Muslim NBA basketball Players & Why Islam makes sense with Chris #845
Channel: The Deen Show
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Bismillah Ar Rahman your Rashi, dren two time NBA championship champion and In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, especially merciful, and then Kyrie he he didn't really do do great at his time in Boston, but now it seems like he's most of them. So it's like Alright, fine, you know, I gotta like Kyrie Al hamdu, lillahi Rabbil alameen
wa salam aleikum. Welcome to the D show where we have our special guest, Chris, who's here to share his story to talk to us about why he accepted as Dean, after seeing his good friend Mike, doing what appeared to be yoga to him at that time, where he was having a tension between religion and faith and then finding the iPhones of religions as he calls it, where there was no conflict between rationale and faith we're gonna dig deep into this story he said it before we're gonna get dig deeper this time to find out more with our friend Chris CEO of lunch go sinamay calm Mohegan Sun entre I love it. You did your you did your homework handler and $100 bill.
Are you doing my brother?
Blessed, very blessed? hamdulillah. So you're a fan of Steven Jackson.
I am now you know, anytime an NBA player because listen, I gotta like them. It's kind of like, you know, I'm a Boston Celtics fan, by the way, these up in Massachusetts, and there's a basketball player, you might know his name is Dennis Schroder.
He used to be with the Hawks. Now he's the Lakers. I used to like really dislike him. And then finally he's Muslim like Okay, I gotta like this guy, you know. And then Kyrie he he didn't really do do great at his time in Boston. But now it seems like he's Muslim. So it's like Alright, fine, you know, I gotta like Kyrie and now Steven Jackson. Alright, good. I like Steven Jackson. You know, my love of my Muslims is stronger than my love my sports teams.
Tell me do you know this? There's other basketball prayer player Irving, Kyrie Irving. Yeah, that's who I just mentioned.
Okay, so that's the guy you're mentioning that's the guy he's not he's so he accepted Islam because I was I didn't know who he was before. But then someone was telling me he was quoting you know, Allah God and he was treating some things like that. So that's the one that's the guy you're talking about. That's the guy I'm talking about. You know, we we have a good opinion and sha Allah you know, he's he's in his tweets lately he's been saying us that I'm Aleykum and Ramadan Mubarak and you know, calling people brothers so
you know, there's there's a lot of
within African American union, whether it's within the rap amongst rappers or basketball players, there's a strong pool towards Islam, and a lot of people you know, kind of in that gray zone, we hope we they fall into the white zone inshallah, but it's a, you know, it's really cool to see and there's a lot of basketball players like that. It's not just Kyrie it's Jalen Brown, Carmelo Anthony, and we could go on and on. Even. I think I've heard Kevin Durant, like, who knows right, but there's just a lot of names out there. Shaq's. A famous one of course. Shaquille O'Neal, huh? Yeah, you hear him saying salaam aleikum? Wa. You know what, that's the you at a young age of 16.
courageous, brave, you know, just kind of comparing it to many of these famous people out there. You know, the basketball players Didn't he gets some also some heat like people start to like they love him basketball player. But as soon as you try to mention Islam or whatnot, then it's like, Oh, you got they've tried to push you, but under a rock or something. Have you noticed that? Yeah. Yeah. You know, that's why it's so important that Muslims be cool, basically. Right? I mean, like, certainly when Muhammad Ali changed his name like he became Muslim changed his name from cashes paid Muhammad Ali. You'd people saying I'm not even, you know, what's his name that boxes like, I'm not even going
to call him mohammedia. His Christian name is cash. And so I'm gonna call him and Mohammed Ali whooped him right. And he says, game, what was my name?
Say my name, say my name. Sometimes you got to be you got to have that kind of bravado a little bit. to just let people know like, No, I'm a Muslim. I'm proud to be Muslim. There's no shame in it.
Nothing to apologize for you know, but then if you back it up with your game like Hakeem Olajuwon and when, you know, back to back championships, like what are people going to say, you know, you, you gotta have a little bit of that, Malcolm, and you just like you. I mean, that's what fascinated you reading the biography of Malcolm X. Right. Tell us about that. What role did that play in your decision?
To take it back just a little bit before that. You mentioned my friend Mike. So, you know, when I was 13, we moved my family moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, Amherst. Have you ever heard of Amherst, Massachusetts.
Their hockey team just won the college hockey championship or something? It's University of Massachusetts, is out of Amherst. Anyway.
It's a small, mostly rural kind of town farm town with a few colleges in it in Western Mass, about two hours west of Boston just to give you some perspective, and they're no Muslims, right?
Or just very few Muslims, we should say, one of those few Muslims was, you know, just a quirky personality. His name's art Carrington. He's an African American Muslim, who was a tennis star like back in the 70s. He played at the US Open with Arthur Ashe, just if people know tennis and Arthur Ashe is very famous African American tennis player. Art Carrington was right there with him. And his, he actually I thought he had converted Actually, he was born in a Muslim family. So some of these, you know, we forget some of the African American Muslims. They didn't just convert in the 60s and 70s. And some of them converted way back, especially around the New York area. And so art came
from these families. Very, you know, very proud of his Islam, although he doesn't wear on his sleeve, you know, you won't see him and just say, Oh, this guy's obviously Muslim, you know, he just looks like any other guy in America. But, you know, he's doing his prayers. He's, he's not shy to talk about Islam, people bring it up with him. And he was the tennis coach of my friend Mike. His son arts on Lex was my tennis coach. So we both kind of had that tennis coach. But art basically guided my friend Mike and Islam. And then when Mike became Muslim, as you kind of indicated, you know, I saw him during tennis practice doing like yoga, right? I was like, What is this guy doing?
And then I found out No, like, he's actually Muslim, we start talking about what is the song? And the first thing I'll say my first impression of the song is it just makes a lot of sense. Right? It's like kind of the superstitions are gone. And this kind of crazy theology is gone. It just really make sense. I was reviewing some Quran this morning, in sort of Eunice and it's talking about, you know, God, you know, the people that Allah guides, and
there's a verse
Well, Matt can and the Neff seen and took me not elaborated nilla ways. You're already Salah, livina la Yaki loon, you know that none is no soul is guided except by God's permission, and he'll put defilement upon the ones that, you know, it's interesting, the verb the verb used here is Yaqui moon, not that, you know, you notice it. It's like the ones that don't use their intellect. They don't use their reason, their rationale. So that's the first thing I made a good impression man is something that like, rationally it made sense, but I had no interest in becoming Muslim.
And then I started reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Before we go, before we get to that, let's go back, you know, what came to my mind was okay, so Mike, he's at a young age of when he accepted Islam around your age 16 1715. Actually, 15 Okay, so he's 15 you guys are taking tennis lessons, right? Yeah. Okay. So he's on the tennis court, obviously, not doing yoga. He's making Salah.
Yeah, he's because we were on the tennis, not just tenant, we're on tennis team together for our school. And so you know, you have to travel like a, you know, high school athletics, right? Like, you got to match you got to get on the bus travel, it takes hours. So prayer comes in during those matches. So, you know, in between matches, he'd go off in a corner and pray. And, uh, you know, I just never see him first, like, what is that guy doing? You know, because you do it in a corner. You know how we do it, right? You You don't want to be like in the court, like, you're going to find a nice quiet corner away from people so you can focus. But, you know, at first I didn't notice, but
then after I sick and I was like, What is he doing over there? You know, like, there's something happening.
And then then we started talking about it. Yeah. Now think about that. I mean, obviously, you know, like, kind of the state lot of times people who are just born into a family of Islam or Muslim being Muslim, but now salaat you know, is that's a pillar of Islam. But just think about it, that young, young boy, man at that age, and he's like, got that courage, you know, to go ahead and put his forehead on the ground to pray. Many people are just I remember just, you know, a lot of people you just except you're scared, you know, you know, like, what are people going to say? I mean, this is like, you know, a very courageous young man. He was extremely courageous, because one day he came
into school in the thobe. And it was like,
I remember, like, Mike, what do you like you wearing dresses now, bro? Like, what are you doing? Right? I've never seen a film in my whole life at that point. And he just wanted to, you know, kind of push his own.
You know, push his own comfort zone. Because he's, you know, these these sisters, they got to wear a scarf in the head and they stand out stand out like a sore thumb. He felt like he needed to do something to you know, he doesn't wear thongs anymore in public like that. You know, maybe
Have you ever thought or a thought away or whatever, but,
you know, teenage years are interesting, right? Because it can you do a lot of stupid stuff. But you also can have the courage to make major decisions, what the right decision without worrying too much about what the implications of that are.
For me, like, by the time I was ready to become Muslim, I just did it. It was like, you know, I'm not thinking about Oh, how's this gonna affect my life or this or that? It's like, hey, maybe I'm gonna die tomorrow. And I want to die Muslim. That's it. Right? Like, that's the most important thing.
You know, we should never underestimate our youth. I think teenagers, they have a lot of potential, but it needs to be well guided and well mentored. And that's, you know, that's missing a little bit, but like, you know, they're not idiots. They can do a lot of profound stuff, for good and bad, but we, you know, we pray for good under the right sort of mentorship. Let's take a jump from that, from Mike's version of your story, Mike's highlight of your story. I mean, miftah, I think about miftah who agenda to Salah the key to Jenna is Salah, and those who are not praying and you know, they're having struggling I mean, look at this Mike accepts Islam, he's on a tennis court making right such
that and now shortly after a young man, right and you know, what, what kind of what wouldn't have to go into the details what young men are chasing aspiring to do or be at that young age and he's connecting with his creator as amazing. So then you're having tension at that time between religion and science talk about that.
Yeah, so I mean, I grew up
mostly in America. Actually, a lot of people don't know I was born in Malaysia for two years, spent two years there, moved to Korea for three more years, and then moved to New America when I was five.
But growing up in America, we were were Christian. You know, we're Protestants. But we the kind of joke out there is creased we were creatures. Have you ever heard of that term crease there? Or was that a Christmas Easter? Yeah, Christmas Easter Christians. You're only going to church twice twice a year? Is that like synonymous like Ramadan? Muslims? Yeah, like Ramadan. Muslims, that'd be that'd be exactly like that. Right? Although Ramadan, Muslims have to do a lot more work, right? Especially if the winter like That's hard. Christmas, Easter, cuz he's got to go into church couple days, hold the candle, like you're done. Right? So anyway, we didn't grow up like in a very practicing family.
It was more culture than faith, to be to be honest.
For example, when I did become most of my dad said, you can't, you can't be Muslim, you're white. You know, that's how his association is like, faith is about. Can't hold on. That's, that's, that's amazing. You can't be Muslim. Cuz you're white. Wow, that you see, it's real, these misconceptions are real. Well, unfortunately, now, it's creeping alone to the Muslim few. I don't know if you've seen that. But there's a lot of like, criticism of white Muslims these days, unfortunately.
But that's like, the main thing, I don't worry about that. But that is like the very, very first thing My father told me a log item. And he's a great man. He's a great father, great man. But that's just to give you insight into the perspective of what religion even means, in my family growing up. And so like, my sister is an atheist and all sorts of stuff, but like, she celebrates Christmas, right? So it's just culture. And
I felt this tension that's very present. I think everyone is aware of it growing up in the west of you know, science versus religion. You know, and I'm not going to be a rationalist or believer. And when I studied religion religion, by the way only meant Christianity I mean, the only other religion I really knew was Hinduism, because my father had spent some time in India growing up and and for like a book report, you know, I'd studied Hinduism which is clearly like not a true faith. You thought it didn't you Didn't you think that Islam was like Hinduism at one point? I did. Yeah, actually, like because I just knew was the eastern religion. So I was like, oh, Islam, Hinduism,
like all that stuff is coming from like India or the Middle East. Like, you know, they probably have these like multiple gods. Of course, Islam is so far from that. But that's the orientalist perspective. You get growing up in the West watching Hollywood films like you just don't know any better. Obviously. They do a really good job
in the west of portraying Islam as so foreign to the Christian Judeo Christian values, when clearly it's so aligned. You know, it's amazing.
I we used to have this event in when I was in student University, Michigan called Islam Awareness Week. Ever hear that? Yeah. And we had a Jeopardy board. Have you ever seen those? Have you ever seen that before? A Jeopardy board? Yes, the jeopardy. I know the game show that Islam Jeopardy
if it was a unique teen race in Asia and other places did it but basically we'd have it just be like Jeopardy, right. So So
someone walks up during the software suite, there's this big board. Is that okay? I'll take profits. For 300. It's okay, you know, this profit, split the see with his staff, you know, the Red Sea with his staff. And this is this is I'm not even exaggerating, this is exactly what they tell us. Oh, you know, I know in Christianity, it's Moses. Is it Muhammad in Islam? You know, like, no, it's Moses, you know, that's how, like people really like don't connect the dots.
And I was one of them. I didn't understand Islam, I didn't connect the dots. But you know, thank you. I had Mike I had, you know, to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, that drove me deeper to understand Islam. And and actually, this really helped me, like, you know, I used to think that there were 1000 religions in the world, and each were claiming to be true. And it's obviously like impossible like this, how could it be just one out of 1000 is true. And at least for me, what really helped me embrace a psalm was to understand that there aren't 1000 religions, there was one original religion, the fifth religion. And from that, it's like one river from that a lot of things broke
off. And so you can see, you know, traces of that original religion and truth in so many things. But when you come back to Islam, you're going to the source, you know, so it's not like Christianity is like a totally different religion than Assam. You know, we believe that early Christians were Muslims or Judaism was totally different religion and Assam No, dude, it early Jews were Muslims,
from the understanding of Islam as the submission to God, like, that's the faith and love, like when I really understood that, that, you know, there's always been one essential faith. And people, you know, kind of veered off the path, and God would send new profits to bring people back on the path. When I understood that I really felt like I understood Islam, and I could understand like how we ended up with these 1000 religions in the world, but there still is just that one true faith. Were you at that time? Would you categorize yourself? As there was a survey done, that they found that over half of Christians today, they don't believe Jesus is God? So what was your state at that time?
Were you one of those Christians that was struggling? Like with Trinity? Did you believe Jesus was God or he was sent by God? You know, what were your views on that? So I went the complete extreme of eyes of like, fully committed atheist, you know, because to me, again, in that dichotomy of religion versus science, religion just met Christianity.
And I wasn't considering like a Universalist or Unitarian approach, maybe there is religion beyond Christianity, it just meant it's either I accept Christianity or accept nothing, but it was very black and white for me at that point. I think part of it is because I didn't grow up with a relationship with God. You know, and I think to the credit, many Christians in America, they do have a real relationship with God, they pray to God. They believe in him, but then they struggle with the tenants of Christianity. Right? For me, I just wasn't raised and nurtured in that way. So I remember like, when I became Muslim is like, is this whole new thing is like, Man, what does it even mean to
pray to God? You know, I really had to learn that and I'm still learning it. Like To be honest, even being Muslims 20 years now. hamdulillah.
But that's also you know, beautiful thing about Islam. It's, you're constantly growing in your relationship with God. What do you think aside Now, what do you think drives some of the youth today? The students in the university towards atheism?
I, you know, I'm not going to say I'm an expert to speak about that. I would say, generally, there's still that strong divide between science and religion, especially amongst Christians. Because if you look at it, like, some of the Baptists and stronger voices within Christianity are still very, like anti science we're seeing with the COVID vaccine, right. It's like, you have all these, you know, mega church, pastors that are just like COVID is some, you know, conspiracy, and they're anti vaccine and this and that, I think, is a very important Muslims don't fall into that trap. You know, we don't have that his, like, our history of Muslims never had this, you know, thing like Galileo
being persecuted by the church. We don't, you know, our Galileo's. Were also leading scholars at the same time, you know, let somebody when I started understanding, learning that about Islam, and I say about Islam, I became so proud, you know, and I realized that, like, so many Muslim doctors, Muslim engineers, they're actually very strong in their faith. You know, it's not like, yeah, you know, if you go to university in America, and you look at their PhDs in science and technology, etc, you'll find very little believers amongst them, of any faith and you go
To the Muslim world, and it's the exact opposite, you know, the engineering departments are filled with believers. So,
you know, I think it's important we don't follow, you know, the kind of quote the heads, we don't follow the Christians into this snake hold of creating this false dichotomy of reason and faith. And then you talk about finding the iPhones of religions. Is this where you were able to bring that rationality and faith together? were opposed to before you weren't able to do that. I like that. I haven't heard of that term iPhones or religion, but I like it. Because it's so simple and intuitive. And but you said it, didn't you say it. I don't know me, you know, sins make us forget things. So maybe I said that before, and I forgot it, but I like it. So I'm going to re re reuse what you
already said. But forgot, yeah, I forgot, you know, it's some What a beautiful faith hamdulillah like, it's, it's practice daily is really part of our lives. You know, like, even I meet interfaith people, and they kind of get jealous of Muslims, because it's like, oh, you know, our faith is so interwoven to everything we do, the way we talk, the way we dress, the way, the way we eat, what we eat, you know, the way we go to bed at night, the way we like everything, you know, it's not, it's not disassociated from from the way we live our life. And yet, it's not like, I think when you do find examples of that, within Christianity or other phase, it becomes this, like, impossible or
almost like an outcast decided, like shaker like, not shakers, these, they're dead.
What's the group? Like? Not Quakers. Well, I guess, Quakers, but you know, like the, I seen the Amish, you know, the Amish, okay? You have to live this life that's just like, completely disassociated from reality. And that's not what we're called to either as Muslims, right, we have to be present in the modern world. But we have to do it from our values, not just associate the values of the dominant majority.
That's amazing. So you found the rationale, there was no conflict between now and science, as you were having before that tension was going away. So what was the deciding factor that you finally ended up taking your Shahada describe that moment when something clicked? And then what led you to go ahead and take that pronunciation of faith that you had in your heart? Yeah. So, you know, just to recap for us, it was Mike. And what I don't think I mentioned about Mike, least in this interview is, is not just seeing what he was doing. But what a profound change it was, you know, just six months before that he was smoking, he was drinking he was and we're talking about, he started doing
that when he's like, 1112 years old. And so you can imagine, like, he's pretty messed up as a teenager. And all of a sudden, he became this like, faithful person. And he left that, you know, filth, and like, he become a nice person, by the way, and then we used to have, we're hanging out and we really became friends.
And then I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, another amazing story of transformation. Here's a man that was, you know, basically a junkie in prison, who came out like speaking like, he's an Oxford educated, you know, lecturer as amazing, right and so rights leader, and so I'm like, Man, this is a powerful religion. And
you know, he challenged he was challenged in prison he writes about in his autobiography, you take one step towards Allah, Allah will take two steps towards you. And we've had these like that, you know, if you come to Allah walk and a lot comes, you run if you go to handspinning comes your arm link. So, I was like, Okay, I'm going to test this hypothesis myself, I'm going to stop eating pork, I'm going to stop going to parties with with alcohol. And, you know, I pray, you know, this is a true religion, you know, may God guide me and if it's not, I'm gonna have a big, big barbecue bender. And I really dove into the study of Islam at that point. So I started studying the Quran.
And I started studying the life of the Prophet Muhammad. And just very simple questions, which hold true till today. Who wrote the Quran if it wasn't from God, but you just can't come up with a good answer. You know, who was the Prophet hustles on what was his motivation? Why was he doing it? All this you know, if it wasn't inspired by God, you know, it doesn't make sense. And so I'm reading that stuff. And then I within the study of the Quran, I came across the scientific miracles upon you might know this is your old school like me, but the book um brief Illustrated Guide Yes, that's it brief illustrated got this really good book. Yes. Very simple, very simple. I'm reading it. And I'm
like, Huh, that's like an interesting coincidence about you know, let's say bees are female or
The waves and how light penetrates the ocean what, you know, different things. I said, Okay, it's a coincidence. Okay, it's another coincidence. Okay, so you get through like a dozen coincidences? Is that what's the what are the chances that all of these coincidences happen with mistakes? Yeah, I'm just listening to you. And it's like a mirror of like almost the same thing that I the way I was dissecting it almost identical.
You know, it's, it's that same book I was going through the same logic, you don't have to be a rocket scientist, just common sense. And I was flipping through next I say okay, maybe he gets this flip the next one, okay. It's getting a little bit too close, you know, here is like, doesn't make sense that all these things are compiling. And he gets all of it just didn't make sense. Yeah. And I think going through all those overall, just that's what really taught me I could still be rational, and a believer at the same time. You know, I didn't have to divorce these if I was to be a Muslim. And then at the end of the book, you probably remember they talk about the hereafter Heaven and Hell
are Jen and Johanna. And, you know, at this age I'm so I'm at the end of my junior year of high school. So I'm already looking at colleges to apply to thinking about what do I want to study as a major, what kind of career I want to go into what part of the country I want to move to, you know, I'm thinking about all my future. And I'm reading that book, and I'm realizing, well, the only future I'm guaranteed is my death.
And I haven't thought about that for a minute. You know, I, you know, a second, and I should, it's the only guarantee I have. And I realized at that point, I'm say, Okay, listen, either Islam is true, or nothing's true. And I'd rather not take my chances. You know, I'd rather but could become a Muslim. And so I get hit by a bus and died tomorrow I died and Muslim, and I, and it's true, and I go to heaven, or it's not true. And I'm sure there's if his psalms not true, but nothing, absolutely nothing can be true. If as long as not to nothing is true. And it's called Pascal's Wager. I don't know if you heard that before.
And a lot of people make fun of it. But actually, it's it comes from a profound piece. Pascal himself had a true dream. A root Yeah, you know about that. The Dream Tell us about it.
From my understanding, and I haven't studied in depth, so you correct me if I'm wrong, but he had a root Yeah, like a true dream, where he saw basically hell in such a profound and deep Pascal was a scientist and mathematician. It made such a profound impact on he wrote the whole dream down. And he wove it into his coat. No one knew about it, but it was, like right over his heart. And they only discovered after he died. But people knew that he became a very strong believer at some point in his life. And this was the reason why.
But what's interesting in my understanding is he never actually became a strong Christian in the dogmatic sense, but a strong,
you know, monotheist,
which, which I find very fascinating, but you know, that that's the kind of where Pascal's Wager came from is that, you know,
you know, I'd rather take my chances that, you know, be a believer and take my chances that this is right, then then take my chances that, you know, it's wrong, like it's wrong, and I could end up in hell, right.
And so that's where my journey to Islam started. And I think what, even with Islam, within the Quran, like a you know, it, the Allah says, The the Bedouin Arabs, let me know, by Uncle Sam, you know, don't say, we believe, say, you submit. And I really feel like my early journey Assad was like that, you know, I submitted that this is true. I don't fully understand it. You know, I don't really understand like, how to have this relationship with God. But I do understand that this is the first step towards building that relationship. And then you finally took the Shahada was Mike there when you took Shahada. Yeah, so that like literally it happened. Like when I'm reading this about the
health having a hell and I'm thinking about I'm in my bed, I still remember I'm in my bed, I start crying. Because I realize it wasn't tears of joy. Actually, it was tears of, of
anxiety, maybe? Because I'm like, Okay, if I believe this, it also means I believe my parents, you know, could end up in the Hellfire and that was it. I love my parents. And they log I then like, as a very hard
belief to a tee except.
But I realized, like, whether I want to believe that or not, doesn't affect the truth. The truth is, truth is not affected by our whims in our desires. The truth is the truth. And so the next day I told Mike, hey, you know, lunchtime, meet me the library. And then I like I fumbled through the Shahada and, and he was stunned. I think he's like, sitting here listening to me. When he's trying to make out what am I trying to say to them, you know, this is Cheb llama
murderous law, you know, I was having speak Arabic so at that point and so he's like, not sure if I'm joking if I'm serious, and then I'm like, No, I really want to become Muslim. And then that weekend, he took me to the closest Masjid as a West Springfield Islamic center. And I made my Shahada humble. So that was I believe, June 3 of 2001. Now 17 times a day you're reciting the verbatim Word of God Almighty. That's the minimum there's a chapter in the Quran the opening and Fatiha This is a miracle it's a living miracle for anybody for our Christian friends neighbors for the atheist, the Jew, anybody who just puts this book to the test like you did, can you share Can
you share them fought the how the opening with us? Can they hear it from you? Sure, sure. In the Arabic or the Arabic, Arabic and the you can give the English and you can put me on the spot but we'll say our the Billahi min ash shaytani r rajim Bismillah Ar Rahman AR Rahim In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, especially merciful Alhamdulillah he Robin. I mean, our praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds a raw human your writing, the Most Merciful, especially merciful, man kiyomi Dean, Master of the Day of Judgment, he cannot he cannot stand I mean, you will know and we worship and You will learn we seek help from India nose, so wrong on stamping, guide us on the
straight path. So wrong Paul novena, an arm that I lay him the path The path of those who thou has blessed, or even knocking boom de la, him Wallen bow for me, not those who have earned your wrath nor those who have gone astray. Marshall are beautiful. Actually, the Dinos sought out the Mr. Cain part of the praying 17 times a day for Allah to guide us on that straight path. Some have never heard Quran they got to hear for the first time. And this is pretty much you know, almost a summary. You have it right there. This is the opening chapter. You know, it's that call for the human being to have a direct connection with the Creator, the heavens and the earth to worship the one and only
one God, the same God that Jesus Moses, Abraham, the last and final messenger call humanity to worship to have a relationship, the one and only you've accepted it, you You're doing great things. Now a
couple more questions I just want to ask you one is, where's Mike now? What's he doing? Where's easy? He did bring him on as the guest of this show. He you know, it's panela we've been blessed with a great brotherhood. So to answer your question quickly, he's a
teacher, a professor at the tastier seminary so he's helping jet you know, develop the next generation of inshallah Muslim leaders in America, tastier seminaries out of Knoxville, Tennessee. It's a rather newer seminary. Have you heard of it?
Oh, it's very nice. Um, and, but you know, there's a verse in the Quran and sort of Al imraan.
You know, where Allah says, you know, remember when you were
enemies, and God by His mercy brought you together as brothers. And you are on the edge of that, you know, the pit of the fire, and he saved you from it. And this verse basically describes Mike and I, because we literally were neighbors growing up in Massachusetts. We
I told you, he was in a lot of trouble. We were basically like enemies in high school. And then he became Muslim. And then I became Muslim, and we became best friends. You know, I spent How did I learn to pray five times a day I walk across my yard to his yard, I didn't even know I need to go to the street. I just walk across the yard, go to his house and pray next to him. And that's how I learned to pray. Everything I learned about a psalm that first year came from Mike. And then we went to the University of Michigan together and we were roommates together, you know, and so we got to spend four more years together, Michigan, he ended up also studying in
Morocco and Egypt. He ended up getting his PhD of Islamic Studies at Princeton University. He was a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. And he made this decision last year, which I'm really, really proud of him to kind of
leave academia, the mainstream academia and go into this seminary, which is really where his heart is that you know, he loves Islam so much. If you pray with him, you just feel like, Man, this guy's really talking to Allah. And I owe I owe everything I'm like, you know, I owe I owe my whole Islam to him and he's an amazing, very humbled brother. Very, very good brother. Mashallah, you got very excited to meet Professor Mike
insha Allah su you can make the connection happen. And now is Abdullah like, you know, we have nicknames. And so you know, he chosen Abdullah base, he says like, it's a very good name for max servants of God. So pretty much and I've got Yeah. And he became Muslim he submitted right or he learned about Islam he submitted to God. And then when I became Muslim,
you know, I read the hadith of two most beloved names to Allah Abdullah and the right man says he's already a bola. So I'm going to pick up the rock man. So my Muslim nickname is the rock man. And,
you know, it's I'm very, you know, it's like, I have so many blessings in my life. But having that friend in my life, Abdullah, Dan, or Mike, Dan, like, it's right up there at the very top because like I you know, I wouldn't even be Muslim without him. What advice do you have, for those people tuning in now, they're hearing the word Muslim for the first time, Islam, they're listening to your story. They can relate, they kind of went through the first phase, maybe they're still in the first phase, drinking alcohol, partying, going to clubs. They're searching for purpose. They've heard a lot of negative stereotypes, a lot of misconceptions they have in their mind regarding Islam. They
like what you have to say, What do you tell them?
The two things come to mind. The first I'd say is, just imagine if you were Muslim, just take a second and imagine, what would it mean, if I were Muslim? And do you like that version of your life better, or the one that you're living now? I'm pretty sure you're going to like the version of you being Muslim a lot better.
And then why not just do it? If that's the case, right. The second thing is, and it is actually more of my advice to new Muslims, but maybe a lot of new Muslims are listening to this show, too. But I think it would still apply to someone who is learning about Islam, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he said, A Roger aladeen holiday he fell younger, I had to come manually, or come across or some, you know, a man is upon the religion, the faith of his close friend. So, you know, pick carefully, who is your Who are you going to have as your close friends, and there's so much to learn life is a it's a marathon, you're going to be learning your whole life, and sha Allah. And, you
know, what, what are the first things you should do as a new Muslim, like, he could pick a dozen things like it's, you know, it's it can be a bit overwhelming. But if you just find that one good friend, to learn from and stick with, like, I think everything will be taken care of. And so I really encourage people, like, pick good companies to be around. Even if it's just one person, like find that one person that's really going to make a difference for your life. And stick to them. You know, and, and the best advice I could give great advice, thank you so much. Tell us about you went, and you became you started and became the CEO of launch good. In these last few minutes that we have
share with us what you're doing now and tell us about this project. And I could go on for hours. So you got to give me a time limit here. How much time we got? We got a few minutes. A few minutes. Like how long three minutes. Go ahead. Just go ahead. Just go ahead. Go ahead. Here we go really quick.
You know, sometimes you only realize things when you reflect back on them. When I was 2223. I went to HUD and at this point, I had been an engineer, I worked for a little bit Intel. I was like I didn't want to do this. That's my professional training.
I become a school teacher.
That was okay, but I've just felt like there's something else. And a lot of my other friends were like unclear career tread trajectories, you know. And for me, I felt a little bit ungrounded and I went on this hedge and my main daughter at that hedge was all put me at the service of your own. Because when you're on had you seen like Baker Lama bake, you know, the whole time you're just saying like, Here I am at your service, oh Lord here might use service as just like I want to live this like I want my whole life to be in the service of Allah Subhana Tada. And now that's like literally what I do, right? That's, it's just it's such a great blessing from Allah and I pray that
I deserve it and I can hold on to it. But basically, a few years after that, I was you know, I helped one friend start a an educational company called for wacky it's an Arabic Institute. And then another one started film company called Beyond blue productions, which is making these like Muslim films. I really just loved helping Muslims do the things that I felt God made them for. Right like you got the deen show it like that's what you got to do. You know what I mean? And it's a lot once for you. It's like, it's like a special for us and I nobody else, and I just love helping people like you. And then when I came across crowdfunding, I thought, Man, it would be amazing if something
like a Muslim crowdfunding platform that was an inspiration for launch get like it just a platform where I could help people like yourself.
raise money do great thing, like do the thing they're meant to do. Because you know, this is really hard just to make the ends meet, you know, just to take a modest salary. And without money behind our ideas, a lot of them can't come to life. And one of my mentors, he says good work needs to be sustainable, and includes financial stability. And so that's what logic is about. It's helping people raise money for good work, a lot of it's charity, but some of it is really creative. Some of it is programs and, and people like yourself. And
that's what launch kit is, you know that people can just go to launch good calm, and they'll, I think, understand it very quickly.
And, you know, I've been blessed, we've been doing it now, for seven and a half years, we have a team of 105 people across 13 countries, and we're the world's largest faith based crowdfunding platform. And people can go to launch good calm if they want to go ahead and raise for their project and learn more. Yeah, but more than that, like, because a lot of people you know, they don't have a project they need raise money for, but we can all be donors. And if they're listed, especially in Ramadan, they should be donors, like we should all be giving. You know, the prophet SAW some he's described as, you know, especially, you know, he's an especially generous person, but the most
generous ever would be during the month of Ramadan. like a like a wind, you know, that's just blowing in generosity ever goes right. And for that, we have a special Ramadan program for donors called the Ramadan challenge, launch, good, calm slash Ramadan. At the time of this, you know, we're talking I think, 14,000 or so people are signed up. By time people are listening to this, I don't know how many days will pass it might be, you know, 25,000 50,000 people signed up in sha Allah, that all commit just to give, you know, $5 a day $10 a day to different laws every day. But imagine, you know, 50,000 people giving $10 a day is half a million dollars a day. Over the course of
Ramadan, it ends up being millions and millions of dollars. Last year, we had about $30 million donated to launch good in Ramadan. And, you know, we're hoping this year, it gets up to 60 70 million, you know, and the results are in Allah's hands. But, you know, I love studying history. There's actually someone in your neighborhood, I don't know if you've interviewed him, but also deep philosophy. It. Yeah, you're in Chicago, right? Oh, so he's a historian like Muslim. And he's a historian, he wrote a book called
Lost Islamic history. Is he a Turkish descent? I don't know. I got the sense. He's Daisey. But it could be Turkish I'm not sure. But he's in Chicago, I believe. And he wrote this book. Have you heard of it last Islamic history.
It's great. It's a great kind of summary of the crazy history Muslims have had for the last 1400 years.
And one of the themes that really come out of it is when we as Muslims work together, nothing can stop us. But when we start fighting with each other and working apart from each other and pulling away from each other, we fall apart in shambles very fast. And it's a great book. Check it out. Last song case you vote for us, it'll khateeb but I think in the spirit of working together, I really encourage people join us in the Ramadan challenge launch good calm slash Ramadan. So you can go there and you can set in the app. Can you set it? Can you download an app where you can every day you can? If a person wants to give $1 510 for every day in Ramadan, you have it set up or you can do
that it's convenient like that. Yeah, yep. Yep. And we automate your donations and so you can do is you can pick the campaign's you want the money to go to, it's very easy. It's just like you heart this, unfortunately, there's an app so it's just the website.
But you just choose which campaigns you want the money going to, and or you can leave it to us, some people are really busy. So then what we'll do is we'll you know, kind of figure out what are the most deserving campaigns out there of the 1000s of campaigns we have will automate your donation and everyday you can email receipt, you got to see, you know, today you supported an orphanage in Malaysia and then tomorrow you supported a school in Birmingham, UK and then the next day is for the deen show in Chicago, you know, so it's, it's really beautiful all at the website. They're beautiful. Thank you very much. It was a really amazing story. I really enjoyed talking with you, my
brother. Well, thank you for what you do, man. I think you know, you're you're always giving light to other people, but we need to give light to you and hamdulillah you're, you know, how many shows have you had now?
Almost, I don't know, somewhere around 900 almost 900 we start labeling it was I think now this one will be 843 but it's um, it's been. We've started lumbering them late, so it's probably closer to 1000 10s of No, no, no, I thought 1000 1000 close to 1000. This one. This one I think is 844. But we just started late numbering them we lost a lot in between that's 10s of 1000s of years.
It's Oh, I see even the minister use that people can benefit from and, you know, it's really important we tell our own stories. And because it's not gonna be told by the mainstream media, you know, we have to do ourselves. And it's not easy. You know, I know you really labor at this, I'm sure. inshallah, I don't know you're gonna have any Ramadan fundraisers. Ramadan. Yeah, we have a lunch good actually. Yeah. So we got to donate people got to donate people got to support you. I know. It's embarrassing sometimes to ask for your own support. But I'm not embarrassed to ask for you. So we weren't listening this Come on, man. Let's Let's all support Eddie. Let's give him a
donation. Let's keep the deen show. Not just going but growing. And you know, you got Steven Jackson on and you got all the we didn't get to talk about seeing Jackson. Maybe you can tell his last few minutes how that went. I got to listen back to it. But no, that's amazing, like Steven Jackson and Muslim and then all sudden, it's like, I'm thinking it's up now. I'd love to hear that story. And it's like, oh, he's on the deen show. So perfect. You know, and so that's, that's incredible. handle that, how was that interview, it was great. He started off with just the Shahada. It was like right off the bat, he said I shadow in La ilaha illAllah. Wa, he was That's it, he would just you know,
really excited to just express his decision to become a Muslim one who has submitted his will to the creator to heavens and earth. So just to see that, you know, just is really exciting, you know, for many people who just start and that's one of the goals of the show is to get you know, people who are Muslim to show like, hold on people who are taking things for granted, not praying to see new Muslims coming in on a tennis court like Mike. And then you see the effects of that, then you accept Islam. And then also just to see like people who are like Steven Jackson, who are out there in front of like millions NBA superstars, and then he just so excited to come out and profess, you know, his
decision and show his love for the dean. And that should motivate us. Right? Exactly. You know, it, we think they're superstars, you know, and oh, they win a World Championship, and they play on this team and that team was Steph Curry, etc. And it's like, you know, just being able to make sajida. And to know what Said's does and to know, your Lord makes you a real superstar. You know, because the honor is with Allah, you know, what are the all that stuff going to amount to on the Day of Judgment, if people don't even have a relationship with Allah, it's not going to benefit you. You know, and there's a great quote by Muhammad Ali, and I can't remember exactly, but it's like, you
know, he, he got to the top of the mountain, he got all the way to the top. And he realized it was empty. You know, like, he's spent his whole life chasing this thing. And he got there. He's like, no, this isn't what it's about. And the problem is most people never get to Mohammed ality stage right in there. So they're always chasing they think is going to be a little better if I can just get you know, a little more money, a little more prestige, a little more
fans or win that championship, my my life is going to be like, you know, the best thing ever, and they never get there. So they die chasing that. And they realize they never realized they were chasing a mirage. Actually, there's an interview recently with Kevin Durant, sorry to be on the basketball topics. But, you know, Kevin Durant, two time NBA championship champion MVP, like he's, you know, one of the best absolute best bass players in the NBA.
And this interview, he's like, you know, I got the championship. It just feels like the end of a movie. Like it's not like, it's not that fulfilling. Actually. I realized, like, it doesn't define me. And he's looking for something else now, you know. And that's Kevin and Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant. Yeah, so he's saying this, he want all these. He's a famous basketball player, and he's saying like, what is he sending?
It just like, it's not that fulfilling? Actually, you know, that doesn't define him. And he's looking for that other thing. And I think people like Steven Jackson have found that they realize like, Oh, you know, yeah, championships are great. Don't get me wrong. And you know, man, I'm not, you know, I'm not one to criticize Steven Jackson and that guy would destroy me right? On a basketball court. But it means to say we as Muslims have that confidence that it makes sense the is more valuable than to hold up any sort of trophy that you know comes from man, because you're such a as to all those pantalla the creative man and hummed it in my head I've been out I mean, this
beautiful brother, thank you so much. I really enjoyed talking with you.
Thank you man. I bless your work and and increase it and inshallah you're going to have you know find that this is heavy in your scale of good deeds in the day of judgment and Sherlock Thank you brother. I mean Thank you just applied inshallah we meet again next time in person in person Yeah, I know. It's like your neighbor's Detroit to Chicago but we haven't had that chance yet. Soon. inshallah. Allah assalamu, alaikum Rambo. I've got I can set out