Published in Daily Express by Javed Chaudhry in his column Zero Point.
If you want to understand what Islam is read the stories of the people who have converted to Islam just recently. They will tell you such angles of religion which you wont find in books. They are on such high level and will teach you many things which your religious leaders won't be able to.
I was fortunate enough to meet one such Muslim in Spain. He belonged to one of the European countries and before converting to Islam, was a guitarist associated with a famous musical band. He also had a degree in Music but after converting he had a beard now, left music and traveled around the world to study Islam. He told me the story of converting to Islam which was amazing.
He had three hobbies. Playing guitar, Impress girls and drinking wild. He used to play guitar and collect money, Impressed a girl by taking her to a date, sitting in a pub and drinking until late night. The next day they were usually found in a park, beside a road, In a hotel's room or in the girls apartment. This was his usual life but then he made friends with another muslim boy who also loved drinking. He was from Egypt and came to europe for studying but fell in love with a girl who left him for another man. The egyptian guy could not take this and started drinking. He used to drink all night and sleep in his hostel's room all day. His father who was a rich man used to send hi money so his life was easy. The musician met the muslim guy in the pub. They both were not that religious. Musician thought all the religion were fraud, The egyptian guy said there must be no religion as it makes people fight and humanity was better served if their were no religious divisions.
They talked about religion everyday in the pub while drinking, during these chats the musician noticed something strange. The egyptian guy used to quote Allah, Koran and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) without any hesitation at the start of the discussion but as soon as he started drinking he never uttered a single word about these three or any quote relating to it. He used to change the topic toward other religions of the world. Musician tried his best to bring the egyptian towards Allah and Prophet but was never successful. Egyptian was so adamant that even when he was drunk at the best he never ever uttered anything about these.
One day Musician asked the Egyptian guy about it. They were at a coffee shop and were in normal condition. Egyptian guy gave an answer which he found really strange.
He said that after he is drunk his tongue becomes dirty as drinking is not allowed. I can never utter the names of Allah and my Prophet (PBUH) with my dirty tongue? After drinking I wake up on the morning, brush my teeth, clean my face, mouth and tongue, only then I utter the names of my beloved Prophet, Allah and Holy Koran. This is my love for them and no matter how worse a muslim I am, no matter how bad I get I can never take the names or disrespect them in any way.
This struck the Musician deep inside the heart. He went to a book shop, bought the translation of Holy Quran. The moment he stated reading it he knew his life had changed, as he kept on reading he fell deep in love with it. He left music, changed his dressing and converted to Islam.
I asked him what Inspired you most about Islam, and he answered "Unconditional Love".
Islam is the only religion of the world which fills your heart with unconditional love for Allah and Prophet (PBUH) , it builds a fort inside your heart which can never be destroyed. A Muslim can be cruel, liar, drunk, cheater or anything, he can compromise on anything but when its the matter of Quran, Allah and Prophet (PBUH) he will forget everything, fight the biggest forces in the world, stand against the Pharaoh but never hear or say a word against them, that too just after reciting the first Kalima, thats what Impressed me the most.