
“Right there and then I knew that Islam held too much beauty and organic truth for me to ignore.
“As soon as I returned to the UK I began to research and study Islam. I poured over the Qur’an every night for months on end, wanting to reconcile my heart with my mind.”
Finding Islam, she found happiness and peace of mind she had for many years longed for.
“Faith is a funny thing … it requires little convincing. While my heart believed, my mind had still to process my new understanding of the world,” Hamilton told OnIslam.net.
“Islam put everything, every aspect of my life under a new light … sometimes not a kind light I might say. But nevertheless, it gave me a strength and peace of mind I don’t think was possible.
“I’m a fully convert Muslim now and I’ve never been happier. And yes if some people have been funny about my conversion, my close family understands that Islam is an inherent part of me now. It defines me, carries me and guides me.”