Yasir Qadhi – Success Stories with Safi Bros

Yasir Qadhi
AI: Summary © The Safi brothers discuss their success story, including their journey to the US and their upbringing. They share their common experience of being an immigrant and their desire to become a doctor. They also discuss their struggles with biology and mental health, their past experiences studying engineering and their desire to pursue their own career in a different field. They also talk about their language and past experiences with bringing people to campus, their interest in Islam, and their desire to study in their language.
AI: Transcript ©
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and welcome to another Safi bros. Podcast. We'd love to welcome an amazing brother from the US. You have Dr. Yasir qadhi. Welcome to the Safi birth podcast. Zach malaco for having me

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thank you everyone hamdulillah mashallah, I think you've got one of the best Siri suit series in relation to our see it off of the Rasul salaam salaam Shalom, shalom alphabetic freaking Shalom to would like to welcome you in Sharla. Today is your success story as the Safi brothers do a whole series on the success stories heading in sha Allah would love to take you back to you being born in Texas. Yes, Houston, Texas. I was missing Texas. For that journey. Mom and dad how you ended up there? That'd be great. I don't know much. So my father was one of the first immigrants from Pakistan to America back in 1962. He came when there was hardly anybody else there. And he founded

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the first MSA the Muslim Student Association. He why Texas. So he got a scholarship to study at the University of Houston it was just like, complete, you know, random things like that Allah Allahu Akbar. And there was no other, you know, previous or he didn't know anybody before the start of story you learn with 20 bucks in your pocket, don't know where, you know, he had to take a taxi to the campus had no idea where to stay, you know, stays in a hostel the first few days, like literally just the stories that we hear from that timeframe. So I'm the law. He came there. He did his master's, and then a PhD, got married along the way, obviously brought my mother I was born, founded

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the first mosque for Sunday school, you know, so I'd have that. So I was born into a family that already had a love for Islam. So dead came to study. It's like, yeah, Pa masters and PhD. Yeah. And, and basically in medicine and pathology and biology. Also, he became a university professor. So was he married then? Or do you know, when he came as he can was just single? How old?

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He was, I think 3030 31 a little bit older. But that was how it used to work back in those days. So hold on, not to be married, but then to Yeah, so the heat because again, his well, you want to go back even more we can go does this all vary person, but it's very, it's very relevant. Because my father always says that, because he sacrifice for his parents. That's what ALLAH blessed him. Wow. So his parents were, you know, they had given up everything to migrate to Buxton. So because you know, the 1947, there was that scar tissue. And my grandfather wanted to live in a good Muslim land. So my grandfather and grandmother decided to give up everything, and it was a huge loss, you know,

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because what happened in 1947, is that the Muslims were taken advantage of, because the locals would not buy them because they know they're going to leave. They're not so you wouldn't get your money's worth, you had to just abandon or sell for a pittance like nothing. Yes. So they gave everything up there. We're living middle class life. And they ended up like pretty much in poverty when they come because everybody's an immigrant, millions. Actually, historically, the largest mass migration in human history occurred in 1947. The largest mass migration in history occurred when people migrated from both sides. So you can imagine millions of migrants coming immediately to one city, what's

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gonna happen, so they were very, you know, impoverished. So my father was the oldest son out of only two brothers and sisters. So he had to work part time, even as a teenager, and then a delay his education. He actually gave up medical school because they couldn't afford the fees. He got into medical school. He was his dream to be a doctor, he gave that up, right? And he kept on you know, he would tell us this later on that because I gave up everything for my parents. That's why we ended up with hamdulillah so blessed and fortunate, even though it wasn't the case. So long in the beginning of Islamic dress, or my dad's the oldest, he sacrificed everything yet. He was a doctor to go and

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looked after his brothers and sisters. So Allah, Allah does not you know, take any of these things in vain Allah azza wa jal rewards, when you get back to your family to me, Allah rewards this. So

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I'm saying we have something in common because my grandfather got really ill. And my father was the oldest so you have to go back and he didn't get married to food.

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Because actually had to look after his family exam. Look after his brother, many years and he came and left everything. Subhanallah

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Exactly. So it's similar story. Exactly. It's just your sacrifice for family and then it's amazing how many of us have done that throughout the Muslim world that

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Allah is amazing that we are here suddenly sharing that Subhan Allah Allah, so take us take us as a young chap yourself. So what hamdulillah so I mean, how many in the family for a month? I have one brother, that seems more for our two boys, two boys, one older brother, just me and him. So see the youngest one. I'm the younger one. Yeah, okay. You're the split one. Basically.

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The older brother always cops, the beatings.

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That's true. Yeah. And hamdulillah so, um, my earliest memories, you know, in

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In terms of Islamic stuff, there's really attending Hulkbuster that I just did not understand at all, just disconnected for an alien, you know, mutually in Arabic. And obviously, we don't speak Arabic growing up, you know, Sunday school was a chore and a war did not like going to Sunday Islamic school at all, you know. So, I mean, that was one of the motivations for me that when I did become a younger man, like, I wanted to know my religion. And back in the 90s, you're old enough to remember this, there was no quality education in the English language. There was no deep level book, there were no, you know, there were no like, odema who could speak English fluently? At my

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understanding as a teenager, you know, there were a man that had come to America, Egyptian Pakistani, and if they spoke English, like, you know, half broken, whatever, and they had a translator, translator, and then also like, the subjects and the topics, there's not a connection, there's not a relevance.

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Exactly, we felt like they came from a different world to project

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without understanding and like we said, login, this doesn't really fit here. Exactly, manually. So I felt this this this curiosity, this thirst, you know, especially going through college, I was studying engineering, chemical engineering, you know, I love chemistry. And, you know, in our culture, you have to be engineer, doctor.

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No lawyer, the lawyer, maybe

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the default, here be his,

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every one of our guests.

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Every one of our guests so far, is say that my father mother wants me to be a lawyer or a doctor or an accountant, you have to do you have to I mean, it's just you don't even think what else can I do? So because there's something and you know, I don't blame them. I don't them because they wanted success for their children. They wanted them to have stable careers. Right. So again, I didn't like biology, I just couldn't imagine being operating on a human body. I just hated biology. So then if there's no, you know, there's no you know, a medicine. So there's got to be engineering out of engineering. You know, actually, I flirted with aeronautical engineering, because I just like the

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idea of designing planes or whatnot. But then I said, you know, what, I like chemistry and chemical engineering is a vibrant field, there's oil there, this and that, you know, so I did chemical engineering, I graduated, I worked at Dow Chemical, which is one of the big chemical Corporation plants in America in the world. So I worked at Dow Chemical for a while, as an intern, you know, so meaning meaning before graduation, the intern Alhamdulillah, in our chemical engineering department, there would always be like one student in the third year, who would get an internship, the top student, I got that internship. What that did was that it guaranteed me a job at Dow Chemical when I

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graduated, Can Can I touch base on that? Obviously, to be to be recognized to be a top tier to be given that. Were you always a person of excellence? Did you always try your best and you always Yeah, that was always that was always ingrained in me by my parents, and also by myself, like I just, I was the valedictorian of my high school, I was always wanted to study hard, just I had ambitions as a child, but will lie, nothing to do with Islamic Studies, low ambitions as a child to do something big, but not at all. It never crossed my mind. Never. When was that light bulb moment that Subhanallah that you transitioned fully safe from so dunya to the irony that people don't

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believe when I say this, even when I gave up my my Dow Chemical offer, because so let me just quickly backtrack. So I'll never forget one of my most iconic moments for me in my life that I had applied to University of Medina in my fourth year, and I had, you know, been accepted. In July, the acceptance came right for August, like literally one month, right? Wow, I have to make a decision in one month. So I have like, on my desk, the Dow Chemical offer. And the University of Medina offer. Whoa, dunya. And like I literally and I'm looking at, I'm thinking man, like, what am I going to do? Because I understood this is going to be I didn't understand the depth of the decision. But I

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understood this as a big decision. So I understood this is going to really change course for me, but here's the irony. I thought change course meant I'm going to have to study Dean for a while, and then come back and do another degree or, you know, be put back in engineering or MBA or something. So I thought it's going to be a temporary few years, where I'm going to eke out a difficult existence, and it's not really going to be full time for me, in the sense. Remember, this is 1994, something like that. There. There were no role models for me in the western world that this is what you do when you're going to study overseas and come back. There were no you know, Rhoda Ma, that had

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come back and we're preaching. I mean, you know, that didn't exist. I mean, I remember 9495 We had just heard of Yanni Sheikh Hamza Yusuf had just come back. And we were hearing of oh, this is like the first Chinese American razor but even then, he was just beginning his his journey.

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There was no you know, career, there was no money or fame or career in Islamic studies. You have to understand this point, you know, the remember that there was nothing so I thought it

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See? Exactly. So I thought I'm gonna have to sacrifice my career for five years, four years, and then come back and then re habilitated myself in the engineering field or something, you know, I don't have to delay my marriage, I'll have to give up my dunya everything I said, and inshallah I want to know, my Deen. So I'll just go do that. So my point is, I didn't actually change career paths. I delayed in my mind at the time, a career path, thinking that let me just learn the dean, Danny, as Allah is my witness. I never ever dreamt of becoming a full time diary and preacher and quote unquote, share never, it's not on my agenda, because there was nobody liked that as you're

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trying to say, right? So it was final that we spoke about that before a lot of us panela are lacking, especially as in our age, we're lacking a lot of brothers to look up to or just focus on to say, I can be like them. And humbler. This is the aim of this podcast? Because we really, we really, are you for lacking that looking up to these non Muslims that that really don't have. They're not in touch with our community. I'm not in touch with what it is to be a Muslim and also have that success. Yeah. As a young chap, like esa 1213, you went to normal school. Now, is that true? Because we felt that, you know, we live in East. So my father got a job as a professor and then the dean of

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the Medical College in King AbdulAziz University in Jeddah. So I went to a British expatriate school, like elite private school, you know, like a private school British curriculum. Wow. And I went through what is called the GC all levels at the time. So I did that. So in that timeframe, and hamdulillah I'm living in a Muslim land, but there's no like extra. So I will tell you then, you know, so I did my teenage years over there. Yeah. So you left you left the US at what age six eclipses, six Saudi Arabia. Okay. And then coming back over here to America, you staying in Jeddah, but the what you need to understand in the 80s living in Saudi Arabia as a Westerner, you are in a

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bubble. It's an expatriate bubble is you live in different places, you go to different schools, you are disconnected from, you know, from the borders. And so it's all in Jeddah. Yes, Jeddah. Yeah, so I didn't speak Arabic at all. Wow. No, not at all. I mean, like, how much is this? Yeah, but that's it. Wow. Because there is no interaction. Or you're living in an expatriate bubble. You're wrong. everybody around you is, you know, expat, you know, the buildings you're living in the school you go to, right. So there's a huge disconnect. But I guess the positive side, I mean, because you're in a Muslim land, you're hearing the Python and, you know, we go to MacArthur group regularly, because

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it's Jeddah, you know, I mean, there's no drugs or alcohol easily available, you know, that timeframe, but I'm gonna tell you that so we had a beautiful I had a beautiful childhood. I read how long we did what When did you get back to the US? Came back after high school. So this is 1990 ish. Yeah. So most of your childhood years where you were in in gender? Yeah. Well, Mashallah. Yeah, so that would have been? Well, so see when you brother, but yes, my brother came back way before he's older than me. Okay. My brother, did he also follow the Islamic path? No, he's he has an MBA. He's a business, business business consultant. Gela.

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Lis, thinking back, you grew up to six years old in America, went to the Mercy education there. What was there a sort of a light bulb moment that got you close to Allah subhanaw taala? Or got through the dean, as a young chap? Was it something that was a little burn in your heart that sort of see that started? To tell you a nice, you know, romantic story. The fact of the matter is Kesteven.

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Fact of the matter is that Islamically speaking, I had a good childhood, my father, my parents were very religious all the time praying five times a day. You know, I never remember a time in my life where I wasn't praying five times a day. So my father instilled in me sada and eventually he encouraged me to memorize the Quran in Jeddah. So I did memorize the Quran at home Subhanallah just on my own, somebody would come in and help me you know, love your mom would come and help me but I did it on my own in Jeddah. And then that was about it. There was no there was no, there was no desire or incentive at that stage. Again, at this stage, you're not really thinking of Islamic

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studies. You just like, you know, okay, I'm a Muslim and hamdulillah when I went to university, I had to make a decision. Do I really want to practice Islam or not? Because now University of Paris can't control you. University, you are on your own lifeboat and it was at university that I discovered I actually enjoy being a Muslim. It brings home to my heart and at university what was it what was it that brings upon to your heart? So the the sense of nobility, the sense of purpose, the sense of belonging, the sense of there's a higher purpose to this dunya at university I got involved with the Muslim Students Association MSA Do you guys have

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gotten involved with the MSA? I'd be like my four years at university. Most of my memories are from

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The MSA not from the classes and exams. I was super active with the MSA my first year we doing so literally the first week that I caught it I wanted to volunteer so they told me to Okay, call us you're in charge of preparing the hottie microphone system and and do that, right? So they taught me how to do that. So, you know, literally for the for like all this AV stuff. I'll be setting up the microphone, putting all the wires in, you know, subhanAllah now people do it for me, but I started saying it like so every time somebody does it for me. I said, may one day you also behind this side. I've done this. I've done this as a teenager. And then the next year, they put me in charge of the

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data table. So I would be every week or every two weeks, I think we'd have a data stored on campus. Okay. Again, this is like pre 911 by a decade, man, I need one I need to go you know, so every week I'd be standing at the university main central like the whole the hub, and just have a big learn about Islam discover Islam, and I'd be standing there talking with people, people, you know, asking debating whatnot. So you kind of sort of started honing your skills about accuracy. So that was that was your sort of foundation basically, that's like mashallah, like you're very well spoken, you must have had a lot of practice. So we've we've, I'm telling you growing up, I was an introvert, go ask

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any of my, you know, friends back in, in middle school, I was a shy, geeky nerdy kid, I'm still geeky, nerdy, but I was a shy, introverted kid, you know, I didn't have the the the, you know, the confidence to speak in public. But University begins to change, you know, and when you're now you know, on the on the limelight, Vikings, my first heard but also, that's also a funny story that I was 17. At the Habib cancel at last minute, we found that there's no hotel coming. So the President of the MSA says we don't have healthy you give them I'm like, I've never given a hamburger? Well, we have to we don't have a club, you have to give her the whole book. So I literally like was put on

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the spot, like, you know, on the spot and Kibeho. Right, and then there, then we just had to just prepare whatever I couldn't, you know, eat the whole out.

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But smarter than you realize, well, actually, it's pretty effective. People are appreciating what not, because, again, you're speaking in their language, right? Yes. You know, the issues that are that are that are addressing, addressing this has been I think one of the main reasons why people like us have had such success is not because of Sephora lower stuff but a lot more pious or more knowledgeable. No, it's because we're more relevant. We understand the issues, and I know what needs to be said, because I also want to view I'm also living in the same society, you know, and so being active, and then, you know, being involved in inviting issues and aroma. So we used to invite, you

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know, preachers to come and, you know, at the time, there weren't really like Ruta mob, per se, but you had like Suraj wahat, you know, and Jamal Badawi, you know, these were activists, Allah bless them, I owe a lot to them, you know, we knew that they weren't, like, you know, bonafide scholars, but they inspired us with confidence and love, you know, and, you know, they just, you know, there's something that needs to be done for the sake of the OMA. So those four years, it kind of sorta like, gave me a taste that I need to be more active in my faith. And I mean, I've said the store multiple times, I'll say it on your podcast as well. Um, one day in particular, remember, something that

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really is has remained with me forever. So for some weird reason, I don't know why I would sleep on the floor as a teenager I wouldn't sleep on my bed or just sleep on the floor, I just have a light mattress there just a light actually not even mattresses to think that so I had to sleep on the floor, and my books would all be on the floor as well. Okay. And I went I was like, lying down and I saw my books piled up organic chemistry and differential equations and whatnot physics. I've got like all these books piled up you know, and they'll have the alarm and a student graduated whatever Qumulo whatever did the thing is a girl good stuff, Hamza that was great, a student everything

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there. And I just kind of felt I've mastered all of these books, and I don't know the Quran. Allah. Well, I've memorized the Quran. I don't know the Quran is this one book?

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And I don't know what it means. I don't understand Arabic.

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And I felt a sense of shame. I'll be honest, like all of this, I know. And I don't know the kalam of Allah azza wa jal, you know, just felt like what am I doing? That's the emptiness Yeah, so as I just felt what am I doing? Like how white how is this like, you know, And subhanAllah in the process, you know, I heard of a university again, you have to realize 1992 93 nobody had heard of Mr. Medina. Nobody's heard it this is a very different world. It just so happened I had met somebody who had stayed there for a year and then was no longer there and we heard about it this is a university of Medina us studies advanced in what not? So I said hola so I want to go there Medina Medina come on

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how can you not you know so i i Will for the Dow Chemical at work I got a certain amount of money that same money I spent it all on a plane ticket to go apply to Medina Allah everything that will back then come on, man, like I don't have any money. You know, like, I didn't want to tell my parents I didn't tell you

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that's another story. I'll tell you as well in a bit because law look so you make a decision. Yeah.

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Are we on campus living on campus? No wait so when I applied to Medina apply application takes months. So I did an awesome road trip. They knew I'm going for Umrah they didn't know I'm applying to Medina. Oh, okay Sheila, you already had planned I had already planned that was the reason I was going. Wow, we went to see you. I wanted to see I wanted to go there. Yeah. So I went and I went into the office and you know,

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said putting my application directly to the director directly I wish to his office you know, and I mean, I remember he was like very impressed that I'm engineering and half of everything coming from the head obviously from America that hadn't happened before right. I was told by somebody I'm not sure I was told that I'm the first born Muslim from America to graduate from Medina most people before we were conference Wow, the first like born Muslim in America, who then decided to study in Medina. Wow. So the director was lower than the dean of acceptance had actually studied in America in the 70s He spoke some English so he was very impressed you so basically, I didn't know at the

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time but God except right then in there I didn't know at the time.

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So anyway, I wish it had told me back then I could have planned better but no.

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So yeah, so then I decided I want to go and you know, study in Medina, but I didn't know if I got in or not. And then the Dow Chemical offer came, I'm like, Okay, I guess I'll take this and hamdulillah is here. And then before I answered that one, I got the acceptance from Medina. So now I have the choice to make 100. And the rest, as they say is history. But when I did make the choice, like I said, my knee at the time was, I guess I'll go study a few years and then I have to come back and start from scratch. Allah kept on opening doors and he's still opening

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