Reflections of an American Muslim

(Shahid Athar , M. D.)

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In the Name of God, Most Kind, Most Merciful

"You are the best of peoples,
evolved for mankind
enjoining what is right,
forbidding what is wrong
and believing in God." (3:1 1 0)


To my father, who taught me
honesty, hard work and simplicity
To my mother, who never missed her prayers
in spite of her illness
To my wife, for her encouragement and understanding
To my children, for their love of Islam
To my teachers for their patience with my ignorance
May God be pleased with all of them.


One may wonder why a busy physician should write about Islam. For me, while living in a non-Muslim society for over two decades, Islam became a necessity, a way of life to live by and show to my children. I had to learn Islam myself to teach my children as there were not Islamic teachers around. I was frequently called by schools, organizations, both Muslim and interfaith groups, radio and TV stations, to present and defend Islam. Being a physician, I was qualified not only to diagnosis the diseases of the body, but of the soul, as well. I could easily recognize the ailments of the American society and the Muslim community with which I lived. Thus, at the request of my friends, I decided to compile my speeches in a book form, many of which have been published elsewhere. For practical purposes, I have used Yusuf Ali's translation of the Quran. The book has been arranged into five sections dealing with social, educational, political, missionary and practice concerns for Muslims. However, it is not intended for Muslims alone. Many non-Muslims will find these articles interesting and informative. It has been written in an easy to read American English.

I pray for the soul of my mentor, Dr. Mahmoud Abu Saud, who reviewed and wrote the foreword. I thank my secretaries, Juliet, Barbara, Beth and Martha for typing these articles during busy patient days and I thank my publishers, KAZI Publications of Chicago for publishing this book.

Shahid Athar, M.D.
Indianapolis, IN
November 1, 1994


It is rare to meet with a book whose contents reveal the character of its author in such clarity as in this book. Every page reflects a part of the author's deep belief and genuine conviction. If ever I try to compose an expressive picture of Shahid Athar, I would not have been able to draw a better one than that delineated by the words of this book.

The reader will immediately discover that the author, in his humble endeavor, did not intend to write about Islamic jurisprudence or any other Islamic discipline. He is concentrating on the basic factor that exalts the human being, that distinguishes him from a lower species, and that makes him fit to live in a better community. He is after the human being's belief and faith. The only way to achieve this is submission to the Creator.

The approach to the different problems that a person may encounter in the course of attaining such faith are subjective. The author tells us that one cannot acquire "piety" and true faith by means of listening to preachers or even reading books, alone, but that they need to be enhanced through personal experience and individual efforts.

In any given society, if the individual is acting in conformity with a sublime ethical code-a code that is revealed through a Messenger and a Prophet, then one can be ascertained of having a peaceful society of well being. In simple eloquent language, the author indicated the draw-backs of the secular society in which he lives. In earnest logic he cautioned Muslims against the modem American amorality and permissiveness. His courage and sincerity emanating from his deep convictions and wide experience bestow on his writing the beauty and the fortitude that are unique and genuine.

Mahmoud Abu-Saud
Panama City, Florida