Listen to the story here as told by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh (Rahimuhullah)
Transcribed by – Fatimah bint Mohamed min Canada
Bismillahi rahmani raheem, alhamdulilahi rabil ‘alameen, wa sallallahu ‘alaah nabee-ina Muhammadin wa ‘alaah aleehi wasahbihi wasalam.
This is one fruit of the da’wah for the salif as salih, it was manifested in the baaytul maqdis, in the land of the Prophets in Palestine, May Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa) relief it from the injustice of the Jews. In the beginning we remind ourselves of what Shaykh Albani (rahimullah) used to repeat, saying, “Alhamdulilahi ‘alaah n’matil islam, wa sunnah, alhamdulilah ‘alaah n’matil islaam, wa sunnah.” (All praises due to Allah, for the favor of Islam, and sunnah, for the favor of Islam which Allah bestowed, and the favor of as sunnah which he bestowed).
Here’s the story of the formal priest or monk by the formal name, Daniel of Rome. And his current name is Ibrahim. May Allah persevere him and give him steadfastness on the path of uprightness. He said I was an imam from the people of Rome, son of a rich, very rich family. Who lived his life in enjoyment and comfort, childhood and youth. Much of my youth was spent in enjoyment with friends, enjoying cars, and prestigious ones. And I had wealth with me and money, could buy what I liked. Nothing was short for me. But even from that age, I had a feeling that there is something really missing in this life. And that there is something, a kind of emptiness. That I needed to fill. So not all of this means of life which are handed to me, were my goal and target. So I went into the direction of deen, of religion. And I began to read the injeel. The gospel. And go to church. And filled myself with reciting religious Christian books. From these books I began to find some answers, to my questions. But yet, incomplete and imperfect. I used to get up early each day, and go to the beach. Contemplating and pondering on the sea and reading the books and praying. Two months after this, I became convinced that I am unable to carry on a normal life after becoming religious. So I went to my father and I told him I cannot continue to work with him and I went to my mother, and my brothers, and I told them I decided to leave them and I prepared my luggage and took the train. Not knowing where I was going.
I arrived at the city of Bologna and I joined a monastery there and went on top of a high mountain and stayed on its top for about a month. Speaking to no one. Only reading and worshipping. I stayed for almost three years, moving from one monastery to another. Reading and worshipping. Not like the other priests or monks who couldn’t leave their monasteries because I did not give the promise to become a monk in a specific monastery. And this promise normally prevents many from leaving these monasteries which they assign themselves to. After this trip, I decided to make another trip in other countries, other than Italy. So I began my journey. Long journey. From Italy. Passing by Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and from there to India. All in land. I heard the Adhan in Turkey. And I also heard the Adhan in Cairo, in a previous trip. However, this time the Adhan in Turkey affected me. And I loved it. And on my way back, at the Iranian/Pakistani borders, I came to encounter a Shiite person who invited me with his friends and began discussing Islam to me in accordance to the Shiite concepts. And they mentioned to me, the twelve Imams and they didn’t mention to me the Islam. The principle of Islam. Rather they focused on Shiiism and Ali (radiAllahu Ta’alaa anhu – May Allah be pleased with him). And their awaiting of their Imam for their deliverance who will come in their opinion to deliver mankind. All of these discussions did not arouse an interest in me. And there were not answers to the many questions I’m searching for, concerning the truth.
So this Shiite person presented me with the offer to learn Islam in the city of Qum, the Iranian city, of Qum. And as you know, the city of Qum is the leading city of their schools, of shiism or rafidaah. So they offered that I stay with them at Qum for three months. However, I continued my journey and I left them. and I went to India. And when I stepped from the train, I saw people carrying lamps in the early dawn hours. Rushing in the direction of the city’s center. So I followed them. and I saw them making tawaff, circulating around a kaaf made of gold. There I realized that India is not place for me to look for what I was looking for. Afterwards, I returned to Italy. And I stayed one month, one complete month at the hospital. And I almost lost my life because of the illness I carried from India but Allah (subhanahu wa Ta’ala) preserved me, walhamdulilah and all praise is due to him. I left the hospital to my home. And I began to think about the next steps in my long journey. The steps I should take. So I became more determined to continue my search for the truth. I returned to the monastery and I began to practice the monk’s life in one of the monasteries in Rome. Where the chief monk asked me to deliver the speech of the word, and the promise on that night. I really thought deeply and in the morning I decided that I’m not going to give them the speech and this promise. So I left the monastery. I felt that there was something inside me, pushing me, to get out from the monastery.
Therefore, afterwards, I decided to go to al Quds, Jerusalem because of my belief in its holiness. So I left to al Quds, in land, passing through the same countries, I passed earlier in my journey to India. Until I reached Syria, Lebanon, ‘Amaan, and al Quds where I stayed for 1 week. Thereafter, I returned to Italy. And I had more and more questions. I returned to my home, and I opened the injeel, the gospel. And I felt that it was a must for me to read the gospel from the beginning. So I began with the Tura, going through the narrations of the Prophets of Bani Israel, the children of Israel, and through this stage, the true meanings of the message which Allah (subhaanahu wa Ta’alaa) revealed became to crystallize. And I began to feel it. And this brought other questions which I did not find the answers to. I tried to find answers to these questions, through my search in my library filled with books connected to the gospel and the Torah. Thereupon, I remembered the sound of Adhan which I used to hear through my trips and thereupon, I realized that the Muslims believe in one god, no other god, except Him. and this is the thing which I really believed, so I said it is a must therefore that I should, learn Islam. So I began collecting books about Islam. And with me was the glorious Qur’an, translated into the Italian language. Which I bought on one of my trips. And after I read these books, I realized Islam is not as understood with many in the West as a religion of killing, and domination. Rather I found it as a religion of Rahma, of mercy. And I found it close in meaning, with the true meaning of Torah and the gospel. So I decided to return to al Quds because I believed that the Quds was a place of the previous messages received by the Prophets.
However this time, I took the plane from Italy to Bayt al Maqdis. And I dwelt in a place used by the monks and those who come to the archery, the Armenian one in the old city. I didn’t carry in my suitcase except few clothes, and the translated meaning of the Qur’an to the Italian language, the gospel and the Torah. So I began to read more and more. And compare between what’s in the Qur’an and what’s in the Torah, and the gospel. So I realized it was close to the message of Mosaa, and ‘Isaa (‘alayhimu salam), the True one. So I began to speak to some Muslims, asking them about Islam. Until I met my dear friend, Waseem Hajeer. And we talked about Islam. And I met many friends, and they used to explain Islam to me. And after that, brother Waseem said to me that he will arrange for me a meeting and one of the callers to Allah in al Quds. So the meeting was with the dear brother Amjad Salham. And we had a good talk about Islam. And one of the most things that really affected me was the story of the honorable companion, Salman al Fareesi, may Allah be pleased with him. because of the resemblance of my story to his, in terms of searching for the truth. Another meeting took place with brother Amjad and his companions. And from them was fadeelatu Shaykh, Hisham al ‘rif, hafidahullah. And as you know, Hisham al ‘rif, was on the path of the Salaf, May Allah persevere him and that he teaches at the masjid al Aqsa at the Quds. There a conversation between me and him, about Islam and its greatness took place. And I had some questions and he answered them. and I continued to visit with Amjad and Amjad used to clarify many of the issues to me.
Thereupon I had two choices. Either I follow upon the truth, or reject it. And I could not reject after I believed that Islam is the right path. And during this time, I was sitting alone, feeling that the moment has come to utter kalimatu Tawheed. The statement of Tawhid. And at the station of Tawhid and to utter the shahadah. And my brother Amjad came, and the time for Adhan for Salaatu Duhr, had commenced. Thereupon I uttered the Shahadah, ash hadu an la illaha ilal lah, wa ash hadu ana muhammadan rasoolulah. Brother Amjad hugged me and congratulated me on Islam. And we made Sujood of thankfulness of Allah, for this n’maah. And he asked me to make Ghusl, take a bath, and go to masjid al Aqsa, for suraatu duhr. And after the salaah was finished, I met the musaleen, the people praying, with the testimony of la illaha ilal lah, wa muhammadan rasoolulah, which Allah has bestowed upon me, and afterwards, I began seeking knowledge, and Allah (subhaanahu wa Ta’alaa) guided me to seek knowledge on the path upon which the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his companions, May Allah pleased with them. walhamdulilah, ‘aalal islami, wa sunnah. And all praise to Allah for Islam and sunnah. Wa sallallahu ‘alaa Muhammadiin wa ‘alaah aleehi wa asahbihi ajma’een. This is the story of Brother Ibrahim, formerly Daniel. The former priest or monk of Rome, and his acceptance of Islam, after the long search for the truth. We ask Allah (subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to accept from him and to give him steadfastness, and to give us steadfastness with him on the deen of the truth. And to guide those who are seeking the truth as well. Walhamdulilahi rabil ‘alameen, wa sallalahu ‘alaa nabee-inaa Muhammad, wa ‘alaah aleehi wa sahbihi wa salim.