Bunyamin Yıldız, who has been working as an imam in the Netherlands for 9 years, has helped more than 150 people become Islam. from different countries such as Poland, Russia, China, mostly from Netherlands and many African countries.
Yıldız was born and raised in Netherlands. Now he is 34 years old. After graduating from high school in Netherlands, he completed Ankara University Faculty of Theology in 2007-2011.
After returning to his birth country, Yıldız held a different position at the Dutch Religious Foundation (HDV) for two years.
Then he started his duty as an imam at the Mevlana Mosque affiliated to HDV in the city of Rotterdam. He worked 7 years here. He helped approximately 130 people to convert to Islam.
Nowadays he has been serving as an imam at the Ulu Mosque –affiliated to HDV in the city of Bergen op Zoom for the last two years. Meanwhile, he was continuing to guide the people to the right path.
Yıldız was considering himself like one of the companions of prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). who travelled to different countries to promote Islam. He said that "Our Prophet Mohammad (Pbuh) was sending his companions (may God blessed all of them) being filled with full of love for Islam. Every morning I leave my house with full of the same feelings, trying to keep this love fresh inside me. Thank goodness God that gives us the ability to deal with such auspicious issues.
He helped more than 150 people to convert to Islam. Yıldız stated that “I conduced to the conversion of more than 150 people to Islam. With the help of the God, a large proportion of them took place in the Mevlana Mosque in Rotterdam, where I am still serving. So maybe 130 of 150 took place here."
Yıldız said that “the attentive behavior and speech of Muslims living in the Netherlands and their dialogue with people in accordance with Muslim morality play an important role in guiding the people to true path.” He continued: "We should not forget that hadith in our communication with non-Muslims as 'Make it easy, do not make it difficult, give salutary news, do not cause hatred' We should also keep in mind Mevlana's statement as 'Come again no matter whatever you are.'”
Yıldız continued as follows:
"I have always been interested in how our Prophet Mohammad (Pbuh)) used to talk, how he ate and drank, what his clothes was like. I always take him as an example. In this sense, when communicating with these non-Muslim fellows, our dresses must be beautiful, we must smile, we must be warmhearted, and, we must embrace each other dearly. We must keep in touch closely We mustn’t lose contact with them even after they recited 'Confession of Faith' and become Muslims. We must keep all kinds of connections in a good way, and then we must always pray for them "
"Everyone is a potential Muslim candidate"
Yıldız said that he tried to use social media well, so people reached him in this way, that because he answered all their questions, a bond was formed between them, and later they came together and talked to each other.
Yıldız stated that those who turn to Islam apply to him in different ways, as follows:
"There are people applying us and saying they want to become a Muslim. Besides, there are those who become Muslims upon we personally inform them about Islam. There are also those who attend Islamic lessons in the mosque because they are interested in Islam and then become Muslims. There are also some people who are directed to us by the local Islamic Community and by some who are familiar with our activities. There are also people who visit our mosque and are affected. We give them enlightening books, we exchange ideas with them and answer their questions. Our familiarity with Dutch language helps us a lot in these activities."
Yildiz emphasized the importance of the nearby relationship and also the bond of friendship in school life and business life. Then continued,"I had a neighbor here. We were always talking to each other in geniality. One day, there was a Ramadan program in our mosque, I invited him there. He observed our solidarity and attachment then he was very impressed by our tolerance and hospitality and hence decided to become a Muslim. I always say that everyone is a potential Muslim candidate. I mean, we always have to enlighten the people on Islam in this way, and when we do it, I think it will be most useful."
"I was looking for peace. I have decided to become a Muslim"
21-year-old Dutchman Sydney Zandwijken, said that “I became interested in Islam after being influenced by the conversations with my Muslim friends around me”
One of Zandwijken’s parents is Surinamese and the other Dutch. He stated that he used to make friends with the wrong people, continuing: " I've been searching for inner peace all my life Islam helped me get through this trouble and I decided to become a Muslim." Then converted his religion into Islam in the Mevlana Mosque by way of reciting ‘Confession of Faith’ with the help of a Turkish imam, and changed his name as Yahya.
Translated by Özden Atukeren