This is a wonderful story of a conservative Christian whom Allah guided to the path of truth making him one of the most prominent Islamic preachers in the African continent. The Chad-based Ali Ramadaan Naajeeli, the Sultan of Qindi, narrates how much he hated Muslims, but embraced Islam when studied it:
I WAS lost and confused until I became Muslim in 1977 at the hands of a Nigerian sheikh, a dayee. His sustained preaching among us drew us to learn and understand Islam.
The Salafi scholar proved beyond doubt that Islam was not like others would like to make out of it. He told us how the mushrikeen (idolaters) offered power and wealth to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but he refused it for the sake of his dawah. And he told us how he had striven against the mushrikeen for many years and had bore insults and torment until his divine mission succeeded and spread throughout the world. His months of dawah convinced us of Islam’s truthfulness, and we entered the faith on the basis of conviction. We became Muslims willingly, embracing a religion in which we could worship on God in all sincerity, worshipping Him alone.
I became Muslim with the others, among whom was my father, the Sultan of the region of Mahim Tooki Qindi in Nigeria. After I embraced Islam, I went with the sheikh and remained in his service for 6 years, then I graduated to become a dayee, after studying Islam. At the end of the training period, he said to me: “Work with me in Nigeria.”
I became the sultan after my father passed away, after calling people in the region to Islam for two years. This led to 4,722 people from the Saraqulai tribe becoming Muslim, including 14 Christian priests. From this time the confrontation with the Christian missionaries in the south of Chad began. They tried to destroy the Islamic dawah and make those who had become Muslim Christian, using various methods. They regarded the Islamic dawah there as a rival, which threatened to stem the Christian tide. They tried to tempt me with money and by offering me a house and a farm so that I would become Christian. They wanted me to work for Christianity. This is what made the Chadian government appoint me as a member of the Higher Committee on Islamic Affairs in the Republic of Chad. But despite all these offers, I rejected what the Christian missionaries offered me. So they started to provoke the animists against the Muslims in the south, but their efforts ended in failure.
Later, the Islamic Dawah organization permitted me to perform Haj. When I visited Makkah and saw the Muslims there — white and black, with no differences between them; all of them wearing the same clothes and equal in status, I could not stop myself from weeping. I had no one from my family with me, yet I felt that all the people around me were my family and my brothers. This increased my determination to strive more seriously in the field of dawah, to guide other people to this great religion and not to keep this spiritual joy to myself, and to save the rest of my brothers from doom and from the Fire of Hell. I decided to start my dawah in my own country, Chad.
After I came back from Haj, I decided to open Islamic centers, to construct more mosques and schools. Praise be to Allah, I was able to establish 12 mosques and a school. We dug up 12 wells for the people in the Qindi region. I also worked to establish a foundation for training of converts in dawah. My only aim now was to spread the message of Islam; its teachings, morals and manners; and to focus on teaching Arabic. We established study circles to teach Qur’an and Sunnah, praise be to Allah.
Besides, there are many obstacles facing the dawah in the south of Chad. The main obstacles are material, for the people there are poor and do not have their daily food. The region also suffers from a lack of roads and there are no means of transportation to go into the primitive animizt areas in order to make dawah in the villages where most of the people are Christians. We are also suffering from a lack of trained dayees.
Many of the Muslims there know little about Islam, which is most unfortunate. In contrast, the efforts of the Christian missionaries are supported by material support. The missionary efforts remain the greatest obstacle we face in this region. When the Pope from the Vatican visited the region of Qinda at the end of his African tour, he met with the missionaries there and made great plans to Christianize the region. Hence they supplied many missionaries from a number of European countries and they supplied the money they needed.
They also announced that they would build a number of churches in the region. One of the Italian missionaries told me that this region would be Christian soon. Each month they organize local festivals where they offer food, drink and assistance to the animists and invite them to become Christian. They also visit orphanages and refugees, which they support financially, in order to Christianize the children who stay there. They are very devious: They were working in the name of the Red Cross there when it was discovered that they have been sterilizing women by giving them medication with the result that they will never again conceive. This is one of their means of limiting the number of Muslims and putting an end to Islam in Chad.
I have discovered the fragrance of Islam and there is no doubt that it is the religion of equality and justice. It makes no distinction between rich and poor, black and white except in terms of taqwa. Everyone turns to Allah and everyone is a slave of Allah.
My advice to all Muslims, if they want to see Islam prevail, is that they should follow Islam in word and deed. This in itself will be a cause of Islam spreading, because the others do not possess the good characteristics and conduct which are the reason why others are attracted to it and embrace it. Islam prevails and is not be prevailed over, because it comprises a great treasure, lofty teachings and lessons for mankind which are still hidden and which have to be revealed to all of mankind. This can be achieved if we adhere to it, follow its teachings and manners as given in the Qur’an and the sayings of the Noble Messenger (peace be upon him) and his companions.