Channel: Boonaa Mohammed
In this episode Boonaa Mohammed hang’s out with Imam Daniel Abdullah Hernandes and they discuss Latino Islam.
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warahmatullahi wabarakatuh This is your brother Mona Mohammed coming at you with another episode of hangout where we hang out. And we have a guest with us who I'm very excited. We like literally snuck him in when this very last minute interview. He, ma'am, Daniel Hernandez, who's actually come all the way from Houston, coming to LA to be with us here today so I can shift. How's everything when I get hungry? Hungry Man, actually, I've seen a lot of your talks and we were at a conference today. And I got a chance to see you know, firsthand the reaction of a lot of the young people, a lot of the dowel work that you've been doing Mashallah robotic, a lot. But I'm actually more excited in
your background. And I think that what's happening right now in Latin America, what's happening in the Latino speak and Latino community, the Spanish speaking community with Islam, to me is really exciting. I've had a chance to visit Brazil, I've had a chance to visit Mexico, and just seeing you know, the atmosphere there, it seems like the people are just just waiting for the D, can you talk a little bit about your experience coming from 100
I see it as a, as a, you know, an awakening within the Latino community
and awakening, and that signature program that we have for Islam and Spanish title Islamic roots in the Latino culture. So this is a presentation that we go through, we have been in Harvard University, and other other different
places to speak about it. Now
looking at it, from my experience,
being at one time
you know, a non Muslim dealing with the Quran
growing up in Jersey, you know, dealing with the regular Latino struggle in the inner city, you know, liquor store, every other block and all that. And then find in the Koran, or basically in I stole the Quran from my friend, you stole it. Yeah. So my first so this Quran was left in my house. And that's the one that I began to read.
And I befriended it. So basically, at a time where our interests nobody, you know, the Quran was the one that I depended on. So being the one that accepted Islam and my family.
And then through the sharing of this, you know, beautiful information with my mom, you know, at one time, she decided to
also accept Islam, and I shall
be an educated Bible student. As you before my my dad was, was a nun. Wow. Yeah. So then after she accepted Islam, two years after me, my dad also accepted Islam.
So Hamdulillah, coming from a single individual, to then having
mom, dad, older brother, you know, my wife, we met in the mosque, she's from Dominican Republic, my four kids. So now as a family, so I'll handle other other families. You know, you know, same experience, you know, No, sister, she's been Muslim for 30 years. And in different areas in the States, you have three generation Latino Muslim. So the growth is just people are anxious.
and their responses. We didn't know about this. Right. And when they find out that they have more in common with Islam, that they thought, they immediately just open up the Lord under God, when they find out that we're not trying to convince them, that we're just trying to inform them. And when, when they experienced this is different from what they experienced what other religions that try to, you know, accept this for yourself as I wish we just informed them. This is the message of Islam.
And when we touch on Islam in an Andalus, that is like, mind boggling for them, honestly, like they're like, before we get into endless because that's definitely a topic that I want to discuss. Just briefly, give us a bit of a background. So you mentioned that you you know, you stole your first axis, the axis and the first one was stolen version, what was in the quarter and really sparked your interest to kind of see this as a book of truth. Basically, in the beginning,
when I was searching for the truth, I was looking within six Bibles, and
I was looking
Because when I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, right,
you know, I got the spark that changes past.
So, being a person, you know, hamdullah raised with good parents, parents who, like my dad used to play with us video games, and parents are always close knit.
But, you know, being in the inner city, you get lost, you know, and that's something that your parents are busy. China make it China make a living. So Alhamdulillah when I came in contact with the Quran,
and I, you know, that the first chapter is the first chapter,
you know, sort of when I was thinking about, who do I ask for help? You know, that's something that the youth ask, you know, I'm stuck, who do I ask for help.
And then when I read economics, I can assign you alone doing worship, and your laundry as well. That's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna ask Allah and put my choice in it, because I don't trust
you know, my parents is the exception. But other than that, in i a lot of different experiences. So upon my reading of the Quran, put my trust in the Quran, pretty much as an alarm.
I began to read and try to apply.
Now, knowing how, but whenever there was an action, or Command, I began to try to put it into practice. And I will take an eye a day
and hold myself accountable in the evening that I do it. And I used to get mad at myself, man, I slipped. I didn't do it.
I read the AI about watching.
We still try to implement that I.
So it was like, you know, every sentence is, you know, Papa. So I'm like, I slipped. Man, I gotta start over again. So that was a daily thing, daily struggle know about fasting, began to fast, didn't know, existed. It was like, Easter fast until I felt I couldn't take the whole day. Just Yeah, just so I can take them. Because I wanted to feel what the poor people felt. I was like, I'm not I'm not a hypocrite, and I got food in my house. Let me feel what the poor people feel. And then I'll start fasting. So that's something that
it served me as a rehabilitation from different type of addictions, addictions, like drinking every day, couple 40s. Smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. So the Quran served as my rehabilitation.
So that's what when I heard shave,
who teaches in Saudi Arabia, he visited Egypt, and asked him for advice as a student of knowledge. And he, he says something that I was
when I was a non Muslim, it was just me and
I didn't I wasn't shy. I was in a shame of it. It was the big people say, Oh, man, you stole the pocket size. I was like, Nah, man, I skills I took
yeah, that's the Arabic English commentary.
I said, If I had the ability to take tips, I could say,
if I can play Tim's as guns,
you know, the reason I took it was my boy, it wasn't easy for me. So that's, you know,
you know, I typically, the only reason that I like to share the stories many times is to impact the youth, you know, in a simple way that they can feel that there's a possibility for change. And everybody, you know, can have a turning point. And you don't have to be a non Muslim, to be a Muslim. But come back to
tell us a little bit about the experience. And once you came into snap, telling your parents what was the family's reaction, what was the community's reaction to seeing this new transformation. So basically, in the beginning, in the beginning, you know, I was I stayed away from my boys, right? I used to be ranked number four in the gang
When I was in that point of searching
I stayed away from them.
So I would go to the side streets, you know, I wouldn't go to the main avenue, because I felt like that was temptation, right? I was that man and I hate the street. The first thing, you know, I don't want to drink. But when you don't want to do it, people give it to you for free. ship on is that exactly. They have free everything free. But when you want it, you gotta pay for it. Right? So I was like, Nah, I'm not gonna do that. I'm gonna I'm gonna go to the side street. I'm gonna go to different angles. So for months, I was going
through alleyways so now I gotta go to the ER and was like,
like my shield, right? So I would go to the you know, in Texas we got watch that area. Right? What is that? in Jersey? We got laundromats.
Right. Okay, I was at a laundromat. I said, this is a culture shock, right. So now I used to go,
you know, wash clothes.
While I'm waiting? I'm just reading. So it wasn't, I became a customer I learned how to walk. And we, at times I will bump into a meter. Right? Or a pool. Yeah, but I knew that.
You know? So those are personal experiences that when, when I made the choice, right, I made the choice to as at a seminar got accepted Islam, you know, that I went to the going to the mosque, and I chose the best day.
I chose Friday night, Friday night. But the spot where the mosque is that is on 47th Street Union City that is a city in North Jersey, by Jersey City.
And that's when my boys hang out.
So I went there, and I'm like, you know what's gonna happen? I know, I'm gonna run into
and they're gonna offer me sign up.
On the go, you're gonna take you're not they're just wanting to go to the mosque.
So I go there. And they were like, are you playing
So I faked it, right? I was just like, holding the beer by the mosque, looking at the word law on top of the mosques. And I'm just trying to figure out how am I gonna go in? Right? I'm like, if I go and they're gonna call cops to me, they know me from the area to block two houses by the mosque. The head detective lives there. You know, he's my boy now. Right? But he is, you know, we still always have nice inter interaction as readily conversationally. Finally, conversation. He's very merciful with me.
So this, when I went there, I saw this friend of mine, and this is something that happens typically, you know, you know, Muslim, but he never tells you about Islam.
So I met, I saw my boy, I known for eight years. We used to play basketball almost daily. And he passed by, I said, Your mo
He was like you.
I was like, Yeah, he's like, Why? I guess he knew.
He knew me. I mean, I mean, he underlay comes from very good family. In a very, also was, I think, you know, from a personal sense, he
practice Islam, because he will go to the public school on one high school, and he was sometimes goofy.
And he was, and he was, he had good grades and everything. So he was respected. So that's something that also is the character of the family, the kids are well mannered. So hamdulillah that the added impact? So hamdulillah so Moe said, you know, at this time, Friday night, everybody loves to mask. Let's, let's meet up on Wednesday. So when on Wednesday, I met the man and it was it was actually mother time. And it was like
What do you watch? We're about to pray. A sudden come to watch. You think think that's fair? You guys got pretty nice Just watch. Save Nah, man. I'm gonna pray a lot for so. I said okay, I'll just follow
because I already I mean, for me making the decision to come to the mosque. That means I believe in no court and everything. So that's not I'm not coming. I was just trying to practice I've been playing different Qibla a messed up Salah, right. But inshallah accept
That show, right? And now I got the chance to print mosque. Right. So So Paula, so we prayed afterwards I met a man shift mama got a hike. And he was like,
What do you get support? And
I just told him, he said what
you gotta go back. So wait a minute, what
has been my, my friend for nine months?
Think I'm gonna give it back. Unless if I get the same one, I'll get it back. And he was like, he ran through the library and I never seen him run so fast. But Mashallah, he found out he gave it to me, and you vote on it. And later on, I realized just recently, and he was wise for writing, dedication.
Because that forced me to give the other one up. I get it.
I get it. Which one was which? Yeah, can I switch it? I can say Nah, man, I have a relation with that person. is different man because cried, you know, struggle. It clean me up. So it's like, it's like, can't let it go. But hamdulillah I went and I returned it
actually was from a public library. So when I went to the front desk, they didn't know said, Hey, this belongs to the library. That's it. We didn't ask about your due dates. Or you took it anyway. So there's no record. There's no record, they don't know anything about it.
So I don't know the story. So sometimes I tell people pass by the library. And
you know, that's
so now now after coming to Islam, and obviously, I'm really interested to be honest, personally, I'm interested in Islam in Latin America, I think it's such a vibrant culture and the people there are just like waiting for this deed. Can you talk a little bit about your efforts in giving Tao in Spanish and what the community has been like this Spanish town with specifically, the the community is going there's a high demand 100 We are blessed to have an organization like Islamic Spanish that has produced over 500 audio books, you know, of authentic works, and unhandled we are sending to different parts in America libraries. And these libraries serve as demands, because not every
country has teachers. hamdulillah we're also blessed to have teachers and chefs like chef Isa Garcia, who actually translated
a new version of the Quran in Spanish with commentary from reputable FCS neshama. So hamdulillah he spent many years working on it, and finally out and is available for free online. So Alhamdulillah there's a lot of good work taking place, like currently, as we speak, brother Mujahid shefali, the Sunni brother, Medina, Fletcher said when he was when he said, Garcia are in Colombia, in a conference to educate
and clarity regarding Islam and extremism and so on. So Hamdulillah, they took shefali as the qualified scholar by the Mujahideen, who also gave some presentation, and then hamdulillah that the Latin American countries are
you are seeing more about about Islam now, because of the media as well, with the axes of YouTube and all that hungry law, there's a lot of more activities in Ecuador. We are sherea, who, in his house, one floor Imperial Master, and he's one of the first ones to begin translating in Spanish. We accepted some maybe almost 30 years ago. Yes, Angela. So he's very active with interfaith work. And we have in Mexico, Omar, Western Hamdulillah, they're doing a lot of good work there as well. And
so there's a lot of work. And, you know, there's a lot of also experienced individuals that can see serve as mentors. So that's something that for the newcomers that are coming back from studying abroad from Medina, or from Egypt. Now they have mentors to help get into the system. So now, they're stepping out of the just the traditional teaching of Islam, but they're getting to the streets. They get into the people, right, right. And people are accepting, you know, from indigenous communities in Chiapas. Yes. To indigenous communities in Sierra Nevada in Colombia. Yeah, and in the mountains.
Yeah, yeah, there's
A guy named Waikato. He is
an activist for saving Mother Earth
and they live off the earth. So they Mashallah these people there. They accepted Islam. So brother Mujahid actually working on a documentary from them
taking nicely, we'll see that soon. As soon as we have literally like, no less than a minute left. Just quickly, I wanted to jump back into the idea of endless and the connection between, you know, Spanish speaking people in Spain in general and Islam because there is actually I've even read a lot about the connection even within the language, right within Spanish language and Arabic as well as something you can just comment on quickly. For three, three parts. One is the language. We have 1000s and 1000s of words, that Spanish that actually origin. That's number one. Number two is the architecture. So we have architecture in Puerto Rico, like the main monument in Puerto Rico, called
moral and immoral or the wars.
And the structure is actually a fortress that looks like a fortress in many is in Spain.
in Dominican Republic, there is a river called and I joke around sometimes called some
Advil or some the river hosana. Yeah. And then next to the river. There is
a castle for the record for Christopher Columbus son named Agricola. And the castles name are Casa casa. casa, is there as the Arabic name in Spanish. So a lot of the words that are added
right. So so that's in the architecture, and then we have in the customs, for example, my grandfather used to always sleep cannula, right, right. Well, that's one thing that we love. And so by the time afternoon game is knocked out, we will go to school. And he's already you already did it plan, stretched out all of the coffee to get dried out in the sun, and we're just getting ready to go to school. So Alhamdulillah that is a rich history. 781 years Muslim, and
we actually have to wrap up, but I definitely I thank you for your wisdom and imparted upon us.
Joining us not too lucky for watching me last time how to bless all of you. We'll catch you on another episode of hanging out coming soon as your host Brother Mohammed signing off.
we'll hire LA to Bali Velma