Why I became Muslim – Brother Ibraheem
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 24.07MB
You know, he was Christians growing up. My mom died when I was 11 years old. There was this movie we watched and he was a Muslim I forget was Antonio Banderas I started questioning things after I seen that. I said, This is it. I got into a situation and I ended up asking to go to prison. My mom told me my brother and my sister that she had AIDS.
Tell us your name and where are you from? And what was your childhood like growing up before he became a Muslim? My name is Antonio leggett, but the brothers know me as Ibrahim. I'm from Utica, New York. Born and raised. I lived throughout New York State, and pretty much my whole life. Growing up, I was in a single parent home. My father wasn't and also a mom raised me and my brother and my sister. We then grew up like the best kind of condition. But you know, there was love in the house. When I was three years old. My mom told me my brother and my sister that she had AIDS
from her boyfriend, he molested my sister and gave it to her to my sister died. I want to say like 89 She was only 12 years old. Her boyfriend at the time that gave that so he used to abuse me and my brother physically abused, he then
starts to abuse us. And my brother's got a birthmark on his hands. He put his hand right on the fire. And then the next boyfriend she got when he was abusive to my mom, you know, they was you know, drinking and drugging and stuff. So, you know, we grew up in that. And this is where a lot of my lashing out came at in school and stuff. I got kicked out three schools in first grade, you know, because I had emotional problems and anger problems, but it was stemming from all of that, you know, my family. Yeah. Oh, he baddy baddy bad, but cha cha cha know what's going on? You know, so that I wasn't allowed sometimes. And certain people house because oh, he bad, I don't want him over here,
you know, so a lot of stuff just kept getting built up. And then I was putting the system away from my mom, you know, I really didn't understand what's going on. And it was a struggle for me. My mom died when I was 11 years old. I was in house Good Shepherd.
And that's when life really like
kind of got like lonely for me. Because my family taught me in there was supposed to take me but they left me and my brother in the system, because they didn't want to deal with me. I'm bad. You know, but I needed love and you know, support. That's what I needed at the time, not for you to be like, Oh, he bad. And leave me in there with all these strangers. And I keep getting moved around juvenile foster homes, group homes that got released when I was 18. When it comes to your parents were there like religious themselves? Like what religion did they practice? And what was sort of like your first experience with God, like, were you religious as a child? Or is that something that
came later on? So my parents, they grew up, and the church, you know, he was Christians growing up, I want to say, like, extremely religious, but God conscious, so to speak, we went to church on Sundays, Bible studies, stuff like that. But for me, growing up and seeing that and, you know, knowing that you should read the Bible, and that you should pray, and that you should go to church, and you should worship God, and praise him, like worship, you know, saying and, and stuff like that. I was into that, since I was young. And then when I got little older, closer to when my mom passed, like was gonna pass away. She, she used to always be praying, and she wouldn't let us disturb her,
but she would stay stuck and our prayers should be on her knees on the bed side. And she'd be praying, you know, she, she used to have me and my brother, you know, reading the Bible, whether, you know, so always knew to pray. That was the main thing and to read the Bible, so when I was in the system, I would read the Bible and pray and do low worship you know, even if I was like playing basketball shoe and I'm doing this for the Lord you know, and you know, and stuff like that and I will just have conversations because there was a lot of time you just alone in your room like it's not a cell but it's a kid is like Kid cell. You know, basically you got a desk, a bed and a dresser
and that's it. A little window cut out in the door, the Sikh gang out there, get help from the see, you know, the officer or whatever, and then, but I will spend a lot of time reading the Bible. So
I knew what was in there. And some young, so and then I just continue doing it throughout my life. But I wasn't always like at the point where I could, like, totally get right and change, so to speak, you know, I had different times where I was like, yeah, they say, you aren't firing for God, like, you know, like, I always say you were on Dean, you know, but um, those was the two main things that stayed with me praying and reading the Bible. So I know what was in there. And then this is where I started questioning things. And I got a lot of questions that I want to ask. But, you know, like other people, when you go to ask, they tell you don't question God and just have faith.
You know, and that wasn't enough for me. Because it's saying, you know, one thing, and then you change it, you know, the way things were is no more, it was confusing to me. So to think that you go from
one guy from Adam, all the way to Jesus made peace be upon them all. And then someone who's not even a prophet, or messenger, or was with that prophet or messenger, and changes everything. And I didn't know the backdrop of the whole thing to you know, the Council of Nicaea. And they were, you know, the Roman emperor, where he wanted the population that the people say adopted Christianity, but they was pagan worshipers. I wish I would have known that now. Because it would have made more sense to me. But you don't learn that too later. Because you only taught what they want to teach you. And the church. The rest is don't question God, just have faith. He knows. That's not enough, though, for
some people, you know, who really want to know how to worship God, and see God for you know who he is and what he does, you know, so that was my thing. And actually, when I was 12 years old, there was a kid from Binghamton. He was Muslim. There was this movie we watch. And he was a Muslim. I forget, it was Antonio Banderas. He was an actor, and he was a Muslim. He is what the Christians, I think he was a slave or something. So you know, they were in the Muslim land, they call them then I just get the goosebumps. I'm like, oh, that sounds nice. You know, and then, you know, he'd be praying. And like, the battle was going on, it was starting, he's still praying. And he wouldn't
move. And I'm like, Man, he's strong. You know, like, it'd be focused when he gets done with the brace and lambs out. And then somebody was about to go get him and the guy watch, and he, you know, started fighting. I was like, oh, yeah, that's cool, you know.
But yeah, I was always attracted to him, because the kid he would talk to me about it. And it made more sense and went back to just one guy. And that was my thing. And I know, it was only one guy, but you get taught different, you know, but he was explaining that. And it made more sense to me than what I was reading and what I was into for my whole life, you know, what I was taught to be in? And I actually took my Shahada then, but unfortunately, the influence of family Oh, why would you do that? You know, I'm still young. I'm only 12 years old. And I got released from a facility to a foster home, and they were pastors, and they had a church. So you noticed, like, you know, I got
picked on you know, you, you while you're a pug he was raised off dad, and this there, you know, and, oh, it's only gonna be one guy in this house, you know, and I gotta go to church, I had no choice, you know, kind of stay at home. So I eventually just, I got away from that, from Islam for the time being, but Allah was always guiding me. You know, I always, you know, notice certain things in my life that I could look back on. And Allah, you know, always gotten to me, and he guided me back to the deen, I'm dead Allah. I don't mention my past house. You know, a lot of people, they glorify what they used to do, or whatever, but I know, I wasn't always, you know, living my life.
Right? You know, I got into a situation and I ended up asking to go to prison for two years. So when I was in prison, I was like, you know, let me try this God thing again. So you know, the Christian so I'm with the Bible, I'm holding Bible studies. I'm, you know, going to church, I'm trying to stay out the way, but still was like, I paused and was like, You know what, I'm gonna just chill out. God guide me, please.
Guide me to whatever is right. And there was some Muslims in there, and I'm observing them. I'm seeing them make a move. Do they bring the bottle in there to wash themselves? I'm like, Why are you bringing that in there? What you what you do with that? Oh, because when we use the bathroom, we got to run to ourself.
Okay, I do it too now, but then I'm like, um, I think I was having anxiety attacks. And I didn't know what it was and I'm trying to pray pray. Pray.
Uh, what I was taught, you know, in the name of Jesus, you know, stuff Allah. But and, and trying to read Scripture and to have brothers brother help pray with me brother and nothing will work.
None of that will work. And I said, You know what something man right? And And the funny thing is I was reading his book, it's called Midnight. It's like, you know, his book, but in the beginning explains the muscle man and how he was. And I was like, yeah, that's how I want to be. And then, as I'm still observing the other brothers,
the Warner Brothers, I asked him, I said, What's the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims? Right? It's like, oh, this, you know, I was like, Oh, okay. And he was like, You know what, you gotta be a strong Muslim one day, he's the older guy from Brooklyn. I was like, oh, no, I'm just trying to, you know, find out right now, you know, and he actually gave me a Koran and McAfee, you know, before I left, but when I got home,
you know, I kind of didn't really do anything with the religion, any type of religion, I still was on like a standstill. And, you know, I used to hang out, you know, a lot. And then one point, I'm like, You know what, this, I'm not worth this no more. And then I started staying in the house more, and started just thinking more, and then actually moved to Rome. And I said, you know, I'm gonna go back to school. So I was working overnight, going to college during the day. So I was in history class, no government class, and there was an assignment to watch Park Avenue
where the richest people live. Right? After that, I seen some videos. And there was about Muslims, and how they always go into Muslim countries, and you know, their arms are there and they're, you know, doing what they do there. And I said, Why do you always messin with the Muslims? And there's there's only wars in Muslim countries. Why? Right? So there's some other videos that are popping up. Allah.
Right. And then I've seen the historical Jesus by college I seen. And I'm like, this, this is, this is the Jesus that I, I feel like this is the right so then I started looking at the scientific merit goes at the Quran. And I was like, you know, this is like a no brainer, like this. Just this knowledge can only come from God. I said, You know what, I'm gonna take my Shahada after I seen that. I said, This is it. I watched how to pray the night before I went into the master didn't take my shot on the Friday. That was it. We hear?
So what did you actually take your Shahada? What was your shahada experience? Like? And what were some of the challenges to follow it afterwards? So this morning, I took my Shahada. I walked in, there wasn't many people there yet. I didn't understand what's going on yet. So I kind of like walked in, stood came in the door, sit to the side, some of the buzz like, oh, you know, I saw him had to take my shot at and one of my closest companions, which is still to this day, aftermath. I was, you know, he was like, Oh, all right, you know, so he brought it to the front row, he taught me about being in the front row, you know, and the benefits of that. And then the Masters started
filling up his lot of people in here, you know, but I'm in the front row. And it was just like, Yeah, I'm ready to soak it in. They did the clipboard. And after that Dr. Ashraf is actually the one who actually gave me my shot. Man, may Allah bless him. And all the brothers that was there, I took the Shahada. And that was like, that was like one of the best feelings and best decisions I ever made in my life. I say the best, but that experience, the love and like the support, you know, Otter brothers, come shake your hand and hug you kind of got a little emotional, but, you know, the sector tears back and you know, a little bit, you know, I wasn't too like into but it was like, it was
emotional. But it was it was like, it was wonderful, you know, like, feel the love and support and nobody, like, question you. You're nothing. It's just everybody was so happy for me. And like, I've generally seen the smiles and like, I felt the love, you know, so that that was like,
That was a good experience. When I took my shot at Utica master
on Campbell Street,
and Utica, New York.
So my my life definitely changed after that. My eyes was really open then to life and what's expected of me and who my God was, so I actually knew now and then what I was learning, it started transforming me immediately.
Like, and this is the struggle I had being a Christian, like I always used to be like, if I could snap my finger and be like how God wanted me to be, I would. But you don't have the instruction and knowledge that you have in Islam to be able to do that. So once I started learning certain things, how to pray, because I want to know how to worship, people do all this jumping in yelling all
the time speaking in tongues, so to speak, you know, but it was all crazy. And I didn't really like that. So this came back to simplicity, even not, you know, you can't you take your shoes off coming to Masjid, you pray to Raka, you sit down, you remember Allah. Right. And it's not all it's just that and the third, some of the challenges I had, because I was in the marriage, I was Christian, they're not converted. And there was some struggles in that relationship. Because I didn't want to do certain things I used to do no more. You know, and that was like, part of our life. You know, even celebrating holidays, or, you know, our you still always get some, you know, some problems and
in the marriage. So that was some struggles with that, I ended up getting a divorce. But um, the law blessed me with some even better, way better.
I didn't have kids before, all my life. I didn't think I could have kids now have kids have the law. But some of my family members, when I took my Shahada, why you do that? Why would you do that, oh, your grandmother would be turning in their grave. But I was patient, because I know, this is what what happens, you know, when you try to follow the path shaytaan will use anybody to try to get you back off of that, you know, so I already know what to expect. And at the same time, this is for me, and not for them. So I always kept that in my mind, this is from me, I'm gonna go to gray by myself, um, be questioned by myself, and be raised by myself. I'm gonna stand in front of a lot by myself.
So this is from me. And then later on, you know, a few months or later, they say, oh, we'd like to do you stay like this, you know, but I still didn't really like that I'm Muslim, but even to this day, but they do. I mean, definitely, you know, Hamdulillah, you know, but then, when I took my Shahada, the group of brothers that I had with me, it helped me stay strong, you know, and they helped me stay focus, and the support that they gave me, may Allah be pleased with them, and bless them for that, and reward them. Because it helped me stay on my name, you know, and not go off, you know, has anyone become a Muslim as a result of your conversion? Actually, hamdulillah my father,
before he passed away, as stage four cancer came and stayed with me for the last two and a half weeks of his life, he talked to me and he said, he said, I'm proud of you. I knew you will find your way, you know, because, you know, the struggles I had in my life. And, you know, what I went through, he said, he was proud of me, and he's like, Can I have a Quran? So I know, you know, so I know how to deal with you. And like, you know, understand. So I ended up getting a Koran, you know, with my new day dad, just reading, even if it's half a page, or you know, a page a day or something, I will say, you know, and, but I didn't want him to pass like that, when they put them out comfort
where he was at, and what he what people was around them, so I said that come stay with me. They did, you know,
and I helped him, you know, me and my wife, until he passed, but I decided to conversation with him explaining stuff, he already knows some things and he seen what changes it made me just, you know, want to remind them that we don't have much time, you know, and to think about, you know, what's, what's the common Next, we should consider submitting yourself to, you know, to the creator, you know, to a lot after that, it moved them to another room and after that he started the process, but uh hum de la, at least, you know, he, he got to utter those words, you know, so I can actually pray for him, you know, and do things in his benefit. And Chava May Allah accept that? What would you say
is your favorite thing about Islam knowledge,
the vast knowledge to know because before and I remember reading in the Bible, where Jesus made peace be upon them was speaking to the disciples and He said, When he comes the helper, right speaking about Prophet Muhammad saw this, he said he will lead you into all truth. Right? So, when I say all truth,
as the truth like
If we don't have, there's not nothing left, that we can't learn about or know about, you know, so that was my thing as being a Christian. Like, you got all these people, they have so called knowledge but their interpretation, they're given their interpretation, and not was from God. So now in Islam is coming straight from Allah, I'm everything. So that thing right there to know is like how long did it last for that? And then now you can act upon it for like people like me who wanted to know which way should I worship? You know, should I be doing this? Should I be doing that? It's all laid out for you. You know, the other thing is the Brotherhood, the community, like, you know,
when people like genuinely care about you, you know, and you could feel it. Yeah, there's some you know, things that you know, happens or whatnot, but you can always show the love and support from people because they love what they love for themselves. They want for you, too. So I love that. Those my two biggest things, what would you say is your favorite thing about a lot? My favorite thing about Elias His mercy, and no matter how far he can go on, you can always just reach out to a lot and say, Oh, Allah, forgive me. And it's off again. It's just gone. The angels don't know about it. It's not in your book, no more Subhanallah the mercy is this is everything, you know, because we
need that. Because we were not always we're not perfect. We're far from perfect. We always make mistakes and, you know, doing things wrong.
So yeah, that mercy is the biggest thing I love about ABA. Everybody has that, like one verse of the Quran that they really connect with? What's that one verse for you? So, you know, from my childhood and how I grew up, the struggles that I went through, year after year, like gone through stuff, when I read soar. Dude, that was available from Amazon, after all his struggles, and just the hope that he gave him, you know, and then same thing with the night of Mirage, you know, blessing them with that, after all of them struggles. Just think about that. I'm not I'm not of the ones who are guide. There's a lot of people who are going to be watching this video, they're thinking about becoming a
muslim, but they're kind of nervous. What advice would you share with those people? So my advice to those who struggle with, you know, thinking about accepting Islam, and taking a different path and other what they are, you know, Christianity or whatever walk of life it is, and you like hesitant because of what maybe what people might think of you or feel about you, or is this the right thing or not? You know, my advice is just do it.
Seriously, because you're just holding yourself back from what's necessary. Yes, family has family, friends, our friend, friends, if they're your friends, they will support you. What they do is on numb what you try to do is on you, and don't keep yourself from what you think is good, just because what other people think, pray, pray and national guidance. This is a thing where people fail to realize a lot guys those because he knows what's in their heart. And He knows that they want to be guided they want good and those who are guidance, because what's in their heart to someone people be like, Oh, lord knows my god knows my heart he showed us. So what you want, that's the results of
that. And so a bucket at the beginning, I said, in this book, there is no doubt, like what Bookstart like that this is the truth. If it's in your heart, and he felt like that's what I should be doing, then do it. And then you'll find out the results later. You know, and always surround yourself with people who's actually following the religion not playing around. You know, that's, that's my advice.
If you had the opportunity to ask Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam one question, what would you ask him?
Question our as Prophet Mohammed Salah was, what was he thinking about? In the cave?
Those days and weeks leading up to into prayer, coming to talk to him
and revealing the first Ayatollah
what would he ponder about and how was he feeling at the time? How was he worshiping Allah? You know, what conversations Was he having with a lot to leave them up to that? Honestly, I would like to know the answer to that myself.
Moving on to our last and final question, think it is scenario. It is the day of judgment and you're on your way to meet Allah. What do you
hoping that you're meeting with Allah is like
the day of judgment on Allah.
Always ask a lot to make it easy for me and not to believe in something that day. My hopes are for him to be pleased with me and my effort and my struggles and shortcomings and say, today my mercy is upon you. And now you're forgiven and turned to Dan