Ch 12: Isabella’s Prayer
Evening came after anxious waiting and Isabella started for the garden of Cordova well in time. On the way she met Michael’s daughter, Mirano, who also accompanied her and her other two friends, who had listened to the talk at Michael’s house, also joined them in the garden.
Mirano: Isabella, there is great sorrow on your face. Why? You have to part some day from your relatives.
Isabella: I was in great plight after I parted from you. But luckily my mother, being engaged in other things, could not come to me, otherwise Heaven knows what trouble she would have caused. But now by Allah’s Grace I am not worried but prepared to bear all troubles for the sake of truth.
Mirano: But, sister, you were wonderful today, you gave such crushing replies to priests that they were flabbergasted and could not reply, and moreover whatever you argued was from the Bible.
Mertha (the other friend): But what is strange is that despite being silenced they do not confess.
Mirano: They may not confess by mouth but their hearts do believe. After you left my father Michael said to Peter: It is true that the divinity of Christ is not proved by the Bible, but anyway we have to abide by the judgment of the Church. Father Peter was convinced of the weight of your arguments and said that your arguments were not weak.
Mertha: But today’s discussion proved that Islam is a true and firm religion while in Christianity there is nothing but misguidance.
Mirano (to Isabella): Would you like to leave your parents, brothers, sisters and relatives, and the life of ease and comfort? And what will you do if your father is strict on you and gives you up to the Inquisition?
Isabella: I have now freed my mind from all these worries. Allah Who has conferred on me the boon of Islam will also help me in future and will not discard my good cause. I find great solace in the verse of the Quran which says: “Whosoever has fear of Allah in him, then Allah will provide for him the means to find the path of salvation and give him sustenance from quite unexpected quarters.”
Mirano: Well, when shall we go to meet Ziad b. Umar and his company? Isabella : We have to go there a little early so as to benefit by the company of respected Ziad as much as possible and return home in time. Mirano: Will you report to respected Ziad the events of today?
Isabella : Why not? But let us go now so that we may reach there at the time of isha (early night prayer) and return after staying there for an hour.
Coming out of the garden of Cordova Isabella, accompanied by her friends, took her way to the’ great Mosque of Cordova and on the way Isabella informed her friends that, although in her heart she has become a Muslim, she has not been formally converted. She would now take the pledge at the blessed hands of Ziad b. Umar, so that Allah may grant her more courage and firmness and take in her heart the full measure of Allah’s help. All her friends congratulated her on her good intention and expressed their pleasure also.
Half an hour after this, the girls entered the inner part of Umar Lahmi’s house, which adjoined the house of Ziad b. Umar, who had already been informed of their visit by Umar Lahmi. So after isha prayer divines, devotees, traditionists, poets, men of letters, academicians and eminent scholars assembled there. After formal talk Umar Lahmi asked Ziad b. Umar’s permission to bring the girls to his presence, and on getting permission the girls were called from Umar Lahmi’s house.
As soon as the girls arrived Ziad asked about their welfare. Isabella narrated to him the happenings of the last two days with her father, the head priest, and other priests and also the talk she had had with Michael and Peter on different subjects and also the arguments which she had put before them. The learned men present there applauded her achievement and greatly encouraged her. All were impressed by the profound knowledge of Isabella.
Isabella (to Ziad b. Umar): Respected sir, this has all passed and whatever comes after will be seen, but now my request is that you formally convert me to Islam and include me in the universal brotherhood of the believers of one God. So Ziad b. Umar formally converted her and all those present prayed sincerely for her firmness.
Ziad b. Umar: Daughter Isabella, now that you have formally embraced Islam, you should put a veil on your face as Islam enjoins concealment of the woman’s face. In future you should always be veiled. At the same time five times of prayer are incumbent on you and see that it is never missed as this is the only door to felicity. Well, are these girls with you the same whom you had mentioned ?
Isabella: Yes, one of them is the daughter of Michael, whose name is Mirano, and the other two are my friends and confidantes. Their names are Mertha and Hanana.
Ziad: Have they any doubt about Islam?
Isabella: They have no doubt about the truth of Islam and, like me, they believe in it and when Allah wishes they will formally declare their Islam, yet Mirano has some doubts which my spiritual father, Umar Lahmi, will resolve. She will come here some time and present her doubts and have satisfaction.
Umar Lahmi: It appears from your father’s attitude that he will be strict with you and it will not be surprising if he secretly hands you over to the Inquisition. By the morning Michael and Peter will report to him the details of your debate after which he is sure to antagonise you. Now, what remedy have you thought of it ?
Isabella: Allah knows better what is going to happen in future. I have submitted my case to Allah. Yet I have resolved that if he is more oppressive I will come over to your house.
Umar Lahmi: You may do this whenever you like; anyway you have to do this sometime, for Christians are not so broadminded as not to oppress you and leave you free when they find that you have accepted Islam.
Isabella (to Zia’d b. Umar): Respected sir, you pray for me that Allah may grant me endurance and firmness. Now permit us to leave.
Ziad b. Umar and others present said goodbye to the girls and, after leaving the place, Isabella and her three friends got to their respective homes.
Isabella slept in a corner of her house and, long before dawn, when she woke up, she could not leave her bed. While still in bed the voice of Allah-o-Akbar reached her ears and made her quite restless, while the idea of Glory and Grandeur of Allah and His Awe and Might filled her eyes and tears began to fall from them. Getting some solace after weeping she fell in prostration and with all humbleness prayed to the Creator of the earths and heavens: “O Allah! grant me Thy love and Thy most loved one. O Allah ! fill my heart with the light of Islam and Tauhid (Unity) and make the obedience of Thy Apostle my fate in life. O Allah! I am so grateful to Thee for conferring on me the honour of following the Mercy of the Worlds.O Allah! grant my parents, my relatives and all Christians and the misguided ones the blessings of Islam and let us all live and die on Islam. O my Lord! just grant this humble prayer of the oppressed one, for Thou art the hearer and the seer.”
After concluding this prayer Isabella felt that her soul had got solace and a great load had been lifted from her mind. She found that a treasure-house of endurance, firmness and elation had been installed into her heart. She was very happy as she had secured a great wealth like Islam. She was now fearless and bold, for the Tauhid had cast off from her all fears except the fear of Allah.
Isabella’s mother was in an unusual great rage. It appeared that Peter and others had conveyed all their talk to her parents and convinced them that she had become an apostate and all the doors of persuasion had closed on her.