Niblo

Niblo

I was raised as a Baptist in South Wales. At the age of fifteen I became a Catholic, and I remained one for over fifty years. For ten years I was a professed member of the Carmelite Third Order; and studied biblical and dogmatic theology, as well as other relevant stuff. I spent a year with the Carmelite Friars at Hazlewood Castle in Yorkshire (now a hotel); and over a year with the Cistercians at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Leicester, testing a vocation. It became clear that life in a religious order was not my calling, and so I became a husband (as the Abbey Secretary said to me: ‘Our novitiate is a seedbed of good Catholic marriages!’). I look back at my time with the Carmelites and Cistercians with great affection. Even though I no longer share their doctrinal beliefs I admire their spirituality, and their honest convictions; and their way of life - especially the Cistercians. It has been my privilege to know many excellent Christians: paternal grandfather; priests, religious and laity. Each was an example of the best of their Faith.

About fourteen years ago my son became a Muslim. He obtained a degree in Classical Arabic; married a Moroccan lass (who I consider to be my third daughter); and now lives there. He is a translator of Qur’an and aḥadīth exegesis; and of other scholarly works. My daughter (in-law) is a sharifa (a descendant of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). One of her ancestors, ʻAbd al-Salām ibn Mashīsh al-ʻAlamī, was the spiritual guide of Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadhili, founder of the Shadhili Tariqa. My son is a Sufi of that tariqa; and a murīd of Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

Having gained a Muslim family I made it my business to learn all I could about Islam (I’m still learning). It was during this long process that I began to question certain Christian beliefs I once held as true; and which I defended many times over the years. Moving from Christianity to Islam was not an easy journey; but it was the right journey……at least for me.

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