Dr. Jeffrey Lang. Photo By: islampos.com

Since childhood, Dr. Jeffrey Lang was known to be curious. He often questioned the logic of things and examined things from a rational perspective. "Father, does heaven exist?" Little Jeffrey once asked his father about the existence of heaven, as the two of them walked their pet dog on the beach. It is no surprise that Jeffrey Lang will become a professor of mathematics, an area where there is no place but logic.

While a final year student at Notre Dam Boys High, a Catholic high school, Jeffrey Lang had a rational objection to belief in the existence of God. Discussions with the school's chaplain, his parents, and his classmates also failed to satisfy him about the existence of God. "God will bring you down, Jeffrey!" his father said when he denied the existence of God at the age of 18.

He finally decided to become an atheist at the age of 18, which lasted for the next 10 years during his undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral studies, until finally embracing Islam.

It was moments before or after deciding to become an atheist, Jeffrey Lang had a dream. Here's what Jeffrey Lang said about his dream:

"We were in an unfurnished room. Nothing on the walls of the room the color of which was white or gray. The only 'decoration' is the dominant red-and-white patterned carpet covering the floor. There was a small window, like the basement window, which was above and facing us. Bright light filled the room through the window. 

We formed a row. I was in the third row. All men, no women, and we all sat on the floor on our heels, facing the window.

Feeling strange, I didn't know anyone. Maybe, I was in another country. We lowered our heads in unison, our faces facing the floor. Everything was quiet and still, as if all sounds were muted. We simultaneously we sat back on our heels. As I looked ahead, I realized we were being led by someone in front who was on my left side, in the middle of us, under the window. It stood alone. I could only briefly see his back. He wore a long white robe. She wore a white scarf on her head, with a red design. That's when I woke up."

During his ten years as an atheist, Jeffrey Lang had the same dream several times. However, he was not bothered by the dream. He only felt comfortable when he woke up. A strange comfortable feeling. He didn't know what it was. There was no logic behind it, and so he didn't care if the dream repeated itself.

Ten years later, while lecturing for the first time at the University of San Francisco, he met Muslim students who took his classes. Not only with the student, Jeffrey soon became friends with the student's family. Religion was not a topic of discussion when Jeffrey spent time with the student's family. Until after some time one of the students' family members gave the Koran to Jeffrey.

Even though he had no intention of learning about Islam, Jeffrey started flipping through the Koran and reading it. At that time his head was filled with various prejudices.

"You can't just read the Koran, you can't if you don't take it seriously. You must, firstly, really have given up on the Koran, or secondly, 'challenge' it," said Jeffrey.

He then found himself in the middle of a very interesting struggle. "It (the Koran) 'attacked' you, directly, personally. It (the Koran) argues, criticizes, embarrasses (you) and challenges. From the start It (the Koran) drew a line of war, and I was on the opposite side of the line."

“I suffered a severe defeat (in the struggle). From there it became clear that the author (of the Koran) knew me better than myself,” said Jeffrey. He spoke as if the Author had read his mind. Every night he prepared a number of questions and objections, but always found the answers in the next reading, as he read page after page of the Koran in sequence.

“The Koran was always way ahead of my thoughts. It removed the barriers I had built years ago and answered my questions.” Jeffrey tried to fight back vigorously with objections and questions, but it was becoming increasingly clear that he was losing the struggle. "I was led to a corner where there was nothing but one option."

It was the early 1980s and there were not many Muslims on its campus, the University of San Francisco. Jeffrey found a small room in the basement of a church where a number of Muslim students were praying. After a long struggle in his mind, he ventured to visit that place.

A few hours of visiting the place, he found himself reciting the shahada. After the creed, the time for the midday prayer arrived and he was invited to participate. He stood in a row with other students, led by a cleric named Ghassan. Jeffrey began to follow them in congregational prayers.

Jeffrey also bowed. His head stuck to the red-and-white carpet. The atmosphere was calm and still, as if all sounds were muted. Then he sat back down between the two prostrations.

“When I looked ahead, I could see Ghassan, to my left, in the middle, under the window that illuminated the room with light. He was alone, without a line. He wore a long white robe. A white scarf (scarf) covered his head, with a red design."

"That dream! I screamed in my heart. That dream, exactly! I had completely forgotten about it, and now I was stunned and scared. Is it a dream? Will I wake up? I tried to focus on what was happening to make sure I was sleeping. A chill rushed through my body. Oh my God, this is real! Then the coldness disappeared, replaced by a warm feeling that came from within. I have tears in my eyes.”

His father's words ten years ago proved true. He was now on his knees, and his face was pressed against the floor. The highest part of his brain that has been containing all of his knowledge and intellect is now at its lowest point, in a total surrender to Allah Glory to Him the Exalted.

Jeffrey Lang felt that God himself led him to Islam. "I know God is always near, directing my life, creating the environment and the opportunity to choose, but still leaving crucial choices to me," Jeffrey said now.

Jeffrey is now a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas and has three children. He wrote three books widely read by US Muslims: Struggling to Surrender (Beltsville, 1994); Even Angels Ask (Beltsville, 1997); and Losing My Religion: A Call for Help (Beltsville, 2004). He lectured on many campuses and was a speaker at many Islamic conferences.

He has three children, and it's no surprise her son has the same curiosity. Jeffrey now has to face the same questions he used to ask his father. One day he was asked by his eight-year-old daughter, Jameelah, after they prayed Asr together. "Father, why are we praying?"

“The question surprised me. I didn't think it was from an eight year old child. I know the clearest answer is that Muslims are required to pray. However, I do not want to waste the opportunity to share experiences and benefits of prayer. However, once I've worked out the answers in my head, I'll start with, 'We pray because God wants us to do it'."

"But why, father, what are the consequences of prayer?" Jameela asked again. "It's hard to explain to a child, dear. One day, if you pray five times a day, I'm sure we'll understand, but I'll try my best to answer your questions."