An American tourist, Mr. Steve has embraced Islam at the hands of Sheikh Dr. Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, Chief of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Masjid Nabawi in Madina, Saudi Arabia.
Steve, who was visiting the Kingdom for leisure purposes said, at the threshold of his conversation: “I explored the beauty spread over the length and breadth of the whole country and curious to know about the birthplace of Islam and the major development and progress of the country’s 2030 Vision.”
Steve, who said that he had previously read extensively about Islam and Muslims for three years, declared: “good neighborliness, tolerance, fairness, compassion and Saudi hospitality impressed Steve to enquire about Islam.”
Steve added: “the Islamic teachings of fairness, tolerance, compassion, and mercy impressed him a lot.”
Steve pronounced his Shahadah (testimony of accepting Islam) before Sheikh Sudais and expressed his immense joy and gratitude for his new found faith.
He expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Sudais, who in turn praised the Almighty Allah for opening Steve’s heart, and enabling him to accept the true religion of God.
Steve was extremely impressed with the level of tolerance and peaceful coexistence amongst those of different faiths within the Kingdom, adding that the key factors that stood out were the Islamic teachings of good neighborliness and Saudi hospitality.
Steve, who works in the tourism sector in Miami, was visiting Abha alongside some of his closest friends and happened to live in the same neighborhood with Sheikh Sudais, who at the time was also spending some days in Abha.
It was Saad Al-Matrafi, Sheikh Sudais’ translator, who met with Steve and gave him Zamzam and dates as a gift from Sheikh Sudais.
He also briefed Sheikh Sudais about his tête-à-tête with the American tourist and Sheikh Al-Sudais was so impressed that he requested to meet with his American neighbor.
During his discourse with Steve, Sheikh Sudais referred to several Qur’anic verses and Prophetic narrations that enjoined Muslims to be good to their neighbors and the rights they have over each other.
He specifically mentioned the story of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Jewish lady: the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a Jewish neighbor who used to throw garbage at him. Instead of reacting with anger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) showed kindness.
When the Prophet learned one day that the neighbor was sick, he went to visit/care for that neighbor. This is an invaluable life lesson for all of us on the rights of our neighbors.