Carmen Sarkisian is an Armenian Christian girl who has been born in Kuwait in 1965 where both her parents worked. She grew up in Kuwait; she would later work as a secretary in the “Kuwait Engineering Projects” company.
Carmen met a young Muslim man who lives in Kuwait and works in the same company. She has accepted his proposal of marriage without her family’s knowledge. Hence her family has been strongly opposed to her marrying a Muslim.
The judge - who tied the knot – suggested that she embraces Islam. She accepted the offer without hesitation and professed the faith in his presence.
Carmen’s embracing the new faith hasn’t been out of conviction. She has done it because it pleased her groom. Her decision hasn’t passed unnoticed by her husband who saw it as a social courtesy (a marriage of convenience.)
He also felt to be an emotional move of his bride who desires to win his heart and even more his love.
Carmen's people discovered her marriage to her Muslim colleague. They have tried their best convincing her husband to divorce him.
They also promised him to give up all the dowry arrears and her full rights. However, the head over heel husband wasn’t about to give up his wife easily. Both love birds desired to maintain the continuity of their union.
Furthermore, they wanted to keep their happy home, albeit ruffled only by a difference in religion.
Carmen mingled with her husband’s family, and learned a lot of the norms and values of the Eastern societies that stem from Islam.
She got acquainted with the veil, the respect for parents and great reverence to the elders. One aspect has particularly drawn Carmen’s attention, is the passion of Muslims for prayers. Add to this, their keenness to gender segregation, and other traditions of our Islamic society.
Carmen has read through the eyes of her sisters-in-law and his mother their keenness that she becomes a Muslim. In her presence, they used to discuss Islam and Christ and his mother Mary the Virgin. They wouldn’t spare any effort in reading about Islam and what it would offer humanity in reform and enlightenment. They would cite statements of Eastern and Western wise people who would provide fair testimony for Islam and his book and the Prophet (PBUH). The famous French poet Lamartine says: “that Muhammad is the greatest man by all standards that have been developed to measure human greatness. As regards all standards by which greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?
If greatness will be the measure of uniting divided humanity; then Muhammad is the most worthy of people of this greatness. Hence, he has reunited the Arabs after a complete decline.
If greatness has been measured by establishing the rule of heaven on earth; who will compete with Muhammad? He has wiped all aspects of paganism and established the worship of God and His laws in a heathen world.”
Carmen has also heard her husband's family talk about the writer Bernard Shaw’s testimony; he says: “I have studied him - the man and in my opinion is far from being an anti–Christ. He must be called the Savior of Humanity., I believe if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring much needed peace and happiness.”
And she heard them speak about Johann Goethe the famous German author, and his testimony in the compilation of poems titled (Eastern Diwan) when he said: “If Islam means to submit our fate to God, then we will all live and die Muslims.” He also said: “We - the people of Europe, with all our concepts - have not yet realized what Muhammad (PBUH) has achieved, and no one will precede him. And I have looked into the history for a model for humanity; I found it in the Prophet Mohammed. And so the truth must prevail and become supreme. Muhammad (PBUH) has also succeeded by subjecting the entire world to the principle of monotheism.”
As for Carmen’s husband, he refrained from talking to her about Islam. This decision has been the promise he made to her not to meddle in her religious privacy. However, he resorted to subterfuge to invite her to Islam.
When they are together, he was keen to listen to both Quran programs from Kuwait and the radio call of Islam from Makkah.
One time, Carmen insisted to discuss with her husband the Christ’s divinity. As a supporting argument, she mentioned his immaculate conception, attributing his birth of a virgin. Her husband’s reply surprised her. He told her that he would embrace Christianity if she proves to him the validity of her claim. Again, Carmen stated that God had created Christ without a father, and he is also the son of God. This contradiction hasn’t gone unnoticed on her husband. He clarified it to her saying you testify to his divinity, and at the same time you recognize that is created. It is an utter contradiction to say that Christ is the son of God, and that he also doesn’t have a father.
Her husband explained to her that there is no great merit in ascertaining Christ’s divinity from the point of view of his immaculate birth.
Adam’s birth is more awe inspiring; he has been born biological parents. And he didn’t come out of a menstruating woman the way Jesus and other human beings did. Read the verse 59 of Sura Al-Imran. “(The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was)”
In 1978, Carmen embraced Islam, and wore the Muslim veil after two years of surfing the books. Allah has established Islam in her heart as a result of her passion for reading. The latter has enabled her to discover the treasures of the Quran. Various items and sundry drew her attention in it. One these have been its clear call monotheism. Such call is compatible with the Torah and the Bible say about the prophets (PBUT). In Sura As-Saffat, verse 4, the Quran explicitly states: “(Verily, verily, your Allah is one!)” The Torah-despite its distortion- states the same thing: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one)” as well as the books I Kings says: “(that all peoples of the earth may know that Jehovah is God, that there is none else)” 1 Kings 8:60.
Christ (PBUH) uttered the Oneness of God when he has called God saying - according to the Gospel of John: “(And this is the eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent)” John 17.3. Thus, Islam is -as Carmen saw it - the true religion which has been preached by the prophets before Muhammad (PBUH).
Carmen’s certainty in Islam increased. Her feeling has been based on the level of compassion she has witnessed among people during the brutal invasion of Kuwait.
Furthermore, Carmen won’t forget as long as she lived the day her husband has brought two Westerners home with him. The two employees sought shelter with him to escape the oppression and brutality of the invaders.
Her husband provided shelter at his home even though they are not Muslims. It’s remarkable that his action is punishable by death. He will be summarily executed if caught giving refuge to foreigners. Carmen was so scared by this prospect, that she asked her husband to get them out of the house. He told her that betraying them and handing them to their enemies is contradictory to Islam and its values. Her fear soon subsided, to be replaced by her pride in the values of her religion and utter delight in her husband’s chivalry.
In her book “Kuwait and my Story of Embracing Islam” Carmen discussed a number of important ideas. The first has been the clash of atheism with common sense and reason. She quoted the conclusion reached in a study conducted by a German scientist who analyzed the views of 290 scientists or philosophers. He found that 242 of them believe in the existence of God.
However, twenty-eight of them are still undecided torn between different faiths; those who did not give a thought to the subject matter do not exceed 20 people.
Carmen also reported in her book many testimonies. These have been attributed to natural scientists and philosophers who have rejected the two-sided coin of atheism: (hazard and evolution). Her quotations have been brilliantly marked by splendid commentaries.
She further supported each one with a verse of the Quran, which has already stated the findings by the geniuses of philosophy and natural science.
Claude M. Hathaway has once said: “I have found that faith in God is the only refuge in which the soul finds serenity.” However, the Quran has preceded him to this conclusion.
Hence, it has ascertained in Sura Adh-Dhariyat, verse 50: “(Hasten you then (at once) to Allah: I am from Him a Warner to you, clear and open!)”
St. Augustine once said: “God created us himself, but our souls are confused and worried until they find comfort in His vast mercy.” This saying has reminded Carmen of Almighty Allah’s words in Sura Ar-Ra’d, verse 28: “(Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.)”
The verse: “(Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly, it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts, which are in their breasts.)” In Sura Al-Hajj, verse 46 comes to support the earlier findings of the famous philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He said: “We must acknowledge the Almighty Creator; the Wise.
How dumb is the theory that says that the magnificent order of the universe was the result of chance?” He has been right in his statement. The beauty and the harmony of the universe are clear proof to the Creator’s design and great wisdom.
As for Christianity, Carmen old religion, it has received the lion’s share of her criticism and analysis. For the sake of brevity, we cannot mention all the great details, and thorough criticism of the bible. However, she has highlighted in subtle gestures, the contradictions and the deviation off its origins.
Nevertheless, I will only mention an important idea that has filled the pages of her book. The contemporaries of Christ believed that he is but a Prophet and Messenger (PBUH). This conclusion has come to her as the inevitable result of evangelical texts. For instance, the Samaritan woman saw his impressive miracles; she said to him: “Lord, I see you are a prophet” (John 4/19). Furthermore, the Christ’s supporters believed in and protected him from the Jews’ deceit who believed his prophecy. The Gospel of Matthew says: “And seeking to lay hold of him, they were afraid of the crowds, because they held him for a prophet.” (Matthew 21/45). Again, when Jesus fed five thousand people from five loaves people said: “(When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!)” (John 6/14) After all this evidence, and based on the testimony of the Bible and the Koran, Carmen is no longer in doubt. The Christ (PBUH) is the servant and the Messenger of Allah.
We supplicate Allah to keep her steadfast on the faith, and grant her a good ending in life. He is indeed able and omnipotent.