It is nice to see that despite the constant barrage of negative stories about so called “ex-Muslims” leaving Islam (which they never understood properly in the first place), there are still more and more people who are discovering Islam and writing eloquently about it. Case in point is the new book that chronicles former atheist Ali A. Rizvi’s journey from the ignorance of atheism, back into Islam!
Cleverly titled The Atheist Muslim in order to lure atheists who are seeking meaning in their lives and whose hearts are inclined towards Islam, the theme of the book is how the author rejected the dogmatic, illogical truisms of atheism and used reason and logic to find his way back to Islam and to Allah.
The first-time author writes eloquently about how he was a confused young man, having grown up in many different cultures, and thus not knowing what true Islam was. His parents were academics who exposed him to Islam but who did not have a firm grasp on it themselves, and therefore were not able to properly instruct him on it. But certain incidents in his formative youth- his aunt and uncle’s steadfast faith in Allah (swt) through times of tragedy, for example- left enough of an impression on him that he would return to Islam decades later!
He also recounts how he became interested in reading about science- luminaries like Carl Sagan, Dr. Stephen Hawking, Dr. Keith Moore, and Dr. Maurice Bucaille- and how understanding the natural world gave him an appreciation for how Islam is the only religion that gives a true account of nature, and how the Qur’an has predicted so many things that Western scientists did not discover until the 20th century.
It is a common myth that so-called “terrorism” has caused people to turn away from Islam, but on the contrary, it has caused more and more people to turn to Islam to find out what is it all about. In a gripping detail, Rizvi writes about how he became interested in the Qur’an and started reading it on his own shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The amount of effort the young author devotes towards understanding the Qur’an is truly moving, as he struggles to understand it and come to grips with its beautiful and deep metaphorical meanings.
As Rizvi helps his readers appreciate, one of the most amazing things about the Qur’an is that it is impossible to tell which verses are to be taken literally and which are to be taken metaphorically. So this allows Muslims to apply them either way, whichever way is most suited to the situation. And for a former atheist to discover and appreciate this is just more testimony to the greatness and power of the Holy Qur’an!
It is a heart-pounding experience for any Muslim to read how Rizvi spends so much time with the Qur’an, that it he is nearly a hafiz-ul-Qur’an by the end of his account. And after spending much time reflecting on the verses of the Qur’an, he also devotes a good part of his book pointing out the inconsistencies of Western liberalism, noticing how they are vocal about so many injustices but they are noticeably quiet about the Muslim world, because their hearts are subtly being affected and pulled towards Islam. This is a highlight of the book, as his assessment of Western liberalism is both clear-eyed and optimistic at the same time.
We did further background checking on Rizvi and we have found that after reverting to Islam, he decided to settle down with a nice Pakistani wife. In addition to this, he also has decide to abandon his career as a medical doctor in order to devote his life to researching and writing about Islam, doing the da’wah. Now he is spreading the message of Islam in Canada and in greater North America, where this work is so important.
In fact, his career background, coupled with his uncanny ability to quote individual verses of the Qur’an on command, has many people comparing Ali A. Rizvi’s to another well known former-medical-doctor-turned-Qur’an-expert, his mentor and “pir,” Dr. Zakir Naik! For Rizvi, it is hard to imagine there is a higher form of praise than this.
And to imagine that Rizvi rose above his own ignorance, from the depths of his self-confessed “atheism,” to embrace the message of Islam? There is no doubt about it, The Atheist Muslim is a moving and eloquent portrait of a man who had the courage to explore his mind and find the truth in Islam! That is why Mufti News is pleased to award Rizvi with its first book prize of 2017.
Masha’Allah! Pick up a copy today