Accepting Islam and engaging in righteous deeds bring many moral values that distinguish Muslims and elevate them above others. Lying and engaging in harmful behaviors towards nature and people are considered forbidden (haram), while performing acts of charity and speaking kindly and truthfully are regarded as virtuous and supported. These circumstances not only bring spiritual benefits for Muslims in the afterlife but also provide opportunities for positive interactions with those who have not yet encountered Islam. In this news article, we will discuss an Australian who embraced Islam after being influenced by the hospitality of the Muslim community during a visit to the Middle East.
Myles Hembrow believes that being deployed in Oman with the Australian Royal Navy to combat piracy and drug trafficking opened a magical window for him into the Islamic world.
He expressed that he was impressed during the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr by the hospitality of the Muslims “What surprised and influenced me was the hospitality of the people. Despite being foreign defense forces in their country, they invited us to share meals with them.“
Returning to Islam
Hembrow, born to a Caucasian family in Australia, received education at a Catholic school. He was not against religion and beliefs, but he never felt that Christianity, in which he grew up, was right for him. He stated, “I couldn’t accept the truth of the Trinity belief without any doubt. I felt that I had previously thought of myself as leaning towards Islam, and now I have a framework and a connection.”
According to the Australian Journal of Islamic Studies, Hembrow is one of the increasing number of Westerners who have “returned” to Islam. While the influence of marriage or other relationships is common among Westerners accepting Islam, Hembrow belongs to an even smaller minority that does not fall under these circumstances.
He explains his conversion to Islam as follows “Usually, being blessed with Islam is a transformation, but in Islam, it is called ‘returning’ because you go back to what is naturally accepted. There is a concept that everyone comes from Islam, the concept of fitrah that we cannot deny.”
Associating Islam with Worship and Life
Today, Hembrow observes and strives to fulfill the obligations of Islam, including praying five times a day, fasting during Ramadan, and engaging in acts of charity. He states that he has been influenced by the understanding that righteous deeds can be anything, including providing financial assistance and spending time with others, strengthening communication with family members “My faith has helped me build unique bridges in human relationships and the connection I had never felt before.”
Additionally, Hembrow attends Islamic Studies classes two to three times a week to deepen his understanding of faith. While working full-time at Sydney University, he is also attempting to learn Arabic.
Hembrow is now part of a Muslim community that further strengthens his love for faith. He expresses his thoughts about the group “To be honest, whoever I meet, I am met with the same warm, loving embraces. Other Muslim brothers and sisters immediately include me as part of them. When I mention that I am a Muslim, I receive special attention. I don’t feel like I deserve it, but they are extraordinary people.”
While wholeheartedly celebrating Hembrow’s path to guidance, we find another opportunity to reflect on the impact of our good or bad actions as Muslims on those who are interested in embracing Islam. We hope to embody sincerity in our hearts and strive for truth, justice, and good character.