Did Muslims Discover America
Channel: The Deen Show
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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salaam aleikum, which is a greeting of peace, peace be unto you. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the deen show. We are here trying to help you understand Islam and Muslims. Now my next guest, who is coming out in a minute he's been with us before he has a special section at the deen show.com. You can hear his story and how he embraced Islam amongst the top topics that we've done with him. Now, we are going to be talking about Muslims in America, American history with Muslims. Now,
just to note, we're going to be using the word Islam by now many viewers who've been with us, you know what this word means? Simply surrender submission, obedience, doing all this sincerely to the One God the One God who created the sun, the moon and everything in this universe. And that's easily summed up with one word in Arabic, which is Islam. And a Muslim is one who does this action, the action of submitting and surrendering, sincerely, being obedient to the One God who created everything in this universe. It's much easier summed up one word, Muslim, how long have these Muslims who implement Islam in America, and that's what our next guest, Dr.
Gerald Dirks is going to help. Answer when we come back here. In addition, you don't want to go nowhere.
There's only one
there's only one. Jesus was his messenger.
Why did that maybe, maybe it's just to break the ice. All Salaam Alaikum peace on the mercy of God be upon you and you to my brother? How are you? Good. Good. It's good to have you with us here on the show. We've covered quite a few topics with you before. For those of our viewers who don't know who you are, just take a minute and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I converted to Islam in 1993 did the Hodge pilgrimage in 1999. Prior to that, I practice for a number of years as a psychotherapist, I have a doctorate in clinical psychology. But before that, I was an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church, having received a master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School.
To Christopher Columbus discovered America or the Muslim discover America. Let's let's talk about this history with Muslims in America. Well, it's kind of ironic to say someone discovered America when American Indians were already here.
But this issue of Muslims in American history is a very important issue. And what why is it so important? Well, let me illustrate it with the story. It was a year before 911 Yes. And my wife and I were standing in our local Midwestern airport located right on the buckle of the Bible Belt, waiting for our luggage to come down the conveyor belt. And a gentleman across the way, oh, maybe 20 feet 30 feet away, having to glance over. And he saw my long unruly beard. And he saw my wife wearing her scarf and her long outer garment.
And he did sort of a double tank I noticed out of the corner of my eye. And then over the course of the next five minutes, he sort of slowly meandered across the space until he was standing right next to me. And at that point, he turned to me and he said, Where are you from?
And I said, Well, I'm from 35 miles north of here.
And he said, No, no, no, no, no. I mean, where are you from originally?
And I said, Well, I was born 30 miles north of here. And if that's sort of a puzzled, confused, look, crossed his face, and he started to turn and walk away. And then you could just see the light bulb going on over his head. And he turned back to me with this look of triumph on his face, pointed to my wife and said, well, where she from?
And I said, Well, you know, she was born 40 miles north of here.
You see what he was trying to do brother. He had correctly identified us as big Muslims. And because he had made that identification, he was going to rob us of our American identity and our American heritage. And in doing so, he was reflecting a myth that is very, very common amongst the American public. And that is
Muslims came first to America in the latter half of the 20th century, that somehow Muslims or Johnny come lately is on the American scene. The truth of the matter, however, is far far different than that. We Muslims have been here long before the latter half of the 20th century. We Muslims help tame and settle the American Wild West. And the latter half of the 19th century, we Muslims fought to preserve the Union and the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. We Muslims stood armed and ready to defend the American coastline from British invasion and the war of 1812. We Muslims fought to secure American independence from Great Britain, during the American Revolutionary War. We
Muslims built the agricultural base of the American South, long before there ever was a United States of America. We Muslims were here in the early part of the 17th century in the British colony at Jamestown. We Muslims were here in the latter part of the 16th century, in the Spanish colonies. We Muslims were here with the Spanish Conquistadores and the early part of the 1500s. We Muslims were here with Columbus in 1492. And yes, we Muslims, even though this is a little controversial. We Muslims were here long before Christopher Columbus ever thought of coming to America. Amazing. Tell us now, I want to just go backwards at the airport. You were doing nothing minding your own
business. But was it because now we see a lot of Muslims. And we addressed this in previous shows the beard so you had the you said the rulli beard long unruly beard. And now your wife wearing the scarf, which if you look back a with the beard, in any picture that is portrayed of supposedly Jesus, he has a beard, doesn't he? And most of them, pictures of him as a youth obviously do not or most of even if you look at the 10 commandments with Moses, he had a beard, didn't he? Well, that's how artists how they try to say, yeah, represent it. And if you look back to some of the modest woman, if you look at who supposedly Jesus's mother what they have portrayed of her in that picture,
you will see her wearing the, the headscarf, sure, sure. Many of the righteous women, you'll see them preserving their modesty wearing this and that's all correct, you know, so this is just amazing. Now, tell us continue on how come most of us we don't really get to know this. This is a shock to a lot of people that are listening. You know, why is this? Well, it's because knowledge is so compartmentalised. Unless you read Arabic, or have access to someone who reads Arabic. And you go back to these very early Arabic books, you won't find this information. But if you do go back and you read Arabic or have access to someone who reads Arabic, you go back to these early books, you
find that there were a number of voyages from the Muslim world to the Americas long before Columbus. In fact, the earliest of these was cash cash, Eben Sade, Eben oswaal, who sailed from Muslim andaluza what's now Spain, Portugal in the year 889 600 years before Columbus, sailing west across the Atlantic, discovering a new land apparently islands in the Caribbean, and sailing back to Andalusia about 100 years later, Eben Farouk in the year 1999 made a similar voyage from Muslim Andalusia to the new world. You said Eben, what does that mean for SUV? Yeah, Center for center for that would be his father. Okay. Yeah. And then Al idrisi, famous Muslim geographer and scientific
adviser to the king of Sicily, in the 12th century, wrote about a group of eight Muslim sailors that sailed west across the Atlantic, from Muslim andalusi or Spain, Portugal
arrived at two new islands
hitherto unknown to them. And there they were captured by American Indians and held captive for a few days. And after two or three days, another Indian came, who served as translator between the Indians, and these Muslims from Andalusia. And he arranged for their release and they went back to Andalusia. The important thing in this story is to stop and think for a moment Wait a minute, there's an American Indian who can serve as translator. There's an American Indian who has had enough contact with Muslims, that He can speak Arabic
and serve as a translator.
So we have these stories from written and very early Arabic books, detailing these three voyages for Muslim and illusio. But it's not just from Muslim Andalusia. It's also from what today we call Morocco. For example Shaykh Xena Deen Ali ibn Fadel El Moussa rondi sailed west from Morocco across the Atlantic in the year 1291. reached the new world. And perhaps the most impressive of all, is sailing from West Africa, the mandinka Kingdom of Mali.
around the year 1310, the Sultan or king of that Empire, named Abu Bukhari sent to expeditions west across the Atlantic. Now, Columbus sailed in 1492, or three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria,
from what is documented in the ancient Arabic books, Abu Bakar, he said two fleets, which together totaled 2200 ships. So this was a huge amount of men moving west across the Atlantic. And we know they reached the Americas they never returned, but we know they reached the Americas. Because there is a South American Indian tribe, which even today uses mandinka idiom grams as their form of written communication. There's a North American Indian tribe, whose syllabus of words was written down by a Moravian missionary in the mid 1700s. And when modern linguists look at that syllabus, they discovered a large number of those words or mandate, the language of the mandinka of Western
Africa. So they obviously made it to the Americas explored parts of South America and North America intermarried with the American Indian tribes. And gradually their history was lost. But they were here. And they were here almost two centuries before Columbus. So yes, we Muslims, were here before Columbus. You mentioned that if you don't have access to some of the Arabic books on history, or do you find this in some of the history writings here in America? Like when you were attending university at Harvard? Would you see this information there? No, no, the sort of information again is to compartmentalised Uh huh, people who are writing about American history typically don't read
The person who did the pioneering work on Muslims in America before Columbus was Dr. Abdullah Hakim, quick, yeah, who is fluent in Arabic? And who has a PhD in history, by the way. So he went and looked at this authentic information, and this was documented. And now, anybody who is sincere historian now he can take from this work that he's done. Yeah, it's, it's beginning to receive some answers. Okay. So let's go back to what we said, Why is it so important to say, for the Muslim youth to know this history, crucial for the Muslim youth to know this, or not even just the Muslim youth for Americans in general, our crucial for them to realize that Muslims have been here all along, and
that Muslims have made contributions to America all along. But especially for the second generation of Muslims in America, this is a most important piece of information. Because as they hit adolescence, they're struggling to develop their own sense of identity,
establishing their national cultural identity as Americans, and establishing their religious identity as Muslims. And when you meet are confronted by this sort of bias that says, Well, if you're a Muslim, you obviously can't be an American. Yeah, that creates conflict for them that creates identity conflict for them. So it's important that they have this grounding, and understanding their own unique heritage in America, that Muslims centuries before them, were contributing to America.
Tell us some more interesting things that we probably didn't hear before about some of the other contributions that Muslims have made to America. Well, as I mentioned, Muslims were here with Columbus and has epic voyage in 19 and 1492. Amongst them, we can point to at least one Muslim who was Pedro Alonzo Nino. He was a Muslim from Africa sailed with Columbus, and helped charter and navigate much of the Atlantic Ocean. But three very important people we need to point out are the pin zone brothers, and the pin zone brothers were moriscos. Now that's a term that needs some definition. Most people probably you're not familiar with that term. In 1492, the Spanish
Inquisition was going on for
blast. And the Spanish Inquisition targeted both Jews and Muslims for their persecution. Let's start from there and digress. What was this about the Spanish Inquisition, just in short, Ferdinand and Isabella, their Catholic Majesty's of Spain, had reconquered, Spain from the Muslims, with the fall of Granada and 1492. And they had received a special bowl. That's the technical term from the Pope, to launch the Spanish Inquisition, to force people to convert to Christianity, both Jews and Muslims. A lot of torture went on, a lot of people were killed. In the process of doing this, both Jews and Muslims.
At that time, the Muslims in Andalusia or Spain received a religious verdict from scholars in North Africa that said, Look, if your life is threatened, go ahead and undergo a sham conversion to Christianity. And on the outward side appear to be Christian. Just continue to practice your Islam and this is if you're at the sword. Yeah, that's your neck and your life is threatened.
So a number of Muslims did this. And these Muslims who did this and their descendants were known as moriscos.
So we had the three pin zone brothers with Columbus there mariscos.
Now the three brothers had very important positions in Columbus's expedition. Martin shinzon was the captain of the penta one of the three ships. His brother has sent he was captain of the Nina, the second of the three ships, and Francisco was the pilot of the pitha. So three key positions in Columbus's staff were held by moriscos people who had either undergone a sham conversion, or were the descendants of people who had undergone the Sham conversion to Christianity, but continued to maintain their Islam and private. In addition, one sailor that sailed with Columbus in 1492 Rodrigo de Triana, who was a Christian when he made the voyage. As soon as he got back to Spain, he actually
converted to Islam, which took a tremendous amount of courage because the Spanish Inquisition, like I say, was going full tilt, and persecuting Muslims and Jews. So these are the people we know of that sailed with Columbus, and helped Columbus quote unquote, discover America. Please keep keep on going. We're really intrigued by this information. Well, and after Columbus, we had Muslims coming with the Spanish Conquistadores because again that Spanish Inquisition was still going on. And many, many Muslims volunteered to go to the new world as a way of escaping the Spanish Inquisition. So for example, we have Muslims in almost every one of the Spanish expeditions to the new world by the
Conquistadores nuflow de olano, was a Muslim who accompanied bow Boa and his expedition of the Americas. The probably the most famous of these Muslims with the Spanish Conquistadores was estiva Nika of aza more. That's how you'll find his name written in the history books. And he his famous Spanish language films have been made about estiva nico have as a Muslim. He was a Muslim, his real name was Mustafa's Amaury estiva, Nico of acid more was his slave name. He had been captured in Morocco and enslave, and in the year 1527. He sailed with his owner from Spain, to the Caribbean and landed in Hispaniola. And there he and his owner joined the dinar vaes expedition that sailed from
Hispaniola in the Caribbean to Florida. And this expedition consisted of five ships in about 500 to 600 men.
along Route they were hit by a hurricane. Some of the ships sank. The survivors when they made it to Florida were immediately attacked by Indians, many of them perishing. Those survivors including Mustafa began a 5000 mile westward and then Southern trek on foot from Florida, to Mexico City. And they were the first people from the old world to go through, you know, Georgia and Alabama, and Mississippi and Louisiana, and then down into Texas and finally down into Mexico and to Mexico City. And when they finally arrived there, there was only Mostafa and three others still left alive out of those 500 to 600, who had begun an expedition history
Books talk about him. But they'll talk about him as estiva nico have as a more. They won't mention that his real name was Mustafa Mori. And they won't mention the fact that he was a Muslim. Yeah. What about Quintin Khun? kintai? Well, this is later Yeah, he obviously wasn't there with Conquistadores. But before we get to the kind of keys to doors or get to come to kempty. You know, Muslims were here with with the early colonies, the Spanish established a colony early on at Santa Alina back in the year 1566. And many of the colonists that they took, were from the Galician mountain areas of Spain and Portugal, which was an area that was very, very densely populated by
Muslims. So it's a very safe assumption. We had a number of Muslims in the Santa Lena colony, which was located in the southeastern what is now the United States. We also know that Spain settled Turkish Muslims, both in Cuba and Mexico, and in the southwestern United States. These are primarily Turkish Muslims who were silk and textile workers. And in Jamestown colony that the British established, again, we had Turkish Muslims, who were brought into the colony, again, primarily silk and textile workers. And in fact, they became so numerous, and Jamestown colony, that Virginia actually passed a law prohibiting any more Turks and Muslims from entering the Jamestown colony. And
the first written record we have of those Muslims being there is from the year 1631. So again, very substantial contributions. You mentioned content content. Yes. Very famous when Alex Haley's book roots. Yeah, they should have a new or revised DVD or movie that one can see. Yeah. And the the mini series that was the miniseries Yes, years ago, really doesn't mention the fact that he's was a Muslim.
If you are a Muslim, and you know what to look for, you can deduce it. But the book makes it very, very clear that cuts I can say, was a Muslim.
In the Americas, both North and South America. During this unforgiveable period of human slavery, there were approximately 20 million enslaved Africans that were brought to the Americas. Of these current historians are now estimating between 20 and 30%, were Muslims. So between four and 6 million enslaved African Muslims, were brought to the Americas, many of them highly educated, some with the equivalent of PhD degrees from the University of Timbuktu.
And historians are now finding a little county museums in the American South, entire books written in Arabic, by these enslaved African Muslims. Wow, the entire Quran written from memory in Arabic, entire books of Islamic jurisprudence, written from memory in Arabic. So a very educated group of people and some modern historians are now positing that the percentage of literacy among the enslaved Africans in the American South was actually higher than the percentage of literacy among the slave owners. It's just that the slaves literacy was an Arabic. Not in English. Yeah. So who were some of these Muslim slaves one was contained. Yes. And contained Kim Tae, grew up in please
born around 1750 and g4 and West Africa and what is now Gambia, when he was a teenager, he went out to into the jungles to get someone to make a drum. And at that point, he was captured and enslaved,
taken to the coast and put on board a ship the Lord ligonier and transported to the Americas. And how horrible these conditions were on the ship. These people were chained in a
reclining position where they were lying down body next to body and kept in this position throughout almost the entire voyage. How long would a voyage take Oh, it could take a couple of months.
And they were given, you know, a bare minimum for food and water, the conditions? sanitary conditions, as you can imagine, were horrible or no bathroom breaks. You know, you just stayed in that position.
How bad was it well on the ship that can take him take him over on. We're told that approximately 30% of those enslaved Africans died during the voyage to the Americas.
Well, could they can't they reach the Americas and was sold at auction.
JOHN Walker are Waller of Spotsylvania County. And could they can't a
could not adjust to being a slave. And so he repeatedly tried to escape. And finally to prevent him from escaping anymore, while we're headed one of his feet amputated.
And at that point then he was sold to wallers brother who was a more somewhat more compassionate slave owner. He later married father to daughter named Kizzy, who was sold away from the family to another owner. That owner raped Kizzy producing a son called chicken George. And there's a photograph of chicken George take a late in his life as an old man that shows him sitting down and he's wearing the Koofi, the skullcap associated with the Muslim and the Thurber or long gown associated with Muslim men. So we know Conte Conte was able to pass along at least some of his Islam to his daughter, and she in turn some of it to her son.
So cut they can say probably the most famous of the enslaved African Muslims in America, though in my book, Muslims in American history, I give the biographies. I think of about 30 of these enslaved African Muslims submitted to the United so which one your books Is this the one that people now who really want to know more about Muslims in America? They can find that history here in your book, Muslims in American history of forgotten forgotten legacy us? Okay, yeah. So and they can see this book at Dirks online books. dirts. Online? books.com. Yes. Okay. And amongst other books, you have written how many books total? Six, and then I wrote five chapters in the seventh book. Yeah, if you
can give some the audience some closing remarks regarding the conclusion of this topic and some advices. And they can also learn more. Yeah, there's a lot more to be said about American Muslims. And American history, we've only just started scratching the history of the earliest part of that history, you have to be sad is the the Muslims who fought the American Revolutionary War, the war of 1812, the American Civil War,
and those who helps tame and settle the American Wild West. So there's a very rich, rich history here of Muslims in America, contributing to America and that goes back centuries. So there is a long standing Muslim American heritage that people do need to be aware of. We didn't just arrive yesterday we did. We've been here all along. And I'm sure there's many others who may be had interaction with Muslims who because like we said, a Muslim is one who makes a conscious decision to surrender submit to the one God and agree that Muhammad was the last and final messenger sent to mankind. That's correct. Then confirming Jesus is a messenger, Abraham, Moses and all the other
messengers, right, right. It's something very simple. Thank you for being my pleasure. Like Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the deen show. You can learn more Muslims in America, the history forgotten legacy, and you can go to our brothers website. That's Dirks online books to read more on this topic. I hope that you got to benefit and learn something new. And we will hopefully see you again next week here on the deen show. Until then, I Salaam Alaikum. Peace be unto you. The DVDs for Dawa as Allah has said in the Quran in surah now 16 125 Voodoo Eliza be lira bakeable hickmott Hekmati invite all the way of your Lord with wisdom beautiful preaching and reason with
them in ways that are best and this is a great opportunity for you to take up the obligation take up the call is Allah has told you to do and share this beautiful message with the world Islam submission to the One God see what everyone's talking about. You find one contradiction it can't be from God.
But the rational idea the rational explanation is you do your best to give up worshiping God is one I will never give up spreading this hope that you take the necessary steps you don't know if you're gonna live till tomorrow.
So you got to find that urgency to do the right thing right now.
If you say that you do not believe in Jesus, you have stepped outside of Islam you cannot be a Muslim is attended our faith to
eats comb eats lay everybody asleep.
I arise and ask a lot of thinking may own law you see, oh law, you know all the sins. I do.
Turn to you to pick him
runs away. Ola guide me