Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.
Alhamdulillah I had the chance to meet with one of the most wonderful souls – Ustaz Muhammad Farid Ravi. He’s a TV celebrity and well known across Malaysia and Singapore through his famous television program called ‘Tilawah al-Quran’. Ustaz Farid Ravi is a Malaysian and currently pursuing his PhD studies in the University of Jordan. Ustaz Farid Ravi was invited by Dr Khazer al-Majali to take over the class I was sitting in (Da’wah and the Spreading of Islam) to share with us his inspiring revert story.
Ustaz Muhammad Farid Ravi or was known before reverting as Jesiah Ravi Jacob. He was born into a Christian family but was brought up in a Hindu setting instead. He is the last child out of 5 siblings but sadly his dad passed away when he was just 4 months in his mother’s womb.
Ustaz Farid Ravi lived in a Malay village and in the village there were only two Hindu families. Hence whenever he wanted to go to the temple, he had to go out of the village. He studied in a traditional Malay school in the village and he had to pass by a Masjid whenever he’s going to school. He was always in awe when the adzhan or Quran recitation being aired through the speaker of the Masjid.
As a non-Muslim, Ustaz Farid Ravi did not have to attend Islamic class. Until he was in primary 3, his friends asked him why he didn’t want to join the class. He answered that he’s scared the teacher will chase him out. His friend reassured him and he tried sitting in for the class. Indeed, the teacher wasn’t bothered by his presence and he started sitting in till he was in primary 6. MasyaAllah. Ustaz Farid Ravi memorized surah Al-Fatihah, few short surahs, the adzhan and a few du’as.
When Ustaz Farid Ravi entered secondary school, for 3 years, he had to take up Tamil language because he can’t really take up any other general classes. Everyday he seemed depressed because he didn’t enjoy Tamil class. He knows how to speak but he can’t recognise the characters. Again, his friends noticed him and asked what’s wrong. He answered that he wanted to join the Islamic class but he can’t cz he’s not a Muslim. And again, his friends reassured him but this time round his friends brought him to meet their Ustaz. Their Ustaz welcomed him with open arms but they had to meet the head master first. His head master was a Buddhist so the head master wasn’t feeling right about it and hence they met the deputy head master. Ustaz Farid Ravi was anxious in meeting the deputy head master because the deputy head master was a Hindu! After much negotiations among the teachers, Alhamdulillah Ustaz Farid Ravi finally got a place in the Islamic class when he was in secondary 3.
Now that he’s more matured, he tried to understand the surah that he has memorized. During the class, his teacher shared with them stories of the Prophets and one story that he could relate so much to was Prophet Ibraheem a.s. A brief story about Prophet Ibraheem a.s.:
Prophet Ibraheem lived during the period where people worship statues and idols. Prophet Ibraheem wanted to show the villagers that they are worshipping something that can neither benefit nor harm them. So he broke all of the small idols leaving the biggest idol only. When the villagers came to know that their idol were destroyed, they knew it was none other than Prophet Ibraheem’s doing. They confronted him and asking him to admit. But instead, he said that the biggest idol did it and asked them to speak to the idol. They got enraged and said that the idol cannot speak!
SubhanAllah. Ustaz Farid Ravi could totally relate to this amazing story. He started pondering on the temple that he and his family used to frequent. He pondered on the idols that his family had in their house. They’re non living things! They do not hear, they do not speak, they do not act on the prayers! From then, Ustaz Farid Ravi stopped visiting the temple and he’ll give all sorts of excuses when his family asked him along.
At 17 years old, Ustaz Farid Ravi was ready to revert to Islam but because he was still underage his application was rejected. He had to come back to the institution at the age of 18. Meanwhile, he kept Islam in his heart and still practised like a real Muslim.
In 1990, when Ustaz Farid Ravi was 18, he finally took the shahadah. He couldn’t keep the secret for long from his family. It was on a Friday when Ustaz Farid Ravi attended the obligatory Friday prayer when his famiy got to know about his reversion. Things in the house started to get ugly. His mum ignored him completely. His brother whom he was super close to tried to kill him and when he asked, “What’s so bad about Islam??”, his brother ignored his question.. His sister packed his bag and chased him out from the house.
He stayed six months in a welfare home – the place where he seek shelter and learnt more about Islam. After which, he pursued his degree at Ahlul Bayt University in Jordan.
Fast forward to 2001. Ustaz Farid Ravi finally went back home to meet his mum. He held his mum’s hands and he apologised for not being a good son. His mum is his responsibility and he felt guilty for not taking care of her for 10 years. He also felt guilty for not spending time with her and he yearns to meet his mum again in Jannah. But the only way for them to reunite again in Jannah is for her to revert to Islam too. His mum had the intention to revert but she was worried about what will happen, etc. Ustaz Farid Ravi reassured her that he’s gonna teach her all that she needs to know about Islam and she took the leap of faith. SubhanAllah.
His mum took the shahadah in March 2001 and Allahuakbar, she returns to her Creator in June 2001.
Four years after, in 2005, Ustaz Farid Ravi’s brother suddenly called him when he was working. His brother wanted to take the shahadah too, SubhanAllah! Ustaz Farid Ravi met his brother straight away and he asked his brother what made him wanting to revert to Islam. His brother answered, it was the question that Ustaz Farid Ravi posted to him 15 years ago – “What’s so bad about Islam?”. From then he started researching about Islam and he found all the good aspects about Islam! SubhanAllah.
His brother wanted to learn more about Islam once he reverted by he didn’t know a place that he can go to. Ustaz Farid Ravi recommended the same place where he used to learn about Islam.
His brother took his shahadah on Monday, and he passed away on a Friday in a Masjid. SubhanAllah. SubhanAllah!
How much Allah SWT loves His slaves?
That’s the inspiring revert story of Ustaz Muhammad Farid Ravi. Let’s all make do’a for his sisters to be given the hidayah too, InsyaAllah.
MasyaAllah. Indeed, Allah SWT guides those who He wants to guide. From this sharing, we can get a few great tips.
1. Just a simple question like, “What’s so bad about Islam?”, can make someone ponder so much. Just a simple gesture, and SubhanAllah, Allah will do the rest of the job.
2. Be hungry for the truth. Ustaz Farid Ravi attended his first Islamic class when he was 9. From that time on, he started searching for the truth and Allah SWT brought the truth to him because of his sincerity.
3. Do not stop making effort and do’a. Ustaz Farid Ravi yearns to reunite with his mum again in Jannah. He tried being the best son and Alhamdulillah, his chances of reuniting with his mum in Jannah seems brighter now.
4. Ustaz Farid Ravi is a revert but MasyaAllah, his contributions for the Ummah way surpass ours, a born Muslim. There are quite a number of reverts who are well-known for their da’wah towards the Ummah. So what’s our contribution for our brothers and sisters?
Let’s all make do’a for Ustaz Farid Ravi, and also make do’a for ourselves. May we be reunited with our loved ones again in Jannah.
If you’re a non-Muslim and you’re reading this, the next time you’re in distress, just close your eyes and say this in your heart, “Dear God. If you do really exist, save me and I will try my best to search for you”. No, you don’t have to relate God to any religion. Just keep the sincere intention in your heart and God Willing, He will bring you to the truth.