Shaykh AHM’s journey to Islam….
This memoir is offered, at the persistent request of some Turkish friends, by a monotheist whose formative life was shaped by Anglican Christianity, but who has made his home in Islam. Like the kilis?-camii metaphor in the old Ottoman poetry, which describes a church which has been made into a mosque, such a man is architecturally distinctive, but a symbol of undeserved improvement: he is the m?hted?, the object of guidance, at once a spiritual migrant and a symbol that Islam, battered by despisers on all sides, is still Refuge of the World (??lem-pen?h). Richard Bulliet flatteringly believes that the vigour of Islam has always been secured by the m?hted?s, who bring the energy and the sometimes annoying zeal of the proselyte ?on the edge? into the formalised traditional world of inherited religion. Perhaps, he implies, such newcomers are like the desert dwellers who, in Ibn Khaldun?s view of things, periodically invade the sedate, bourgeois citadels to establish a new, often rather puritanical, reconnection with God.