Converts of Western Background (Part 3)



Hadayatullah Hubsch


The following accounts were taken from the Converts Accounts section at whyahmadi.org.

Pamela Elder

My name is Pamela Elder. I was born in Hartlepool on the 15th November 1945. My mother was a housewife and my father trained as a cobbler, this was in the time of the Great Depression, but he never actually worked as a cobbler. During the war my father worked at the steel works. He didn’t join the army because he was considered to be a necessary worker (the country needed steel as part of the war campaign).

For my primary education I just went to the nearest school to our house. For my secondary education I was meant to go the nearest school, but as it didn’t have a very good reputation, therefore my mother insisted that I go to a grammar school and do my GCSE’s there. I always wanted to be a nurse, so once I finished my secondary education I went to the hospital to work as a caudate. So as a caudate you have to work for about two years before you could actually go into training to become a nurse…

It was Mrs Khan who bought up the topic of religion. I used to take the Bible to their house and Mrs Khan had the Holy Qur’an and we used to exchange references. During this process I was blessed to be able to meet Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan Sb. Chaudhry Sahib had such a personality that if you met him it was impossible to not believe in what he said; maybe this was due to the fact that he was a companion of the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him. Mrs Khan used to hold meetings in her house for the reason of Tabligh and when Chaudhry Sahib came I had the opportunity to meet him separately and it was just really hard not believe in what he was saying, because he was such a pious man and whatever he said, he said with such conviction. It was after this meeting that I took the Bai’at. I went to some Jalsas and even had the good fortune of travelling to Pakistan. I really mixed well with the Community. But most of all it was the example of Dr and Mrs Khan that made me want to believe and convert because they preached what they believed and they believed in what they preached.

Before I converted to Islam I had never understood the concept of the Trinity properly and I was always told that you have to just ‘believe’, but with Islam all my questions were answered

Before my conversion I read some literature such as the book by Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan Sahib ‘Deliverance from the Cross‘ and Mrs Khan gave me various other books that I read over the period of a few years, before I decided to convert. I can’t emphasize on the fact that a lot was by their example that made me want to convert to Islam, Ahmadiyyat because they lived their religion. I know that in Mr Khan’s life, the most important thing to him was God and he would never do anything wrong, because he knew that God was watching over him.

When I converted to Islam one of the things that came across as a challenge to me was that I was scared of how my mother would react to my conversion to Islam. I didn’t change my name because I knew that would hurt my mother. Although I was given the Islamic name Toobah. The missionary at the time told me that the name wasn’t the important thing, it was the faith that was important, that was very comforting. My mother was never against Islam because she knew Mr Khan personally and she knew that he was a different and pious person. My mother was never anti-Islam, she used to even come along with me to Mr Khan’s house for the meetings that used to be held there. We tried our best to try to convert her as well, but she used to say that ‘I am too set in my ways now and I can’t just change my faith over night and if I were to change I would want to do it to the best of my ability’. My mother deep down believed, but because she thought that she had reached an age where it was hard for to change her belief, therefore she didn’t. There was never a problem as such with my mother or my relatives regarding my conversion, the only thing was that they knew I wouldn’t drink any alcohol or eat any pork, so they never offered it to me, other than that, there was never an issue.

The difference I felt after my conversion was that I felt more at peace with myself and I had a faith that I could say was mine. Because before I converted to Islam, I had never understood the concept of the Trinity properly and I was always told that you have to just ‘believe’, but with Islam all my questions were answered. Islam always proved itself to be logical to me.

My relationship with God is much better now because obviously I pray more, and the more you pray, the closer you tend to get to God and the closer you feel yourself to God.

Read more about Pamela’s story here.


Bilal Atkinson

Bilal Atkinson (right) with Tahir Selby in Bahishti Maqbara, Pakistan, in 2010.

Bilal Atkinson (right) with Tahir Selby in Bahishti Maqbara, Pakistan, in 2010.

You may think it strange that I was only introduced to this God in such a comparative short time considering my age. From birth I was raised as a Christian, a Church of England Christian and at the age of eleven I was confirmed into the Faith after having studied the Bible and other religious books. I certainly believe in God and truly thought that Jesus Christ was indeed the literal Son of God. It was what my parents believed and their forefathers before them. I had no reason to doubt them, at least at that age.

As I grew into my teenage years I could not understand the Christian dogma of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, more commonly known as the Trinity. No one could explain to my satisfaction why there had to be three persons who represented one God.

In my twenties, I became more attracted to the worldly life, marriage and my employment. I still believed in God, but one God and not the Trinity. I very rarely went to the Church.

In my mid thirties I became disillusioned about the state of the world, it seemed to be in such an upheaval with wars, famines, industrial unrest, poverty and most of all immorality and greed. The world was rapidly changing, changing the course of people’s lives, although sometimes not for the better…

Some months later during the course of my employment, (I was a Police Officer, specialising in Forensic evidence) I was invited by a third party, to the home of the Police Surgeon, a local GP called Dr Hameed Khan, who had found out that I was interested in religion. I had known and worked with this man on a professional basis for almost ten years. He had never spoken to me about religion before and I thought it was very strange thing for him to invite me to his home. He was a man from Pakistan and was also a Muslim.

To tell you the truth I didn’t want to go to his house. I was a shy person and thought we could have nothing in common as:

  1. He was from a different race of people.
  2. He was a very educated man and most of all he was a Muslim.

My conception of Muslims at that time was that of a very dangerous and war like people, as at that time or shortly before, I am sure that everyone witnessed the fate of the people of Iran when the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Persia and installed himself as head of state and imposed Islamic rule, which at that time, appeared very barbaric to me.

Eventually I did go to Dr. Khan’s house where we got acquainted and spoke about our work and then casually spoke about our religion. Initially I was arrogant in thinking that I could convert him to Christianity. How very wrong I was. After only a few visits to his home, I soon realised that this was the special friend I had humbly requested God to grant me and this was the path I should take, even though it was alien to western people, especially to Christians. Little did I know at the time that we were to become the best of friends and the best of brothers in Islam.

He taught me more about my faith than I knew, especially about God and Jesus and his true relationship with God. He also told me about the religion of Islam and I grew more and more enamoured with it. Islam, he said, demands belief in only one God and the Unity of God. He said Muslims must believe in all prophets of God as they are His Messengers and should only speak the truth.

Islam, he said, proclaims that God does exist and we can speak directly to Him without any intermediary and God will respond to our prayers.

He told me he was an Ahmadi Muslim and that his community had at its head a leader, a Khalifa, who was Godly inspired and who called all men to lead good and Godly lives. There was so much for me to study and learn, but I knew in my heart I wanted to become an Ahmadi Muslim, but judging by the high standards they practiced, I thought I was not good enough to be one of them. This doctor, his family, his friends and other colleagues who I was introduced to and who were all Ahmadi Muslims, practiced what they preached and preached what they practised. They all led very humble lives and pious lives. There was no arrogance, no greed, no backbiting nor any hatred whatsoever. Their credo he said was ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.

He requested me to pray to God and to humbly request Him to guide me to the right path. To shed light where I encountered only darkness.

Through time and continuous prayers to God, I came to know Him a little better each and every day. He did reply, through true dreams and guidance. I thought at first that it was all just coincidence but after a while and with so many of my prayers being answered, I knew without any doubt that God does exist and He does answer the prayers of the supplicant when he calls unto Him in all sincerity and He does guide to the right path…

Find out what happens next in Bilal’s story here.


Christine Atkinson

I constantly had a dream about a white lady. The dream was that the white lady started at the bottom of my bed and over the years she came nearer and nearer to me (I used to have the same dream constantly) and only appeared to me to be a white glowing shape. I never saw her face but I knew it was a lady. It was always glowing and brilliant white. Eventually over the years it came closer to the side of my bed and bent over me so that it was nose to nose to me. I then became aware that it was actually a face of a man. This really frightened me because all the time that I used to have this dream, I would wake up screaming, as I used to believe it was a sign that I was going to die…

When I met Huzoor I found out that he was the man who I had been seeing in my dreams.He told me that when the shadow bent over me that was where my heart was and that was God’s way of telling me what He wanted to do. He said that he could see I was shocked and that I needed to think about these things. He advised to go away and think about what he had said and that it was up to me now to decide what I was going to do.I had a dream that my father was seriously ill in hospital and my mother and brother were by his bedside crying. I was also crying but I told them that I was very sorry and that I had to leave. This was something that I would never have done. The dream upset me so much that I woke up crying. When I went down for breakfast the next day, Mrs Khan asked me what was the matter, as my eyes were red. I told her about my dream. Later that day we went to see Huzoor.

When we went into his office, he greeted everyone, then he said to me “You know Christine there comes a time when you have to leave your family.”… Again this shocked me greatly, it was as [though] he knew about my dream before I even told him about it.When I started to read the translation of the Holy Qur’an I saw that it also mentioned the prophets Adam, Noah, Moses and Jesus and all the prophets I had read in the Bible as a child and throughout my adult life. What also made me very happy was the Holy Qur’an mentioned Jesus as the son of Mary and that he died a natural death and was not taken up into heaven. As a Christian I always found this hard to accept that someone had to be treated cruelly and put on the cross and die so that all my sins could be forgiven. This was a relief for me because I always found this concept hard to believe. So this made me very happy after I converted to Ahmadiyyat to find out that the Holy Qur’an says that Jesus was a prophet and that he died a natural death.

Read more about Christine’s story here.


Andreas Kafizas

Andreas Kafizas, Imperial College London

I started to read several books of the Promised Messiah pbuh (peace be upon him) to be sure that this form of Islam was its true form. I was soon convinced of the truth of the Promised Messiah pbuh, especially after reading his book Jesus in India. I was convinced that Jesus (as) did not die on the cross by the Promised Messiah’s compelling arguments, based not only on Biblical evidence, but also Scientific, Archaeological and Historical fact. Moreover, the strongest reason for my belief in Jesus’s (as) survival – that made it sink deeply into my heart – was that it aptly showed the Mercy of God in sparing His beloved servant (as). Sadly, the Christian perception of Biblical accounts makes one wonder if Jesus (as) is more kind and gentle than God Himself – something that to me is a complete insult to God’s Supremacy in all qualities.

Read more about Andreas’ story here. Watch Andreas tell his own story in the video below – he’s the second speaker.


Vivienne Noble & the Hedges Family

Bill Hedges (right) and his wife in 1989.

Bill Hedges (right) and his wife in 1989

One day I was sitting with him and he turned to me and said that all of this makes sense. So I used to say to him that you’re going to change your religion and you’re going to make me too. I used to say that Paul is already an Ahmadi now you are going to convert too, but not me.

It had been a while now that I hadn’t seen my mother and one day she came to meet me and said that she was going to stay over for a few days. We were sitting and my mother out of the blue told me that she had become an Ahmadi! I couldn’t believe it.

It felt so peaceful to be with these people [Ahmadis] and it was an example to us the way they lived their life and how they followed their religion. There was no gossiping about other people and they would never back bite about each other.

She [Salma Khan] turned around towards me and asked me,‘give me a reason why you don’t want to accept Islam?‘ I turned to her and was just lost and I thought to myself that I actually don’t have a reason as to why I shouldn’t accept Islam. So I replied to her that‘I don’t know!‘ And I said that‘I am scared I guess.‘ She asked me‘what are you scared of?‘ I told her that I actually didn’t know, but of the unknown I guess? She said to me that “you’ve been staying with us for a while now, your mother has converted and your brother has also converted. You know how we live and the kind of people we are and after all we’re not telling you to do anything, which is against humanity or the law.” Then out of nowhere she just asked me whether I want to be an Ahmadi? It was a shock for me, but I went quiet for a minute and I felt that the whole room was quiet too and I don’t know from where, but something inside of me told me that I was just running away from the truth and I had to accept the truth. So I said‘yes! I want to become an Ahmadi’.

I remember having a dream a little while after my mother passed away. The dream was that I was on a bus and all the houses the bus drove past were white. All the roofs were domed and they had lovely arches. In the bus I was with my daughter Rebecca and I was saying to my daughter that I should buy myself a house like this. Then I was in a house and I was looking around and I felt that it was so peaceful and it was also very cool in the house although it was very hot outside. When I stepped outside I saw that my mother was living next door. I met my mother and I asked her what she was doing there and she told me that she lives there now. Then I told her that I was going to buy the house next to hers. That was the end of the dream. To this day I can clearly remember the place I went to and I can remember it exactly. This was a way I feel that God told me that my mother was in paradise and Insha’Allah I will join her one day and we will live together. So my relationship with God I would say has changed dramatically in a good way after my conversion.

Read more about their story here.


Adam Spittles

The first time I realised I was not completely happy with my childhood religion, Christianity, was when I was 12 years old. We were in church and the Reverend was giving a speech about Jesus. At the end of the sermon, we were all asked to pray to Jesus at which point I thought,‘why are we praying to Jesus? Why are we not praying to God?‘ That was my first moment I realised the faith I was following wasn’t exactly how I thought it should be. Looking back, Christianity never completely satisfied me, as there was always something in the back of my mind saying, this is good, but there’s something missing.

Read more about Adam’s story here.

Interview with Adam Spittles during Jalsa Salana UK in 2012.


Jonathan Butterworth

I had investigated eastern spirituality, which had failed so I thought I’d open up and give all spiritualities a chance. So I listened to some friends who belonged to different religions. I asked them all what they believed in? and they all said that‘they believe in God and they pray’. Therefore I thought to myself that I would also attempt to pray. So I prayed to God and said to God that‘I don’t think You exist‘ but once I said that, I knew I did believe in Him, because there was a sort of fear inside of me after saying that. I prayed for God to show me that He existed. After about a week’s time I was given a very strong response to my prayer, which gave me complete conviction in the existence of God and the belief in God. The answer to the prayer was essentially that I went for a walk in the countryside, because at the time I was living in Cambridge. I was standing in a field praying and the response I got was a physical one, an energy, which rushed from my head to my toe and back and forth and all the hairs on my body were standing, because of this electricity feeling I was receiving. I was also very emotional and this also shocked me on a very deep level, this emotional feeling. Once I got home I asked myself, what this was? The answer I got from a very deep level was that, this is your Lord, you have met your Lord and this is God. This was an internal conversation I was having but this in no way a rational voice and this was in no way a rational answer based on any logic or equation. It was purely and strongly a pure conviction that God exists, God is true and that God is here. From that moment onward I believed that there was a God.

When I spoke to the Sunni brothers, they didn’t have an adequate reason for me not to believe in the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, they would tell me that the Jama’at was an Israeli front and that they were supported by the British, but these were points I didn’t give much thought to. Later they raised deeper points regarding the death of Jesus, peace be upon him, and the concept of Khatam-un-Nabiyyeen so that made me very intent on investigating the truth and also very concerned if that was true. I started to read other books and a book that had a deep impact on me was‘The Beacon of Truth’ which is a book with all the references which prove all the Jama’at’s points. This for me was great because I wanted to essentially look from an impartial perspective looking at the early Muslim saints and the companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Once I did this, I rationally felt very convinced from an Islamic perspective that the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, was the Imam of the time.

I did the Istikhara prayer. I tried this and the first night I attempted to do this, while I was reading Surah Ya-Sin, I fell asleep because I was so tired. I felt very bad about myself and went to bed. When I went to bed, I had a dream in which I saw that I took out my smartphone, which I had recently purchased and put my headphones on and through the headphones I heard someone saying to me that, the Promised Messiah Sallah-hu-alaihi-Wasalam (peace be upon him) and I threw my phone in the air in my dream and then I stood in this place. It was a dark place and seemed like I was in space and it seemed like there was no end to this space and I stood there and I just contemplated on what I should do. This was when I woke up. But this was very useful for me because I had already accepted the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the question I was asking was whether the Promised Messiah had come and is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be upon him, the Imam Mahdi and The Promised Messiah? This dream was meaningful for me because in my dream I heard the Promised Messiah Sallah-hu-alaihi-Wasalam, which was the very concept the Promised Messiah spoke about that he is the Burooz, the shadow of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Read more about Jonathan’s story here.

5 questions” with Jonathan Butterworth in 2012.


Christine Sharif

My thirst for knowledge spurred me on again, so I decided to go straight to the source of Islam, The Qur’an.  It wasn’t an easy book to read, but I could see how it could be open to interpretation. One day I was at the library and I came across a book called ‘Revelation, Rationality, Truth and Knowledge’. I read it and it blew my mind!  It hit all the right places, satisfying my need for science and religion to come together. I instantly believed in God!

Now, I had to read more books by this man, Hadhrat Tahir Ahmad. I had no idea about different sects in Islam, let alone who or what Ahmadiyya was. In the end I tracked down a mosque in Birmingham, where I met Imam Bajwa, who suggested some books. The more I read, the more I wanted to read and so I did.

Then I came to realise, there were different schools of thought in Islam and different teachings – it was a minefield!  Nevertheless, I endeavoured  to learn. How would I decide what was the truth and what was not the truth with such a vast array of information to get my head around? Then I decided to pick a subject I was an expert on and look at what they all had to say about it – ‘women’, that was my subject, after all what better area of expertise do I have other than what I am.

I waded through mountains of information from various sects about Women in Islam, some oppressive, others completely liberal. None ever explained in depth like Ahmadiyya teaching. Even so, there were things that I didn’t like about Ahmadiyya teaching and for a while I liked the group who didn’t acknowledge Hadith or Sunnah, but then I began to question the purpose of Prophets and thankfully realised through God’s good grace that they set the example, they teach, they lead and without them we are prone to misinterpretation and dogma.

I naturally became aware of the hatred towards Ahmadiyyat by other groups,  so I read  their  accusations and  explored  them  further, but they only served to increase my knowledge of Ahmadiyya and strengthen my resolve toward it being the true teaching of Islam. No other teaching explained anything in such depth, and with such plausibility. Nothing even came close. That was it, Ahmadiyya teaching was in my heart and mind.

Read more about Christine’s story here.


Hugh Wyeth

I found, in contrast to the Bible, that the Qur’an presented a clear vision of religion, compared to the confusing message in the Bible that mixed a certain message found in the Old Testament and another message in the New Testament.

The clear message of peace and love for all swept away my preconceptions about the faith. The institution of Khilafat was also a great asset to the community. To have a clear vision and leadership at the head of the organisation removed any questions I might have had in relation to other Islamic sects, where we find much infighting and different schools of thought. Were I to become a Sunni or a Shia Muslim, which kind would I become? Even if I were to convert, which mosque would I go to? Each of their mosques gives a different message of Islam! Which of their scholars would I listen to and how would I be comfortable in such a fractured and confused group? The Catholics are much more united than any group of Sunni or Shia because they have a Pope to guide the community. That was something I found very attractive in this singular leadership in Ahmadiyya because it meant I could get clear answers to my question, not a list of possible responses, as would be the case in many other sects. This kind of unity is a great attraction to new converts who come seeking answers.

Read more about Hugh’s story here.


Converts of Sunni/Shia Muslim Origin →