Appearing below are details about my reversion to Islam. I have published them before but took the page down because I wanted to rewrite it. Unfortunately, my computer - like me - is getting old and isn't quite up to the mark.
It's all but impossible to lay pages and rewrite text so until I buy a new computer a lot of the work I want to do must wait. I've also been very ill and that has impacted on my ability to work on my websites.
However, recently somebody expressed interest in my reversion so I have posted below the old text that I have published in the past. It still needs rewriting as do many of the other pages I published on my former site, but it will suffice for the time being.
I am aware that some of the material in the opening paragraphs is already covered on the page 'My reversion to Islam - in brief' but rather than try to edit the text I have let it stand so I can review it properly later.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE HAS NOT BEEN
PROOFED. IF ANYONE NOTICES ANY MISTAKES COULD THEY PLEASE CONTACT ME AT email@example.com.
MY STORY - OR SOME OF IT - ABOUT MY REVERSION TO ISLAM
My name is Ian Charles
Calderwood. I was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, on
the 11th of January 1946, but was raised in Melbourne.
I reverted to Islam as a Sunni Muslim who follows the Hanafi Mazhab (School)in
Melbourne in 1983. And this is my story - or some of it - of why I became a
Before proceeding with my
background I want to note that after I reverted to Islam I changed my name on
the 28th of October 1984 by Deed Poll in Melbourne from Ian Charles Calderwood
to Yahya Abdullah. I lived in Pakistan under that name from April 1985 and
returned to Melbourne in September 1990.
The Law Handbook 1996,
published by the Fitzroy Legal Service, also explains on Page 324 that Deed
Polls were abolished in Victoria effective from the 01st of November 1986. It
notes: “While you may use a deed poll as evidence of a change of name, you
cannot now use a deed poll to administratively register a change of name. With
effect from 1 November 1986, a change of name can only be registered by making
an application to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages on the
prescribed form . . .”
My father had worked in
administration at BHP in Newcastle during World War Two but had ambitions to be
a public accountant. In those days Melbourne was the financial centre of
Australia so he moved us all there – my mother, my sister and me - in 1949.
My family were practising
Christians, not just Christians in name only. We regularly attended the Church
of England, as it was called when I was young. I was raised to believe in the
Trinity and taught to recite the Nicene Creed – the affirmation that you
believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. For my thoughts on the Trinity and
the Nicene Creed see my page headed ‘The Trinity – a false doctrine’.
I was confirmed in the Church
at the age of about 12 and regularly attended with my parents and sister.
Sadly, my parents separated
when I was about 14 years old. My father, who by then was known as a brilliant
consulting accountant, was an alcoholic and an adulterer. When they separated I
went with my mother, a decent, chaste, loving woman, a good mother to me and my
sister, whom I believed had been wronged.
The separation which ended in
divorce triggered a lot of emotional turmoil in me about Christianity. I was
already struggling to grasp the Trinity – a doctrine that to my way of thinking
was suspect – but to witness my father’s hypocrisy only exacerbated the matter.
At one stage my mother, who
dearly loved my father, went to see the minister at St John’s, Camberwell,
where we had worshipped for years and complained about my father’s drinking and
adultery. He was not interested and rejected her complaints.
I recall my mother coming
home bitterly disappointed by the vicar’s attitude.
My father, an affluent man,
regularly donated to the church and I do not doubt that influenced the
Dad’s support for the church
was far-reaching and when St John’s was rebuilt after a fire in 1955 he paid
for one of the new stained glass windows. A costly affair.
Such is the way of the world.
You can sin against God – commit adultery, spurn your wife and children, drink
beyond reason – and as far as some men of the cloth are concerned it is of no
account providing you pay with hard, cold cash.
The breakdown in my parents’
marriage and consequent clashes with my father proved to be catalysts that
drove me away from the Church. That break influenced me profoundly and I went
from being an innocent choirboy who believed in God to eventually being a
renegade who knew only too well some of the darkest paths in life.
As I grew older my dissolute,
rebellious behaviour went beyond the pale and in the late 1960s and early 1970s
I found myself blundering from one crisis to another. Like my father I too
drank whisky. Like him it made me quarrelsome, argumentative. There's nothing
worse than a nasty drunk.
I had seen my father drink a
bottle of whisky in a night and then get up and hit the port in the morning. I
found myself heading down the same path.
In about 1968 – I cannot be
certain of the year now because at the time I did not place any great weight
upon the matter – I had a dream in which I saw the word EL, two large
block letters made out of stone, blazing fiercely in the sky. The stone
was grey, like granite.
The dream was so vivid, so
confronting, that I awoke with a start. My mother had come to stay with me – I
was renting a flat in St. Kilda Rd. - so I rushed into her room and woke her. I
cannot remember my exact words but in effect I asked her ‘what does EL mean?’
Sleepily she replied that she didn’t know.
At the time I associated the
dream with God. My heart kept saying ‘it’s God’ but my head couldn’t
handle that and instead of pursuing the dream and turning back to Him
I ignored it.
I believe that rejection was
my final undoing and as the years came to pass in the 1970s I found myself
beset with problems that began to spiral out of control.
There are verses in the Holy
Qur’an in which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High)
warns against ignoring his Signs. If you do, you do so at your own peril. By
ignoring the dream I had done just that.
I won’t elaborate on the
years that followed the dream except to say that my problems escalated and
eventually in the mid-1970s I found myself in despair. I then recalled my youth
– my belief in God – and realised I needed Him now more than ever before.
As a result I tried to turn
back to Him, to abandon my immoral, wild behaviour and find once again that God
whom I had once so strongly believed in.
But, it was not so easy. I
tried going to church, but to no avail. I simply didn’t believe in the Trinity.
I believed that Jesus (alayhi as-salam – may the peace of Allah be upon him)
was a man and a Prophet, the Messiah, I accepted all of that, but there was no
way that I believed he was God. For my reasons why I reject the Trinity see my
page headed ‘The Trinity - a false doctrine’.
On the few occasions that I
did attend church I found myself unable to concentrate, to take part in the
service, and eventually I gave up trying to return to Christianity.
Since I had been a young
teenager I had regularly gone to the State Library Victoria in Swanston Street,
Melbourne, to read. I loved to study and used to browse the shelves looking for
books of interest.
It was my quest to find the
right path in religion that led me back to the library to try to research the
subject. ‘What is the best path for me to take,’ I asked myself.
I read various works,
including a desultory glance at the Mormons – a glance that left me cold and
feeling utterly disillusioned. I then started to read about Judaism, a religion
which I felt an affinity with. As a child I loved the Old Testament. I rarely
read the New Testament.
It was that empathy with
Judaism that led me to look at various titles, among them being a Hebrew to
English dictionary. Casually glancing through the pages my eyes fell upon the
word EL. And then I remembered the dream. I had forgotten about it for years.
The revelation shook me. At
the time of the dream I had associated it with God, but only now, seeing the
word in the dictionary, did it hit home that my dream was from the Lord of the
Worlds, the God of the Old Testament known not only to the Israelites, but
among other peoples of the ancient world.
EL simply means God. It was a
word not only used by the Israelites, but by others such as the Canaanites, but
the latter used it to describe their chief god and associated partners
with him. In Islam it is strictly forbidden to associate partners with Allah
(Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) and to do so constitutes
Finding the dictionary and
realising the significance of the dream was a turning point for me, but I still
didn’t feel that my quest for the truth was over. So I continued to browse the
shelves, strengthened by the discovery that the dream really was meaningful,
but still wondering what path I should take.
In doing so I came upon a
translation of the Holy Qur’an. I had never really considered Islam as an
alternative, but sitting there in that reading room with the great dome soaring
magnificently above me I found myself thumbing through the pages and then my
eyes fell upon verse 72 in Surah Al-Ma’idah.
I cannot now remember which
translation it was, but the relevant verse from Tafsir Ibn Kathir reads:
“Surely, they have
disbelieved who say: ‘Allah is the Messiah ['Isa (ED: Jesus)], son of Maryam.’
But the Messiah said: ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your
Lord.’ Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allah, then Allah
has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the
wrongdoers there are no helpers.”
In verses 73 and 74 Allah
(Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) continues:
“Surely, they have
disbelieved who say: ‘Allah is the third of three’. And there is no god but One
God (Allah). And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful
torment will befall the disbelievers among them.
“Will they not repent to
Allah and ask His Forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
In verse 75 Allah (Subhanahu
wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) emphasizes that ‘Isa (Jesus)
(alayhi as-salam – may the peace of Allah be upon him) was a man: He says:
“The Messiah ['Isa], son of
Maryam, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away
before him. His mother [Maryam] was a Siddiqah. They both used to eat food.
Look how We make the Ayat clear to them; yet look how they are deluded away
(from the truth).” (Ibn
Kathir, 2003, p. 234) 
Commenting on the above
verses Ibn Kathir wrote: “Allah states that the Christians, such sects as
Monarchite, Jacobite and Nestorite, are disbelievers, those among them who say
that ‘Isa is Allah.
“Allah is far holier than
what they attribute to Him. They made this claim in spite of the fact that ‘Isa
made it known that he was the servant of Allah and His Messenger.
“The first words that ‘Isa
uttered when he was still a baby in the cradle were, ‘I am Abdullah (the
servant of Allah)’. He did not say, ‘I am Allah’ or ‘I am the son of Allah’.
Rather he said,
‘Verily, I am a servant of
Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet.’
“Until he said,
‘And verily Allah is
my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). That is the straight path.’” (Ibn
Kathir, 2003, pp. 234-235) 
The above verses quoted by
Ibn Kathir, namely:
· ‘Verily, I am a
servant of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet’
· ‘And verily Allah
is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). That is the straight path’
are from Surah Maryam, verses
30 and 36 respectively.
Discovering the verses in the
Holy Qur’an denouncing the Trinity reinforced my conviction that the doctrine
of the Trinity was false and as a result in 1977 I bought translations of the
Qur’an so I could read it at home at my leisure.
In doing so I was impressed
and felt it echoed the sentiments I had found in the Old Testament as a child,
of an awesome God, powerful and just, but also benevolent. A friend and
I didn’t read the work from
cover to cover, but read pages here, verses there, always feeling I had come
upon what I had been looking for.
But, then the doubts started
to creep in. Was I misled? Perhaps it was the work of some scribe who had
compiled it from Christian and Judaic sources; perhaps it was a sham, a forgery
of some description.
So I began to wonder, the
doubts within eating away at my initial conviction that I had found the truth,
mulling over whether or not it really was the Word of God or it was a fake.
The problem was I didn’t know
anyone I could turn to for advice. I didn’t know any Muslims, nor Arabic
scholars, who could guide me. Perplexed, I pondered what to do and then I
realised that the one who knew was God and I resolved to ask Him if the Qur’an
was His book.
But, then the question was
‘how do I address Him’? Obviously I wasn’t going to call Him Jesus (may peace
be upon him) because I didn’t believe Jesus (may peace be upon him) was God nor
did I wish to address Him as God – I felt it was impersonal, distant – I needed
to be able to turn to somebody I felt loved me; somebody I could trust to guide
So I decided to address Him
as ‘EL’ because it was the dream that had turned those printed pages of the Old
Testament that I had read as a child into a reality. The living God who cared.
And my prayer was ‘EL is this
Qur’an your book?’
I had barely completed the
prayer when I felt something moving inside me. It was coming up through my
chest from somewhere deep within. I felt it was something physical, tangible;
rectangular in shape.
And to my astonishment it
came into my mind and it was a word and the word was ‘Quraish’.
I was stunned and sat musing,
with my head saying ‘what does Quraish mean’ and my heart saying ‘it’s in the
Qur’an, it’s in the Qur’an’.
So I turned to the
translations and searched for the word and found it. It was the title of the
106th chapter of the Qur’an. I hadn’t read it previously, but did so then.
And this is what it
said:  (Shafi, 2008, p. 885)
Surah Al-Quraish (The
1. Because of the familiarity of the
2. That is their familiarity with the
trips of winter and summer,
3. They must worship the Lord of this
4. Who gave them food against hunger,
and gave them security against fear.
Reading the verse, I realised
‘EL’ had answered my prayer. I understood that the verse ‘They must worship the Lord of this
House,’ meant He
wanted me to worship Him – Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the
Such a revelation - or
inspiration if you like to call it that - is called a ‘wahy’ in Arabic and in
my case it was confirmation from Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him,
the Most High) that the Qur’an was authentic – His Word.
As a result, from then on I
believed that the Qur’an was the truth, the Word of God and I was set on a
straight path that eventually led me to embracing Islam in 1983 as a Sunni
Muslim who followed the Hanafi School.
On occasions I have told
people the truth about the ‘wahy’ and it is obvious in a few instances there
have been misunderstandings. I want to stress that the inspiration I had in
1977 was about the Qur’an, it was not about any translation of that Holy text.
The Qur’an is only the Qur’an
in Arabic – no translation or interpretation of the Qur’an can replace the
original Arabic text, nor do it justice.
The reason why there was such
a long time between the Wahy in 1977 and my embracing of Islam in 1983 was
because of my personality, my nature. During the late 1970s I wanted to be
alone and shunned other people’s company and even today I tend to be reclusive.
I like being alone with Him.
Aside from going to work and
basics, such as going shopping, I had little to do with other people and didn’t
go to the mosque nor mix in the Muslim community.
However, because of my wish
to be alone, my failure to mix in the Muslim community I did not practise Islam
correctly and did not begin to do so until I recited the first Kalimah – ‘La
ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah’ [there is no god but Allah and
Muhammad (sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah
be upon him) is his Messenger] in 1983.
It is true that after I had
the Wahy in 1977 I described myself as a Muslim – I sincerely believed in the
heart that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High) was the
one and only God.
I made the claim with the
utmost sincerity and it certainly had nothing to do with me holding any
heretical beliefs, such as those espoused by the Qadiyanis or Ahmadis or any
I am not and have never been
a Qadiyani or Ahmadi and have never told anybody that I was. Nor have I ever
been a Shia – I have heard that whisper back on a few occasions.
The Qadiyanis or Ahmadis,
whatever name you want to call them by, are not Muslims. Indeed anybody who
claims that there has been another Prophet after the Prophet Muhammad
(sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon
him) is not a Muslim and to claim otherwise is to reject the teachings of
As for the Shias, their case
is with Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - Glory be to Him, the Most High). I am not
qualified to comment upon their affairs.
After I embraced Islam in
1983 as a Sunni Muslim it was explained to me that to be a Muslim it was
essential that a person not only believed that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala -
Glory be to Him, the Most High) was the one and only God and that Muhammad
(sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon
him) was His Messenger but they also had to recite ‘La ilaha ill-Allah,
Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah’ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (sall-Allahu
alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is his
Messenger] with the tongue in Arabic.
As a result from then on, I
dated my reversion to Islam from 1983. If anybody is interested in reverting to
Islam I suggest they research the subject on www.islamqa.org . There are several articles of interest on
Over the years I have told
several people about the dream and the Wahy about the Qur’an but my claims have
usually been met with scepticism.
However, I have told the
truth and take Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) as
my witness that I have done so. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him,
the Most High) is Ash-Shahid (The Witness) and He is also Al-Haqq (The Truth)
and never lies.
In Surah Al-Baqarah verse 186
“And when My servants ask
you [O Muhammad (sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) concerning Me, then answer them], I am indeed near (to them
by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls
on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in
Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Ibn Kathir, 2003, p. 505) 
As such if any Muslim is in
doubt about my claim to have had the dream or they have doubts that I had the
Wahy about the Qur’an, then all he or she has to do is ask Allah (Subhanahu wa
ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) whether or not I am telling the truth.
According to Ahadith reported
by Ibn Kathir He answers all prayers subject to certain qualifications. (Ibn
Kathir, 2003, pp. 505-508) 
For example, Ibn Kathir noted
the following: “Muslim recorded that the Prophet (sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam
- may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The supplication of
the servant will be accepted as long as he does not supplicate for what
includes sin, or cutting the relations of the womb, and as long as he does not
become hasty.’ He was asked, O Messenger of Allah! How does one become hasty?
He said, ‘He says, I supplicated and supplicated, but I do not see that my supplication is
being accepted from me. He
thus loses interest and abandons supplicating (to Allah).’ ”
In seeking guidance from
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) a Muslim may do so
by performing the Nafl prayer Istikhara (voluntary prayer for guidance) or
simply make Dua (supplicate).
In Radiant Prayers by Mufti
Muhammad Taqi Usmani, the Shaykh recommended reciting the following verse from
the Holy Qur’an when seeking guidance by making Dua:
“Our Lord, bless us with
mercy from Your own and bless us with right guidance in all our matters.”
[Surah Al-Kahf 10] (Taqi Usmani, no date, p. 15)
I highly recommend Radiant
Prayers. Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is the son of the late Maulana Mufti
Muhammad Shafi, the former Grand Mufti of Pakistan. Mufti Muhammad Shafi
was the author of an excellent Tafsir called Ma'ariful Qur'an which is available
in English in an eight-volume set.
The website address for Mufti
Muhammad Taqi Usmani is:
In the past I have not told
many people about the dream nor the Wahy about the Qur’an, not only because
when I did so my claims were usually treated with doubt, but because I believed
I could not use them to spread Islam.
My belief is based upon
comments made in the Tafsir, Ma’ariful Qur’an, by the late Shaykh Mufti
Muhammad Shafi (rahmatullah alaihi – may the mercy of Allah be upon him) - one
of the most highly respected Shaykhs from the Indian Sub-continent.
In Volume 6, pages 94-95, of
the English translation of the Tafsir, the learned Shaykh wrote that Wahy
[inspirations from Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most
High)] that were received by ordinary people such as myself could not be used
to spread the religion.
He noted: “These inspirations however, are
specific to the person to whom they are made and are not meant for (ED: to be
made) public or to be used for the propagation of the True Faith.” (Shafi, 2008, pp. 94-95) 
See my page headed ‘Wahy’ for details of his comments on the matter.
A copy of Volume 6 of
Ma’ariful Qur’an can be downloaded from the following link at the Internet
The question of whether or
not I should discuss the dream and the Wahy with other people has confounded me
over the years and in recent times I have tried twice to get guidance on the
issue from qualified scholars in New South Wales. Unfortunately, such advice
has not been forthcoming.
However, I have decided to
publish the truth for the following reason.
In the Holy Qur’an Allah
(Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) says in verses 159 and
160 of Surah Al-Baqarah:
“Verily, those who conceal
the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We
have made it clear for the People in the Book, they are the ones cursed by
Allah and cursed by the cursers.
“Except those who repent and
do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These,
I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the
Most Merciful.” (Ibn
Kathir, 2003, p. 452) 
In his commentary on the
verses Ibn Kathir wrote:
“These Ayat sternly warn
against those who hide the clear signs that the Messengers were sent with which
guide to the correct path and beneficial guidance for the hearts, after Allah
has made such aspects clear for His servants through the Books that He revealed
to His Messengers. . .”
Ibn Kathir continued:
“A Hadith in the Musnad,
narrated through several chains of narrators, that strengthens the overall
judgement of the Hadith, states that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s
Messenger (sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah
be upon him) said: ‘Whoever was asked about knowledge that one has, but he hid
it, then a bridle made of fire will be tied around his mouth on the Day of
“It is also recorded by
Al-Bukhari that Abu Hurayrah said, ‘If it was not for an Ayah in Allah’s Book,
I would not have narrated a Hadith for anyone.’ ” 
Ibn Kathir then cited the
beginning of verse 159 indicating that this is the ayah Abu Hurayrah (Radi
Allahu Ta’ala’anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) is referring to. (Ibn
Kathir, 2003, p. 452-453) 
In light of verses 159 and
160 and the commentary by Ibn Kathir, especially the Ahadith he has cited from
Abu Hurayrah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala’anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) in which
it is made clear that the person who conceals knowledge risks being punished by
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) I have decided to
publish the truth.
I stress I am only publishing
the details of the dream and the Wahy about the Qur’an only out of fear of
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High). I read verses 159
and 160 of Surah Al-Baqarah many years ago and upon reading them again recently
it occurred to me that they might be relevant to my situation and that it would
be prudent for me to tell the truth out of fear of Him. If it wasn’t for my
fear of Him, I would not have done so.
They say a Muslim lives
between hope and fear – hope of being loved, forgiven and shown mercy by Allah
(Subhanahu wa ta’ala - glory be to Him, the Most High) and fear of His Might
and Majesty, His Holiness, His punishment if they err. So, I have told the
In doing so I would like to
reiterate that I believe Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahmatullah alaihi – may
the mercy of Allah be upon him) was completely correct in stating that
inspirations received by ordinary people like me from Allah “are specific to the person to whom they
are made and are not meant for (ED: to be made) public or to be used for the
propagation of the True Faith”.
As such I believe I cannot
use the dream nor the Wahy about the Qur’an to propagate Islam – the straight
path of the Sunnis.
 Ibn Kathir. (2003) Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (2nd ed. July 2003) (Vol. 3). Riyadh, Saudi
 Ibn Kathir. (2003) Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (2nd ed. July 2003) (Vol. 3). Riyadh, Saudi