Channel: Bilal Philips
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Bismillah al salatu wa salam ala rasulillah while he was speaking on Manuela Malik morphin to law Hill barakato
I thank you for taking the time to join us for this amazing one on one interview with Dr. Pillai Phillips Dr. Pillai Philips is a Jamaican Canadian Islamic scholar who converted to Islam in the early 70s. He completed a BA from the Islamic University of Medina and ma from King Saud University in Riyadh, and a PhD in Islamic theology from the University of Wales, United Kingdom. Dr. Bilal Philips spent 10 years teaching Islamic Studies in an Islamic High School in Riyadh and another 18 years formerly lecturing in Arabic and Islamic Studies in various universities. In 2009, he founded and ran the first accredited Islamic University in India, Preston International College, Chennai.
Dr. Philips has written translated and commented on over 50 published books on various Islamic topics. He also has presented Islamic programs on reom channel to TV, show TV, peace TV, Huda TV Islam channel the deen show and guide us TV, but perhaps his greatest single achievement and the one for which he was listed in the Jordanian publication, the 500 most influential Muslims is this historic founding of a mega University from Doha, the Islamic online university now known as international Open University, which since its inception in 2010, has over 650,000 students registered from 228 different countries from around the world. So without further ado, we'd like to
welcome Dr. de la Philippa said Mr. Aiken, welcome to LA he robotiq at
La comme Salaam Rahmatullah he over a cattle.
So how are you doing this evening?
Alhamdulillah my pleasure to be here on the program with you.
Yes, likewise, it's a pleasure to have you here. I'm doing a lot of people. You know, we were having we're doing marketing and they were like, oh, you're the is that your father? Mashallah, we see the resemblance hamdulillah. So, you know, hamdulillah for our small community, you know, it's a chance for people who may have not known you to get to know you, and those who knew you but you know, didn't know, you know, your son happened to be here as well, inshallah they're tuning in, and, you know, we can all benefit together.
So, I was wondering, where are you currently residing? Because, you know, obviously, you travel a lot.
But I'm currently in Doha, Qatar, after spending a year in Ethiopia.
Okay. Um, and do you have any projects that you know, special projects that you're currently working on?
Well, I was in Ethiopia working on setting up an institute for higher Institute for Islamic banking and finance. And also that people on the continent of Africa wouldn't have to go to Malaysia to study in this field, because there there are virtually no in such Institute's or departments of study in Islamic banking and finance across the whole continent, with one exception in the in Nigeria, in the UK University. They do have an institute there also, but it's a part of the university itself. Yeah.
My show other than, of course, my major project, which I'm always working on, and that's the international Open University and that is
my 24 seven project. Mashallah
100. So, one reason
And why an additional reason why we brought you on or wanted to have you on was so that people can benefit from your revert story. Because, you know, I believe it's, it's pretty unique and your unique figure of you know of your own right, so to learn how you came to Islam, and so that way, those reverts who are listening or those who are born most of them who wish to do give it out to their family or friends, this could perhaps help them as well as motivate them to want to further their education, because, of course, you know, you have a PhD from from being a non Muslim, to becoming Muslim, to getting a PhD to starting University. You know, that's a pretty amazing feat. So
let's get started.
So first question I have for you is what was happening in your environment? Prior to discovering a salon, like what were you what ideologies you have, or what was how is the environment?
Well, at the time, I was in university in British Columbia, at West Coast, Canada, University by the name of Simon Fraser University, and I was studying biochemistry I was in
last years of my studies there when I converted from Christianity to communism, without actually my Christianity was nominal Christianity, up until that point anyway. So I can't really say I converted from Christianity, communism, but you can say I converted from nominal Christianity to communism.
I got involved in student movements or student activities, and went down to the states to San Francisco, worked with Angela Davis, and solid that Defense Committee down there and with the Panthers also, and later on, I went back up to Canada, and joined a group there, which was
espousing the same similar ideas, etc, connected with to some degree with African nationalism. And
while in that group, I was exposed to some draft Dodgers from the US, who had converted to Islam in the US and
we're presenting are trying to promote or give Dawa to Islam. They're in Canada. And this was my major introduction to Islam. And it eventually led to my converting to Islam.
Okay, so what caught your attention? You know, because he came, he became communist, can you maybe elaborate on what attracted you to the communism? And then from there, what attracts you to Islam?
Well, communism, you know, was was gonna solve the world's problems, you know, the world that a lot of problems, I mean, North American world, you know, issues of, of racism and oppression of black people and the decimation of the Indian population in North America. I mean, these are all concerns, you know, to
establish some kind of justice and equality and brotherhood amongst the peoples of North America. So believing that communism was the answer, you know, that it would bring all the workers together, you know, regardless of their backgrounds, you know, and
carry the society to a new
horizon a new future.
It sounds very nice. You know, the communist man as was proposed, was was one man or woman who would work according to their ability and only receive or take from the society according to their need. You know, it's a very idealistic concept. People only working, working as far as hard as they could, but for recompense for what work they did, they would only take what they did. You know, it's beautiful idea, but it was not realistic. And as I studied more in communism, I came to understand the failure of communism, its inability to compete with with capitalism,
in which, which had to do with a basic concepts which were not correct, that people are not going to do that. If I work twice as hard as you
I need to get twice as much as you get, regardless of whether you're a bigger size, then
You need more than me that you know that I'm not gonna accept, you know, half of what you get simply because I'm smaller than you. But I'm working twice as hard as you. So this idea was not realistic. And, and it was at the core of failure of the Communist society, their inability to keep up with capitalist society in moving forward, so
I could see these faults there. And then as I read more in history, you read about the massacres, which took place in both China and, and Russia, you know, in an attempt to remove the bourgeoisie, or the rich people who were living off the sweat of the mass masses, you know, that these people could not be retrained, they needed to just be eliminated. So that didn't sit right with me.
So eventually, I was introduced as one particular book actually called
Islam, the misunderstood religion by Mohammed Coto
in which he did a comparison between the various systems, religions, and ideologies, etc. And, you know, talking about their social systems, the
the political systems, the economic systems, all the different systems of the various
groups, or movements or ideologies, etc. and from reading that book, actually, it became clear to me that all the ills that were in communism, capitalism,
Christianity, etc. Were not in Islam.
And all the good points that were in these various systems were all in Islam. So Islam seemed to have the best of both worlds. And
I became convinced that the real way forward was through Islam in Toronto.
Okay, so do you remember,
the moment you decided to be a Muslim?
Like you said, you read the book.
But you didn't become Muslim? Like, right, that moment? Right?
Well, it wasn't maybe that long after. I mean, before that I was reading a number of other books, you know, but this one just stood out, because it was perfectly suited to people coming from a political background. Now, the others maybe were more spiritual,
you know, comparisons with Christianity, you know, from a religious perspective, you know, and I wasn't really, you know, a practicing Christian. So they didn't have the same kind of impact. No, they did bring good points, and clarify certain points. But it was this particular book, which had the greatest impact, I don't know exactly how long it was after I read the book that I accepted Islam, but it was, I think, relatively short, you know, maybe a couple of months, something like this, or month and a half or something like this, and I accepted Islam. But I mean, that's very interesting, because I think for basically all or every raeford story I've heard or, you know, that
you've heard or seen, it's usually on the basis of, you know, the oneness of God, or
I don't know, I guess the mercy that's found in Islam or the, you know, they'll put on just, you know, touch them. So it's very interesting that, you know, you read a book about the systems and this, and you know, that compared with other systems and other religions and other ideologies, and it's on that basis that you became Muslim, Mashallah, Mashallah. Well, it makes sense to actually because, you know, those people that you spoke to our people who were maybe more religious, they were still, you know, going to church or, you know, had only stopped but in their heart, they still had that attachment to the church, you know, so, because of that
background that naturally, spiritual matters is going to mean more to them.
So how did your friends and family react when you converted? Did you tell them right away or did you try to hide it?
No, no, I informed them straightaway
and informed them and tried to explain to them you know, why I made the decision, etc. My other political, you know, friends in the political movement, etc. I didn't discuss
associate myself from them. Because the movement that I was in there in Toronto, it allowed for people from different backgrounds. You know,
while educating people, you're focusing more on black people than anybody else, you know, making people aware of the history, history of Africa. And you know, what, people went through the movements that were there to try to change the society, and the need for, you know, change there and not so, so this really didn't change that much. in becoming a Muslim, I still, you know, continued except that I was not praying five times a day, you know, and I was living in a commune.
And so, you know, some of us, others in the commune also converted to Islam. And so there were people who were non Muslims, and people were Muslims were all living together in a commune type setup.
While still working with the organization
wasn't it wasn't really, until, you know, I felt the acute need to
go and find out more about Islam to study Islam more in depth, this is what very left
caused me to leave that, that movement all together and not really be involved in it anymore.
So was there any, like,
bumpy transition from leaving, because, I mean, you said, you're in the commune, and, you guys, we're all working together, you know, towards a common goal, and you said, not not much change, except that you were praying five times a day and, you know,
maybe doing Ascot and you know, other other rituals of Islam.
But was there like any,
like, so none of your friends were like, upset that you became Muslim, or now your family was upset by it. And you, you yourself? Had no, you know, just comfort being around people that didn't understand, you know, or have the same
mindset as you?
Well, let's say that
there will be discussions and debates, you know, about in the commune about,
you know, about whether religion was the opiate of the masses or not. So, what would happen was, I would bring, you know, material, which showed that Muslims, you know, led the first revolt against colonialism, you know, in Algeria, their fight the day, the day, went through France philon, and written about the phenomenon there, and the battle cry of Algiers was a lot of woodwork. You know, women were wearing the burqa, and all this and using that as a means of smuggling, you know, arms, etc, for the, for the revolt against France, Francis rule. So, you know, that showing that there was a connection, and Islam was supportive to that struggle with the opium of the masses, then, you
know, it would have supported colonialism. And, you know, it would have been an enemy of the revolutionary movement. So, you know, it was those kind of discussions, debates, of course, it's my family, it was something different, in that my parents were both very happy when I converted to Islam. Because my father in his youth had been a socialist, you know, and then he's sort of seen his way through socialism and left it. So we, up until that point is to have debates and discussions and arguments at the dinner table. And now these arguments ended, you know, my mom was very happy that there wouldn't be any more arguments at the dinner table. And also, and also, both of them had
into our family, who was of Muslim Indonesian background. We had as a family, we lived in Malaysia for some years. And in the course of them living there, they adopted, you know, a Muslim boy into our families. I have a Muslim brother, who was but you know, it didn't at the time when they did it in Malaysia, it didn't mean anything, you know, beyond an adoption of, you know, a young
Boy around the age of myself, my sister, and brother, but who had other another culture, you know, Islam, there was just a culture wasn't really, there wasn't any ideology. As far as I understood. My adopted brother didn't try to explain anything. We just saw that he did things differently, some things differently, you know, he used to pray with, you know, with his head on the ground. And, you know, sometimes we'd open the door and find him in that position and wonder, oh, what's he doing? We talk amongst ourselves. But we were too shy to ask him and he was too shy to explain anything. Also, we noticed that during Ramadan,
my mother used to get up early in the morning and prepare a meal for him.
Right. That was Yeah, unusual. Also, on Sunday, when we used to have, you know, with our meal,
a glass of wine a little bit,
my mom would give him grape juice. so different. And whenever my mother cooked pork, she would cook fish for him.
Okay, these are just, you know, differences, which was, we, I just took it as culture and myself, my brother and sister, they just looked at it as some cultural practice of theirs. We didn't see Islam. You know, as a religion, it says my parents both understood this. They understood because they studied Islam. In Toronto, University of Toronto, they both studied world religions class, and Islam was one of the world religions, which they studied. So they had that exposure, they didn't understand it was another religion, they respected it. That's why my mother in law was very careful to ensure that nothing happened in the house, which would go against my adopted brother's religious
beliefs. So for them, when I accepted Islam, they were happy. And of course, my adopted brother was very happy. Of course, I was initially upset with him. You know, why he didn't tell us anything about Islam? in all those years that we live together, you know, why he didn't tell us anything? He was just saying, Well, you know, I was just too shy, you know, I, I just felt that, you know, your parents had saved me, helped me out, brought me back to Canada and everything else. And for me to go and say anything, which would disrupt the family, you know, create some kind of chaos inside the families. I couldn't do it. I you know, I just, so I told him, you know, really, okay, I can
understand, but you know, actually, it was your duty, regardless of what the consequences were a law would know, the consequences best. Your duty was to share what you had with us, because you couldn't be any closer than, you know, an adopted brother in the family. So what else did you need to be able to carry the message to us? So, that was the
reaction. My sister was,
okay. My brother was because he has a, he was a communist. So he was a hardcore communist. So we used to have a lot of debates, the ones that used to be between my father and me, now became between me and my brother, you know, and he was convinced, you know, more and more, but then, I decided to go overseas to study to Medina, as you mentioned in the introduction, so I left him behind. And he always used to say, See, I was following you but you left me behind. That's why I didn't become a Muslim.
Anyway, that's how it is. So for,
for most people, what do you think stops them from wanting to accept Islam as a religion you know, even even when clear message is brought to them?
I can be so many different reasons. You know that you know,
what about you know Abu Talib?
I will call it if the prophet SAW Selim was not able to convince him
with him being the uncle of the Prophet
then, you know, you can imagine
so many different reasons and excuses and things that people can bring up, you know,
but his his was more pride in culture and, you know, tribalism, this kind of thing. This is this was the factor which stopped him and of course, there are people today to looking at Muslims. Most Muslims are
From the third world, you know, the colored peoples. And also, you know, so why might people might not be interested simply because they're the, you know, the colored peoples are the ones who are Muslims, you know, or it could be
have to do with
the efforts that have to be made, you know, comfortable with religion, which you only have to do on Sundays, you know, once a week, that's okay. You know, but every day praying every day, too much. Yeah, I talked to two individuals. And their reason for you know, I gave it out to them. They were both atheist. And their reason that they gave me was basically they didn't want to submit, you know, they said, theoretically, even if there was a God, and they knew the message that they, you know, he gave was the truth. And he gave the best way that they should live their lives still. Anyone want to live their life the way they want to? It's like, Oh,
Yeah, of course, that's, it's easy to say when you don't believe. Right? That's true.
When you believe that you, you really do realize there is a God? That's a lot more difficult, you know, not that much more difficult for you to say. True, true.
So what do you think is a very compelling reason for people to come into Islam? You know, for you it was the system, the political system or not the political system? Sorry, but the
political economic? Yeah.
The whole gamut? Well, you know, in terms of
becoming a Muslim, you know, why?
Why would would, should someone become a Muslim? You know, first and foremost is that if somebody believes in religion, does believe in God, you know, and then, having believed in God, you understood that God didn't
create us and leave us on our own
right, as deists believe, but that
provide a religion or
sent messengers to convey to human beings a way of life that they should follow in which we call religion. So
for those people who have at least that basic belief, then the issue is for them, well, then Which one? No, there's so many different religions out there, each one of them saying they're the true religion, then how do we know you know? What is right? They're all wrong? Or, or is it that they're all right, doesn't matter, you can follow anyone? What's the situation? So I mean, I would clarify for them that there are really only two religions.
There's only two,
one in which God alone is worship,
the creator of the universe.
He is the only one who's worship, and all of the others are worshiping everything, but that God, who they should be worshiping.
There are different versions different, you know, practices and places and dress that they were all kinds of different things. But in the end, they all can be lumped together as religions in which other than God is worshipped. Sometimes they say it's God worshipping, you know, many of them say it's God, because religion usually has a god somewhere in there. So they're worshiping God, but, in fact, they're not. They're worshiping the creation, some aspect of the creation and calling it God. So that's, I think, a a important and critical point, that you know, should be known. Also.
If we look in terms of the name of the religion,
all the different names are either named after places like Hinduism, from the Indus Valley, or people like Buddhism,
or tribes like Judaism,
or people like Christianity,
Only Islam is based is named
into the central pillar of the religion.
And it unites people right down from the first man. So Adam was a Muslim.
Moses was a Muslim, Jesus was a Muslim.
oneness of way, you know, it's clear in Islam
from the very name. And furthermore, that name is mentioned in the book of Revelation itself.
If you ask a Christian, where is it in the Bible, that you're Christians? Jesus told you, you are Christians?
Yes, they have something, you know, attributed to.
Two. What's his name? No.
Paul or Paul? Yes, Paul.
Paul, you know, in Antioch? Yeah, I think it was he, he told them, Listen, you all are Christians. But this is not Jesus. Jesus never told his followers that they were Christians. You know, Moses never told his followers that you're Jews, that your religion is Judaism, you know, from the tribe of Judah. But you know, he didn't tell them that it was Judaism, no,
and so on, and so forth.
Then, the other point that I would
clarify for people is that
the scripture itself in Islam, that scripture is preserved in the language of the Prophet unchanged, so 1400 years,
all the other scriptures out there of ancient religions, etc. They've all been changed, lost, garbled bits and pieces here. And there, people made up their own stuff, and use that name for it. It's no longer a preserved scripture, written
by the prophet of God, conveyed directly from the prophet of God.
And as such, the religion itself, Islam hasn't changed. The religion 1400 years ago, is exactly the same as today. But if you look at the other practices and other religions, they've changed, they've been changing all along, different person comes up this new ways and things to do, and ways to do it and this kind of things, you know, it doesn't have that consistency, with a direct line back to the Prophet himself.
you can see in Islam, again, that prayer, you know, prayer is not a once in a week thing, although some Muslims might pray once in a week, but they're not following Islam, properly, the following a piece of Islamic
prayer is five times a day.
And some people say, Well, you know, praying five times a day is, isn't it better to pray when you, your heart feels into it, you feel inside of yourself, this desire to pray to God? So you pray to God rather than mechanically, five times in a day every day? Well, that sounds nice. But the problem is that if you don't feel it in your heart, and all this other stuff, today, then you don't pray today. And tomorrow, you don't feel it. don't pray tomorrow.
Next week, it didn't feel it. Week is gone. Two weeks ago, one month, one year,
you don't pray. The only time that you pray is when a calamity strikes. Okay? That's when you're on your knees. you're praying to God, you know, to lift this calamity from So what kind of prayer is that? You only pray when calamity strikes. So, you see, that's haphazard religion. You know, Islam says five times a day, organize your day around the worship of God.
because in the end, it's about consciousness of God. You know, what's going to make you a better person? The more conscious you are of God, more mindful you are of God.
Then I mean, of course, there are other issues, which have to do with Quran and science for example,
You know, if you look into the Quran, you can find many scientific references, which are only been found out in recent times
in the last century, but it was spoken about 1400 years ago and correctly.
And the bottom line is that Islam from the time it was brought in its final form, by Prophet Muhammad, may God's peace and blessings be upon him. It's been the fastest growing religion he will talk about. Today, Islam is the fastest growing, it's been the fastest growing religion for the last 1400 years.
It just never stopped. It was just spreading, spreading, spreading across the world.
Number it started
behind hundreds of years behind Christianity
700 years behind Christianity.
it and the Christianity spread also did spread. It was carried across the world.
But Islam has been spreading continuously. Today, churches empty many parts of the UK, they're selling them.
Muslims were buying them, turning them into mosques to finally some of the church. And they said, No, no, we're not gonna sell anymore churches, not the Muslims anyway, if you want to buy it to turn it into a skating rink, or pool hall or whatever, okay, we'll set it to Tomas Ah,
that's real. Who has ever heard of a mosque being shut down? Because there's no people to work in pregnant? No, we've got a shortage, where we're trying to establish more and more and more mosques around the world. Wherever you go.
that's saying something, this is something
and so on, so forth. But you know, one of the points I would also make,
if you ask people from the other religions,
what's the purpose of your existence?
Why Why are we here? Why would we create for what?
Most people will say, hmm.
I never thought about it, you know? Or if, Pastor, so and so said, something's, oh, that's what pastor said?
Can you find that in the Bible? Can you show it to me?
You will find it, you won't find a clear statement of why we were created. But the Quran is the opening up the verses there, the meaning is clear.
Stated agenda, well inside like
I says, I only created the gene and humankind, to worship me. That is the purpose of our creation. It's there.
So, of course, there are other points that could be raised as to why
should one accept Islam, why Islam is the true religion?
But those are just a few points that I would like to share with your audience, perhaps to help them in explaining Islam to their friends. Because of course, it's a duty as the prophets Allah told us the level only below if you could should convey from the Prophet so seldom, even if all you had was poonawalla had, that's all your head. You need to share that with those around you. Because those people around you will give witness against you on the Day of Judgment. They will say I was his neighbor. I was just classmates. I was her friend. At the laundromat. We were this and we were that.
And we talked about everything under the sun, new car, house, vacation,
parties, everything we talked about, but we never talked about Islam.
I know some of you would say, Well, I feel shy. You know what I say to people, you know, the best way to do it, is to just ask them. What do you think about this? You know, honestly, right.
So, what do you think about Islam? What's your idea?
Let them tell you. And then you can just start to clarify for them. Your initial Dawa will just be clarification. No, no, we don't do that. No, we don't slaughter people in the masjid.
Don't eat people, you know, all that stuff, you know, just clarify all of these points. And then from there, hopefully they will have some more interest and start to ask you other
things about Islam which will allow you to explain more of the religion itself to them
Mashallah, that was I thought those reasons were very compelling especially the I believe the initial one, just that Islam is really the only Mott truly monotheistic religion, I mean, that in of itself should be clear evidence, especially when everyone has this, you know, this innate belief in one in a creator, you know, regardless of time in society, they all have this, this idea exists in every every society essentially.
Mashallah, um, so, I believe a problem or Yeah, problem that occurs for reverts and non Muslims is that, especially living in North America, but really anywhere around the world, is that you're raised with a, with an ideology. I'm, like, for instance, you know, you were Christian, and then you became communist. But some people are, you can say, you know, perhaps feminist or, you know, other sort of ism that they might have, they might,
you know, any sort of ism, like, they might be socialists, or they might be,
secularists and so on. So, when they enter into Islam, they try to bring it in with them, right? Or if they're just Muslim, and they're raised in the, in that kind of environment, it's just like, part of the culture, or they just, again, bring it into the religion with them. So how do we,
like, I guess, how do we combat that? Or how do we resolve that issue?
Well, these ideas, you know, would be cleared in time as the person grows islamically because you can't expect somebody to enter Islam and everything else they believe just drops. So they're coming in pure, like that baby, you know, newborn baby, pure, no other ideas, no other things in their head that touch us. So from there on, you just had to put it all in their head? No, that's for most people, they're coming in with baggage, carrying things with them. So those things, those of us who are around them to help them on their path. Now we have to be patient with them. And, you know, help them to understand these things gradually, if they say something, you know, how is it Billa?
You know, we have to, we have to become, Okay, brother, yeah. Okay, sister. Yeah, we can understand that, you know, but actually, in Islam, we don't do those things.
Whatever, you know, we have to be patient and help them along the way.
Okay, so that was a great answer. But the thing I guess, I want to just pick on a little more, and that is, some people, they really, truly believe that the isms that they have, and maybe they develop them maybe from university or from friends, that they think it is actually a part of Islam.
So, you know, you've may have heard people say, a process that was a feminist, you know,
quite a few times.
And so, I mean, it shows a lack of understanding of what feminism is and how it developed. Um, so, yeah, that's the same thing I just said, you know, people will say things, and then you have to hear it, and then you have to help them understand. You know, yeah, you know, Islam did bring
things for women, which only the feminist movement brought, you know, 1300 years later, feminist movement started to push this for women, in
European society, etc, etc. Whereas Islam, people were doing it from 1300 years.
So, yeah, but we call that feminism but feminism has come to me in a number other things, you know, which was not a part of the original feminism because evolved. That's the nature of, of isms.
schisms and you know, whatever isms. Yeah. In the in Western society where things are constantly changing and evolving. So
you clarify to them that, you know,
this is not the original feminism. Yeah, according to the original feminism, yeah, you could say the Prophet was a feminist, he did support the cause of women, you know, protecting their rights, he did uphold it, the blah, blah, etc. So,
there's an aspect to it, oh, this is the Prophet was a communist, because he, you know, told people that, you know, jabril told me to take care of the neighbors, so much, I thought he was going to make the neighbors inheritors, of their neighbors.
their wealth became the wealth from the neighbors.
So, you know, you can pick up from all the various systems out there are newly developed isms, you know, elements, which can be found in Islam, because the idea is that Islam is not claiming to be the sole owner of
all the good that's there in the world, that it invented it. It was not known before. No, no. Islam reinforced,
as the prophet SAW, sent him and said,
in the Bible is to live with me Mama karma flock, I was only sent to perfect for you.
The highest of moral character traits to perfect them, to bring them back to life, to strengthen them, to support them.
That is Islam.
Okay, yeah. Just
for the clarification.
one question. Another question I had was,
I mean, after you convert to Islam, you decided to, you know, pursue and gain more knowledge. Um, what was really the motivating reason you said, just the the lack of understanding that motivates you to Want to learn more? Um, was there any other factors?
Well, the bottom line is that when I accepted Islam back in 1972, in Toronto, there were only a handful of Muslims in the city,
coming from different countries, Bangladesh, Egypt,
Syria, Pakistan, you know,
people who are, who emigrated to Canada, who had some technical skills or whatever, which
allow them to survive there.
But who had very little knowledge of Islam,
you know, they were more educated
to a large degree from the country's educated in their various fields. But they didn't have very much knowledge of Islam. So, you know, it quickly became clear to me, you know, within a year after I accepted Islam,
the people in the community in which I was living there in Toronto,
didn't have real knowledge of Islam. I needed to leave and go over to
And back to the centers of Islam, where Islam started from whatever, to learn Islam from the original sources, because people that I met around me
they were following different methods. For example, you know, initially I when I came in,
that I traveled with the Jamaat Jamaat live, went to the first HDMI in Sheffield, England,
went around the different mosques of the UK, sat to the malanez in the various masjids taking notes, taking information, trying to learn as much as I could.
Then coming back and moving next to one of the couple of masters that were there in Toronto, the Imam was
He started teaching me from Picasso now
and I should mention that while I was in the
The UK you know, I was basically told that you know, there are format tabs and
you need to follow one.
You know, you can choose any one you want, but you need to follow one of these four.
I asked, well what happens if you don't follow one so well then Satan becomes
you're following the madhhab of Satan.
Okay, I shouldn't have better follow one of them then. Okay. So which one do you advise me and said well,
most Muslims are Hannity's
and Abu hanifa his title was Imani Azzam al Imam of
the greatest evil
and he was the first.
Oh, I said, Okay, sounds like a good reason to be hanafy. Yeah, yeah. Good. Yeah.
So when I started studying when I went back to Canada,
from the mom, there of that Masjid, comfortable, so now,
he was teaching mainly the Shafi.
But I started to see differences. And then I met up with some brothers from Morocco. And I saw them praying with their hands by their sight.
they told me they were Maliki's Oh, yeah, right, right, the Maliki.
they this these differences here, which seem to be at some points, you know, contradictory
to the point where
people were saying, they're all right. If you follow any one of them, it's right.
Then I saw that in the Hanafi madhhab. If you accidentally touched a woman,
you don't have to do you will do is gone.
Just like that.
But if you are a Shafi sorry, Stella were
in the shop for a month.
If you accidentally touch a woman, you will do is gone.
But in the Hanafi madhhab if you accidentally touch a woman, your will do is not gone.
So these are two which cannot exist. Either you have Voodoo, or you don't have
so to say both are right. When both say the opposite things. This is confusion. I said, Oh, this is sounding like three gods in one.
How can three be one? Well,
if you believe it can be
well, you know, so that contradiction is
and others, you know, drove me to want to go overseas to study. And
that was the driving force, myself and Dr. Abdullah Hakim quick,
were very close. In fact, he was one along with another brother by the name of Rashid. They both gave me Shahada
in Toronto, so Abdullah and myself, we went over to study in Medina, one study Arabic and then studied in Su, the dean Tao, and so the dean etc.
Mashallah, so, the situation now and you know, 2021
in terms of, you know, having knowledgeable people in North America, you would say it's not the same as in the 70s. Correct?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, of course, it's a whole different situation. You have many, many graduates with commodity of universities and in the east and have come back, and are teaching in so many different locations.
So it's, it's quite different.
So would you encourage people to, you know, migrate to the east to learn about Islam? Or are you? Do you believe that there's enough options here in North America to just stay here and learn?
Well, there are a few options here in North America.
You know, you can get answers to your questions, but to say become learned, meaning you go through a formal course of study. There's not too many options in North America, but
We now have online. You know, the university, which I set up back in 2010,
launched in 2010, actually set up earlier, but launched in 2010, the International Open University, you know, we provide
solid Islamic Studies, bachelor's, master's, PhD,
which you can learn from home
study in your spare time. So, the world has changed. It has become, you know,
One World is not an Eastern world, a western world. Far Eastern, Northern. It's just one world now. It's like one village. They call it the global village. It's everything is accessible online. So there is in the US Mischka University. And
in terms of online universities, there are others is
k IU knowledge International University out of Riyadh, which is online,
and another universities coming out of Malaysia,
which allows people to study
as never before.
So is there
I should say, what are the benefits of going beyond just basic understanding of Islam? You know, I'm like, Well, what would be a reason why people in our community or those that are watching might want to go and study in a university, when they already know the basics, you know, how to pray, how to fast and, and so on.
One needs to have the inclination, you know, if one feels the desire,
and the wish to want to know more, then you study, best way to do it is to study formally. No.
Of course, in our university, you know, we offer
a variety of other
disciplines. We're offering education,
banking and finance, psychology,
information technology, this is administration.
But all of these are taught from an Islamic perspective. So a person could conceivably study any of those fields that they desire, and we hope to increase the number of fields in the coming years.
But they would also be getting exposure to Islam, because really what needs to be done? In our times, I feel what is most critical is the reintegration of Islamic knowledge into
the educational systems which have been secularized. Where religion is removed from it, there's no, you know, moral teachings at all. So it's amoral. And this is produced
generations now of people that will do all kinds of things,
even though they say, well, we're a Christian or,
or this or that, but they're committing all kinds of crimes and no moral crimes, things that were done by American soldiers in Iraq.
And in Afghanistan, they just have a recent case Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. You know, how these people are not ignorant people, they did have some education, they're
Christians, etc, but they committed some horrific crimes.
So there, the moral education needs to become a priority again,
bringing morality back into the classroom.
Yeah, remember? Oh, sorry.
Okay. And so I remember one time you were, I think it was multiple times, but she were engaging with students.
I think it was like a high school level, and you ask them like, which one of you has never cheated on a test ever like
Raise your hand. And literally nobody raised their hand. And these are all Muslims you're talking to. So it's like, well, if you're happy and willing to cheat on tests to get your education and then now you're you know, you're to get a job that you really shouldn't have, because you cheated to get it.
Whatever of you know, becoming a politician or a ruler or whatever, like, it makes sense that there would be corruption in your in your nation, because you guys are all corrupt. Right?
So what motivated you? Or what motivates you to?
Because Because it seems like to me, it seems like, okay, you became Muslim. And then, like, you had just an upward trajectory, where you're just like, learning more and teaching more and writing books, and you just go on and going and going, like, you're not stopping, you know, like, for a lot of people, you know, they learn and then they're like, okay, I learned last take a break, you know, take it easy, but you just, you just keep going. Mashallah. And so yeah, what motivates you? How, how can you keep going?
Well, I mean, I accepted, the
instruction of the prophet SAW Selim, to convey the message of Islam.
So that has been the driving force, you know, at the base of everything that I'm doing that, as a teacher,
this was a critical role. The prophet SAW them first and foremost was a teacher. Both of my parents are teachers, you know, and they helped me when I first began to teach in Riyadh, after graduating from Medina, they helped me, you know, to become
a teacher, who would impact the children who I taught, the young people who I taught. And
I recognize that
the dour through education is ultimately the most powerful
it is creating that dour creates a new generation,
that are more and more conscious of Islam.
And as such, they will ultimately be able to change the state of the oma. That's why the motto of my university is changing the nation through education. And it's taken from the Quranic verse in the law, Allah eromanga Coleman had a rule maybe unfussy him that a lot doesn't change the condition of a people until they change themselves. So education is the biggest factor in changing nations changing generations, etc. So that has been, you could say, the driving force
behind me, which I hope to continue until I'm put in the grave.
So I have one final question, and then we'll move on to questions from from the audience. So what's some advice you wish to leave with the young Muslims who are listening?
Well, of course, young is a relative term.
I would generally advise
is something we have to prioritize.
It is compulsory for every Muslim.
But we have to know that the priority in seeking knowledge is to seek knowledge of Allah.
knowledge of what Allah wants from us
and knowledge of how to implement what Allah has required of us.
This is fundamental knowledge which we all need to master in order to navigate this life successfully.
If we don't have that knowledge, then we will be bumbling around, tripping, falling, bouncing our head from one wall to the next.
will be lost, stumbling through life
reacting to things rather than
understanding and taking the right decisions to handle the various circumstances that we find ourselves in. So it's important, very important to make sure that our foundation Islam is correctly understood.
Not just as rituals that we need to do
internalizing and understanding the teachings of Islam
to make us ultimately better people.
And if the prophet SAW Selim himself
had said that he was only sent to perfect the highest of moral character traits in the my boys to loot mmm Academy,
then that's telling us that,
to have and to live
a good moral life
is the foundation for success in this life.
If we're not living that good moral life, then we're living an immoral life. And as immoral immorality is considered to be evil, corruptive, destructive, etc. Similarly, living such a life is going to be a
you will destroy
what is around you, while thinking you are building.
And you will not find real happiness
in the material life, which everything seems to be driving you towards. You know, it's about being a doctor, a lawyer, you know,
engineer, etc, etc. This is where the focus tends to be in education today. But reality is that it's about money.
And also, the focus is about gathering as much of the dunya as possible around us. But
so many people get all of that, and they're not happy.
Because happiness is not their
real happiness lies in being connected to God.
Yeah, it is great having you here. Hamdulillah, we're going to go through some of the questions in sha Allah, maybe about 30 minutes, and, and then we'll end it. So one question that came from your side is,
dear chef, will you be appearing on other platforms anytime soon? I believe your last appearance on a different platform was the deen show with brother Eddie.
Well, that's not the last appearance. And I've been on a variety of platforms. All last year, I was on Facebook
during Ramadan, teaching about the 99 years of 99 Names of Allah. And this year, I've been continuing in that on YouTube. So you can go to my YouTube channel. And
catch up on those classes. I already talked about 45
sessions already since Ramadan, all the way through Ramadan, all the way through
shawal and then to delgada and heading for julija. So those are there as well as, you know, other
platforms, whether it's on zoom, and streamed
material is being streamed onto Instagram, or being done for instance, Instagram or taken from
other platforms and put on Instagram. So that's there.
So I think they, I think they meant, like other shows, like, like, you know, they haven't seen you on Hooda. TV recently or,
you know, peace TV or you know, things like that.
Well, hold on peace, you know, have
you to COVID and all these other factors, you know, I've been
slowed down. No, they're not. They don't have as many opportunities. Although I did do a program thing last year, a couple of programs I did for,
you know, online.
I'm not sure how they're functioning now. But I know they have a lot of material from the past, which they're doing. But the opportunities to do programs for peace are very, very limited now, because the Indian government, you know, tried to shut them down and
there, but under law, they're still functioning.
So another question.
Is it not unfair for non Muslims who have been exposed to many religions?
To navigate to now have to navigate through them to find the right way? Whereas for Muslims, they're just simply born into Islam?
No, it's not unfair. Because people who are born into Islam,
a lot of times take it for granted.
And they don't practice it properly.
Because everybody around them is doing it. And everybody's doing this and doing that, and they're just doing what everybody else is doing. And then not really into it. So as that person who has to go and navigate here, there and check this out, check that out till they find Islam when they come into Islam. They're coming in serious, trying to practice everything and do everything. So actually, you could say they are more fortunate in that sense.
Okay. Mashallah, another question? How can we follow? Or sorry, can can I follow a madhhab?
Like, sorry, can I take from some one madhhab, like, from Imam hanifa and take from Mr. Malik, and just take from different methods and, you know, combine them together. And,
you know, that's That's my understanding, or that's, you know, that's how I navigate? Well, it is possible to take from different methods, you know, the math of Abu hanifa, supposedly called the Hanafi madhhab. But I should point out to people that Abu hanifa wasn't a Hanafi.
an Imam Malik wasn't the Maliki.
A mama Shafi wasn't the Shafi no was in Medina humbler humbly
these mud hubs were formed after them,
long after them.
And they attributed themselves to them to give their rulings etc, in our standing.
But really, the MAS hub of Abu hanifa was the mother hub of Rasulullah
And the mother of Mr. Malik was same mother at the barber Sula, and the mother of a Shafi and
they all followed one mother. That is the mother of our Sula, which is the same mother, which
I bought Bakar, Omar Osman and Ali follow.
That's the bottom line. So if you have sufficient knowledge,
to look at rulings and choose the one, which appears to be the most accurate, the most correct, then you can do that without attributing yourself to any particular matter.
But if you can't do that, and what you're doing instead, is looking to find the easiest thing in each of the methods, then
you're likely to go astray.
You're likely because you're not seeking knowledge you're seeking is
no, so that's dangerous.
But with knowledge, if you have sufficient knowledge, it's possible you could be trained
The shaft a mother, but follow rulings from the humbling mother instead of some of those of the shaft a mother or some from the Hanafi madhhab. Instead of those of the shaft a mother though your basic training was in the shaft a mother. So, you know that flexibility is there. You know if you look at the mama Chava is a classical case. He studied under a mom Malik for how many years?
And he didn't even begin to start to teach others until the Imam Malik died. He had that much respect for him and Malik, he memorized the book of Mr. Mallika Mata, you know, so. And then he taught. He went to Yemen, he studied on the scholarship, and he taught, changed some of his rulings. Then he went to Baghdad, he went to Iraq. And, you know, he there, studied under the students of Abu hanifa and change more of his rulings. Then he went to Egypt. And he studied under the students of allegedly Assad and change more of his rulings and settled in Egypt. And now what was he teaching? Was he teaching
the Yemen madhhab or hanafy Panther or lazy mother?
No, he thought, based on the knowledge he had gained from all the various sources, he thought, because he was a teacher, he had reached that level of understanding that he could teach. So he thought of US based on the knowledge that he had. And he made judgments and rulings. He wrote one book,
you know, which was when he was in Baghdad, dad, and then he change and wrote another book, you know, which,
which is the most well known book of his, in which he changed rulings from his earlier book. So
there is flexibility here. And we should respect and maintain that flexibility. We shouldn't become rigid. You know,
you got a suit of iron on you can't move you just have to, you know, like a robot. This is not what Islam asks us to be.
a sound when it comes to share, what is your practical advice to get closer to a law and the dean? At times it feels overwhelming, not knowing what I should be focusing on? Like, should I be focusing on Tafseer history? and so on?
So how do I get closer to Allah and the deen?
the basics of the deen
our belief in Allah.
So how do you get closer to Allah,
from belief in Allah,
you have to know a lot.
This series that I'm doing called the 99 Names of Allah. This is all about knowing Allah, who Allah is, and who isn't. So that's the source, or study books on how he'd
build your knowledge of a lot, because that's where it all stems from.
Then, as you are studying there, or if you want to branch out further, then you shouldn't you should actually, I guess, at the same time, you should really be studying the sooner because to know about the law, you have to study from this analysis, because the prophet SAW said, and he clarified so much about a lot to us.
in our prayers, you know, this is the foundation in practice abideen if we can't get closer to align the prayers, then we have problems.
We have real problems.
Because this is
this is the ship, which will carry us ultimately to paradise.
The prophet SAW Selim told us to pray a farewell prayer. When a man asked him about Islam. He said, you know, messenger, Allah teach me about Islam, but keep it short.
So the prophet SAW Selim said when you get up to pray, pray a farewell prayer.
A prayer like
if you were told you only have one more prayer
Left to make in this life. That's it after that you're gone from this life?
How are you going to pray?
How would you make your will do
that how would you stand and begin your prayer
and bow and frustrate, sit?
Obviously, you would pray a prayer, unlike any of the prayers that you're doing now.
So you have to bring that, that kind of consciousness into the prayer.
So you work on your knowledge of Allah, and about the deen of Allah. And you work on your prayers and fasting, the other acts of worship, he tried to find the soul,
the soul of Hajj,
the soul of fasting, the core, the key, the most important element.
The external acts that we do, you know, are like the shell
on a peanut.
But what's most important is the peanut.
So that core element of whatever we're doing, is where we should be focused.
The shell is what we need to be doing in order to access that core.
there's a few more questions.
Is it okay, if they're, you know, a little off the topic?
I think they've all been up there they kind of Yeah,
Okay, so one we have is explaining the concept of polygamy in Islam. I don't know if that's to,
you know, if you have enough time to explain that.
Well, let's say
a norm in human society,
Whether it's done legally,
on the systems, or illegally,
outside of systems, it is the norm. It's a human norm. Islam has set rules for it. The religion of God has set rules for it, and how it should take place.
So Islam is only regularizing.
what already exists, it's practiced all over the world. But
they may it may just be called girlfriends and boyfriends.
You know, boyfriend has a number of girlfriends.
Of course, it's being practiced the other way now. moreso. In the past, it was always males having more than one female. It is the norm.
Islam is only a regulator.
It has regulated it, given it principles, guidelines, etc, to protect the interests of the females and the children that come from it to ensure that they are their rights are protected.
The other kind of
illegal polygamy, which goes on for example, in North America, you know, people's rights are not protected. children's rights are
So, Islam is a regulator.
so someone topic questions, and then I think we'll wrap up very soon. Um, you said it already, but perhaps they didn't catch it. What year did you convert into convert to Islam? And were you already married or did you get married after
1972 and I wasn't married at the time. I got married within a year.
Less than a year after accepted Islam.
Mashallah, um, and this person is asking, does Dr. Philips still have any schools open in or near Toronto? I don't believe you have any schools in Toronto, right?
Yeah. Okay, so.
And so yeah, I believe that's all the questions. Does that qualify it on for coming on?
My pleasure? Yeah.
Yeah, it's really great to have you here.
I'm sure a lot of people have benefited, especially in my community, having to lie No, I've benefited, you know, lots of advice that you've given us that we can take home and, and really utilize in our life. You know, I've recently joined the
Islamic online university or international Open University.
Because I felt that
I wasn't sufficient the knowledge that I had, and it's easy to be misguided because there are some people that say one thing, others say the opposite. It's like, well, which one's rights? How do I know? So having that source to learn and really go through a structured program already has been so beneficial for me and Shall I really hope that you know, I finish and get a BA get a masters and who knows what else and I've encouraged others in our community to also study through IOU so inshallah they'll be joining this come You know, this coming semester in the fall, I really hope so. And,
you know, I, again, thank you so much for your, for your motivation for motivating us and for your advice, and, and hopefully, inshallah, we can have you again on soon
Sharla then my pleasure, and in spite of the dollar, you know, so whenever the opportunity presents itself, and I don't have anything else more pressing, than I'll be only too happy to share with you Sharla and your community. Thank you so much.