Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood dilahirkan pada tahun 1942 di kota London, UK. Nama asalnya ialah Rosalyn Rushbrook. Beliau dibesarkan sebagai seorang Kristian dan memperoleh ijazah dalam bidang Teologi Kristian daripada Universiti Hull pada tahun 1963. Pengetahuan beliau yang mendalam dalam ilmu Kristian merangsang beliau untuk menulis beberapa buah buku tentang agama itu. Antara buku yang ditulis beliau ialah ‘In the Steps of Jesus’, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, ‘Does God Have a Body?’ dan ‘The Trouble with God’. Namun pengetahuannya yang mendalam tentang Kristian juga menyedarkan beliau tentang kesesatan agama Kristian terutamanya yang berkaitan dengan konsep triniti. Akhirnya beliau memeluk Islam pada tahun 1986. Pada hari ini beliau berjaya menghasilkan pelbagai buku tentang Islam dan pada tahun 2001 beliau dianugerahkan Anugerah Iqbal kerana sumbangannya.
Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood grew up a devout Christian, but converted to Islam in 1986. Already established by then as an author of books on Christian and educational topics, she has since devoted her time to writing on Islam and doing dawah (explaining the faith) work to both Christian and Muslim audiences. She regularly addresses school and church groups, explaining Islam and educating in the basics of Islam, with a keen interest in presenting Islam as a world faith. She strives to raise the awareness both of non-Muslims and also of born Muslims of the traditional immigrant ethnic backgrounds living in the UK, that these numerous varieties of cultural backgrounds, tastes and emphases are all part of Islam, including cultures that are not limited to the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa.
Ruqaiyyah is the author of some forty books on Islam and other subjects. She gained her honours degree in Christian Theology at the University of Hull in 1963, and Post Graduate Teaching Certificate in 1964, with distinctions in theory and practice. Her professional life was spent as Head of Religious Studies at various tough UK inner city secondary schools, until she retired in 1996, to concentrate on writing and lecturing. She has since made the GCSE course in Islamic Studies available to students and converts to Islam of all ages, especially to those who have not had the opportunity to study it at school.
Ruqaiyyah is an outspoken moderate Muslim, whose main interests lie in the Madinah period, the genealogy of the Prophet and his companions, and the importance of re-establishing good relationships between the Peoples of the Book (ie. Muslims, Jews and Christians – who all worship the same One True God and follow the same chain of revelation) as opposed to rather ignorant hostility. Eve more important, perhaps, is the battle to preserve the true faith of Islam – tolerant, noble, and compassionate – in face of the growth of the ‘other Islam’ which is extremist and intolerant, and which she regards as both false and dangerous.
Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood worked on local education committees developing syllabi for Religious Studies, produced a recommended textbook for the study of Islam, and developed a study-course and the materials to enable any student to attain GCSE in Religious Studies (Islamic options) through private study and still tutors this.
Her Advisory Pamphlets and Brochures include work for the IQRA Trust – a Guide for Visitors to Mosques, and for Mosques who receive schools visits; for ISNA (The Islamic Society of North America) – a Marriage Guidance booklet on various general and legal issues; for Muslim Women’s Helpline – her book ‘The Muslim Marriage Guide’ is widely used; for Cruse, the bereavement counselling service – her book ‘After Death, Life’ is recommended. Sr Ruqaiyyah is a ‘cyber-counsellor’ for the website www. Islamonline. net. In 2001, Sr Ruqaiyyah received one of twelve special Awards for Excellence sponsored by the Muslim News, the Allama Iqbal Award for Creative Thought in Islam.
In an interview with Roy Watkins, she said, “I would say that the ethical teaching centred on love of God and the service of humanity is what was taught by all the other prophets, including, of course, Muhammad – peace be upon all of them. The mystery-cult aspect was not only taught by St Paul, of course – the Trinities of Creator-Father, Virgin-Mother and Dying-and-Rising- Saviour-Son were commonplace all over the ancient world – the closest to Christianity possible being the Mithraic version. Atonement theology is based on the idea that Almighty God has got Himself into a predicament from which He cannot extract Himself without incarnating as a human being and sacrificing Himself, with the co-doctrine that human beings have inherited an original sin from which they cannot extricate themselves without this Divine Process. To a Jew or a Muslim, this is blasphemy, and frankly, nonsense. Monotheism always teaches that God’s power is Absolute and both Judaism and Islam teach that His forgiveness and compassion is freely available for all who turn to Him, without any need of sacrifice of any description. Surely, that is what Jesus taught too?”