How A Blind Muslim Is Sharing Islam

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Episode Notes

How A Blind Muslim Is Sharing Islam One Dot At A Time

A family shares there story of how they came to Islam and spread Islam.

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.


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Oh, yes,

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In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Especially Merciful, he the Prophet frowned and turned away, because there came to him the blind man, interrupting, but what would make you perceive a Mohammed, that perhaps he might be purified? Or be reminded, and the remembrance would benefit him?

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As for he who thinks himself without need to him, you give attention, and not upon you is any blame if he

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will not be purified? But as for he who came to you striving for knowledge, while he fears Allah from him, you are distracted? No, indeed, they these verses are a reminder.

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Islam by touch Yep. How you doing brother?

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Was that mean? Many people, some people you know, they tune into the deen show first time that what did these guys speak in Arabic was was phenomenal to me. So the salaam aleikum is the greeting of peace between Muslims. So I'm just saying May peace be upon you. And you respond back to me and may be upon you as well. Yeah, that's what we would people peace wishing you for everybody tell us. We were talking a little bit about what's the difference between legally blind, right? And then the other one is totally blind and totally blind. Yeah, that many people don't know what it was. The difference was, I mean, when you say that, so so for example, so myself, I'm legally blind. So what

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that means is that I have vision. But my vision is so bad. You know, I really can't see that much. So my vision is so bad, and it's deteriorated so much that according to the law of the land, I'm blind. So I can't drive a car. If you give me most standard documents, I want to be able to read it to you, you know, and at night with my specific condition. I have night blindness. So at night, it's almost non existent. Yeah. It's interesting. We were talking a little bit about what was that convention you're at? with each other? The massacre? Yeah, a massacre. And I was I told you about what's it? Uh, why Islam booth? Yeah. And I was I told the brother over there. And I was like,

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Listen, man, when Eddie comes back or something, just shoot me a bat signal or something.

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You know, make a loud noise so I could find you and I could talk to the brothers. But hamdulillah we met up and then we're able to do this. We got Yeah.

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We got united now. You're your wife. You're legally blind. Yes. And your wife? She's She's totally blind. And she's actually a convert to a she's a river convert. She accepted Islam? Yes, she did. So my wife, she can't see anything at all. Yeah, you know, and she accepted Islam about 12 years ago. And we were friends at that point. And, you know, I gave her Dawa. And it was a conversation really, it really wasn't just like, this is Islam. And that's it. She was Catholic and we would go back and forth on different points. And about a year of knowing each other. She was like, I want to take my she had I want to be a Muslim.

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So, so at that point, hamdulillah I was the only Muslim contact. So I learned more about the deen to teach her about the deen pretty much and the deen meaning I'm talking about Islam, the religion, right? So so a year after her, making her intention to become a Muslim. I walked her to a mezzetta Mosque in Elizabeth, New Jersey. And she took her she had Yeah, she took our declaration of faith. Yeah, for those people tuning in, who don't know what that means that simply when someone becomes a Muslim, they declare what's already a Nate Lee built in them that they they let out that that testimony that there's nothing worthy of worship except the Creator of the heavens and earth. And

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the one who brought this message is the same message Jesus, Moses, Abraham and all the other messengers, Prophet Mohammed being the last of those messenger Jojo seal of the Prophet. So that's the Shahada for the people that don't know. And then you started together with your wife. You started this wonderful project. You were talking to me a little bit how there's there's not there's over in the world. What about a quarter

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million line about 285 million blind around the world 200. And how many in the US? over 10 million in North America? Now you showed me a it's called for the books, where it's the touch and feel for reading, right? It's called What is it called? Braille Braille. I was thinking you can just go ahead and submit this to a factory. There's a lot of them, but there's actually just one. Yeah, in in, in the states and North America, there's one major bro presses called national Braille press, literally, that's what it's called. Yeah, and, and the thing is what people really don't understand about Braille and blind products in general, since we're not the mass population. There aren't many

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people producing things for blind people. So it always is expensive. It always gets exorbitant, it's really, really an expensive project or task to take two, put a book that's in print and put it in Braille. But you've done that, and 100 100 of that. So, so if we go back to what we were talking about, about my wife, so when she took her she had that when she when she took her declaration of faith, and she accepted Islam as her way of life. She, her next step was I want to learn more about Islam.

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Okay, so and she's someone who likes to read. So we looked, and we looked, and we tried to find resources for her in English in Braille about Islam. And we found nothing. This was 12 or 12 years ago, found nothing at all. So we at that point, we're in our 1920s, things like that, and really young, so really didn't think about moving forward. So fast forward some time to 2016 last year. We, she, she, you know, she really wanted to get more into the religion. And she also wanted to teach our kids we have three kids, and she wants to homeschool.

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So, so she wanted to learn more about the ledger for herself. And of course for you know, for the kids. So we looked again, and we looked and we searched high and low and unfortunately, we found nothing, nothing at all, nothing, no 100. And now we have, we have, you know, in Arabic that the actual code on in Arabic is available in Braille, and has been available for decades and decades. Yeah. But

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we found nothing, not No, no reliable sources for knowledge in Braille about Islam. So at that point, you know, some circumstances happened. I had a lot of time on my hands. And, and hamdulillah you know, I approached her and I said, Hey, how about we do this? Why don't we take the step in making Islam more accessible thing to the blind community? And, and that's when Islam by touch was born. Yeah, she, she gets the credit for the name.

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She came up with the name so so we just, you know, I told her, I was like, Listen, why don't we take a reliable English translation, and put it in Braille and just give it out for free? You know, we don't we don't charge for these books, we give them out for free. So we, you know, I did my research, just to make sure that no one went out, no one else was doing it. And I had to learn how to actually do it myself. Because we didn't have money to hire people. You know. So we literally went on a hunt for fundraising, you know, went around to different massages a little bit here and there and did some things online. Like, I think it's launched good. They do they do some Muslim

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crowdfunding. Yeah. So we did a launch good campaign, and they were able to raise enough money to buy what's known as a Braille embosser. That's literally a printer for Braille. Yeah. And, and, you know, all the equipment we need and the initial materials, we needed to put these books together. So So after about a process of eight or nine months, we we completed the the full English meanings of the Quran and Braille. All its 10 volumes, you know, so we completed all 10 volumes of this book, and we started giving it out for free. So 10 volumes they come out to you got a box here that's like, yeah, how many that's like over 12 a foot. Yeah, that's 12 by 12. Box, right? The box, right?

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Yeah. So it's not like the same size as what you'd get a normal? No, absolutely not. Whereas you could get a normal translation on normal put on like something you could throw in your backpack, or even something that's almost pocket sized. Yeah, with this, there aren't different sizes of Braille in regards to making it really small. There's two kinds of Braille there's just the standard Braille and then they have something called jumbo Braille for people who have diabetes, they have trouble feeling with their fingertips. So So we went the standard route, of course, and it's just one size fits all in regards to that. So, so a book that can fit in your pocket has to be spread amongst 10

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volumes, just so that we can make it big enough to fit enough information in there, but small enough that someone can put it in their backpack and take it with them if they want to read. We're gonna take a break, and shala we'll be back with more with that.

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Brother here, from Islam by touch.

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Welcome back to the deen show. And we're with Nithya. From Islamic by touch you got it? Yeah. I'm amazed. I'm amazed. You guys, you and your wife who accepted Islam, you guys started his wonderful project. So there's over 10 million legally blind, totally blind combined. People in the us right now in North America, US and Canada. Yeah. How many? Is there any organization? Do you know, of any organization that's reaching out?

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To give to share this message with those 10 million? Well, as far as I know, and I've done massive amounts of research. We're the only Muslim organization in North America dedicated to the blind community over here. So you know, there are many other organizations out either secular or, you know, Christian based or Jewish based or something like that. But nothing, nothing from the Muslims. So we are the first to do this. And I'm the doula. I don't know if you got a chance to see I had a a brother who accepted Islam. And maybe a few weeks later, he was on the show. He was blind. And we talked about it was it was amazing. He was blind. And it relates to how Allah is saying, it's not

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the

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the heart that's blind. It's not the eyes that are blind, but the heart. Are you talking about a man? I've met Claire? No, not him. Another another was another brother. Yeah, it was another brother. I know. He says that a lot. He always uses that. Yeah, the brother. This this, this, this brother, he ended up. We did this a couple years ago. It was amazing to see him accept Islam and, and the scarcity now of materials. Yeah, but you do one positive thing you can listen. But again, I think like your wife says, In on your website, there's nothing Some people like to read. Yeah, exactly. You know, the whole thing with with Islam by touch is, of course, we started with this, you

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know, English meanings of the Quran and Braille project, that's, that's the base. And really, it's to give people choices, you know, we want to have the same choices. And when I say we, I'm talking about the blind community, we don't have the same choices as our sight sighted counterparts have, you know, so we want to be able to choose whether we want to listen, or we want to read and have that as an option. So and then also, like my wife, for example, she likes to sit there and reflect. So that silence between her and the book and just her reading, and read, you know, reading the lines that she goes and having time to reflect on these verses, you know, that's that's how she gets in

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touch with the dean. That's how she, you know, really has a feeling for the religion. So that's her preference, of course, but it could be something different for someone else. And we also help with that as well. Our overall goal altogether is just to make Islam as a whole, accessible to both the Muslim and non Muslim blind community. I think, if any genuine, someone's genuine and sincere, and they just even if they have access, because many people are reluctant to pick up a book on Islam, because there's a lot of negative stereotypes. But if anyone's sincere, and they really want to know the truth, Islam makes sense. Absolutely. It fits with the innate disposition that we were created

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with worship the creator of the Christian, now you have an advantage, because there you were telling me there aren't too many books for the blind to read. Now your organization is trying to make that happen. And now if you have a scarcity of books, people are going to meet more inclined to read something when you give them to them, you know, if the blind instead of some people give him stuff, they just throw it to the side because there's so many books. Exactly, exactly. But now someone will be more inclined from the blind community to read, because you don't have too many options. Do you know that from what you were telling me, right? That's exactly right. I mean, especially when it

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comes to Islam. I mean, don't get me wrong. There are there there is a library, a National Library of Congress that has tons of books in Braille, you know, but when you look up the topic of Islam, or Muslims, the only thing you could really find are either books, written in a negative connotation about Islam. in in in, in Braille in Braille. Yeah, they have a far Oh, yeah.

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They have them or, or you'd may find like a biography of Malcolm X. Yeah, or something like that. So when we when we went with this initiative, we really want to go hard on it for two reasons. Number one, we want to make this available to the Muslim blind community that's born and raised in North America or any English speaking country, because to learn how to read Arabic Braille is like learning a completely different language. And no one teaches that here. No one teaches how to read Arabic Braille in the US or Canada or anything like that. When you're when you're

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Child, you learn how to read in English. So that's why we want to make it available to our Muslim counterparts. So they can actually understand what they memorize. And secondly, we want to make it available to the 10 million some blind people that aren't Muslim, that they're not getting the true perspective of Islam. You know, they're getting a perspective of Islam from social media and, and different news outlets that may not paint us in the best picture. Yeah, so why don't why not give them Islam from the source from a Muslim? You know, and of course, we want to make this available to want to put these in blind organizations that have nothing to do with Islam, like guide dog schools

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and training centers for the blind in their libraries, because they have libraries. And I can tell you one thing in every one of their libraries, there's a Braille Bible. Yeah. And they make those you know, our Christian counterparts step their game up when it comes to Braille. They put them out there in mass. So now we have something to put next to it. Just to show that, you know, the Muslims didn't forget about the blind community. Yeah, definitely. This is very, very, very important. I think my brother was asking the question about now when a person is blind, do their, their other senses get enhanced? Yeah. So so that there's there was a misconception on that a lot of people

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forget, you know, if one thing gets taken away, then all your other senses just, you know, that pretty much gets strengthened. It's really, it's really a situation of depending on things more, you know. So if, for example, your job is to lift heavy boxes all day long, eventually you will get stronger. Yeah, you know, so if I'm blind, and I depend on my hearing a lot more than because I'm depending on my hearing a lot more. That sense will get keener and stronger and more precise, just because I'm using it more, you know, based on the fact that my eyes are deficient, so we use the other senses to compensate for them. Yes. Amazing. What What made you decide to put this because

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I've noticed it's in you have different English translations. And again, yes, not the that's not the Quran. This is the meaning of the Quran. Yes. The Originals in the Arabic isn't I noticed you chose the Saudi International, which is a really great translation. Yeah. To many others. It doesn't have the Tao that is the Oh, yeah, exactly. That's, that's one of the main reasons why we chose it. Yeah.

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It was, would you actually have you met the I believe it was two women. Yeah. Have you met them? I have not had the opportunity to meet them there. So so we chose this translation. Next I could show you let me just show this book right here. This right here this is volume one. Yeah. Okay. So just to explain this to you Volume One out of 10 has each one has three edges inside or just so like you know three parts of the code on out of the 30 parts right? So we went with the hands are national just based on the fact that it is fairly simple English. Yes. It's easy to understand. But it still maintains eloquence when it when it passes on the message of Islam. So and of course in our modern

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day English, it's not that the cow when yield English, it's not that so so that's why we went with specifically So hey, international law, we're gonna take a break now the break the air shows on several satellite channels, so they need this break. Yes. Okay. Otherwise we keep going. We're gonna take that break. And God willing, we right back here into the show. Don't go anywhere. It's not like

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Welcome back to the deen show. Islam by touch

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with the one of the founders. Yes. Your wife. She's not with us today. She's also someone accepted Islam. She comes from a Hispanic background. Yes. You know, yeah. My wife is Puerto Rican. Yeah. Has she hooked up with the organization, Islamic Spanish. We actually are together. I've been speaking with the brothers because one of the next things we really want to work on is taking a Spanish translation and putting it in Braille as well. Yeah. Because there is a massive Latino community. Yeah, you know, and based on the fact that like I said, She's Hispanic, it's near and dear to her. And hamdulillah we're really doing great things when it comes to Dawa, to that to that community. So

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I think we should reach out to the blind community as well. Tell me there you tell us some more any neat experiences that you've had in sharing this Deen with people in the blind community. So So actually, when it comes to giving Dawa, and this was before Of course, we started Islam by touch. Generally, whenever we talk to blind people, friends of ours, and we tell them about Islam. A lot of the times you do get him and that makes a lot of sense. It's clear and hum did Allah or Thor or third board member, you know, the board member of the organization? Yeah, she is a you know, she's blind and she came to Islam from dour for myself and my wife and hamdulillah So, um, so yeah, I

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mean, it's, it's something that I feel that can definitely resonate with the blind community. You know,

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There are many people that are blind, that go through a lot of a lot of issues like depression and, you know, can't cope with their, with their issue with their disability, you know, even though you know, as I believe it's a part of life that's it something that Allah gave you saw that God gave you and that's it, you have it, you deal with it, you learn to live with it, and you keep rolling. That's it. So I think that I think Islam in general, I think Islam in general empowers you, despite the fact that you may have something that you may have a disability. So just something different ads in local on different Hadeeth from the Prophet, you know, verses and sayings of the prophet SAW the

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loss on them, they empower you in the they make you understand that this is a loss plan. This is what God has planned for you. And, you know, it's something that you shouldn't take as a hinderance. But as it's a favor from God. And it's I know, it's strange to hear that but people now once you actually start looking into this religion, you start to understand it. I think most of us we take for granted many of the gifts and the blessings that the Creator has given us. And one of those is to be able to see, ya know, and it's it's remarkable and amazing that you guys are doing this project to get this crown out for this verbatim WORD OF GOD get it into the, to the hands of people

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to the blind community, but people who can see what what do you tell people who can see, but they're disconnected from the crowd. So um, so when it comes to the people that can see that that I mean, I would always just keep it as simple as possible. You know, Islam is not a difficult religion or way of life. If you if you base the if you show them the simplicity of Listen, we worship one creator, that's it, the being that bought you on this earth, submit your will to that creator, to that creator, and you're good to go, you know, and people with all the other rituals that go on with all the other religions when they hear that they're like, really, is that all it is? You know? Yeah. And

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so panela you see people being very receptive to just that alone. And and that's the whole thing we want to transfer to the blind community, you know, and we, like I said, that's the whole reason why we did this. Yeah. But what about Muslims? I'm talking about who they can see, they have the Quran on their shelves, but it just sits on the shelves. They don't have a daily Oh, a five minute, a two minute connection, I would say I would say stop taking advantage of what you have available to you. You know, it's like this. This has not been in existence until two months ago. Yeah, this Braille copy of the English meanings of the Quran, but I'm talking about someone who can they can read

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anything? Yeah, yeah, that's what I'm saying, though, this hasn't been available for only two months, and there's people waiting on this, you have it on your shelf, you can take it with you anywhere you want to go, you could take it with you put in your pocket, and you could bring it with you. And you don't, it sits on the shelf, it collects dust, you have problems in your life, and you refuse to turn to the book of the law, to find out how to solve those problems, you know, when it's right there. So that's what I would say to my sighted counterparts, just stop, you know, realize the gift that you have there available to you. And take advantage of it, it was given to you for a

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reason. So use it, because those that don't have that ability that you have to see and to be able to freely and easily access access this, now that we have it in shot law, the blind community will take advantage of it. So you guys, you know, it should be something that you should have done.

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As a sighted community, you know, it's it's a shame, it's really is a shame to see that people have all these issues in life and we all go through hardships. But when you have this comfort there and you don't use it and you don't utilize the benefit of it. It's a shame and it's a waste. Yeah.

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So that's that's um, you can just ponder all day and night just one of these blessings I look and you know, just sight and hearing and these these things and it just amazing that it took you actually said it takes you seven to eight hours to make how basically the whole day Yeah, working day to put just one together to put all 10 volumes all 10 volume. Yeah, yeah. So So this, so I would, I would literally use, like I said, umbrella embosser which is the Braille printer, right? And it would emboss these pages, you know, feel them of course, and, and as it completes, I would take it I'd put this comb this binding comb into a binding machine, open it up, and just put the

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pages through it and keep printing as I go. So it takes me about six to eight hours to do the whole thing. Yeah, all 10 volumes. So it's a lot of work.

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It's not easy, but it's something that we took upon ourselves and inshallah This is just the beginning. Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, it's, it's, um, you get him back. That's so, you know,

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in today's a society where you see many people wasting a lot of time, yeah. Even even someone

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in a, in a position like yourself, they could be sitting there and like you said, just being in a bucket or a tub of depression and you know, cursing God blaming God and not giving back to humanity, you've taken another route. And it shows that when you're, when you're, when you're grateful, you're thankful, and then you're happy. And even in this state, you know, you're, you're, you're happy. You're, obviously all of us go to trials, but then you're just you're spending your time wisely with every second that you spend on this, you're on a loss time clock, it's not time loss, and you're giving back. It's an act of yerba worship. But it's amazing how many people have sight and not

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just wasting time.

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One thing I say, you know, whenever I go when I give a hot Boy, you know, the talk on Friday, when we go when we pray, when I go give the hope I say I say look, you know when the Prophet sallallahu Sallam said that you truly never believe until you love for your brother, what you love for yourself. I said, that's all we want. We want the ability to love to read like you do.

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We want the ability to love to be accepted by the community as just a normal person, like you do.

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You know? And, and then that's, that's really what it boils down to. And that's really what we're seeking. You know, we just wait just because I can't see. Yeah, I can't see, well, don't think that I'm deficient in any way. Exactly. You know, I mean, we have countless we have so many different examples from our history from Islamic history of how we elevated blind people. Yeah, you know, all the way to the time of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam. You know, examples of how he left the blind man in charge of the of Medina when he would leave the when he would leave the city. Yeah. And now when we see blind people, we think they're a charity case. Mm hmm. You know, like, where did we go?

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What happened for you guys, you know, you guys are doing the work of, you know, of just you and your wife and your team.

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You know, me and my wife are priceless. It just, just YouTube. That's just just amazing. I mean, 100 Allah, we've known around, I've been going around, you know, my wife, she's a, we have three kids. She has she's carrying our fourth.

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So you know, she's inshallah She'll be coming on the roll with me once the baby's born and little older. Yeah. But you know, she, she's the support she proof read every single book. Yeah, you know, to make sure there's no errors in them. And, and, you know, it's me and her and the support that we get, you know, we've been, I've been traveling like I'm here in Illinois. I've been to North Carolina, went to Baltimore for the akena convention, I went to him as a mosque over there. And you know, people, there hasn't been one person that has looked at the initiative that we put forth and says, Wow, I don't see why we need that. Not one person. I've said that. Yeah, everyone. That seems

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like wow, this didn't exist. That's the that's the question I hear the most Yes, I'm surprised this didn't exist. Or I never even thought this was an issue. Yes, you know, and we're able to bring this to the forefront and show people yes, this is an issue. And yes, our sighted counterparts, if you want to help and be a part of this, support us sponsored books, you know, help us spread the word. help us spread the word of what we're trying to do. Because this can be a group effort, we'll do the work. Just be the backbone, you know? Yeah. So 100. And we've got nothing but support anywhere I go. Anytime I mentioned this to somebody, I've never had one bad. You know, when no one said, Wow, that

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doesn't make sense. No one's ever told me that. So I want people from this episode to derive so many benefits. One of those is a scene that a lot paints have a picture in the Quran that he talks about, there'll be people who will, you know, because as Muslims, we believe there'll be a day of judgment, that you're not just going to pass through this life, and not be held accountable at the end of this life, that you're just going to rain havoc on Earth, enjoy all the countless blessings and disobey your your maker, the creator. And then he talks about the wonderful rewards for those who worship Him alone who do good deeds, who live a life of morality of righteous and you get to make mistakes,

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but Allah is the most loving, kind and merciful you turn to Him alone. You know, the creator will forgive you, but those who just you know, ignore the signs he talks about people being resurrected blind, and then they'll say like, why am I blind? I was able to, you know, why am I blind eyes it because when you were able to see you, you didn't see the signs that are sent to you and a lot of sending

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signs to people, you know, day and night. And if people reflect deeply the signs are there. Yeah. From the Creator. And And in contrast to that, right. One thing I always mentioned to people is whenever I ask people to sponsor help us, you know, provide the books. Yeah, I say imagine you sponsor a book. And it goes to an organization for blind people, and just a non Muslim picks it up and reads it, just out of curiosity. Yeah. And a love guides them, you know, and that person gets married, and they have children, and their children have children, and so on, and so forth. And then come Judgment Day, because as as Muslims, we know, it's inevitable, come judgment day, when

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everyone's looking for every single good deed that you could find. And you're standing in front of your Creator, begging for mercy. And this person that you help sponsor a book for to help them guide them to Islam comes behind you with their entire lineage that came from that guidance. And now that goes on your scale. Yeah. You know, so how did the law justice benefited in this and you know, we're going to conclude, we're out of time. The other thing I wanted to say is, the other two real quickly, were the inspiration of seeing you, and hearing about you and your wife of putting your time now, taking this, this

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situation, you're in taking the positive route, and not wasting time not wasting your life, doing something that is of enormous benefit for the black community, not just them just for you know, humanity, in general of sharing this message in this route. And people can take that positive message from that, as from seeing and also seeing that this life is short wasting that time at the end you you put on scales of how many minutes? How many hours go by in a day and how much have I connected with, with the Creator with his book The Quran? with learning this Deen? And how much time am I wasting? Yeah, checking the social media, the Facebook just, you know, getting in conversation

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are useless doing useless things. We all need a little bit entertainment, you know, but how much time is wasted time? Yeah, I mean, take the matter serious and count. You know, if you to try to count the blessings of Allah, you just couldn't. There's too many and appreciate those blessings you have. They can be taken away. Absolutely. So I slammed by touch Islam by touch. If you want to support us, just learn more about what we're doing. You can go to our website, www dot Islam by touch COMM And if you fill out the contact form, I'm the guy literally answering the email. Yeah. So I'll see your emails. I'll see your messages and just please support us anyway. Yeah. So you can be

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legally blind. You can there's a distance that you can see and still read. Well, yeah, I mean it with 100 a lot of technology has helped us a lot. Yeah, you know, there's screen reading software that reads anything you touch, of course, there's magnification software that can blow up the screen to up to 20 times if you need it. So that Allah you know, I can I can read the emails, I could check the social medias, I could do all that stuff. So you know, once again, it's not by touch comm is to support us anyway and follow us on social media. You know, Islam by touch me the Creator of the heavens and earth Allah the Almighty rewards you and your family and bless you guys for doing this

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wonderful and amazing. I mean, both of us. Both of us slam on I got off the luck