|Prof. Arthur Alison|
Professor Arthur Alison is the head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the University of London. For several years he had been the president of the British Society for Psychological and Spiritual Studies. In the course of his study of religions, he got acquainted with Islam. When he compared Islam with the religions and creeds he had studied, he found it suited his inborn nature and satisfied his requirements.
He was invited to the First Islamic International Conference on the Medical Inimitability in the Qur'an held in Cairo in September 1985 under the auspices of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate. In the conference he presented a paper on the psychological and spiritual methods of therapy in the light of the Holy Qur'an, in addition to another paper on sleep and death in the light of Verse 42 of Surah Zumar (39) in the Qur'an which he presented in collaboration with Dr Mohammed Yahya Sharafi. The facts presented were an eye opener to him.
At the concluding session of the Conference, attended by Sheikh Jad Al-Haq, the Egyptian Minister of Awqaf, Dr Mohammed Ahmady and Dr Mohammed Yahya Sharafi, Professor Alison declared that Islam is the religion of truth and inborn nature with which Allah has created man. Then he uttered the two testimonies (Shahadatain), saying that he bears witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.
In an interview given to the Arabic-weekly, Al-Muslimoon, he narrated the story of his conversion to Islam saying:
"In the course of my study of psychology and related subjects as the president of the British Society' for Psychological and Spiritual Studies, I got acquainted with religions. I studied Hinduism, Buddhism and some other religions and creeds. When I studied Islam, I compared it to other religions.
"During the conference on Medical Inimitability in the Qur'an, I could realize that the difference was great. Then I was convinced that Islam is the most proper religion that befits my inborn nature and conduct. In the heart of my hearts I had felt that there is a God controlling the Universe. He is the Creator."
"Therefore, when I studied Islam, I found that it did not conflict with reason and science. I believe that is the revealed religion from the one and only God. As I witnessed the truth, I uttered the two testimonies. The moment I uttered it, I was overwhelmed by a strange and ineffable feeling mingled with ease, comfort and satisfaction."
He went on to say that the material world is now in a critical stage, what they say and see, does not explain the facts precisely. Here lies the responsibility of Muslims who could meet the wondering and perplexed humanity.
Prof Abdullah Alison added that he, along with Dr. Mohammed Yahya, had presented in the conference on the Medical Inimitability in the Qur'an a paper focusing on the meaning of the Qur'anic verse:" It is Allâh Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply." (Surat Az-Zumar (The Groups): 42).
Through this verse, he said, they could prove that death and sleep are similar phenomena in which souls depart from the body. In the case of sleep, the soul returns to the body but in death it does not. This verse reminds us that "taking the souls" means both sleep and death. This fact has been proved through parapsychological studies which are related to three main domains.