Abang Dani'yal tells us about his experience on his journey to truth, the final religion of Islam.
Tell us a bit about yourself, work and family and if you are married?
I am a 27 year old male, I love outdoors, and I am back into gym. I love keeping fit and trying to be active. I am a Structural Draughtsman and I specialize in bridgeworks, I can also do house plans so feel free to enquire about my services that I offer. Family wise, I still have both my parents and I have one sister and a brother in law soon. I am unmarried.
How did you choose your Muslim name?
My name was Dale before. My Muslim name now is Dani’yal. My mom, in actual fact was always going to name me Daniel, but my mother’s cousin chose the name for her son as well. So my name was somehow preserved for the right moment J
What religion were you following before?
I was a New Apostolic Christian, and I was a deacon in the church. The role of a deacon in the New Apostolic Church basically depends on your abilities. The main roles are to do pre-visits to families allocated to your section to prepare them for a family visit by the priest. To also do pre-pastoral care and to find out if everything is ok with the families. You would then report to the priest of your findings. Added abilities would be to be a choir conductor.
What was your perception of Islam and muslims prior to reverting?
I thought that Muslims worshipped the moon because of the crescent sign and the star.
Can you explain what motivated you to revert to Islam?
I was brought up in a well balanced Christian home with strong morals and values. The family I come from are quite staunch in their beliefs and I was the same. Going to Sunday school was an integral part of my childhood and later being confirmed as well. My father is the strength of his home as he is a priest so I grew up following his example as well. I am a technical person and things need to make sense to me on all levels. I basically did research on all religions and found Islam to be pure, free from idolatry and free from paganism on all levels. Also, the fact that all Prophets are perfect in their own respects whereas other Holy books see them as good people then later on committing acts of disbelief and grave sin.
What was your best and worst experience after reverting (if any)?
My worst experience was the fact that I wasn’t accepted by my family and was put out of the house, and this was way before I became a Muslim. My parents found books on Islam in my room and questioned me, and I then already testified that there is only One God who controls everything. My best experience happened at the same moment because I lived at Goodwood Mosque for a year and every night a different member of the community invited me into their homes for supper. I think it was only after 2 or 3 months that I actually declared being a Muslim. So I was a non Muslim living at the Mosque already. despite everything that occurred between my parents and I, we still have great respect for each other and a good understanding. I still visit them from time to time.
There are many misconceptions about Islam; one of them is that Islam is a modern religion belonging to Arabs... What is your advice and perceptions of this which u could advise any non Muslim readers?
Islam is not a modern religion, Islam is not even a religion, it is a way of life, a code of ethics and deep moral values. Islam simply means “To submit”. Islam is to submit to the One True God and worship Him alone. It is the very same submission that started with Prophet Adam, peace be upon him right up until now.
How do you see the Mosque compared to Churches and Temples? Do you find any similarities u found in the role or status of the imam and priests?
The very first thing you notice is that there is no chairs, therefore sitting on the floor is an adaptation but also a symbol of humility if you could put it that way. There are no relics like in churches and synagogues and not portraits of people like in churches and temples. There are only writings in Arabic of the names of God and a few other Arabic writings that will pertain to Qur’an verses.
How did u get involved in Silat?
I would always hear about Silat at the Mosque but never really considered it because I thought it was new and ineffective, I also thought that is not like conventional arts, or the ones you mainly hear about like MMA, Karate and Kung Fu. I was completely wrong. The moment I researched Silat, I fell in love with it.
Do you have experience in other Martial Arts?
Yes and no I would say. Yes in the sense that I can say I have 2 years Karate, 3 months MMA, 3 months Ninjutsu and a few months Kung Fu. No in the sense that I have forgotten how to execute all the techniques, or to correctly say that my body is in no state to execute the complex moves I used to do, fortunately that is changing!
What is your experience of Silat thus far and how far do you see yourself taking your Silat training to?
My experience of Silat is incomparable to other arts in the sense that I get full satisfaction out of my lesson. If I enquire about certain moves and how to execute them correctly, special attention is paid to me till I get it right. Also, if I enquire about using any new moves, the whole class benefits immediately and not like in other arts where you get told that you will do it in 3 or 4 months’ time. For me, Silat is a way of life, I am in the comfort of the Masjid and I love the atmosphere. I don’t think that I will leave this art seeing that I have had a taste of other styles. This seems to be the style I would pass onto my children one day, God Willing.
Silat Pukulan Melaka is a Malay Islamic art. Do you find this to be true and how does this style practice Islam?
This style is a Malay Islamic art. It is Malay in the sense that it originated in Malaysia and that there are added Islamic principles in terms of respect and humility where the teacher can benefit from student and vice versa.
Silat being practiced in the mosque. What was your reaction when you heard this, and do you find this practical?
My reaction to this is that I am always in a peaceful surrounding and I always feel at ease and calm, I find it practical in the sense that there is enough space and that my prayers are performed as well.
Do you derive any benefit from Silat training which you can apply in your daily life and activities?
The benefit I derive is humility and respect for the next person, I gain self confidence and most importantly I gain discipline in everything I do.
What is your favourite and not so favourite part of Silat training?
All of the training I benefit from, the only “not so favourite” part for me is that I am not supple enough so the suppleness exercises is what I am working through at the moment and it is something that can only improve.
Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day is waking up at 04:30, getting ready for gym to do cardio then returning home to clean myself up and making Salaah (Muslim prayer) and get ready for work. I listen to Qur’an while going to work as this improves the quality of my day. At lunch time I go for afternoon Salaah to the Mosque then return to work and eat. I return home from work then pray midday Salaah and go to gym for weights session then return home, prepare supper and prayer evening Salaah. Eat then study a bit and perform the night Salaah. Then I normally sleep after.
Final words of encouragement for people interested in Islam and Silat training?
To the non Muslims, Silat is a wonderful art to keep fit as well as to learn. The style is very effective although new to most, it has only been introduced to South Africa recently. It teaches discipline, respect, humility, confidence and self worth among besides the techniques. Many students all over the world are non Muslims. You will find us to be friendly, fun and respectful. I can assure you that you will find Silat most enjoyable.
If you are interested in Islam, then the Sheikh would be the best person to speak to where you will also be given free material about Islam, even a free English Qur’an. You will find him to be respectful and humble and always willing to help.