He always believed in God But hated confessing his sins
Channel: The Deen Show
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Why American Mark Accepted Islam
Talking about that you got the cross on your forearm and this is from the Psalms chapter 14 to 29. Yes, yes. But I didn't stick with the Koran. That's the whole thing like I was still because I was more familiar with the Bible. I always thought that was kind of strange that I had to confess my sins when I was eight years old confess to another human. He had a he had the Koran he showed me and he's like ever read the Koran. I say I've heard of it. But you know, so I read part of it when I was in there, but it was just like a passing
we have Ron God, his name's Allah.
And his final messengers, Muhammad peace be upon him. This is our religion, Islam.
This is the deen show.
I would only talk to you about explaining how much respect I have for the faith of Islam. Show. Welcome to the dean show. The dean show.
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I got a little
glimpses of it. And I wanted to have other people experience the joy that I was experienced listening to some of the things you were sharing with me. You weren't always Muslim. Now. Yeah. And you got tattoos actually to prove it. Yes. So we were talking about that you got the cross on your forearm, and this is from the Psalms chapter 14 to 29. Yes, yes. Psalms 1429. slow to wrath. slow to get angry. I actually got this when I was in Pompano Beach incarcerated.
When I was, you know, I, that's when I really got, you know, in touch with a higher power God, you know, and it was always God. To me, it was always one. One God.
I was raised Catholic, Catholicism when I was young.
And I went to Catholic school. And it was always kind of a strange atmosphere, honestly, was very militant and strict. And
under the law, you know, my parents moved to Tampa, I was in Ohio.
When I was raised Catholic, my parents came to Tampa, my dad moved through his job. And that was a good thing for me, because I got away from the Catholic school and the, the nuns and, you know, but
I had gotten to a public school system, where I had interacted with a lot of kids of different races of different nationalities and it was refreshing to me
to get away from that, you know, and I always thought it was weird.
to pray or to confess sins, in a confessional. I always thought that was kind of strange that I had to confess my sins when I was eight years old, which, you know, I don't think a 28 year olds do so many horrible things, to confess sins, but I always thought it was kind of strange, you know, so it was that the red light was at the beginning stages of questioning when now you're a young boy, eight years old, and you're saying to yourself, like, what did I do now? As far as sins? I gotta go confess my sins as an eight year old. That was the first red flag. Yes, yeah, I always thought that was strange. And then to confess to another human, another mortal, you know, which you go inside the
confessional box. And he asked you what you've done. You know, when's the last time you had your confession when this and that and being eight years old? I'm thinking man, I haven't really even done anything. Really that that wrong that I you know, as an eight year old boy, and then they tell you do this do that you know, and do 10 Hail Marys, whatever. And if that's like you said that was the like the first red flag for me. Yeah. Did you go back to your parents to anybody else and kind of talk about this? Share, sign me Stearns
Not really, because it just stuck with you or something. I was yeah, it was kind of, and my parents weren't like really hardcore about it. Yeah, you know, but they felt like, I'm sure they had good intentions, you know, and thought that, you know, I should go to this school because it's better education. Maybe, you know, but ya know, I just kind of went with it, you know. And when I moved to Florida,
in 1983, I was introduced to public school system, and it was much easier for me, you know, that, that weight was off my shoulders, you know, and, you know, we, when we came here, we were still going to, you know, Catholic Church, you know, and, but it wasn't anything like hardcore, like how it was being in the Catholic school, such, you know, so, yeah. So then life goes on. I mean, what's your day to day life? Like, I mean, are you still thinking about church? As you growing older, I use more committed, are you going away from religion? Or yeah, pretty much going away from religion, but I always believed in God, you know, I always believed in God, there were points in my life, when
things would happen to me and go, Man, why is this happening to me? You know, like, a lot of people do, why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to me? Well, God works in mysterious ways, as we all know, you know, and as we all know, but has people with faith now, you know, God works in mysterious ways. And, you know, it really hit me. When, you know, not too long ago, honestly, about about six years ago,
you know, I got into this, and I got divorced from my first wife.
I was away from my, from my daughter.
And, you know, I tried to have a relationship with her. But after I got divorced, I was looking for another relationship. And, you know, I wasn't following the correct path, I made some bad decisions.
You know, I got in relationship with a woman that, you know, I probably shouldn't have been in relationship with, and got into some things that were bad, ended up getting, you know, incarcerated in South Florida. And, you know, and that's when I really when I was incarcerated, that's when I really, you know, got
a reality check. You know, God put me in that place for a reason, you know, to reflect on, you know, my faults, the things that I've done, bad and I took it as a blessing. You know, when I was reading the Bible a lot when I was in, when I was in there, and the ironic thing about it was I met a I met a gentleman down there, that was a Muslim. I don't know how, how,
you know, how serious of a Muslim he was. He had a he had the Koran. He showed me and he's, like, ever read the Koran? I said, Yeah, I've heard of it. But, you know, so I read part of it when I was in there, but it was just like a passing. You know, it was just like a passing thing. But I found it very interesting. You know, he, he didn't explain a lot, whole lot to me. He's just like, hey, you can read it. You know, he was my soulmate. He's like, you could read it.
on me. Yeah. Yeah. But it wasn't for very long. It was just like, it was just like, maybe a two week period that he was my soulmate. And, and I read the read part of the Koran. And I thought it was I thought it was very interesting. Did you see him observing Islam, like, praying? I didn't. I didn't. That's why I was saying I don't believe he was because he wasn't doing a lot or anything like that. Not that I saw, you know, but he was, you know, he was, he introduced me to it. Yeah, I'm doing a lot. So what happened from there you reading the Quran? Now? You're in the just in the county jail, or isn't this? Yeah, this is in the this is in the county jail. Yeah. And, but I didn't stick with
the Koran. That's the whole thing. Like I was still because I was more familiar with the Bible, you know, and I was reading, I was reading the Bible. And, you know, I actually met a gentleman later on, that was he was taken, like, because they would have certain, you know, face, they would have certain times where you could go, like they had, you know, for Muslims, they had certain time that they had, and I was trying to get it any class just to get you know, they call them like classes or whatever. Yeah, timeout so you can get out of your get out of your pod. And I, I was taken up on every opportunity I got, but I never got to go to, you know, to Islam. I never got to never got to
go to that. That class that they called on Islam. Yeah. of Islam. Yeah. Yeah. And so,
you know, fast forward, you know, what, like, couple of years well, but 11 months, I served like 11 months, and then I got out and, you know, I did some traveling
and did some traveling to find work and to get away from people I needed to get away from, you know, insha Allah and I,
I eventually got into a nondenominational church. Yeah. And then
You know, I met
I met a woman in my apartment building. And I met her in the hallway and I, I introduced her to my I said, Hey, do you want to go to? You want to go to my church? You know, it's not an emanation of church. And she's like, Yeah. Would you like to go to my masjid? And I was like a masjid, you know? And she's like, Yeah, you know, I'm a Muslim. I said, Oh, wow, that's interesting. And I instantly thought of, you know, the gentleman that I was incarcerated with. And I said, Yeah, I'm a little familiar with the Koran, and this and that. And so she went to my church, I went to her masjid. And
from there, I went there and I was just like, wow, like I had, I had gone to the, I forget what they call it. They had like a Sunday, like a Sunday, like a Bible school, for lack of a better term, but it was, it was on the Koran. Yeah. And they,
they explain the Koran, they we read the Quran, and we like it or so of us, 10 or so of us. And the Imam would go over, you know, what, what each I had met and you know, it was very interesting. And I thought, wow, this is, this all makes sense. He started, it started to make sense to me that, you know, monotheism is one that really stuck out there. Yes, it really stuck in monotheism. Yes, yes. Yeah, the monotheism is where it really hit me, because I always thought it was strange, you know, the Son of God, and why would God need a son? You know, why would God need a son? He doesn't depend on anybody. He doesn't depend on us, you know, we depend on
a lot, you know, and they all kind of came down to me like, wow, this is really makes sense. And this is really where I belong. It didn't take long for that. After that. Yeah. To convert. It really didn't. You know, I was probably, you know, I converted it was two, two years ago, January 1, so it was January 1 2021. What was? What was it? Finally, that did it for you?
When finally, did it the deciding factor? What was there something that now, finally, just because you got so much stigma attached to Islam? And, you know, so many obstacles? Yeah, I mean, it had a lot to do with the fellowship, the fellowship, that meant a lot to me. But for more for me, you know, people had told me, a lot of fellow Muslim brothers told me and like I was told yesterday at the lecture to, you know, I had heard that, you know, I was chosen, like, I was chosen by law, I was chosen by God, you know,
to be, you know, Muslim faith to be a Muslim. And, you know, that meant, that meant a lot to me. And like, I like, wow, I never looked at it that way before. And I never looked at it that way, like I was actually chosen. And I'm not to say, I'm not saying I'm not boasting or anything like that, but it's, you know, it's Wow, it's got to be the highest,
the highest honor of all honors to be chosen by a lot to, you know, because, you know,
not so many people are that fortunate, let's just say, you know, I mean, but I think the lifestyle that I was living needed a drastic turn, you know, and a lot of works in mysterious ways. And it was very, you know, it was like, wow, this is only gonna lock and do this. Oh, my God could do that.
So then right after this first visit, then you've you visited,
were you continuing to go to the masjid or how were you? What did you that time? How much time after you went to your initial visit mosque did it take for you finally? And what did it What was it was it we talked about the monotheism, anything else is some people it's monotheism, some people it's the, you know, all of the different evidence, and there's so many different ways for different people, you know, people are fascinated, you know, with all of the things that the Quran talks about, you know, the scientific miracles assigns the prophecies. Yes. How could a man live in a desert? No, all of these things in the crowd mentioned, yes, its authenticity is preservation.
There's so many which ways you can go. Yeah, I mean, there I have so many, like reading the Koran. It was I there was never a doubt in my mind. But you know, as people I've, I've interacted with people on, you know, like social media and things like that. And they're like, oh, that's the devil's book, this and that. And, you know, people try to turn you away, especially if they know you're converted, you know, and what amazed me was, is that there's so many similarities between the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran. Like there are so many similarities like the Old Testament anyway, and the Old Testament, and it was just like, wow, this
It's like, this is a lot this is this could only be guy, like, there's no way, you know, a human being just made this up and, you know, made it appear, you know, and they're like, you know, and people doubted just like people, you know, doubt a lot of things in life. But I mean, there were many things that did make me convert. But the number one thing was the monotheism. That was, that was the big thing for me. You talked about how you would go to church, and then you can share that with us. You'd be in church, and you always had this in your head, like, why is this attention being given more to Jesus than God? Yes, yes. Like in like, in my, in the church, I was going to, yeah,
the church, the nondenominational church, I'm sorry, when I would go there. You know, I was I was a music musician there. And that's, you know, I'm not saying how that's how they got me in there. But it gained interest me more interest, you know, playing bass and going up there. And I would write these lyrics that, you know, I believe, came from God, you know, they did and I was, and it was always uplifting, and about my previous experiences and how I went down the wrong path and things like that. But you know, I would always be like, praise God, you know, and then the most of the people in that nonimmune nondenominational church were always like, Praise Jesus, Praise Jesus
praise us. Just like Praise God. Like they're, like, I never understood it. Because even if Jesus was the Son of God, which he is not, he's a prophet, like Muhammad peace be upon him.
Even if he was Why would you give more attention to the Son of God?
Then God, it doesn't make it didn't make didn't make any sense to me at all. And furthermore, when I was reading the Quran, you know, it's, you know, why would God need a son? He doesn't need anybody, he doesn't dependent depend on anyone. He doesn't. He doesn't need us, he doesn't need our prayers. You know, that's for that's for me, that's for you personally, with God, you know, with a lot. And
I just always thought it was strange, you know,
strange might be, you know, word that some people are like, Why is using word strange, but to me, that's what I describe as seeing the gore hanging in the Catholic Church. And, you know, that's what I call it, the gore that, you know, and people would be like, Oh, well, that's for you to remember him for what he did for you, you know, but I just never clicked with me that just never clicked with me and never made sense. And then, like I said, what the monotheism where it's just one God, one God only, not three, not the Trinity,
you know, and made more sense and made more about the crucifixion, the crucifixion?
the whole idea was when dying for your sins. Yeah. How did you take to that? And now Islam, talks about personal accountability. Nobody's dying for your sins, right? You got to go directly to the One God, that's right, and seek forgiveness. And he's done loving, the most merciful, and he's the only one that can give you a sense now That's right man in a confession box, not a prophet and messenger, but only the one God. That's right. And I totally agree with that. And that was another reason why, yeah, he's like, He died for your sins. But why would? Why would he need to bring
a son of God, down here, when he could do everything? He doesn't need an intercessor? You know, he doesn't need that. intercessor. But yes, I believe exactly what you said, I believe that, you know, we come directly to ally and we submit, we submit to him during Salah and we ask for forgiveness, you know, and that's, that's the beautiful thing about it. When we pray, you know, we submit to him.
And he's the most Gracious, most Merciful. Yes. How have you dealt? Have there been many challenges? Like when you hear certain things or certain people trying to persuade you that now you made the wrong decision that you joined some kind of devilish cold? Or
how do you deal with that?
I have you had been challenges like this. I have had some challenges like that. Yeah, I have had some challenges like that. And you know, shaytaan will work in your head too. He'll be like, you know, trying to distract you or trying to keep you from being on the straight path, you know, wants you to go backwards. And that's happened. But, you know, I always have to just remember and sometimes it's hard, you know, that you always have to submit yourself to allow only, you know, and it's, you know, it's
It's a day to day, it's a day to day thing, like people at work have, you know, have tried me, you know, we're I've heard certain things, you know, in the past I've heard, you know, people, oh terrorist and this and that and, you know, like we were talking yesterday about, you know, people
so you're not hiding, like you know, some people are a little timid shy to you people know your coworker. I mean, I don't, I don't just come up to people, but if I feel comfortable with someone and I talked to them, and I let them know, yeah, yeah, let them know. Yeah. Inshallah, because, you know, there's certain people that you, you know, in everyday life, you know, some people are going to be people, they're going to be people and, you know, I've had some people like, kinda like, you know, like, the hospitals or things that I've been in, you know, and I, I get it, because if they're professionals, they don't, you know, but, you know, it's not something that I, you know, I try not
to worry about, I try not to worry about, you know, because God knows our intentions, you know, yeah, so, so before we conclude how's the journey been thus far? How's Islam and able to improve your life by implementing it? Have you have you seen some changes occurring, you know, there's a prescription of praying five times a day prescription of, you know, developing yourself to a higher status of Western you know, there's that whole blueprint for life in Islam. The more we do it, the more we start to see our character get better we start to leave off a lot of devices and other things. Have you started Have you started to see improvement with yourself and others by
implementing Islam? Yes, yes, I have. I have seen improvement in myself in Sharla. And I don't do a lot for that.
You know, it's I'm by no means perfect, you know, there's only one
perfect being and that's a lot and but, you know, one thing I could say is what really was really exciting for me was Ramadan. Ramadan, like Ramadan is like, so it's, you know, and it's
it's uplifting. You know, when you fast it's, there's nothing like it like you feel energized. Yeah. He really enjoyed Ramadan. Yeah, yeah. I mean, it was hard believe it was hard. It was hard. The first Ramadan was actually
for some reason. I think that was easiest rump bad. This is the third Ramadan just bad for me. The second one was
to improve knowledge as a new Muslim. Now, you went through already? How many? 333? Ramadan's? Yes, you started right away? Yes, yeah. Yeah, because I started anywhere in the world. I'm gonna do it. You're approved. You can do it. I I literally freaked out. When I found out I couldn't drink water. Like, no, I was just like, wow, like, really? Because I work in a kitchen. And it's hot. It's 100. And some degrees, you know, and you're constantly drinking water. Because you're dehydrated. And, you know, but yeah, and shall I, you know,
you know, I'm not gonna say it was perfect. But, you know, God knows our attentions and striving your best. Yeah, yeah. And I, you know, one thing I learned about Ramadan, that was really awesome was that,
you, you get this, you get this mindset of people, in countries or even United States that people don't have the luxury of water. People don't have luxury, especially in other countries, you know, they don't, they have might have to walk. Yeah, they might have to walk a half a day to get water to get food to get drinking water, that's actually drinkable.
They don't have food, you know, people in the United States are so spoiled, they, they can go to Chick fil A, they can go to, you know, get all types of food anywhere at any time. There's food, there's food pantries everywhere, really, if you want it, if you're homeless, you can, you can survive, you know, you could easily survive.
But that's the thing. Like that's the big that was the big thing for me, like whenever I'd get weak or tired when I was fasting, you know, you just I try to keep that mindset. That man there's people that that go sometimes two days without eating or three days or, or going out or without water or you know, people here are so spoiled it's it's really sad, but you know, it is what it is we just, you know, and then I tried to you know, I try to help people that that are in that situation as much as I can being and I was gifted with with cooking that's what I do. That's what I do for for a living and I'm blessed by that because I know during Ramadan I've been told that if you feed people,
you know even if you like break your fast if you feed some
One that could be, you know, tremendous reward. Right? Or remedy for. Right? Or maybe Is that true? Like, if you're you break your fast reward on the front. Yes, yeah.
You could feed someone and then you get rewarded
by that way, but yeah, it's. So I was blessed to have that skill. And I do have that skill. And even though I complain about it, sometimes you know, that it's not but hey, I shouldn't be complaining. Yeah. So be humble. And, you know, just, before we conclude, what advice do you have for others who are in a similar situation, they might have been brought up a certain religion, it could be Catholicism, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, whatever the case, but they're seeing that just things don't make sense. They're questioning. And now they watched some of our programs there maybe had some exposure to Islam, and they're seeing that Islam really, Islam connects with the natural
disposition of the human being like this belief in one and only one God. Yes. And, but they're timid, they're scared. Because of all the pressures, societal and family, right? What advice would you give them?
My advice would be to just take it upon yourself and find your local masjid, you know, maybe, or go online. And you know, there's plenty of there's plenty of information I'm sure you have a lot of information on, on the dean, the Dean show, I'm sure you have plenty of information on there, too. And if there's something they can't find on your website, then they just need to look it up. You know how to do salon. There's plenty of YouTube videos out there. You just got to be you know, just like anything else. You got to investigate and see what's, you know, what I'm my advice would be to go to your Masjid. Get some Muslim. Yeah, connect with some human connection. Exactly. Make a human
connection. That way, you're getting the real, you're getting the real deal. And, you know, you, you know, and then you know Juma is an awesome experience every Friday, it's, um, I'm just blessed every Friday to go, you know, Inshallah, because you were telling me you made that a priority now, did you? Yes, yeah. Yes. Every Friday. Yes, inshallah. Yeah, I do. I look forward to it. And it keeps me on the straight path. You know, and the fellowship with the, with the Muslim Brothers is awesome. You know, it's cool. They got your back, man, we're all connected. We all got something in common, you know, and, you know, they, I got plenty of phone numbers where I can call up somebody and, you
know, someone's always, you know, looking to help out, you know, it's beautiful. And for people hearing this term, the first time listen, I just want to make that note that you're just doing what Jesus did. You're doing what Moses did. You're doing what all the prophets of Allah did of God did. you're submitting your will, not to a human being but to the creator of human beings. God Almighty Allah, that's what it was. Yes, I mean, yes. Thank you for sharing some highlights. Thank you. Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you and it's yeah, it's just it's a blessing. It's a blessing a lot. The greater continue to bless you and make your way easy.
Yes, yes. And just like in the Hereafter, yes. I don't really
like it will you not leave without giving you a gift if you're not yet Muslim, and you tune in and see what these Muslims are talking about? And you'd like a free copy of the Quran? Go and visit the deen show.com. We'll take care of the postage and everything and get it delivered to you. And if you still have some questions about Islam, call us at 1-800-662-4752 We'll see you next time until then, Peace be with you As salam Alaikum salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. Brothers and sisters, as your brother has in Tripoli, and I'm so excited, so grateful to Allah subhanaw taala to be standing right here at the deen center that is being established in Tampa by brother Eddie from the
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