Friday, January 22, 2016

200 Filipinos converted to Islam during the month of Ramadan

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is a large number of expats that come from the Philippines. To be precise, there is a total of nearly 800,000 Filipinos that come to the Kingdom every year. They all come from diverse backgrounds, faiths, and cultures. Most of them are Christians and elaborate how they have not been strongly connected to their faith. When they enter the great country of Saudi Arabia, a lot of things change for them. Not only do they begin to have an economic stability, but also they have a clearer picture about their life, how it had been and how it should be. What greatly helps most of the Filipinos survive here in an Arab country, is when most of these Filipinos convert to Islam.

During the month of Ramadhan, nearly 200 Filipinos convert to Islam with the belief that Islam is the one true faith which Only worships One God-the One True Allah. What mostly moved them was how Muslims in the month of Ramadhan stayed on a fast from dawn to dusk and opened it sitting together with their fellow Muslim brothers. After talking to a few Filipinos, we came to be aware of the possibility that perhaps all they missed in their previous religion was they were not connected to the community as a whole. Within Islam, we have the Holy month of Ramadhan and similarly the Holy Pilgrimage to the House of Allah which calls out all Muslims to come together at a particular time and place, standing shoulder to shoulder and performing the needful.

One Filipino deeply explained how he felt when he heard the call to prayer. He said that when he was a Christian, he used to go to the church to pray only 3 to 5 times a year. In Islam, he knows that we have to go to the mosque to offer prayer 5 times a day and that is what brings him closer to Allah and deepens his faith in the fast growing religion. There have been several other views by other Filipinos who claim that the process of conversion is what had deepened their respect for Islam. 

Once they have decided to convert, they would be guided by a preacher to recite the Shahadat. This takes places in the Batha Center which deal with non- Muslim conversions within the Kingdom. There are nearly 252 centers like the Batha Center that are spread throughout the Kingdom and carry out their duties effectively.

Other lessons that are taught to these Filipinos include teaching them about the five pillars of Islam, taking them to Friday sermons and taking them to Umrah. The pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Medinah are carried out twice a year for the Filipinos by the centers. It is worth noting that within a year, there are nearly 200,000 Filipinos who reverted to Islam and express their happiness on how they are blessed with a new slate and a new life.

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