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12 convert to Islam at Ramadan lecture

12 convert to Islam at Ramadan lecture

The non-Arabic lectures relating to Islam and Ramadan are hosted as part of the events and activities of the 14th Dubai Ramadan Forum.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 29 Jun 2015, 11:55 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

Freddie Aguilar (right) who embraced Islam at the Dubai Ramadan Forum.  — Supplied photo

Dubai - In a powerful talk, Freddie Aguilar, one of the Philippines’ most celebrated singer-songwriters shared his journey to Islam at this year’s Dubai Ramadan Forum.  Sharing the stage with Sheikh Nadhir Oquindo, the talk in Tagalog inspired 12 people to accept Islam at the session.

The non-Arabic lectures relating to Islam and Ramadan are hosted as part of the events and activities of the 14th Dubai Ramadan Forum, organised by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in Dubai

Narrating the factors that influenced his decision to formally and wholeheartedly accept Islam as his religion, Aguilar mentioned that the quest for one true God began long before he became a star. Born into a Roman Catholic family, Aguilar’s father was the chief of police who, as a parent, was a firm disciplinarian.

Discontented with the strict rules and guidelines that he always had to follow, young Freddie ran away from home and ended up in a province totally foreign to him. The more he became isolated from his family, the more he began to miss them, especially his mother. Inspired and emotional, Aguilar composed the song “Anak” which became a huge hit around the world; the song was translated into 28 languages and sung by more than 100 different artists from various nationalities.

Yet, despite the fame and fortune, Aguilar felt hollow. He sought comfort by joining the Born Again Christian community but he knew something was still missing in his life. He became a man without religion after some time, but still in his heart he believed that there was one true God. Years went by, and he found himself falling in love with a young lady (now his wife) whom he met during an election campaign in a province in Southern Luzon.

The considerable age gap between them, which was ridiculed by the Philippine Press and many of his followers, was the instigator for Aguilar to make the biggest decision of his life. With the help of a Muslim friend, he made a public declaration of his conversion to Islam. He then proceeded to adopt the Muslim name, Farid. Towards the end of his talk, Aguilar mentioned that since he became a Muslim, he felt peace in his life. All the rumours and negativity were blown away, he said, and his life has become a humble testament of Allah’s mercy. He also proudly announced that his son Jericho embraced Islam just before he delivered his lecture.

The night also saw a powerful and engaging presentation by Sheikh Nadhir Oquindo, titled The Eternal Life. In his talk, Sheikh Oquindo enlightened the audience about the truth behind the concept of ‘life after death’.

Following the Tagalog lecture, 12 members of the audience — including 10 women and two men — adopted Islam as their religion on the spot.

The night also witnessed one of the finalists of the ‘Preacher of the Nation’ competition step forward on stage to deliver an inspiring sermon in Arabic, and concluded with a raffle draw for members of the public attending the lecture, which saw exciting prizes being given away including “Umrah” trips, tablets, and smartphones.

The non-Arabic lectures at the 14th Dubai Ramadan Forum are delivered in five foreign languages, namely English, Malayalam, Urdu, Bengali, and Tagalog. -muaz@khaleejtimes.com

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