Yusha Evans – The Prison Tapes #02 – Why I Nearly Died in Prison

Yusha Evans
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss their past struggles with drugs and their new job as a bus driver, as well as their struggles with abuse and family members. They emphasize the importance of growth and self-improvement for success in life and the need for a culture of safety and integrity in the workplace. They stress the importance of trusting oneself and being a good father, as well as the need for a culture of safety and integrity.
AI: Transcript ©
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Ah bla

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Salam or aleikum wa rahmatullah he already care to home. Welcome back to reflections, Episode 18. And this is part two of the prison tapes.

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Yes, it's been, it's been a bit of a roller coaster of response with regards to the last

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episode and you know, I let the cat out of the bag. Yes, you should. Evans has been to prison, as a new Muslim, and many things that I that I learned from that and many things that I've experienced in that that have helped me later on in my life. And this is why I decided to let that out and let that be known. Now, this episode is going to be of a bit of a roller coaster in and of itself, because there's some it goes in a format of being very good, and then hope is going to drop out. But I haven't really left for everything as Muslims as Muslims, we say Alhamdulillah Allah, holy *, we say All Praise be to our Creator, upon every situation upon every situation. Why do we say that?

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That is because even in the time that is happening, maybe you can't see it, maybe during the struggle that you're going through, maybe during the hardship that you're enduring, maybe through the trauma that you've experienced, you can't see the wisdom in Allah subhanahu wa l is dictating of the affairs of your life. But then later on down the road, if Allah allows you to live that long, later on down the road, you look back, and you realize, they say Hindsight is 2020 and you look back and you said, Hamdulillah, for having gone through that because it taught me this, or it taught me that or it made me stronger, or allowed me to get to where I am today. So I said hamdulillah upon

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all things because the struggles and trauma that I've been through in my life allowed me to be right here where I am today. So alhamdulillah for that.

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where I left off was you know, not long after entering into prison getting involved in you know, the the Muslim community, starting to learn my Deen, etc. And that went on for a period of nearly a year where I was just, you know, I was stuck in my books I was studying I was spending time in the community, you know, learning my faith, you know intermingling with the brothers, you know, learning the Brotherhood of the community, masha Allah, and, you know, just doing my daily life of prison, you know, they say, you have to do the prison time, don't let the prison time do you. So I learned how to do the prison time, which was to better myself. And that is a dedication that I made to

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myself, at some point, after, you know, starting to get into my faith and starting getting to practice the religion of Islam, you know, I said, and at the time, I wasn't called Lucia, because they give everybody a new name. They called me up the ramen. That was my name for that. Most beginning part of my prison

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stent was I was called Abdurahman. You know, so I said, you said, I said, you know, man, and my column is of Joshua, that's not a Muslim name till I found out later on that it was, and that's why I'm called you shot. Now because it's my name is the name that my mother gave me. And boy, she would have lost her mind if I told her I completely changed my name, but 100 laughter at the time, before I left prison, I had found out that you Shah was actually a prophet of Bani Israel, after Musa and there was a very, you know, beautiful stories about him. He's mentioned in the Quran, but not by name. So I decided to keep the name of Yeshua, because my mother had named me after Joshua, that was

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one of her favorite books of the Bible, one of her favorite prophets of the Old Testament. So she named me Joshua, you been noon, or is the Bible awesome? Joshua, the son of Nun.

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So I made a commitment myself, you know, I am going to do everything I can to better myself in this situation. So that when I leave here,

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I'm not the person that came in here and I'm a person who can be successful in life and successful in the next life. That is a a commitment that I had made to myself and I was going to see it through insha Allah Who to add I'll also in prison i i had no one I was on my own pretty much a number one I was on the other side of the state. I only spoke to my grandmother, my grandmother, if you've watched any of the previous reflections, especially like episodes, maybe one through five, then you will know that

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my grandmother was the closest person to me in my life after my mother left me. You know, my stepmother abused me. My you know, my father was a bit absent.

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He was there but absent. And my grandmother and grandfather, my grandfather passed away when I was

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13 So my grandmother in those pivotal years of like 13 to 18 was the closest person to me and she was the one who guarded and protected me growing up from my step mother's abuse when and where she could, she stood up to her many times. And that's a long story. But those of you want to, you can check back on those and they're all being transported over here to this channel, soon and shallow to Anna.

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So, I only spoke to her in prison once a week, once a week, because it was an expensive phone call. And my grandmother was on, you know, a pension from my grandfather's retirement. And I had to be mindful of that. So I spoke to her once a week, for about an hour, my father decided that he was not going to speak to me, he was not going to come and see me. And this was not because he hated me, this is not because of, you know, any other reason other than the fact that he had decided to show me tough love. He had decided to say, look, you're grown enough to get yourself into this situation and end up in prison, you're grown enough to get yourself through it, and get out of it. So you

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know, he gave me that tough love, and it's time for you to grow up. So I had no real you know, extended family and friends to write to none of that happened. So I pretty much was on my own. I was by myself and I had to do things by myself. And that's pretty much the way it's been most of my life since like the age of 18 years old. I've been doing things completely on my own. I had no one else to turn to relate to other than my Lord and my own abilities. So I said, I'm going to get myself through this and I started digging myself into everything that I could about my Deen because I knew one thing I knew if there was anything that could change me if there was anything that could make me

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a better person, if there was anything that could heal me, it was the deen of Allah subhanho wa taala, the deen of Allah Islam, the religion of Islam was that which would be able to heal me. So I dug myself in. Now, after about a year, or a little, maybe a little a little bit over a year.

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The Imam at the time was paroled, he finally at Hamdulillah, he obtained a parole and he left. So when he left it was time for us to decide who would be the next event. That was that was something that had to be done.

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So according to the way it was done in Southland department corrections at the time,

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and again, this was in the year 2000. I saw the new millennium come in why 2k And I remember the night of y2k, actually everybody being in their in their.

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In their sales, everybody was up and waiting for the countdown of New Year's and wondering you know, if the whole world is going to implode, the whole world is going to come to a dead stop is everything going to shut down? For those of you who are old enough to remember you were old enough to remember y2k And the whole drama behind that, that you know, once the all the clocks hit,

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you know, 00 on the year 2000, that they were afraid that there was going to be like a global catastrophe and the whole world was going to come to a grinding halt banks were going to run out of money like it was just, it was one of those Doom or gloom situations.

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Which content in tend to

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they tend to recur every once in a while these doom and gloom situations to focus us to do certain things that we wouldn't normally other otherwise do except out of fear.

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So when the mm left, it was time for us to pick a new Imam. And according to the South County Department of Corrections community at that time, the Muslims, the Imam would be the person who knew the most Quran, the person who had memorized the most Quran by heart would be the Imam, that who would be the Salah, that's who will lead the Juma hookah, that's who will lead the community. So we had to get down we had to sit down in the Halacha and everyone had to

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let everybody else know how much Quran they had memorize. And whoever knew the most as long as he was somebody that was part of the community and somebody that you know, people trusted what not, then he would be the man. So we went around the circle who know the most Quran who and I and this was not for that reason, but I had been, you know, for that, you know, that little bit over a year I had been memorizing the Quran pretty much nonstop every single day, right? Memorizing for five 610 verses as much as I could every single day. So to make a long story short, I ended up being the person who knew the most Quran.

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So when they realized that I was the person who knew the most Quran, then there was a bit of hesitation there was like, Okay, number one, this kid is only 20 years old at the time, I think I may have been 20 by then. He's not. He just stopped being a teenager.

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And there was a discussion, is he old enough be the man. And then the second discussion was, I would be the first ever that anyone knows of the first ever

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White. mm in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. I would be the first ever White Team

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In a large community, there was a large community at this institution, I would be the first white Imam.

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And that might rub some people the wrong way. So there was a back and forth. You know, I ended up not I had no involvement in I wanted no involvement. I said, Look, I didn't really want to be the Imam. But I said, Look, you know, if you guys want me to be the man, no problem. If you don't, no problem, just let me know. Because I had other things I'm trying to focus my life on. So one of the elders of the community who should have been the Imam most likely, and he may have even known the most Quran, but he actually absolutely refused to be the man. He said, I will not be the man. And he had his reasons for doing so. He came to me and he said, you should you should be the man.

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Or Abderrahman Abdurrahman, you should be the man.

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And I didn't really want to be the mom. So like, the look, this looks like is going to be a headache. He said, No, this is something that we need. There's something that community needs is something that institution needs. This is something you know, the Muslims need, they need to see, you know, the especially in prisoners, that Islam is not only for black people, etc. So you need to, you need to be the man. So basically, he stepped forward and said, Look, I approve, you shouldn't be the mom, he had so much respect within the community. He was a lifer as well.

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So I became the man and the only one that I know of the first ever White imam in the south kinda Department of Corrections. And that came with many caveats. First and foremost, you know, I became overnight one of the most powerful movers and shakers in that institution, you know, and I was a white guy, and I was an Aryan, which was very interesting. So after that point, you know, I had the we had an emir of security. And the Emir of security was assigned to me, you know, he made sure I was always safe, always protected. And there was always people who went with me everywhere.

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To You know, when I, when I would leave the dorm, they would, somebody would go with me, when I would go here, somebody would go with me, when I was showering, somebody would watch over me.

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Because in the showers, you know, there was some communal showers in the Muslims that we didn't shower with nobody else. So what you do is you would throw your rug, you would throw your rug over the stall where the shower is, you would just throw your rug on it. And when people would walk by and see that rug, they would know that there's a Muslim in there taking a shower by himself and nobody else goes in there. And when I was taking a shower with OB somebody would stand by and make sure nobody comes in the shower, because that's one of the places that you can get ran up on the easiest in prison because it's very hard to fight soapy and slippery and sliding and water all over

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the place. So showers are a good place to get ran up on so there was always a brother who made sure that didn't happen to me. I was having now beyond my own studies and everything I was trying to do, I had to prepare for it. Every single weekend in my dorm, I had to prepare like a nightly little reminder for the brothers.

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And you know, when community matters were or to be discussed I had to be there when there was arguments and disputes I had to make judge upon them I had to there was so many things. I had to meet with the warden regularly if there was an issue within the community well you know Muslims are doing something they shouldn't be doing the warden would come to me and asked me to deal with it you know so there was so many things

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that that I need to deal with Believe it or not, you know, the Aryan brothers brotherhood the Aryan what they call the the the the white supremacist there it is, Aryan Brotherhood. They actually did not make a problem for me, you know, I was thinking you know, that no, no, I'm gonna have enemies now from the Aryans. Because they're gonna think that I'm a race traitor, this, that and the other. But actually one of the higher ups and the Aryan Brotherhood actually came to me and told me said, Look, you're not going to have an issue with us. You do what you do. We do what we do. In the store, you make your decisions, we do ours, we're for those who are for us. And you know, it is what it is.

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So I became the IMA.

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And that was all fine and dandy for a while it was stressful. It was rough. I was a new Muslim Subhanallah I should have never been put in this position. You know, now that I've been a muslim for You know, going on 23 years now and realize even though you know, in 23 years of studying I don't I don't know a damn thing about the religion. They should put me in some high pedestal like that. I tell everybody about the deen what I know. And I always try to make it clear as crystal that I am no Schick. I am no man. I am no you know, I am no Mufti. I'm none of that. I am a simple Muslim, who is trying to share the message of Islam as far and wide as I can across the globe. And I tried to tell

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people about a law that which I know to be true from the Quran, and the Sunnah of the Prophet alayhi salatu salam, I tried to share the story of our beloved messenger Allah He set out to Sudan and anybody who wants to accept the deen I tried to help them do that and Muslims who want to come back to the dean are in suffering and going through issues. That's who I am Simple as that maybe a motivational speaker is as high as I would ever call myself. And I don't even know if I would call myself a day

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But that's that's who I am. And not even being a Muslim a year and a half, there's no way in * they should have put me in that position. But I didn't know you know, youth is youth is bliss. For those of you young brothers and sisters or audience members out there, youth youth is bliss, enjoy your youth while it's there, you know, enjoy the energy that you have enjoy the, the kind of free minded free spirit itself, you have, why you have it, because when you get older, you realize how stupid you were when you were young. So youth was bliss. So I was just rolling with the punches as they sing. Now,

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after a while, I ended up deciding there was some, you know, some jitters in the community. And there was some issues that were going on between

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the Muslim community, some brothers within the Muslim community, some of the Aryans, some things happen. And I decided to give my chutzpah on that Friday, about racism in Islam, and I've actually given that very same talk many times.

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outside of prison, it's right, it's either right here on on my youtube or it's on other people's YouTube where I did the lecture. That's another reason why my YouTube was so is so dead, because for 13 years on the road, I never focused on content creation, and never focused on putting videos on my own channel, because everybody else was recording videos and putting them on their channel. And I was like, Yeah, you know, I'm just gonna be out here doing this for as long as I can. And then during the, the lock downs of the pandemic, I'm like, well, I need to make my own content now. And I uploaded a video to my YouTube channel. And it said that the video that I uploaded last before that

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was over eight years. So I never really focused on creating that content.

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But I have dealt with, you know, the topic of racism and Islam. Many, many times, not only racism, that Islam abolished racism, but also dealing with the racism that we still find within the Muslim community today, the racism against one another, and I've called that out wherever I can call it out. So on that Friday, I gave the hookah about racism. And the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was the first person ever in recorded known history to have abolished racism. He's the first person ever in recorded history to stand up and say that a white person is not better than a black person, a black person is not better than a white person. And Adam is not better than a non Arab and a non

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Arab is not better than an Arab. But the best of you are those who have the most Taqwa those who have the most consciousness of Allah, those of you who have the most fear of Allah, those of you have the most piety.

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And I call it out where it is that that Muslims cannot be racist, because it is counter intuitive to our religion and it is forbidden within the deen of Allah subhanho wa Taala because He created us all unique for a reason. Allah Jalla wa Allah says in the Quran, we created you in nations and races and tribes and colors and languages so that you could learn to know one another. So that you could learn to know one another. Not that you could despise one another, were created differently by Allah general either so that we can have something different to recognize one another by if we all looked exactly the same, like robots, we all wear the exact same color the exact same shape the exact same

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for the exact I mean, what would be anything unique about us? How would you know who from whom, so our diversity as a human species is a blessing. It is a blessing from the Creator Subhana wa Tada Lulu jewelry Well, the Quran, but unfortunately, we have used those differences to make one another higher or lower in each other's eyes. And that is an absolutely disgusting, filthy Act, to be performed by human and it is absolutely an abomination to be performed by a Muslim. There is no racism in Islam.

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We see each other, we see each other, the way we want Allah subhanahu wa Tada to see us, we should treat one another the way we want Allah subhanho wa Taala to treat us. And I always have said this for many years now. And I tweeted this many times, that you should treat other human beings, the way you want to be treated by Allah on the Day of Judgment when you stand before him. Think of the way you want to be treated by Allah Subhana Allah on the Day of Judgment, when you stand in front of him, think of the way you were going to think on that day and the way you're going to feel on that day standing in front of Allah with your scale of good deeds being weighed and bad deeds being

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weighed. And Allah judging and deciding upon your eternal abode of paradise or *, and think about how you want Allah subhanho wa Taala to treat you on that day, and then treat everyone else exactly the same way

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within our community, within the Muslims and within humanity, and you'll find that the world would be a much better place hellos beyond that. So I gave the clip about about racism, and I attacked it very vehemently.

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And there was a subset of our community and at that time that we're still very you know,

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that we're still very much stuck in the nation's understanding the Nation of Islam, which has nothing to do with Islam. By the way the Nation of Islam is understanding of a

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of race, and that black people were the superior race and white people with the devil. But were part of the Muslim community because there was no real, you know, Nation of Islam community and region at the time. So they they came to the Muslim, they prayed with the Muslims, everything like that, but they still had those tendencies and nation. They were very displeased with me becoming the Imam, very displeased with him becoming the Imam, and even more displeased with me standing on the minbar and giving the hook by tacking racism directly in head on. There was one individual in the community. And I will not mention his name. He was from Charleston, South Carolina,

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which is again, a rival part, not only did you know, he had the tendencies of nation, but he was we also from a rival part of the state from me, Charleston and Greenville did not get along whatsoever as far as gang mentality goes.

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And he didn't like me for whatever reason, and he decided to take it upon himself. That day, I don't know if something snapped, he wasn't very right, as well, he had, you know, he had some mental challenges what they were, I don't know. But he decided that he was not going to tolerate me being the Imam anymore. And he was not going to tolerate, you know, me giving talks like this anymore in the community. So that evening, that evening, we always went to chow together, the the Muslims, community always went to chow together, we always made sure we tried to find each other in line, etc, and stay together. So I was in the line for Chow. And the image of security actually was in

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front of me. And there was a few other brothers who were behind me whatnot. And this brother came in, you know, and walked up down the line. And, you know, he was like, hey,

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abdomen, and as I turned, as I turned to look at him, he stabbed me. He stabbed him with a shank. And his intent was to kill me. Because where he stabbed me, he was going from my heart. He had come over here on my left side, and he reached he was behind me. So he reached around and tried to shake me and he was trying to shank me right, he was going for the heart, you know, but I I turned I saw and I tried to turn quick enough to you know, just try to get my arm around to block it to try to you know, get it somewhere here in the in the non lethal area, because I saw him coming at me. So I turned and he ended up catching me right here under the arm, I ended up catching his arm and it

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caught me right here under the arm. I still have a scar to this day.

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You know, I don't want to pull up. I still have, I still have a scar right here. I don't want to pull up my shirt. You do want to bend me, but there's a scar right here across my ribs right up under my armpit. From where he shanked me.

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Thankfully, thankfully hamdulillah it missed where it went in. It hit one of my one of my ribs and kind of deflected down so it went behind my heart. When I went to the hospital first they took me to the infirmary. And then they took me to the hospital because it's a whole process of getting the hospital it's not like they just run you out the door, they have to you know, all kinds of protocols you have to be shackled and chained and all this other stuff.

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So when they when they took the X ray, the the shank, it was a piece of wire that he had actually sharpened and then wrapped a cloth around it and to make a handle, it went behind my heart and missed my lung. So it didn't hit anything vital. It literally just caused some some some tissue damage and decent amount of bleeding, but it missed everything. But you know, had it been even the doctor said Had it been you know, an inch in front or up or wherever have you. It could very easily have punctured my heart and killed me or punctured my lungs, which would have also been very bad. So at hamdulillah they stitched me up. I spent one night in the hospital, they stitched me up and they

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sent me back to prison after that, and I was just you know, kind of on some bedrest I was on. I worked in a library so it was like I did the hard work I went back to work the next day, I just had to go to the infirmary every day and change my bandages make sure there was no infection they gave me a tetanus shot because you know, it was like a bed coil or something like that he stabbed me with and they gave me a tetanus shot and some antibiotics and that was the end of that and he ended up going to

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solitary confinement and then ended up being shipped off to a another prison. So I nearly died that day. But it wasn't meant to be it wasn't meant to be the same like when if those of you have watched my story about how I came to Islam, the same like when that guy pointed a gun in my face and pulled the trigger it didn't go off the same like the car wreck that I got into where we flipped the my buddy's Mustang many times the same way that I wasn't meant to die in those situations. I wasn't meant to die in this one wasn't meant to die in this one of hamdulillah when I meant to die, Allah Jalla wa Ala said oh nothing died to note every soul will taste death but not only will it ever

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Soul taste death, that death will not come to an appointed time and an appointed place. Allah subhanahu wata, Anna has already appointed for every single human being the time of their death, the date of their death and the place of their death. And we cannot get around it, we cannot change it, we cannot move it forward or backward or when that time comes, it's come. And it wasn't my time that day. It wasn't my time that day. But the reason I nearly lost, lost my life in prison was due to the fact that I was the white man. You know, so

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I know what it's like to be to be attacked because of the color of your skin. But it was reversed on me. You know, Al Hamdulillah May Allah subhanho wa Taala in racism worldwide is something that is a despicable act, committed by any human being. And we're better than that us Muslims, we should be better than that. But because of because of racism, yes, because of racism and racist ideas and the fact that one color is better than another color. I nearly lost my life in prison. I became a victim of it moto Hamdulillah I have no qualms against that brother whatsoever.

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Whatever he was going through May Allah subhanho wa Taala help him I hope he remains Muslim and comes out firm on the deen. And if he dies on the Deena ask Allah subhanho wa Taala to grant him Jen in sha Allah Tala and grant him Jana. The same way this because I deal with people the way I want to Allah subhana wa Tala to deal with me in the day and meet him.

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But I almost lost my life. Now. After that, I went back to, you know, doing what I did every day, but they also made sure that my security, the brothers made sure that my security was a bit beefed up. After that, I don't think I really went anywhere alone, except my own room, which was to share with another Muslim after that I was kind of never really by myself.

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Except that work, because the library was was kind of a very, very safe place. But I went on and continued to do my thing. And

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about another six to eight months in, they instituted a policy, this was some program that the Institute in the South County Department of Corrections, there was actually bananas, it was nuts. I don't even know why they did this. It was the I think it was a social experiment. You know, I don't know what it was. But they decided that the way we're going to focus on youth offenders, because I was still considered a youth offender, I was 20 years old at the time, the way we're going to focus on youth offenders, is we're going to segregate them, and house them all together.

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This was stupid. So they took everyone from the age of 17, because you can end up in prison at 17. From the age of 17, to 25 years old. Everyone in that age range would be housed together in a single dorm, by themselves. You can imagine how that went a bunch of in a dorm was probably maybe 400 people, three 400 people, you can imagine how that went in a dorm with you know, three to 418 to 2517 to 25 year olds, all convicted of, you know, higher level and a lot of violent crimes being housed together in the same in the same unit. It was absolute madness, just like you would think it would be I we spent the majority of our time locked down. There was riots every other day. There was

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fights, there was Robins there was all kind it was the worst. You know, like literally the worst situation I had ever seen in prison like you would what you would think prison should be like just madness and chaos every single day. And as the Imam being on lockdown didn't really work too well, because I had to go out and lead the community. So even on lockdown, they had to find a way to get me special permission special privilege to leave the dorm. And then that also made me a target because a lot of youth were like, you know, you know, this cat's leaving the door and why can't we leave the door? And why does he get special permission. So you know, like when when when it was time

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to be let out of ourselves and come out whenever we weren't on lockdown. I didn't want to go out I was like, Man, I'm just gonna stay right here in my room. I'm cool right here. Because also no security could go there with me none of the older brothers who were part of the community, you know, there was only a couple other, you know, Muslims in the dorm young cats.

00:29:11 --> 00:29:26

So it was it was a very rough situation for me. And then the month Ramadan came and I had to leave early to go have some food. They had to make sure I could leave and go get some food and come back and then I had to leave for Iftar and come back and then we did we're allowed to have total we so it became a whole situation. And finally

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the warden decided that I was a you know, a security issue to not only the the prison, but I was a security issue to myself, because I had already been stabbed once. You know, he didn't want to put me in another situation like that, because then I could sue the Department of Corrections for putting me in that kind of situation. So they decided to transfer me so they transferred me all the way back to the Upstate, but close to where I was born and raised at two Tiger River, Tiger River Correctional Facility. So I was only you know, I was only a couple hours away.

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From home that time I was back in my home turf as they say when it comes to the turf wars of prison. They sent me back to the upstate to Tiger River Correctional Facility, which was an older facility

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much older facilities no air condition, except there was a building that they had created. I don't know what they were trying to do with this. I don't know what the whole plan behind this was.

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But there was a place called the annex which was the only air conditioned building it was also a non smoking building, you know, in but you had to go through like five six security gates to get to it. So coming to and from the because you had to go to the yard, the main yard, the main prison yard to do anything to go to work to go to the cafeteria to go anything. So it was a lot of shuffling back and forth. It was it was a bit of a hassle to live there. But, you know, I chose after being there for you know, like less than a week I said, I want to go to the annex. You know, I had a roommate who smoked and I was like, No, I cannot do this. You know, I complained I said look I have asthma I

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can't be around this guy I'm gonna do something to this guy put me in the annex. So we put in the annex. And that's where I became a roommates with the brother that I mentioned in the last tape, how we and how we was the Imam at the time, brother, Lennox, masha Allah, may Allah bless him. And he had been down long enough to where he had a TV because they stopped selling TVs in prison by the time I'd made it there. But if you had a TV before that did that it was called grandfathered in. So me and how we used to sit around. You know, we used to hang out chill, we'd love to study together. We used to watch the the baseball games in New York Yankees together. I grew up as a Yankees fan. So

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you know, he was from New York originally. So it was just a beautiful thing. And I made a very beautiful brother and close friend and CO Ed Masha Allah. They I became the Emir of education for that community, because they had an imam. And there was no way that I wanted to do I didn't want to be in that position again. So I became the Emir of education, just trying to help the community learn, learn a little bit about the Dean was teaching some Arabic here and they're teaching some some upbeat teachings and, you know, some telehealth and things of that nature. And that is

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where I ended up doing the rest of my time. That would only be one little stint where I'd be sent to work release. And when I was sent to work release, I was sent to work release a work release prison where actually, you know, it's, it's not really like, so minimum security, there wasn't even a fence it was just little dormitories. The only fence was like maybe a six foot high fence. Most of these people were on the edge of getting out or they had, you know, not had any issues. And I never got wrote up for anything, I'd never been any trouble. But going there, I was there for three weeks. There was no Muslims, there was nobody to pray with. There was nobody to have Juma with, there was

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nothing I absolutely was losing my mind. This is how how much I had come to grow to love the deen of Allah subhanho wa taala, the Brotherhood of the community, the Salah in gemera going to Joomla three weeks without it. I dropped out of the program. I said, Look, send me back to Tiger river. I want to finish out my my sentence at Tiger River, which was a medium security facility more of a minimum. It wasn't minimum security, but it was it was more relaxed security facility. I said look, send me back there. I'm gonna finish my time there with the Muslim community. And they ended up sending me back I remember. I remember actually the day they sent me back.

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As the bus was coming in, there were brothers that were coming down from the the annex and the cow he was coming down. I was like, Yo, can we sit him back? He was like, man, what did you do? He thought I had gotten in trouble because we get in trouble they send you to back I said no man I can't take it there's no Muslims what I'm gonna do. So I met I saw I made them send me back the tiger River and Tiger rivers where I would be

00:33:42 --> 00:34:27

released from prison, which we'll talk about next week. My final little bit of time in prison and my release, you know, but that this part of my life was was such a roller coaster, but such a defining defining period of my life. I mean, I went from being a brand new Muslim who knew nothing about the religion to being the Imam first ever White Imam that means nothing but whatever. Then getting shanked by another Muslim not by you know, one of the Aryan Brotherhood's for race traitor and not by you know, not getting into some fights and none of that it was just it was another Muslim tried to stab me because I didn't deserve to be the man because I was white. And went from that to being

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locked in with all of these young cats that we're losing their absolute minds. Brothers and sisters, anybody's watching this, the scenes that I was just madness, like I remember one time, we were on lockdown for like a week because because it was a riot, like 1520 people, rival gang members started going out each other. And so we put us on lockdown. They let us off of lockdown. And it was like, you know, they came over the intercom and said, look young men, we're gonna let you off lock down. But if you guys have started this again, we're gonna lock you back down for two weeks and what law

00:35:00 --> 00:35:26

now admit was 24 hours in ourselves, we ate in ourselves, you know, we the only time we were able to come out of ourselves was one by one to take a shower. That was it. And I think that was like every two or three days. Other than that no you were you were you were doing what we called bird baths in the sink that you had in your room, you bird bath in it, you know, you would hang up a little curtain. It wasn't really a curtain, you would hang up your bedsheet you know, and get in there and take a bird bath.

00:35:28 --> 00:36:06

They said if you guys have problem with locking you down for two weeks, they opened the door, and Subhanallah they open all the doors, they open, you know, they come around, they open up, click, click, click, click, click click, we went out 15 minutes 15 minutes before they started another riot. And it's just like, the stuff being thrown everywhere people getting stabbed. It was like, I myself went back into my room and shut the door. I said you know what I'm done? Nope, this is it. It was craziness. from that to being transferred to Tiger River, back to my hometown meeting brother Fauci and some beautiful community members there. I'll talk a little bit more about my time there,

00:36:06 --> 00:36:25

which is the end of my prison stint on the next episode in sha Allah to Anna. And one of the worst things that you might think the worst thing that happened to me in the prison was nearly losing my life and getting stabbed. But it was not the worst thing that happened to me during my time in prison, I will talk about it on on the next episode, it's something that nearly broke me and it's still

00:36:28 --> 00:36:35

it's still it still haunts me to this day. It really is one of those things that I'm super regretful for and I'm super.

00:36:36 --> 00:37:01

Every time I think about it, it just breaks me just a little bit. I'll talk about that next next episode and Shawn long to Anna. But from that to, you know, to spending some good time in the community there, I had access to way more books at Tiger River, because we actually had an Islamic library. And I was the Emir of education. So I became responsible for getting books in those library in that library. So I was, you know, trying to make sure we got the best of books and was reading them in in them every single day,

00:37:03 --> 00:37:48

as well. And I really had no job at that time. Because there wasn't, wasn't a library like that it wasn't a bigger, fancier facility, like reasonable was, so I had a lot of time to be in my books a lot of time and in order to get a job that paid, you had to have a certain amount of time left on your sentence, which I did not at the time, it was a whirlwind brothers and sisters, but all of that, you know, has given me such wisdom later on in life to look back on and realize, you know, that there those things I went through were to my benefit, you know, and when, you know issues, like for instance, racism that came up last year, you know, with with the movement of BLM, etc, so on and

00:37:48 --> 00:38:18

so forth. It was happening here in the States, I actually live in Minneapolis, Minnesota live house, I live in the suburbs, I live in the country, but in Minneapolis is kind of where that whole thing kicked off. With George Floyd etc. You know, I and I spoke on the issues of racism. And you know, and there were even some people who came at me and said that I can't speak on issues of racism because of the color of my skin. And that's, that's another one of the problems that we have in this conversation. It's another one of the problems we're having this conversation to say that you don't know what it feels like to be targeted because of the color of your skin. And I'm sitting here

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thinking because I hadn't released the prison tapes yet and I'm like, But if you only knew if you only knew Have you took it have you taken a shank in the side because of the color your skin yet? If not, I don't really think you can come to me like that. But you know, it is an issue that we need to tackle racism is disgusting and bigotry is disgusting and all of those things and as Muslims if we do it, it's it's doubly disgusting. It's disgusting, compounded upon disgusting, because it goes against the the nature of the way Allah Subhana Allah created us to say you have a problem with someone else, because of the color of their skin, is to say that you have a problem with the way

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Allah subhana wa Tada created someone that has a very dangerous, very, very dangerous belief, and a very dangerous idea that we need to eradicate out of our communities. And this This idea is not EDB welcome anywhere within the Muslim community. But all that is to say is that brothers, sisters, audience members, when I say that I've been through it in life, if you've watched the podcast from the beginning, for those of you haven't,

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the current videos are over on path to peace channel, which is linked right here in the bottom of my homepage, path to peace. We're actually shutting that channel down and bringing everything over to here so that it's all contained into one channel. But I think Episode One through 15 is over there. You can go watch them over there for now. And then I'm going to slowly start transporting them over here to this channel and putting them right here into the reflections category. When I say I've been through it, I'm not saying it just to feel like I can I can relate to people from the you know, from being abandoned by my mother at three years old and not you know, not really making a meaningful

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relationship again with her until I left prison. And then after making a meaningful relay

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kinship with her having that relationship for only about five years before she died in my arms of cancer at the age of 42.

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You know, to what I'm going to talk about tomorrow, that I have not talked about yet, one of the most breaking things that happened to me in prison, you know, to being abused by my stepmother from the age of five years old, like physically abused beat, you know, over and over and over again, with clothes hangers, with extension cords, with spatulas, with wooden spoons with all kinds of nonsense, being locked in my room, literally imprisoned in my room for months on end, that would go to school, come back, be locked in that room until the time I woke up and went back to school, you know, all the rebellion phase I went through because of that, you know, the things that that I went through in

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life from that to you know, finally standing up to my stepmother at the age of 15. And telling her if she puts her hands on me again, you know, I kill her.

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And from that, from trying to go from there, to falling into my faith of Christianity, and I wanted to be a pastor and I wanted to go out and be a missionary, I wanted to change other people's lives because of the darkness that I had been through in my life. And then finding out Christianity wasn't what I thought it was because of the Bible, reading it, going from that, to losing faith in all faiths, and ended up being in the streets, you know, ended up thug, and all that good stuff. And that thug and ended up leading to me doing this prison tape series.

00:41:21 --> 00:41:56

You know, nearly losing my life twice in that thug and phase of flipping the car while my friend was intoxicated, he fell asleep at the wheel and flip the car, we should have died. Then going to New York and having a guy tried to rob me an ATM machine, put a gun into my face and pulling the trigger and not going off that you know, then ending up trying to correct my life, make my life better. decide I'm going to become something with my life. Even if I don't have a religion, I'm going to believe in a God who created me ended up meeting a Muslim who was a drug dealer. By the way, the Muslim was a drug dealer, he so he was the local cannabis marijuana salesman from our hometown, they

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ended up leading me to the masjid for Juma which ended up leading for me to get a copy of the Quran and accepting Islam after reading it. And then three months later ending up in prison to do this series of, of tapes right now. And that is only up until the age I'm I'm only at the age of 20 years old right now. I'm 41. And I've been through a lot of *, since then, that have not even talked about yet. But that's the whole point of this podcast to get it out there to tell you what I've been through and what I've learned from from it, and how I believe those lessons can be helpful to somebody else who might be going through some of those things that I've already come through.

00:42:32 --> 00:42:55

Reach out to them in that darkness and say, Look, this is a way that I can help try and maybe insha Allah to guide you to the light and guide you out of that, that dark hole that you find yourself in that trauma or that depression or that anxiety or, or whatever have you. So we've we haven't even we haven't even scratched the surface yet. And I've already talked about so much nonsense. So when I say that I've been through it, and I can understand

00:42:56 --> 00:43:31

you know, a lot of people's trauma, a lot of what people are going through a lot of people's heartbreak, a lot of people's heartache, a lot of people's anxiety, depression, etc. I'm not saying it just to make it seem like I can relate to you. I've been through it. And I think Allah subhana wa Tada for every one of those hardships. I think Allah Jalla wa Ala for every one of those difficulties, every one of those dark days, every one of those crazy nights, lonely nights, depressed nights, sad nights in prison nights, you know, nights where I spent sleep on the couch nights where I was homeless, which I haven't talked about yet, either. Not long after leaving

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prison, or you know, all the things that I've I've been through,

00:43:36 --> 00:43:54

where to lead me to where I am today, at hamdulillah thankful for everything Allah has blessed me with, I've been able to travel the world now, I've seen almost all of the world that I that I that I really wanted to see. And if I had never traveled another place, I would be grateful for the amount of the world that I've seen the amount of people that I've talked to the amount of, you know,

00:43:55 --> 00:44:22

people that I've been able to reach out to, to have this audience to have this platform, which I'm going to talk about towards the end of this whole chapter of how I got into the Dawa. How I ended up being you know, a traveling speaker globally, etc. What What have you what not, I never tried to do so I never wanted to be so it just happened but how it happened was we'll talk about that. But you know, it's it's just so amazing to me, that a lot of the time.

00:44:23 --> 00:45:00

I ask Allah Subhana Allah to Anna, why me? Why me? Like Like, why why why me? Not in terms of why did I go through all the difficulty? I said that many times I was going through it, but why me? In terms of why did you allow me to make it out of all of that, like what like, you know, what, what purpose do I have in this life? And I've been thinking about that a lot, especially during the pandemic when I spent 18 months at home, except for my last trip overseas. I made my first trip overseas last week for eight days to the United Kingdom after 18 months of being home. It was a shock to this

00:45:00 --> 00:45:03

Let me tell you, I came home, absolutely exhausted. But

00:45:06 --> 00:45:33

you know, I've been thinking about during the pandemic, you know, like everything I've been through in life, you know, what was what, what am I going to do with it? What am I going to become because of it, and I've decided that I'm going to just try to be helpful. Just try to be helpful, and try to be authentic, and try to be real, because that's one thing that I think is totally missing. From the Muslim community, when it comes to, you know, public speakers when it comes to influence what whatever title you give that kind of,

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genre of whatever it is, is we're missing a bit of authenticity, a bit of realism, a bit of somebody who is, is just like everybody else of the people does not sit on a pedestal is not anything amazing, nothing pious about me, you know, other than I'm struggling every day to be a better than I was yesterday, and, and fix what I find to be wrong and myself. And when I make mistakes, try to learn from it, and correct it and rectify it, you know, just in taking everyone along that journey with me, that's me, I'm going to try to be as real as I can, as authentic as I can, and help people because what I've learned is expressing my my struggles and expressing the trauma that went through

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through reflections in the first few episodes and expressing my struggles with with mental health and my struggles with anxiety and, and my struggles with panic and attacks, my struggles with depression and my struggles with all these things that I went through in my life, that there are so many other people out there that are going through the same thing. But they don't know who to talk to. They don't know what to say it to, you know, most most of our influences and speakers, may Allah bless them and grant them the highest ranks of Jenna, they are some of the most beautiful brothers and sisters out there that you'll ever meet. And may Allah grant them the highest levels of success

00:46:47 --> 00:47:27

for dunya. Well, I mean, you know, but we only see the glimpses of them that are on YouTube or on Instagram or on Tik Tok, or on Twitter, wherever you find them. And even myself, sometimes I wouldn't feel comfortable going to them and tell them I'm having depression, or I'm having thoughts of suicide, or I'm having anxiety, or you know, or I've been abused as a child, or I've been abused as an adult, like you just, you wouldn't feel like they're gonna understand or relate to it. And, and that is somewhat of a problem. And I'm trying to ease that and hopefully speak out more about it and speak about these taboo subjects. This is the point of this podcast as well as that I can say

00:47:27 --> 00:48:02

whatever the world I want to say, if you like it 100 If you don't and hamdulillah I'm not really bothered either way, I'm going to say what I what I think and feel, and what I think needs to be said, as Allah Allah says, Yeah, you Hala Dana and Manu, it Aquila will call you out in salida Oh, you believe fear Allah and say that which needs to be said, Speak the truth, say what needs to be said. So I'm gonna say what needs to be said no matter how taboo no matter how, you know, fringe, it might be an issue that nobody else wants to talk about. I'll talk about it. Because, you know, I'm not really too worried about the fact and feedback and all that I'm gonna say what needs to be said,

00:48:02 --> 00:48:08

because I'm looking at Legacy things that are going to be beneficial to me when I'm no longer here. So I want to be here for you guys, inshallah.

00:48:10 --> 00:48:14

So that's it, we'll wrap it up. Present tapes, part two, the next

00:48:15 --> 00:48:17

episode will be about

00:48:18 --> 00:48:56

my last, you know, year in prison. And one of the hardest things that I it's actually one of the hardest things that I've ever had to deal with in my entire life. And yes, you know, my mother dying was on top of that list, in my hands in my arms with cancer, being abused as a child is very high up on that list. You know, some other trauma that I haven't talked about yet, which I cannot mention, because it's it's for it's for in the present in the in the future of where we're at right now. This one struck me very, very, very deeply. And until this day, it really bothers me. And we'll talk about that next week on the on the final series of the prison tapes. And then after that, we'll move

00:48:56 --> 00:49:31

on from my release to prison to, you know, what I did when I got out the struggles that I went through to become who you see him sitting in front of you here today, and how that happened, and how I got involved in the Dawa, and lessons that I have learned of things to do things. Don't do all of that. We're going to talk about that right here on reflections, where you will hear probably things that you might not hear anywhere else. But I'm hoping to be able to push this forward so that these subjects become more not, if not, not so much mainstream, but more free to be spoken about. It's always a pleasure to be here with you guys. May Allah bless everyone who watches this. May Allah

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grant you safety and security in your homes, in your hearts, in your minds and in your souls. And if you have any suggestions of things that you think need to be discussed, drop them right down here in the comments, things that you think nobody else is addressing that needs to be addressed. Put them right down here in the comments. Because one thing I will give you my assurance on if there are subjects that need to be tackled, or addressed from point blank where they need to be, I'll tackle them in sha Allah if I feel like they're relatable to me if I feel like there is some

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advantage point I can give on the subject. And it's something that's relatable to me and it's something that I can have some input on because maybe I've been through it or it fits with me. I will talk about it no matter how taboo or how fringe or miniscule it might be, because that is the goal is to help people help people. That's all I want. I just want to be a help to myself. I hope to my family, and a help to anyone who needs help. May Allah bless you. I love you all for the sake of Allah. See on the next episode of the prison tapes, we will wrap it up in sha Allah AsSalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

Reflections #18

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