1 on 1 with Nouman Ali Khan

Bilal Assad

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Channel: Bilal Assad

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So brothers and sisters before we begin this prestigious interview for the first time in my life with my dear brother,

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sisters Norman alikhan. We have to start with a dua insha Allah for our brothers and sisters in us in Philistine

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so please say amen I'll just say it in Arabic. handler below let me know salat wa salam ala Rasulillah Karim, Allah Khomeini Nana so Luca via smell Ecole Hausner was the vertical ruler and Topher the when and if he has if he Philistine Allah Hum Dil Hofer whom Amna Allahumma original Minko Aloha Aloha Minko Lydia Kim Faraja Allahu majali motorhome Mina shahada woman Alladhina coulda fie him while atta Serbian lady Nakata lofi Sevilla here I'm Wyatt Bella here on angora behaviourism going longer her Moto, Allah hum, watch I will add the home forgotten widow Fernleigh home in the house in Abuja sallallahu alayhi wa sallam Winder EdWeb in Jana leadin occulta fee him will let the

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you know suborbital redware and Europe be him gridway And Europe be him.

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Welcome solid.

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What amaro Bill Morrow Fiona Juan de la Mancha Thermocool. Taffy him and naamyaa Toluna genetic, Wyatt Haruna Holly him will Mala Iike tomen coolibah will you sell limoneira him Allahumma Jallianwala yeah and Amin home era Bella al Amin, Allah hombre de Muslim ina Isla de Cammarata, Jamila Allah muslim Masha Allah whom Allah whom I will Filipina Wella whom Allah whom will be my father. So for her home in home, Allah my father Jamia and water Kabul Minaya Bella al Amin, women home, or Salah and abena Muhammad while early he was so happy as you might

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know,

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my dear brother, this does not matter, Ali Khan, it is a pleasure, an absolute pleasure to meet with you. We all know who says no man, Ali Khan is I'm actually going to get to know you in sha Allah in this evening and have the pleasure of sharing your experience and your journey together from what you were, and how you became. And if you don't mind, I'd like to begin by talking about the first time that I ever saw you. Okay. And the first time I saw you was probably in 2010, or 2011. Was online when YouTube was still I think we had past the the internet stage where it was a dial up network. Right. And then you were on YouTube, I think with the dean show, or the dean show rather

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idea, you look a little bit different, a little bit younger. Yeah, it seems like mashallah, as you get older, you get more handsome to vertical. But kind of you just go through what Okay, yes. This is all in a brotherly way. Yeah, yeah. So he was interviewing you. And for the first time it said, an atheist becomes a Muslim.

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And I wanted to see who this person is because as a teacher, myself, we had young people and also in the West, that kind of question sometimes. How do I know that Allah exists? How do I know that Islam is the right way? Some of them are afraid of asking that question. I was very intrigued by that, by that interview. When I heard you speak, you weren't yet Hamdulillah, in Yanni, as a last month has blessed you in the fame that you have. And, of course, in a good way insha Allah and in your Dawa, and I was I was listening very carefully. And I said to myself, this young man here, he's actually eloquent. He speaks very well.

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And I can't believe he's just a random atheist who became a Muslim. I'm not gonna say too much.

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But if I'm right about that, can you please share with us this little journey? Where you're an atheist, where you're Muslim before that, and then you became like that? Where the questions were their doubts, what brought you into Islam?

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So

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there's like a lot for your question.

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I think, well, obviously, I was raised in a Muslim family and

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fairly practicing Muslim family, I'd say. And my childhood was in Saudi actually a part of it. So from the second grade to the eighth grade, my dad who served in the Pakistan Embassy was stationed in Riyadh. So I was we were in Riyadh, we went to many auras together my dad did to hedge their while we didn't go to college, the kids didn't go but

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and then we I had a little bit of schooling in Pakistan, also for about less than a year. So my early education was basically all in the Islamic environment. And then when we came to the US,

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I was ready to go into 10th grade. And we signed up for public school and public school in Queens. New York is basically the kind of chaos you see at a bus station.

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in the Muslim world, like it's, it doesn't look like a classroom. It was absolute pandemonium and it was a, it was the massive, massive culture shock for me.

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Just to get to the point about this atheism thing, I think the first thing, if I look at my self interest introspectively and kind of think about how I was transitioning, the first thing I felt was out of place, like I don't belong here. These people make fun of the way I speak. They think I'm strange and weird, I'm awkward. They're more confident than I am. They're better spoken than I am. Like, they're, they're just better at everything than I am. I just felt inadequate and inferior in every way. When I was at school, and it was very common part of the culture to make fun of people publicly and humiliate them kids can be cruel, but I you know, it's interesting.

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Uniform does something. When you're wearing uniform, you're not dressed any better than anybody else. So what are they gonna make fun of your shoes aren't a shiny, like, there's nothing to pick on. But when you're when you don't have uniforms in schools, which we don't have in the US.

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You have people wearing brand clothes, people dress this way or that way. And obviously, I just came from Pakistan, so I'm going to dress like a nerdy bucks any kid. I mean, I took it. What did you dress like Exactly? A sweater knit by my mom?

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Does that help? Yeah, that paints a pretty good picture. I can relate to her. Yeah, happened to me.

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My mother sewed my tracksuit pants kind of up in stock for one year.

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Yeah, and I took a briefcase to school, you know, so that didn't go well.

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And

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so being the object of ridicule, the the only thought in my head was surviving the day in school.

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Like, that's the like, I could be sitting there in class, just thinking, who's gonna say something next. That was the anxiety I had all day. And it's not something I could talk to my family about. Because that's a different world when you walk into school, right? And so then this is in primary school, you're talking this is high school, high school. This is high school. This is me. I was about 16 years old now. And

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one of the things I learned then is I better find you have to you can survive only in a pack. So you have to find a pack. And then there are weirdos in every school. You know, the nerds and the strange ones that don't fit in.

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I had a couple of weirdos that were just kind of outliers and we became friends. Right? And that became our little let's let's be in the corner, isolated from the rest of society together with the weirdos. Yeah, it was with the weirdos, right? It was gratulations there's Russian guy and there was this like Chinese kid and there's me and there's this star kid. And we were just the weirdos in the corner. And that was our Hangout. But then over time, a new impulse kicked in. And that was No, no, I don't just want to be in the corner I want to fit in. What does it take to fit in? Right and then wanting to talk like the others. The first I think the first jump in my English vocabulary came with

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foul language. Because that was I don't know if that's the case here. But in New York, a cuss word, a filthy word is a noun, an adjective and adverb.

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A comma and a full stop. So it's every other word is a foul word, to communicate a sentence. So if you're going to pick up the lingo that's what you have to pick up right? And it's interesting Allah says BT said this one for so called out that Yvonne it actually has an effect on you spiritually when you start using foul language, and you become less and less in tune with your own fitrah. It's it's set off in Fitzroy, actually, I felt that way. And 11 fitrah means, like, goes against your nature that gives us a human nature to not want to use those words. Your tongue isn't designed. Your tongue was designed to say sacred things, beautiful things like it goes, it's it violates something

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inside you. And I could feel it, but it was just the social desire to fit in. And the way I dress changed the way I got my haircut. Yeah, I had a weird haircut. I had one of those like, shaved all sides and a ponytail situation. Yep. And then I got a job in a Spanish neighborhood. So I my English got pretty good. But then I started learning Spanish to fit in the Spanish neighborhood. So my Spanish got really, really good. People thought it was Mexican or Puerto Rican or like, you know, so.

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But then the the atheism thing actually came. I like to think of atheism is to it. So there's a psychological atheism and there's a there's an intellectual atheism. And I don't think I was ever an intellectual atheist, actually, that's the intellectual atheism is actually for most people, I think is just an excuse. It's 90% of that iceberg is psychological. I agree. 100%, you know, that's right. And then they just top it off with some intellectual excuses and rationales and then the moment you start chipping away at those really weak, rational arguments, then the emotional side just comes out and

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roaring and you're like, Okay, that's what's really going on with you. And that's what was going on with me. Right? And so I didn't see the need for this religion. And if you don't need religion, why do you need God? Like everything I need is, I have my friends, you can have popularity, you can have whatever you want, you need a job, you need money in life, these are the things you need. Why do you need to go pray? What do you need to do? You know, so that stuff became more and more irrelevant. And then the tip of the iceberg was first semester of college, I took philosophy 101. And it was two courses. I took philosophy of ethics and philosophy, metaphysics. So in metaphysics, it's saris does

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not mean so college is at university. So 12th grade is high school, right? And then then right after that, you start college college, like university, basically. Yeah, we in America, we kind of use it interchangeably a little bit. Sorry, if other people know, I just yeah, that's all good. So what happened in philosophy class, I loved it. I loved Plato, Aristotle, I loved like, I just I really got into Logic and, you know,

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even religious philosophies and things like that, and then the arguments for the teleological cosmological ontological arguments for the existence of God. And they're the counter arguments against them. I was fascinated with that stuff. And at the end of it, I was like, you know, what, every for every logical argument, there's a logical counter argument for the existence of God. So this is a stalemate. So you get to choose, that's kind of where my professor sort of left it. And then add to that I was taking another course called philosophy of ethics. And the summarize it the point of the philosophy of ethics course, is, there is no such thing as right and wrong.

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It's just whatever you feel. So you're

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mudita Allahu Hawa? Who is the final conclusion to that, you know, and that's really comforting for someone who doesn't want to surrender themselves. Because now I'm the other item and Ithaca ILAHA in English. So like, have you seen someone who takes their their whims and turns them into their God? Right? So you become the god? Why would Why do you need to have a higher power you're you decide, you know, so, in that sense, it felt artificially liberating, to be an atheist. And to because, you know, I'm in New York, and then my parents, they were, my dad got papers,

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to go back to Pakistan, and he was going to leave in six months, right. And I was really excited that he's gonna leave in six months to my parents, because I was gonna stay back in uni. And now I don't have any parents controlling what I'm gonna do. I don't have like, nobody's gonna watch over. I'm gonna have complete freedom. Right? And in New York, of all places, so this is gonna be great.

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And then Allah had other plans, and sort of redirected my,

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my thoughts and my, actually, first, I think my first transformation wasn't intellectual. It was emotional. And then my second transformation was intellectual. So it worked in reverse order.

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Any emotional in what sense? Can you explain that? Yeah. So I saw a dream. That was probably the big event. I saw a dream. I had I had snuck out of the house. My parents were upstairs. I had in New York, we have basements. You guys have basements here. You okay, so not too many. But we had to have Okay, so some of our home in Queens. We had a basement. So my room was in the basement. Also, because my sister didn't want to be in the basement and then I get the basement because it gets flooded. So but I was okay with it. So the advantage of it was it had its own backdoor exit to out of the house so I could sneak out of the house from the basement and nobody would know. So I snuck

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out of the house, went to this party with my Hindu friend hung out with him until three in the morning, snuck back into the house mom, never dad never found out. Now they're gonna watch this video. But anyway, so but they, I get back and I fall asleep, safe and sound. And I see myself and my dream and a dream in my own grave. And my head has been turned into a lizard head. And there's fire pouring out from both sides, like multiple faucets just pouring out fire like water from both sides. And there's somebody over the grave saying this is because you don't pray.

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And I woke up like that. And by this point, it must have been a couple of years I hadn't prayed anything. No July No, no nothing. Right. And this is before my parents left. So now I get up and I

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prayed. I don't even know I knew there are five prayers, but I didn't quite remember how they work. So I prayed some version of Asha followed by some version of McRib, followed by some version of in succession, and

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binary so you didn't grow up in a family environment. They taught you how to pray from the dead. But it's been so long since I prayed that you had forgotten I forgotten

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That's it. Yeah. And so and then I was in such die and I started crying. And I kept on crying, and then I fell asleep is still in the dream. No, no, really. So I fell asleep crying. I woke up the next morning inside of that.

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And something in me just kind of got shaken up. And

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the first thing I decided to do, because I was going to go to, you know, meet with my friends the next day, like, nothing in my outside world has changed. Something's crazy has happened inside but nothing outside is different. Right?

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My friends are like, Hey, you want to go get some peace out. Now? I don't want to go. I don't want to do this. I don't want to I start pulling away from all of my social acquaintances. Right? And they start noticing those you Okay, you're right. You know, is everything okay? And I started, I felt the need to pray. So I started finding corners in the campus in college to men, why did you feel the need to pull away from them? Why couldn't you just be friends with them? And then in your spare time, I think if I'm being super honest,

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I could sense the darkness from their company.

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Like ever since that dream I could You could almost feel a darkness. Would it be right to say that you feared that if you mixed with them again, you're going to lose that? Yeah, lovely. It was kind of a bittersweet feeling that you had, but there was something Seaton something, I was actually losing it terrified. I was terrified of losing it. So that's probably how I describe it. And

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so I started kind of pulling away from them. And then Allah just opened other doors for me, but I met some people in campus, that I became friends with Muslims. And that was a strange story by itself. But uh, the people I met, they were, they were good brothers. Really good brothers. But they weren't preachy.

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Like they didn't ever make any dollar TV or anything. And I was, they saw me praying correctly. And they didn't really make a thing out of it. Right. And one of them they he decided to kind of start giving me a ride. And he took me to other mshs. So we were in the city school. So this is just MSA is.

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Some school says, yeah, so. So we were in the Muslim club in our college and Baruch College, and ours was a city school. So the city college or City University, it's cheap. It's like, you know, $1,600, a semester was considered cheap. And, you know, I think it was much more now. But just up the road in the city, Uptown was Columbia University, which is like $20,000 a semester, which is now probably 50,000 even know how expensive they are? No. But they had an MSA. And they were having a meeting and the guys, my friend said, Let's go to their meeting. I was like, rich school meeting. Yeah, let's go. Because we don't, that's too rich for my blood, get inside there and see what it's

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like. So we go in there. And there's a circle of brothers and sisters, like a half circle of sisters have circular brothers. And they're discussing how they're going to raise enough money. And they have a poster of a child in the middle, because there was some flood that had happened in Bangladesh. And they had arranged for different children to be adopted by families and a Muslim families in America that were left orphans. And they had identified a child that their MSA was going to help adopt and come up with the funds for his his paperwork. And I'm sitting there listening to these people that are Is this the first experience for you in your life to see something like that

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when you're actually

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trying to make projects to help people outside? Yeah, like first time. It's not just first time to see that. It's these people are my age. Like, everybody I knew until now is you want to go play basketball. I want to get some pizza, I want to go watch a movie. You want to go to something stupid like this. This was life. And did you think at that time that religion was kind of for older people? Only older people do stuff like that? Yeah, it's still time to in fact, I never even thought about stuff like that. In the My universe wasn't that big. It was a very small world in my head. And then I'm thinking what makes these people even think like this? Like, what? what's in their food?

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Like, why are they there's so much better? They're much better human beings than I ever thought I could be. What is it about them? Right? And it was my friend who took me there. Didn't say anything on the way back. He's like, What did you think? I was like, oh, no, we're just I was weird. was like, What was weird about it? Tell me what was weird. I was like, there's so these people are so awesome.

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Because yeah, I know. You want to go somewhere else? That's awesome. I was like, okay, yeah. So what he did to me, we did for me his he introduced me to a masjid in, in Queens and in Flushing. In Ramadan. He took me to a program because you knew I I mean, I'd learned English but my native language is still Ordo. Right? So English is my second language. Technically my third but still my second language

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Um, and there was a scholar coming from Pakistan, who was going to do a Dora of the Quran in Ramadan. So they were going to 20 tarawih. And, like for Raka than for Raka have a translation of what we just recited and a brief explanation for an hour, then the next photocard, then the next full record. So until 2:30am, we're gonna go through all of just first just the next night, second, next night, third 30 nights, the entire Quran, you took part in. So he brought me into that. Okay, that's in the deep end that's so deep. And I before that, I had read maybe a little bit of the use of ally translation of the Quran. And I found that extremely difficult. And I just put it down. I

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was like, I can't, I'm trying to make sense of this. I can't.

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So I go to this thing. And he's the teacher, he doesn't know why. And there's like, 5060 people in the program.

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For the people that wanted to make the regular that we they were on the second floor and the people that wanted to do this, like crazy, foreign foreign for with the whole the seed, most of us or the brief commentary. They were on the third floor, it was a special room for them, because they, the other people just want to do their thing and get out. Right. So they had two parallel things going on. So I go up there, I started listening to him talk for a good hour, he's just explaining this portion of the Quran. And he's just trying to he's mostly 90%. He's translating maybe 10% of time, he'll throw in a comment here and there, but he's mostly translating. And it didn't feel like he was

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reading a translation he was speaking a translation. Right? It sounded like a conversation.

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And listening to that long enough, it stopped feeling like he's there.

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It just started feeling to me like, Allah is communicating. And I'm just hearing Allah say stuff. I'm listening to Allah's words. And it was the most surreal experience. Like it just always conversing with us. I thought it's a book. I didn't think it was a conversation. You think that was your inspiration? Absolutely. Because you do that now? Yeah. Do you realize you do that? Yeah.

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Yeah, that was so you realize? Yeah, absolutely. And I thought we discovered, so

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I discovered it a little bit earlier. Amazing. Amazing.

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But now it's true. Because young, it's very familiar what you're talking about to typical, Western raised young people, even in these days, I was in Lebanon for several years I studied there, young people. Similar. Yeah. However, your journey is very similar to my journey, and the journey of many other young people hear in a very similar way.

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And that's the idea that back in the days, we thought, you're only if you're 40. And over, you'll be in the masjid. And the Quran is just for people at that age. Because nobody actually spoke the Quran to us in the way that it's supposed to be spoken. It's a speech. You got to bring it like Allah is really talking to you. And that's amazing how you said, he became absent. And it's as if Allah, he disappeared, he went into the back realizing that was that's well, he would be my role model too much. Yeah. And so he saw it, not only was this a surreal experience in a spiritual sense, I still had a lot of psychological baggage, right? The philosophy of ethics, you know, the epistemology

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stuff, what this was all circling in my head. What he didn't know is as he was going through Bukhara, and then Alia and Ron, he was untying untying every one of the philosophical knots that were in my head, without me ever approaching him and saying, What do you say about this? And what do you say about this? And he wasn't even saying it. He was it was just a Quran saying it and I'm hearing that and saying,

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well, that problem just got solved. Oh, okay. Yeah, well, yeah. And it's just, he's just unraveling my philosophical knots, one after the other after the other after the other. And then the other thing simultaneously that the Quran was doing in that conversation. It just started. You just felt like someone who really knows you, and you can't believe they know you that well. And they're talking to you. Like, who told you who told you this about me? How do you how do you know that about me? You know, can I just I have to before I forget? Yeah, because you just remind me of something amazing want to share it with the team. So two things.

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A lot of people will convert to Islam or revert whichever word you want to use. I hear the common phrase from them. When I talk to them. They say I thought I was reading the Quran, but then I found that the Quran reads you. Yeah, it truly does read you and it was right deep into your soul, doesn't it? You just got to open up to it. Another neighborhood of Dr. Jeffery Lang, of course. Yeah. So you're reminding me of what he was saying in that famous talk of his. We were saying it broke every single argument brick by brick in my mind. Yeah. So because he came from a purely atheistic background. So there's a similar journey that I wanted to highlight that you made that that

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similarity, didn't you? Yeah,

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I really love Dr. Jeffery. Yeah, he's he's incredible Geoffrey Lang Yeah, yes, I could like is another guy. Yeah. So like,

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so after that experience,

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I was both elated, but I was also really angry. I was really angry because I was maybe 18 years old by then. 18 and a half, maybe. And I felt like my entire upbringing in the Muslim world robbed me of the Quran. Like, how come nobody told me this time Allah? Like, I felt gypped I felt cheated. Like, this is wrong, why shouldn't people know this? Like, everybody should know this. And it just it made me so upset. If you know this, you know. And

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it's at the end of that program that I went to my teacher the lecture, he didn't know what it was, I just went up to him and I said, I want to do what you're doing. I just want to do what you're doing. I want to know what you know. And he was okay, easy. learn Arabic. He's a learner. That's what he said. I was like, Okay, how do I learn Arabic? Because I'm starting a class next week.

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So I started learning Arabic within the next week, they had that course in the masjid

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day, right? And then that just became the start of my, my obsession with the Quran with the Arabic language Arabic only because it was just, every time I learned something in Arabic, I wanted to see how does it enhance my understanding of the Quran. And just I kept going back and get quick, kept going back kept going back. And it was

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I was a bad student in university. Like,

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B B's or a good day. Right. So I had a hard time focusing I was distracted better than most of us. But just before so you learned Arabic, one on one private or did you go formally? No. I studied with him for three weeks, three weeks. Yeah. And then he was teaching a crash course. Right? I studied that with him for three weeks. And then he he didn't have a book to teach from we have all in his head. I was like, Can you have a book? He goes, Okay, next day I came he had, you know, those printed paper. He literally hand wrote an 80 page book by hand and then photocopied it and stapled it and said, Here's your book.

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Let me use that as a book. Edit, I learned some basics of natural Insaaf and how they apply to the Quran. And then I started.

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So that was going on. I was like, I need to memorize this book. I need to understand more. I need to know more. And then it was so frustrating because the more I memorize every other word, I don't know what it means. Then there's another word I don't know. I don't then I don't know, then I don't know then I don't know. Right? So I need to build this Arabic thing this needs to happen. But I was going full time to college, full time to work. My parents couldn't afford my tuition. And they had already gone back to Buxton. So I'm living alone at this point. Right. So I was just doing all of these things just to my every extra bit of time I had was going into just either memorizing Quran or

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studying something in Arabic, and then he left and that was a new problem. Now what do I do? Like what do I learn now? Right so I did then I started because I it felt to me like if I don't make progress with the Quran, I'm going to regress what I've gained, like what I've gained spiritually what I've gained philosophically, the connection I've made, the whole connection is Quran. So I can't lose that because if I lose Quran I lose Allah that's what I felt like. So it was this desperation to want to get more and more of this right. So I started taking the train to Astoria was an Arab neighborhood in Astoria. They have really good charmers Lebanese and the Imam there's

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everybody speaks in Arabic there. So I just go and literally just so Lebanese, Lebanese shorelines pretty much you can speak Lebanese accent No. I bet then you saved yourself.

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Some Lebanese backgrounds I was gonna test you. Yeah, don't Please don't. This is Hidayah the meaning of hidayah isn't it? Yeah. guidance from Allah subhana wa mejora de la who played on you for Clico 15. Allah wants goodness from them and sees goodness in them. It gives them the knowledge of the deen. Yeah, that's one areas Masha. Allah, Allah. Yeah. So yeah. So I mean, that's that's where the eventually after 911 It was interesting. Because New York, obviously I was in New York and all of that mess happened in New York. And yeah, the Muslims were very particularly targeted. And there was a journalist, I forget what even we caught that here. We had, I'm sure scarves being pulled off.

00:29:43--> 00:29:59

People being attacked and trams and stuff like that. Yeah. We had the authorities breaking down doors and all kinds of crazy stuff we're in the heart of yeah, we're in the heart of amazing tell us about it. So so when that happened, there was a journalist who heard me do a HELOC like my college was like a journalism student. So he

00:30:00--> 00:30:01

Why'd he asked his

00:30:02--> 00:30:10

editor? I forget which magazine it was a lot closer circle could answer the habit in the, in the college, there's four or five guys get together.

00:30:12--> 00:30:16

So he wanted to interview me. So I said, Okay, I'll interview so he interviewed me this is like

00:30:17--> 00:30:19

233 months after 911.

00:30:20--> 00:30:51

And he's interviewing. So don't you feel like you turned towards religion because you know, some people just need something to hook on to like people hook on to drugs, other people hook on to paragliding, you'll hook we hear that all the time. Right. And this, he was trying to really make sense of this thing. For him that way, I had the most fascinating conversation with him. And it made me realize, man, it's either Allah will attach you to His guidance, or there's so many useless things that you will absolutely be attached to until it's too late.

00:30:52--> 00:31:03

Right? There's gonna be stuff that you there's too many magnetic things in this world, just, you know, pull you in, and you won't even know and the years will go by. Right. So

00:31:04--> 00:31:09

that was a big part of I think, what helped me then the other thing that I think helped me

00:31:11--> 00:31:22

grow, both spiritually and intellectually, was an attitude that my teacher put in me that I really benefited from from that. He told me that

00:31:24--> 00:31:27

don't discriminate, who you benefit from?

00:31:29--> 00:31:37

Just benefit from everyone. Just learn, grow and ask Allah for keep asking Allah for guidance. But don't discriminate.

00:31:39--> 00:31:57

And like don't underestimate Allah's power to guide you. And be scared. I shouldn't listen to this person because I might get misguided. I shouldn't listen to that person. No, no. If you're committed to Allah's book, and you're committed to learning, Allah will guide you, but don't close doors. And that attitude led me to learn from

00:31:59--> 00:32:22

ideologically opposite people in New York, because New York is very fragmented, like big cities are, you'll have mustards of a certain denomination, certain ideology and other machines of the extreme opposite ideology. And the twain shall never meet. They might even describe each other, as you know, kofod or ba, you're talking about the Muslim community, Muslim community, and even non Muslims actually, and almost anonymous, and I just, I opened that door of learning

00:32:23--> 00:32:44

from anyplace, I'll learn, I'll consider everything, I'll listen to everything and listen to it with an open heart. So and what that did for my own Islamic Studies was, I was for example, I was sitting in halacha. And they were talking about, you know, the dramatic leap. Right? They call you to go in the path of Allah for this many days, this many days. I was like, Okay.

00:32:46--> 00:33:01

I can't comment on what they're doing until I experienced it. So I went, that was the first group you joined. That was one of them. I was doing multitasking. Right. So why is it the same story with all of us? We started with w two, my father in law reward them, they did something pretty amazing.

00:33:02--> 00:33:36

I went to a Halacha, where they were teaching me how the people in public are all misguided and their, their their Arcada is bad. And this and then also, okay, I want to know why it's bad. So I sat and I studied Aikido with them for like a year. And then I went to another group, I don't want to name groups, but haven't another group has had all of these people. They don't know what they're doing, because they're not working to establish Sokolova. So why are they even wasting their time? So is it okay, let me find out how to establish the falafel with you guys. Let's so I just any group I joined. And then I'm in another group who said, All these people they talk about, you know,

00:33:37--> 00:33:49

establishing the state, but they're not even their heart's not even in the right state. And so they need to purify the state of their hearts. That was it. Okay, let's figure out how to purify instead, let me learn that so.

00:33:50--> 00:34:35

So I, I did not discriminate and what I could take for and then what, what all of that did for me, it created a certain opinion, for better or for worse. That opinion was everybody has a frame of reference, a lens by which they see the religion. Okay, they create this lens, and then they identify their entire view of Islam through that lens. Right, what's happened here? I think, I noticed that although you were listening to all those different groups, you weren't making a judgement immediately and you were reserving acting upon certain things zealously or making that your belief or your way you gave yourself some leeway, some space. Yeah. You didn't just attach

00:34:35--> 00:35:00

yourself and go with and say these are the right people. I gave it a I wouldn't say I approached it with a grain of salt. I did give it like, wholehearted let me fully learn and immerse myself in what's being said without being combative or being skeptical. I really want to I really want to know and I really want to feel like I'm I've embodied these ideas and then see does this hold and the thing that I kept feeling

00:35:00--> 00:35:07

And this is the crazy thing. The thing that I kept feeling was that feeling Would that I had when I heard the Quran and the machine, I never felt that again.

00:35:08--> 00:35:14

I'd never felt that that feeling never came interesting. What were you starting to feel, I was starting to feel that

00:35:15--> 00:35:22

everybody is trying to impose and a certain angle on to the religion.

00:35:23--> 00:35:32

But if I put the Quran at the center, then it allows itself to shed light on every issue.

00:35:33--> 00:36:18

Like it's like the like the sila, for example, I want to study the Sierra, but I want to study the Sierra in light of the Quran. I want to study the Sunnah in light of the Quran, I want to study law in light of the university Akita in light of the Quran, like it's not so what they were doing was what I felt was, they were discussing a subject and the Quran was a reference to the point they were trying to make. So it was just a source of proofs and evidences for chapter 123. And the points they want to make, right. But it wasn't a source, it was the supporting evidence. Right. And there's, it's a completely different experience when that's the source. And everything else is supporting

00:36:18--> 00:36:48

evidence. Like that's your starting points when I have a belief, but then I go and pick and choose which aid will support my belief precisely and go with that, whether it should be the opposite, right? And then I noticed, the more I discussed, because I just want to just I don't want to debate but I want to discuss, I started making people really upset. Because I just wanted to discuss, I said, Hey, so you, you cited this idea. But the i right after that, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that are going exactly against what you just concluded. Exactly. And then they're like,

00:36:49--> 00:36:54

yeah, no, we need we need a senior brother to correct your misunderstanding. Okay.

00:36:56--> 00:37:31

So I kept falling into that kind of issue. Right. So then I realized that I need to take the best. And I the thing is, I didn't just see criticism, I see benefit in different groups and what they were doing, I saw a lot of benefit in each of them. But I saw this fundamental intellectual sort of gap. And that was that the book of Allah wasn't getting what it deserved. It felt to me like that. Because that first experience, the book of Allah was at the center. Right, and then it was having an impact of a certain kind. And now it just it wasn't there. You know, and it wasn't even.

00:37:33--> 00:37:37

I'll say, frankly, it didn't feel to me intellectually convincing enough.

00:37:38--> 00:37:59

It wasn't satiating enough, because I'm coming from I'm not coming from Hey, I just want to be a better Muslim. No, I want to I want to believe in something wholeheartedly. Almost like I'm accepting it all, like a new. Right. And that that's centrality of the Quran, which is say that the spirituality started to fade away. Yes. spiritual side. Yeah. Yeah. Felt a little bit of

00:38:01--> 00:38:14

absolutely so cloudy. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's something that I would that would that because Michelle life started the Quran very well. Would that go in line with the A Willa danessa of adoption?

00:38:15--> 00:38:20

What are the very calm? Or is it something else that you think? I think the school has been validating?

00:38:21--> 00:38:34

Every group is really happy with what they have. Okay? Right. That's what it was more about preserving the identity of a group and have a certain way of thinking than it was about serving.

00:38:35--> 00:38:43

You know, the, the, like Hola, even though the intention is to serve Allah. But the way to serve Allah is to preserve our,

00:38:44--> 00:39:14

you know, clique. And then some of that became really ugly, because then I would see how they speak of each other. And I was like, here's a book that saying Are they let in Allah meaning they're so humble and powerless before the believers, that they have this brotherhood between them love between them? And then you go to these different groups, and they're, like, really spiteful and cynical and mocking of the other. And I just, I don't see how we can believe this book and have this attitude. I don't, I can reconcile it, you know,

00:39:15--> 00:39:15

so

00:39:16--> 00:39:20

little hamdulillah along the way, I mean, how did you solve that for yourself?

00:39:21--> 00:39:36

I kept an arm's length distance from too much affiliation. I kept I mean, I've benefited from a lot of different people. But I kept focused on my journey. I kept I just said, You know what?

00:39:37--> 00:39:44

Here's another perspective. A lot of people were learning Islam, but they were learning what makes the other person wrong.

00:39:46--> 00:39:59

But that's what the curriculum mostly entailed. Here are the evidences for why we're saying the right thing and why they're saying the wrong thing. So it's actually a reactive kind of curriculum. So as soon as you you learn that lingo, you learn that language you learn

00:40:00--> 00:40:34

that approach. So as soon as you could hear someone take that approach, you thought, Okay, I'm better. Okay, you know what, move on. So you're, you're teaching me why this and this is wrong. But I actually want to learn what Allah says, not what they're saying wrong. And what's actually the truth, I just wanted to, instead of correcting something wrong, I just want to learn the right without with no regard for who's wrong. Right. And that's a, it's a proactive, learning, not a reactive learning. And that was, I just, it was really hard to find, it was really hard to find proactive learning.

00:40:35--> 00:41:03

And that's when I decided to commit more and more to you know, what, I'll keep learning from all these places. But I'm gonna fundamentally focus on my proactive learning of Allah's words themselves, I just really want to know what he's saying, and continue to grow in that without passing judgment on anybody else. But I need to whoever can help me with this. Wherever I can get that help. I'll get it. I'll take it. You know, the fundamentals are always there. There's no disagreement on the fundamentals of our deen Al Hamdulillah. You're talking about the branches now. And that's support. There's the hadith of Rasul Allah Salah

00:41:05--> 00:41:42

Hiral I'll just say it in English so that we are English speakers. So the best types of actions to Allah are the ones that are more consistent, even if they're small in number, they're small in numbers, small quantity rather than a lot. Right? And you want to follow everything you might go lost. So even if you have just a few things that are fundamental and strong, and especially the ones that are spiritual, and there's no disagreement on them, and you follow them and make them perfect them insha Allah is better than having too much and branching off too much because yeah, and then you know, the other thing is, I can be I can learn and continue to learn even you said, I've studied

00:41:42--> 00:41:47

a lot of Quran I feel like I'm just sort of starting with Quran studies. I'm so intimidated by the study of the Quran, like more.

00:41:49--> 00:42:14

Before we get too complicated in the area, let's come back to the Quran says Nah, man, okay. So you're saying that the more you study the Quran to a lot of people they aspire to be at the level that you're at, and they say Masha Allah Now listen to him at that level. He knows and yet you're telling us what are you telling us you're telling us you're still you feel like you're in a deep ocean, you just don't know where you are still? I

00:42:17--> 00:42:26

I know, I know, some things I know about the Quran. I know many things that I'm yet to. I mean, I know them very at a very surface level. And,

00:42:28--> 00:42:58

and I know I need a lot of work. Like I'm okay with saying that, you know, I'm never going to claim that I'm any kind of scholar, you know, of the Quran. But I can say I'm a serious student, I can say that I am a serious student of the Quran. And whatever I do, seriously study I tried to share, but there are tons of areas of Quranic studies, and just the book of Allah and then by extension of the Sealine of the Sharia, everything that connects to Allah's book, right? That just, I approach it in a way that

00:43:00--> 00:43:36

I'm not going to make any preconceived notions or assumptions that I understand it or I get it already. I'm going to come to it clean slate, assuming I know nothing, and bring, bring Allah bring all of my questions to Allah's door, about desire, and bring all of my questions that last door about this surah and others, like I just need to know Ya Allah, here's what I don't understand. You mean you sit down and make dua to Allah I make dua and I document your questions. Tell me Tell us sisters lawmen for the common person. Yeah, how do you advise them to approach the Quran then? Because a lot of people don't know Arabic that well.

00:43:37--> 00:44:18

Of course, we have different Commentaries interpretations of the meanings mean for me and Modi is one of the top five for me in the English world. Maybe you differ on that, but he's brilliant. Yeah, so you agree with me that amazing and Modi but how would you advise the common people to approach the Quran? You know, their level you've been around you understand the society and the community. Not all of them are Arabs and speaking Arabic yet? What little pieces of advice you can give us to say okay, when you come to approach the Quran, do you advise us to read it every day? Even if we don't understand it, you advise us to learn the Arabic even if we struggle with it? Do you advise us

00:44:18--> 00:44:26

to read the little bit of commentary even if it's a small Surah or a small area every day? How do you How should we approach the Quran? I think

00:44:28--> 00:44:59

the approach that helped me I have a hard time recommending another approach. Because I tried the other approaches. I tried reading translation I didn't, I didn't connect. And some people might I'm not saying My experience has to be imposed on everybody else. But I know that after speaking to enough people, the challenge with translation is understanding how the argument of the Quran is flowing. How Why is it repeating itself? Why are the sutras in the order that they're in? There are too many literature related questions that a standard book you wouldn't

00:45:00--> 00:45:16

Have those questions but you will absolutely have them with the Quran. And the translation will leave you kind of wanting. And then the commentaries that are available short of Ebola Madhu these female Quran and towards understanding the Quran in English, which I think is brilliant.

00:45:17--> 00:45:40

The commentaries are also so focused on the idea and its meaning and its interpretation and opinions around that is that you lose sight of your reading something that continuously flows. Because when you when it's like, when you're looking at an orchard, and you're looking at a flower really zoomed in, you lose sight of the fact that this is part of a garden, you know. So my recommendation is to actually,

00:45:42--> 00:46:19

it's not for the individual, but it's actually for the communities, and the Imams and the Duat in the world, right. And my recommendation for them as every Ramadan, they should be doing a daughter of the Quran, even if it's just Bukhara, and just only Emraan or justice, but just a brief translation and explanation for their community. Every Ramadan, the community got a little more of the Quran that they got to understand. Okay, right. And then what that would do, I think, is what that did for me at some level. So encouraging the community to basically to attach themselves to the community. Yeah, I think the ideal time to do that is because that's where you're gonna get it from.

00:46:19--> 00:46:47

And every day read as much as you can read as much as you can, I think reciting the Quran connects the hearts to the Quran, memorizing it connects the hearts of the Quran, it's one of its fundamental rights, whether you understand it or not. And the more you recite it, and the more you memorize it, eventually, when you do get to the point where you're studying tafsir, and learning Arabic and all of that, that memorization will be priceless. By that time. So it's not you're building towards something anyway. So don't don't underestimate the value of they'll share with you some things does not mean

00:46:48--> 00:47:17

something personal from because, as you're telling me your story, I can relate a lot to a lot of your journey. Actually, I had a similar similar journey to yours very similar, except that I came from originally an Arabic background, and I lived in Arab country and I was around scholars a little bit from a younger age more than yourself, especially my father. And my father went through all these groups, I went through all these groups, I studied Sharia in a very, very hardcore Salafi place back in Lebanon, but then

00:47:18--> 00:47:19

I,

00:47:20--> 00:47:37

I started to mix with all the other friends who come from different ideologies and methodologies, which they followed. And like yourself, I followed the same methodology and Hamdulillah I found myself understanding the pathway a little bit better, but when you when you when you talk about the Quran,

00:47:39--> 00:47:48

not all of us understand everything in the Quran. But one word sometimes can stick and at a time when you need it in your life. It comes to help you.

00:47:50--> 00:48:07

That's how the Quran is magnificent. One word, as I said, two words. And one experience for me is, I've had many experiences like this, but one time when I was really desperately in need, where I was in deep, deep, deep grief and loss. And at that point, I can't think straight. And

00:48:09--> 00:48:20

I just can't think so many different thoughts came to me And subhanAllah I don't know what the connection is with the subconscious mind. But when you're reciting the Quran every day,

00:48:21--> 00:48:42

from a young age, when you really need it, and you can't think the verses come to you somehow. And for me, yeah, but you got to be regularly reading it right or reciting it. So that you know, certain verses came to me. I was in Lebanon, I heard that other than in the masjid is being cold. And this idea came to me I won't say which one because it's 100 people have heard my story, but

00:48:43--> 00:48:44

I want to hear it.

00:48:46--> 00:48:49

It's online. You haven't. You're here right now just

00:48:52--> 00:48:52

well,

00:48:54--> 00:49:27

and you know, the tragedy that I went through my wife, my son and brother led hammer, they passed away and may Allah have mercy on all those families who've had members of their family passed away. And it's nothing like our brothers and sisters in US at the moment everywhere around the world. But when they passed away, obviously the grief hit me very, very strongly in Lebanon. And I didn't want to see anybody I don't want to be with anybody. Nobody could give me any words of solace that could help me I just felt everybody's fake. Everybody's no one's really just saying words like a parrot. Yeah. So there came a point I just needed some help, right? I'm about to

00:49:28--> 00:49:38

just, I can't handle it. So you know, the eight that came to me were things like, well, Takatsu enforcer come in who can become Rahima

00:49:40--> 00:49:40

you know,

00:49:42--> 00:49:45

many different are but yeah, do not.

00:49:46--> 00:49:48

Kill yourself and not overburden yourself, do not,

00:49:49--> 00:49:53

you know, do that to yourself. Allah is ever so merciful to you.

00:49:54--> 00:50:00

And these little verses to me meant tremendous meanings. It's not and I've read them recently.

00:50:00--> 00:50:40

added them maybe 1000s of times in my life. And then what Buddha suddenly had a different meaning altogether, we've been reciting it 1000s of times but this time it was different in Mr. Los Rios was suddenly has a different meaning those same verses that you recite every day and suddenly they just have a different effect it just the Quran hits you from different corners of your inner body. Yeah. Many other sort of use of for example, had a tremendous effect on myself, I kept reciting it over and over again but this time when you don't need a scholar to teach you or a share to you I had many I've got still got many teachers that I refer to but I didn't need them anymore at this point. At

00:50:40--> 00:50:47

this point, the Quran is reading me and giving me the medicine that I need. Fee he she felt willingness, as Allah says in it is a cure for people.

00:50:49--> 00:51:10

And I don't know that the Quran has that relationship with everybody. Yes, even if you don't understand that all those few verses those through sources that everybody's memorized, in time of collateral and time of need in time of blessings in time. They come to you, but I found that you have to be reciting and being with it on a daily basis, even if it's 10 minutes or 15 minutes, right.

00:51:11--> 00:51:26

Can you do you agree with that? I absolutely agree with that. And I think it's a lifeline for the believer. I don't think that it's too easy for the Quran to become an artificial relationship. Because it's far too easy. And in fact,

00:51:27--> 00:51:43

for people that are knowledgeable, somewhat in the Quran, it's even more easy for it to become artificial. Because there's a there's a knowledge based and study based and contemplation based kind of relationship with the Quran. But the recitation of the Quran and just

00:51:44--> 00:51:51

the heart reading the Quran, not the mind reading the Quran is a different thing. It's an entity by itself, so it with your heart

00:51:57--> 00:52:05

so much to talk about with you so much of Hanalei really becoming more and more interesting, Michelle, and I talk a lot, I don't know. I do too.

00:52:11--> 00:52:49

Yes, there's no man, do you have teachers at the moment that you refer to still? Yeah, you have your scholars and teachers at Hamdulillah? Do you recommend that people try and find someone who is older and more knowledgeable who they can refer to? Absolutely not sure and not to be self taught, for example? Yeah, I think I think learning Islam is a combination of learning yourself, and always having someone senior that you can refer to, because the two extremes are, they're going to do all the heavy lifting for you. Or you're just going to do everything by yourself. But what I do believe in is you should be exploring and studying and learning your religion. And every time you arrive,

00:52:49--> 00:53:21

what you think you arrive at certain conclusions. There should be people in your life scholars, mentors, elders, imams, whoever you can go to and say, Hey, this is what I'm arriving at, am I am I right or wrong? And that's in addition to, that's your own personal pathway. But if there are, you know, courses, programs, you know, set pathways that you can take that you can help you educate yourself, I think once you take advantage of those things, what's your favorite soda? Right now? The carbon at the hub? And why? Hands down?

00:53:22--> 00:53:23

Hands down?

00:53:24--> 00:53:25

Yeah, it's

00:53:26--> 00:53:30

because the loved one talks about pretty intense stuff, battles and things

00:53:31--> 00:53:42

that I want talks about the battle inside. And that one, actually, to me, I think, has probably, to me, the most powerful is

00:53:43--> 00:53:49

pretending to one's personal journey. In life, when you remember he had the elbow

00:53:50--> 00:54:05

is I find that phrase to be so overwhelming in English, who whoever we I'd like to translate that as whoever may hold on to their faith, whoever were to hold on to their faith, Allah will guide their heart

00:54:07--> 00:54:12

that statement and the way that it occurred and that idea to me represents

00:54:14--> 00:54:50

probably the most invaluable treasure in the world you know, because there's not a soul that's not going to go through masiva Exactly. shared throughout all people knowledgeable or not, yeah, not there's not one of us that's not going to go through some kind of trial. And Allah is saying maybe the maybe the reason you're going through this loss is because I want to give you a game that's more than any other game you could ever have. And that's yeah, the call bow Yeah, they call you you know, guide you guide your heart into the heart that we want to be guided isn't once the heart is guided the rest inshallah follows the reading be seen on social media people have never heard about Islam

00:54:50--> 00:54:59

just right now being introduced to the Quran for the first time they're blown away. They take one verse of the Quran they see it in a light that I know a lot of Muslims haven't explored that yet. Yeah.

00:55:00--> 00:55:20

And then they bring it to you because they've opened up. They're looking at their circumstances and they're living with it and they say, Well, this Quran is truly truly reading me and talking to me. It's taking it right out of my heart and out of my brain and telling you, here it is. Face. It's right in front of your face. Look at it, whether you like it or not look at it. Yeah, subhanAllah isn't that true?

00:55:21--> 00:55:40

Such a mirror. You know, when you said just we're almost going to wrap it up. But you know, when you said about how you were raised with your mother sewing? Yeah, what did she say for you? Your sweater? Your sweater? Yep. was a nice sweater. No, sorry, mom. No brand name. It was a V neck with three buttons. Yeah.

00:55:42--> 00:56:10

It's the most beautiful thing in the world. Isn't it? Love it's beautiful. It's the intention because you know people know my story about the Autodesk you know the three stripes you ever heard of the three stripes first came out you probably nearly my age. So when added us first came out. I was in year seven. I was teased because I never had added s right. My mother was sewed my tracksuit pants. And yeah, that's so cool. It's so cool. That was a weirdo.

00:56:11--> 00:56:13

I was bullied and then

00:56:15--> 00:56:26

I got sick and then my and then I got to present and present was a whole outfit of added s with the three stripes. If you had one stripe, you're doomed to stripe you're doomed.

00:56:27--> 00:56:36

If you had, you know. I mean, one time I did get a gift from some Lebanese cousins and it was the best one of those.

00:56:38--> 00:57:03

So I wore it and I got bullied more right? The day when I got those three stripes I became the coolest one of the coolest kids in all that week. Well life is so superficial. It's all about brands and what you look like and on the outside, some are so that some students used to go around the corner and steal from shops just to fit in. That peer pressure is tremendous. And the Quran takes you away from all of that and just puts you in another world and say don't worry.

00:57:04--> 00:57:10

You're bigger than that. Subhan Allah, Allah reward you stars Nah, man, it was tremendously

00:57:11--> 00:57:22

I appreciate and loved this interview is my first podcast I've ever done with anybody personally. You're the first I appreciate that. Oh, and so a lot of people here

00:57:23--> 00:57:33

and thank you for being our guest here in Australia in Melbourne hope you're like a guest I feel like I'm home Alhamdulillah and that's what we want you to feel like so I'm Brother coming on give me a kiss Yeah.

00:57:34--> 00:57:45

Do you do kisses in panic Pakistan we don't do kisses Buxton. Well, that's we do slightly calm goodbye. Yeah, that's a nice thing. You just got a kiss from whether you like it or not. All right. Just like well, okay, thank you.