I was born in England of Irish Catholic parents and became interested in comparative religion in my early twenties. After a trip to Morocco and a year spent in India , I became more and more attracted to Islam. As my appreciation developed into a desine for acceptance, I felt the need for Muslim company . During my stay in Copenhagen, Denmark, a quick look through the telephone directory showed only one mosque, ' The Ahmadiyya Islamic Mission', though I later discoverd that the Turks , Morrocans and The Pakistanis had places which they used as Mosques. This meant that any school or college that wanted to take students to a mosque, found only the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission and the same applied to a would be convert like myself . It was my first encounter with the 'Ahmadiyya Efficiency', which today manifests itself in Satellite TV and Periodicals in many languages.
I was welcomed by the mosque goers, who were a mixture of Pakistanis and some Danish converts plus an American Musician of some note, Sahib Shihaab, who was well know in the Jazz world. I was working as a musician myself at the time and although I never actually joined them, they taught me to pray and gave me many books to read including an English translation of Quran by Muhammad Zafarulla Khan, which I found very interesting indeed. The translation I had before was by the unsubtle enemy of Islam , Greoge Sale.
After six months of praying the Friday prayers with the Qadianis of Copenhagen, I left Denmark to return to England . In Birmingham , to my dismay I found the Ahmadiyya Community to be much less organised , less serious and less intelligent than Coperhagen. For the mosque they had a very slapshod arrangement where hardly few people were coming for prayers. Disillusioned by such setup, I started going to the Birmingham 's Main Mosque. Here I met several Jamaicans who had similar experience. They too had joined Ahmadiyya Movement thinking them to be Muslims but embraced Islam after discovering the truth. This was the first time someone had explained to me the difference between Ahmadiyyat and Islam. However I was still not sure.
My visits to Birmingham Mosque was of course, greeted with cries of horror by the Qadianis who were in contact with me. I was told frankly that such prayers would not be accepted. Ahmadis informed me that they are the only real Muslims and they are the only group in Islam accepted by the Westerners for their moderate views. The only other altenatives are the grave-worshiping, ignorant Barelvis on the one hand and the bomb-throwing fundamentalists on the other. Obviously that is a line that must work with many weakminded persons. It was at this time that a Biy'ah Form (an oath of allegiance to Mirza Ghulam) was presented to me for signing, which I signed, though my heart was not in it nor had my musician lifestyle changed much more than my giving up alcohol.
In the December of 1981, the Head of the Qadianis in London , one Mubarak Ahmad , called me and gave me a ticket for Karachi , telling me to attend the Jalsa Salana in Rabwa. I found my way to Rabwa via Karachi and Lahore and met members of the sect form all over the world, even an Arab or two. I spent my time with 2 Euro-Qadianis, a German (Ahmad somthing) )and an English man by the name of Luqman somebody . Both were married to Qadiani women and were thus effectively captured. Fortunately for me, I was already married and thus was spared this particular fitna . However it was suggested to me that since my wife was in the way of my religion I should leave her and I can have a nice Qadiani girl. I had three beautiful girls and I had no intention of leaving them.
I found the books of Mohammed Zafarulla Khan intersting, based as they were, on real Islam with the 'Promised Massiah kept well to the background. His translation of ' Riyadh as Saliheen' has the best English usage and is, as for as I know, acceptable.
However, it was the books of the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, translated into English, that disturbed me . There wasone particular revelation where this Promised Messiah saw in a dream a tree, with many white birds on it. He then heard a voice saying (in English), "I will give you a large party of Islam."
I wondered how God who revealed Quran in such eloquent, beautiful and faultless Arabic, could not manage a grammatically correct English sentence. I was reminded of this revelation while I was in Rabwa . We three Europeans were put on display to others as the white birds of the revelation. Naturally, I met all the top people of the Ahmadi clan. I found them all too glib, too prone to false smiles to be credable. I noted the wickedness in their habit of educating the sons of small qadiani farmers around Rabwa (eg sending them to Moscow or Romania with its cheap education) and then accepting donations of the aging gratified farmers' land, who by now has no son to help him with the hardwork. In this way, the empire of the Holy Family, as I heard them call, continues to expand.
After the Jalsa, I was compelled to visit the grave of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian as part of a religious requirement. I found people there most discourteous and ill-mannered and was glad to get out of that place.
As I mentioned, we three white birds met with Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the then second Khalifa, with a cameraman always present by his side, who would jump to take a snap as soon as someone of not comes to shake hands with him. I also met the present leader, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who gave us a long talk on how everything in the West was wonderful and right , except for its morality of course, and how the West would have to look to Rabwah for guidance for its moral up lift .
I thought, could the Divinely Inspired and Supremely Successful Movement of Mohammed, The Messenger of Allah, culminate in a few boring, money-mad Pakistanis, trying to lead their followers into complete submission to the Kuffar (enemies of Islam)?
It seemed unlikely.
To me, all those whom I met, belonged to either of the two categories:
- FOOLS, who had no idea what is going around them and
- RASCALS who were well aware of their fraud in the name of Islam and were actively involved in corruption in their Jama'at
All in all, I'd had enough of this sneaky and underhand sect and made up my mind to abondon them as soon as possible. When I got back to England , I dropped the whole thing -- prayers, reading and everything and for two and half years put the idea of being a Muslim out of my head.
I came to the conclusion that if Ahmadiyyat was the true Islam, then Islam was not for me.
I gave up the music business and rented a farm in Ireland . For several years I thought of Islam only occasionally. Then by Allah's Grace I met some of the Muslim community in Dublin and my wife and I embraced the real Islam in 1984 in Dublin Mosque.