My Journey To Islam

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Hamza Tzortzis

Channel: Hamza Tzortzis

Episode Notes

Detialed, How hamza Tzorzis came to islam.

Episode Transcript

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Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah. Peace be with you. Welcome again to another episode of our program past guidance. With me today a special brother who's visiting the United States from England. And I'm meeting with him in Irving, Texas. Brother Hamza daughters

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is a dire meaning a man who calls people to Islam. He is specialized in debating and defending Islam and apologist also for Islam.

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His mission is to invite people to see the beauty of Islam, and today we're going to share his story, how he saw this beauty, and see the steps he took on the path of guidance.

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I hope you've enjoyed this program with us. And let me on your behalf. Welcome. Robert Hamza today, welcome, brother and thank you for being with us. Salam. alikum walaikum salam wa rahmatullah. Thank you for having me. It's pleasure. What I would like to start with you is to give us a give our viewers

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a little background about yourself, how we grew up the environment, you grew up with your education, and geographically What did you leave in Europe? Before you settled, if you're not born in the United Kingdom?

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smilla Rahmanir Rahim.

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My name is Hamza, undress, George's. And I come from a Greek background. Both of my parents are Greek, my dad is from the mainland Greece, born in Athens, but originally from Northwest Greece. My mother is ethnically Greek, but born in Cyprus. And they both came to England in the 1970s. And I was born in England

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1980. So that makes me 33 years old, Marshall. And I have a brother and a sister.

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And we're very close, as Greek families are typically quite close.

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And the kind of environment I was brought up in was essentially from a socio economic perspective, a working class environment, especially for the first 14 years of my life. We lived in very tall apartment blocks.

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Typically, it will be called ghetto.

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Like the Bronx, I guess. But then we move down when I was 14.

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But during those years was formative years, my father,

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he basically didn't like organized religion. But he loves Jesus and some of your sayings. And you could probably best described my father as a new age, humanist, stroke, spiritualist, very loving guy, interesting, very self empowered kind of individual.

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And deep in some ways, and that reflected

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on us.

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And were inspired to investigate about the truth of life. So

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in the place where I was being brought up in in London,

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we were very

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engaging with other cultures and religions.

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So my first kind of

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interaction with Islam was a very young age. It wasn't a direct interaction, it was more of a cultural interaction. So

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at school, I would have friends who are Muslim, and I will see some of the cultural practices or the beliefs that they were having.

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So I was engaged with the summer a very young age, but the direct engagement came a little bit after. So this engagement was mainly observation really just, it was mainly observation, but the direct engagement came when I was in high school. Tell us a little bit about that. How did that happen? The first contact, serious contact? Well, the first serious contact was when I was in science class.

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And I had a friend who came from Bangladesh, was born in London by his ethnically

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Bengali, Bangladeshi.

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And he would basically refrain from doing certain things and talking to certain people, he wouldn't do an unnecessary social interaction with the opposite sex. I found that quite bizarre. And he was like, you know, because we honor women in Islam and he was linking some of his practices to his beliefs, you know, for that, for me was quite fascinating because I was very attracted to

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that type of difference, different attitudes towards people and different behaviors that were not part of normal society. I found that quite attractive

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That he was distinct and honorable in that way. So that was the first type of interaction. But the main interaction is when I,

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in the later years that high school is when I had Muslim friends, I'll go to the mosque once and I prayed Juma, the Friday prayer, I asked them certain questions. And I found that really very empowering because these kids, they were very distinct by empowered with the belief to the point was as if it was a self evident truth. And for me, that was quite fascinating. So the more direct engagement came when I went to college now what I mean by college is the two years before University, by in America, you say college means University, but it means the same thing sometimes, okay, no worries. So the few years before University, when I went to college, I basically had a very

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direct interaction with Islamic tradition to the point where people will be more direct and talking, talk to me about the core beliefs, practices. And I was really interested in different cultures. And at the same time, I was reading about Buddhism. So I was very fascinated concerning the Buddha. So you had some interest in this kind of issues, the spiritual all the time because my dad,

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you know, my dad would never talk about money or how to grow a business. My dad would never talk about, you know, you should wear the best clothes or have the materialistic lifestyle, his main concerns were always about characters, character, and also about what it means to exist. The existential questions in life, who am I a Greek man I mean,

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in Greek man, not not a Greek man. Now Greek men Now unfortunately, they've been

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they've been drowned by the material tsunami of materialism and avid capitalism. So

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my father was basically helping us ask and answer the questions. Who am I? That's wonderful. What am I? Who am I? For whom am I? Wow, so the big question, so I was always interested in that that, for me was very important, because that gave you meaning. Because you know, you could become a doctor.

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You become, you could become a politician. You could spread peace in the world, and you could cure cancer.

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But if I didn't have these questions answered, it would be irrelevant. Because that would have no meaning. Because if you end in the grave, you just become one buffet, you just a rearrangement of carbon. So what makes a like that? What makes carbon? Yeah, what makes a chocolate bunny? any different from me? If I crushed the chocolate Bunny,

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that's a rearrangement of carbon.

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And if I hang myself, or shoot myself, or crush myself, why is that any different from a chocolate bunny? From a materialistic, physicalist scientific perspective? Is this a rearrangement of carbon? Correct? So what makes any difference? There must be some kind of meaning. That hasn't been basis for our life. So that's why these questions for me was so important. If you can't answer them, you can't be truly happy. So you're intrigued by the practices of those guys, you will absorber then you became curious why this guy does not engage in social activities like the other guys, then you went to the mosque, and you saw those people and the way they believe it is like, they have the real

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things that got more gutsy more curious, emotionally, they're gonna be definitely curious. So when I was in college, and I used to talk to different Muslims, obviously, the Muslims were not great, because they would practice one thing, or they should practice one thing, but they were doing other naughty things as well. But they still understood what was right. And they would articulate that.

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And I like the Brotherhood that they had. It was quite

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transcendent, it transcended cultural, ethnic, and social variables and barriers.

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So

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and on the other hand, some of the values my dad brought me up, in a with was quite in line with the Islamic tradition anyway, but at the same time, was very interested in Buddhism. So I had like multiple interests. So I like kung fu I used to train in Wing Chun Kung Fu. I like Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, to learn Mandarin.

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Interesting. Yeah. So I found that, you know, dealing with different cultures and beliefs was was was quite

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something that I enjoyed and fascinating. You know, I used to like Bruce Lee's philosophy, you know.

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And that was it really. So I was interesting, so many different things. So in college, he came in the first serious contact now with Islam where he started investigating the belief system, or was it an incident or relationship? No, I mean, well,

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that's not at that stage. Because at that stage for me, I'd even focus on my, on my code a levels on my

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exams, although I was quite bright,

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I just didn't find any meaning in it.

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Like for me, so who cares, I become a doctor who cares, I get married, who cares, I become a millionaire. So what I'm gonna die.

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Because it's delusion is that you're drunk. Like people who think this is meaning in their life. For me, I think this is drunk. It is they're drunk with the world and they think they're happy. And the only time they wake up is when the internet breaks down, or she left me or they get depressed. The thing is, people are drunk with life. And they think, you know, they have this false sense of self sufficiency, that I'm gonna be somebody and look at me. And I was like, I already know, I could be like that I had that capacity. I was very bright.

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But I didn't really focus on it. Because I didn't answer the big questions like, Who am I? What am I? Who am I? For whom am I? And maybe on a Friday night, where am I?

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That was very interesting for a young man in college.

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In this age, that is very unique and unusual, but was very childless as well, don't get me wrong. I was very, I still was very juvenile now and very kind of.

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I used to like to joke around and, you know, I had girlfriends and I wasn't like, you know, the serious monk thinking about man life in the universe. But it's as if I had a split personality in a way. Like, I'll do the things I want to do play football, do Kung Fu. But in the back of the mind was my was always the same what the meaning of the Yeah, the meaning of life, the meaning of meaning. It was everything. So when, when the interest in Islam started, I see now your background, religious wise, religion was not pushed in your home now in a way. So you grew up basically on philosophical basis more than religious basis? Yeah. Now you are very religious. I can see that.

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Well. So tell me where the transformation started. And how, yeah, well, I went into university, and I started to study psychology. Well, I studied something else. And I changed psychology.

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And I was still relatively sheltered in terms of meeting different types of people from outside of London.

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And the people I was with, generally with, like the Muslims, or the techs or the Pakistanis, and generally they had a culture of

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it wasn't too selfish. It wasn't what's in it. For me, there was still this kind of humanitarian bond going on. But when I left, that group went into university and other groups of people was not the same culture. And it was depressing. University was the worst time of my life. It was the worst time in my life.

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Because I met all these people, and I realized that they don't care about sincere human relationships. It was what's in it for me, is avid individualism. I'm alright jack. And for me, it didn't resonate with me because I was never brought up like that, you know, my mom would always call me a FEMA Thema in Greek is someone who does everything for people and gets walked over. Because they see hope like to help people a lot like help them with the essays or with the school or whatever the case may be. And when I entered that environment, I was a bit depressed thinking these people are shallow, like I would wear the same jumper for two or three days. It's clean, I'm a clean

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guy is not a problem as a student, people come comment on that. And I'll be like, there's something wrong with this person. Why did they find it so important for were dumping for more than a day or not?

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And

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it was a shallow it's a shallow culture. So you're living your life from spiritual basically, if we want to say, perspective, while the materialistic people around you were making a difficult, it wasn't that they were materialistic was like, This is the culture of some Western institutions and people work working or studying within them. That is, it's about me where I'm going to go, who I am going to be me myself is as if their self becomes their own deity. So your values basically will why it was misaligned, totally misaligned. Totally. So so this is why one of my best friends was a 27 year old at that time, and I was only like, 18. So it was like, maybe 10 years older than me, but I

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would really relate with him. Because he was a bit more balanced, a little bit more existential, what does it mean to exist?

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And

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yeah, it was it was a bit of a difficult time at university didn't really resonate with people too much. Yeah. So now, Islam came to your life somehow. Well, it came when I left uni. Because I basically

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a big issue happen at university and how to take a year out and redo this redo redo this module.

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And the situation was my fault, but everyone got blamed and this is a long story. But the point is

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I left I said, What am I going to do with my life now, I have to do something in this year, I can just do one evening class. So I applied to different jobs and hamdulillah I was so fortunate by the will of Mercy of Allah that I got offered a job as a project officer, student project officer, which was in the realm of project management. And in this job, they threw money at me, prints to training, PMI training, job training, and as a while I was how old was I 20 or something. I was getting all of this training. And it really facilitated a career for me. So, in this job, I basically

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was

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somebody who was young, but yet very loud and expressive and wants to bring people together and was real. I didn't do office politics, I was just cut to the chase. And they liked that about me. And I found that quite interesting, because there were some really really nice English guys there. Because it offices in England.

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And he always said to me, never change be like this.

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So as you do in

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kind of this kind of working environment, there's a Christmas party. And during this Christmas party, we said we're gonna go on on the boats, Christmas party boat. Now my office was where the police IT organization was That was my organization that has been disbanded doesn't exist anymore. That was linked to the government wouldn't IT systems for nationally for the police.

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And my office was on the ninth floor on the River Thames, facing St. Paul's Cathedral was a beautiful view. And one of those one of a boat nearby and would walk to it. And we would basically have the Christmas party there. And I wasn't a very good dancer, to be honest. So I wouldn't dance so I wouldn't drink hardly. I used to love milk rather than drink. And my dad always says this is a milk family. Yeah, we don't drink. We're no good. We're a milk family. You know, even my dad is 65 years old. And he just drinks milk all the time. Yeah, nothing better than that, of course. So

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I was trying to dance. And then this particular lady came towards me. And hamdulillah she was

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relatively attractive, right? So I never wanted to dance. I always wanted to talk to people. And that was one of my what I call personal diseases that I wouldn't talk to people that I'm very close with. But I would talk to strangers, strangers, and connect with them in an amazing way. But close people, I would just basically want them to not say anything, but be next to me. It's very weird. Must have been maybe something bad habit to me when I was younger. I don't know how to explain it. So I wanted to engage with this person. And I found out she was Muslim.

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And I was like, hold on a second. You're not supposed to be here. I know. My Muslim friends wouldn't be here. Exactly. And she thought I was like some kind of musty or some kind of a mom saying you know, undercover your mom.

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And I was like saying to you know, they don't respect you.

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Look, you're beautiful. They're gonna just take advantage of you. And I took the drink out of her hand and I bought her an orange juice.

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So move, bold move. I was always like that. Yeah. So we connected and we exchanged phone numbers. And she spoke about her family, her brothers her culture.

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And you could tell she was one of those sisters that really likes Islam and respects it but there was no love at home. So every time she was a come towards Islam, there was a barrier because the people that were representing Islam, there was no love. Given that a negative message. Yeah, that's one of our problems in the Muslim community. We don't revive or

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we don't revive mercy and compassion, our homes. Although the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, be loving if you love somebody tell them he used to carry Hassan and Hussein on his shoulders and he would say I love so and so. Oh Allah I love him. So love him.

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The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said you want to enter Paradise and you truly believe and you truly believe in to love one another. I mean, the person I'm talking to his wife, Roger love Allah May Allah be pleased with her be compassionate. When you put compassion, compassion in something it elevates it. When you remove compassion, it degrades it, I mean, this is our tradition. As you know, Kamal, Josie or the 14th century theologian said, where you see your Atma Will you see mercy and compassion, you must see Islam. So she is a product of a variety. I never blamed her. But anyway, we didn't meet I lost her number. She lost mine.

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And what happened was is I think after a couple of months, I got a call in my office from the HR department, which was a few floors above me. And they said, Mr. Jones, this we have so and so on the line. I was like, Wow, she found me

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Yeah, I was actually quite happy because I thought she was a really nice guy.

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And

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we started dating, and having a conversation and being friends. But even during that period, I used to read this book by an Egyptian scholar forgot his name. Now it's called Islam and focus. It's a very old book. And I used to be about Buddhism too, but when I would meet how it would always talk about Islam, but at the same time, we wouldn't be interacting the way Islam once, but I was still trying to preach to her even though I wasn't a Muslim. Even in her that's very interesting and unique.

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You know, crazy stuff.

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And on her wall, I remember would stick big articles on her wall about Allah and

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I would write notes for her.

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At cut long story short, she had to move back up to her town, she was studying to be a teacher, she had to go get married, or whatever happened.

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And then she calls me and basically says, After a while, that it's not that you know that I'm praying five times a day, and I'm wearing hijab.

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Yeah.

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It's quite special. So

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we're sorry. Marvelous.

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hungry.

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So that was really

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troubling for me.

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Because I wasn't a Muslim. And that made me realize

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how you guys,

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and you will not follow in the same guidance. Well, I needed to think about my life, that was a big problem. So I went to Greece. And I remember I was reading Quran in the English language and the life of the Prophet Mohammed appointed VPS. And I learned how to pray. And I had to pray myself, I learned how to recite sort of Fatah, her sort of class in Arabic, all myself. And I used to pray armies to go to the mosques right in England. And I used to be quite slim, and I used to wear tight jeans and tight shirts, and my skin would show and the moms would always tell me off.

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They never knew I wasn't Muslim. So you shouldn't be praying like this.

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So I was in Greece, and then he was like, you know, I didn't want to drink much. I didn't want to pod to go early to the house and just read Quran in English.

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And when I came back to England, and then I gave up, you know, I remember going to a mosque. And I remember my friend telling me college, when you're in frustration, you are the closest to your Lord. So scream to him, I would scream and shout, I remember I was in such that frustration, saying, if this is you, and if you're real, and if this is the truth, then show me. And after that point I just gave up.

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So one of my friends, you know, the friend in school, who didn't speak to women. He came into my house after all those years. Wow. And he had this amazing project. I didn't see him for years.

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And it's so amazing how things work. I love plants.

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So he had this crazy project, he wanted to take this new sport into the Olympics, he had this vision of his could Pat ball or thumb board here, okay. And he wants to take it away. He wouldn't speak to me because I was a project manager and he wanted some kind of help. So he entered my life.

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And then he would give me some booklets on Islam. And I would be really convinced and it'd be very interesting conversations will begin me dour, calling me to the oneness of God, to the people submission to the Creator, not to the creation.

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And one Friday, I think it was October the fourth 2002. He came to my house to sit in my car. I went is in his car, he just talked to me. He said, You know this is the truth. And you know, in reality, I knew I was intellectually convinced that Islam was true. I was intellectually convinced that the Quran was from Allah that God existed. I could even prove this better than Muslims at that time. But it was abstract. I didn't internalize it in my heart. So what he did helped me. He sat me down and just talk talk to me about death. kulu nacinda ecotel mode, every soul is going to taste death as the Quran says. But the way my friend described it was in such a way I don't remember. It's so

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poetic though that To try and re express it is trying to find or chase a black cat in the dark. He just can't.

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The pen breaks into and I tried to express what happened but it was so real for me. That went back home in the middle of the night. And it just sat and just thought and I was like,

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this is it. I mean, I need to take this stuff. No, seriously. I need to internalize it now. I can't be a donkey carrying books. Yeah.

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So on October the fifth on a Saturday I went to the central mosque. Lots of brothers there.

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became Muslim Mohawk.

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That's very, very interesting and touching. Now tell me at that moment, your abandoned way of life. And in turn another one, there will be some positive things will happen and some probably obstacles in the way. Tell me first about the positive things you saw when you decided to make this decision. I'm going to change my life. I'm going to live what I believe Yes, this was more of a transition because I was already changing some things anyway, like, I wouldn't drink and I would pray before I would pray.

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But I think the most amazing thing for me

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something which I miss, actually,

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when I became Muslim was the first few months when I go to the mosque fudge of time in the morning time.

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And it was amazing feeling.

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The obstacles? Obviously, you grew up in an environment that was supportive, because many Muslims in the city you grew up in and you were exposed to Islam from early age your friends and things. I'm sure you'll have, you'll have some obstacles. Did you have any issue with the family? And yes, you would produce friends, the Korean War, my periods, friends, mostly were Muslim.

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So that that was a huge problem. But I did have colleagues that were women that were not Muslim, and they were very upset what happened.

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But the main problem was family. I mean, my dad is very open minded. And so is my mom, very tolerant. My mom's a refugee from the 1974 Turkish invasion.

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But my sister was like, engaged to attack for 10 years. I mean, they're very open minded.

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But my dad was mostly upset not because of the cultural change. Yes, my mom was upset cuz I changed my name, which was that by the way, this was 2002. All right up. So 911 now we're Islam is really a problem. Come on, what are you going gay? Yes. So my dad was upset because he said, Why are you going backwards for the things I taught you was moving away from religion, being progressive, liberal, humanist, spiritual. That was his issue. She was really upset, because he's like, all the experiences he had in his life, that he learned from it as if I threw that in his face. Yeah. And obviously, we would argue for the first few years, but it'll be like a friendly, loving kind of

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argument will be intense and be very stressful. I think the worst mistakes I did in that period was to basically

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make up make out

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as if my dad was incompetent, and that he wasn't my hero anymore, because my dad was always my hero. And he still is. I mean, his values are phenomenal. He's like a working Muslim without faith. All he needs is the faith. Now, I mean, I mean, he recently said that he believes Mohammed is a prophet. So and he believes God is one so he's almost there is no mystery inshallah. So

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I think this is a beautiful

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that's what we love the passion. And

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I think the worst was,

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and his advice to new Muslims.

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That subconsciously just because you've found the truth, you think everyone who loved you is baseless now, and you want to try and make sure that they are wrong, and they're bad. And that's what I do with my father, because he was a hero to me, but he wasn't Muslim and I became Muslim. So what I do with his hero, so trying to hack him down, basically, and I would really make him feel really, really bad or pick the smallest mistakes in his life and make them huge.

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I'm a father. If my children do that to be

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totally devastating, of course.

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He's a very lucky father.

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Really.

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So I was really bad to him for many years. And I went on this kind of psychology course that makes you realize

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makes you realize how bad you are right? Like you know, it's your fault. Take power, the relationships you have in your life. And I realized that I cheated so bad, so

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I called him up after six years of something being Muslim.

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As a dad, I just picked using grease nursing my my my great grandfather, you know, but does very nice guy he was wiping his backside Jake is changing his clothes and he nursed me

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Of course, it's just he lists my god that for three years, and I never knew he could do it. I was really, really, really, really impressed with my father because my dad is very loving guy by his blood, but he hates mess.

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Anyway, so I said, I called my dad, I said, Dad, I want to speak to you like, you know, I hardly speak to him now, right at that time.

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He thought something happened to the grandchildren or what's going on?

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Is that I want to let you know

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that I know you love me.

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I know you love me.

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And everything you've done is because you love us.

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Like my dad used to work for 76 hours in a row. He wouldn't eat, he would just drink coffee. He was a laborer in the factories.

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And he wouldn't eat at all.

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And you come back tired and shattered. He had lots of varicose veins because he was the iron clothes as well.

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sizes and everything you did is because you love us even the mistakes you've done.

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And I said, Tim, you're my hero. You know, he gave all of his inheritance to his brother, just to keep his family together. But that has nothing zero.

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We must don't even do that.

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As you see, he's a Muslim. Without that without adopting that the faith Yes, in the faith, but like my dad, my dad was stay awake for the people to sleep. He would be a poverty father. Like he would make he would make us eat potatoes for two weeks in order for his workers to have some food.

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That's how it was.

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Love blossom.

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So I said, Tim, you're just a great guy. I take my house I said yes to my hero. We do a different traditions, but you're still my hero.

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And I love you and he was crying for 15 minutes and he doesn't hardly cries I'm only seeing cry once or twice in my life.

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And then he called my mom up in the evening and he said to my mom

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that he's ready to die. He felt like a complete parent.

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So but now our relationship is great. I could talk about Hadith Islam, he loves what the prophet had to say someone was telling me Now how did Islam influence you in this period? I mean, be unkind to your parents is a virtue of virtue only it is a mandatory commandment in Islam, no matter what their faith is. to be kind to them. Of course, I mean, obviously, the Quran when it mentioned worship Allah that He mentioned the be good to your parents. Absolutely. Close to the oneness of Allah to the point you disobey your parents like disobeying God, it's almost close to polytheism you don't do things like that. But obviously, that didn't affect me the first few years because very passionate

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and zealous.

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But now I tried to everything from my parents. I mean, I mean, they did everything. I can you pay your parents? Well, let's shift gears. Yeah, show to what you do. Now, of course, you are traveling the world. Basically, calling people to Islam. Many people were exposed to Islam, many people in the world of Islam through your teaching, and for your reference, I just want to mention something about my mom as well, please. My mom is just like, my dad was super sacrificial. And, you know, she was a refugee and she sacrificed so much and she got so much love as well. Like my mom's Love is like,

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it's like a possessive form. It is like a possessive form of love and it's very powerful and she's full of energy and you know, can I speak to that my dad a lot that's because he has an emphasis by my mom. You know, sometimes I think of like my dad but it weighs I'm so like my mom that energy I have that sometimes it sits back at home and reads a lot. It's quiet for a few hours. But mom's always energetic. And I got that from Amazon very loving. I think I got that from my mom as well. So you know, I always also want to mention that my mom is that she a gem you know, how many women are refugees and and accepts people accept the race that entered her homeland and took over her own

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house. And you know, she was running through the morgue looking if her if her brother was dead or not because he was fighting in the front line. So the point is she she's a German as well from that perspective. So, Bella, beautiful, please stay tuned. We'll continue our conversation with brother Hamza short.

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The Quran is an ocean.

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And we must do to the book, reflection and pondering upon this book as Allah tells us, and the more we ponder, we take an idea, we take a verse and we find out what does it mean for me? What does Allah want me to do concerning this verse?

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How does it affect my spiritual social DNA? How am I supposed to act and live and behave? How am I supposed to be? Meaning what kind of state should I be in? So I want to encourage all the brothers and sisters and friends to really engage with the clan from this perspective, because the Quran wants to be engaged with because the Quran was sent down for the whole of humanity and human beings are thinking human beings. So Allah, the divine reality, the Lord of everything that exists is telling us engage with his word with his Eternal Word.

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And I believe, if we engage with it, and we ponder upon it, we can really find solutions for all of life, but particularly our spiritual life, and for our moral and ethical lives.

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Obviously, you study, now you're a Muslim. And by the way, this you massive Oprah Winfrey, it's like the Oprah show.

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You're genuine brother. Yeah, sure, you really are.

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And I would like to tell you that you should be proud of this man.

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You're lucky, you're blessed actually, to have a son, such as Hunter.

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And what I want to touch on now, with you is, you entered this lab, and from the short time I've listened to you, I interacted with you, you expressed a great amount of knowledge. So obviously now we are on a path of I don't know, was it sourcing or enhancing yourself elevating yourself? Can you talk talk about this period of time preparing yourself as a Muslim now, Mashallah, he will lead in movements?

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Well, I need to need I mean, I was always, you know, brought up to express myself. And if I believe in something, I'm going to try and speak about it because I used to love kung fu and Bruce Lee and Wing Chun and Chinese medicine, I would always speak about it. So it was natural that if I adopted Islam, and I found it was a truth, I'm going to speak about it.

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So I was really interested in researching concerning or pseudo Deen the foundations of the religion, the core and God's existence, the miracles of the Quran while you're doing that on your own now, or we have a mentor a teacher, well, now we have mentors, but in the beginning, I was on my own. It was very lonely place we don't the state of dour, the state of calling people to Islam in 2002 2003 was a very lonely place, generally speaking, right? Right. But now is different we have LMS Masha, we have scholars that help us activists is a great time now, we now is a juncture point in history. But that time was a little bit lonely.

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And so I was interested in that stuff. And I got into the lecture circuit at universities to talk about the Quran and talk about why I became a Muslim to talk about the kind of intellectual foundations of the religion, right. So since then, that's what we've been doing. We've been engaging with atheist academics. And we've been talking about Islam and writing and reading and we've done lots of mistakes. But that's the nature of the Dharma is the one who has never done mistakes in the dour before, has never done dour before. So you learn from the mistakes. And now we're there. Now we're here to train people and to create new leaders and to create people to saturate the kind of

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intellectual market so we could really have a voice. And that's very important because we like to play a warm compassionate case for Islam to the widest sight see, so you grew up in an environment totally different from the environment. It is in the West, but totally different from the American environment. Yeah, sure. So we have Muslims here who are passionate who are engaging in the dour. However, the field is totally different. You yourself, you had the privilege of being around Muslim students, there are towns he there is no Muslim whatsoever Muslims whatsoever and contacting a Muslim is an adventure. Okay. I experienced that myself. So what do you have to say to the non

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Muslims when they are approached by a Muslim or when they want to have a relationship whether a business relations

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or social relationship or academic relationship with Muslims, some people have fear. Some people have hesitations, especially after 911 people heal. Well change. You know, I was at one of the Islamic centers yesterday, today, yesterday, before yesterday, we had an open house. And we invited the non Muslims, the Texans to come and sit with us. And there was many non Muslims there. And I was advised by some of the Muslims, be a bit careful, don't be too preachy.

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And I said, Forget that advice. I'm just going to be myself.

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So I was myself and we engage in such a way, a non Muslim Christian man could Terry a black man stood up and he was crying.

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And he was like, shocked. I don't believe Muslims are like this. They believe in Jesus. They believe in the Bible. They have family, look how multicultural they are, isn't in my churches, black people, I can't walk into a white church, sometimes I feel a bit different. He said, These people are full of love. Because I said to people,

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I gave advice to one non Muslim saying, if you want to engage with Muslims, knock on the door and say, can you feed me, please, I want dinner. Every Muslim is gonna say come to my house. And he was shocked by everyone to agree that if any non Muslim says, I want to come to ask for dinner that will facilitate that. And he was shocked that people were so proactive in facilitating that kind of communal harmony. And we sat with him after and he was crying. He was like, I'm 55 years old man, he was like this. I'm 55 years old. I've never seen this before. I've never, you change my heart, he said, and he was crying. And I was like, This is what it's all about.

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So from my experience, to talk to a non Muslim, I would basically say to them,

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just approach them and you're gonna find someone who is so ever ready, even if he's rough around the edges, still ever ready to facilitate compassion between you two and three, to discuss your differences and your similarities. And not to fear because sometimes our biggest danger is that we think our past experiences and our limited knowledge

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is infinite. And it applies to all types of places. So we superimpose the past on to the present and the future. It's no wonder we're living a cycle. Nothing changes, because we always use the past to influence the present and the future.

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What we need to do is to divorce that and say, right, well, that's from Fox News, or whatever I saw on the media, or I saw with another person or my interactions and experiences, I just that past experiences. If you learn to divorce them from the true reality from the present, then you always come up, come towards new realities with a blank canvas. And that means you'll have a new realm of possibility to achieve what you can with others and connect with them in ways that you that you've never connected before. And that's what we need to do. And this is quite quite ironic as an ethic, because sort of Bukhara chapter two, verse 30,

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God says, you're going to send out Adam as the vice chairman to take care of the world. What do the angels say, you can ascend someone that's going to create bloodshed. And God Allah says, I know that which you do not know. Meaning, the angels had limited knowledge and experience and they thought the new reality will be the same thing. But Allah says, You don't know what's going on. Don't you need your limited experiences and reality to superimpose a new things is always new and fresh, is always a new realm of possibility. And that's what we need to have with human beings. Forget the baggage

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and just treat them as they should be treated each other there are so many people of the just like yourself soul searching, they are trying to find a spiritual home really, yourself. You're in that mode before you became a Muslim and the trigger was this conversation with the friend about death? How do you advise or what would you say to the Muslims who are trying with some people they know whether a relative or a friend or a neighbor or a colleague, and this person is almost there. So what would you tell them so they can make that switch? And that night happened to them so they can think and the next morning they say, this is the I mean, I wander to the Quran as a percentage gives

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us the approach like 90% of the Quran is emotional, emotional, spiritual. 10% is intellectual. So that's the kind of dose you should give to people like God's existence and the being a miracle is very easy to do in five minutes. It's intellectual gymnastics, but the implications of that is the difficult thing, the emotional thing. So one thing to do is to remind them of God's love for you because the Prophet Muhammad upon will be peace.

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God loves us more than our mothers love us. And to understand that God is really short to summarize the Quran, God is basically screaming us saying, You are slaves. You didn't choose your birthday, your birth, your ethnicity, your gender, your name, your DNA, your socioeconomic status, you didn't choose any of these things you had slave to context. You didn't choose the ISM and the schism, that you're conditioned to believe that beauty means you have to be like, I don't know, L'Oreal because I'm worth it right. Or you know that stuff. You enslave, to social context and to your own context. You have so many slave masters, your boss, your parents, your boss's boss, society, your politician,

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your senator, your governor, everybody wants something from you, and they don't really know what's truly best for you. And God says, hold on a second.

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I'm your Rob. I am your master that loves you and nurtures you. And I know what's really best for you. So connect to me, free yourself from the slavery and liberate yourself by worshipping me. It is no wonder the word or roar. The soul in Arabic in the Quran, shares the same route as the widow raha which means liberty and serenity. So the raw, the soul wants to achieve this liberty and he can only be done so by connecting with your with your nature, which is to worship God. And to love him worship means to love him to know him to obey Him to serve Him. And if you do that, everything falls into place. But people are so busy worshiping themselves and their own ego. And that's the problem.

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And that's that's Islam. That's the most simple way of putting the whole narrative. And that's why the famous poet, cabal, he was the point of the East. He said an amazing point. He said, this one frustration that you find too difficult

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frees you from 1000 frustrations.

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Yes, this is a beautiful statement knows to end this program with. I wish we had more time. It's very interesting. And I pray that we get together again, shall we do much more programs about this spirituality aspects of Islam and the spiritual approach to bring people to Islam. That's what people want. Many intellectuals do. materialism is controlling everything and people lost their souls and they need somebody to guide them. Thank you so much brother Hamza for being with us.

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And may God be with you. I mean, guide you and guide you through you to me. Thanks again.

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Thank you for watching, and I hope you enjoyed this episode. And we look forward to seeing you again. Salaam Alaikum Peace be with you