Journey to Islam

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Mark Shaffer, an American attorney and millionaire has declared his Islam in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, 17th October 2009. Mark was at that time on a holiday in Saudi Arabia to visit some famous cities like Riyadh, Abha, and Jeddah for 10 days.

Mark is a well-known millionaire and also a practiced lawyer in Los Angeles, specializing in cases of civil laws. The last big case he handled was the case of the famous American pop singer, Michael Jackson, a week before he passed away.

A tourist guide who accompanied Mark for 10 days in Saudi Arabia, Dhawi Ben Nashir said, “Since he set foot for the first time in Saudi Arabia, Mark already started to ask questions about Islam and the prayer. As soon as he arrived in Saudi Arabia, Mark stayed in Riyadh for two days. While in Riyadh, Mark was very interested in Islam. After moving to Najran, we went to Abha and Al-Ula. There, his fascination for Islam grew more obvious, especially the time when we ventured out into the desert.”

“Mark was amazed to see three Saudi youths who were in our group in Al-Ula, performing the prayer in the expanse of the very wide desert; a very fantastic panorama indeed.”

“After two days in Al-Ula, we went to Al-Juf. As soon as we arrived in Al-Juf, Mark asked if I could get him some books on Islam. I then obtained some books on Islam for him. Mark read all those books. The next morning, he asked me to teach him how to perform the prayer. I then taught him how to pray and make wudhu (ablution). Then, he joined me and performed the prayer beside me.”

“After prayer, Mark told me that he felt peace in his soul. On Thursday afternoon, we left Al-Ula heading for Jeddah. He looked very serious throughout the journey reading those books about Islam. On Friday morning, we visited the old town of Jeddah. Before the time for the Friday prayer approached, we went back to the hotel and I excused myself to go for the Friday prayer.”

Mark said to his companion, “I would like to join you for the Friday prayer so that I can witness myself how the Friday prayer is like.”

His friend, Dhawi Ben Nashir, welcomed the idea.

Dhawi Ben Nashir said, “We then went to a masjid which was not far from the hotel where we stayed in Jeddah. Since we were quite late, I and many others had to pray outside, as the number of worshippers was overflowing. I could see Mark observing the people in congregation, especially after the Friday prayer was completed, when everybody was shaking hands and embracing each other with radiant and happy faces. Mark was very impressed with what he saw.”

“When we returned to the hotel, Mark suddenly told me that he wanted to become a Muslim. So I said to him, ‘Please take a shower first.’ After Mark took the shower, I guided him in saying the shahadah (declaration of faith) and then he prayed two rakaah. Later on, Mark expressed his desire to visit the Grand Mosque in Makkah and perform prayers there before leaving Saudi Arabia.”

“In order to fulfill his wish, we went to the Da’wah Center in Jeddah to obtain a formal proof of his conversion to Islam, so that he would be allowed to enter the city of Makkah and the Grand Mosque. Mark was given a temporary certificate of his conversion to Islam, and he visited the holy city of Makkah.”

After Mark declared his Islamic faith, he had the chance to express his experience to Al-Riyadh Newspaper, saying, “I could not express my feelings at this time but I am being reborn and my life has just started. I am very happy. This happiness that I am feeling could not be expressed in words, especially when I visited the Grand Mosque and noble Ka’bah.”

Regarding his next step after his conversion to Islam, Mark explained that he wants to learn more about Islam, delve deeper into the religion of Allah (Islam), and come back to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.

As to what impelled him into converting to Islam, Mark explained, “I already had information about Islam, but it was very limited. When I visited Saudi Arabia and personally witnessed the Muslims there, and saw how they performed the prayer, I felt a very strong drive to know more about Islam. When I read true information about Islam, I became confident that Islam is a religion of haq (truth).”

Sunday morning, 18th October 2009, Mark left the Airport of King Abdul Aziz Jeddah heading for America. When filling in the immigration form before leaving Jeddah, Mark wrote ISLAM as his religion. — Courtesy of Discovering Islam


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