YQ Gems #2 – The Benefits of Drawing Out A Family Tree

Yasir Qadhi


Channel: Yasir Qadhi


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Bismillah Allahu Allah knew he

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said on Monday Kumara masala he will walk out to him. Today I'm going to talk to you a little bit about why I encourage each and every one of you to draw out your own family tree.

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Now I know a lot of you're going to be wondering what what what has this got to do with, with anything? Well, firstly, I mean, the channel that I'm going to be doing now the YT gem series, it's not necessarily going to be just Islamic stuff and advanced philosophical issues, it'll just be miscellaneous Heart to Heart whatever want to do. Secondly, I actually think this is a part of our tradition and religion. There are a thought of the Sahaba that they encouraged us to know their their lineage, our lineages, our Prophet salallahu, it who was selling would take advantage of the knowledge of a worker, so declare the law and when it came to dour when it came to knowing the past

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of the corporation, the tribes and he would walk with him when he would go for giving Dawa amongst the groups of men, because Oba could also declare the law when he knew each and every tribe in their lineage. And he was, he was called the Sabbath and the Sabbath out of that he knows the next step or the lineage better than anybody else. However, today's talk is not going to be Islamic per se, even though there are elements of Islamic. So I want to tell you a little bit about my own history in this regard, that I had zero interest growing up about my extended family, typically, as most children when they go visit their extended cousins and whatnot, I would be not even wanting to go

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just you know, crying and whatnot, I have no I don't know, I'm never going to meet them again in my life. And some of them I haven't met, you know, that is the reality. But as you grow older, and you know, you begin to realize that, hey, these are people that are related to us by blood, once upon a time, you know, our ancestors were the same. And my own journey began rather interestingly enough, when I was a student in Medina, so the years that I was there, obviously, when you're in Medina, people come to you for Hajj formula, and, you know, extended family here is that you're in Medina, and I had an apartment in Medina. And obviously, because you know, this isn't the 90s, you could

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come without booking a hotel and whatnot. So I would get people that are very distant relatives or, you know, friends of friends or whatnot, and would come and stay at hamdulillah. That's part of any way to live blessed with so one time when I was not even married at the time, I had an extended family members. And I didn't have much in common with this, this family member, you know, I mean, she was an antisense senior to me with her family coming. And you know, my related to my father. And so the conversation began, okay, how we're related again, and you know, what not, and obviously, she's not from the same branch that I was from. So I began asking about her grandfather, which is

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where our family line met. And I began to wonder, I have no idea, you know, about my own ancestry, my own great grandfather. And she said something that I really hadn't really known before. And that is that, she just said that, you know, her grandfather, which we my great grandfather, you know, he was a person of knowledge. And I didn't know that going to Medina, that my own great, great grandfather, you know, had studied, and we're going to get it distort a little bit. So this intrigued me. And I began asking around, and I began talking to various relatives, and I started literally drawing out a family tree. And these days, there's so much software, there's ancestry.com,

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or geni.com, you can just do it for free. And I began to realize that actually, this is very, very interesting. And one thing led to another. And I encourage each and every one of you to take this project on, because a lot of things happens first and foremost, when you start connecting the dots. And when you start calling up people and, and getting information and date of death and birth and who was related to what you actually yourself, start establishing the ties of kinship, you will be pleasantly surprised when you call up a distant relative. And you say the only reason I'm calling you is to establish a connection I am so and so the son of so and so the daughter of so and so

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whatever it might be. And we're related by this person, I just wanted information on filling out a family tree. And I'll give you access to it as well. Because once you put it online, anybody can have access to it. So if you give them the you know the the code or you have an email address that connects them, they can then log on. So Jeannie comm allows that that you can add anybody onto the family tree. So the first reason I encourage all of you to do this is because you yourself will establish the ties of kinship. And you will get to know your own cousins, second cousins, third cousins, distant relatives and aunts, and that will establish a brotherhood or sisterhood that is a

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part of the Sharia. It is fascinating to me how you might meet a complete stranger I have met completely never met them in my lives before, but they're my second third cousins and the very fact that we share a common ancestor automatically. There's some type of connection that comes simply because you know, 234 generations ago it was the same family and we come from that family. Also one of the reasons that I encourage you all, is again, I'm going to get a little bit personal here but this is the reason I'm getting personal is so that it

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Insha Allah benefits, all of us not necessarily as a personal lecture about me that one of the things that really, I was overwhelmed by was I didn't know my own family history. And it humbled me, it truly humbled me to know my origins. And I've said this in passing a number of times, but I think this might be the first time I'm actually saying it so explicitly. And it is nothing at all that I am ashamed of, I'm very thankful to Allah subhana wa tada that I actually did not know that my great, great grandfather was a Hindu. And that I thought that we were generations and generations, Muslims, I did not know. And this is straight from my father's mind, my father's father's father's

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father. So literally four generations ago, what was a Brahmin Hindu, and you know, this person converted to Islam. And then what I found out, and this, again, very much humbled me was that he sent one of his sons, that's my great grandfather, that's my family line, he sent one of his sons to go study Islam, and to become a father, like a movie, you know, for that timeframe. And that person, my great grandfather, then founded a madrasa and was a teacher of the Quran and of Islamic sciences, you know, in, in India, and I did not know this growing up. Now, you can say, how could you not know your own great grandfather? Well, because we found out again, you do all the research and whatnot

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that, in fact, my great grandfather passed away as a relatively young man. And even my own grandfather did not know much about my great grandfather, because my great grandfather passed away in the plague of 1980, the Spanish influenza, you know, the, the the plague that just happened before this one, the big global plague. So he was one of the the casualties of that plague of 1918. And he was a relatively young man, and all of his children were young. And so even his children, that's my grandfather's generation, did not know much about their own father growing up, so they didn't really pass down too many stories to their children. And so by the time I come along, you

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know, I didn't even know that my own immediate great grandfather was an actual, you know, scholar, and that his father was actually a Hindu convert. And when I discovered this, I really wanted to go and visit the side of my family, that was the, the the person who converted had two sons. And so I from one side, I wanted to go visit the other side. And I said to myself, I want to go see that family. And this was in 2006, the idea came to me 2007, Dr. Zakir Naik invited me to come to India to speak at the peace conference. And I said to myself, I am going to add a few days and I'm going to track down the other side of my family. And so I started calling up because again, we have had no

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contact since the 18. You know, 16 or something, right? So this is a branch of my family. It goes back no exaggeration, 120 years 100. And something years since the two brothers were there, so I began calling around who has any contact with anybody there are found somebody in Pakistan that had some contact with somebody there. So you know, interesting stories, whatnot. Long story short. So they're in a small village outside of Lucknow, right. So because my ancestors from Lucknow, they're in a small village outside of Lucknow, and it was 2007, I got a phone number. And I was so excited. I immediately called up and somehow I didn't even realize the times, I was just so excited. I called

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up the number. And I said, I want to speak to you know, so and so the name of my distant relative, and I thought it was their household. And the guy answered on the other line, he goes, who I said, so and so you know, the full name. And he goes, you know, who is this? Don't you know, it's 2am over here. And I'm like, Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. I'm calling from America. It goes America, America, Kolkata. Like, I then realized long story short, the entire village, this is 2006 or seven, the entire village only had one cell phone. And I was calling the one household that had the cell phone. And he was irritated. Like you want me to go call somebody else who's your relative? And so I went,

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I said, I'm so sorry. I'm calling from America. I'll call later he was so shocked. Like what you're calling from America. He just you know, he went to my relative woke them up. And I had to introduce myself, I'm the grands, great grandson of so and so and whatnot. They were super excited. I said, I'm coming to India, and I'm going to come and meet me to Subhana Allah. So I went to the peace conference. It was an amazing event. If you see the videos, you know, this is 2007 I think it was and I spoke to an audience, the largest audience I've ever spoken to in my life.

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Doctors I could talk told me it was a quarter of a million people around you know, so that massive audience over there. Okay, so humbled I'm having a great time. I traveled to Lucknow and I you know, meet this this this family. And so Hannah law the the humbler remember this is going back to my great great grandfather, the other side of the family and I'm from one side of the family. I don't even know where to begin. They were complete

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Innocent farmers in every sense of the term, they had no clue who Zakir Naik was who I was as a personality, the peace conference, they had no clue that I'm coming from the luggage the most luxurious, you know, yani place in in Mumbai and doing this and that and speaking to these massive crowds, and they welcomed me with open arms with genuine humility. I went to their house, they didn't even have running water and electricity there their bathroom, you can imagine outside, you know how it was. And I'm thinking to my I was doing a PhD at Yale at that time, right? This is 2007. And it was like a bizarre moment of my life. Like, I could not believe that there I was, you know, a

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global speaker of Allah had blessed me with whatever Allah had blessed me with and doing my PhD at one of the most, you know, prestigious universities in the world, etc, etc. 10 years in Medina, and my own blood relatives are in a complete different dimension, literally. And they're such loving, sweet, caring people. And I just kept on reminding myself so panela Yeah, the one brother and one brother and how it went, you know, and this, this caused me to be so humble. So like, you just learn like Subhana Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah blessings, Allah infinite grace on all of us. And then the stories that, you know, I found out about my, my great, great grandfather, that he was a Brahmin

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Hindu. And he would help

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molvi or a chef, you know, of the vicinity to take care of his gardens. And that chef was always kind and always honest dealings with my great, great, great grandfather, and gave him that well, and we don't know too many details, because again, the time has gone on, but eventually, around 1850 1860 or so, you know, he converted to two, or maybe before that we don't know exactly converted to Islam. And ever since I heard that, you know, I mean, not that I was, you know, nasty or mean towards non Muslims before. But then I realized to panela, somebody was nice to my own great, great grandfather, and that my own great great grandfather was a Hindu. And a PO sub, they call them some

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theists. I know his name, some beer sub, hired him to take care of his gardens in Lucknow. And so my great great grandfather would do that. And in that interaction, what I was told the o'clock, and the kindness and the just the honesty of dealing with with with my great grandfather, that my own ancestor became overwhelmed like what is this? What is this? What is it coming from, and in that climate of India, he converted to Islam. And ever since then, I realized the importance of gentleness endow, you know, you read it, but to hear about it in your own in your own circle, how it impacted you, as well. So it just, it just situates you and then to meet, as I said, the other side

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of the family and to see how they're living, and then to compare it to how I am. And just to, you know, just to contrast and not that not that they're having to handle that they, in many ways, their lives are better than mine, just because of their innocence and their purity. They literally had a plot of land, he went out he showed me the mango groves the rice, he does this and that, and then it is my relative, you know, and I just kept on saying Subhana Allah, I am here they are there. And we are related. We have the same ancestor. And so Pamela and then I visited

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the masjid that my great great grandfather founded as well. Apparently, he founded a small Masjid in Lucknow, and it's still there. And I saw the house that he was in, he used to be in it, just imagine the the house 1860s he's, you know, it was not the exact same but the same location. So it's just the, you can do the same with your own family as well. So one of the reasons as well, by the way, so again, I'm going into my tangents here, but this is the father of this one on one is I can go into as many times as I want no problem. One of the things also that I encourage you one of the reasons why I encourage you to to study your own lineage and to go back in time is that all of a sudden

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history becomes so much more pertinent. Okay. Now, again, I have a personal interest in Indian history simply because, you know, our ethnicity is India. And I had been reading about it, interestingly enough, completely coincidentally, I have been reading at that time 2006 2007 I was reading a really nice book about the mutiny 1857 mutiny. Now I go to India, I visit you know, all of these relatives or trying to find my own, you know, history and whatnot. And I discovered one of the most fascinating stories about my own family and the mutiny. So this does not relate to my father's father's father said this is my father's father's mother's side. So this is from that side. Okay. So

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my great, great grand mother, my great great grandmother for the same generation of the that was from the other side from from my father's, as I said, My father's father's mother's side, right, I found out a very interesting story. And that is that when the British came again, those of you who don't know you should know that when the mutiny happened or the first war of independence

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The British came in and they began massacring Muslims left, right and center. And they blamed the uprising on the Muslims, even though the uprising was a joint effort by Hindus and Muslims, and they literally, you know, pull people's pants down to see if they're Muslim or not, and just kill them on the spot. So there was mass panic amongst the Muslim community, and they just fled Helter Skelter, my own great great grandmother. Her parents fled Lucknow. And it just so happened that the father was away on business. Apparently, my great great great grandfather worked for some navab somewhere. And my great, great, great great grandmother was at home. And so when the British came, the Muslims

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were running for their lives. So the story goes is my own ancestors, that the lady of the house, my own ancestor took the children, she was nine months pregnant, and the husband wasn't home, she just jumped on the train. And she went to the last stop of the train, which happened to be a little village called Jebel poor, which is where my own father was born because of this mutiny incident, and on the way she gave birth, the train stops somewhere. And she just gave birth all alone, surrounded by complete strangers, to you know, one of the siblings in my own great, great grandmother. And it took many months for my great great, great grandfather to find out what happened

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and to reunite with that family. Now, just to hear that story. All of a sudden, the mutiny of 1857 takes on a very, very different role that takes on a personal because of that, I have done a lot of research about the mutiny, and especially the mutiny of Lucknow. And I went to the fortress of Lucknow where the massacres took place, and it just took on a different life for me, because obviously, when your own family is linked to it, you just feel the sense that I could have imagined the British coming, I could have imagined the chaos of my own ancestors. So believe it or not doing research in your own family history, it actually brings about an interest in global history and

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global politics as well. Also, one of the things that you benefit from is that you become let's say that the resource of the extended family, you reunite family members, you know, people that don't really talk to one another, when you call up a long distant relative, they're going to ask you Well, how is so and so do how so and so doing? And so you become a sub a cause, that Allah azza wa jal will bless to distant cousins or to people that might even not even have had a fight or anything, but they're just not talking. Because of you, they will have this connection. So my advice to all of you, is to start this family tree, every one of you should have at least one person in your family.

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And here's the point, these apps that are online, you know, what you can do is you can assign a person of every family immediate family to take charge of the new births, or any debt that might take place, or any marriage that might take place, take charge of their family tree, within the span of a year or two, I very easily just part time, just have my own, you know, passion shortly as they say, Oh, do within my own, you know, research, I compiled over 500 family members have had a lot and just bit by bit here and there. Once you contact one, they'll tell you about others, and then you connect it together. And one of the biggest advantages of having a family tree, you know, all those

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relatives that come and visit and you have no clue who they are, how they're related. All of a sudden, when you do the family tree, you see it, you realize, oh, okay, I see exactly how we're related, I see the connections that take place. And final point as well.

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That take advantage of your elders before there's no time to take advantage of them, take advantage of their stories take advantage of their life experiences of their wisdom. I have benefited immensely, you know, from my 20s onwards, of speaking with the elders of listening to their stories of listening to their struggles. Of course, my parents were both born in India, but they migrated to Pakistan. And so hearing from that generation, the struggles of that migration, the struggles of coming to a new land and to to be raised in that land, it's just eye opening to just know the the the personal struggles of your own family. And one of my regrets actually, was when I was a

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teenager, I did not avail myself to people who knew much more by the time I became interested in my family history. I had lost my own immediate grandparents so I grew up and I lived with my grandmother and she was a wealth of information because she had seen British India you know, she was born in the rural you know, and by the way, my grandmother my father's mother, so part of the another interesting point she would always tell us you know, homework say that we are you know, say if people were children to the profits of cinnamon, you know, I was like a teenager Yeah, whatever half of Buxton says they're saying that I couldn't believe any of that, you know, but then I

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realized to Pamela and again too late, when I did my research, she was right so panela we found the sugar I found the sugar the tree, that in fact, you know, when the the the best, Caliphate collapsed, certain are busted, families fled to India, and the Those were my grandmother's family basically. So they're descendants of us.

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Believe it or buts you know from the my grandmother said, we're just a little bit out boss, and I would dismiss it. And by the way, if you remember, there was a documentary that was it about me by PBS, discovering gurus by Henry gates. And at the end, he says, You're related to Barbara Walters, if you remember that interview, right. And everybody was laughing Oh, my god, you're related to a barbara walters will realize the reason why there is that relation is because, you know, Barbara Walters is coming from a Jewish background. And of course, the Arabs and the Jews are connected together, right from the genealogy. And so that is how the relationship comes up how tulla DNA

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proved what my grandmother used to say, and I dismiss it while she was alive, alive, how how I wish that I could go back and listen to all of those stories and absorb, you know, all of those things that although that, you know, when I was a teenager, I didn't care about her stories at all, I'll be honest, you know, just like you how whatever or this again, who wants to listen to her stories, when Star Trek's coming or whatever, you know, that time like, you want to watch that you're not interested? Now how I wish I could just shut up, shut off that TV, and just absorbed every story from her. So my advice to all of you take advantage of your elders when they're still alive. And by

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the way, there's all when you do open this door. There's a lot of mysteries that remain unsolved, I'll just tell you one of my own mysteries very bizarre to me

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as a part of the PBS documentary, so they took, you know, DNA samples, the saliva, whatnot, and they did all of these DNA tests, you know, how they do these family tests and whatnot. And it's really weird that they discovered that my fifth generation ancestor, one of them, like, you know, when you when you will fifth generation, I think that 64, right, so you have 248 1632 64, right? So when you get to that level, that there is one person from Europe, in my ancestry, okay, one person, and because of that, when I log on to these sites, you know, what is it 23, or whatever it is, right? Because the PBS program did it. Because of that, I discovered that oh, my God, there are like

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distant cousins of mine that are Scottish, Irish, or whatever, you know, fifth generation, and it's just like, so weird. Like, I have like out of DNA, South Asian, my mother's side of the family is from South India, right. So the downside of the chronological region for it, so my father's side is North India. And my father's side is like half Brahmin there, and half, you know, saved over there, all of this eclectic mix comes up and all of this comes together. It's just eye opening, fun, interesting. And you just situate yourself So bottom line, not a lot of quote unquote, hardcore Islamic stuff. But I strongly suggest from my own life experiences that there's nothing to lose a

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lot to gain by doing your own family trees, a lot of fun. It's a you you fulfill an Islamic requirement, and you bring you know, families together and you will become somebody that again can benefit all the segments of your family. So definitely for the sake of Allah subhana wa Tada. And then for the sake of posterity, it's something to think about. I hope this was of benefit. By the way. Tell me about the lighting and the whatnot. I tried to take in some of your suggestions at home for improvement of the home studio development office and more how to live