An article focusing on a visit to the Sultanate by a group of new Muslims, who have embraced the religion of Islam, appeared in a recent issue of The Islamic Foundation Newsletter, in which the newsletter’s author wrote:
“Following a visit of guests from Oman to the New Muslims Project (NMP), during which they were given a detailed introduction to the work and services of the NMP, a suggestion was made around the possibility of collaborating in a cultural, historical and spiritual trip to Oman for the benefit of a convert group (of new Muslims who have reverted to Islam).
While arrangements were being made for the trip the NMP, through its regular newsletter Meeting Point, decided to run an Expression of Interest campaign to which thirteen confirmed responses were recorded, all of whom were women.
Our hosts in Oman, very kindly agreed to provide accommodation, food and all the travel arrangements within the country as well as organising an itinerary and all the necessary support required to make the trip a truly memorable one for all concerned.
First impressions on arrival were the ease with which we entered the country and, emerging from that, the beauty of the landscape. The weather (in January) was beautiful and ideally suited to those travelling from the Western Hemispheres. The cleanliness of Muscat as a well-developed, rich and flourishing city was, we were to learn, reflective of the country as a whole.
Our hosts, who kindly welcomed us at the airport, were gracious and warm in their manner and hospitality and immediately a rapport developed that prevailed throughout our entire time there.
One of the greatest privileges which the delegation were honoured with on arrival was on audience with His Eminence, the Grand Mufti of Oman. Since the delegation was aware of this significant meeting many had prepared questions for the Grand Mufti, which he clearly enjoyed hearing and responding to. Among those posed were questions on inheritance from non-Muslim family, what constitutes Halal in the predominantly Western ‘Ahl Al Kitab’ society we live in and issues around the convert’s early transition to Islam.
This was cited by all of the delegation as the most lasting and memorable occasion for the group due largely to the compassionate manner in which he addressed the variety of questions posed to him during our private meeting. In spite of the two completely different lifestyles we lead, His Eminence really understood the challenges of becoming Muslim in Britain and gave so much support to the group personally and in the very kind invitation to meet his whole family for dinner on the night before our departure.
On the following days we visited Nizwa Castle, Nizwa Market, Misfat al Abreen and Al Hoota Cave and lunched in nearby restaurants. Back in Muscat we visited Sultan Qaboos University’s Islamic Studies and Islamic Guidance Department and the Library of Sayyid Mohammed bin Ahmed al Busaidy. Some of the delegates took part in a TV and Radio programme, which welcomed their opinions of Oman and aspects of conversion to Islam generally but more particularly in the UK.
Our visit to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque on Friday was exceptional in that we were introduced to the Daw’ah team, headed by Sister Rashida, who is busy presenting Islam to the throngs of visitors who include the mosque in their schedule of places to visit while in Muscat.
A most interesting and pleasant discussion was held between the convert group from the UK and a family of visitors from Germany. A genuine link was created and contacts were exchanged with promises to stay in touch.
We visited Sur, Al Batinah South and Sharqiyah Governorates and of course Al Muttrah Market to purchase the necessary souvenirs of our wonderful visit.
The splendour of the geographical terrain in Oman and the efforts made to restore and claim history and present it to the visiting public is commendable. The little mountain town of Misfat al Abreen nesting in the hillside and preserved in its original state was wonderful to see and experience.
The out-of-schedule trip to the desert dunes on the way to Sur, the coastal visit in Sur and the sulphurous pools on our visit to Al Batinah South Governorate were unexpected, most enjoyable and unusual treats for the group.
Visiting Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, praying Juma (Friday congregational prayers) there and exploring it for its beauty and splendour was, without doubt, one of the loveliest highlights of the trip.
We look forward to returning to Oman in the future and will remember our visit as one of the most memorable made by the NMP to date. Our very sincere thanks go to all, both here and in Oman, who were involved in its organisation.”