Al-humdu lillah wa salaatu wa salaam alaa Rasoolillah (SAWS). Should Muslims make a big deal when prominent people like famous rappers, actors, intellectuals, politicians , musicians and the like, convert to Islam? Some say yes, and some say no. The truth of the matter is, people who make a big deal out of prominent people converting to Islam are in fact, following the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and the way of the companions. The companions used to show particular rejoice when certain people converted to Islam; for example, when Umar Ibn al-Khattaab converted to Islam, there was tremendous rejoice amongst the Muslims, as he had been a prominent adversary to the Prophet (SAWS) and Islam. Hamza had converted three days prior to that and it was a tremendous blow against the mushrikeen because Hamza was feared. When Umar converted, the Muslims were inside the house of Ar’qam ibn Abi Ar’qam, they made a takbir [Saying God is Great] so loud that that everybody assembled at the Kaaba heard it. Darul Ar’qam is near Safaa, and anyone who has made hajj or umrah knows that Safaa is a little walk from the Kaaba. The same was when Abu Sufyaan converted; the Prophet (SAWS) made a big deal about that and made Abu Sufyaan’s house a safe haven for people on the day of the conquest of Mecca (yawmul Fat’h). Just as the Prophet (SAWS) made an extra effort to convert his uncle, Abu Taalib on his deathbed, although the latter never converted. It was a big deal to the Muslims when Hassaan Ibn Thaabit converted as he had been one of the leading poets of Hejaz. When he converted, it was a blow to those who used to say the Prophet (SAWS) was a crazed poet; “and would say, “Shall we, then, give up our deities at the bidding of a mad poet?” 37:36. The Prophet (SAWS) immediately put him to use and set him upon the Quraish with his poetry. Some of the companions themselves used to make proud mention of their conversion. It was reported about Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, that he said, “No one else converted on the day that I converted to Islam. I spent seven days when I was a full one third of Islam (Muslims). [Related by Ibn Jawzi in Sifatul Safwa, vol. 1, p. 188]. It is a big deal when anyone converts to Islam as it represents the issuing of divine guidance. “Whomever Allah wants to guide them, He opens their heart to Islam”. When influential people convert to Islam, it strengthens our religion, as mentioned by the Prophet (SAWS) when he said; “Oh Allah, strengthen Islam with the one you love most of these two men; Umar ibn al-Khattaab, or Abi Jahl ibn Hishaam”.
Every day there are people converting to Islam who are left without support, without communities that nurture them, and sometimes masaajid to go to where they are welcome. Most of those who convert to Islam are just regular, everyday people. Whether a convert is a prominent entertainer or sports figure, or an ordinary believer as most are, we have an obligation as Muslims to pay special attention to the needs of the converts in America, and the issues that affect them specifically. That’s what the new organization, Mosque Without Borders aims to make a priority, but we need your help. you can go to our website at http://www.mosquewithoutborders.org, and make a donation.
Imam Luqman Ahmad
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher and Imam of the Islamic Society of Folsom, in Northern California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim sectarianism in the United States. He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.