The Legend Himself – Imam Siraj Wahaj

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Yasir Qadhi

Channel: Yasir Qadhi

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Tip number seven

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don't

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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi edge mine, am I right? We are very, very honored and pleased and humbled to have as our guest today, none other than the legend himself. Mr. Siraj Hodge coming to us live from Brooklyn, New York, correct? Shekinah you're in Brooklyn, right? Yes, sir. Alhamdulillah, Santa Monica de la welcome chef for for casual interview.

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Two, beloved, how you doing? Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah chef, I feel humbled. Always in your presence, I feel

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in all that, we are actually having a conversation from how to learn, people misunderstand that they think that we're somehow peers, when I have a conversation with you, they don't realize that back in the 80s, I was a teenager, you know, listening to your audio cassettes, you know, in Houston, Texas, you know, finding cassettes being transferred around and your hot buzz your fiery hot buzz, I remember, you know, that used to live from from Brooklyn. And here we are some how to love you know, 40 years later, and having spoken at conferences across the globe and humbly land, you know, criss crossed and you know, been together but just because we speak on the same platform, nobody should

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think that there's there's any equivalency You are our elder, our senior you pave the way for us, you know, you establish the foundations upon which Allah subhana wa, tada facilitated us to, to stand on, and your efforts at that are from a different era and different time. And she has one of the reasons why

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before? Yes, I gotta say something. Yes, I want to thank a lot for you. And now often they are for you, for all the good that you do. You can't even imagine

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how many of your talks I've listened to, again, learned lessons from it. While we're on the same platform, are you on another platform, I just want to thank you for the good that you do for the Muslims for the oma and for the rest of humanity. And I'm saying keep on Keep up the great work that you're doing. And may Allah subhana wa tada bless you in this life and the hereafter. And in terms of me, honestly, and I really see myself as, as the little man, you know, the little guy. I don't think of myself as anything major, but grateful to Allah to make some kind of contribution for this great format of Muhammad Ali Sarah

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shares. This is a humility that we expect from you, but our youngsters need to understand and this needs to be said very explicitly that it is a mistake to aggrandized those that come later, and neglect those that laid the foundations, were it not for the fact that Allah subhana wa tada paved the way but with pioneers like you, and facilitated, and again, shared Now, again, you're listening to me at this age, and I'm very humbled, but surely you have to understand as a young boy, there was nobody that resonated with me, as you know, as strongly as you did, because you're speaking, you know, as an American Muslim icon, right? So the inspiration that I'm getting and I'll never forget

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Jeff and I have 1516 years old, you know, and, and listening to your buzz, you know, on cassettes that our next generation doesn't even know what those cassettes are those those audio cassettes, right. And, and, you know, listening to him and in my car, going to University of Houston, and, you know, meeting you for the first time, like, you're one of the first, you know, starstruck icons I met as a teenager, you probably don't even remember, you know, you came to Houston, Texas, in 1991. And, you know, people don't understand that there was no internet back then. And I hadn't seen you on video at that stage because I was still a teenager. 1516 years old. I hadn't seen a picture of

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you because I'm only listening to you at that stage. This is the first time we met. And I came early to the messenger This is Northwest zone, it is gh in Houston, right. I came early because I wanted to get a peek at you before anybody else. You know, I got a ride with a friend. I didn't have a car back to them. And I'm waiting, waiting and I went in did will do and you were there doing will do and I didn't know who you were, you know, like, you know, I'm brother You do? Do you know your mom's Suraj when he's gonna come?

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As a 16 year olds like new like a new like Effie. I mean, I'm sure it was like what you're the most

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So, so so I'm never gonna forget. So that

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little incident right? The it's just it the impression that you had on me the friendliness you know, the the the warmth that you generated China you cannot underestimate that those types of small things, they actually connected us with our faith. And, you know, you went along with all the other teachers that I had back then that's what inspired me to go further and to, to to leave my engineering and going and study overseas. It was people like you, that really inspired me and made me proud to be a Muslim in this land. So I think our next generation needs to know this shahana that was very important that your contributions are totally different. They're not you can't compare with

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the amenities that we now have and the communications you know, you accepted Islam back in the 60s or 70s. So we're going to discuss inshallah today and the struggles that you underwent, and and everything so one of the main reasons you and I wanted to interview you is that we wanted to get into in depth detail from the heart and I want the people to know this is unscripted, embalm, Suraj. doesn't know the questions, and frankly, I don't even know all the questions. It's gonna be a raw interview. And I want to go back, you know, all the way to the beginning. Mr. Suresh, tell us about the young boy, Siraj? Well, obviously, your name was something else tell us about that young boy,

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and his vision, his America that he saw the the the the America of, I would assume, coming from a different background, different, you know, era, the difficulties, the aspirations and the religiosity of that young boy. Let me tell you something, a couple of things, you know, and I went to go visit my mother recently from the law, she just celebrated her 88th birthday. And I said,

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Mom, do you remember when I was seven, seven years old? Sunday morning, about to go to church? And me and my brother, he's one year older than me. And I was getting dressed. And I said, Mom, why do we have to go to church anyway? And, and, and I said, Mom, you took your belt, and you hit me a few times, and asked me down. Do you understand why you got to go to church? I said, Yes, ma'am. But I didn't understand. So I asked my mother. I said, Mom, you remember that? She said, No, I don't remember that. So I want to say first, I want to give them credit, to my mother in law bless up for me and my brother.

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being religious, she made sure we go to church. She told me the other day, she said, Son, even though I didn't, she didn't go to church. But she thought it was important that me and my brother had a foundation of church and me and my brother got an award from the church for 100% attendance. So just Sunday, we taught him Sunday school. That's the first thing. Then I want to I asked her I said, Mom, I noticed when I became a Muslim. You never told me how you felt. You never told me how you felt. How did you feel when I when I became a Muslim? I was in college. I was a freshman in college. She said Son, I remember the very day you came home. I know exactly what I was doing. I was

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cooking dinner. And you came in said Mama, I'm thinking about becoming a Muslim. And and she said I said to you and so she had no problem with me becoming Muslim Alhamdulillah. I began in 1969. As a student at New York University, and joining the Nation of Islam, I remember the very day was a Wednesday. I know the very suit I was wearing and I had in those days. I said a big, Afro, Masha. You know, the afro was right, of course.

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So Raj Mahajan, a big Afro right. So I joined the nation Wednesday night, I never forget that night I joined the Nation of Islam. And later on I'm going to talk about that. So two major impacts in my life number one as a Christian, and the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said either I'm an original, the ISA Toma, I'm gonna be follow a journey, whether he believes in Jesus and then believe in me will have a double reward. And I can tell you, my profound love for Jesus as a Christian, unbelievable love ahead for Jesus. And then number two, joining the Nation of Islam. I know what prompted me to join the Nation of Islam. I was a deep believer, and Martin Luther King Jr. I thought

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he was the real guide for black people. But when he was assassinated, I remember that was a turning point in my life. And I said, I'm going to either be a black Muslim, or I'm going to become a Black Panther. Because now I'm beginning to be militant. I'm reading books about Malcolm X, reading books about the Nation of Islam. So 1969 I officially joined the Nation of Islam. Those are the two things in my life.

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I really motivated me. So Sure. Let's go back to 1969. You already are thinking about the Nation of Islam. How did you hear about the nation in 1969? And what was the impression? What was the the street impression? You're a Christian, you're going to I'm assuming it's a Baptist Church, you're going to a Baptist Church, assuming Yeah, so you're going to a Baptist Church, but you've already heard of the Nation of Islam. You've already heard about Malcolm X. So explain to us the mindset of a young, you know, African American, in the 60s, who's in a Christian church, going to the Baptist Church, and yet, there's a deep impression, a positive impression of an exotic faith, a strange

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sounding Nation of Islam, and Malcolm X. What did you know about them back then, when you start thinking, I got every record album, Malcolm X, you got to remember this. Yeah, I said, Malcolm was the man. Malcolm X was the man and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both of them, I will listen to their speeches become motivated. In fact, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, that was my beginning to now change. I said, No, no, for the liberation of black people, we need some more militancy. So I heard about the Nation of Islam through mancom. And then, um, farrakhan, he came to New York University gave a speech. And I think the power of black men standing up to the white man,

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it was it was that that really touched us and, and, and there were a lot of African American friends like myself for going to college, who joined the Nation of Islam. Because at that point, we say enough is enough. We saw enough discrimination and of racism. And we said, No, we gotta do something. We got to do something about it. Now Martin Luther King, Jr. is dead.

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And alternative now.

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Malcolm, um, the Nation of Islam shift. So obviously, Malcolm passed away, early 1964 you were still just a teenager. 55 you You didn't meet 65 year you didn't meet?

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Malcolm X did you know it was it was funny when I hear something I was in.

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I was in England, and some brothers had picked me up from the airport. I'm going to give a speech about Malcolm X. And they said, um, you know, my mom's not you, you know, Malcolm X, right. And I laughed so hard. Yes. I'm telling you, I laughed. I said, I was 15 years old when he was assassinated. So I never met him. But I met his wife, Betty Chavez, we spent many, many times together. I remember the first day I met her, I was giving a lecture, but it was college. And after a lecture, this woman came to me and said, You know, I was always wanting a Muslim to come to, to the, to the school. And she worked there. And she said, when you get a chance, can you come to my

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office? I said, Well, where's your office? A second floor? We're on the second floor. She didn't know that. I didn't know she was she was a Malcolm X widow. That's

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the first day we met. Yes, sir. I'm telling you, we spoke over four hours span a lot over four hours. You know, speaking about her husband, she had a profound she never remarried. She had a profound love about a full her husband. And so there I learned about Malcolm X. And but that but that time I'm and then I'm in the Nation of Islam. So again, a lot of my friends, we will talk and we're getting more politically aware. And we wanted to do something and but you gotta you gotta remember, Martin Luther King was assassinated. Now what we're gonna look at many people, not just myself, but many people that joined the nation. So it is true to say that the primary motivation in

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the late 60s for you to embrace the nation was its its message of liberation. Its message of basically empowerment, not the theology, obviously. 100% right, you know, and not only that, you know, I'm gonna tell you this. I don't know. yet. See if you've ever seen any movies ever in your life? I don't know. I'm not that innocent.

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You know, Spike Lee said, Spike Lee said, someone asks him what makes a great movie. He said, a great movie have three things. Number one, it has to be educational. Number two, it has to be entertaining. And number three, and

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inspirational. So, um, when you look at that, you know, educational, the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. All of them were inspirational. And, and and that that moves us But there's one thing I'm going to say yesterday that maybe a lot of black people don't understand. 1968 there was a song that was in in the in the black community. It was number one.

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One of the charts for about eight weeks, and the name of that song, say it loud. I'm black, and I'm proud. This was an important this was a very important social revolution in the time of black people. You notice the thing again, now 60 6068. Now I got an afro. Why is that?

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If you go back to the movie, Malcolm X, Denzel Washington, who played Malcolm had contempt process here, right here. And that was the way black people want. Why? Why would a black man have

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content here? Because we were imitating white people. Why? Because we hated ourselves. So that song in 1968 said loud, I'm black, and I'm proud. It was a it was a social revolution. If you look at Black women Now, again, sir, you will notice something different, their hairstyle, their hairstyle so unique. It's not imitating white people anymore. In 1968, black people started changing their name, African names, Muslim names. We started wearing dashikis I remember when wearing dashiki. So no longer imitating white man. Charles scallop said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And the Prophet peace and blessings be upon us and mentorship are determined for all men

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who want to imitate the people love them. So black people stop imitating white people. And they wanted to be themselves. And that was the thing that the Nation of Islam did. They taught black people to love themselves. That's a critical point.

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So

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one other point, yeah, good. There's a tape, which you can play for your audience of Muhammad Ali.

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Talking about us. He's been interviewed. And he was saying, how come everything negative is black? Yeah. You know that one? I've seen it. Yeah. It's great. It's really great. People need to listen to that over and over again.

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Okay, inshallah, we'll see if we can get that in, or at least Google it. It's a very famous interview that's online. Yeah. Yeah. I remember seeing that. Yeah. So Schaffner, you joined the nation. 1969. Can you tell us a little bit about those years in the nation? What, what impressed you What?

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What did you see from them that is positive and the negatives as well, and also your interactions with Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan as a member of the nation? Yeah, the, um, I never met Elijah Mohammed personally. But Minister Farrakhan was my minister in New York City. I was in his class, you know, so I interact with him every day. The one thing you notice about the nation discipline. You know, what my first trip to Mecca I'll never forget this. I was shocked. After I became Muslim. I come to Allah, Allah bless my heart. And I think it was 1978 when I first went to Mecca. And the thing that shocked me when I saw Muslims smoking cigarettes, stuff, a little stuff in

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the Nation of Islam, you can't you get put out, you get put out the nation for smoking cigarettes. So so I was on a bus one day, and like 20 people smoking cigarettes, and I said, What are you doing? You smoking cigarettes? I'm a young guy, now. We smoking the cigarettes and I said, Be quiet. I said, I'm not going to be quiet. It's weird to call the police. So the police came. And so you know, but I was so disappointed. Um, so the discipline in the Nation of Islam, you find there were a lot of issues in the black community, but the Nation of Islam, very discipline, very clean, married. And so I think we were attracted to that. Also, we trained martial arts, with some of the greatest

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martial artists, a man named Moses Powell. He was very well known in the martial art martial arts. So we trained, you disciplined ourselves, and, and people in our community had a respect to us. Yesterday, let me tell you something. What Tyler told me once he said he lived in Harlem, he met him. He you know, of course I know. Yes. Right. So he says that there were two two young men following a woman with a hoodie on.

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And so she started walking faster. And they started walking faster.

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And she turned around in a hoodie came off. And she was they found out she was a Muslim. Fully hijab.

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And they said, they stop, sister Oh, we sorry. We sorry, sister went along with you, and then went away. So a lot of stories like that. See one thing um, the people in the neighborhood they call it tread?

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Which means credibility. Yes, one thing that the Nation of Islam had they had credibility in the streets, the respect respected they had the brothers from the nation. Let me tell you something about about dialogue. You know, we talked about Dawa as Muslims inviting people to Islam. That's all the Nation of Islam did. I used to go to people's houses I used to sell Muhammad speaks newspapers. Would you like to guess how many Mohammed speaks newspapers I sold in one week? We'd like to take a guess. 50 Very good. 1000 I thought 1000 1000 Mohammed speaks newspaper a week. And you know, I sold it. Yes, sir. I went door to door. I went to people's houses. And I want you to imagine going into a

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housing project. Right. 25 storeys high, by myself, going to the top floor, knocking on every day, every door selling Mohammed speaks newspaper, and I got 1000 customers. So every week I will go to the houses and you know, something, they will invite me to their weddings, to the funerals to the graduations. I was like, Oh brother, Jeffrey l Jeffrey 12 X, which means I was a 12. Jeffrey in New York to join the nation just flown to Jeffrey. Yes, Malcolm X was the first Malcolm in Detroit. So he was Malcolm X, the person came after him, Malcolm X, Malcolm three X, etc. Right? We had something like Robin 254 X, which means in that city, you had that many Roberts who joined the

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Nation of Islam. So what happened is that every week, I was bringing people to the temple every week, that's what I do. I will go to the house and they say, Oh, brother, Jeffrey, come on in. And I want to invite them, I wasn't driving in those days, I used to take a cab, take them to the temple. So we called it instead of calling the Dow we call it efficient, fishing, golfing, you got to go and bring the fish in. So that's what that was my training in the Nation of Islam, and the absolute love for black people. So a mom said it again. So this is a very awkward question, but it needs to be asked here. So yeah, when our generation when our generation hears about the theology of the nation,

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right, about UFOs and Japanese, you know, things and you know, the, the, you know, the cults and the Shabazz and all this, it, they find it difficult to understand how anybody could believe in that type of mythology. Right. So can you explain, and excellent question, let me tell you how I see it.

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I think we bypass that we look past that. And we were so impressed with the knowledge of self that Elijah Muhammad called the knowledge of self that the love of black people and, and, and strength and discipline, that the theology be honest with you.

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We weren't really much that much into the theology. We were more into nation building. And that was the thing that that impressed us. And that's why, in 1975, when Mr. Elijah Muhammad died, and his son was the dean, Mohammed came, something, something happened. Unbelievably, within one year, he transformed that whole nation of islam to orthodox Islam. He said, My father is not a prophet.

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You know, I'm Prophet Mohammed is the last messenger. And he started teaching us he taught us to make salon I remember the first Goodbye, gave I was the Imam in the masjid in Brooklyn, Masjid Mohammed.

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And I used to be Assistant Minister in the Nation of Islam, I became an Imam. And that Masjid, I remember the first football game. I remember today. So I gave the football and the brothers and sisters in my community started laughing at me. While I was given the cookbook, because it's a strange what is what is what is what's this? Right. So we used to, we used to have meetings on Wednesday, and Fridays and Sundays. So we didn't get we didn't give Clif Bars. No, we gave we gave sermons. We gave lectures. But we didn't make we didn't make a lot. So I told them when I said, You know what? You laughing at me today, one day, you won't be laughing, so hungry. They're not laughing

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anymore. Somehow. So from 1969 to 1975, you were involved with the nation. And your main motivation really was empowerment for the people seeing the oppression going on. And just and wanting to build, as you said, a nation your civilization. The goal was I mean, if I remember correctly, my It's been a while since I've rehabbed. But Elijah Muhammad wanted independence for African Americans. He wanted fine and he wanted it in a different state. He wanted to move to another land or something is not the case. He said that he wanted the government to give us some land so that black people can do for self. You don't

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love us. You hate us. They give us some land. I don't think he ever really expected that, or something to keep us going right. And I think you'd be honest with you Yes to the theology. A lot of us in the Nation of Islam really wasn't into the theology. You know, I'm saying that that wasn't the thing that motivated us. What motivated, motivated us was doing for self economic independence and things like that. But you see your mom Suraj when 1975 the day change happens, and why did Dina comes? And he's, he's reorganizing everything, there must have been something in your heart that caught you and pushed you forward. Right? There must have been something there. Let me tell you

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what's critical. The fact that he was Elijah Muhammad's son, made all the difference. Subhan Allah in our theology, Elijah Muhammad always said that this son, he was a seventh child, this one would help me. So already had that, you know, that that missed if you would, so that we look to Him, we expected him. So let me tell you something interesting. I remember the day when Elijah Muhammad died. Um, it was, I think was a Saturday. The next day was our national holiday, they call a saviors day. And we supposed to go to Chicago, I was there in Chicago, the fact that he died the day before our national holiday, so that all of us were there in Chicago, to choose the new leader.

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And I never forget, because I'm sitting in what they call a front row

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on detail security, and I'm listening to all the speeches, and people saying, well, wireless Mohammed is gonna be the leader. Because we have we what was always thought, thought that Elijah Muhammad would live for, you know, hundreds of years, you know, and, um, and then I said, I'm still I still want to wait to see what Minister Farrakhan is gonna say. And I never forget, Minister Farrakhan was crying and he said, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was the will of Allah. Minister Wallace, Mohammed was became one of the Mohammed is the will of Allah. And he accepted it. And slowly he began to unravel the mythology in the Nation of Islam. You see how easy it was? I mean,

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really, he started soon, unraveling it, so that the faith couldn't be that deep. That's why the real the real

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pull of the nation wasn't the theology.

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But it was due for self black black pride. Now, Ivana Suraj, there is a theory that

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Elijah Muhammad intentionally chose Wallerstein, knowing that Wallace would Sunni eyes or at least mainstream the movement. And that's because Wallace, as you know, was a secret Muslim at the time. And Malcolm knew this right. Malcolm gave him that Well, before the death of Elijah Muhammad wasn't even a secret open.

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He got kicked out of the Nation of Islam at least twice, because he didn't agree with his father. So the fact that Elijah Muhammad is choosing Wallace knowing that he's a Muslim, and none of the other kids are basically orthodox Muslim, what is your analysis of that? There were two of them, not just him, but his brother, Akbar. Yeah, the one who went down does her. Yes, as I write the one guy, right. So both of them, and an aqua one have nothing to do with the nation. So in order to do Mohammed, he will come in and out to come in and out. And I think that there is a thinking like that. And really, Allah knows best. You know, yesterday, what I tried to do, I try not to talk about

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the intention of people, I leave that what Allah subhanaw taala. But I will talk about the results. As a result of that, you know, and sometimes you like Mohammed praise the sun.

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You know, wafaa de Mohammed, sometimes he scolded him. So only Allah knows, I leave that with him. It would be a wonderful thing. If he intentionally did that. It would be a wonderful thing. But I think that those who still in the Nation of Islam, the leadership should bring their people over 100% to Islam as follows the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings.

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So now No, good. Okay. Good. We're finished with Natasha. I've done my job. Yes, I'm speaking to a number of ministers in the Nation of Islam. We have, we have talks, we have debates. I've sat down with Minister Farrakhan many times, having discussions, honest discussions, and we have remained with a friendship. But I tell him, I told him how I feel. And I told him, You know, I make recommendations to him.

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But but the speakers in the Nation of Islam, very powerful speakers, all of them having confidence. You know, if

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charismatic and things like that. And so when they're transformed like this some times in a nation who now Sunni Muslims, I knew them in the Nation of Islam. And I looked and I said, Subhanallah look with them become so many people that nobody massage. But they don't know about the hundreds of other imams now in the nation who were in the Nation of Islam.

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So now we will go on to 1975. And a new chapter begins in your life. So you embraced Islam, mainstream Islam. On this question, she kind of Was it a really pivotal change or you're like, Okay, going with the flow at the time.

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pivotal? Major, let me tell you something. I'm one of my teachers and 1978 I was I was blessed to go to study in Oh, Cora University, at the time, King Abdullah GS, as his university and three teachers. One of them Shaykh was saying Hamid Hassan, from Egypt.

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We call them big, thick, big, thick, big thick. That's the day we gave a big six. He's, I mean, really, my love My favorite teacher ever. And, and shake was saying Ahmed huson, he began every class the same way. And I'm going to begin how he began to be class. subhanak Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah Maha King, glory be to to you, oh, Allah, we have no knowledge except for what you have given to us. You are the known and the wives. We would ask them a question. And this was his typical answer. He said, we have three and we have three opinions. Shake admitted that handle. This is his opinion. And this is the evidence that he used. Even Abu hanifa

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has a different opinion. This is his opinion. And this is his evidence that he used in America as a third opinion. This is his opinion. And this is the evidence he used. I think that this is the best

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opinion. And let me tell you why. That's how he taught us. So we didn't become scholars like him, but at least we learn to appreciate scholarship. And that's number one. Number two.

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He died by the way a couple of months ago, about two or three months ago.

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In his 90s so hot second one was Egyptian or Sudan issue. Egyptian Egyptian okay. Yeah. Jaffa chicken gees from Sudan shares on all of our show he is our all of our teachers. Like my teacher, your teacher, all of our teachers. So I remember what a you know what a tremendous what what what a great gift. So we I would speak at a conference right? And he always be sitting in the audience after the talk. He says Suraj come and then he'll he'll critique my talk or, or add something and had a tremendous respect for him. And instead of live humble, I think he's in control now my third cheat was Mohammed Mohammed put them the brother said go to more shallow shallow waters, he taught

00:33:03--> 00:33:09

us that way. And he he wrote a book, Islam the misunderstood religion.

00:33:11--> 00:33:19

And so he died about four or five years ago. Also Egyptian. So he's working with Chef Mohammed photo. Monica

00:33:20--> 00:33:28

side Kota brother. Okay, I did not know that he spoke English. Okay. Mashallah. Okay. Oh, no, no, very good. Very, very, very good.

00:33:30--> 00:33:40

So those are my three teachers. And so that impact that I have there? Yes, it will like it changed my life. Right. So you're talking about three years after the death of Elijah Muhammad.

00:33:42--> 00:34:00

The most important thing in my life is when I became a Muslim in 1979 when I I'm sorry 1975 when I became a full Muslim, and then the second time is 78. Went to this training. We began in Naperville, Illinois.

00:34:01--> 00:34:09

During the month of Ramadan, 100 imams with this mm training of 50 from the

00:34:10--> 00:34:25

shift a question this 1978 training in Mecca. Ha Tell us about that because this is interesting. Now how how is this happening? I mean, you're the the contacts between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic scene as an America are non existent.

00:34:27--> 00:34:32

It was, it was the wisdom of Imam Mohammed number one. Um,

00:34:33--> 00:34:59

they were 100 moms that were trained by some organization. God if taught something in Mecca 50 of the members of inomata de Mohammed's community, a 50 other Sunni Muslims. of the 105 of them were chosen to continue to study in Mecca. I was blessed to be one of the five Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah Yeah, so and so and gone to Mecca.

00:35:00--> 00:35:17

It was life changing. To sit down, I told you this college right to sit under them, all of this nor all of this light. And that was a major change in my life. So that was 1978 How long were you in Mecca for? 1978? It wasn't it wasn't even a whole year.

00:35:18--> 00:35:22

Wasn't Even the whole, but you started learning basic Arabic over there as well.

00:35:23--> 00:36:01

Let me tell you something about that is interesting, right? So when I went there asked them, they were gonna teach us Arabic. I said, Are you going to teach us conversational Arabic or grammar? They said conversational. I said, I'm not interested in conversational. I want to study grammar. I want to read the Quran and understand it. I want to read Hadith and understand it. I said, Would you mind I bought some books, I had about 10 books on how to learn Arabic. I said when you have the classes Do you mind if I will study my Arabic and said no problem. So when the course was over, I know grammar. But then no conversation, they new conversation, the others, but they didn't know grammar.

00:36:01--> 00:36:25

And I got what I wasn't interested in to be able to speak to an air handler. That was my interest. So what Mr. Mohammed did is he exposed us he bought some some some teachers in our community. Sunni Muslims say Jaffa juice was one of them. Um, another brother from Nigeria. And other another brother used to be the president of Islam.

00:36:27--> 00:36:36

I can think of his name. I think it was named later on Mohammed years ago. So anyway, that wasn't major change, nor

00:36:37--> 00:36:49

Mohammed nor is that yes, Shere Khan of Sudan is yes. Our teacher she has a Medina graduate. Yeah. Yeah. Medina graduate. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Okay. So Shere Khan. So this is a very important point that

00:36:51--> 00:37:33

many of us in the second generation, you know, the immigrant community, we really don't appreciate the efforts of Imam why the theme and how, how phenomenal. I mean, truly it is, we are in our I am with the more I read, I am in all how Allah blessed the African American community of one person, one person by Allah's blessings, an entire revolution, Shanna, can you please make sure from your own eyes and in your own legacy, and you explain to us for the next generation so that this is preserved, in your words, your impressions of Imam, why the dean and your memories of your Mom, why the dean and what you'd like us to know about him? tremendous person, even more for the Mohammed I

00:37:33--> 00:37:57

remember when he came, very humble. I remember the very shoes he used to wear. Were humble shoes. You know, his father had a mansion in Chicago. My Mohammed refused to live there. He lived in a very humble home. He drove drove a very humble car, he drove his own car. And I had become, you know, very, very respectful of him.

00:37:58--> 00:38:00

You know, at first

00:38:02--> 00:38:41

I think what happened when he was talking about the teachings of WD Muhammad, I think maybe I became a little bit impatient. And now once I got hold of the of the Quran, do you know my nickname used to be when I was in the, what email Mohammed called the world community of Islam in the West. They said, I'm Suraj bajas to Sunni Muslim in the world community of Islam in the West. Because I had that that love, I learned, I loved the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. So that was one of the first in his community to really have that, you know, Mohammed, Mr. Mohammed has gone on his own pace. He's a very wise man. And I appreciate it later on.

00:38:42--> 00:38:50

To his wisdom, to bring it up, bring us along slowly. So my thinking at that time, I said, I don't want to do that again, I did it with your father. I don't want to do that again.

00:38:52--> 00:39:10

So now I'm reading the Quran. I'm reading the sources now, and again, may be a little bit impatient, but that's what I want. I fell in love with the quarter and I fell in love with the sooner I fell in love with Heidi, I fell in love with Prophet Mohammed salah and, and the rest is history. But he's a great man.

00:39:11--> 00:39:17

I love him, respect him. I think that he's been a man overlooked by a lot of people.

00:39:18--> 00:39:21

But he he's really did a fantastic job.

00:39:23--> 00:39:57

So in the late 60s, you embrace a message of black nationalism. And then in the late 70s, you embrace that new theology right. Now, how did that impact the black nationalism? Again, a very frank question shadow when we understand what's going on here. It is great. You know what happened? Yes, it I think what happened? Think about Malcolm, let's go back to my phone for a minute. So Malcolm, left the Nation of Islam, March 1964. Right. You got to think about 63 November. You know, I'm

00:39:58--> 00:39:58

president

00:40:00--> 00:40:01

Kennedy is assassinated.

00:40:03--> 00:40:07

Make some statements about Kennedy. Chickens coming home to roost.

00:40:08--> 00:40:10

Elijah Muhammad sits him down.

00:40:12--> 00:40:13

But never bring him back.

00:40:15--> 00:40:36

64 Malcolm resigned from the Nation of Islam and he begin to learn more about orthodox Islam. He goes to Mecca, he goes to African country go to Mecca, he makes pilgrimage, and there's a transformation. So, but Malcolm when he came back, never forgot his people.

00:40:37--> 00:41:23

never forgot his people. So he incorporated he had the masjid on one hand, and then he had a political organization to deal with both issues. Many of us the Sunni Muslims, we first became Sunni Muslim. I think, honestly, speaking, honestly, we kind of abandon the black struggle for a minute. We did. I think we got so involved and it's them that we forgot to struggle in somewhere along the line or hum de la la blessed us we picked it back up because it wasn't an emphasis on black anymore. Because we think that Mr. Elijah Muhammad use that because black people are so oppressed, and so hated themselves. So we had to give another theology to kind of give us confidence. So but after a

00:41:23--> 00:42:09

while, people like myself in Zaid Shakir in a column begin to see the need to go back to go after all people. Yeah, you know, so now we got the right balance. We get it now. So we're not gonna overdo it. But the show, you know, I love and appreciation what we did yesterday, one, one day, my manager, we got those pamphlets about who is Muhammad. And we went to the projects. And we gave out 100,000 of those little pamphlets about about Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Let me tell you something about Mohammed Ali. Muhammad Ali mela, pinata blessing, we were friends. And a couple of times I got a chance to travel with him. And you know, Muhammad Ali was he was very, very

00:42:09--> 00:42:18

humorous brother, right? He's very, very, very funny. But let me give you one example. I'm giving two examples, right. One day he was on a plane.

00:42:19--> 00:42:20

And then

00:42:21--> 00:42:27

and the flight attendant said, Mr. Mohammed Ali, please bring your seatbelt. He said Superman, not Lena.

00:42:29--> 00:42:32

She told him, Superman only no plane.

00:42:34--> 00:42:35

He put on his seatbelt.

00:42:36--> 00:42:45

And the second thing he said something really interesting. Again, he was he was funny. He knew he was funny. He said that. If you even dream about beating me,

00:42:47--> 00:42:48

you better wake up and apologize.

00:42:50--> 00:43:23

Just that's the way he was he was you know, but what he did, people didn't know that there was a brother in Chicago, named his name was Ali. He was from Pakistan. He used to make these pamphlets. And Muhammad Ali would buy boxes of those. Like, who was Muhammad, when someone acts was autograph, he was signed his name. And given that pamphlet, that that was a pamphlet. That's when that's when Muhammad Ali was. So I think there was a resurgence among the Sunni Muslims, African Americans to get back

00:43:25--> 00:43:29

to dealing with our people. But for a moment, I think we will absolutely be honest with you.

00:43:31--> 00:44:17

So she's gonna take us back to again, the 70s. Now from the 75 to 80 timeframe. Tell us about the Muslim demographics. So you're now with the worldwide community of Islam, which is why the community at the time, your your your temples are now converted to messages or mosques, right. So the temples and mosques now explain to us the demographics in terms of African American in terms of immigrant back in the 70s. When you're an orthodox Muslim, what is the relationship between the immigrant community and the African American community? You know, yes, is an interesting question. If you ask me personally, my personal relationship with them was great. But I don't want them to, you know, to

00:44:17--> 00:44:31

look at me as different, right? Oh, that's a massage. Let me give an example. One day, I moved from Brooklyn to Queens. And we've got a house there. And I went to a local master dimension wasn't that far from us? Maybe 10 blocks. So I went there.

00:44:32--> 00:44:52

And maybe was Isha prayer. And I actually met him there. I said, This immigrant community. I said, Ma'am, what time? What time is fudger? I want to come to the masjid for 5g and he blew me off. He said just just come to the masjid. So there was somebody there who recognize me.

00:44:53--> 00:44:55

And they said to him, I see massage.

00:44:57--> 00:44:59

Massage. So then he came

00:45:00--> 00:45:06

To me, I said, Oh, yeah, you know, you know, Sarah, this time. I don't want him to do it because I mean, my massage.

00:45:07--> 00:45:52

I want him to do it because I'm a Muslim rather asking you a simple question, what time is fungible? So there are some issues. You know, when people looked at Michael Jordan, when white people looked at Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan wasn't a regular black man. He was celebrity. So there was some issues. I must admit, there were some issues on both sides. If the immigrant community, African American community, there was some issues, maybe a little bit, maybe a little bit of racism, Allah knows best. Um, what it was was a chilly kind of, you know, development and relationship. And I think that it comes based on something that I've read in the Quran, which is interesting. It's

00:45:52--> 00:45:53

something that we did as Muslims.

00:45:55--> 00:46:27

Alumni mentioned CT and yohannes, in the calaca, nakoma. ontology and upon shoba, mocha ballito. So major two nations and tribes to know one another. Yesterday, I swear by law when we became Muslim, we had as African Americans, a love for Muslim brothers and sisters, I can give an example. I remember we had demonstrations to help the Muslims in Palestine. We were there. I remember we had a demonstration on 42nd Street for the Muslims.

00:46:28--> 00:46:30

And what's the name of that?

00:46:31--> 00:46:34

The white Muslims.

00:46:37--> 00:46:37

And

00:46:39--> 00:46:41

they will press years ago.

00:46:42--> 00:46:46

Just can't think of the name. I think of the name in the moment.

00:46:48--> 00:47:03

But anyway, in which country outside America outside America or inside America, in Europe, oh, the Bosnians, the Bosnians, right? So the Bosnians, and we were there, I remember we've had a number of, you know, protests,

00:47:04--> 00:47:32

the Rohingya Muslims, Kashmir, any issue, any issue, because the Muslims now we are brothers, and this is what we learned. So from our part, as Muslims in general, I think there was like, Linden a hand. But I think it wasn't reciprocal as much. But then kundala we started to have dialogue we started is much better now. By the way. It's better now and only because

00:47:34--> 00:47:38

I was in a third grade. Yes. And I learned the song would you like for me to sing it for you? No, of course.

00:47:41--> 00:47:41

Not.

00:47:43--> 00:48:17

What the song when something like this, getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you get into Hope you like me, when the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said, me No, Muslim, Muslim, as a brother to Muslim. We really believe that. And you don't go to gender until you believe and you don't believe until you love one another. So we begin honestly to love one another. And I can honestly say, for me, there's no difference between black or white. Let me tell you something interesting. We started on Masjid 40 years ago, 100% African Americans.

00:48:18--> 00:48:27

Now matching the top one, you know, the percentage of African Americans maybe 20%. Somehow maybe 25%. The rest of the immigrants.

00:48:28--> 00:49:08

We have brothers and sisters from from Bangladesh, African countries. We have white European American, we have Latino Americans. So we have a real mixture. So Imam Suraj, who has the African American Eelam of an immigrant community, Mashallah, Mashallah chef, and I know this is this is awkward, but I could sense even in your voice, the pain of incidents that took place with the broader Muslim community and I know, you know, we just want to move on with those painful experiences. But see, it's those experiences and those those awkward memories that need to be preserved so that they're never repeated. Those

00:49:09--> 00:49:49

subtle racisms that you're talking about and this disconnect and divide and the innocence that that you you had that you want to reach out and you're not you're not getting the other hand, do you know to shake your hand metaphorically speaking, Chef, and I know this is awkward, but that's really, especially as we move on from the past. So then, so then I need you to Okay, yes, that's exactly what we need to hear. So, go for it. Okay. Well, I learned people by community they say you trust everybody. You know, we have a we have a system of community. Nobody ever give them money. I always give them money. She always asked for money. I was giving money to a crackhead. You know, she but my

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

point is, yes. Say one of the things that I love putting my heart I love for the people. Really, I love the people. It doesn't matter where they from the ethnicity

00:50:00--> 00:50:48

Color anything like that? Um, so what happened? People tell me that he Ma'am, around you they act a certain way. When you're not around their true color come out. I can't say I can't say that's the truth. But I know enough people have told me it's work. Yes, it's work. It's a no Martin Luther King Jr. said he who gets behind in the race must forever remain behind or run faster than the man in front. So black people are so far behind in so many things that, you know, even this racism found its way even among the Muslims. It did. It did. And they had the sickness. Um, and it was funny. Let me tell you something about one of the greatest Americans. I have a tremendous respect for. You have

00:50:48--> 00:50:50

a study, Thomas Jefferson.

00:50:52--> 00:51:08

Only back in university days. Oh, Thomas Jefferson. brilliant man. He was the second Vice President of the United States. The third president, Governor of the State of Virginia. He founded a university. He is the

00:51:10--> 00:51:36

author of the Declaration of Independence. He was Secretary of State. He knew six languages. So this is my In fact, in fact, he was so patriotic. You have any idea? The day that he died? You can guess? You can guess that's not patriotic. Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. The day that he died, Fourth of July, 4 of July.

00:51:37--> 00:51:50

The Fourth of July, right? Yeah. And and yet he said something yesterday, I'll never forget. He said, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that is just disconnect, remain sleep forever.

00:51:51--> 00:52:06

What's he talking about? What does he know about our country that he trembles when you realize the Goddess is just and so this man was? So it's, it's like this? Yes, it is. I see it.

00:52:07--> 00:52:09

I forgive

00:52:10--> 00:52:53

all of my Muslim brothers and sisters who've had, you know, some traces of genitalia. As Prophet, peace and blessings be upon us and our daughter, you still have some trade chases of traces of jelly in you. So I forgive them. I you know, you know, I've always believed that when people know better, they do better. They learn better. They understand. And I think that what's happening in America right now and is waking up a lot of people are not appreciation, a better appreciation for for African Americans, black people, Black Lives Matter in all of that. So there's a transformation happening in America. For us as Muslims, it's easy. Allah said it. A lot is mentioned. You say

00:52:53--> 00:53:30

that's it? You know? That typical agenda took me know that took me no hacker taboo. You don't believe until you love one another. So I asked a lot to help me to love and I love the Muslims. Honestly, I love them. I have a tremendous love. And again those who know me that are we love you the massage but I want you to love my people also. Don't just don't just love the celebrities don't just loving them as a check here. NAMM Taliban, you know, a few celebrities. But it's getting better. Yes, sir. In my in my humble opinion is getting much much better. So

00:53:32--> 00:53:40

it has to be to wait on. You know, I think that we that's why I was saying how much we began to learn and I started to learn about

00:53:41--> 00:54:27

you. I did I was in a program once they did about the Muslims in Yemen. And I swear Yes, there I was crying. When I was learning how they were being treated, how they live, how the Palestinians are living, I like was crying. So I think Lita Otto flew to know one another. That's the key and to realize that that really in the economical in the law at Hong Kong, the best of you in the most the you know, the most honorable viewer those who fail out the most. You want to be better than someone be better than someone with top one. That is in a lot. Alexandra Illa Sami como la la Sadiq Khan malaking Andrew la Colombe Kumar, Malika La La to look at your body's know your forms. You're going

00:54:27--> 00:54:41

to look your heart and your deeds. Let me tell you something about me. I say that, you know, you probably know that I played basketball, right? Yes, I know that. Very that you heard how good I was. You didn't hear that. I heard it from you, Chef. Yes. You You mentioned it.

00:54:44--> 00:54:55

Well, you know, I love sports. Right? We grew up. I played basketball, football, baseball. So I love sports. So one day I'm watching a game

00:54:56--> 00:54:59

on TV. The Mets. You know you heard about the Mets New York Mets.

00:55:00--> 00:55:09

I know the New York Mets. Yes. All right. So don't make fun of me, okay? Because I know you want to say something smarter about the Mets. Anyway, I'm watching on TV.

00:55:11--> 00:55:12

And I'm saying, Wait a minute.

00:55:14--> 00:55:58

Everybody on the Mets have a winning same number. And you will have numbers on your back to identify you there are those who have different they have different numbers, right. Then I looked at the other team and all the other team had the same number. And you know, the number was 42. And, and found out that the number of 42 Jackie Robinson, Jackie Robinson was the first black man to pay allow to play baseball. That was 1947. They've been playing baseball since 1800s. But they finally that a black man play. And it's almost 42 when he retired, they retired his number so that nobody ever can wear number 42 again, but every year.

00:55:59--> 00:56:38

And I think it's April. I like to say April 14, maybe is the anniversary when he when he when he became a full time baseball player. So everybody an honor him with a number 42. There is a story like that in basketball, and football, the first African American the first African American to do that. Obama, the first African American president. So things are changing. And by the way, let me tell you something. And I think that is some discussion. Maybe not necessarily now. I think we need to talk about white supremacy, white nationalism, and what's going on now.

00:56:39--> 00:56:44

70 how do you how do you explain 74 million people voted for Donald Trump.

00:56:45--> 00:57:02

When you know about people, you say, that doesn't make sense. But when you understand what's going on? Do you know that in 2045, white people be a minority in this country? Yep, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So so so there are a lot of

00:57:03--> 00:57:05

fright. Let me read something to you.

00:57:07--> 00:57:39

Um, there's a book called Death of the West. Pat Buchanan. And sometimes when you read a book, it might be one chapter. It may be a paragraph or a few sentences that make you Say what? So I wrote it down. I want you to I want you to listen to this. Pat Buchanan. Buchanan, very famous, ran for president a number of times have worked in four or five administrations? Yes. Yes. Protective conservative Americanism? Yes. Well, no. They listened to what he said. And when i when i when i read it.

00:57:40--> 00:58:02

I said, You kidding me? Listen to what he said. PAGE 48. The irony of ironies. Today, an agent, dying Christian West, is pressing the third world and the Islamic world to accept contraceptions abortion and civilization, as the West has done.

00:58:03--> 00:58:16

Listen to this. But why should they into a suicide pact with us? When they stand to inherit the earth? When we are gone? Hmm.

00:58:18--> 00:58:29

Let me go something else for you. I think it's an I think it's important to my you know, yesterday, I love to read my idea of a vacation, give me some books in a corner. And I'm happy man.

00:58:32--> 00:58:34

cmep, Huntington wrote a book called

00:58:35--> 00:58:54

What was the name of his book, clash of civilizations, classes civilizations, listen to what he said. And this is like, again, one of those things you said? Did you hear what he just said? He said the West won the world, not because of the superiority of his ideas, or his values, or his religion,

00:58:55--> 00:59:01

but rather by its superiority and applying organized violence.

00:59:03--> 00:59:20

Westerners often forget this fact. Non Westerners never do never forget exactly the famous quote of his Yeah, yeah. So my point is this right? Something is going on in this country right now. That there are people who hate black people so much.

00:59:22--> 00:59:30

to hate them so much. That you take a man like Trump, who's obviously obviously not well educated.

00:59:31--> 00:59:58

And people accept what he said, because some people still have that loss in it in their heart. Not all of them, not all of them at all. But there's still a sickness that that exists. So Muslims have to get rid of the internal contradictions that we find in ourselves. One of my one of my great desires, yes here in a few people close to me, no it I would like all of the Muslims in New York City, all those who have businesses

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

to start

01:00:00--> 01:00:02

selling alcohol and pork.

01:00:03--> 01:00:16

This is the this is one, I'm working on one of my projects right now. Because it's such a contradiction as a Muslim, and we sell an alcohol and we sell it to people that we know is no good. And it's and it's Haram.

01:00:17--> 01:00:55

So, so we got to get rid of those internal contradictions. So Shana, you have been traveling around 1015 minutes left have to wind down, unfortunately. So you have been active, obviously, as an Imam, as a chef for 45 years, can you? Can you summarize for us some of the changes that you've seen both positive and negative, some of the good that no longer is here, and some of the bad things that have happened that that we have now overcome? And so you see the positive so 40 years change from early 70s, to you know, or even 75 when you became orthodox Muslim to now

01:00:56--> 01:01:01

there are some some organizations, Muslim organizations that I absolutely love. One of them is mass,

01:01:02--> 01:01:22

Muslim American society, they are so together, yes, they have their soul soul together. And not only do they work within the organization, but they work with others, they work, they do a good job of work, and African Americans ignite Islamic circle of North America, another great organization, I love them.

01:01:24--> 01:01:30

You know, many of them now doing organizations working with African Americans is no care.

01:01:32--> 01:01:39

And some of these all other organizations you see now us working together, that's the most positive thing, but I can I can say,

01:01:40--> 01:01:42

then, African Americans are

01:01:43--> 01:01:48

kind of working together on the manor, mm xhci kid is now present. Yeah, man.

01:01:49--> 01:02:06

Muslim alliance in North America. And, you know, again, we're doing things working together, trying to get our program together. So it's, it's, it's good. it bodes well. The future looks good. And I must admit, that

01:02:08--> 01:02:09

it's,

01:02:10--> 01:02:41

I'm happy Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah. That's so good that you're optimistic chef. hamdulillah. Chef, you are in your 70s you have as 40 years with the community? What are your good your optimistic share? What are your concerns, though? What are your worries that you want to leave with us that? What are the what are the what are the danger signs that you're being told you is to get rid of the internal contradictions? That's my, this would like to see, I would like to see, I don't want you to come into.

01:02:42--> 01:02:52

I don't want a Muslim immigrant come into a black community and sell them inferior products. Hmm. See, I don't want you to do that. I want you to come in

01:02:53--> 01:02:56

the black community and take advantage of young girls,

01:02:57--> 01:03:16

you know, kinds of things. So you must have heard me say this before? Yes, one day, there's a there's a Muslim store that I go to get my newspapers. And one day I went in to a store, I saw a sign the level saw before. And it said, alcohol not sold here.

01:03:18--> 01:03:27

At bar is what I'm talking about. And then I read it carefully. It says Apple not sold here on Sundays

01:03:30--> 01:03:31

before 2pm.

01:03:34--> 01:04:06

So don't do that. Don't don't don't don't do that. That's what I'm saying. This is a this is a big thing with me. You know, I don't know. I know. You make money. People, they make money. I understand that right? But we want to be held to the highest standard. What's the difference from the person saying, you know, I'm gonna get paid, I'm gonna sell me so I'm going to sell some drugs. And in Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah is good only except that which is good. So I don't want Muslims who think that you can come into the inner city.

01:04:08--> 01:04:20

neighborhood. And so inferior products and products that are Haram. So that's why I'm trying to put together now in the program, to try to make an effort, you know, to leave, leave that legacy behind.

01:04:21--> 01:04:42

And I would like to see us in terms of African American community, I want to see us more economic development, similar to what the Nation of Islam did. Um, there's a Masjid in in Dallas, you have to know the mesh in Islam. Yes, of course. We know the AMA very well. Yes. He was here recently as well. Yeah. Okay, good. Right. So, you know, for years.

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And they still do it. They, they, they feed the people on weekends, and they give clothing right. And there was a man that I met there who used to go there every week. He said I depended on them to go every week and he went to jail.

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said he was homeless for 10 years. He went to jail. And someone in jail told him to go to the masjid and went to the masjid. And at hamdulillah he took Shahada

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smile now his smile he's he's on the he's on the board down right so it's my Allah bless them you know to get into a business where he clean clean stores so he got a business that he cleaned Walmart's he had a contract for 50. Walmart's right. And he had 15 brothers working for him a contract of $1,700,000 Mashallah, Mashallah, this is what I want to see. I want to see like right now we're planning on Channel, Masjid down building from the from the ground up, maybe make a 10 storey building. So we want to see economic development, we want to see better schools, we want to do we want to do better. So economic development for the African Americans. And for the immigrant

01:05:59--> 01:06:07

community again, and the African American community working together, collaborating on on things together. I see now

01:06:08--> 01:06:23

we work in, in the political arena. 10 years ago, yes. Muslims, were asking the question, is it permissible to vote? They're not asking that question anymore. You know, so that's the era I came of age in, in the 90s. That was the big debate, you

01:06:24--> 01:06:28

know, can we even get involved or not? Yep. That was the big debate when I was a teenager.

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And we learn now, you know, yesterday, we learned down the how you have to get involved. Now you make a difference. Think about that. Think about making a difference for the person, like like a Donald Trump. I'm not I'm not, you know, dumping on them. But you have to make you have to make decisions. That's in the best of your interests. They say, you know, there are there may be as many as 1,300,000 Muslims in New York City.

01:06:59--> 01:07:28

1,300,000, the very least number that you hear 600,000. So 600,000 1,300,000 is anywhere between, we can make a difference who was the mayor of the New York City is and so we have a number of Muslims who who are into the into politics. So I would like to see us more working more together, getting stronger politically, and economic development. Okay, sure. Kind of final question to you in shallow Tada.

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And it's a difficult one, maybe we shouldn't conclude on this, but it needs to be asked as well. Chef and one of the issues we're having is some of our youth are concerned about getting involved with these types of social justice movements, because we might be involved for the right causes, but our allies are many of the people that are allied, are talking about gender stuff and sexuality stuff. And it's like one big conglomeration as you're well aware. Right. So some some thoughts because you're firstly old school Shekinah. So that's really good to, to you were there before all these other, you know, other isms and other, you know, the pluses and whatnot came along, right. So,

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explain to us now, because what we have is a lot of of the younger, you know, more Orthodox or more, you know, committed to the faith. They're dismissive of the entire enterprise, not because of its particular cause, but because of its loyalties and associations. Right. Do you get my drift? And so, some thoughts about I know, it's a difficult question to end but needs to be a fair question. Let me tell you something. Yes.

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Recently, a good friend of mine died last week, his Imam and Philadelphia. were roommates together 1978.

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With those shakes that I told you about. His name is Dr. Sally Abdullah Alfredo. And he's been to my mesh and I've been to his Masjid. And we first paired us together. I want you to think about this. He's a Sunni Muslim Imam. I'm an Imam, Imam Mohammed's community. So there was some some clash a little bit, right. So we learn to really love and respect each other. His he just died last week. And it's funny the day that he died, I was on a zoom with his uncle. His uncle is a very famous Reverend, and Brooklyn, Reverend Herbert Daughtry. Recently I mentioned Herbert Hoover Daughtry is that years ago, I was involved, not many African American Imams, I was involved in the black

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struggle, you know, we would go on, you know, these demonstrations and things, things like that. So I think that every Muslim has to make a determination for himself to what degree that you go, you know, I may not join a particular organization, but I may, I may work on I learned a lesson from Abraham Russell, even Russell is the people

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The with the the ambassadors that are a good friend of mine his. Right, right. And he taught me lessons, right about relationships are relationships sometimes you can have, you know, you know, you know, you can meet with people, you can do something on a particular cause, like maybe Floyd, George Floyd, he said, You know what? It's, it's crazy what they did, let's have a demonstration to get justice for him. You can meet like that right? or, or, you know, or you can get together fight against apartheid. When Nelson Mandela when he became the president, he had he had Muslims in his in his cabinet, because they work together for common cause. So you have to make a determination how

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far you're gonna go. I don't have a problem with some saying, No, I can't go with you on that. I can deal with some limited Alliance. I can deal with some cooperation on some particular issues. But we don't have to be ashamed. And I tell you right now, there's a you made a note, you know, that in Oklahoma, there's a Muslim Congress person. Yes. Yes.

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What's the agenda? I am aware. Yes. unclassified. Yeah. But I'm saying right. So you, you have to ask yourself, how far you go. And, and I know Black Lives Matter. There's some some some issues in terms of organizations somebody's strategy. So everybody make the determination. I don't make a blanket. You shouldn't get involved. Don't get Don't be with them. Don't I don't? I don't feel that way. I think that we have to pick and choose how far we're going to go. So is it fair to say then she'll kinda is that every person needs to be just aware that they have to answer to a law and you know, they have to take a conscience. They're their conscience has to be clear. And whatever they

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decide to do, we should have a personal one. And you know, you can advise them obviously, but at the end of the day, yeah, there's, there's going to be a little bit of a compromise or else there's nothing going to get done is that can i is that a summary of what you're basically trying to say? Yeah, and you know, something I learned this about Allah

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and the messenger. No matter what you do a low always asks the question, why did you do it?

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Why did you do it? Don't ask you the question because you don't know the answer. I'm giving an example. There's a man is very, very famous hobbies. And he got his sons together. And he said, when I die, I want you to make me a promise that you burn my body until it become ashes, and then you throw them in the ocean.

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That Okay, he died and they burned his body and they threw it in the ocean, a lot of water together. And that's the question What made you do it? He said Mr. sciatica Yo, from Fairview, Allah. Allah forgave him. He will always ask the question why? Let me give you another example. I will Bosco Have you ever known about Baka to disobeyed the Prophet peace and blessings they have never no such thing you. You don't have to know your mind won't go there. But let me give you one time when he disobeyed the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet Alayhi salat wa salam was late coming to Salah.

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Let this ally while he's praying, here come the Messenger of Allah, they saw some sort of people, they start clapping, and I will block the look around. And behold, it's the Messenger of Allah. And so the Prophet bid him to continue.

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But he didn't, he didn't get back in the rain. So when the Prophet when a prayer was over, the prophet say, what's this crap? What does that what does that mean? He said,

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What made you when I ordered you to?

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I ordered you to lead to continue? What made you he said it not fitting for me to lead you?

01:13:37--> 01:14:20

Hello is actually quiet. And I give him a lot of examples. Right? So I'm saying that we may make a mistake. We make mistakes all the time. You know, but we don't mean that we make a mistake in our intention. We try our best, you know, x people we act people like yourself and you know, give us the ruling. We ask people like big fix, and others, you know, but in the end shake, you do what you think is best and ask Allah subhanho wa Taala Bless you. And you know and give Baraka for that we do and give us you know, thank you know, we think a lot for our intention. By the way, you know, let me say let me say you said something about a movie, let me recommend, um, I don't usually recommend

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movies to see people every once in a while I'll see a movie. But there's one movie that I saw that I recommend that Muslims look at.

01:14:29--> 01:14:31

You know, it came out last year.

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called

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justice. What was that? name of that movie? Are you talking about the 13th?

01:14:41--> 01:14:43

Hmm, no, the third

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the documentary about African Americans the 13th

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amendment.

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No, no, no. JOHN Sutton I can't think of I don't think about later but something do it justice. Really great movie because it you

01:15:00--> 01:15:12

You'll learn about history. It really isn't. It's a history lesson. No no negative stuff in it. I'm just mercy. Just Mercy is that justice on trial I'm just

01:15:13--> 01:15:25

Jessica mercy. Okay. Just Mercy excellent. Yeah. Okay, I know again, I know you don't what have you ever? Yeah, I don't know that will be okay. If you're recommending a massage then

01:15:27--> 01:16:08

I'll make a point okay, inshallah. inshallah so a mom said our time is up Mashallah we can talk many many hours inshallah we will have you back again inshallah she said, but I just wanted to finish off by saying that once again we'll light it is an honor and a privilege to to interview and be in your company and I really wish that our new generation fully understood the struggles and we have a lot more to discuss inshallah, but the difficulties of giving that with the difficulties of establishing we didn't even get to have a question about your messages, although this was not there you know, the effects of cleaning up the the drugs on your entire in your entire neighborhood being awarded, you

01:16:08--> 01:16:43

know, Medals of Honor for all of that all of this inshallah we'll talk about and in part two inshallah our talk, but your mom said, Raj, may Allah xojo continue to use you for there is this Deen we are blessed in North America to have the quality of leadership and dedication and sincerity. The decades long that you have served the Muslim community and we ask Allah azza wa jal to prolong your life and to fill it with Baraka and to grant all of us who have lost any man and taqwa and to keep our hearts united upon the Serato. Mr. Karim. Any last words? Yes.

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More or less that I tell you I love you.

01:16:49--> 01:16:55

ever remember me saying I love you? You said it in the text message when I when I texted you about this interview?

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What I really love you well Bless you. I mean, we all love you. We all love you. You are our teacher, you are our mentor, and listen to me. I'm the little guy man. You got it. Yeah. Sheriff, you might be little in your eyes, but you are great in all of our eyes. You pave the way for our generation, Jeff, I think again, people don't understand how it was pre internet era and you know pre people that do not understand how difficult it was especially show when I was growing up. There was no dairy that spoke fluent English other than you, that's what people don't understand. You know, like, I couldn't understand my Juma hood was in the 80s that's one of the reasons why I went

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to study in Medina people don't understand how the world has changed, right? You remember those? those horrible days in Egypt accents. I'm sorry to be so blunt.

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Like I didn't know what language they're speaking, you know, it's like, it's so so to hear you speak Czech and a few others of your generation, you know, Jamal Badawi as well. I mean, allows you to prolong his life and you know, those were the the people that I listened to my first Islamic knowledge came from, you know, your bachelor right? So that's what I think our our, our viewership doesn't really understand how the world was, you know it back in the 70s and 80s. In my first home that I attended again, back in their late 70s, early 80s. You're not connected to the masjid. You really aren't. So it's your cassettes and you know, a mom, Jamal Luigi extra Malibu's and others

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that that impact me as a 12 1314 year old for the first time you hear the religion, you know, in a confident manner, you hear the religion in a way that's mesmerizing, like oh my god, and so there's a desire to to emulate to see and that sort of thing. The first time I saw you, I was starstruck, you know, a 16 year old teenager, you know, and in northwest Houston and again, so don't trivialize yourself, Shannon, of course, we're all you know, in our own lives, we have to of course, you know, be humbled, but I have to tell the next generation that your generation and the contributions, they are incalculable in measurable, it's like a different time and place and, and And anyway, inshallah

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will continue in our next conversation. But May Allah Xhosa bless and accept from you and may all of the hassanal that you generated from your efforts, may Allah xojo magnify them on your skills on the date on the Day of Judgment, so desire como la cocina and inshallah tada we will have a part two inshallah soon inshallah me

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like was said,