Channel: Bilal Philips
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This political Rahim Salam aleikum, viewers, welcome to another episode of Make hedger calm. Today we have a very special guest somebody I've been looking forward to meeting for a long time and discussing this very auspicious and large topic of Hydra.
I'd like you to introduce I'd like to introduce to you, Chef without Phillips, how are you chef? wonderla barnacle AFRICOM. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and speak to us.
Basically, I don't know if you've had much experience with the channel or seeing the channel. But we we take people from different parts of the world and we discuss with them predominantly their experiences of making hair draw, and also the cost of living actual practical on on the ground, practical things of what the what they need to go through living in different countries.
With you, I think, I think, obviously, you've been well traveled. So you know, we wouldn't bore you with those type of questions. But what we are interested in or what the what we believe that we're interested in is your different experiences of the different countries you've traveled to? And also what lessons you've learned that you could pass on to people who are hoping to take this, this huge step of making hedra.
But first, could you basically tell us very quickly, for people who strangely listed living under a rock, don't know who you are, and your historical background, etc?
Well, barakallahu comme al hamdu Lillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah.
And, of course, as you introduce me, I am bill Phillips,
born in Jamaica,
and my parents made hydro, from Jamaica to Canada. And I was someplace around 10 years old.
I grew up in Canada, Christian background, you know, Presbyterian, and
my mom was a think Anglican. Right, exactly. So,
after some years of growing up, I finished high school, etc. Then my parents made hedra, again, to Malaysia.
I moved to East Malaysia,
the, I guess, province, or they call it state right, called Saba.
And I lived there for some, four years, three to four years.
So hidrive has been in my blood from, from the earliest of stages, you know, and,
of course, their head draw was for different reasons. But
nonetheless, you know, it, it was a form of leaving one's land and going to another land. And then from that land to yet another land. And
I returned to Canada went to university in British Columbia, studying biochemistry. And
I, at that point,
became influenced by the communist movement,
which was very popular on campus at the time, and I embraced communism and gave up Christianity.
From there, I went to the US to California, last Los Angeles, as well as San Francisco. Actually, I spend most of the time in San Francisco, now working with the solid dead Defense Committee with Angela Davis, and others. And eventually, I returned to Canada, back to Toronto.
I came across some American draft Dodgers who were Muslim, they have converted to Islam, and we're
trying to pass the message on to me
and hamdulillah you know, after a year or so,
I finally decided to accept that message.
that was 1972
I tried to learn as much about Islam as I could.
And in those days, I mean, this was in the 70s. You know, there are very few Muslims there in Toronto. And there were no scholars, nobody with any knowledge. It's just Muslims who were practicing at different stages.
And I wanted to get a deeper understanding of the religion.
So, I was told by some brothers from Jamaica believe that they were having a big HDMI the first HDMI in the West, in Sheffield, England.
I said, sounds good. They said and in England,
there are over 50 masjids in England. And in every Masjid, there is a mowlana scholar who you can learn from I said,
I signed up
along with me was Dr. Abdullah Hakim quick.
We went together.
he went back after the HDMI and so on. So I stayed on doing my four months
with the Gema
going to the different masjids, sitting with the mo Lana's with my notebooks, taking notes, asking questions, trying to build my understanding.
at the end of the four months, you know, I went back to Canada, of course, in the process, I was convinced that
basically, I should become a hanafy.
You know, because they explained to me, there's four math hubs, you know, Islam, and you got to follow one. But if you don't follow one, then
you're your mom becomes Satan.
So, yeah, I guess I better follow on which one do you think is best? Well, you know, most Muslims are Hanafi
and Abu hanifa, he is known as a mommy Azzam
the greatest demand
and he was the first and the bla bla bla bla bla bla anyway. I said, Okay, fine, become a hanafy. Anyway, all the teachers that I was learning from the mo Lana's, and the different masters, they're all heavies. So they were the information they were giving me was kind of he might have.
So I returned to Toronto.
When I returned to Toronto, I had gotten married, I moved next to the masjid.
The only two masters in Toronto at the time.
And this Masjid the mom there was from Egypt.
So, you know, I asked him, you know, if I could study under him,
right? So I said, Sure, welcome.
He got the book fit persona. And they started to teach me.
I started to find differences in what's going on here.
And all the answers I got from my
journey for knowledge there in England. You know, we're different from the answers that you're giving what you said about you know, this is Shopify, although if it was so nice, not specifically one mother, but in general it's Shafi.
Well, what I noticed was interesting was that
what he was teaching, he was bringing evidences for, you know, there's verse from the Quran, Hadith of the Prophet, Allah Allah, the Sahaba said, I did whereas when I was studying with the mo Lana's, they were just saying do don't do halal Haram, you know, there was no explanation, no evidences, it was just, this is the way it is.
So, of course, that was more appealing to me, you know, I mean,
being a university student and all these other kinds of things. So
I became more attracted to his mode of teaching.
came across some of the brothers who were attending the masjid
who are from Morocco.
And then I noticed them praying with their hands by the sides.
said, What's this now? You know,
and if they lead the prayer, and they had to finish the prayer, they just said slavery.
That's it. Finished. No, everybody's waiting. What about
No, that's it. So, what is this? So they explained to me all we are Maliki's lucky Maliki's panicky, okay.
So you know, I said, Hey,
you know, there's a problem here for me. Because
there's no way
that you can be
in a state of Voodoo. And out of the state of Voodoo at the same time.
According to the shadow phase, if you accidentally touched a woman, you have no more Voodoo.
But according to the HANA phase, you will do is still intact.
How is that? That's not logical. This goes against reason. I need to go somewhere else.
Further, to get knowledge.
So I've done that myself. The law came quick. We followed some of the brothers from MSA and the US.
And we asked them about scholarships, is it Oh,
two scholarships have been given for Canada. And nobody's interested?
Whoa, let's get it. You know, Abdullah, as we said, we wanted we wanted what some of the brothers are saying, No, no, no, no, but that don't don't go there. You know, Medina, they have these old books covered in dust. You know, what you're going to be learning is so ancient and irrelevant. That's just a waste of your time.
And when you finish your study, you come back, you can't do anything.
But Abdullah and myself, we said, No,
we want to go check it out for ourselves. So the first major hit draft was to Medina.
I took my wife child, went to Medina,
studied in Medina,
came to understand the differences, why the differences and all this madhhab, etc. And to understand that it's not obligatory for you to follow any one of those, the Format tab, you can follow up no harm, but you don't have to follow up.
And it made more sense to me having studied that, you follow all of them, why not all of them, rather than just one.
So that's the path I took. After graduating from Medina, I went to Riyadh, my master's. And I began to teach the school there. And basically,
I became more and more attached to the Gulf, I spent a total of 20 years in Saudi Arabia.
Following that, I went
hedger again to further to the UAE, I spent 10 years there.
And following that, I moved to cover where I've now spent 17 years. So my point of hedra reached its culmination with the Gulf.
So that's in a nutshell, there's a lot of details. If
anybody wants to know the full details, you know, there are YouTube videos I gave in Australia, etc, my way to Islam, which goes into all of the details. But that's it in a nutshell. And, as I mentioned to you earlier, that
when I was closing out my math, my PhD in
world data, I had gone to
master dakwah, in Brooklyn, New York,
with Imam sirajul Hodge.
And I gave the first major lecture on the obligation of Hydra.
And at that time,
I had gone to Belize.
And I saw a lot of potential there and beliefs. So in that lecture, the lecture is it's an ideal tapes, you know, those days, audio tapes,
It's still around, I was encouraging people to make a drive to Belize.
Because Belize is connected by land to the US that it wasn't necessary to go over the waters and elsewhere. But
driving down to Belize, check it out and settling there is a is a real possibility.
And hamdulillah some families did go down.
it didn't materialize. Because unfortunately, there were some people down there who were leftovers from the legend, sect. blackness, you know, Elijah Muhammad and the black Muslim. So, you know, they didn't like the idea, all of these Sunni Muslims coming and interfering with their Dawa.
They sabotage, you know, our efforts to try to establish a community there in Belize, unfortunately, but
it was a last decision.
you spent some, I believe you spent some time in Wales, that's where you finished your PhD. Yeah, I didn't really spend time there. I was in the US, I was in Saudi Arabia. And I wouldn't go in there to sit with my supervisors, and materials, etc. I didn't really live there, because it was a PhD by research,
after attending the classes, etc, you know, actually, at that point, after doing a master's in Riyadh.
islamically speaking, I knew more than the professors that were there in the department.
You know, Wales was the only department that I knew of, which had a majority of Muslim professors running it.
so popular, there was freedom to do the kind of research now that many who join universities in the West don't have, you know, most of the universities, the departments are headed by Jews, and, you know, Maronite Christians, and
the worst of the worst, giving, that any student who wants to go and do a PhD there, they give them help, you know, they have to
kowtow, you know, to the orientalist view of Islam.
So I don't encourage people to get into those programs in unless they find one in which they are good practicing Muslims dominated.
sec, I have a question about the lecture that you gave in 19 was in 1983? No, no. 1989 1989? I have a question. What was the motivation behind that lecture? Why that topic? Well, because I believed, you know, that hedra was an obligation that the way that people were practicing Islam, this was during the time, you know, when some Muslims who ended up living by themselves, the smile for ropey, and there's another well known figure in New York were killed, they were assassinated. You know, these things were happening. Why? Because people were living what I call at the time Little House on the prairies lab.
You know, they were just out there by themselves surrounded by non Muslims. Hey, you know, we're not supposed to live like that. I'd read the Hadith where the prophet SAW Solomon said, you know, you shouldn't see their fires, nor should they see yours. No, you're not. He said. He said, I am innocent of anyone who dies in the midst of the disbelievers. And I see a number of very powerful, you know, ringing statements that Muslims are not supposed to be that we are supposed to come together. Yeah, you know, Chinatown. We needed Islam down.
So whether it's Islam down in a city that already exists, or in another city, you make your hatred to another city, or to another state, or to another country, or across the waters. You know, it's it's according to what the situation
dictates and you know, it
Something that people have to consider because children were growing up over that period of time, you know, 20 years since I left, children growing up and being messed up, they grew up in Muslim families, etc. But the impact of the society was so great, so devastating, that, you know, many of them fell by the wayside. We were losing people as almost as fast as we were gaining them, that those were converting were a bit more than those who are losing. So our numbers were gradually inching up. But it was a neck and neck race.
So sorry, can I just interject?
Something I picked up? In your answer to almost question.
You basically spoke in the past tense. You mentioned you said, I believe that the time has your has your
understanding of Hitler evolved from that time to now or don't see.
Maybe it's a bigger obligation today.
We have more people with knowledge, who know it full? Well, you know, to promote it on a bigger scale. It's definitely an obligation. You know, it's an obligation on Muslims in the West, that they create communities, as I said,
like Chinatown, but you know, not a ghetto, you know, but a place open, people can come and go, but, you know, where Muslims are congregated, you know, and place which will cater to our needs, whether it's social, medical, you know, physical, all the various needs that we have, as a community, you know, should be fulfilled in a location where Muslims can
So do you think that he drew is not necessarily like you mentioned before crossing the water, it can be somewhere localized within that in the same country like United States or in Leicester, for example, in Medina brother.
When the browser Salah made hedra, from Mecca to Medina, it didn't cross any waters.
Yes, the first intro was to Ethiopia that was across the Red Sea, cross the waters. But the second, and the major Hendra was to Medina, up the road, 700 kilometers, you know, away
on the same peninsula?
How much do you I mean, obviously, in the course of your travels, obviously, from your earnings from what you explained,
when you made those small hinges on our small journeys, to improve your knowledge,
how much? I mean, this might seem like a simplistic question, but how much do you think the hedra? Or sorry, your journeys to gain knowledge influenced your knowledge? For example, like you went to Medina, but you had a comparison earlier? Because you you studied obviously, for four months in England? And then obviously, you went back to Canada and you studied on the Egyptian brother? So you actually you actually travel to seek that knowledge. But the knowledge itself how real did it came? How, how easy was it to jump out of the textbooks and actually say, this is actually real? What was your travels influential in that way?
Well, of course, no, because living in Medina, back in the 70s. You know, it was Islam. It was Islam all around me. You know, 24 seven, and it wasn't just Islam in your house. And as soon as you stepped out the door, it was Muslim, it knows everything. What is that? You know? So obviously, that had a
much greater impact. It made Islam real, something which was livable people, whole society could live by it. You know, I mean, I had always been saying that. I always believed it, but living it with others. You know, it gives it the reality that those who haven't lived it are missing out. They don't know what they're missing. They think that what they have is good enough. Oh, it's okay. I'm alright. I know. I
know my family's okay. My kids are fine. You know, it's all right.
But the damage is not done. blatantly up in your face. Now when I went back to to Canada, from
From here, back in 2012, I had to spend a year there,
where they were renewing my passport.
During that time I became a mom of one of the larger masjids was called a Somali Master, but it was really a mixture of everybody. Somalis that established it, I'd help them and getting up place, finance to the place, etc. And,
you know, I'm very close to them. And so they asked me to be a mom. And so I was the mom there for one year.
And the calamities that I saw only reinforced what I always felt, and what I told people about people were bringing their children to me.
family problems around growing up in Canada, you know, children in kindergarten, are being taught homosexuality, you know, the details are there little dolls with with private parts, and they're showing in kindergarten.
So what's gonna happen? So these kids, when they came, they, they were arguing with their parents and said, you know, our parents are opposed to, you know, homosexuality, they're, you know, they're not changing with the times they're not, you know, up to date. And, you know, all this.
I just tried to explain to them or listening, you know, actually, it's Islam. That is not, you know, in agreement with homosexuality, it's not just your parents. It's not just their view, you know, so this is why, why this comments, uh, you know, they want to defend Islam, but, you know, but this was a problem for them, because they had been raised with another mindset. And
some were brought in to me who had become gaffer's had left Islam altogether. The atheists, the name, believe in Islam. And I remember one case, one sister, who herself and her husband, when I was in UAE, had set up the first Islamic data center in the UAE, in the way. And she had told me she and her husband had come to see me at the time. And they told me, they're going to Canada. So I said, I really don't advise you to do that.
So we're just going for the, you know, the citizenship, the passport, so we are able to move around more freely as well. You know,
if you must go, please, you know, just make sure you as soon as you get the passport, get on out of there.
Yeah, we will, we will.
Anyway, she came to meet me as like, you know, 15 years later,
or more. She met me there in Toronto, one of the conferences, she had tears in her eyes. What's happening? So why Greg said, you know, Doctor below,
we should have listened to you.
my two sons went to University of Toronto, top university in the country.
And they both graduated.
Atheists disbeliever in law,
she's just, what
can I say, sister, just don't give up on them still try try to get on is to talk to them, help them find their way back.
It's not uncommon.
And had there been a community, you know, community reinforces, helps to reinforce the
the Islam in young people as the growing up, growing up with more and more Muslims around you and contact playing, you know, everything done together. This helps to give them a firm footing, feeling comfortable with
you know, once they're out on their own, they're going to a school. They're maybe the only kid Muslim kids in the school, you know, and of course, they come under pressure, pressure, peer pressure, they want to take off this and take off that and next thing you have a fight on your hands.
that's the reality hasn't changed. Can I can I ask
Obviously the importance of building a community where you are. So
obviously, you wouldn't be cut off from the society you just basically becoming, you're protecting, you're protecting your, your community from the ills of outside.
Yeah, I'm not talking about going into Bush, you know, and,
you know, in nature land, you know, far away from everybody else, and, you know, walk or whatever they call it happened in the States.
I'm not suggesting anything, I'm saying, it can be a section of the city, you know, it can be just on the outskirts of the city or the suburbs, or whatever, you know, but it's possible. There are other communities Smiley's and others, you know, kardan is they've done it, but it's just Sunni Muslims. We haven't managed to do it, which was, which was basically my question, like, using those examples that you've given because of the earnings, etc. What do you think is the nucleus of our failure? Why can't Sunni is what is it that Sudanese are missing? Or what is it as soon as I haven't haven't grasped? to actually follow on along that along that path? Why nationalism?
The main problem is nationalism. See, what's happening is that the kardan is they'll be all Pakistanis. So coming together is easy.
The smile is, same thing, you know, they're coming from uniform cultural groups, so they can easily bond together. But if we're just coming on the basis of Islam, Sunni Islam, proper Islam, then people are coming from all kinds of backgrounds, you know, and people are still holding on firmly to their
nationalism. And I was surprised as I said, I'm
cursed. You know, he warned against it.
Throw it aside, because it's rotten, you know, but people still feel, you know, that flag
It So okay, so so we have two dilemmas, here, we have the the difficulty, then I won't say failure, but the difficulty of
the Sunni Muslims to be able to come together and create a community because of their nationalism. And then you have the other which is the rock. But then the other hard place is, okay, well, I'm going to get on a plane and find myself in another Islamic environment and settle amongst the people. So if you're African American, you might want to go back to Africa, if you have an Arab origin, you might want to go back to the UAE, but you still have the upbringing of Europe or the western upbringing. So from the rock and the hard place, in your opinion,
which even though they both difficult, which would you more recommend?
recommend, I mean,
what you're able to do is gonna determine what you end up doing. If you don't have the means. Because if you say, Okay, I just want to go to Qatar. Okay, brother, what are your skills? Well, you know, I used to work at Hardee's
it's not gonna do anything for you, you know. So if you don't have the kind of skills that are in demand from people coming from America or the UK, then you're not going to be able to fit in, you know, some people can the earlier days, okay, we could do a little eye to eye program on course on on online, which gives you a little certificate, which says you are qualified to teach English. So people will come in with those and getting jobs because they didn't have qualified people sufficient. So they were hiring people. Then as time moved on, that they started to put standards though, hey, this certificates not good enough here. Now, you know, do you have a degree? You have a
degree? My Salama? Yeah. So that door was getting close more and more till now. It's just basically close. You can't get in here with eye to eye, you know, online certificate teaching anymore. Those days are over.
So moving overseas, it has its own challenges and problems that
These countries that are able to take you in are ones which require high qualifications. Furthermore, you know, there's no chance for you to ever become a citizen of discussions.
This is the other problem that comes up. Whereas the poor countries, you know, a lot of people going from the UK, we have some who went down to Gambia, you know, a British connection. So, I've been to Gambia, the headquarters of my university, the International University is in the Gambia. So I've been there, I spent time younger since 2013. The first time I went, and, and I've been going back and forth set up that what is it, the University there. And, you know, so I'm connected with the Gambia, I've been across West Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, East Africa, Kenya,
Ethiopia, Somalia, and Malawi. So I've been all over Africa, really.
And for people who are coming from African, British, or African American backgrounds,
these places are more welcoming.
And all these are more welcoming. And if you have some, some something to offer to benefit the country, then that's even better. You know, and, and the possibilities of becoming a citizen, even more. So, you know, these are among the best
options for people of African origin. And even white people, of course, you know, wherever they go there, they're welcomed, white is right.
You can be accepted because the people welcome people with open arms, you know,
shake, I mean, based on your, on your journey,
what were some of the difficulties you faced, in trying to stay in the, in the Muslim world?
I would say that
men problems were instigated by the United snakes of America.
You know, this is where the problem lay,
you know, I got put on a list along with sirajul hij, and many others back in the late 90s.
On a list, which bin Laden was also,
you know, you were a target. So that became, you know, something which you could say, dog meal all along, all the way along, but on the left,
you know, a lot of luck work.
And now, I, I feel comfortable, you know, choosing any of the countries is really, for me, now, it's just trying to find the best location, which would be the easiest for my family, you know, families to, to be able to meet and to see each other, you know, easily in. So, that's, that's, you could say, the main
issue that I'm facing in terms of deciding on the final resting place. I was about to ask, so your journey, your journey hasn't finished, then. You haven't. There's one more step.
if Allah wills for me to decide on, you know, the Gambia was seriously looking at at one point, but we had some difficulties getting accreditation for the university there. So then I went to look at other countries, Malawi, and we started the accreditation processes there and elsewhere. And Ethiopia. Also, I spent the year last year in Ethiopia, although most of the year was not by choice was by COVID.
But otherwise, you know, there's there's a lot of potential there also. And I'm, I'm considering Turkey.
I have a son, his wife and grandchildren there as well as a daughter, her husband, and a couple of grandkids can also I'm considering Turkey, they're telling me Come Come, come come.
My good friends have moved there. From the US
Okay, I moved there from the USA, they're from Malaysia, they move there. So turkey seems to be high on the list, especially with no word of God being the beacon of light in the darkness of our times.
So So how would you How would you answer the question of like, even personally, that we're facing an issue of stability, like being able to go to a place and and set roots into a place?
How would How would you advise for people are looking for stability and wanting to settle in a place and just be very raised? their family and their grandkids and everything else?
Well, this is general, you know, that that question is a bit too general, if you're talking about a particular country, I mean, I could speak about a particular country, but it the difficulties will vary from country to country. No, Gambia was very easy. You know, you spend so much amount of time there, they give you citizenship, and it's done. Or you marry a Gambian. And it's
fate the company
But other countries may be a little more difficult. But for the most part, in Africa, that's the case in Turkey also, you know, if you're able to buy property there, you can get citizenship quite quickly.
And, of course, you know, the details
vary from who you depending on who you spoke to.
But, but it generally appears relatively easy. You know, but
each country has its issues. And
what I mean, let me let me ask this question to move on to
serve people are curious as to why you started
Where did you started? Why did you start it? And where is it? Where is it at now? Because I remember it as being Islamic, Open University, Islamic online university, sabich, Allah University, and then now the law was changed to international open in international Open University, if you just tell us, sorry, I just need to do ask this. Yeah, no problem. Yeah. So if you get if you could just give us a brief history of that, first of all, why you started University, and from the beginning stages up until today, where are you at with university?
Well, it's an evolutionary process, you know, and after I graduated from university in Medina, you know, we have the duty to convey that knowledge. Some of it I conveyed by going to UK, going to us going to the West Indies, you know, and by word of mouth by sitting, teaching, etc, people benefited. But things started to take off when I became a teacher in school. I wasn't a trained teacher, but both my parents were teachers, so they were able to guide me, you know, and so I started teaching assignment studies in high school and junior high in Riyadh, Arabia. And
after that, when I moved to UAE, I started teaching Islamic Studies in the American University in the way. So I taught there for 10 years as a university professor.
Then I started a department of Islamic Studies in Preston University in Japan,
set up the department hired teachers and started the process going there, then I had to go to Qatar. So when I moved to Qatar,
I had to re arrange my plans, in terms of university. And
I started to experiment with online because people were contacting me those days and asking, Is it okay to study in this
website here? It's
called a Sunni path.
So let me go check it.
And then when I went to check,
oh, Sunni path is really Sufi path.
Okay, so I had to tell people well, no, I mean, maybe if you took the course, just the course on Hadeeth or just the course. You know.
You know, you'll be okay. But you know, be careful of the other courses on, you know, the study of QA and the heartbeat, these other things, right. So, but at the same time, I felt bad that, you know, here I was, that's all the choice that people had, you know, so I said, Maybe I need to do something online. So I tried to set something up online that time, this is the early
2000. Before 911.
I started tried, run for about half a year, my son was helping me with it, and he had some knowledge of database and but it was not strong. And the system crumbled on us
realize that we needed to have a learning management system that was just too expensive. The talking $60,000
as nice as it sounded, you know, I don't think I could do it. But then years past there in Riyadh, and by 2007,
an Australian teacher had created a learning management system called Moodle. And it was free, open source said Allahu Akbar. So it always died at this, I started set that up, I started a program connected with undermined Islamic University, I became an Sudan I became also a professor in the department arcada
started to teach on the ground. But at the same time, this was like by 2008 2009, at the same time that we were teaching I was recording, to the camcorder recording the classes, because in the back of my mind is that eventually I'm gonna have to go online, then I was invited to India, by a community in Tamil Nadu, which they want the, you know, that invited me down to give lectures and so on. So, and then when I saw how much money they were spending, for these big lectures, Dr. Zakir would come down and do some things that the second like, you know, and
they quite elaborate, large amounts of money was spent
large amounts of money was spent, you know, for these
events. And, yeah, 1520 people would accept Islam. But the problem is that the rest of the money just went to people benefited, they came, they listen, they know, benefited from that perspective. But I thought, Hey, we need to have a University here in Islamic University. So I proposed it to them. They agreed. And they brought me down and said, we're done. We're gonna do it. Only if you come to live here.
Of course, when I told my, my family, my wives who had come and visited India before,
and they and they'd seen all the, you know, the idols in the airport, from the airport, he's out to the hotel, wherever we went to listen, you're gonna go and live in this country, this country of idolatry. Oh, that's possible. You know, they were not in agreement. But, you know, I said, we're gonna have to try it because it's something that you know, insha Allah, Allah will bless it is a big chance to do something.
So, I went there in 2009 and Hamdulillah, I set up the first Islamic University in India,
which was recognized, you know, by in government circles, when they had my addresses, which they were calling universities here and their place, but they were not recognized in the governmental system.
This was it.
Preston International University.
So Hamdulillah, you know, took off,
though, there were efforts to stymie it and squash it because my vision was that of
An international Islamic University, like Medina, like in Islam, a bad like in Malaysia, like in Uganda, International Islamic University
as soon as the authorities realized what I was planning,
then they started to sabotage, I was trying to bring teachers in from different parts of the Muslim world so that the teaching staff would be, you know,
But when the professor's went to get their visas, the
embassies, were telling them other university, it's fake. It's not real.
It's not recognized, you know, we don't know it. So they wouldn't give them visits. So, that was the first step
Okay. Then I said, Okay, we have to get the professor's from India, Indians have in place anyway, you know,
right, billion people plus. So, going over India, different parts, I went all over India, all the major cities, tried to bring teachers from all over India, so it wouldn't be a Tamil Nadu University, but University of India.
So Hamdulillah, I managed to get professors from different parts. And we started University. But when students from outside of India tried to come the embassies, were telling them the same thing. No, no, in university, it's, it's not official, it's not. So it knows no external university students from outside of the country. So again, I did a tour of the whole country, inviting students to join from all the major cities across so it would not be a Tamil Nadu student population, you know, so hamdulillah brought students in from all over and launched the university. And after the university took off, they got underway and everything else time came to renew my visa,
online, is the only way forward.
If it's clear, that crystal clear. So during that period, there was the university which had started in Riyadh called knowledge International University, by chef sad a chifley.
Now was among the leading scholars in Saudi. So
I got the experience there, in terms of organization, because I was asked to set up the Islamic Studies Department in English English version. So with that knowledge, when I came back out of India, I started setting up the Islamic online university in Potter, it was from cotton, because that's where I was, but really, it was online. So it was completely apply. We didn't have any buildings or anything, you know, the home Villa was living in that was the location
by by default, you know, not not officially. And
from there, you know, I started to hire with, rather, Samir Khan, who was my partner, helping me, boy had been one of my first students, when I started back in early 2000.
He came on board to help manage it. And at the same time, he also
brought, you know, a skilled it, brother, to help develop the programs everything out. So then we launched as the Islamic online university, we were offering Islamic Studies. I took the basic curriculum from Medina, and also the dean, Tao, and also the dean which I had studied and
looked at what was being taught in Alaska and other universities and put together a curriculum, which included modern stuff,
which I felt that students studying in Islamic Studies getting a ceramic studies degree bachelor's should have knowledge of like computers.
So I had, of course, the introduction to computers so that they will become familiar with it, because many go go back, and they come back to a generation that is now computer literate, and they have no idea.
And so they can't fit in, they can't move with the society. Also, teaching when people graduate, and they come back, they asked the graduates to become teachers, but they didn't learn how to teach, like myself, you know, Hamdulillah, I had my parents to help me who are professional teachers. So it was different, but for the average person, he comes back, after studying for years in Medina, you know, they say, Please teach kindergarten,
you know, grade 123, he ends up taking books and throwing them at the students.
He can deal with that train, in any way, shape, or form. So I added
some courses in education. I also added to it
a course in
psychology, because when people come back, everybody in their uncle with all their family problems,
descend on you, as a graduate, help us solve a problem. marriage problems, parental problems, children problems, community neighbors problems. So if you've not had any training in, in counseling, then you're like a bull in a china shop, you know, you're just hitting things left and right, things are falling breaking, you know, you just go according to what did my father do?
You know, let me try to remember what did he do? He did, okay, I'll just do that. You know, it worked for your father, but it's not working for you, you know, so all these kind of so I added these courses, to beef up the commit the curriculum, and make the students more rounded in the study, so they could come back and really serve their communities, you know, as they should.
So it was the Islamic online university, I added. After the first four years, I added also a Bachelor's in Arabic
batches at still Islamic online university fine. But then the courses, those additional courses, which I added,
I turned those now before they were minors.
I turned them now into departments. So we had the Department of Education, Department of Islamic banking and finance, Department of Psychology, Islamic psychology, Department of Business Administration, Department of also it.
So now, out of seven departments, five out of seven, were not Islamic.
What was happening is that people, when they heard of the Islamic online university, just assume the only thing they have to offer is Hadith tafsir, you know, stem extension. So the name now was no longer applicable,
as it was, so it needed another name, which was more encompassing, which would accept people from all of the various backgrounds. So this is why we changed to the international Open University. We're still teaching the same Islamic studies as there are because there, we now have Master's and PhD. Commerce credits arbic. And, you know, we have a bachelor's the other programs, we've tried to add masters to all of them now. So the titling, you know, is more correct. At international open, as opposed to still Islamic online.
So the program's I'm sorry, that's my last question.
Sorry, out of all the programs accredited. Yeah, this is what we're in the process of finalizing the process now, and I should mention that all of those other modern subjects are some people call them secular subjects. These other modern subjects are all taught from Islamic perspective, because the professor's were hired to teach. You know, I insisted I discussed with them, etc, made sure they had an Islamic consciousness, because just teaching what was being taught in other Western universities, what was the benefit of that, you know, people can always go there and get what they're teaching. So I felt that we needed to
You know, Islam is the curriculums. So Islamic content was there worked into the subjects, you know, where were reasonable and possible? Yeah. So this is what made the curriculum unique, that we taught everything from an Islamic perspective.
So, in terms of the, the accreditation, the university has been University accredited in the Gambia, as a university, also in Malawi. And we have our Arabic course already accredited in Malawi. And we have it accredited, also in the Gambia, and the other courses now are being accredited within the next two months. The accreditation course accreditation should be complete.
That was actually my next question, how many countries have you got your, your topics accredited? So, so could so it only requires one, technically, it only requires one, if we finish off with the Gambia were accepted on the UNESCO is list, and that is for the world, our graduates should be able to continue their studies in Oxford, or Cambridge.
That's the point. We were working on multiple because we were trying different locations to see where it was possible. Actually, we got it from 2014 we got it in Somalia. But most people when they hear that, Oh, you got your accreditation from Somalia, Somalia, you know, that's a war zone right there.
What kind of accreditation was that? So, you know, they would smile, but we worked with that while it's working elsewhere. And hamdulillah The Gambia is is working out and inshallah we hope to be fully accredited in the fullest sense, you know, within the next couple of months shot
so somebody somebody's making hijet for example, Malawi, or or Gambia or even Somalia
obviously a lot of these countries that we're discussing there will allow you to stay long term as a student. So, we're not once you be as not just as a student you know, as a person who came there for business you want to set up a business or you want to work there with existing companies etc.
And you want to live there, you know, you of course, but as a
basically if I wanted to attend your university as a student,
just like I would I would attend another university in Malawi, Malawi, for engineering for example.
Your your university would hold the same weight as any other university in a particular country. It should Yes,
it should once the accreditation course accreditation is complete, then this is the African Union as agreed that graduates from the various countries will be accepted in the other countries.
This is no African Union policy.
And everything should be everything should be signed, sealed and delivered with the next move in the next couple of months. inshallah
easy for you.
Last question regarding this. Yeah, the tuition.
the lowest in the world.
We're actually where it scales. Okay, now, according to the UNESCO
excuse me, according to the unethical breakdown of countries, according to their GDP and all this.
So, countries in Africa and in Asia, but because third world countries, etc. You know,
semester may cost you about $120
for six courses,
two semesters makes a year so you're paying about $240
a bachelor's degree is $1,000.
You don't find really anywhere in the world
at that price, even University of the People which you know, touts itself as being the cheapest out there but they charge $4,000 for a bachelor's and still that's very cheap. You know, university that people's American got
American accreditation, no and not very cheap.
But we are cheaper.
In the US, of course, instead of it being $120 per semester, it's $250 per semester. Still, you know, it's still a fraction of any of the known universities in the US.
Okay, so where can we find the university online? What is the website address?
It's www iou.edu.gm. Okay, so I will put that in the description of the videos and check. We appreciate your time.
to sakana fire And may Allah spout Allah give you success in your ventures and make it something beneficial for the entire omashola I mean,