In 1988, I began to work on a Kingdom project with my father, who is a physician who was working in the Kingdom. He was in Kingdom and I was in the United States. That same year I came on a trip to the Kingdom and stayed in Dhahran and visited Al Khobar to further that project. The world here captured me immediately in so many ways, but when I heard those first prayer calls, something deep within me stirred. I saw shopkeepers just close, but not lock their doors, how can that be I asked. I saw Muslim’s going to prayer and returning looking so fresh and renewed. I saw that and wondered. I asked my Saudi hosts many questions and was allowed to come to a large city mosque and sat in the back. I was nervous but my eyes and my heart was open. No one else including my father was invited. Guess Mohammed our personal host saw something in me that I did not even see back then. I was given a Holy Qur’an in Arabic and English. Among all the items, I took home to the States from that trip that Qur’an was at the top of the most valuable to me. Did I read it back then, no. It was a possession, sad to say. Something to look good on my bookcase, what a mistake! I was left with vivid memories of a place fully and completely unknown to me before. The mold was cast deep within me as a result.
Years later, I returned on my own, with my then young family, wife, and two sons. Everyone fit into life in Saudi Arabia swiftly. My world revolved around work, family, and exercise. Any and all prayer that I did was personal and once daily if that. Don’t get me wrong, I was Christian, and not much is asked as a follower. I did more than most. I began to watch my employees as they when about their work before and after prayers. Inwardly I now know Allah was calling me, but I did not listen even though I was right there in Riyadh in a hospital with a mosque surrounded by caring Muslim’s. I kept everyone at bay, holding tight to my understanding of Christianity, almost defiantly so… The years rolled by and honestly, I even lost interest in prayer and doing anything but maintaining an occasional link to God directly. Eventually my families stay in the Kingdom ended in 2001 at which point we all returned to Florida in the USA.
While in the states we all as a family returned to church, but I knew I was not the same person. As hard as I could try to follow the trinity concept I could not embrace it enough to “witness” it all to someone else. Something was wrong, but I did not quite know what was wrong. So I talked to God alone. Made sense to me, He created everything so why did I need others to pass on my prayers to Him. Same time in my life back then sin came heavily into my life, either by me directly or brought into my life by my now ex-wife. I sank into a most disappointing time of my life. The road to hell is wide and easy, which I was taking, while the path to heaven is narrow and most difficult to traverse. Frankly I was not just going to hell, I was in hell on this earth. All the time I tried to balance “things” with prayer and occasional church attendance for one hour which I did not want to do. For years this continued until I accepted the role I now maintain with the hospital here in Al Khobar.
This last year was filled with tears and sadness in that a twenty-three year marriage failed due in part to those bad years just previous to my arrival to Al Khobar. I didn’t think I could get so low but you know it, He took it all away, took me to the bottom, where all there is is up. Really, I use to say I had to jump up to touch bottom. Those around me knew I hurt all the time and was empty, yet each day sometimes second by second I continue onward. My daily morning prayers were rarely missed and I read the Bible often, entire books at a time. Life at work and with me personally was on the improve even during the divorce and other matters I had to attend to back in the USA. Shortly after my arrival one of the senior managers in my division gave me information on Islam, which I welcomed but did not read nor look at. Into the drawer they went. Yet this man and others around me saw something in me that I had not yet realized, but they did, how I do not know but they did. One member of my staff gave me prayer beads. I carried them in my right pocket every day and counted them over and over with my right hand in my right pocket all day long. I was able to remain oh so calm in most difficult meetings while rolling those beads with my fingers. Life continued to be one good day then three bad, but my life and work continued. Then in November of last year I went back to the USA for a divorce trial and visit with my family. Sad times and good times but never did I ever feel at home there, never. Did not go to church either.
When I returned to the Kingdom in early December I was restless inside. Hard to explain. Decisions were difficult to make so I did not make them. So I just eased up and eased up some more and just listened with my heart and my mind. For days many people must have wondered what was on my mind for I must have looked preoccupied, but I was not, I was cutting layer upon layer away listening thinking sending out questions and messages, not knowing what would return. At the hospital I began to come over to the mosque, near but not to near, and hear the call to prayer watching the men enter or exit. They would be standing there talking with each other oblivious of the world around them, you could see they were different than before they entered. I was drawn, I knew it but denied it at the same time. The ditch between the two roads seemed to be too wide to cross and I did not have an idea how. Yet I wondered, and wondered some more…
In early January I had one of the most powerful urges ever, I had to have a Qur’an, period. On to my to do list it went, it stayed in my mind and never left. So two days later I came home from work on a Thursday afternoon and took a nap, set no alarm, but I agreed with myself that after prayer when the shops reopened I would go and buy my own. That afternoons prayer call woke me up and being tired, I said to myself you just go back to sleep and get the Qur’an later, what do I need one for. When I heard that in my mind I jump out of bed and got dressed, my hair was a mess from sleeping so I wore a ball cap. Flagged down a taxi driver and explained to him what my mission was, being a Muslim he welcomed the venture. So off to Jarir Bookstore we go, lots of traffic but we arrive with half of Al Khobar waiting to enter. Up the steps to the books and I begin looking, so many books and people. I could not find where to start so I finally got the attention of a salesman and off we go to the section where my Qur’an was. "Out of stock" he said. "How could that be?!" I said, "this is Saudi Arabia the heart of Islam and you are out of an Arabic / English Qur’an???", Dejected I returned to my excited taxi driver empty handed. Boy were we both despondent. We continued on and drove around looking for other bookstores until I recalled that Jarir had another shop near the hospital, so off we went. Got there in time for the evening prayer. He went to pray while I waited outside the shop like all the other non-believers. Eventually they opened and I approached the first staff member before anyone else. He took me directly to my own Qur’an, he even gave me a discount on the sales price. Maybe he saw something in me too. That same taxi driver was pleased that we did not give up and I obtained what I wanted.
I began to read my Qur’an while no one else knew. The more I read the more questions I derived yet I did not want to approach anyone for answers for it would disclose what I was doing… embracing Islam!, There were days where honestly work only got in the way of my time devoted to researching the truth. Some days it would be reading the Qur’an, the next out came my Bible to trace back and forth for answers. Key was Jesus in all this research. Who was he really, was he really God with the Father???, I wrestled with this question for I already believed there was only one God but as a Christian I thought that that meant what I considered as God was also Allah, was I wrong, which I will explain. Then it became oh so clear that what was being said by all my Muslim friends and employees in my past and present that there was only one God that that meant in deed no other but Allah. My past concepts began to fall into serious question. But I was not sold on the idea as yet. One day shortly thereafter I walked into my bosses office who is Muslim holding my prayer beads in my hand not my pocket and he said “You look like a Muslim Michael are you considering embracing Islam?” in a half joking yet serious manner. I sat down in front of his desk and said “Yes!”, I don’t think either of us will forget that morning. It was powerful. He came around from his side of his desk and shook my hand and said he would do anything and all things to help me find my way forward. I acknowledged this and accepted his help and requested his personal guidance, which he agreed to do. Wow I was empowered now so I dove even harder into my quest for the truth, so my reading of the Qur’an and Bible continued. One late evening I decided to look at the back of my Qur’an. I found the last pages to contain the following “Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) in the Bible and the Qur’an: Biblical Evidence of Jesus Being a Servant of God and Having No Share in Divinity”. I read those ten pages slowly and carefully several times. How can that be, Jesus not a God!!. So I read all of St. Matthews, John, and Mark. I looked at that Bible and searched for who wrote it and did Jesus actually write all those red lettered words in the New Testament?, All I could determine was a number of religious scholars had revised this Bible twice in the 1970’s and 1980’s and nowhere did I see where Jesus had in fact wrote a word, even one simple word in this Bible. All that was written was by others long after his great life here on earth. Was this truthful or was it half-truths or even completely wrong?, So back to the Qur’an I went with my reading and it clearly said to me that Allah in deed created Jesus in the virgin Mary (“Be”) and he was Muslim and a central Prophet as were the other Prophets sent by Allah to show people the straightway. It also said to me that he lived, never died and yet he is in heaven and will return again to rule the world as Allah had intended. Yet what I found was this: Allah sent his messages to Muhammad, which were written by scribes and verified by Muhammad as his words as inspired by Allah Himself, which is the Qur’an. This was done because the New Testament was altered, not correct, and lead people away from what Allah wanted Jesus to accomplish on earth. Wow my mind’s eye was fully opened as was my heart. The one God concept was just that, no one has the right to worship but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, that is fact with no doubt! How could the Christians get it oh so wrong, it is not three in one it is Only One and He is Allah. No wonder I had trouble “witnessing” to others about Jesus being a God that was because he was not. Yes, he was key and important but no God.
When I realized this in my heart, I accept Islam with Allah directly. I became his slave purely at that moment.
Now I outwardly asked with whom do I see to move forward to become Muslim and return to Islam. I was directed to one senior cleric, now nearly a month plus from obtaining my own Qur’an. I was being moved along by a quiet strength I had never ever known before, bold would be a good word to describe it. So I found this man who was held very high by others as with special gifts and met with him in his hospital office. I performed Shahadah with him after a lengthy discussion. He embraced me and said I had embraced Islam and was Muslim. We hugged, bear hugs!!! I almost cried. I did my first prayer that night at the compound mosque. I was taken up into so many arms and held tightly. The next day I met the Imam the next day and preformed Shahadah again in his office. He asked that I come to the noon prayer, which I did. Afterwards he introduced me to all in attendance and asked that I come up with him. His words as I found out later were gentle and kind towards me. He asked if I had anything to say. You bet, I preformed the Shahadah again in front of them all and explained who I was and briefly how I got there. When I finished every man in the mosque came and shook my hand and or hugged me. Never ever have I ever been greeted by such real love and care. It made me cry. While I returned to Islam and embraced it, it in turn embraced me!
I go to all prayers at the correct time, I am now reading about 30 books and pamphlets and have over 2000 pages of electric materials on Islam. Today I meet a special teacher who will lead me along the correct path so my prayers are correct and that my focus is maximized.
I called my Father, Mother, Son, and Brother providing them the detail of my faith in Islam. I was warmly received.
I am in the process of changing my name in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States from Michael Allen Wilson to Khalil Ibrahim Abdulmajid.
Now I cannot stop talking about the truth I now know to anyone who will listen.
I have been asked by Muslims and Christians both why I came back to Islam. Is it simple to reply. I relate that once I understood that Allah sent his very own message to Muhammad that we worship Allah only and that we follow the life Allah intended for us here on earth, that then and only then would Allah accept me to Paradise forever and ever. I want Allah’s promise to me to be complete, now and for that forever after. I want it with all of my being.