Mr Kamarudeen from Yangon

He repeated Surah Fatihah after me.

“I used to recite Quran when I was small.” He said.

People called him U  Soo Thein or Mr Soo Thein. In fact that is his formal Burmese name.  His moslem name is Kamarudeen. He was born Moslem some 60 years ago, but the bad news is that he is a practising Buddhist now. And that is a very bad news to me. Very troubling one.

He is an old man, small and skinny, with balding head. Nothing special about him. Nothing noticeable about him.  He eats bettle nuts like other Myanmar.

“Tell me more”, I wanted to know more from this mysterious man.

He started to tell me his story which started 60 years ago. His late father was a Pakistani, who served as a cook for a British Colonel by the name Captain Nizamudeen. British Army invaded Burma in 1945 and his father was part of the raiding party. He met a local girl — her mother from the Shan State –, fell in love, converted to Islam and they married and settled down in Rangoon. Kamarudeen was born years later and the father died when he was small. The mother — with no support and network — reverted back to Buddhism and raised him up as Buddhist. That was his early life, as much as he could remember.

He knew his father hailed from a village in Punjab in northern Pakistan. He didn’t know the exact address. He has never been there his entire life. And he always wanted to go there, and the desire to go there kept growing, more and more every year.  His wish before he died.

Now he has his own family to take care of. A Buddhist wife. Four children — 2 sons and 2 daughters — the youngest in Grade 10. All Buddhist.

I don’t know how to help him. With not much information, nothing much I could do.  But that is not the priority. The prority now is how to make him a Moslem again. I could only give him a simple advice.

“Whenever you feel bad or sick, just say Lailla ha illallah Muhammad Rasulullah“.

Deep in me, I want him to die a Moslem.  Even though I knew hidayah is not my business.

“That kalimah will save you.”

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