Idris Tawfiq ialah seorang bekas paderi Katolik (Roman Catholic). Beliau memperoleh ijazah dalam bahasa Inggeris dan Sastera daripada Universiti Manchester dan dalam bidang Teologi (Sacred Theology) atau Ilmu Ketuhanan daripada Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas di Rom. Sebelum memeluk Islam beliau berpandangan Islam ialah satu agama kolot yang merendahkan martabat wanita, mementingkan keganasan dan mengajak umatnya agar mengebom diri untuk mendekatkan diri kepada Tuhan. Ketika beliau bercuti di Mesir selama seminggu beliau mula menyedari bahawa umat Islam secara umumnya tidak seperti yang dipaparkan dalam media massa di Barat. Apakah perbezaan yang besar antara agama Kristian Katolik dan Islam? Beliau menjawab, “Asas bagi agama Islam ialah Allah. Kesemua perkara adalah berpaksikan Allah… Ia tidak menjadikan, sebagai contoh, Nabi Isa sebagai paksi. Seperkara yang lain ialah, Islam merupakan satu agama yang komprehensif. Ia bukan satu agama yang menekankan ibadah pada hari-hari tertentu (contohnya hari Ahad) sahaja. Sebaliknya, Islam mengajar umatnya tentang cara untuk menyapa orang lain, adab-adab makan minum, adab-adab memasuki bilik, malah tentang setiap perkara.”
WHO IS IDRIS TAWFIQ?
Idris Tawfiq has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Manchester and a degree in Sacred Theology, studied in Italian, from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. For many years a teacher of Religious Studies, he taught in different schools in the United Kingdom and in Egypt. Before embracing Islam, Idris was a Roman Catholic priest.
Idris Tawfiq writes and speaks in a very gentle way about Islam, Spirituality and the Arab World. He always points out that he is not an Islamic scholar, but rather has a way of explaining things about Islam in a simple way. He has considerable experience in leading Retreats and In-Service training for both students and teachers. He uses this vast experience of dealing with ordinary people and explaining matters of faith to them to enliven his writing and style of speaking, making them both interesting and easy to understand. He especially tries to explain Islam to those in the West who are not Muslim.
He has written for newspapers and periodicals in the United Kingdom and he now contributes to IslamOnline. net andThe Middle East Times and he writes a weekly article in Egyptian Mail, Egypt’s oldest English-language newspaper, and Sawt Al-Azhar, the newspaper of Al-Azhar University. He is the author of The Road to Reconciliation (1984) and Gardens of Delight: a simple introduction to Islam (2005). He is currently writing a book about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and is in much demand as a speaker, both to groups and on television and radio.
He falters when asked what he sees in Islam that Catholicism lacked. “That’s a very loaded question,” he says, grimacing. The biggest difference, then? “I would say that Islam is completely God-centred, ” he answers tentatively. “It is not about what Jesus did for me and it’s not about offering prayers for myself. The whole thing revolves around Allah.”The other thing is that Islam covers every aspect of life. It’s not a going-to-church- on-Sunday religion, it’s not even a going-to-Mass- every-morning and leading a good and holy life religion.”Islam tells you how to greet people, how to eat your food, how to enter a room – how to do everything in life. Whilst Muslims are not saints, Islam encourages Muslims to think about God all the time. Islam, in its essence, attributes everything to God. For Muslims, Islam is everything.”
Did he experience periods of doubt leading up to his conversion?” No, none at all,” he answers.”Although one of my barriers to becoming a Muslim was the story of Abraham. The Bible says Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Isaac, the Koran says it was Ismael.”It may seem odd, but I wrestled with this for a long time. I thought one of them must be wrong, both cannot be right. But at the end of the day, as with any faith, you have to take that leap and accept the essence of what Islam says.”I have no problem with ‘There is no God but God’- I’ve always believed in that. And Muhammad is his messenger? I have learned and come to understand that core.”