James William Lovegrove, Conversion to Islam

James Lovegrove’s path was to lead him into a conversion to Islam.  He chose a Sufi version and he was drawn to it for reasons he describes below. He is mentioned on pages 138-139 of “Tarbiatul Ushaq” (“The Training of Divine Lovers“), Syed Mohammad Zauqi Shah, 1425/2004, pub. A.S. Nordeen, Kuala Lumpur, ISBN 983065185-1.

The book relates how James once saw the 13th Century poet and mystic Mawlana Rumi in a dream in which the poet told him to visit the mosque. James understood the meaning and became a Muslim. The account then goes on to say the Rumi began to teach him and even manifested in his worldly form.

James asked for the poet’s permission to photograph him and this was granted and the photograph was taken. James corresponded with Hazrat (Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah – the sufi Master) who had a portrait of Maulan Rumi. On comparison of the photograph with the portrait the similarities were very clear.

In the following paragraphs he describes his reasons for this conversion.

I would like to give the following short answer to your question why I became a Muslim. I shall not attempt to give you a long lecture on religion and belief. Religion and belief make up a virtue that emanates from the human soul and which is unlike anything else. It is identical with the thirst felt by a person left in a desert. Man definitely needs a belief to rely on as a dependable guide.

First I studied a history of religions. I read with attention the lives and the teachings of those personages who had invited people to religion. I realized that the religious essentials that Prophets ‘alaihim-us-salam’ had taught in the beginning had been changed and turned into entirely different forms in the course of time.

I realized that the religious essentials that Prophets ‘alaihim-us-salam’ had taught in the beginning had been changed and turned into entirely different forms in the course of time. What had survived of them was only a few facts. Various legends had been mixed into the lives of those great, distinguished people, and their deeds had been transformed into myths and reached us as a conglomerate of mysterious stories.

In contrast with all these ruins, one true religion, Islam, has preserved its pristine purity and simplicity from the day it was revealed to the present time and, without being polluted with any sort of superstitions or legends, it has survived to our age. The Qur’an al-karim is the same today as it was in the time of Muhammad a.s.. Not a word of it has changed. The blessed utterances of Muhammad a.s. have reached our day in exactly the same literal form as they were pronounced by him, without undergoing any alterations.

Allahu ta’ala sent Prophets ‘alaihim-us-salawatu wattaslimat’ to humanity whenever He deemed it necessary. They are complementary to one another. In consideration of the fact that the teachings of other Prophets ‘alaihim-us-salawatu wattaslimat’ have been interpolated and changed into annoying incongruities, is there another way which one could find more logical than accepting the Islamic religion, which has remained the most intact, the purest, and the truest? As a matter of fact, a simple and useful religion unsullied with illogical superstitions was what I was questing for.

The Islamic religion is that very religion. The Islamic religion shows one by one all my duties towards Allahu ta’ala, towards my neighbours, and towards all humanity. Although this was originally the main objective of all religions, their tenor has been watered down into unintelligible credal tenets. In contrast, the Islamic religion embodies easily understandable, simple, logical, convincing and useful principles of belief. In Islam, alone, did I find the information concerning the requirements to be fulfilled to attain peace and salvation in this world and the next. It is for this reason that I became a Muslim willingly.

James William Lovegrove, 1897 – 1940