Channel: Lauren Booth
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You're on your Haim, you're on your fimea Hakeem your hobby. My name is Lauren booth I am by the Grace of Allah, a slave of the one, the Creator. I've been Muslim for 10 years now, this is about to be my 10th Ramadan. And I come from a British family. And so that in itself has been an interesting journey. And some of you may be converts out there. So you know that there's always questions that, that come up kind of annually by annually, or when there's flare ups in the family. But I have to say largely by the Grace of Allah, I have managed to keep my family relationships going. So
for me, Ramadan, started off as something really, really difficult.
Because I didn't understand it at all. And I think there is a misunderstanding about how easy it is to understand even even this Ramadan. Honestly, this Ramadan is my first ever Ramadan that I've planned anything. Because when people keep saying, Oh, we're really busy getting things together for Ramadan, well, I was a single mum for a number of years, just come to Islam, all I knew was don't eat and don't drink during the day how us. That's it. So I was getting on with my with my job, going and making TV programs coming home hungry, giving the kids their food, my two daughters, and then eating later on my own and then getting up on my own. And then praying on my own and just thinking,
Okay, I love I love how hard this is. Because that's kind of my character coming from extreme idea of freedom to something that's like, you better control yourself, I really appreciated that. But if you asked me about spirituality, or planning or, or having if tarz at the mosque as we used to, I didn't know any of that. And so along with the, the kind of the rigor of it and the respect for it. I didn't I didn't get the spirituality I didn't understand about you should even read the Quran more. So so this for me feels like, I haven't really learned my first Ramadan. But then every Ramadan should be our first Ramadan. And, Lauren, how are you today?
I'm having my kind of I, you know, the Android, New Zealand, a lot of you guys. And it's a real honor to be speaking to New Zealand. After the very sad first anniversary, we had planned in Turkey to hold commemorations and a special I was part of a special
union, who are called Hello, brother. And we were going to, to discuss the impact of what happened a year ago. But obviously we locked down with we didn't get to share that. So I just want to share my my great sense of loss and respect for your community. And my great sense of deep sense of love for you as my brothers and sisters, and you know, prayers as well for those who've continued to grieve and knowledge that of course, those who went were undoubtedly the best of us and take them by the Grace of Allah. So I just want to express that inshallah. How have you been doing in the lockdown?
Is it been a benefit? Or is it been a challenge for you?
Everybody has their own reality in this moment, because because it depends where you've been caught in your life. So what happened with my daughter, I was over in the UK, she was about to come out to Turkey, for the first time to see where I'm living now because she's an adult. So I wanted her to come over, and bang, suddenly, I get over next day or two days later, Turkey shuts the flights. My daughter has now given up her apartment for university because the university shuts, I've moved abroad, she's nowhere. And so. So yeah, it's been it's been difficult by the Grace of Allah, we are an alma. So she's with a family who we love very much in Manchester. But this is going to be our
first we're going to cry, our first Ramadan apart, and she's not with anybody, nobody in her family. So that so that's 30 days where we have to just keep each other strong and remind ourselves that Allah Allah wants you there. Same as he wants me here. And this is he wouldn't give you this if you couldn't be strong about it. So so this means that I'm not in your way, maybe, maybe, you know, we'd have been so busy that have been a block on what you can actually do. So let's come out of this better. So you know, we have to teach our young that that resilience from the basis of Islamic understanding that there is no bad result.
As long as you're seeking Allah to Allah, and if you're on the right path, if you're increasing ibadah, then these are good signs. And because Allah loves the one, if he loves you, he's giving you ill so, so there's a time of great hope. But yet every millions and millions of families around the world will be in the same situation. So little bit separated. However, I have to say that since coming to migrate, so the viewers should know, I met use it before I came to Islam, use of approached me about an Iraqi charity in around 2008, maybe 2007, maybe even 2005, a long, long time ago. And because I was I was vocal against the war in Iraq. And he, I must have seen very kind of
way out there. But my behavior to me at that time was just normal journalistic TV fame kind of behavior. So there was a normal amount of drugs, if there's such a thing as a normal amount of alcohol, there was a normal amount of, of just, you know, panic when things went wrong, it was all normalized, bad, bad state to be in. So you don't know that you're in a difficult state because it's all normal to the people relevant around you. And so I I've written a book about my journey to Islam and use of sin if you've, you've read the the myth, I think, I
was one of my reviewers. Mashallah.
And so really a stepping stone to Islam was meeting use of chain brothers of chambers and brother abdur-rahim Green, and thinking why these white guys pretend to be Arabs?
Why, why? Why are they wearing long clothes and growing their beards long and saying, handily learn all this Arab stuff that I've heard in Palestine fit weird bit weird, these guys. And of course, use a sense of humor.
The joke, you know, there was, there was an event and he made a joke about women with mustaches, and the room was silent. That's all and I was in the howling, howling. So I really inappropriate. But But So realizing that white people could be a different way that was really, that was really something for me. But Islam means changing yourself. And I definitely wasn't ready then. In fact, funnily enough use if I met abdur-rahim Green, about three years ago for the first time. After many, many years, he didn't recognize me. I said somebody can we went to Polycom salon, because because
you green floral booth, what?
That's amazing. You're completely different. Did you remember the meeting? Maybe you can you can talk through some of the changes that that people
you know, you were engaged in supporting the oppressed. You know, you were you were concerned about Palestine, you were concerned about Iraq, he was concerned about, you know,
who would have been then the Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, as being a person who was oppressing people, and you wanted to speak against it, you wanted to do the work, and you were committed to the oppressed in the world, and the poor in the world. So that's what drew us together. And that is a prophetic value, to love the poor to love the people who are below you. The Prophet Muhammad says some said, Look at the people below, you don't look at the people above you look at the people that are below you. Because if you look at the people, you know, below you, then you will say Alhamdulillah, for everything. So we you already had that. And I remember saying to you, and I
really genuinely believe he genuinely believed it, I looked at you. And I said, Lauren, and by the way, you're taller than I am, you know, and I was looking up to you. And you know, and you were you were a journalist, you would on Sky platform, you were writing articles, and so on and so forth. You're on television daily. And I looked up and I thought, let me just be brave and say something. I said, Look, Lauren, you're just too good to go to health, you know, you shouldn't be in hell. And I remember thinking that that that was just me. No, that would have been like a smack on the face. Another person would have smacked me around the face and said, How dare you say I'm gonna be in? No,
but it just just came out. And I remember what happened as a result of that. And this again, from the field of dour and outreach
in a time of pandemic and the time of plague globally, you know, to close our mouths and our hearts and things and think that people don't want to know right now about a life such a mistake. I mean, be the one who takes risks, be the one who says you know what's gonna happen if we die, what's going to happen if we lose everything, you know, you know, there is there is there is a there is a carrying system here. It doesn't have to be like that. You do know that right?
and give people the alternative. I mean, well, the worst I could have said is How dare you I have my God, you have your God and it would have still been okay. But actually what happened because Yusuf introduced the idea is you said something like, It's a real pity you're gonna go to hell because you seem like a nice person. Right, which is, he could do that to me because he recognized the personality because we're from Britain. I'm not saying that, that that is our but but you recognize it is our it? Is our the Prophet peace be upon him dealt with people to their level? Yeah. To spoke to them in their style. Yeah, if it was a Bedouin up to 334 word, you know, just do one thing. And
do that well. And then if it was, it was a leap on the seeds, plant the seeds, right? Plant the seeds, Lauren.
And so I went away that night, and I saw, I'm really bothered by that. I'm really bothered to think that there is this Islamic god, one God, I know he's the same God actually. And that I might be on the wrong side of my own history here and heading for hell. And I wrote it in my diary, I just said that, why does this bother me? What Why am I why am I worried about about that? What and how do I change it.
So that seed was probably 2005. And this and that, you know, the journey can be as long as Allah wills to really break our spirit. Because the thing is, you know, the bigger your, that the higher you are, the harder you fall, you know, the more you have, the more you have to have taken away in order to get the greater reward. Because the you know, there is there is a saying, in consumerism, which is really interesting. Well, what you own eventually owns you. So the meaning of that is that everything that we buy, not only takes away from from some part of the risk, the the the monetary and all the health ability that Allah has given us even but but because it's there an object in our
lives, it has an ownership over us. And what's interesting to note is that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam had so few objects, but loved them so much that he named them. So can you imagine having few objects, but not being disposable? That you name them? I mean, probably we name our phones, I love you. Love you, Karen, whatever you
you know, but would we name a pen? Would would we would we name a coat, this coat, you know, heavy, heavy, it's nice to see you because it's so precious to you. So, really, that that that lack of that, yeah, that having too much, and then having to have it taken away. So by 2010,
I was having, you know, Ramadan experiences in different mosques around the world. That's, that's what I can say. So maybe if you're watching this, and you're feeling lost at the moment,
just to let you know that
we know that Allah to Allah, the One True God to God, to the Christians and the Jews, the God of all of us, is right now preparing for the gates of heaven to be open and all that energy to come towards us. And the gates of hell to be closed, which means the negative energy of the world is just from us. So that's a that's a big concept to deal with. But know that this is a very precious month. And if you're feeling, you know, lost and alone now, this is a great time, just just cry. Just ask God, guide me show me, I'm not going to share tell you what is the truth? Because God will tell you what the truth is. But do the asking do the work.
Just like I'm here for that. That was, that's awesome. And that was a call to the souls out there that maybe wondering and maybe thinking, There's got to be more to life than just eating, sleeping and drinking and spending money that you've earned.
You know, and obviously, that there is I mean, everything in the world, the creative world has a purpose, doesn't it? Lauren, and when you look around, you look at the universe, you look at the small things from the macro to the micro. You see, written in it, the in the creation, you see the same creator, you see the creative power, and it's just awesome. Thank you. Very use if that was you, because you raise something in me that I want to share about on that same line. And I'm just looking for the ayat. Maybe Maybe somebody out there will know it. But there is there are so many points. I mean, I lived in France, as I mentioned, and I've been a city girl in London girl. And so
I've never even had a plant pot that I kept alive. A plant you know, because I traveled so much so I knew nothing about about farming or growing things and then we found ourselves in a farmhouse in
middle of France with with Jasmine around the door and peach trees and rhubarb and onions. And the first winter. We moved in October and it was still sunny and everything was flowering and it just looked like you know the Garden of Eden. It really did. And then come December. I've done a bit of pruning and gone okay, well, that's probably a weed, I'm not sure and pulled out a few things and cut the Jasmine back. Come December, everything was dead. And there was a farmer who used to come around and give us dead pigeons. His name was Roger. He's passed now in the Lila who inna LilLah Hydra June. But he's very generous to us kind of weird English folk on the hill. And he used to
bring us these birds and I had to pluck them, and they were really tasty pigeons. And he came around one day. And I said to him in French, Russia, there's a big problem with my garden. He says, Oh, what is it? I said, See More. It's dead. And he kind of looked at me when? Yeah, I said it. But look, the Jasmine is dead. Look, the peach tree is dead. I said, I've done this. I've killed everything.
And he looked at me said, what qua? What? I said, I think I've killed the garden. Why is it dead. And after a really long pause, you won't see you there. It's winter. That's what happens in winter. But But what I saw was things that were dead twigs, they were dead twigs, there was no way that they would ever grow again. And that January that February, we had frost we had snow, it got to like minus 15. We were freezing sleeping in our coats in this blooming farmhouse that we thought was a good idea. And then come February, we started to see things coming back. And I didn't have to do anything. And I was not in control of it. And by March back in the Garden of Eden, sorry that that
is sort of the room verse 19.
And he brings, he brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living. He gives life to the earth after death. And you will be bought out in the same way. So in the same same limit you the things that everything created, has those life cycles, everything trees, plants, fish, the ocean has an idea of the stars do the the sun itself is a middle aged star.
It's the middle a star, it's gonna die. You know, people have to realize these things and they have to reflect upon them. Just to summarize that that journey right towards the end of the last three years or something was it was it was there a Catholic
I kind of reached peak Hedden ism, and peak self centered nurse. I loved my kids, and I was a good mum. But I looked forward to my wine and my friendship groups. And and then the negative behaviors that are kind of that's because that type of socializing was still part of me, and I wasn't developing as a human being. There was there was a sense of, and I've been a believer, I've been a very religious kid. In fact, my mom said to me a while ago, she said the family had been talking about how you've become an extremist, unlike in religion, and I said, Okay. She said, they'd been asking me why you became an extremist. And I said, What did you say, mum? She said, I told them, You
were always a weird kid. And I said, What do you mean by a weird kid? She said, Well, you were always praying. You're always saying, I'm going to speak to God about you. I'm going to ask God, God knows best. And nobody taught me this. We didn't go to church. My dad was a lapsed Catholic. My mom was superstitious more than religious. But there was me, please God, I just was a believer. But then my nafse my, you know, my desires to put the veils between me and faith. So there was a gradual, you know, really the, you know, I owe a debt of thanks to the Palestinian people.
Because I went there in 2005 2007 2009 2009, after after Gaza had been flattened again, but really, in a majorly horrific way, rather than just everyday horror.
And I saw I remember, in a refugee camp in zaytuna, which is part of a UN inquiry into what happened there.
The whole town had been flattened, and ice and I wasn't Muslim wasn't in hijab, I was just a journalist knocking about and I said to a woman, can I come and speak to you? And she said, Yes, yes. Come and sit down. And she did this thing. She was sitting on the rubble of her house.
And she said one minute, and she shouted at some children, and they got me a chair.
They got me a chair and they
They put me a chair on the rubble of her house. Because even in decimation, she had a protocol about how to treat a guest.
And then this mother said, Do you want to see my sons? And I said, Yes. And I looked at the snotty kids with no shoes running around. And instead, she went into a plastic bag, and she got out a photo of three dead babies.
Right? They've been shocked. Three dead Palestine. She said, this is Ibrahim. This is this is Yousef, and he likes to do this. And then she said, Alhamdulillah, All Praise and thanks to God.
I was like, how, what does that mean? She said, because I know they're with God. I know that test is over. And I know they're gonna ask for me and I know my rights with God. And I thought, Wow, if I break a heel on my shoe, I'm ungrateful.
So I started to realize that there was this whole other concept of what of what peace of mind means and what reality is and who allies and so it took another three years but I kept making my way into mosques and trying to pray. And then in 2010, in Ramadan, I slipped the night in the mosque, because I didn't I had such a feeling of peace, that if you felt it, oh, I would have I wouldn't have gone home to my family. I went into a mosque just as a tourist to do some secret filming, because I thought, Oh, this will be a good article for The Daily Mail and sat down in a waterfall of peace came over me. And so I said to my Muslim friends who I was with, can I sleep on the floor? They said
sure. And in the morning, I prayed Fajr and a week later I took my shot and by the grace of Allah, and you know, it's, it's just such a blessing. Yeah.
On your on
on your fimea hunky Mia hobby.