Tom Facchine – I Accepted Islam & THIS HAPPENED & Bobby’s Perspective

Tom Facchine
AI: Summary © The speakers emphasize the importance of finding a good teacher for understanding one's emotions and values, rather than just pursuing one's interests. They stress the need for everyone to be humble and consider their emotions, and for individuals to find their own values and trust in theirimeter. The speakers also emphasize the importance of helping others, including those who need help in times like economic downturns.
AI: Transcript ©
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Bismillah Alhamdulillah Saad, some sort of last and I'm when they come off to LA and we have a very, very special guest with us once again, in the Utica Masjid YouTube channel. Bobby, Bobby, welcome back.

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Polycom, salam, thank you very much for having me back. It's now Hamdulillah. It's wonderful to see you. And it's wonderful to speak again. We've spoken a little bit since our last since our last podcast interview. But a lot has happened since then.

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Do you want to briefly give us a rundown as to what's been going on in your in your life? Most people are aware that you accepted a slam. Can you tell us a little bit about what that process was like?

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Yeah, so I would say in comparison to most stories that show the beautiful aspect of reverting to Islam mine is slightly different. And it is that since I reverted to Islam, I essentially broke off the contract or rather, they broke up the contract with me, my family members, they're not talking to me any longer so and it has been now I believe, over two months, that there essentially no back and forth at all anymore, and no contact whatsoever. And more over one thing that I noticed as well, and that might be due to me. And this a cautionary tale here. Postponing my Shahada, I felt as if such a weight was lifted off my shoulders once I took the shahada, that after that I experienced

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almost like a depression. Because I've been building up to that moment for such a long time. And we talked about this briefly on the last podcast, I went through so many phases in my life, be it the spiritual aspects, be the psychedelic aspects be dietary and whatnot. And once I finally accepted Islam,

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it felt like this was the last pursuit the last mission that I had to essentially finish last month to climb. And once I spoke the shahada, I remember that clear like it was yesterday, I said to shave off man, for I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I feel so exhausted right now. And after that, we went out to celebrate to have some halal food and whatnot. And I simply couldn't speak anymore. I was so drained after it was finished, essentially. And so for me, it was quite the difference experience then, with many other brothers, they told me that after they felt so happy, they feel it felt like a newborn baby, et cetera, et cetera. But for me, it was quite the challenge.

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However, what is beautiful about that is that it did not feel like the finish line itself, but much more. Like right now the real work is starting. Yes. Right. That's, that's a very common, I feel like misconception from people who are born into a Muslim family. You know, they think that the end, it's a problem really, with how we tell our shahada stories, too, right? They want the whole lead up to the shahada, without realizing that the real work starts the beginning is the shadow the shadow is the beginning of a whole other journey.

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Maybe let's back up a little bit, can you can you give us some some insight on what were sort of the things that because some people were, you know, they were wondering, Well, why is this guy taking so long? And that's due to mostly their own their own immaturity? Because people don't understand unless you've been through it? But can you give us some insight into what were sort of the things that were unresolved? What were the things that were holding you back? What were the things that were still kind of obstacles for you that were stopping you from taking that last step, quote, unquote, which is really the first step into a new life.

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The obstacle is always yourself, right? So I don't want to sound too mystical about this. But ultimately, it's really the truth. Because if you're reading a book, for example, it's not really about what is written in the book, it's about the effect on yourself, how this transformative effect will change your life. And so therefore, with me and Islam, it was about truly understanding who I am. Because as I said, I went through so many ideologies and accepted them as the ultimate truth, especially when I was very, very young. So when I was about 12 years old, I thought, I'm going to be a rapper. And I thought that rapping is the ultimate truth. My mother back then asked me if I would

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wear baggy pants to my wedding. And I said, Yes, of course. 100% So it was very, very another question very

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slowly, so I was 100% Convinced that rapping is the truth. Then later on with veganism, I talked about this briefly, I thought that abstaining from slaughter abstaining from violence, that is a Buddhist concept of Ahimsa is the right way to go. And this is the ultimate truth and once you're in that niche, it truly seems like it and so therefore I want you to truly understand my own psychology. Understand if I will be able to Stein to commit fully and at the same time realize if I found the truth. I want second year we have a big echo. I think it comes from your part

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Did it just recorder? Was it from the beginning? It just started. Just started. He said, we don't think No one's getting. We don't hear any echo from our side 123 ones three, no, no, it's gone again.

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So to really understand if I found the truth, and if I can't trust myself that I actually found the truth, because it is interesting if you're exploring yourself different ideologies, etc. But at the same time, what can happen is that you lose your trust in yourself, if you grew up in a safe environment where you simply accept everything that has been fed to you, for example, I would have been Orthodox Christian, from Macedonia. That's it. And I don't question any further, that we're very comfortable. But at the same time, there was a slight positive to that as well, I would be firm in this conviction, I would be comfortable in this ignorance. However, once you start looking into

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many, many different fields, then you start losing this trust in yourself, because he committed already to so many different ideologies. And who will tell you now that the next ideology will not be a false as well. Right. So that was my big obstacle with Islam. After reading the Quran, I was pretty much convinced. However, there were many misconceptions that I had growing up in Germany, seeing the Muslims in real life. And as I said, my past, so I had to come to terms with me with my belief systems who I am truly, to then be able to commit. This is we all know this code, right? Know thyself. And this is what I was reflecting upon until I came to the conclusion to the decision

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making. Yeah, that was a that resonates with me as well, because you know, when I was exploring Islam and kicking around different things, the big sort of final straw that pushed me to formalize it, and to get serious was, when my son was born, when my firt my oldest was born. And that set off something inside of me, it did transform who I was, right. And it changed my sense of what I was doing in the world, the responsibilities that I had the duties that I had, you know, if I kept on had, you know, being this, you know, the life before you're a parent is very, very different from life after you're a parent, and we kind of, you know, if you're a parent, you joke, you know,

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because people who don't have kids don't really understand. But it is true. So it was almost like I had to transform internally, before I could bring myself to accept that it was still the same Islam. But the way I was relating to it, and sort of how it made sense in my life was something that was completely different.

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So that's very profound. And that's very, very interesting. And I think a lot of people need to take that seriously. So obviously, you know, you faced, you faced a lot of difficulty. Do you want to tell us a little bit you said, your, your, your folks, your, your family has? Cut off all our relations with you.

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Your immediate family, your your spouse? What's the situation like with that? How's the house the support around you? Sure. Before I touch on that, I just want to briefly mentioned as well, what you said about being a father is absolutely correct. And people with no children, they don't really have any problems whatsoever, right. So they don't really understand what life truly becomes after you became a parent. However, this was a pivotal moment as well, because when my wife was pregnant, this when I opened up the Quran, because I wanted to clarify everything within my life, before become a debt, I had long discussions, as well as my parents talking about what it means to be a parent, how

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they did, how I did as a son, etc, etc, I want to clear the air before I become a father, and set the stage, so to speak, for my son to come into this earth, you know, and it was very important for me to not have any misconceptions about my own religion. And this is why I became obsessed with finding the truth yet again, before my son was born.

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Yeah, the rest is history anyways, it's amazing, because sorry, like, just to keep that going. It's a bigger motivator. And this is something even that we could consider it maybe a sign of something that's, you know, beyond the material, so as a sign of sort of the existence of an unseen because we feel more motivated by the responsibility over another life than we do over our own life, which is something that's very, very counterintuitive, I think, to people especially who if they want to go with the evolutionary model, or if they want to go with sort of, you know, the material, the hard materialism or just matter and food and * and mating and these sorts of things. I should be caring

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about my own survival more than anything. But for you and me, it sounds like you know, just having that part of ourselves activated. When we were about to be fathers that it just it opened up this entire new dimension of, of being right really, and it led to a really, really hard, hard situation.

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Then but also a really fruitful situation in the end. Yeah, absolutely. Evolutionary doesn't make any sense, right. And even we will be talking about simply providing for the offspring to come to this world, logically speaking. Yeah. Well, then I did everything I had to do. Right. And so I had * with my wife, and always on the way, congratulations come into this world eat. And that's it. Yeah. Right. But there's a much, much more profound question, of course, how do I want to raise this kid? And I would say that all of the talk of self love, you know, getting rid of the ego, and all of that stuff is so superficial. Once you become a parent, you truly see what that means. To

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be selfless. Yeah, to not be able to do anything on time, the way that you would beforehand, right? It doesn't work at all. You were very on time today. Mashallah.

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Family is traveling, traveling? Yeah.

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No, it's true. And, you know, I always thought that it was a fundamental error, error on the level of society that we have most of our undergrads and even our masters and PhD students, the people who are making research, the people who are theorizing about things, most of them don't have children. I think that on a societal level, that is complete folly, like the people that if you have children, you just laugh at, you know, you know, the single person who's struggling to I don't know, to go get to work on time, or they're like, Okay, you'll see, right, you know, that's you don't have real responsibility yet. And so we have people producing theory producing, you know, knowledge, quote,

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unquote. And they're not taking into consideration one of the most fundamental things of society and human life, which is their responsibilities as a parent. And I really do think that that has consequences when it comes to you have you have people, you know, saying, Oh, well, gender is just a construct. And the vast majority of these people who theorize this right from the beginning, I guarantee you, they didn't have children. Because the second that my you know, my first was a son, my second was a daughter, that will Llahi, the second they come out, they're different. From the second, they come out completely different. And we never pushed anything, we never pushed the blue,

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or the pink, or the dolls, or the trucks or whatever. But it's literally just naturally what they gravitate to. My daughter was always drawn to social interaction faces, people talking, and all these sorts of things, dolls, like whatever. And my son just motion objects balls, right? Like all like, it's, we didn't push anything, again, you know, like, so these people, again, like in the ivory tower, think that they've got some little idea that they thought of in the shower, and they think that it describes human life, you know, most of them completely detached from reality. And I think not being a parent and not having boots on the ground, as we say, really, really does kind of

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impoverished that whole thing. Sorry for the rant. No, no, no, no, no, no, it's absolutely unrealistic. And what you mentioned there about seeing that your song behaves different than your daughter behaves different. When my son came to the planet. He was my wife would say, such a DUT

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was just a couple of months old, it was right away obvious that this is a boy, you can do anything about it. Even before he could understand what a boy what a girl is. He treated girls of the same age differently than boys. And he gravitated towards the cars right away. When you saw the first car, he grabbed it right away. And he couldn't believe that he can hold it. Now finally, because before that, you will see the cars on the street driving by. And that's something that I didn't teach him I didn't give them the cost to play with. This is so natural. And this Wow, would say that this whole scheme of Born This Way is a huge fallacy because I do not believe that anybody is born

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that way. If anything, traumatization can lead towards that behavior. Yes, no, I agree completely. So So getting back to you take your shahada, you make it over the hump.

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We'll talk about the feeling of sort of, maybe like the party's over, because I actually know what you're talking about with that feeling. You have the halal food and then, and then it's like everybody goes home. It's like, it's like the feeling after eat as a convert. Right? It's like you show up to the prayer at the mosque. It's beautiful. Everybody's crying, everybody's hugging. And then you go home and you're alone. And that quiet is the most Quiet quiet you'll ever hear. And there is something similar that happens after your Shahada. I do I've experienced that as well. But, but I do want to ask about, okay, so, because there's so many different convert experiences when it

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comes to their family

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and the support or the lack thereof, and people who, you know, I think the only thing that we have to reassure ourselves are the stories of the companions the first Conrad's because they went through very, very similar things for most people that are born into a Muslim family. They have no idea the stakes that are involved or the risk that you you know,

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You're a fully grown man, you've got your own work, you've got your own years, you're, you know, self sustaining. But some people they convert and they're 16. Or they're 17. And they're in their parents homes. Right. So how is the what played out with your, with your family? What are sort of the support of the lack of support? What were the reactions from the people that are close to you?

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Yeah, my little hobby here on YouTube is a two edged sword basically, because right after my Shahada, I just published it right away, right, because for me, it was such a

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such a huge thing. But at the same time, I wanted to get it out there. This is what I have been building up towards to on my channel, but privately as well, and I simply wanted to declare it right. But at the same time having a YouTube channel, as I said, my parents found out about it right away. They heard, I think, from some other family members about it, and they couldn't believe it. A little background here. For people that do not know this. I am originally from Northern Macedonia from the Balkans. And I grew up in an environment where the Muslims, they're not even talking about Islam, but the Muslims are the enemies. And that is due to the Ottoman Empire that was raining over

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the Balkans for roughly 500 years. And after that certain conflicts such as in Kosovo or Tetra ball with the Albanians, which are predominantly Muslim as well. And therefore we have been fed this narrative that the Muslims are the enemies and they are our sworn enemies to this very day that will never change. More over on the Balkan, you have this very strict understanding of that you cannot change, which is the very limiting factor. Many of the deals for out that I talked to be it Bosnians bid Serbians creations, Macedonians in Germany or in Australia, they have much more of this western individualism. And they feel that they can change in their ways that they can start different

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things. But that's not really a possibility on the Balkans until now, so most of my cousins, then the same trait as their fathers were. And religion, even though not truly practiced, is still what you stick with. And if you don't, you become a trader. And so therefore, I couldn't really find the pursuit of truth within the Balkans, even not when it comes down to politics. So I don't want to go on a too long tangent here. But Macedonia used to be part of Bulgaria. And I personally took the side of the Bulgarian narrative that Macedonia is part of Bulgaria. Just when I did that, I did one video on YouTube, I got declared the Public Enemy. And they published papers of me, they put me on

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national television and what out? So yeah, that was crazy. And I got declared the Public Enemy of Northern Macedonia not long ago. How many years ago? I think two years by now, somebody did not know us. It was crazy. Yeah. That was just over a YouTube video, right? But anyways, so the point of the story is that nobody was ever interested in researching that background, that historical background in Macedonia, politically, they were not interested in finding out the truth. And the same applies yet again, when it comes down to religion, and from a very young age are on I always questioned why would do certain things, I would ask them, Hey, who are those saints that we are praying to? Who's

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on this icon? Who is depicted here? And nobody could ever give me an answer? And that was so unsatisfactory to me, it enraged me even because I was questioning why would I sit here celebrate, if I don't know what we are celebrating? That didn't make any sense whatsoever. Meanwhile, people were making fun about the West, how they are having Santa Claus, we didn't have Santa Claus on the Balkans as Orthodox Christians. But I realized that we're doing exactly the same, it doesn't matter that it's not a fat guy in a red suit. We have our holy man and I do not know who they are. You know, and that drove me nuts. But anyways, as I was saying, the Polycom perception is that you

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cannot change that no matter if you would find some truth somewhere else. So during the time when I was researching religion, my parents told me, Hey, slow down. Even if you like it, it's fine. You can like it, but never come to the conclusion that you can adapt that because that's not you. That's theirs.

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And so therefore, needless to say, once I accepted Islam, how we'll never forget that man, you know, I was on a video call with my parents. And before that, I announced I wanted to give them a somewhat of a good news, bad news scenario. So I announced that my wife is pregnant again, and we're waiting. Martial law and we're waiting for a daughter. No.

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Yeah, they were super happy and everything was

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everybody was celebrating, just cheerful and joyful. But then I flipped the script and I told them about my Shahada what my conversion and it was my sister that already knew but at that moment, my father still didn't know it. And I will never forget that because he looks at me, I mean, on the phone, and he just says, no, no, no, any short circuits basically, and runs away to another

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So since then I tried reaching out to him, I haven't heard anything from him back, my mother started crying. And she actually, I didn't know that this is humanly possible, but she didn't stop crying for two months. Basically, every time she would record me an audio mail, it will be still crying, crying, crying.

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Yeah, it's, it's not nice, you know, especially now being a father seeing in which connection you are towards your own children, you of course, want to be the best child possible, even though we're not children anymore, but you want to be the best son possible. You want to honor your parents. But at the same time, all of this cannot stand between me and truth. That's it can't. And this is something that they did not want to realize. Moreover, the way that they see religion comes from a cultural context, because they themselves and I have to say this, but they themselves have no true theological understanding of religion, but only a cultural one. Yeah, and because they have, and

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they hold this cultural view of religion, this what they project onto me now. And they say, Ah, now you want to become a church, you want to become an Albanian, you want to become like them. But that is not the case whatsoever. This is something that I accepted theologically, there's something spiritual, and has nothing to do with changing my culture. If anything, Islam came to clarify what is wrong with certain cultures, right, and there's something that they cannot understand. So therefore, the perception has been extremely negative on their part. I am obviously a bit worried because they're older now. So it is hard on their health as well to be in that state. But

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nevertheless, in the end, I have to be faithful to the truth and accept it for what it is. So that, you know,

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the parallels between you know, the companions of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam are just incredible, because they also dealt with the same thing that a lot of people like you're saying, people in the Balkans, but also people elsewhere in America, that will probably less so I think the struggle that you're articulating and talking about is understanding faith as an identity, right, or as merely an identity, right? As opposed to following the truth, and Subhanallah this past year, you know, I teach tips here, and I teach other things and going through the Koran, I see how central this lesson is, actually, you can make an argument that the main point of Surah Al Baqarah. The second and the

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longest chapter of the Quran, is that this is precisely the mistake that Ben Israel made. And this is precisely the mistake that the Christians made, that led them astray, that instead of identifying or understanding themselves, as people who follow the truth, wherever they found it, they converted it into some sort of identity. And then it became about us versus you. And that did two things.

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One is that it excused them from having to work for their afterlife. Because now believing and doing the right thing, success with a loss found data was only a function of being part of the right group. And not a part of what you did, or what you believed.

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And the second thing that it did, is that it completely shut them off, to following the truth when it came somewhere else. So for example, with with Benny a straw eel, now we have ASA is sent to them. And because they've constructed this whole identity around them, that God favored us, we're God's chosen people, we believe in the revelation that was sent to us. And we're not going to believe in anything censor anybody else. It they had to, as a consequence of that belief, reject Jesus when He came. And then the, the ironic thing is that the Christians turned around and do the exact same thing. They were given them the Gospels, and they can, they've made the same mistake that

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Ben Israel made, they converted it into an identity, they say we are God's chosen people. Because they interpret the fact that because they were given revelation that we're special to the exclusion of other people, all it has to do as long as you belong to the right group, then that's the most important thing. And it set them up to fail the tests were the last one to auto send the final messenger from the atoms. So it's just a fascinating thing, to me how this is just a fundamental human struggle, whether we're thinking about, you know, we talk a lot about identity, and, you know, obviously, identity politics and with sexuality, it's become a real big thing. You identify as a

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girl or as a boy, or you identify as a homosexual, or this or that of the third, right? And then so one of the counter narratives were people were saying in North America for a while, well, we need a strong Muslim identity. And that's true in a degree, but also the idea of identity is actually very limiting. And the idea of identity is very, very small. The primary relationship that we have to have is relating to the truth, what's the loss and what's the truth and am I fall

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Following, and that's less about who you are. And it's more about what you're doing. Are you believing? Are you following? Are you submitting these sorts of things? But Subhanallah I mean, I mean, your story, obviously, I mean, for anybody who's had any experience with converts is unfortunately, not an uncommon story. Actually, I have a I have a friend that

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probably the closest to your story that I've ever heard, he was a Carmelite monk, actually.

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And he, right before he was ordained, he converted to Islam is from Philadelphia. And, you know, also went through some things as, as a young person, streetlife, stuff like that, but got got out of it through the monastery. And, you know, he went, he was in the Vatican, and he went to it was in a monastery in Spain, and a monastery in Minnesota. And his, you know, came back to Philadelphia, and then he encountered a Muslim on the street one day, and they had a conversation. And actually, the content of the conversation is a little bit interesting. The person said, Show me a direct quote from Jesus, that He has got. And so he starts quoting him scripture scripture, you know, but that's

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all the narrative voice. He said, No, no, no, that's not a direct quote, I want a direct quote out of Jesus's mouth, that I am God worship me. And he went back to his room in the monastery, and it kind of bothered him. Eventually, he had his correspondence with this person, and he accepted, he accepted Islam. But his, his parents completely disowned him, just in the in a in a similar way, but, but he was living with them. And so he was kicked out of his home.

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He had to find some place to stay, he stayed in MSG, some brothers put them up. And eventually he eventually he got married to Philadelphia has a large Palestinian community, he married a Palestinian woman, his first son, he named Mohammed,

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his mother refused to say the name.

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Because of obviously, the religious antagonisms, he would say, your son, right, like, you know what, and it would bother him to know it. But the reason I'm telling the story is not just for the similarities is that after years went by,

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I think his his father ended up passing away, and so and so he didn't have the opportunity, but his mother actually accepted us now. This woman Oh, that's the amazing thing. There's no, there's no telling I lost pounds, Allah controls the hearts. And things might take time. And I know that you're going through it, and I can't, you know, I can imagine a little bit of your pain because it's very real for all of our comrades.

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But alas, paradata has a plan, and he's testing you. And there's no sort of shelf life or expiration date on this thing. We don't know where it's going to end up. It might not be right away. It might take a long time. But inshallah there might be, there might be something good that comes out of it. Yeah, that took that took years, going from somebody who said, you know, you're not welcome here anymore. I don't want to see you again. I'm not even going to say the name of Your Son, which is really her grandson to accepting Islam and dying on us. I think she passed away. I think she died on us now. So we ask Allah for tofi confer and for patients a lot controls the hearts. And we ask a lot

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to guide to guide your parents and to something better.

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What about other sorts of situations? I mean, you said what about friends? What about, you know, immediate family, I don't want to pry but a few interested in sharing with your support from your spouse, or, you know, you're from Ireland, or what else is going on?

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So my wife comes from Senegal, she's half Senegalese and half French. And Senegal has, I believe, a 93% Muslim population, if not even higher than that. But she, on the other hand, comes from the Christian population. So her father's French Christian and her mother even grew up in a monastery, as far as I know, among nonce and so therefore, she's Christian. The thing is, when we got married,

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when I proposed to her, I was really deep into Orthodox Christianity, and this memory that she holds very dearly. We both Christians getting married, being Christian raised, raising a Christian family, etc, etc. And then once she was pregnant, as I said, I picked up the Quran and she knows my tendencies. She knows me for quite some time now. When she saw me reading the Quran, she knew it was over.

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The Christian times were done. And she asked me a few things and I responded already defending Islam right then and there. And she knew okay, they said, I lost him. So she got very defensive at the beginning when I didn't even revert. And so for her, she saw my whole journey privately on YouTube as well. She got a warming up face, so to speak. So when I reverted it was no surprise whatsoever metal effect even weeks prior to my reversion, she asked me, so when I reverting, so what are you doing now? She

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knock on my door while you're praying again. Yeah. What are you waiting for? Why don't you revert? Because I already started praying before my conversion, you know. But yeah, so from her side, everything is on right now, she, of course, I believe would rather have the Christian

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picture book family the way that she imagined it to be. But women are emotionally tied to such things. Anyways, I don't want to sound too sexist here. But we all know women, they are

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very susceptible, unfortunately. And so therefore, if Hollywood shows them a certain Prince and Princess wedding, then they want to have that as well as a dresser drawer. And so therefore, it's not to my surprise, but nevertheless, Theologically speaking, she resonates completely with my worldview, much and she does not believe in the Trinity whatsoever. So she doesn't believe that Jesus is God, she doesn't believe that the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are one God whatsoever. She never did. And she never thought that as part of Christianity either. And that is, I guess what resonated with each other there because I didn't know about it either. And only when I started

00:31:09 --> 00:31:41

researching Christianity by myself, I found out about that theological concept. I mentioned this, I believe in the previous podcasts as well on the Balkan, not many people know about the Trinity. Right? Not by name, maybe, but they don't know what it entails. They all say we believe in one God and that's it. So therefore, no, thank God. For my wife's side, everything is quite relaxed. She's, she's the transistor, essentially, between my parents and I, because they're communicating with her. They're still want to see the grandchild, of course.

00:31:42 --> 00:32:21

But yeah, she's the pole in between. That's actually a really useful situation. And, you know, just a reminder, all, you know, the viewers that, you know, even if she were a Trinitarian, Christian that's legally permissible in Islam, that she be people of the Book married to a Muslim man, that's completely permissible. And I bring that up, because there's a lot of misinformation. And actually, I suffered a little bit because of the ignorance around this issue. And I accepted and I took my Shahada. You know, while I was in the basement of some mosque in Philadelphia, taking my Shahada, someone was basically kind of in my wife's ear upstairs and telling her that, well, now our marriage

00:32:21 --> 00:32:54

was dissolved. And every touch was haram and all sorts of misinformation, without anybody asking any questions as to what my wife believed in, and what was her faith, and were we legitimately married, which we were. So you know, it's very, very important that people not be ignorant when it comes to these sorts of things that this is perfectly permissible in Islam. And actually, Allah subhanaw taala achieves his plan. And in subtle ways, one of His Names is about the eighth. And it might be very, very important. At this point, you know, given what your parents are going through, that your wife is a non Trinitarian Christian,

00:32:55 --> 00:33:34

because it, I can imagine that that might actually help them significantly, then if, for example, your wife were, you know, a full blown Muslim at this point, obviously, we hope that she takes her shahada eventually to of course, we're asking for her guidance, but whose last name is Otto has his plant. And again, just to just to level with you, because, you know, I was in a very similar situation where I was already married, and already had a child and I accepted the faith. And it wasn't for, you know, my wife is very supportive Hamdulillah. And she, again, I think similar to you, at first, when she saw me exploring, she was more alarmed, then, then then later, and she was

00:33:34 --> 00:34:07

more alarmed, I think it's sort of the lifestyle thing. So you know, all you know, stopped, alcohol stopped, music stops all these other sorts of things. And to be fair to women, very scary situation, you marry somebody, and you think that you, you know, this person, or you marry a certain individual, and now they're changing very dramatically, and very suddenly. So it's like, you know, this isn't the same person that I thought that I was getting into. However, as you said, and this is the good side, the upside of, I think, the feminine nature that is a little bit more,

00:34:08 --> 00:34:48

a little bit less defiance, and confrontational. And these sorts of things a little bit, maybe more impressionable, like you were saying is that once you have a relationship there, then they can actually sustain those sorts of changes very, very well and actually come around to be an amazing support. Whereas I think that it would be very hard if we were to imagine the flip the flip side, right? If if you know, you or I are married, and our wives went through a religious conversion, or forget about us any any man, I think that the gender dynamic there is much more problematic. I think that men tend to be more confrontational, and more sort of argumentative and would have a much

00:34:48 --> 00:34:59

harder time accepting it. Whereas for us, we convert and maybe our wives are concerned at first, you know, like, like, oh my gosh, what's happening, all these changes, you know, what's life going to be like?

00:35:00 --> 00:35:38

But because of that nature where they have that loyalty to us, and they know who we are deep down, that it actually enables them to not just support us, but also consider it for themselves. So in the process, you know, it took it was about a three year process, before my wife actually converted as well. So, again, things take time, things take time, and I hope the viewers really appreciate through these stories, that fact a lot of people in these days, we want the 10 second shahada and, you know, dramatic story where the whole village, you know, accepts Islam at once. And, hey, that's nice. If you can get it if you can get it, that's nice. But most of the companions that didn't work

00:35:38 --> 00:36:05

that way, right, you have stories of Abu Hurayrah and his mother, you have stories of sad, but nobody with costs, and his mother and his mother going on a hunger strike, basically, to try to get him to, to not convert or to get him to give up the snap to the point and sad was very attached to his mother where he had to tell her I said, Listen, I love you. But if you had 100 lives, and you died, every single one of them from you know, going on this hunger strike to get me to give up the truth, I'm not going to give up the truth.

00:36:07 --> 00:36:45

And so the Companions really went through it. And and we, you know, one thing that we set in a hookah here in Utica wants is that the converts are the are the companions of today, they are like, we go through the same exact things every buck, you know, the amazing companion, the best companion of them all, facedown his son on the battle of better they were on opposite sides. I mean, can you imagine having to face your son in a battle? I can't, I can't, I can't imagine that. But um, but they went through it, they went through it in very similar ways that we did, but things take time, just like so you have, you have, you know, three years for me. And so my wife, and then, you know,

00:36:45 --> 00:37:13

the other brother I mentioned more than that several years, maybe even 710 years when it came to his mother. And the companions were the same. You have people that, like I don't even know how Bob Wright who went from fighting against the Muslims to being one of the best Muslims. It took him time. You have Khalid al Walid who fought against the Muslims in the battle ahead, right and was actually responsible for many of their losses, and then accepted Islam you have washy, right, who assassinated the uncle of the Prophet. So I said, I'm Hamza.

00:37:14 --> 00:37:25

And so some people just take time. And I would just again, insist to our to our viewers that everybody be respectful of that, and not try to rush anybody along because the last time data has a plant.

00:37:27 --> 00:37:32

You have any other comments on sort of your support network or anything like that before? I have a couple other sort of questions. But

00:37:33 --> 00:38:15

no, I just wants to pick up on what you said with the Muslims watching, for example, being more patient, I have a very simple trick here, if you will, just imagine somebody of your family would convert to Christianity. So now not saying that, therefore Christianity is the truth? Of course not. We are settled firmly here that Islam is the truth. However, I just show this as a contrast, just imagine what that would evoke within your family, what kind of struggle that would be. And it's the same the other way around, no matter which one holds the truth, the cultural setting is already set. And therefore it is humongous for some reverts to change. Maybe in more liberal households, not so

00:38:15 --> 00:38:24

much. However, in traditionalist conservative, somewhat proposals, it is a very, very big deal for us. Yeah, Michelle. Well, that's very well said.

00:38:25 --> 00:39:08

So, you mentioned that YouTube channel. And that's really an interesting thing. Because when I tell my story, and I tell the other brothers story, right, these are things that happened before YouTube. And now, YouTube and social media is part of the game. And that changes things a little bit like it adds some interesting sort of dimensions that weren't there before. And, you know, I couldn't help but notice that some people, May Allah guide them and forgive them were under fell prey to suspicion that you were just kind of, you know, flirting with this lamb to get viewers or to get followers and things like this, and that, you know, he's not going to do it at cetera, et cetera, or are they

00:39:08 --> 00:39:14

worried that once you accepted Islam, that your viewers would go down and the party will be over and things like that?

00:39:15 --> 00:39:56

I just have to take a second and say that everybody who thought that I hope that you sincerely ask a lot of forgive you for having more suspicion about your brother, I lost my daughter send them for an Yeah, Johanna Lena Ave just any book or theater. I'm gonna love in the battle on the water justice. So when I asked about the gunpowder, he said, Oh, you have believed avoid much suspicion and assumption about your brothers because much of it is sin much of its sinful. Right. And it's true. We live in times where truth has been destabilized. We have fake news. We have you know, deep fakes. We have aI we have Yes, it's hard to trust things. But people are there are sincere people out there

00:39:56 --> 00:39:59

that are doing work that are trying to come along and just because they're not doing it and the

00:40:00 --> 00:40:38

timeframe that you think they should be doing it does not mean that they are insincere doesn't mean that they're just trying to get your views or things like that. But would you like to? Would you like to comment on that at all? Yeah, thank you very much for speaking on my behalf here. I never addressed the haters. But I have to say I can't blame them. Because at the same time, we have so many people nowadays doing reaction videos on YouTube. And they've been doing it for multiple years. So yet again, I'm not accusing anybody, otherwise, I wouldn't be better myself. But of course, it can raise suspicion, if you see somebody, three years reacting to the same old content, and then

00:40:38 --> 00:41:11

still not being convinced. Or they've seen it before as well that some people do react to Islamic content. And after a couple of years, they say, Yeah, but I'm not going to accept it, and they pivot to something else as well. So I understand them to an extent, we have a lot of that online as well. So therefore, yes, it could be true. And ultimately, only Allah knows our hearts, right? For me personally, you can say, Okay, I proved them wrong. Well, but it's not really about that. You know, for me, as I said, I understand the suspicion. And now in the end, thank god or Hamdulillah, I found the truth for myself. And that's what Collins truly.

00:41:13 --> 00:41:22

So let's get back to the the thing that you felt after sort of the letdown after after converting, because we never kind of pursued that thread.

00:41:23 --> 00:41:31

A lot of people unfortunately, again, they asked about the conversion experience. You have the shahada, you have the hugs, you have the meal, and then everybody goes home.

00:41:32 --> 00:41:57

And you're stuck with yourself. So let's, let's talk about that. How did you feel? what did that teach you? What replaces Okay, so I think that was really interesting, the language you use, because you said the pursuit or sort of the purpose, if the pursuit and the purpose is the shahada, you got it Hamdulillah. Now what, where does the purpose go? Where does the where does the direction lie after that?

00:41:58 --> 00:42:12

Yeah, the purpose was not the shahada as the finish line, but to on the risk of sounding even cornea than before, but the god, the journey is the goal, something on those lines, right?

00:42:14 --> 00:42:54

ultimately comes down to practice. So what really fills that void is simply practicing Islam. And that's why I reverted ultimately to not be a practicing Muslim. So it's not only to take the shahada, and now it's finished. It's done. No, it's not. Now you continue, you're praying five times per day, you're perfecting your prayer, there's so much to learn, right, so many Surahs to memorize so many little intrinsic details that I do not know about, then the history of Islam, then the stories of the companions, the Syrah, there's so much, it actually never ends. So the shahada is only the beginning. It is essentially just the first step into Islam, but then you will never stop

00:42:54 --> 00:43:12

learning. So if anybody is afraid of not having enough to do after the shahada, let me alleviate that worry is plenty, and I'm not too sure that anybody will ever fully learn about Islam. But I just want to mention again, there was a deep hole for a period of time.

00:43:14 --> 00:43:55

And I heard this from Tyson fury, the famous heavyweight boxer, he talked about building up building up building up and always imagining fighting, and one of the clinicals. And the clinicals used to be the best boxers during that period of time. And so when he finally got that fight, and he finally fought Klitschko, and he beat him, after that, he fell into depression. And he got into drugs into cocaine and whatnot to lift up his dopamine. He got into alcohol, severely depressed, almost suicidal. Until then, in the end of that he found faith. Right. So for him, it was Christianity. But it was the only thing that got him out of that again. And so therefore, what I learned from that

00:43:55 --> 00:44:17

story is essentially, we should never built something up in our mind. Because for me, I made this shahada, such a big deal. Such a big deal that this now will be this defining moment in time, when everything shadows, everything changes, etc, etc, etc. But that's not necessarily the case. Because

00:44:18 --> 00:44:43

I know this is a bit cliche, yet again, but it is called a reversion. And I am affirm in my conviction that I was a Muslim before I took the Shahada. And I believe everybody is because when you declare the shahada, you simply say what you believe in, but that, of course, implies that you already believe that. And so therefore, by default, you will already Muslim prior to that. Right, right. And for me, there's a little anecdote that I want to share here.

00:44:45 --> 00:45:00

I will struggle with myself every day, and I was telling myself, Should I do it? Shouldn't I do it? I was finding excuses. And then one night, I had this absolutely amazing dream. I found myself levitating over an Islamic city

00:45:00 --> 00:45:17

I suppose I don't know which city this is. But there are minarets, everywhere, minarets, from mosques. And all of a sudden, I'm flying, I'm levitating. And I hear the Adan. I hear the shahada, but it doesn't come from the mosques. It comes from my heart SubhanAllah.

00:45:18 --> 00:45:45

And the wildest thing is, it tried to come out of my heart through my mouth, and I should have proclaimed it. But in the dream, I held my mouth shut. I didn't want to say it. But it was so overwhelming, that even though I was holding my mouth, it bursted out through my heart, and then you heard it over all the rooftops of that city, La ilaha illAllah. You know, it was resonating. And then I woke up.

00:45:46 --> 00:46:10

Yes. For me, it was certain then and there, okay, this is it, you are a Muslim, this is what you believe in your heart. Now, no matter what you do, no matter if you take it today, if you take tomorrow, you are a Muslim, you know, this your conviction. And this is the path that you now cannot change. Anyways, this is what you believe this is what you are. And therefore the shahada was simply the reaffirmation of that.

00:46:12 --> 00:46:14

That's incredible. Thank you so much for sharing that.

00:46:16 --> 00:46:58

Subhan. Allah, you mentioned that, you know, you talked about the amount of learning that there is to do for a new convert, and that it's, it's a, it's a never ending sort of thing. Give us a sense, what are you? What are you doing to educate yourself about STEM? Do you have any teachers around you? Do you have any program for yourself? Because a lot of people, one of the most common questions I get is, where do I start? How do I study? Well, how do I learn, so maybe share some some tips or some things that you're doing? I wouldn't say I'm the best to get hip salts, I think the most reasonable thing would be to find a very, very good teacher, I personally am in contact with many

00:46:58 --> 00:47:22

Muslim brothers here in Bangkok. And they always give me material, but I don't have one direct teach, I have to admit, at the moment, what I'm learning most about is reading Hadith, talking about the history of the Ottoman Empire, because that is of huge interest to me personally. Especially it is self motivated here, of course, because when I'm talking to my fellow family members on the Balkans, I want to have hands down

00:47:23 --> 00:47:24

the politics.

00:47:25 --> 00:47:48

Yeah, essentially held in their understanding, of course, as well, you know, so that is what I'm learning at the moment. And I'm reading the spirit of the Prophet May peace be upon him as well, of course, and certain other things that are personal interests of mine, such as books of the Imam Al Ghazali, I'm interested in the spiritual aspects that he talks about to that is something that I do on the site. Yeah, it's a lot to take in, as I said,

00:47:50 --> 00:48:30

in the near future, if I get lucky, I would like to have a teacher that I can always go back to, of course, inshallah Inshallah, low and slow, right, that's what I tell the other Congress say it's a, it's an ocean, you try to drink the ocean all at once you drown. Right, you just bit by bit and shallow. But that's very inspiring. And then a lot of people, you know, it's interesting, because we have more and more tools, and we're more and more connected every day. So the opportunities to patent law, if you talk to some of the people who converted, say, in the 90s, and the opportunities for them to learn were very, very few. And they would have given holding, you know, stacks of money

00:48:31 --> 00:48:49

to have the availability of materials that there are today. So Hamdulillah, you know, when we, as we keep on going through history, there's good things that happened and bad things that happened. And one of the Silver Linings is that we do have a lot more information that's more readily accessible today, and even even access to other scholars and things like that. So humbly, though,

00:48:51 --> 00:49:28

give us a sense. I mean, I heard that you're doing some work when it comes to maybe sponsoring auras or things like that. What are some other projects that you have going on? Now that you're a firm? Muslim, you know, you were before but you know, now that you're known as a Muslim, right? And you what are some other sort of projects and endeavors that you've got going on? Yeah, that is absolutely beautiful. Actually, I feel this such a blessing. Because through YouTube, a subscriber of mine reached out to me multiple times until I finally got back because I got so many emails. And it turns out that he is from Germany as well. However, he's hot Palestinian and half American. And

00:49:28 --> 00:49:59

he was living in Bangkok as well. So one day we may have met up and he was actually the first guy to take me into a mosque and show me how the prayer works, etc, etc. He played a pivotal role in my life because before that, I knew Islam online and from the Quran. However, I had no contact to anybody else outside through him. He took me under his wing, so to speak, I mean, he's born Muslim. He brought me to the mosques shortly the prayer showed me the wudu etc, etc. And this is when

00:50:00 --> 00:50:41

My perception changed so much of Islam. The very first mosque that we visited just little side tangent here was on Koh Samui, which is a small island here in Thailand. And it was this extremely humble small, little mosque with open doors, everything was just open palm trees around the beach was just five minutes away. I never imagined the mosque to be like that in the first place. However, this mosque was in a little Islamic village. They have them here in Thailand as well. And it was during the time of the school break, and all the children rushed into the mosque. And moreover, the Adan was proclaimed by a child. It was maybe six years old or so most beautiful voice, you know, and

00:50:41 --> 00:51:02

was, of course, very non threatening. And the exact opposite from my experience with the Albanians in Macedonia, you know, and I felt so welcomed all the kids came salaam aleikum shook my hand. And turns out, we just appeared right away to prayer. And I didn't even know that you know, so So what do I do? I just do what I do.

00:51:04 --> 00:51:12

Alright, so just joined in, prayed right away, I was so beautiful. Because what I realized right then, and there is that all the

00:51:13 --> 00:51:43

superficial mysticism that you find within the Orthodox Church, for example, was not there. And first, I was looking for it. Okay, where's the insertions? Right other big chance? Where are the handles where the dark robes? Yeah, but that wasn't there. It was just a bunch of men, and a bunch of kids praying. And for me, that was such a confirmation, such a clarification of the Quran that I read, because it simply showed

00:51:44 --> 00:52:26

what you are in comparison to God's, you're a human that prays to God. That's it. It was so humbling, and so pure. And once I saw that, man, my perception shifted yet again, you know, so for people watching, I would say that it's extremely important to visit a mosque if you have interest. And you've seen Islam online, extremely important to visit the mosque because that changed everything. But anyway, saw Yeah, this is a subscriber then of mine that brought me there later on, needless to say, became a very, very good friend, and now a brother of course, and faith. And with him, we got the idea to start pure passage, which is in Omaha, and now a hutch service as well.

00:52:26 --> 00:52:34

However, however, for people that either cannot make it because they're sick, or even for deceased people on their behalf.

00:52:36 --> 00:53:20

And so yeah, it's a service that men again, first and foremost, I never thought that I'm going to talk positively about Islam on YouTube, let alone become a Muslim myself. And secondly, we had such moving stories. It's insane. We had one brother from Bosnia, essentially reached out to us. And he told us the story about his cousin. So his cousin grew up in a dysfunctional household. They were all born Muslim, however, not really practicing, the father was an alcoholic, and he beat up the whole family, the mother, the children and whatnot. And it escalated one day that he killed the mother killed himself, yeah, and stuff, and even killed the system. So this young boy was 16 years

00:53:20 --> 00:53:52

old at the time, he survived this, and now had to live with his uncle. And, and however, the story continues at school, now he gets bullied about his crazy father. One year, he gets bullied, he gets bullied, he gets bullied until and again, it's just, it's a disgusting thing. It's a sad thing. He gets so depressed that he ends his life as well. Right? And now his cousin reached out to us and on his behalf, he wanted pure passage to perform umara for him on this closure.

00:53:53 --> 00:54:38

And yeah, of course, we gladly that. We have scholars, we have some Imams there, people from all over the world that live in Mecca that do that on their behalf and everything is documented. They get live feedback via WhatsApp. It was just beautiful that those people got closure, you know, for me yet again. I see now my work on YouTube. Yes, even though of course, yes, there is some entertainment factor to it. But let's see, it's almost as if I use it to repent, sure. To do good again, you know, because, yes, I talked about this on YouTube, but you have to really realize that I hated Islam, and God forgive me, you know, I hated reading. And I was speaking vocally against it.

00:54:38 --> 00:54:59

And it went so far that I actually wanted to read the Quran in order to debunk it, and then proclaim it on YouTube my victory over Islam. Yeah, look why it's false, you know? So therefore, I see that with pure passage, it's just another stepping stone here where I can do some good and give back to the ummah. Masha Allah, Allah Jesus plant Subhan Allah in mysterious ways.

00:55:00 --> 00:55:05

I think that's one of the many. There's several ways that that's beautiful. One of them is that, you know, a lot of times,

00:55:06 --> 00:55:42

converts, we can feel like, you feel like you're a baby again, right? Like you, there's so much to learn, there's so much to do, and you don't really know, you're not really necessarily in the mind of contributing, right. But I think it is important because some converse, maybe they think that, well, in order to contribute, they have to go abroad and study and learn Arabic and then you know, etc, and come back. Okay, that's one way that's true. But we have multiple ways that you can contribute as a Muslim, and you can help uplift people, and you can assist the ummah. And it really just has to do with your skills and what you have going for you and you happen to have a very, very

00:55:42 --> 00:56:19

successful YouTube channel, my shots about a Columbia Law increase you and you know, look at how you're able to use that for good. And everybody else who's watching you know, you have a particular talents, you have a particular skill, or you have a particular relationship, or you're in a particular place, you have something that you can use to help Islam and to help the Muslims and to help other people you don't there's not just one way, there's multiple, multiple ways to help us to support Islam and to help other Muslims. And when you find that way, then you actually realize that that's what the Prophet SAW. I said, you know, when he compared us to a, a wall, that's a bricks in

00:56:19 --> 00:56:57

a wall, and he actually laced his fingers together like this. So it's sort of is that we all have to complete each other. We're not all the same part of the building, right? Somebody's the roof, somebody's the floor, somebody's the wall, somebody's the fancy cabinet door. Right? But you know, it's true. But we all have a different role to play. And it's not necessarily about just copying what somebody else is doing, but finding how can you contribute? And how can you add value, and help other people, that's a really a beautiful thing. So so beautiful is such a one, one thing that I want to pick up on, you set the learning aspect, and I believe that this is quite frightening to

00:56:57 --> 00:57:38

many people. And this is why they stay within their comfort. To give you an example out of martial arts, when the mixed martial arts scene became very, very big and became a new outlet for fighters. Not many people actually managed to transition into mixed martial arts. For example, one very famous kickboxing champion, but Hardy Moroccan from back in the day, he never made the transition into MMA, the reason being that he never was able to pick up ground fighting jujitsu, wrestling, etc. Why, because even though you're a black belt, in your own sport, now starting another martial arts, you will be a white belt, let's start at absolute zero. And that can be crushing to your ego in most

00:57:38 --> 00:57:42

people cannot deal with that, you know, and therefore, when I think about Orthodoxy,

00:57:44 --> 00:58:21

solid foundation of knowledge with orthodoxy, I could have just stuck with that, because I understand it. And starting with Islam, at zero, again, can be very intimidating to many people. But this yet again, should not withhold you from facing the truth, you know. And, in fact, it's a very, very important spiritual exercise, because at the end of the day, if we don't have the humility, to, to expose ourselves to new things to start at zero, and that says something about our heart. And I saw that happen in Medina, to be honest, because when you start with a new language in a new place, a new culture, you start at zero, you start as a child, and people don't respect you, they don't

00:58:21 --> 00:58:24

treat you like an adult, because, you know, in their language you're not.

00:58:26 --> 00:58:41

And some people couldn't handle it. Some people, their egos couldn't handle it, and they ended up leaving or quitting and it became a test for them. So it all comes back to to how humble we are at the end of the day, and how much we're willing to just kind of take where a loss bounds autos leading us.

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Do you have any final reflections has been a lovely conversation, but I think we'll draw it to a close here. Any any final reflections or comments you want to make? Bobby, we thank you so much for opening up. These are very sensitive issues, and you're at a very sensitive time. And I want to stress that again, to our to our viewers that when I went through this, there was no YouTube and so to have your story as it's unfolding in front of potentially millions of people, it's a very, very new thing and it's not easy. And we ask everybody to be sensitive to those sorts of to that aspect of this reality. But is there anything that you would like to share sort of close out with today?

00:59:22 --> 00:59:43

I just want to genuinely thank everybody that has been supporting me throughout the journey. I want to thank the Ummah yet again for accepting me into the OMA, I know ultimately guidance is to Allah. But nevertheless I feel blessed beyond belief that I am a Muslim now. And I know that this is

00:59:44 --> 00:59:50

the birth right for many people, but for us reverts it is not for me. It is

00:59:51 --> 01:00:00

it is everything ultimately, because I live in resonance in congruence with truth and that was always the most important thing in my life.

01:00:00 --> 01:00:35

If no matter what I pursued, no matter if it was spiritually speaking through different paths, or if it was dietarily, I was wanting to understand what is real. So we were talking about nutrition. For example, I want to understand how my body reacts. If I'm fasting, only on water, dry fasting, only juice for 35 days, nothing else. How will my body react? If I'm eating only fruits? How will my body react? If I'm eating only meat? What is the truth of the physical being? Then I want to understand what is the spiritual dimension. I wanted to understand since I was a little kid. And I believe that we all are born like that we always ask questions as kids. But then after a while, we just stopped

01:00:35 --> 01:01:13

doing that, right? So I kept on digging, kept on and kept on digging until I reached this truth finally, and therefore, I'm just thankful to God that He led me to this. And as I mentioned before, I don't hold any grudges against anybody that has some misconceptions or was suspicious that is human nature and it's normal in this day and age as well. I just want to thank everybody that's on the line. Beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing and thank you so much for everything Bobby and we asking We're rooting for you. We're here to support you. We ask a lot to continue to guide you and strengthen you and give you the patience needed Subhanak hola hola. We have like a shadow

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and light and to stop critical to like cinematic going off to La

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so then we'll

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