Dr. Yahya A R. Lehmann
Doctor of Theology
(Former Roman Catholic Priest Germany)
ALLAHU AKBAR, there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.
I hear this call to worship the one God alone for the first time in my life from the minaret of the Al-Aqsa Mosque standing in the ancient temple square of Jerusalem. I had arrived in this city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, for the Easter pilgrimage, as a research fellow for special studies in the then recently discovered and deciphered Dead Sea Scrolls. I had spent most of the night hours after the Christian Good Friday celebrations praying and meditating in the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, and had witnessed the busy bickering of priests and clergymen of differing Christian Church-denominations about precedence into the sombre grave-chamber of Christ and about entrance-fees there payable by their respective flocks.
After passing the gloomy Wailing Wall, old darkened stones, last relics of the former Herodean Temple, dear to the Jews during the long centuries of their dispersion under alien suppression, I slowly climbed up to the Holy Temple-Rock and its sacred precincts just before dawn. There I could observe groups of Palestinian Arabs freely responding to this early Adzan-call for morning worship, and I soon heard the solemn Arabic prayer-recitations of this devout congregation. The surprising encounter with this praying community of the greatest monotheistic world religion surrendering themselves to the one God and Creator in faithful worship was a deeply stirring experience.
A Deep Spiritual Experience.
Of a sudden the morning-sun rose over the Mount of Olives casting a radiant glow of brightness over the magnificent golden Dome of the Rock. It struck a new chord in my heart; it was like a symbol of new light and insight ahead, and of still undiscovered realms of religious truth and spiritual experience. The deep impression of this moment has never since left me; it did encourage me during the difficult research-task for my doctorate thesis on the Essenic influences in early Christianity and the canonical New Testamental Writings; it guided me throughout my later work as priest and educationist here in Malaysia.
Allah the Greatest
Allahu Akbar, God alone is the greatest, even greater than the triune deity as professed by Christian dogma, in which I had been raised from childhood and which in later years of ecclesiastical studies I have been specially trained to proclaim, as a priestly member of a Roman Catholic Missionary Order.
A New Religious Message
The public declaration of the monotheistic faith of Islam from the minaret above the Jerusalem Temple sounded to me like a new religious message of great challenging force. Several years of post-graduate studies in the field of Comparative Religion and special research of the Essenic Movement during the time of Jesus and its impact on the development of early Christianity, have led me convincingly into the radiant light and truth of Islam, bringing me closer to the original message of Jesus, the godsent man and prophet of Nazareth who called his followers back onto the right religious way of the Jewish prophets and patriarchs of old, like Abraham, surrendering themselves to the one and only God, Allah, Creator of all, and striving to establish in word and action real human brotherhood among their people.
The Living Islamic Truth
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been sent later by my religious superiors to Malaysia, where I could study and experience more thoroughly the all-comprehensive living truth of Islam as revealed to the last and greatest of Allah's messengers, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)
By officially embracing Islam as the best fulfillment of the genuine Christian faith in the original Good Message (Gospel) of Jesus, foretelling Allah's last universal Revelation through His greatest Messenger Muhammad in the divine Word of the Holy Quran, I had to repay my heavy spiritual debt to the many Muslim friends of mine in this country, who encouraged me by their word and example to choose for myself the Islamic Truth as the most positive directive force to a fuller individual life in submission to Allah's guidance as well as towards the unification of mankind in fraternal fellowship and peace.