“God welcomes honest searching. Islam is based on historical fact, not on the speculation of human beings with their limited intellects. Truth stands out clear from error (2:256). It will not collapse under investigation […] Healthy religion moves beyond the denial of responsibility, the distortion of reality and the creating of illusions […] True religion enables us to take charge of our own lives and accept responsibility in a disciplined way …”
After Death, Life!
Rabbana, if I should die one morning,
And find I had not died, but left my weak
And pain-wracked mortal frame wrapped snug and neat
Upon the bed in the tight sheet of night,
While my true self, my body made of light –
With glowing joy and disbelief at that
Which must be more than tongue could ever speak –
Came drifting to the Place where angels sing.
And other female souls, wide-eyed and shy,
Come – scarcely recognizing – to the kiss
Of willow-slim young warriors that they won
The hearts of long ago, with all the years
That brought them to the anguished parting tears
Of cherished age now just a morning mist
Dispersing with the rising of the sun, –
O then, like a lost child, I’d stand and cry –
I would look straightaway for him that You
Gave me on earth. May be, on Your high throne,
You’d glance down at this clamouring and noise
Spoiling Your peace, and notice from above
In all this vast throng – me! O dear my Lord,
And Watcher all my life, see – I’m alone!
I trust, my King, who knows me through and through,
You’ll not delay but grant Your blessed word,
Sent me the angels with their blazing eyes
To point me through this crowed towards my love.
– Ruquaiyyah Waris Maqsood
True believers have nothing to fear in the most gloomy scenes of life; they have nothing to fear in the valley of death; they have nothing to fear in the grave; they have nothing to fear in the world beyond, for God is with them. They do not go anywhere alone, for God is the Companion, the Guide.Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood
Al-Ghazzali authored so many books that it is said that he wrote an average of 15 or 16 pages per day1. When one looks at the number of works that Rosalyn Rushbrook has produced despite being a mother, having a fulltime professional career, and extensive travel and lecture in many different countries, one will genuinely wonder how much time, if at all, does she allow herself for rest. Perhaps that is too expensive a commodity for those who dedicate themselves to educating and enlightening the fellow humans.
Under her maiden name Rosalyn Rushbrook, she authored a volume of poetry. Under her first marital name Rosalyn Kendrick, she authored 9 books primarily on religious issues. Under her Muslim name Ruquaiyyah Waris Maqsood after she converted to Islam, she produced about 30 books. Furthermore, she has another 9 books pending publication. She has also written numerous articles on issues related to Islam and Muslims.
Indeed, in terms of how much her pen produces per day, she probably does not trail much behind lumineries like al-Ghazzali.
Education and Career
Rushbrook, now popularly known as Ruquaiyyah Waris Maqsood, was born in 1942 in London, UK. At an early age of 8, she became a deeply committed Christian as a result of a personal spiritual call. She graduated with honours in Theology from Hull University in 1963, specializing in biblical studies. She received her postgraduate certificate from Hull in 1964. She spent 32 years as Head of Religious Studies at various UK schools before retiring in 1996.
She lectured in many countries, including the USA, Canada, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Ireland. She also lectured at many major universities with Islamic Societies in the UK, including Oxford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the School of Oriental and Arabic Studies in London. She tutored at the Dar al-Islam summer school at Abiquiu, New Mexico in 1998, and has lectured at many conferences.
Rushbrook comes from a deeply religious Christian background. Her study into the early Christianity led her to realize that what Jesus (p) actually taught is very different from what is being taught about him. Her quest for the truth eventually led her to Islam when she finally converted to Islam in 1986. She “traveled this path in her own search for the truth and an intellectual honesty that was also compatible with the study of the Christian scriptures (both Old and New Testaments). She was converted to Islam originally by her background knowledge of those scriptures, her professional studies as a theologian, and most significantly, by the life and teachings of the Blessed Prophet Jesus himself (pbuh).”
She has “gone through all the arguments, trials and soul-searching that confront any Christian who grapples with Trinitarian theology and finally discards it.” However, in so doing, her love and respect for Jesus as a Prophet of Allah never diminished. Indeed, Jesus, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, occupies a very special place in the heart of every Muslim.
She considers herself a revert, as she realizes that she had already been a Muslim for many years before formally accepting Islam.
Following is a list of some of her publications:
Does God Have a Body? (1977)
Jesus of Nazareth: Part 1 – The Way of the Kingdom (1979)
Jesus of Nazareth: Part 2 – The Way of the Cross (1979)
The Trouble with God (1983)
Setting the Foundations (1985)
In the Steps of Jesus (1986)
Examining World Religions: Islam (1989)
Where Did I Go Wrong? (poetry) (1992)
Bride of the Nile (novel) (1998)
Wild Turks (novel) (2002)
The Separated Ones: Jesus, the Pharisees and Islam (1991)
Moral Issues in Six Religions (1991)
Finger Prints (1992)
Sacred Texts: The Qur’an (1993)
Teach Yourself: Islam (1994)
Thinking About God (1994)
For Heaven’s Sake (1994)
Petra: A Traveller’s Guide (1994)
A Story at ‘Id (1995)
Living With Teenagers (1995)
The Muslim Marriage Guide (1995)
Islam: a Dictionary (1996)
Aishah: A Study of Her Age at the Time of Her Marriage (1996)
The Beautiful Commands of Allah (1997)
A Basic Dictionary of Islam (1998)
After Death, Life! (1998)
Living Islam (1998)
The Beautiful Commands of Allah (1998)
The Muslim Prayer Encyclopaedia (1998)
The Beloved Prophet (1999)
Mysteries of Jesus: A Muslim examination of the origins of the Christian Church (2000)
What Every Christian Should Know About Islam (2000)
Studies in Islam: Parts One and Two (2000)
The Sign of the Gnat (2000)
The Problem of Evil (2000)
GCSE Islam – The Do-It-Yourself Guide (2001)
A Muslim Examination of the Origin of the Christian Church
Readings in Cross-Cultural Dawah (2001)
The Beautiful Message of Allah to Jews and Christians (pending publication)
The Beautiful Angels of Allah (pending publication)
The Beautiful Compassion of Allah (pending publication)
The Muslim Travel Diary (pending publication)
A Qur’an for Little Hearts (pending publication)
Prayers of A Muslim (pending publication)
I Love Allah (pending publication)
I Love Allah’s Angels (pending publication)
I Am Allah’s Friend (pending publication)
Wit and Wisdom (pending publication)
Touched By Fire (a book of poetry) (pending publication)
The Blessed Prophet of Islam – His Life and Loved Ones (pending publication)
Additionally, she is contemplating a major seerah work (biography of the Prophet), which would be the first ever to be attempted by a female author.
Allah is real, and He loves you. He knows all your weaknesses and struggles, and even if you go wrong He still loves you. What He does not love is the wrong you have done – but He still loves you […] If we can see that neither distress nor death can separate us from the love of God, [then] we have a living hope which transcends all the trials of our present situation.– Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood
The Muslim Marriage Guide
One of her important gifts to the Muslims community is The Muslim Marriage Guide, which should be a recommended reading for married couples as well as those who are contemplating marriage. In this highly prized book, Ruqaiyyah Maqsood draws examples from the Prophet (p) and his companions and provides guidance about how to deal with and resolve marital issues. The book also discusses conjugal issues that are usually not talked about and offers some practical advice about how even marital relationship can be turned into sadaqa (charity) from an Islamic perspective.
One of her main interests lies in interfaith dialogue. While extreme or ignorant elements exist among the followers or all three Abrahamic faiths, Islam is particularly misunderstood in the West more than any other religions. Through her books, articles, and lectures, Maqsood hopes to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about what Islam truly teaches and bring about a dialog with the members of the people of the book for cooperation, respect, and understanding.
Her others interests include the life of the Prophet (p), the lives of the women Companions, travel, campaign against extremism, campaign against abuse of women, educating Muslims about true Islam and about their cultural diversities, and marriage and divorce issues.
1- In his short life span of 53 years, 11 of which he spent in seclusion and travel, al-Ghazzali authored many more books than is available or known today. About 400 books are ascribed to him, though that cannot be confirmed. But at least 50 genuine books are confirmed to be extant. He lived in 11th century when books were hand-written and manually copied. It is said that many of his manuscripts were burned down by his opponents whose sectarian philosophies he attacked and refuted. But most of the loss is probably attributed to the Mongol destruction of Baghdad and other cities during which entire libraries were burnt to ashes.