My Way to Islam

share this pageShare Page
Bilal Philips

Channel: Bilal Philips

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


00:00:02--> 00:00:04

Salam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

00:00:08--> 00:00:11

May Allah's peace and blessings be on each and every one of you.

00:00:15--> 00:00:16

This evening's

00:00:17--> 00:00:21

presentation, which begins a series of lectures,

00:00:22--> 00:00:24

is on my way to Islam.

00:00:26--> 00:00:33

And I hope to share with you my personal experiences,

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

which led me to the religion of Islam,

00:00:39--> 00:00:43

not so much as a historical account

00:00:44--> 00:00:56

of events. But more so from the point of view, that there are lessons that may be learned from those in the audience.

00:00:57--> 00:01:15

Who are Muslims, who may learn from my experience, how Islam may be distorted, and how it should be presented. And for those in the audience who may be non Muslims.

00:01:17--> 00:01:22

Perhaps some of the things which I reflected on some of the experiences which I went through

00:01:24--> 00:01:35

our shared experiences, and perhaps it would cause them to reflect, as I reflected, and have a look at Islam

00:01:36--> 00:01:38

as a viable alternative

00:01:39--> 00:01:43

to whatever systems or beliefs they now hold.

00:01:45--> 00:01:47

I was born in Jamaica,

00:01:49--> 00:01:53

which is an island I'm sure most of you know about it.

00:01:55--> 00:01:57

It seems to be most important

00:01:59--> 00:02:01

for reggae,

00:02:02--> 00:02:05

in the world of music, and

00:02:08--> 00:02:11

rum, for those who are into drugs.

00:02:14--> 00:02:17

It is also known as a an area of,

00:02:19--> 00:02:21

of tourism.

00:02:24--> 00:02:29

At any rate, I was born in a Christian family, my mother was an Anglican.

00:02:31--> 00:02:34

My father Presbyterian, and

00:02:36--> 00:02:37

my father's father

00:02:38--> 00:02:43

was one of the leading church scholars there in Jamaica.

00:02:44--> 00:02:45

He had learned Greek

00:02:46--> 00:02:50

and Hebrew, and was quite a figure.

00:02:51--> 00:03:01

I didn't spend much time in Jamaica, My parents migrated to Canada when I was quite young. So I really don't have too many recollections of

00:03:03--> 00:03:11

religion, beyond as a child, not wanting to put the penny in the plate.

00:03:12--> 00:03:12

You know,

00:03:14--> 00:03:29

we all had were given coins to take to church. And when the plate was passed around, you had to put the penny or whatever in the plate. And I remember doing so because of course, parents were there and you couldn't put it in your pocket.

00:03:31--> 00:03:35

But doing so quite reluctantly and wondering to myself, why, why are we doing this?

00:03:36--> 00:03:38

I would much prefer to

00:03:40--> 00:03:42

use it to buy some candy or something else.

00:03:44--> 00:03:47

At any rate, My parents migrated to Canada.

00:03:49--> 00:03:51

What I can recall of

00:03:52--> 00:03:57

growing up in Canada, primary and secondary education

00:04:01--> 00:04:04

is having to go swimming,

00:04:05--> 00:04:05

naked.

00:04:06--> 00:04:09

This is what has left the biggest impression on me

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

that

00:04:11--> 00:04:18

all the way through junior high school in high school. All the boys had to go swimming naked.

00:04:19--> 00:04:24

You weren't allowed to swim with swimming trunks unless you had a special

00:04:26--> 00:04:31

permit, you know, something from the doctor, the support of your family to get you out of it.

00:04:33--> 00:04:41

So we all had to go swimming naked and of course, showers after Jim. It was just a big hall with shower heads and everybody showered naked.

00:04:44--> 00:04:50

I couldn't really I felt shy about it. I couldn't really understand why we had to do it. But this is what we had to do.

00:04:52--> 00:04:59

Much later in life, I came to realize that that there was a philosophy behind this something

00:05:00--> 00:05:03

Being introduced as a means of

00:05:05--> 00:05:12

breaking down the feelings of shyness that people naturally hold to exposing themselves in front of others.

00:05:13--> 00:05:21

And it was a product of the Darwinian approach to sociology, psychology,

00:05:22--> 00:05:26

wherein feelings of shyness are looked at as being,

00:05:28--> 00:05:34

sickness, a sign of some kind of mental problem.

00:05:35--> 00:05:47

Since animals are not shy, we don't find dogs and cats, etc, being shy of being naked amongst their kind. Why should humans beings be shy?

00:05:49--> 00:05:53

At any rate, with regards to Christianity

00:05:54--> 00:05:58

during my primary and secondary levels of education,

00:06:00--> 00:06:03

Christianity was Sunday school.

00:06:05--> 00:06:08

Sunday school was where you met girls

00:06:10--> 00:06:11

and arranged parties.

00:06:15--> 00:06:15

So

00:06:16--> 00:06:25

in terms of religious instruction, I guess it was going on. But most of us as children or young people were oblivious to it.

00:06:28--> 00:06:32

In terms of Islam, what I saw of Islam during that period

00:06:35--> 00:06:39

what I can remember, there was one song called Ahab, the Arab.

00:06:40--> 00:07:19

I don't know later on, I came to find there is no Arabic name called Ahab, there's no Arabs by the name of Ahab. But this was the name of the song he have the Arab Sheik have the burning sense. And I just, this is what I remember, cartoons. The image of that Arab riding on the camel with a sword in one hand and the Quran in the other, you know, you either accept this Quran or you lose your head. This was the image. And in terms of reading, the the only reading material I can remember really is the 1001 Nights, which was basically a book of pornography, you know about

00:07:20--> 00:07:25

the sexual lives of the Sultan's and the caliphs.

00:07:29--> 00:07:33

My family, after I completed high school migrated to Malaysia.

00:07:34--> 00:07:45

My parents were there with the Colombo Plan. Both of my parents were teachers. And they were there helping the Malaysian government in their educational program.

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

They're my friends are mainly expats.

00:07:52--> 00:08:00

And I can honestly say that there was no visible signs of Islam in the society.

00:08:02--> 00:08:03

Beyond

00:08:04--> 00:08:09

I guess, beyond the impression, which was made very clear to us as

00:08:11--> 00:08:13

expats, that

00:08:14--> 00:08:22

you don't mess with Malay girls, otherwise you will get killed. You know, this is basically the

00:08:23--> 00:08:26

it was no connection with Islam, it was just Malay, really.

00:08:29--> 00:08:41

I must say that later on. Years later, after becoming a muslim, and making Hajj. I remember seeing a number of people there in Mecca, and in Medina,

00:08:43--> 00:08:44

wearing these white

00:08:46--> 00:08:50

coverings. And these women, they they look like the same people I saw in Malaysia.

00:08:51--> 00:09:27

But I'd never seen anybody like that dressed like that. And I remember asking some of my friends there. You know why these people are? They said they're from Malaysia. I said, Well, I never saw anybody like that. Well, they explained to me that in Malaysia, you know, the women didn't dress like that, just as I saw them was how they dressed, you know, wearing the cultural garments that they were and they would carry their Islamic dress in a bag to the mosque if they went to the mosque, and then they would put it on when they went inside the mosque. So I never saw that garb because people didn't wear it openly in the society.

00:09:30--> 00:09:37

During this period, my mother and father adopted an Indonesian boy,

00:09:38--> 00:09:53

whose name was out soon a man his name was contracted to Westman. He was born in Malaysia, but was from Indonesian parentage. And because of the fact that the at the time may still be the same policy, I don't know that

00:09:54--> 00:09:59

Indonesians who were born in Malaysia would not be given an opportunity for higher education.

00:10:00--> 00:10:05

You know, beyond high school a levels, they wouldn't be given a chance to go to university colleges.

00:10:06--> 00:10:30

So my, my mother had taken a liking to this particular boy, and was concerned about the fact that he didn't have any future and wanted to take him to Canada so that he will be able to continue his education. But the Canadian government insisted that the only way that he could be taken was if he was adopted. So my parents adopted them.

00:10:31--> 00:10:39

And myself, my brother and sister, lived together with him for some years there in Malaysia before going to Canada.

00:10:40--> 00:10:41

Now,

00:10:43--> 00:11:08

here was a Muslim element in my family, but which had no real impression on me because of the fact that my adopted brother, and of course, I should mention that according to Islamic law, adoption is not permissible. But at any rate, this is what happened, his father was dead, and my parents took him in, and his name was, was changed, his family name was changed to our family name.

00:11:09--> 00:11:12

But he was a quiet and shy Muslim.

00:11:13--> 00:11:17

He never said anything to us about Islam.

00:11:18--> 00:11:20

Sometimes we'd open his room door.

00:11:21--> 00:11:38

And, you know, if he was happened to be praying near the door, you know, the door would bounce him in the head while he was in frustration, you know, we closed back the door, and speak to ourselves and say, you know, what, what's going on? What is he doing in there? You know, we'd wonder is there we'd see him on the ground, you know, with his head on the ground.

00:11:39--> 00:11:46

But we were ourselves embarrassed to ask him about it. And he never said anything to us.

00:11:47--> 00:12:05

So, though he was Muslim within the family, if my mother was preparing food, and you know, we all ate pork. Well, she prepared fish for him. We understood that he was eating different things and we ate. And during the month of Ramadan,

00:12:06--> 00:12:18

my mother would get up early, and prepare sower for him. So he fasted he fasted he prayed, you know, he did his basic Islam, in the family, but he never said anything to us.

00:12:19--> 00:12:20

For myself,

00:12:21--> 00:12:29

while going to school there, I got involved in music. I came to be known at that time as the Jimi Hendrix of Saba

00:12:31--> 00:12:41

emulating his style of dress and the type of music that he used to play. So I had my own rock group there.

00:12:43--> 00:12:44

And

00:12:45--> 00:12:48

this was basically the focus of my life until

00:12:49--> 00:13:07

I finished off high school and decided to go back to Canada to further my education. On a tertiary level, which is the university I was accepted in University of Simon Fraser. And there I went to do a degree in biochemistry

00:13:10--> 00:13:30

at Simon Fraser University at the time, was one of the more experimental universities in the sense that they were introducing the credit hour system, which was not followed by the the other universities across the country. They were following the British system of a single course throughout the year.

00:13:31--> 00:13:33

And at the same time,

00:13:35--> 00:13:57

what you found there was there was a really a great looseness in the whole structure of the university. And there were a number of American students in this university would come up to the university and their ideas were influencing the students at the university. And what we found there is that in the liberal arts program, sociology, the humanities, sociology, psychology and

00:13:58--> 00:14:01

anthropology, the professor's

00:14:02--> 00:14:05

were from the Timothy Leary

00:14:06--> 00:14:13

school. So I don't know if you know who Timothy Leary is, but he's an individual just died a few months back and

00:14:14--> 00:14:15

had his remains

00:14:16--> 00:14:19

shot out into space on a rocket.

00:14:20--> 00:14:24

Timothy Leary was the discoverer of LSD

00:14:25--> 00:14:27

psychedelic drugs.

00:14:29--> 00:14:33

And anyway, these professors following the same tradition of Timothy Leary

00:14:35--> 00:14:40

used to begin classes by passing out a bag of marijuana.

00:14:41--> 00:14:47

And after everybody had smoked up, then discussion began.

00:14:51--> 00:14:51

So,

00:14:52--> 00:14:54

as I said, Simon Fraser was

00:14:56--> 00:14:59

quite different from most universities at the time.

00:15:00--> 00:15:02

The situation there was quite fluid.

00:15:04--> 00:15:20

The, at the same time what was going on was there was a subtle introduction of ideas of communism in the minds of the students. You know, in these type of courses, even though my major was biochemistry, we have to take these other courses as electives. And

00:15:22--> 00:15:27

these ideas of communism are being introduced as they will guide and,

00:15:28--> 00:15:48

and provide leadership for that student revolt. Eventually, the campus Samford University campus was shut down, students took it over took over the administration. And of course, a protest at the time was against the candidates involvement with America in the Vietnam War.

00:15:52--> 00:15:56

During this period, I was directly involved. And

00:15:58--> 00:16:08

I began a conversion to what may be called revolutionary politics. I scrapped Christianity because it was really

00:16:10--> 00:16:21

something which wasn't implemented in my life, so to speak. I mean, if somebody asked me whether you're Christian, I guess up to that point, I would have said, Yes, I was a Christian. But what it meant to be a Christian.

00:16:23--> 00:16:27

That was left to the individual's interpretation.

00:16:28--> 00:16:32

And I guess that's basically the way it is for most people today, who are Christians.

00:16:33--> 00:16:34

During this period,

00:16:36--> 00:16:41

I began to do a lot of reading in Marxist Leninist literature.

00:16:42--> 00:16:49

And I was exposed briefly to something of Islam through the autobiography of Malcolm X.

00:16:50--> 00:16:51

However,

00:16:52--> 00:17:00

it was read his autobiography was read, as a part of required reading, you know, for you to be a

00:17:01--> 00:17:19

solid revolutionary in those days, you had to read certain books, you know, you just had to get through these books, to have to be able to say, I read these books. So I read it amongst the books. I mean, there was some interesting information, probably regarding his early life, in terms of the type of

00:17:20--> 00:17:33

racial and justices which existed in America, which awoken me more along with other books of this type, to the oppression which existed in in Western society, and made me more

00:17:36--> 00:17:48

open to embrace the communist ideal of a just society, communist banners of equality, justice, and

00:17:49--> 00:17:55

fair distribution of wealth, etc, was very attractive at that time. So

00:17:57--> 00:18:10

I converted to communism, I dropped out of school finished off basically what was called an associate degree, two years in biochemistry. And from there, I

00:18:12--> 00:18:18

left Canada and went down to the States because this was where revolutionary activities were taking place.

00:18:19--> 00:18:27

I joined a group there in Los Angeles, and San Francisco, known as the solid that Defense Committee,

00:18:29--> 00:18:36

which was basically involved in gathering funds for a court case which was going on at the time.

00:18:39--> 00:18:40

For both

00:18:41--> 00:18:47

the solid brothers, as well as Angela Davis, because she was in prison at the time.

00:18:48--> 00:18:53

What I noted, I had gone down there with a lot of ideals

00:18:55--> 00:19:06

about communism and its implementation. What I noted was that there were a number of discrepancies in terms of the morality of the people involved.

00:19:08--> 00:19:19

After one rally, where we had marched with placards and everything through the city and and there was set of donations collected and taken back to the headquarters.

00:19:22--> 00:19:39

I wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes, I didn't have any more money. And I said to the person was there in the office, you know, if they could lend me some money to buy a pack of cigarettes, they said, okay, they pull open the drawer and out of the donation box that gave me some money to buy cigarettes.

00:19:41--> 00:19:59

I took it and went and bought the cigarettes but something struck me is how could this be that we were gathering this money to help these people's legal cause and then they so easily would take from this money to give me to buy cigarettes and they told me it's okay, you know, we all get our basic thing.

00:20:00--> 00:20:06

Have it. And I came to found find out that, in fact, everybody's rent was being paid out of these

00:20:07--> 00:20:27

funds. You know, people were buying cars for transportation parties were organized with these funds, you know, drugs and alcohol was bought with these funds. So, you know, it really bothered me, I continued with them. But this thing really stuck at me and just left me really

00:20:28--> 00:20:34

disheartened. And the final straw was at the major rally, which was held in

00:20:36--> 00:20:45

Los Angeles, were the the leaders of the various organizations that were active at the time, the Black Panthers and others got together. And

00:20:47--> 00:20:49

everybody was just

00:20:50--> 00:21:18

drunk at this, it was done at a big park, and people were just, you know, drunk out of their minds, you know, after a lot of talk, and then it was just a whole drunken scene. And to me, me, though, I won't say I wasn't involved in drugs at the time, also, like everybody else. But, you know, it was something like, you don't do this, when you are involved in party activities and things like this, you know, it was sort of supposed to be controlled. I mean, that's how what people said.

00:21:19--> 00:21:21

But the fact of the matter is that

00:21:22--> 00:21:25

there was this just wide open,

00:21:27--> 00:21:48

lack of discipline amongst these people. And I felt inside myself that, you know, this was not going anywhere, really, I could see there was nowhere, nothing, no very future in it. Probably one of the most popular books for standard reading, at that time was a book called sola nice.

00:21:49--> 00:21:51

The person who wrote it,

00:21:52--> 00:22:11

who was a member of the Black Panthers, he wrote this book, which was basically about raping white women. Right, this was what the book was about, um, how many different white women he raped, and it was, was presented in such a way that, you know, people were looking at this as being, you know, his

00:22:12--> 00:22:26

reaction to racism in America, and you know, it was all justified. But I couldn't get over when I was reading this, this just seemed to be a book of a serial rapist, I couldn't see that other side of it. But this was standard reading.

00:22:29--> 00:22:35

After the rally in the park in Los Angeles, I decided to go back to Toronto, and,

00:22:36--> 00:22:59

you know, get involved there instead, you know, with people who maybe I was more familiar with, I went back and join an organization there called black youth organization, which worked with the black students union and University of Toronto campus. And, you know, being involved again, this was still an extension of communist politics, with some element of nationalistic

00:23:01--> 00:23:04

teachings, which is that we would focus on

00:23:05--> 00:23:07

black Canadians and, and

00:23:09--> 00:23:11

try to elevate their consciousness

00:23:12--> 00:23:13

towards the

00:23:14--> 00:23:27

oppression which existed. But, again, I found myself in a situation where it was mainly students and young people talking to young people, you know, we weren't really affecting anything in the society.

00:23:28--> 00:23:56

And I could say, probably, my, my biggest exposure, here was to reading further reading two books, of famous writers of the past. Probably the most striking thought that I can remember from that era, was that of a writer, Frederick Douglass, who back in the 1800s, he was a

00:23:57--> 00:24:20

black man who had been freed and was quite outspoken for the cause of black people in America. He made a statement that the limits of oppressors are defined by those who they oppress. Where he put the responsibility on the oppressed. They're the ones ultimately that define

00:24:22--> 00:24:23

how much they will be oppressed.

00:24:25--> 00:24:48

That left a sort of a an impression on myself, in that it sort of indicated that the state of people is determined by their own consciousness, if they don't want to be free, if they don't want to be liberated. They don't want to be educated, then they won't be you know, you really can't make people free. People have to want to be free.

00:24:50--> 00:24:59

During this period, I had some exposure to Islam. We had a standard movie that everybody had to watch known as the Battle of Algiers, which

00:25:00--> 00:25:35

I documented the Algerian struggle for independence. And of course, the battle cry. During that struggle was Allahu Akbar, you know, there were women wearing hijab and hiding weapons under their outer garments. And, you know, so there was something of Islam there. Then I also came in contact with the black Muslims, Elijah Muhammad, followers, I went to the States again and visited some of their temples. But though I was impressed by the discipline that they had, in terms of the personal discipline, outwardly anyway,

00:25:36--> 00:25:49

this idea that God was a black man, just, I realize, I've given up the idea of God anyway, no being becoming an economist, but then the idea that God was a black man

00:25:50--> 00:25:54

who should be worshipped, became even more ludicrous to me.

00:25:56--> 00:26:04

So I didn't find really anything attractive about Islam at that period. And I just continued to,

00:26:05--> 00:26:18

to be involved in the activities of this, this organization, I continue to play music at the time, I used to play nightclubs and for rallies, you know, to raise money or also for the activities of the

00:26:19--> 00:26:20

organization.

00:26:22--> 00:26:25

But slowly again, I found myself

00:26:27--> 00:26:34

in a state where I didn't see any future in what we were doing. We were not affecting any major change in the society.

00:26:37--> 00:26:56

It seemed really odd to be going anywhere. At this time, what struck me was a movement in South America, I think they were called to Paramus or Tupamaros or something like this in Argentina, they were all urban guerrillas. You know, they had taken the struggle to the streets, you know,

00:26:57--> 00:26:59

fighting the government

00:27:00--> 00:27:33

directly. And they were movements in the states like the SDS students, for democratic society, were taking that route also. So I find that seemed like that's the only thing that was left, you know, to be talking and rallying, this didn't seem to be going anywhere. The only thing left was now to take the battle to the streets. So I decided to apply to go and study urban guerrilla warfare in China. And I went to the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, because Canada maintained relations with China during this period.

00:27:35--> 00:27:40

And I went to see the ambassador and the person in charge of education, etc. To make this application.

00:27:42--> 00:27:45

What struck me was the person who came to me

00:27:47--> 00:28:20

was a chain smoker. I mean, he was smoking the whole time. And these cigarettes without filters, even, you know, very strong cigarettes, but the whole time every cigarette was finished, it started the next one. And to me at that time, the idea of control, control of cigarettes and drugs and these type of things, I thought it was important. And this sort of struck me as something which wasn't very good, because here was a person was supposed to be representative of the revolution. And he had no personal discipline.

00:28:22--> 00:28:28

At any rate, I filled out my application, they told me, you know, we'll send you word.

00:28:30--> 00:28:35

As soon as the okay comes, I went back to Toronto, and waited.

00:28:36--> 00:28:37

This was

00:28:39--> 00:28:43

the, over the Christmas holidays of 1971.

00:28:45--> 00:28:46

And,

00:28:47--> 00:28:48

at this point,

00:28:49--> 00:28:56

what I found was that when I got back to Toronto, that a good friend of mine who was in the

00:28:57--> 00:29:03

leadership committee of this organization, which I belong to, had accepted Islam.

00:29:05--> 00:29:07

She was the she became the wife of

00:29:08--> 00:29:13

a known speaker today, Dr. Abdullah Hakim quick,

00:29:15--> 00:29:21

who was involved in lecturing in different parts of the world. I think he has come to Australia before.

00:29:22--> 00:29:59

In any case, his wife was good friend of mine had accepted Islam. And this caused me to say, well, let me have a look because she was perhaps an even more fervent communist than I was she had, she was a more Maoist, you know, which is like the extreme wing at that time. She had memorized, virtually memorized mostly tunes read book, you know, will be able to make quotes anytime quotes were needed for Mo. So for her to convert, it struck me as something. There's got to be something behind this. So I asked her for some books and I began to read it

00:30:02--> 00:30:06

The first book I read was called Islam the misunderstood religion.

00:30:07--> 00:30:15

And this is written by Muhammad Cotto. And this book basically was a comparison between Islam, and

00:30:17--> 00:30:26

all of the other systems that are out there. Christianity, communism, capitalism, socialism, from

00:30:28--> 00:30:49

a social point of view, political point of view, economics know from all of the various aspects. And after reading that book, actually, I was convinced that Islam really had the best program for human society, for establishing justice, etc, in human society.

00:30:52--> 00:30:57

I continue to read towards understanding Islam, by Maududi, and other books.

00:30:58--> 00:31:01

And I became more and more convinced of that

00:31:03--> 00:31:08

reality that Islam really did have the best program, but the concept of God,

00:31:10--> 00:31:29

the concept of God was something which just didn't reappear, you know, mainly because you would like to believe we just start to believe, having denied God for some years before, it would take some time before belief in God was something

00:31:30--> 00:31:32

which became a part of my life again.

00:31:33--> 00:31:45

And actually, the turning point for myself, you know, having reflected in disgust, etc, about God and belief in God. It came from me at a time when

00:31:46--> 00:31:48

in the commune in which I lived,

00:31:49--> 00:31:53

I had my own room, and I had a lot of books.

00:31:55--> 00:32:10

And sometimes people would come in and borrow the books and read them in in my room, I didn't allow people to take them out of the room, they would come in and read them sit at my desk and read. And one occasion I was lying on my bed, and some people had come in was sitting at the desk reading.

00:32:11--> 00:32:22

And I got into a state, which was sort of between waking and sleep. I was aware of the people in the room, but yet I was dreaming.

00:32:23--> 00:32:34

And I saw myself going into this warehouse, with a bicycle of mine, I was walking it into this warehouse, and the further I went into the warehouse, the darker it got.

00:32:36--> 00:32:57

And I started to get this feeling of a fear because of the fact that I guess I'm maybe I had a fear of darkness. But the further I went into, the more this feeling started to overcome me that perhaps I may not be able to get out of this place, I would continue to turn back to make sure that the entrance through which I came was still there.

00:33:00--> 00:33:08

And each time I turned, I could still see it, though getting smaller and smaller. Eventually, I turned around and there was no entrance, I was in total blackness.

00:33:09--> 00:33:24

And I got this fear, which basically was saying to me, if you don't get out of this, you will never get out was, I guess, a fear of death or whatever. But I was just overwhelmed by it. And

00:33:25--> 00:33:27

I wanted to get out. So I started to scream.

00:33:28--> 00:33:30

I was aware of the people in the room,

00:33:32--> 00:33:40

I started to scream out to them help me. But words wouldn't come out. There was stuck my throat. They couldn't hear me.

00:33:41--> 00:33:54

I wasn't able to get out of the situation, I kept screaming. until I reached the point I realized there was no way out. I was lost totally. And at the point when I realized this, and I gave up. I woke up.

00:33:55--> 00:34:01

And, and I sat and thought about this, that, to me.

00:34:02--> 00:34:08

It was like confirmation that there was a force beyond me, confirmation of the existence of God in that

00:34:09--> 00:34:14

I wasn't able to get myself out of that situation. The people in the room were not able to help me

00:34:16--> 00:34:32

that were not for that which was beyond me getting me out of that situation I couldn't have. So that had a marked effect on me. Shortly after that, I decided to accept Islam. And when I was taught how to pray,

00:34:33--> 00:34:39

the sujood in particular, I realized that my adopted brother was a Muslim.

00:34:42--> 00:34:59

At that point, I mean, I was happy on one hand, but I was shocked on the other hand, that he had understood all of this and had all of this all these years and had never said anything. I went out to Ottawa because my parents were there and he was there studying with my parents University. He was very happy to see me

00:35:00--> 00:35:11

I was happy but upset. You know, I was upset with him because I thought, why, why all these years you with us, he never said anything. You know, he said that, you know, he felt embarrassed because

00:35:13--> 00:35:39

for him to say anything to us that might influence us to become Muslims, he felt it would be a disservice to my parents who had helped him. And, you know, he just felt shy about causing any problems in the family. But I told him, you know, of course, that he has an obligation to God, you know, that obligation is above all else, if he had that knowledge, he should have shared it with us, giving us the ability, or the right to make the choice for ourselves.

00:35:42--> 00:35:51

At any rate, after that, I returned to Toronto, and began to study Arabic, and Islam.

00:35:53--> 00:36:35

I continue to play music for a little bit. Nobody told me it was haram or forbidden. But I just at that point, you know, I'm, I find myself there in nightclubs playing with the other members of the group. Everybody else in the group is high on drugs. And, you know, I'm playing into a club, where everybody there is drunk. And, you know, it's like I was in another world, I was amongst them, but I was not a part of it, you know, and the corruption that was there was so obvious to me, I felt myself out of place, you know, I shouldn't be here. So, you know, it wasn't too long after that, that I decided to just pack it in. I sold all my musical equipment, records everything and just, you

00:36:35--> 00:36:38

know, got out of it, and started to focus on studying Islam.

00:36:42--> 00:37:22

At this point, I traveled to, to England, I joined the Jamaat, I believe, because they were the most active Islamic group at the time, there was a particular individual, known as Colonel Sabu, Colonel Amira, Dean from India, was very, very vibrant personality, you know. And he took a group of us to England for the first major HDMI, they're called, is Sheffield digital. And I spent about three months in England with the Jamaat, I believe, I was going there for seven days initially, what my commitment was seven days. But you know, they have a way that

00:37:26--> 00:37:31

they make you make sacrifices that you don't necessarily want to make at the time. So I ended up being there for almost three months.

00:37:33--> 00:37:42

And I was married, actually, I was married, about three weeks before I went off on the seven day trip. And, you know, they would,

00:37:44--> 00:37:59

in the gatherings, they would, you know, point me out and say, Look at this brother, look at the sacrifice that he made, you know, he just got married, he's out with us, you know, and he's spending this time and he's gonna spend even more time and of course, after saying that, you know, I was obliged to spend

00:38:01--> 00:38:07

another couple of weeks, you know, till eventually it became three months, my wife was writing me frantic letters, you know,

00:38:08--> 00:38:09

if you don't come back.

00:38:11--> 00:38:18

Finally, you know, I managed to extricate myself and get back before my marriage was destroyed.

00:38:19--> 00:38:20

I didn't know any rate.

00:38:22--> 00:38:27

That was a learning experience for me. You know, I'd gone there with the intention of,

00:38:31--> 00:38:33

of increasing my knowledge about Islam.

00:38:35--> 00:38:58

Hamdulillah, Colonel Amira, Dean taught me Tajweed proper recitation of the Quran. And I had been told there that in England, you know, in the many mosques that they had in England, there were scholars in each mosque there who you could learn with. So, wherever I went, whenever we stopped at any of the mosques, I would sit under the scholar there and take my notes, asking questions, etc.

00:38:59--> 00:39:12

And I came back, and when I came back to Canada, I announced to my wife that we are now Hanafis she said, What is the Hanafi? Well, I explained to her that, you know, we are Hanafi is, you know, because

00:39:13--> 00:39:16

the Jamaat was teaching that, you know, of course, you had to follow a madhhab

00:39:17--> 00:39:34

you have to follow one of the schools of Islamic law. And although they're all the same, you know, somebody will come along and tell you well, you know, the greatest Imam was Imam Abu Hanifa. You know, he was the first most Muslims are Hanafis

00:39:35--> 00:39:36

so then

00:39:37--> 00:39:45

we're all Hanafis so that's the best thing to be. So then I became a Hanafy and informed my wife

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

that

00:39:49--> 00:39:58

she should be Hanafy. Also, whilst I was there, I also learned the prayer for women because the Hanafis teach a separate form of prayer for women.

00:40:01--> 00:40:08

So it's a quite tricky form of prayer. I don't know if there any Hanafis in the audience here. But if you ever

00:40:09--> 00:40:18

if a woman has to learn how to pray, if she hasn't learned how to pray the Hanafi way, for women special prayer, it's it's quite tricky. It involves a certain, you know,

00:40:20--> 00:40:24

gymnastic ability to some degree. And

00:40:26--> 00:40:34

at any case, I learned it so I could teach it to my wife and I taught it to her. And after that, we moved, and we're living next to the masjid.

00:40:36--> 00:40:51

In the house of a brother, we had rented an apartment. And his brother Mahmoud Al was originally from Egypt. His father had been a scholar in Egypt and was part of the one movement, one of the students of Hassan Al Banna.

00:40:52--> 00:41:14

And I started to learn Arabic from him. And Phil, we started to look at the books and he was explaining to me different things. And then I started to find these discrepancies between what I was now learning and what I had learned when I'd gone into my tablet. Of course, he was from the Shaeffer school of thought. And we explained that this is the Shafique position, and here's the evidence for it, etc. And I started to see these

00:41:15--> 00:41:31

differences, which led me to believe that I needed to go and learn Arabic thoroughly, and study Islamic law from the sources myself. So I applied to go and study in Saudi Arabia, to University of Medina, and was accepted there and began to study.

00:41:32--> 00:41:43

I completed a BA in Sula, Diener, Islamic Studies. And following that I went to Riyadh and did a master's in Islamic theology. When I went to Riyadh,

00:41:44--> 00:42:13

my parents actually were there before me, they were there teaching because after having left Malaysia, they came back after I left came back to Canada. From there, they went to Nigeria to northern Nigeria, where they taught for some years, they went to Yemen after that. And then they came out to Riyadh and began teaching there at a school called the minority schools. And I was invited while doing my masters to start teaching their Islamic studies.

00:42:14--> 00:42:32

So I took on this responsibility of teaching students mainly who were expatriates, which is an English medium expatriates working there, their parents had studied in America or England, and wanted this to their children to continue in English medium.

00:42:34--> 00:43:10

Most of the students were Western from Western background. So the previous Islamic Studies teacher was originally from Pakistan, they brought him there to teach, the students just wore him down, you know, they were thoroughly westernized, and you know, he just couldn't handle them. Because in Pakistan and India, students are quiet, you know, the teacher speaks, the teacher comes in, everybody stands up, and they're quiet until it passes over. Whereas people in America, you know, they've learned this sort of this sort of rebellious kind of attitude amongst the students, they would like to talk in class. And, you know, if they find a teacher is weak, and doesn't, you know,

00:43:10--> 00:43:16

have a strong personality, then they will just chase them out of the classroom, either by throwing spitballs at them, or whatever, you know,

00:43:18--> 00:43:25

at any case, this individually didn't last more than half a term, you know, he was packed his bags and left. So they asked me to step in.

00:43:27--> 00:44:11

And of course, having come from a Western background, I really knew how to deal with these students. So we developed a good rapport, rapport, and I continue to teach there. And in the course of teaching, of course, I came to realize that there was a major lack of materials in English, to convey the type of basic information which I felt needed to be conveyed about Islam, which was not from a particular madhhab point of view, but an open approach to the presentation of Islamic teachings. So it required me to start to do a lot of writing, preparing notes for the students, and eventually I, I prepared some books, and tried to publish them back in 1981. But I wasn't

00:44:11--> 00:44:45

successful, couldn't find a publisher. It wasn't until about 1985 that I published the first two books, one was called polygamy in Islam. And the other one was called the devil's deception of the Shia. I mean, these two books were addressing particular problems which existed at that time in America, polygamy from the point of view that when a person is a Muslim, or convert Muslim, the first thing that non Muslims like to ask is, why do Muslim men have four wives? You know, this was the first question. So I felt it was important to,

00:44:46--> 00:44:59

to write something on that topic. And the other problem was that of Shia Islam, which was being promoted because this was after the revolution in Iran was being promoted very strongly in America.

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

Amongst convert Muslims. Now this was an unfortunate situation because the revolution on one hand was claiming that we're all the same. We're all Muslims, you know, no difference between Sunni and Shia and so on. So, but at the same time

00:45:19--> 00:45:26

the Shiites would focus on Muslims to convert them to Shia Islam. And also it seemed to me to be

00:45:28--> 00:45:45

definitely a devious approach, because on one hand, they were saying there was no difference. But on the other hand, they were trying to convert ignorant Muslims to Shia Islam, as opposed to going to non Muslims and clarifying for them what Islam was.

00:45:47--> 00:46:28

I during this period, I also began to I once I finished my masters at imam in Saudi Arabia university or King Saud University, I began to a PhD in University of Wales. And the focus of my PhD was that of exorcism and Islam. A lot of people were asking me why why exorcism? You know, Couldn't you find anything else to write about? Now what for me, I began to study of exorcism which involved you know, traveling to different parts of the Muslim world and investigating because it was something which was out there, which, though I had studied all the way up to a master's level, I really didn't get

00:46:29--> 00:46:46

a clear picture as to what was involved in what is the rights and the wrongs with regards to exorcism. So, I decided to make that my focus for the PhD. And at the same time, I felt, I wanted to utilize it as a means to

00:46:47--> 00:46:49

provide in the

00:46:50--> 00:47:11

orientalist circles, material which was authentic on the spirit world of Islam, you know, the human spirit, the world of the jinn, the world of the angels, because this would become a major part of the thesis, because anybody researching today,

00:47:12--> 00:47:45

the spirit world in Islam, what they find is the writings of orientalist, which in which they have gathered, the folktales, and myths of Muslim peoples from all around the world, and they have presented this as being the Islamic view of the spirit world. But in fact, it's a lot of confusion. And anybody studying it would think that come out thinking that Islam has got a very confused concept of the spirit world. So I felt that this thesis would also provide this foundation.

00:47:47--> 00:47:47

Now,

00:47:49--> 00:47:53

whilst doing the PhD, the Gulf War came up.

00:47:54--> 00:47:59

And prior to the Gulf War, I was invited out to

00:48:01--> 00:48:01

the

00:48:03--> 00:48:38

base in the Quran. So it was the Saudi Arabian cultural information tent. There, we provided information about Saudi Arabian culture, which of course, much of which is from Islam. So it meant explaining things about Islam. And we took the troops into the city, we help them purchase things, we show them different aspects of Islamic society, we took them into mosques, etc. And in the course of six months before they were all processed out of the country, and Hamdulillah, more than 3000 of them had accepted Islam.

00:48:40--> 00:48:41

And following that,

00:48:43--> 00:49:09

I joined the Saudi Arabian Air Force headquarters in Riyadh, in the Islamic affairs department, and continued to work do work amongst the Americans, military, people who are in the country. And I went to United States with the American military, and help them set up an organization known as the Muslim members of the military, which

00:49:11--> 00:49:43

established places of worship. And the library's in all of the major basis American bases across the world. And the whole momentum for Islam within the military picked up to such a point that within two years after that, the first Muslim chaplain was designated for the military, the army and then a Muslim Chaplain from the Navy and now they're looking for one from the Air Force. And Islam has continued to grow in leaps and bounds within the military.

00:49:47--> 00:49:48

Following that,

00:49:50--> 00:49:59

I transferred, continued with them for two years. Then I transferred to the UAE United Arab Emirates, where I

00:50:00--> 00:50:33

joined up with a charitable organization there by the name of Dr. Bill and set up for them a data center in Dubai, where I have with me four other brothers and sisters who are involved in Dawa, And Alhamdulillah. It has been quite successful we have an average of about a person daily accepting Islam, most of which are from the Philippines. But we have a large number, also from India, from Hindu and Christian backgrounds, as well as Americans because American

00:50:34--> 00:51:03

ships, Navy ships come through there. And we have a channel network of, of people who are helping us, we work with the taxi drivers, many of the taxi drivers are from, from Pakistan patterns. And when they drive, anybody who questions or ask them anything about Islam or anything to relate to Islam, they immediately bring them to a center. So we can provide information for them, a number of them also carry pamphlets inside of their taxes.

00:51:05--> 00:51:06

I've also been involved in

00:51:08--> 00:51:11

giving lectures about Islam on television, on Sharjah television,

00:51:12--> 00:51:27

as well as at Japan television, two television stations there in the UAE. And I set up a department of foreign literature in Sharjah for the publication of Islamic materials, which, on one hand, supports the dollar center,

00:51:29--> 00:52:04

pamphlets for distribution as well as continuing the publication process which I began in Saudi Arabia, of trying to produce good material in English, which conveys the body of Islamic knowledge which is available in Arabic. And at the same time, I also began to teach at the American University in Dubai, which is a an American university, very Western students there are very westernized and I'm teaching a course in called Introduction to Islam.

00:52:06--> 00:52:14

It is, again, an issue of of Dawa, or explaining Islam to students, many in my class, maybe Muslims, but

00:52:15--> 00:52:22

vast majority of them don't pray or fast these type of things. So, for them, many of them have taken this course as like an elective

00:52:24--> 00:52:30

thinking that would be an easy few credits, only to find me there, you know,

00:52:31--> 00:52:55

shaking them up, you know, and have the lights, it's been a good experience a number of them after, you know, the terms been over have come and told me Well, you know, we started praying now, you know, we appreciate what you said to us. And so, so this is basically the, the activity that I'm involved with, at present, you know, not, of course, dimension, lecturing in different parts of the world,

00:52:56--> 00:53:01

here, as well as Philippines, Malaysia, England, etc.

00:53:02--> 00:53:02

So

00:53:04--> 00:53:15

from that path, which I've outlined to you, which is not only my way to Islam in the sense of my conversion, but my way to

00:53:16--> 00:53:17

understanding Islam,

00:53:18--> 00:53:19

because

00:53:21--> 00:53:39

coming to Islam didn't end with conversion, but has been a continual process. After accepting Islam, a continual process of education, continually increasing my knowledge, and also sharing that knowledge with others.

00:53:40--> 00:53:52

This process, or this path, we can see began in a state of ignorance, where the only images of Islam were very distorted images.

00:53:53--> 00:54:16

There were contacts during that path with Muslims. But those Muslims had no effect on my life, because either one, they were not practicing Islam as it should be practiced, or because they didn't feel a responsibility to carry the message of Islam to the non Muslims around them.

00:54:17--> 00:54:17

As such,

00:54:20--> 00:54:30

it would be my advice, then, to those of you who are Muslims in the audience, to know that it is a responsibility on yourselves to live Islam,

00:54:31--> 00:54:40

whether you may have enough knowledge to propagate it and extend it to others, at least by leaving Islam by being examples of Islam. You may

00:54:41--> 00:54:59

give others who are non Muslims an opportunity of being exposed to Islam, whether it's in a work situation, whether it's at school, with your neighbors or whatever. This is a continual responsibility that you should feel

00:55:01--> 00:55:05

ashamed, if you are not involved in

00:55:06--> 00:55:27

you should feel sinful, because in fact, you are in sin, if you do not share this information, because to have knowledge of God's revelation, and to not share it with others around you to the degrees or to the ability to the level of your own ability is, in fact is a crime. This is a sin.

00:55:29--> 00:56:01

And for those of us who have sufficient knowledge to convey it, and to propagate it, it is very important for us to be actively involved in this matter, to work together, where others may help us because it's always difficult when one is on one's own, when one is by oneself, to have the courage to, to share. But when we are with others, when there are others who are supporting us, encouraging us, then it becomes a lot easier.

00:56:02--> 00:56:05

So I would hope that out of this,

00:56:06--> 00:56:36

you all would reflect on this responsibility. And for those of you who are not Muslims in the audience, I hope you're not offended by anything. I said, if you're a Christian, you know, I mean, as I'm just telling it, like it was for me, I'm not saying that every Christian experienced what I experienced, but I know even till today, Christianity, for most people tends to be very nominal. We are Christians, because our parents were Christians, but what it means to be a Christian, few people really know. And

00:56:38--> 00:56:43

as such, I would invite you to look at the teachings of Islam

00:56:44--> 00:56:45

and see

00:56:47--> 00:56:49

what it has to offer. Because

00:56:51--> 00:57:02

Islam in no in no uncertain terms represents the way of life which Prophet Jesus himself brought, but which became distorted

00:57:03--> 00:57:13

and diluted, to the point where it has very little effect on the lives of Christians today.

00:57:15--> 00:57:33

And with that, Inshallah, I will conclude my speech, hoping that as I said, I didn't offend anybody in sharing with you my own experiences, and hoping that it has been of some guidance or enlightenment, to

00:57:36--> 00:57:43

hamdulillah Salatu was Salam ala Rasulillah, or praises due to Allah and melas Peace and blessings beyond the last messenger of Allah?

00:57:46--> 00:57:48

I have many questions. And

00:57:49--> 00:57:51

I know at the same time, we have

00:57:52--> 00:57:53

about

00:57:55--> 00:57:56

15 minutes

00:57:58--> 00:58:01

or 15 minutes. Okay, that sounds a little better.

00:58:03--> 00:58:21

Right? So we try to answer still, I don't even know if 15 minutes will be enough to deal with all of them. But we'll try to cover them as to cover as many of them as possible, I will focus first on those that are directly related to the talk, and then go to those that were

00:58:23--> 00:58:25

side issues which maybe were

00:58:26--> 00:58:32

implied by the talk, and then those which really have no relevance to the presentation at all.

00:58:34--> 00:58:42

Okay, some direct ones. What effects did Islam have upon your parents and family?

00:58:43--> 00:58:47

Can you tell us whether your family members converted to Islam or not?

00:58:49--> 00:59:08

What happened with regards to my immediate family is that my parents accepted Islam in 1994. And it's three years ago, they accepted Islam, and I accepted Islam in 1972.

00:59:09--> 00:59:32

So what we're talking about this 22 years, so this is like advice also to those who may have accepted Islam also and are trying with their parents and feel very frustrated. You know, that parents are not responding, that one has to be patient. You know, when they are ready, then they will accept Islam.

00:59:33--> 00:59:39

If it is that they want the truth for themselves, to live accordance to that truth.

00:59:40--> 00:59:43

Our duty is only to convey that message to them

00:59:44--> 00:59:49

and to ask God to open their hearts and we have to be patient.

00:59:51--> 00:59:59

We have to show them not only in our words, what Islam is, but we also have to show them more importantly

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

In our deeds

01:00:06--> 01:00:08

the question with regards to my name.

01:00:11--> 01:00:27

You're called Abu Amina, you know Abu Amina means the father of Amina, meaning that my eldest child, her name is Amina. So I took the Kenya or pet name abou Amina.

01:00:28--> 01:00:32

The name, which I chose was Bilal.

01:00:35--> 01:00:44

And my family name Philips, some people question, well, why are you keeping this family name Philips? You know, it's not an Islamic name? Well,

01:00:46--> 01:01:07

according to Islamic law, when a person accepts Islam, they may change their given name. But the family name should not be changed, because it represents one's family. When a person becomes a Muslim, it doesn't mean that they no longer are part of the family that they were born into. They're no longer the son or daughter of their parents.

01:01:08--> 01:01:21

So it is not permissible that the family name be changed. Regardless of what that family name is. We know when we speak of Prophet Muhammad may God's peace and blessings be upon him. We refer to his grandfather,

01:01:22--> 01:01:23

Abdulmutallab

01:01:24--> 01:01:37

which means the slave or worshiper or servant of Allah mattala Muttalib an individual and Allah Tala, which is as a Muslim, an unacceptable name.

01:01:38--> 01:01:49

One may not choose this name to call oneself. Abdul Muttalib is a forbidden name. But if that's the name of one's parent, then we're not allowed to change that name.

01:01:50--> 01:01:52

My name prior to Islam

01:01:54--> 01:01:58

was Dennis. And this name

01:02:00--> 01:02:32

I could not keep the some non Islamic names or non Arabic names which a person may have John, for example, you know, it's not a it doesn't have any bad meaning. So one can keep a name like this or marry you know, or other names from which may be found in the Bible or whose name meaning it's not bad. One is not required to change even the given name. But where the name has a bad meaning. For example, for women, the name Diana, for example, Diana is the goddess of love

01:02:33--> 01:02:47

in Greek, Roman mythology, so for a Muslim to have this name, it's not acceptable. Similarly, Denis comes from Dionysius. Dionysius is one of the Greek gods of

01:02:49--> 01:02:49

party.

01:02:52--> 01:02:57

So it's not exactly an acceptable name. So I changed this name.

01:02:59--> 01:03:00

But you know, I remain

01:03:01--> 01:03:24

Bilaal, the son of Bradley Phillips, my father's name is Bradley Phillips, and so my name has remained as such. Now with regards to the rest of members of my family, my brother and sister were non Muslims, neither have accepted Islam. However, the other two members of

01:03:25--> 01:03:28

the group that I was in in Sabah

01:03:29--> 01:03:46

so many years back, I came to find out last year when I went to Sabah that both of them also accepted Islam. They had accepted Islam on their own one of them had come to Australia and accepted Islam here in Australia. And the other one had accepted Islam there in Sabah.

01:03:47--> 01:03:49

So last year was quite

01:03:50--> 01:04:01

a nice reunion for me with my old friends. Actually, what happened was, I was giving lectures in in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE. And one of the people who attended the lectures there,

01:04:02--> 01:04:37

had gotten some of my books and took them back to Sabah. He was from Sabah. And when his brothers and sisters saw these books, and saw the name on it, Phillips born in Jamaica, from Canada, so they said, wonder if it's the same, you know, Dennis Phillips, who used to know so it asked him to come back and ask me and of course when he asked me I told him yes, I was and now they were quite overjoyed to hear that I'd become Muslim and they invited me to come down there for a series of lectures. One of them had become the head of the you know, cyber

01:04:38--> 01:04:40

security's Islamic securities

01:04:42--> 01:04:45

organ there in Sabah, and

01:04:47--> 01:04:59

my, my old classmates, we had a quite a reunion. Oh my old classmates and friends. Some of my non Muslim friends I had a chance also to sit within try to give them some

01:05:00--> 01:05:04

encouragement to reflect on Islam with the idea of possibly accepting it

01:05:10--> 01:05:11

there's a question

01:05:12--> 01:05:22

regarding my acceptance of Islam, one person question the issue of using the term convert to Islam. I know there is a

01:05:24--> 01:05:33

something of a debate about whether we should say revert, or convert. And I found it to be really something of, of semantics.

01:05:37--> 01:05:41

I left what I believe in,

01:05:43--> 01:05:47

or a way of life which I had inherited,

01:05:48--> 01:05:52

and chose another one, whatever you want to call it, that's what I did.

01:05:55--> 01:05:59

Another person asked, Well, what did you know about Christ before you became a Muslim?

01:06:01--> 01:06:03

To be honest, not very much.

01:06:05--> 01:06:07

Beyond that he was the son of God.

01:06:08--> 01:06:09

And he was God.

01:06:13--> 01:06:16

As I guess most Christians tend to know.

01:06:19--> 01:06:21

I came to know more about Christianity,

01:06:22--> 01:06:24

after having become a Muslim,

01:06:25--> 01:06:30

and looking at it again, you know, what its beliefs were etc.

01:06:31--> 01:06:38

There was another question why it was that I chose Islam and not seek my answers.

01:06:40--> 01:06:43

In Christianity, well, because

01:06:44--> 01:06:47

I had left Christianity because of the fact that

01:06:48--> 01:06:51

what I knew of Christianity didn't address

01:06:52--> 01:07:21

social ills in terms of dealing with society, from a governmental point of view, etc, there was no economic system or anything. I mean, it's just beliefs and issue of beliefs. You know, they may be nice moral beliefs, etc, but they don't address the world. It is live on to God, what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's this is the approach, which is not a practical approach in terms of changing society.

01:07:22--> 01:07:35

So I knew that the answers in terms of of systems wasn't there in Christianity, this is why I didn't go back to seek those answers. Because having converted to communism,

01:07:36--> 01:08:17

I did have a look at Christianity at the time, and in terms of what systems had developed out of Britain, and really the conclusion which the Marxists had made, that religion is the opiate of the masses of the people was drawn from the example of Christianity in Europe, and how it was applied, that it was a means of, of convincing the ignorant masses, that their reward is in the next life. Don't worry about this life. The the rulers who are over you are by God's will, they're in fact closer to God.

01:08:18--> 01:08:26

It's possible if you have more money, to buy tickets to paradise known as the indulgences, which the pope used to sell during the Middle Ages.

01:08:27--> 01:08:43

I mean, this, this whole tradition, led these philosophers to conclude that religion was the opiate of the people. And that tradition, Christian tradition,

01:08:44--> 01:08:47

remains the same.

01:08:49--> 01:08:50

Till today,

01:08:51--> 01:08:52

it doesn't address

01:08:54--> 01:09:13

the ills of society in a solid and reliable way, from my experience, I see it modifying itself with the times. So much so that we now have in different parts of America, you know, homosexual priests,

01:09:14--> 01:09:38

you know, homosexual congregations, you know, this is homosexuality, which was an abomination in Christianity in earlier times, it's become acceptable in the eyes of many Christians today, Christian leading religious people. You know, there's this backtracking this, there is the stability of concepts are even questionable.

01:09:40--> 01:09:41

So,

01:09:42--> 01:09:43

I would say that

01:09:45--> 01:09:55

I've understood more about Christ and Christianity, having become a Muslim than I ever understood

01:09:56--> 01:09:56

as a Christian

01:09:58--> 01:09:59

and I have no

01:10:00--> 01:10:02

qualms in saying that

01:10:04--> 01:10:07

the only way that a person may truly follow

01:10:08--> 01:10:09

Jesus

01:10:11--> 01:10:12

is to become a Muslim.

01:10:14--> 01:10:27

I've written a book called the true message of Jesus Christ, it is available, in which I have gathered, research, to that effect, to show

01:10:28--> 01:10:47

from scriptures Islamic as well as from Christian scriptures that the message which Jesus brought was Islam submission to the will of God. And that his way, the way in which he invited people to was the way of Islam,

01:10:48--> 01:10:54

and that he himself was, in fact, a prophet of God, and not God.

01:11:03--> 01:11:06

What do you like about Islam in simple terms?

01:11:09--> 01:11:10

The completeness,

01:11:12--> 01:11:14

that it is a total system.

01:11:16--> 01:11:24

It is a way of life, which governs all aspects of my life. It's it provides guidance for me,

01:11:25--> 01:11:27

in a world of darkness.

01:11:29--> 01:11:41

Prior to Islam, I know I was stumbling about not knowing which way I was going, just whatever came up by check this out, check that out, you know, stumbling bumbling back and forth.

01:11:43--> 01:11:52

Islam provided stability provided a clear picture with regards to what this world is about.

01:11:53--> 01:11:56

Where I should be going, and what my goals should be.

01:11:58--> 01:11:59

So it has given me

01:12:00--> 01:12:07

inner contentment. I don't feel at ease that I still have to go and find no, I feel that I found

01:12:09--> 01:12:10

the truth.

01:12:12--> 01:12:14

And I really have no doubt about it.

01:12:16--> 01:12:22

I tried to study it as deeply as I could, not merely accepting it, and

01:12:24--> 01:12:29

just going along with what everybody said. But having studied it academically.

01:12:32--> 01:12:35

I really, as I said, Have no doubts about

01:12:36--> 01:12:42

the fact that Islam is the way of life which God has prescribed for human beings.

01:12:45--> 01:12:56

A question regarding the soldiers. As to why so many of them accepted Islam. The fact is that there were many reasons.

01:12:59--> 01:13:38

Some of it was that they were exposed to Islamic society or Muslim society, which even though it has its weaknesses, no one saying that Saudi Arabia is the Ideal Muslim society. It may be quite far from it. But there are strong elements of Islam there in this society. And this had an effect on a number of the soldiers. Some of it may be from the very customs of the people. I know, a number of them told me that when they were out on the desert in maneuvers, you know, their full battle gear and everything be out in the desert, and they would come across a tent

01:13:39--> 01:13:43

with a few camels and individual Bedouin out there on the desert.

01:13:44--> 01:13:56

And they the, the first reaction they expected was that this person would run in horror from them, you know, they were all geared down with all their stuff. But they found instead that the individual would back into them to come over,

01:13:57--> 01:14:03

come and sit down. And they would come up, sit down, you couldn't distinguish the men from the women, you know, they're everybody's all

01:14:05--> 01:14:17

geared down, and he would strike up the fire and put on some tea, offer them some dates. Of course, he couldn't speak any English. They couldn't speak any Arabic, he would just smile and offer them and so on. So

01:14:18--> 01:14:20

they were amazed, you know,

01:14:21--> 01:14:30

you know, just just I know, a number of them said this, to me, it just struck them, you know, this, this generosity and kindness that was there, you know,

01:14:31--> 01:14:57

which they said that they never experienced. Now, having been in a number of other parts of the world, in Korea, in Japan, Europe, you know, different places that they were stationed. They never found this kind of friendliness and openness, you know, amongst the people. So I know this really struck them, a number of them. Others had been exposed to Islam in one way or another in American society.

01:14:59--> 01:14:59

They

01:15:00--> 01:15:13

had a lot of distortions. And so we had open sessions where people could ask any questions they wanted to. And so a lot of clarification was there, which helped to let them understand what Islam really was.

01:15:15--> 01:15:18

There were some who

01:15:19--> 01:15:39

were impressed by the security, which was there in the society. Now, they used to come into town, late at night, when they're off duty, one o'clock in the morning, and they could walk around without a sense of fear that, you know, they're going to be attacked, you know, somebody's gonna rob them, whatever.

01:15:40--> 01:15:55

And this had an impression on number of them, then back in America, they know, they could never do this, no walk around, and that type type of night, you know, wearing any kind of jewelry or anything like this would be putting oneself in a life threatening circumstance.

01:15:57--> 01:15:58

For others,

01:16:00--> 01:16:02

there was the executions,

01:16:03--> 01:16:13

and on some devices, horrible, you know, because they are people were being executed, the public executions that take place there, the crime is read out, and, you know,

01:16:14--> 01:16:17

people observe somebody had been cut off.

01:16:20--> 01:16:21

For some people, that

01:16:22--> 01:16:46

was something which made them want to question want to understand more about Islam. Now, this sort of direct justice, you know, where a person killed somebody, and they're executed finish. They don't languish in jail for many, many years, people's taxes having to pay for them, provide them with television, comfortable living for, you know, 3040 50 years.

01:16:48--> 01:16:49

But

01:16:50--> 01:16:52

this idea of the eye for the eye,

01:16:54--> 01:16:55

made sense to them.

01:16:56--> 01:16:57

And it attracted them

01:16:58--> 01:17:02

for a number, it was the issues concerning women.

01:17:03--> 01:17:22

You know, many coming there had the impression that women are, you know, so oppressed in Islam, and also seeing the women wearing these Abyad the black a bias, you know, totally covered walking through the streets. And the troops had

01:17:24--> 01:17:35

developed a title for them, you know, as we you have UFOs unidentified flying objects, they have, they call them the UB O's, right, the unidentified black objects, you know.

01:17:37--> 01:17:37

So,

01:17:38--> 01:17:43

you know, they're curious as to what was behind all of this. So

01:17:45--> 01:18:01

for a number of the women, they were taking into Saudi homes, and they got to meet Saudi women and discuss with them, they were educated, could speak with them, etc. And they came to understand that Islam, his position was one of protection as opposed to one of oppression.

01:18:04--> 01:18:09

For some, it was the issues of prayer and how the prayer was, that

01:18:11--> 01:18:14

when the time for prayer came, the stores all closed, and people went to prayer.

01:18:16--> 01:18:25

A number of them had been told that the masks were off limits, they shouldn't, you know, go near them. But, you know, we invited them to come to the mosque, we took them in, let them go and see what's inside the mosque, you know, because

01:18:27--> 01:18:59

by telling them, it was off limits it so they left it as a big question mark in their minds, you know, what's, what goes on inside there. So, it was quite impressive for a number of them to come in and see, it was such a simple kind of atmosphere, there are not a whole bunch of pictures and statues and things like this, but just the carpet, you know, and they saw how the prayer was, etc. And this had a an impression on a number of people who were there. For some people, it was an issue of religious discussion. You know, although, you know, our main tent we didn't have

01:19:01--> 01:19:38

we didn't really entertain that much in the way of direct religious discussion. If the topic was light, we would give light clarifications. But if we get got really heavy people wanting to get into Bible verses and all this type of things, we had a second tent, which was next to our main tent, the main tend to be quite large, but 200 used to come in at a time and we'd have these open discussions. We had the separate tent when people decided they want to get into this deep, you know, theological debates, we tell them Okay, listen, you know, we just this is a light discussion if you really want to get into deep theology, then we have the other tent, you can go over to this other tent. When the

01:19:38--> 01:20:00

when they went into the other tent. They were greeted by this SEER Lankan brother, very tall, imposing brother with a big beard and usually wears sunglasses. It looks like a holy man, you know, has the holy man look about him? Who was originally he had originally come to to Saudi Arabia, you know, as a Christian mission

01:20:01--> 01:20:03

You know, having studied, you know, and

01:20:04--> 01:20:28

in seminars in a seminar, and having understood that the last frontier, were the Muslims, right and particularly the Arab Muslims it's been particularly in, in the, in the Gulf in Saudi Arabia, because it's the place where it's just absolutely no conversions. So he was, you know, when these kind of pioneering kind of souls he felt, this is where I'm going. So he

01:20:29--> 01:20:39

got a job as an accountant because he trained accountant, but his real role there was missionary work amongst the Arabs.

01:20:40--> 01:21:18

And when he got there, of course, he got himself a crime because he felt he wanted to be fully versed, he had studied it when he was in doing his basic studies, when he converted, decided to convert one of the organizations in porcine which is involved in, in expanding Islam to non Muslims, took him out of his job, provided the source of income for him and gave him a free hand to, you know, spread the word in different parts of Saudi Arabia, in the camps and various organizations that were available for conveying Islam to

01:21:21--> 01:21:30

to non Muslims. Now, he was, as I said, from a Christian missionary training, he had good thoughts, foreign knowledge of the Bible.

01:21:31--> 01:21:32

And

01:21:33--> 01:21:42

as such, he had the kind of background to deal with the issues that these people were bringing.

01:21:43--> 01:21:59

He would wait for them there, he had two suitcases with him used to carry two suitcases around with him. And these two suitcases had in them about 40 different versions of the Bible. So when they would come in and sit down, he would open up the suitcase and say, well, Which Bible do you want to discuss about?

01:22:00--> 01:22:12

Many of them say, What do you mean? Which Bible is only one Bible? So he'd bring out for them and stack them all up? And say, Well, you know, we have this Bible and that Bible and the other Bible. You know, that was usually quite intimidating for many, you know,

01:22:14--> 01:22:28

at any case, either he convinced them, you know, after some discussion, or they said, well, listen, okay, we don't have answers, but let's go get our, our chaplain, you know, he'll have some answers for you. Questions,

01:22:29--> 01:22:35

or answers to your questions. So they would go back and bring the chaplain

01:22:36--> 01:22:42

and underline the course of discussion 11 of the chaplains converted to Islam.

01:22:44--> 01:22:45

So

01:22:47--> 01:22:48

these were the basic

01:22:49--> 01:23:08

circumstances under which Islam spread amongst the troops, some of them actually, there were other members of their families that were already Muslims. Now, they had curiosity, you know, they were quite open. And to be honest, actually, the the vast majority of those who converted where

01:23:10--> 01:23:53

were Americans from a variety of different backgrounds, you know, mixture of men, women, young, old, black, white, actually, the percentage of white Americans were accepted was someplace around 35%, which is much higher than those who would normally accept Islam in America itself, which really shows that if Islam is exposed to American, the American population as a whole, there will be a lot, a lot, you know, greater response to Islam in America. And we had people who accepted Islam, who were Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, we've had some devil worshippers, you know, who had come, who accepted Islam, you know?

01:23:55--> 01:24:09

Because actually, you know, the American military recognizes devil worship as a legitimate form of worship. And wherever there are chapels for the Christian sects, then there are chapels for the worshipers on all American military bases.

01:24:12--> 01:24:13

The reaction

01:24:14--> 01:24:22

in the military, you know, amongst the chaplains was quite strong, you know, because the tent came to be known as the conversion tent, you know.

01:24:25--> 01:24:36

And they tried their darndest to get the, the military officials to stop or to make an off bounds to the American troops, but

01:24:37--> 01:24:48

the big officers etc. wouldn't agree with their suggestion because of the fact that they had such a large number of troops.

01:24:49--> 01:25:00

And they didn't have for them the kind of r&r which they normally would have, when they're in Japan or you know, the other places where they could go to to discos and you

01:25:00--> 01:25:02

No, all these kinds of things, these things were not available to them,

01:25:04--> 01:25:44

you know, women, all this kind of thing is just not available. So if they didn't allow the troops, some outlets, you know, the troops wanted outlets they wanted to, to find out about Islam meet the people and so on. So if they didn't allow this, they felt that the repercussions may be much greater, you know, that they may, you know, commit some crimes in the society, which would create no major problems for themselves. So, though I'm sure they were not necessarily happy about, you know, conversion of American troops to Islam, they really didn't have too many options, given the circumstance, because after they left, you know, the, according to American military records, now,

01:25:44--> 01:25:54

this is the first place that Americans troops were stationed. And they left the country without any quote unquote, war babies

01:25:56--> 01:26:03

in the war babies, Americans when they came to the, to Asia for during the Vietnam War,

01:26:04--> 01:26:23

they left behind, you know, in Vietnam, in Philippines, in Korea, in Japan, in Thailand, war babies, I mean, babies were half American, you know, half of the locals. In fact, there's been cases going on in Philippines right now, for the rights of these children.

01:26:24--> 01:26:31

For the first time, they went into a country, half a million of them and went out, and they were no war babies.

01:26:32--> 01:26:37

In fact, the only pregnancies which they found were amongst the American troops themselves,

01:26:39--> 01:26:42

many of the women that were there, went back pregnant.

01:26:45--> 01:26:52

So the tent was functioning right up until the left.

01:26:54--> 01:27:02

And the American military continues to leave the door open for those military people who want to get information about Islam.

01:27:03--> 01:27:10

The British military, on the other hand, were very closed, the officers would not allow us to go and speak with the troops at all.

01:27:12--> 01:27:17

So there were very, very few British military people who accepted Islam

01:27:23--> 01:27:25

what happened also is that

01:27:26--> 01:27:30

hajj and umrah was arranged for those who came.

01:27:31--> 01:27:57

A number of troops were taken down to Mecca for Hajj and Umrah and a system whereby American military transportation is provided for American troops in different parts of the world. They're flowing into the Quran, and from there, the Saudi military have arranged for them to go yearly for Hajj. This is an ongoing process since that time.

01:28:03--> 01:28:05

Some questions concerning

01:28:06--> 01:28:17

school of thought, because I mentioned during the course of the lecture that initially I announced that I was a Hanafy. One person asked, Are you still a Hanafy? Or do you follow?

01:28:20--> 01:28:29

Any math up, I guess? And what did you find in your research about the different schools of thought in Islam? To which school of thought do you belong and why? Well,

01:28:32--> 01:28:33

I consider myself

01:28:34--> 01:29:06

a follower of all of the major schools of thought, the major school of thought meaning, the School of Abu Hanifa of Malik of Shafi and akhmedov number, the major scholars of after whom the schools were named, I take benefit from the the efforts that they have made. And wherever the authentic evidence supports their positions, that's what I follow.

01:29:07--> 01:29:42

And this was the position held by themselves. Both Abu Hanifa and Chef a we're both quoted as saying it as a hadith for who Amantha be, that if you find the authentic tradition from the Prophet sallallahu wasallam may God's peace and blessings be upon him. This, in fact, is their madhhab or school of thought. So, I follow all of the schools without giving any precedence to one or the other, except where regards with regards to where the evidence is.

01:29:43--> 01:29:59

How do I look at them? As I said, I look at them as being the efforts of early Muslim scholars to apply Islamic law from its sources to daily life. They were human beings as such, they were errors in their judgments.

01:30:01--> 01:30:05

which even their own students rejected and corrected.

01:30:08--> 01:30:27

And as such, we are obliged to take benefits from the efforts they made to follow the rulings that they made where they're correct, but it's incorrect for us to blindly follow rulings especially where we know that evidence indicates otherwise.

01:30:42--> 01:30:47

Some questions concerning exorcism because I mentioned my thesis was about exorcism.

01:30:49--> 01:30:53

Do you have any practical experience in exorcism that is fixing people?

01:30:54--> 01:30:59

Well, in the course of the study, you know, I, I did

01:31:00--> 01:31:02

observe and

01:31:03--> 01:31:24

practice myself to within the bounds of what is Islamically acceptable, my thesis has been published and it will be sent here should be available to your local organization, brothers who have organized this lecture, probably within the next few weeks copies will be available,

01:31:26--> 01:31:50

wherein I have identified the parameters of exorcism in Islam, what is acceptable, what is not acceptable, because there is of course, a huge tradition of practices which are found in different parts of the Muslim world, which have been attributed to Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu wasallam, attributed to the scholars of Islam etc. and portions of which

01:31:51--> 01:31:54

are, in fact not supported by the Quran and Sunnah.

01:31:55--> 01:32:00

And represent sort of innovative practices which are not acceptable Islamically.

01:32:02--> 01:32:21

So I've tried to identify the correct view with regards to exorcism. Now the question which is also asked you is exorcism permissible in Islam? Yes, as long as it stays within the bounds set by the Quran, and the Sunnah, or the way of Prophet Muhammad, may God's peace be upon him.

01:32:32--> 01:32:37

Some more general questions related to our guests to explaining Islam to others.

01:32:39--> 01:32:45

I've got many non Muslim friends, and I'm scared to tell them about Islam because they may not

01:32:47--> 01:32:50

be interested at all. So what should I do? Well,

01:32:53--> 01:32:55

we don't know what is in people's hearts.

01:32:56--> 01:33:01

It's not our duty to convey Islam only to those

01:33:03--> 01:33:23

who are interested, those who have expressed interest of course, then it is a direct requirement for us to convey that information to them. But whether a person expressed interest or not, it's still our duty to convey something of Islam to them. If they're not interested, then we've not lost anything.

01:33:25--> 01:33:26

They say they're not interested fine.

01:33:28--> 01:33:30

We shouldn't feel embarrassed, we shouldn't feel

01:33:31--> 01:33:36

we should present it in such a way that even the person we're trying to extend it to should also not feel embarrassed.

01:33:40--> 01:33:56

We may pass that information on to them, by the way of videotapes, by the way of audio tapes, by the way of pamphlets, etc. If we find difficulty out of shyness to try to speak to people, now we can give it to them in other ways.

01:33:58--> 01:33:58

Or,

01:34:00--> 01:34:07

or end, we should live Islam ourselves. By practicing Islam as it should be practiced.

01:34:08--> 01:34:28

We will convey to them something of Islam, because we will stand out the person who practices Islam in the 20th century, will stand out from the rest of society. And those who want the truth or who are concerned want to know will raise questions.

01:34:31--> 01:34:59

Question to share Islam with non Muslims, would we need to have a certain degree of knowledge about Islam? Well, of course, one should have some basic knowledge. I mean, one does not have to be a scholar, having studied so many years, etc, etc. But one should have a clear understanding of the basics of Islam. And whatever we have of that basic knowledge we can convey to others. If

01:35:00--> 01:35:04

questions are raised, which we can't answer, then we

01:35:06--> 01:35:12

pause, turn it over to other people. We don't have to try to find answers. We shouldn't feel that if we're going to convey Islam

01:35:14--> 01:35:25

we must find an answer, we must be able to answer every question that people raise. No, we explained to them well, you know, where our knowledge is limited, we can find somebody, hopefully, who can give you further clarification.

01:35:27--> 01:35:28

So,

01:35:30--> 01:35:44

one should convey whatever knowledge one has, as a prophet mega specificity upon him had said ballyhoo Ernie will hire, convey for me whatever you know of Islam, even though it be only a single verse from the Quran.

01:35:46--> 01:35:50

And with that, I've been given the T sign,

01:35:51--> 01:35:59

which means time to close down. And I hope insha Allah that what we have

01:36:00--> 01:36:11

shared this evening if there's some questions remaining, which people didn't get answered, and there are, you know, questions about the Taliban movement and so on. So, sort of far away from the topic.

01:36:13--> 01:36:23

In sha Allah, you can contact the people who have organized the program, and maybe you can call me by telephone I can try to answer whatever I could over the next few days that I'm here.

01:36:25--> 01:36:31

Subhanak longer I'm the kind of shadow in there in an antenna stock felucca want to be like Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh