Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dr. Laurence B. Brown's Conversion Story

I found out about Dr. Laurence Brown from my aunt, then I looked him up and found his website and turned out to be truly his, and the story was authentic from his own telling. The first few times I told the story to others, I couldn't help choking up as I reached the end, it is nothing short of truly miraculous:

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There is a certain fascination with conversion stories, and for good reason. Frequently they involve dramatic life-altering events, sufficient to shock the convert out of the materialistic world and into the spiritual. Most who pass through such moments of trial and panic experience an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, and turn to their Creator in prayer. In virtually every case I know, they forget the strained theological formulas they have been taught and instinctively pray directly to our Creator.

For example, a lady once related her ‘Born Again Christian’ conversion story on a popular evangelical television show. This lady told how she had been the sole survivor of a terrible boat-wreck. During her days and nights alone in the harsh elements of the open ocean, she told how God spoke to her, guided her and protected her and how, seeking His favor, she prayed to God and to God Alone. In her long tale, she mentioned God over and over again, and never once mentioned Jesus Christ. However, the moment she was saved by a passing ship, she threw her arms open to the heavens and yelled, “Thank you, Jesus!”

There is a lesson here. When in panic and stress, people instinctively pray directly to God, without intermediary or intercessor. That is the default setting of our spiritual consciousness. However, when relieved of their distress, people frequently return to their previously held theological formulas, no matter how strained or bizarre. All converts feel God saved them, and that the miracle of their salvation justifies their beliefs. But there is only One God, so it makes sense that there can only be one religion that is true in all aspects. Hence, only one group can be right and all others are, to one degree or another, wrong. For the latter group, their personal miracles serve to confirm them upon disbelief rather than upon truth. As Allah teaches in the Holy Qur’an, “Allah leaves astray whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]” (TMQ -- Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an: 13:27) and “So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path.” (TMQ 4:175) As for those astray in disbelief, our Creator leaves them to stray upon whatever misdirected path they themselves choose.

So who will become Muslim based upon my conversion story? Only one person: me. Muslims might appreciate my story, others might not. Either way, here it is:

In 1990, I was in the last year of my ophthalmology residency at George Washington University hospital in Washington, DC. My second daughter was born October tenth. To my great dismay, she was a dusky, gunmetal blue from the chest to the toes. Her body was not getting enough blood, and the cause was found to be a coarctation of the aorta -- a critical narrowing in the major artery from the heart. Needless to say, I was shattered. Being a doctor, I understood she needed emergency surgery, with a poor chance of long-term survival. A consultant pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon was called from across town, and I left him in the neonatal intensive care unit to examine my daughter. With no companion but my fears, I went to the hospital prayer room and fell to my knees. A product of Christian-American heritage dating back to 1677, nonetheless this was the first time that I even partially recognized God. I say partially, for even then I prayed the prayer of a skeptic, “Oh, God, if you are there . . .” I promised that if God existed, and if He saved my daughter and then guided me to the religion most pleasing to Him, that I would follow. I returned to the neonatal ICU roughly fifteen minutes later, and was shocked when the consultant told me that my daughter would be fine. True to his assessment, within the next two days her condition resolved miraculously, without medicine or surgery. She grew to be a perfectly normal child and as of this date -- July 2008 -- is on the verge of her eighteenth birthday.

Now, as I said before, I am a doctor. And although the consultant provided a medical explanation for my daughter’s miraculous recovery, I simply didn’t buy it. I remember him explaining about a patent ductus arteriosis, low oxygenation and spontaneous resolution. But I also remember thinking, “No,” my daughter’s salvation was not a medical miracle, but a divine one. Many who make promises to God in moments of panic find or invent excuses to escape their part of the bargain, once God relieves them of their distress. I could easily have assigned my daughter’s recovery to the doctor’s explanation rather than to a miracle from God. But faith had entered my heart, and it wouldn’t leave. We had cardiac ultrasounds taken before and after, showing the stricture one day and gone the next, and all I could think was that God had made good on His part of the deal, and I had to make good on mine. Even if there was a medical explanation, that was nothing more than the pathway by which Almighty God chose to answer my prayer and effect His decree. I did not then, and I do not now, accept any other explanation.

For the next few years I tried to fulfill my side of the bargain, but failed. I studied Judaism and a large number of Christian sects. I felt I was on the right track, close to the truth but not upon it. I never fully embraced any specific Christian formula, for I could not reconcile the differences between Christian canon and Jesus’ teachings. Eventually I was introduced to the Holy Qur’an and Martin Lings’s biography, Muhammad, His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

During my years of study, I had encountered the Jewish scriptures’ reference to three prophets to follow Moses. I had concluded that John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were two, but that left one. In the New Testament Jesus Christ spoke of a final prophet to follow. When I found the Holy Qur’an teaching the oneness of God, as both Moses and Jesus Christ had taught, I become convinced Muhammad was the predicted final prophet. Suddenly, everything made sense: The continuity in the chain of prophethood and revelation, the One-ness of Almighty God, and the completion of revelation in the Holy Qur’an. It was then that I became Muslim.

Pretty smart, hunh? No, I would err greatly if I believed that I figured it out for myself. One lesson I have learned is that there are a lot of people more intelligent than I who have not learned the truth of Islam. It is not a matter of intelligence but of enlightenment, for “…whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart” (TMQ 64:11), “Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]” (TMQ 42:13), “And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (TMQ 24:46)

So I thank Allah that He chose to guide me, and I attribute that guidance to one simple formula: recognizing our Creator, praying to Him and to Him alone, and sincerely seeking His guidance. And whom He guides, none can lead astray.

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26 comments:

Yara said...

wow sib7an Allah :) sa7 kalama when ppl are in trouble they pray to Allah o chethi, then when its solved they forget Allah

I love conversion stories

ZoN said...

Mashallah.. very great story.. so many lessons are taught in this story. yzak allah khair bro :)

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Jazak ALLAHU Khaeran

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William Barnes said...

What a silly, deluded man.

ahmed wak said...

what is silly and delusive about this,mr. barnes?

Anonymous said...

You are looking into the mirror sir.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I don't trust this guy

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Laurence Brown said...

This is Dr Laurence Brown. Like the author of this blog, I still get choked up when I tell my story, even though my daughter is now ready to graduate from college. She is a grown woman, and tears still fill my eyes when I think of how hard Allah had to stress me to make me come out of my shell of ignorance and recognize Him.
One comment on this blog was that people sometimes forget Allah after their distress is resolved. Alhumdulillah, this never happened to me, but an interesting adjunct to my conversion story is that years later I met a woman who declared true faith when her son was born with a heart condition that the doctors expected to be fatal. When her son got better, however, she left Islam, stating that now that her son was better, "I don't need God anymore." How pathetic. But let us not forget that guidance is from Allah.
Please feel free to check out my website, LevelTruth.com.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr.Brown for your comment.
That is the ultimate test -- after Allah takes away the distress, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him). And man is ever ungrateful” [al-Isra’ 17:67].

Even people born in Islam are also tested with such circumstances, in different forms, to establish their truthfulness.

Anonymous said...

Its funny to know it, as you only knew it from the skin you only knew an "advertisement" of the book.obbey some verses and throw the others.you are simply failed to understand the essence as you never lived in 90% live threatning moslem country.

Shams uz Zaman said...

Thanks Dr Brown for sharing your story. It is impressive like of Jeffery Lang's conversion story. Would be looking forward for your future writings. God bless you and best of luck for success in future. May Allah guide us all to righteous path.
Pakistan

Khaja Ahsan said...

My name is Ahsan Khaja, Indian national by birth. Our CREATOR is ONE and HE blessed me with grand children.

Any goodness being enjoyed by Dr Laurence Brown is by the guidance written down in AL-QURAN.
AL-QURAN was revealed to a person named Mohammad, 1436 years before from 2015 Gregorian calendar. Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final prophet. AL-QURAN is not at all a religious book BUT it is a book that guides mankind how to properly and peacefully spend every single moment of this most precious life. To learn AL-QURAN, a person is most welcome to read the life biography of prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.
My dear dearest Dr Laurence Brown is a live example for mankind to follow to die as Muslim so as to go back to Heaven and protect himself from hell-fire. I will be extremely happy to send you both this books as a gift (1) AL-QURAN and (2) The Sealed Nectar, biography of the noble prophet, peace be upon him. I am your best friend, at ahsanknf@gmail.com
Ahsan Khaja
21st August 2015

Ahsan Khaja said...

My name is Ahsan Khaja, Indian national by birth. Our CREATOR is ONE and HE blessed me with grand children.

Any goodness being enjoyed by Dr Laurence Brown is by the guidance written down in AL-QURAN.
AL-QURAN was revealed to a person named Mohammad, 1436 years before from 2015 Gregorian calendar. Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final prophet. AL-QURAN is not at all a religious book BUT it is a book that guides mankind how to properly and peacefully spend every single moment of this most precious life. To learn AL-QURAN, a person is most welcome to read the life biography of prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.
My dear dearest Dr Laurence Brown is a live example for mankind to follow to die as Muslim so as to go back to Heaven and protect himself from hell-fire. I will be extremely happy to send you both this books as a gift (1) AL-QURAN and (2) The Sealed Nectar, biography of the noble prophet, peace be upon him. I am your best friend, at ahsanknf@gmail.com
Ahsan Khaja
21st August 2015

Khaja Ahsan said...

My name is Ahsan Khaja, Indian national by birth. Our CREATOR is ONE and HE blessed me with grand children.

Any goodness being enjoyed by Dr Laurence Brown is by the guidance written down in AL-QURAN.
AL-QURAN was revealed to a person named Mohammad, 1436 years before from 2015 Gregorian calendar. Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final prophet. AL-QURAN is not at all a religious book BUT it is a book that guides mankind how to properly and peacefully spend every single moment of this most precious life. To learn AL-QURAN, a person is most welcome to read the life biography of prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.
My dear dearest Dr Laurence Brown is a live example for mankind to follow to die as Muslim so as to go back to Heaven and protect himself from hell-fire. I will be extremely happy to send you both this books as a gift (1) AL-QURAN and (2) The Sealed Nectar, biography of the noble prophet, peace be upon him. I am your best friend, at ahsanknf@gmail.com
Ahsan Khaja
21st August 2015

Moha A. Said said...

My name is Mohamed Abdullahi, my nationality is Somali.
It is really great miracle and made me tear down Masha Allah.

Nancy Lee said...

Sad that one who was sane was is so caught up in a death cult. Islam has NOT a thing to give to this world but just what it does today...murder lie and steal. ANYTHING islam has that is decent has been stole from others and this has been proven time and time again. Sad day for this death believer...

farah moha said...

May ALLAH SW guide us to the right path,,,,,Islam is the solution to ALL the problems facing our world,,,pls non muslims study Islam with an open mind

Curtis said...

Does you conversion story convince me? Sorry, but no. Here is why.
You write:
'There is a lesson here. When in panic and stress, people instinctively pray directly to God, without intermediary or intercessor. That is the default setting of our spiritual consciousness'.
What makes you so sure that there is any such lesson here?. You might be able to prove your point if you could show that people are wiser when in panic and stress than at other times. But are they? I think that, if anything, people are less wise when in panic and stress than at other times.
What really happened on 10th. October 1990? You thought that your daughter was dying. You were panicky and stressed. You were not thinking straight and came up with a supernatural explanation for your daughter's recovery. The doctor, who was neither panicky nor stressed, came up with a medical one.

Unknown said...

I was a muslim once and I found conversion stories fascinating and strengthen me. But years passed and I still feel empty despite 5 times praying and going on hajj. Somehow, I just couldn't feel peace or love.

Then at one time, I found that most conversion stories I read were fabricated so that they can earn money by preaching or selling books. I was disappointed. Tried consulting with imams and ulemmas to no avail. This and the lack of feel peace made me wandering.

And so I searched and searched and finally found this one christian sect. A pentecostal movement. Read a lot of conversions to pentecost and also read how people are labelling them and calling them names. However for some reasons this in fact intrigued me and finally I came.

Can't really tell long stories here but boy, I am thankful that I did come. I feel God's presence through His holy spirit. A feel that I couldn't even get when I was circling Kaba'a surrounded by masses.

In fact, I don't need to travel that far. Now I can feel God's presence by praying by myself or by praying in christian connect group.

So to those feeling empty or disappointed or bitter. Please do try find Jesus. Bible says He is even closer to people in need and I am the living proof of it. I hope you all can get to feel God's presence and be in peace. Jesus loves you and He is still calling you even if you turn your back on Him :)