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My Journey to Islam

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Yusuf Chambers

Channel: Yusuf Chambers

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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20 minutes earlier.

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Salam aleikum. Everyone.

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Peace be upon you, everyone.

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Yeah, okay, good.

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Yeah, my name is Yousef chambers. By the way, as he's already introduced me, I didn't really have too much problem with getting here. It was the parking outside, which was the problem. But I was wondering if there was going to be a parking attendant, you know, lying under the car, just as I sort of waited for the last minute, you know, he'd run up and sort of jam that parking ticket on the you know, like, that's London. Anyway, how did I become a Muslim?

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What does Muslim mean? It's a good question, isn't it? What does Muslim mean?

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Move Islam. To do Islam? What is what is Islam?

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Does anyone know who's not a Muslim?

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Everyone's Muslim now. Good. Okay, let's go.

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That's fine. Okay. Yeah, Muslim means to worship God to, you know, to allow your your freewill to be guided by the one that created you and put you here. So, actually, it took me several decades to find the purpose of life, according to what I of course, decided was the purpose of life after 11 years of research, I stumbled into the faith of Islam. Before that, I researched many, many isms, and schisms and ologies. And I found them all to be lacking in certain areas. So, you know, I would find many people that were engaged in humanitarian works, which I really enjoyed, you know, trying to help humans live better lives. That's what I was, you know, before I became Muslim, that's what I

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was engaged with. But essentially, there was one key problem that I could never really ascertain, or, you know, try and find the answer to, and that is, what on earth was I doing on the planet? You know, lots and lots of other people around me, you know, 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of people around me. And as much as I would try to ask those people, none of them could come up with a very simple rationale as to what I was doing here. So I spent a long time reading people like Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi, all of you know, Mahatma Gandhi, right? popularized, as in the, you know, by the media, through Hollywood, you know, that's where I first saw him, actually, through Hollywood, the movie.

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And then I started reading into this man, he seems a very sort of

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chap, dedicated chap, you know, to humanitarian causes. And that's what I was upon. So kept reading and reading and reading,

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to no avail, really, to be honest, I mean, the only thing that I really didn't sort of appreciate about him was his loincloth. But the rest of it was pretty cool. You know, he's a pretty cool individual. So anyway, he took on the Brits, didn't he? That's what I really liked about him is a bad time zone to go on the brakes, you know. And let's face it, they've taken on a few giants themselves in the past.

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Anyway, so I moved on from Gandhi, really, I didn't really understand what the purpose of life was from him. I spent several months with some Buddhists, some Buddhists, if you're American Buddhists.

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And it was great. It was a great experience, because they taught me how to meditate and taught me not know how not to drink coffee and tea and perhaps to be a vegetarian. So and I went, I experienced that part of that my, my life was extremely, you know, exciting. The meditation was very beneficial. And then one day, I bought the question to the main media, you say, the mayor came in with a white man like me, you see

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just about white anyway.

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And he said to me, you know, how's it going? And I said, well, what's the purpose of life before you get the answer? He said to me, Well, the purpose of life Hmm. So you stir in his herbal tea, like you do when you're a Buddhist? Still your herbal tea and make some fun.

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people around you. And he said to me

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to contemplate

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the supreme

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nothingness,

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the sorry,

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the Supreme nothingness. I said, Well,

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I just wasted three months. Why didn't I just ask you before I actually Well, actually, the meditation was a benefit, you see. So it wasn't a waste of time. You know, to, you know, the Buddhist meditation was really beneficial. I used to do it. In all sorts of strange places sitting on the church from Godalming, though a government.

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You don't want to, you know, anyway, summer in sorry, all the way up to Waterloo station. I used to go there every day. And I used to sit there meditating, like a Buddhist looking really freaky. You know, anyway,

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it wasn't because I was a Buddhist, it was because I was me doing on the train, you know what I mean? So, anyway, I spent lots and lots of time with them. And obviously, they didn't really have the answer to my question. They gave me a book called the Golden Sutras, which is basically a dialogue between Buddha and a disciple. I couldn't get past page one, it was so complicated, I couldn't understand it. I was thinking, well, if I can't understand it, then what about people who, you know, all people who can't even understand reading and writing and you know, haven't got really much education, if they I can't understand it, they can't understand it, then it can't be a

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universal message. So that was the last attempt I gave with Buddhism. Then several moons later, I was walking through,

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you know, Sussex University, where I was studying, I was studying politics and thorough development studies, third world, third world me.

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Third World.

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What does it imply?

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What does it imply?

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Third,

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third world meaning. Third rate. That's what it means. So the first world is what? Britain, Europe, America, so on, so forth. Second World was at that time when they defined it. The you know, Russia, the communists, the communists. And then the third world, or the third class nation was Africa, and Latin Americans on so forth. Yeah. That's what they used to call it in the early 80s, through to the late 90s. So hon Allah, and they changed it now to developing nations, and not actually developing because they're not allowing them to develop actually, there's more slaves in the world today than they were 20 years ago. Fact. In fact, there's more slaves you can argue in the world today than

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there was in 1807 87, when the abolition of slavery act occurred, right. We all celebrate it in 2007 200 years since the abolition of slavery. Oh, except that 60% of the world is living on less than $5 a day. And they're enslaved to their employers. hannula anyway, going back to the story, where was I?

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Oh, yes, I was walking through Sussex University. So I'm walking through and

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this young lady comes to me and says, come to a meeting. So

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said I would oblige and I would you know, say yes to anyone wants so went off. It was in Brighton The meeting was right on the seafront in this big hole booked in. great bunch of people seem to be very affable,

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you know, spiritually inclined, great. Maybe I can find the purpose of life with these guys. So I'm sitting alongside them having good chat, then suddenly

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the attention turns away from me.

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By we all need to be loved, right? And to this man who appears on the stage

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with a guitar in his hands. So he's got a rock guitar and another guy who comes with drums

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starts playing. He starts singing Jesus. Jesus is inside you.

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bit like that, but I can't say

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and then, randomly, he just selects one person in the crowd and he points to him, he says, Put that

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demos is a

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bit like that Americanization.

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So, it is me sitting in the back thinking,

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Oh dear,

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how next? I know it. That's why they bought me here. Oh my god, what am I gonna do? So

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the guy falls on the floor.

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And then sort of fit like a fit is shaking. And then group of people that one of them who had invited me grabs hold of him picks him up and start swaying. Jesus loves you like this whole group of them.

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So I'm really actually I'm quite freaked out by this. I'm really, really not in to staying around. So a edge my chair back very slowly but surely. And I run from the venue. I never go back again.

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But guess what? It can be like that in some mosques.

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It's kind of like that in some of the mosques these days. Some crazy things going on. Don't go to India. You want to know about Islam? Don't go to India? Yes. The guy who they're frightening places, man. So anyway, I'm glad they didn't go to darkness before I found this lamp. Right? I'm glad I didn't see the Muslims really Mohan Allah, hi, there I am, I'm run.

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Close.

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Three, Four days later, because it's a serious note of this, the serious message that we're trying to get across by giving these stories is about the sheer desperation that a person will go to if he served his, you know, seeking a path to his creator, or her creator. You know, they go through stress, they go through real difficulties on the way notice a real is a journey full labored full of difficulties and, and pits and you know, snakes and serpents and god knows what.

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And it's rather like,

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the way I describe it is like living in a dark room.

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You know, with a blindfold off, with a blindfold on.

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And you simply can't you're on the chair with a blindfold on in the dark room. But you can hear

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stuff going on outside, and you can see small glimpses of light through the window. But you can't move and you can't you don't know where the door is. Okay. And this is the way I describe my own, you know, existence up until the fact that I found the, you know, the core app.

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So there I am, three days later, I've been reading all sorts of literature, and I started to get into astronomy. And I started to, you know, look at the night sky

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and investigate, you know, the heavenly bodies, the moon, the stars, the universe, the universe is

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around me. I start to think about the well the astronomical distances. And I start to feel very insignificant, very SubhanAllah. Very, you know, what's the word extremely

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small and insignificant. I start to think look, what is created this world?

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Whatever created, this world, must be absolutely magnificent. Compared to all the things that have ever been created.

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And there must be a purpose. If there's not a purpose, it's stupid. The whole thing's stupid. I started to see look, the tree, how many purposes is the tree half

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creating oxygen for us to breathe? Right? A place for animals for birds to live? beautification shades, enriching the soil.

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You know, all of these amazing things a tree has a human doesn't have a purpose. How stupid is that? I'm thinking to myself, and I'm looking at this universe looking at these incredible

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structures and this beautiful design is magnificence Words can't describe it and every night I'm just crying.

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Just crying every night on my own in my room with a bottle of

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you know, whiskey or something like that. Just trying to not think about it. You see?

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I would argue

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many, if not most, of the people in the world today, who don't really have a purpose,

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they are engaged in activities like this.

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I would argue I'm not I speak to many. So I have the proof, but

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kind of gives the game away, really, but

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so I'm there, I'm there in my room. I'm thinking, look, most of the people here are Christians. So let me go and find a serious Christian theologian. And let me speak to him. So I knock on the door of a church on the Lewis road.

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And this place is built on the same specifications of Noah's Ark. I don't know how they work that out. But you know, so when in, a guy says to me,

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I'm sorry, I don't have time to answer your question right now. I'm popping the question to him the most important question

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that humans have been asking, since the beginning of civilization, right? What's the purpose of life? What on earth am I doing here? What am I doing on the earth?

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So he says to me, come back on Monday, he makes me wait three days. I advise any Muslims don't do that. Any Christians don't do that. Any people of any persuasion or faith, engage with people if they ask you the question and answer it to the best of your ability. So three days later, I went back, he was kind of busy anyway. But he managed to give a, you know, a window of opportunity for me to speak to him. And so he, you know, say so how can I help you? I said, Well, look.

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See, I've got an issue.

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What on earth am I doing on this planet? Who am I? Who is God? Why am I being created? What's my purpose? And I'm pouring my heart out. I'm about to cry, you know, because when you're asking questions like that, and you think you're right on the verge, maybe of finding out what this mystery is all about? See, the guy says to me, after thinking for a bit, he says,

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Have you ever thought about doing a theology degree?

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Look, you made me wait three days, mate, but you ain't making me wait four years. That's how long it takes. Trinity College Dublin. I checked it all out. I decided against it because it was extremely dogmatic. It didn't seem to answer fundamental questions very, very easily. It seemed to make you want to have to learn a whole scientific language before it would tell you the basic thing. What are you doing, man? I don't know. That's what he told me. He said, I don't think I can help you.

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So I went in search of a theologian, I found one is that I couldn't help.

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Now, it could have been 1000 other guys who would have answered the question, right? But this one he did.

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He went out of that place, pretty depressed. I can tell you that. I never went to the extent of considering taking my life or anything like that. But it got very close. Sometimes. It got very close. When you're living in that dark room with a blindfold on. You can just hear and see glimpses of something going on outside. And pretty much that's desperation levels are reached. desperation 1000s and 1000s of people probably even on this campus that are probably feeling the same way. They don't talk to you about it to your face. Of course, we don't come to you and say hey, I'm depressed. Yeah. No, it doesn't happen like that.

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When they go home, you know, and all the hullabaloo and all the lectures and all the food and all the invites and all the niceties. How are you doing? I love you. You know this falsity you get these days, right. Hi, I love you.

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You know what I mean? Isn't it just powerless. Right? And then we go home, and then Oh, crap. Not another day.

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It was literally like that.

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was literally like that. I spent eight years going out every Saturday Friday and Saturday night right? With one group of people and one particular guy. And after eight years old, he could tell me was you know what, Tim?

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You know, I would advise you one thing and I can help you. I would advise you to go and see a shrink

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after eight years.

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Ramos finito oh

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my god life

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Five minutes, a lifetime in five minutes.

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Not possible. So

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he says go and see a shrink. So he's saying fundamentally anyone who asks personal questions, questions about the origin of man,

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about the creation of the universe is the heavens and the earth and god knows what.

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And God knows what

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that person is labeled as being a loony lefty. bit weird. Nice to see a shrink. You see. So these are the this is what we were told.

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This is what we were told. So hundreds of conversations, hundreds of meetings with people of different persuasions and different religious backgrounds, different cultural backgrounds in different countries. I was in Pompeii, Pompeii was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius erupted. I was looking at what they were doing in Pompeii.

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You know what they were doing in Pompeii. Have you been to Bombay?

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What did you see in Pompeii?

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great civilization, right?

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Yes. And there were some other things going on there as well.

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Just reflects, Allah says, He says, Cyril therapsid travel in the world. See what the condition of the people that came before you, they were stronger than you they were mightier than you but they are dust now. Back to the Creator. Massive civilizations extremely sophisticated.

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But the activities in Pompei, bestiality,

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bestiality?

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See, it was one strip, I went down just for people who want to have sex with dogs. Go to Palm pay, and don't take my word for it.

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Why was Pompey destroyed?

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Why?

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Why on earth? Why was it destroyed? Why did Mount Vesuvius cover it up, and then allow people to see the condition of the people as they died?

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This was such a smack down for me, you know, it was like, a serious. So the all of these things and incidents and these, you know, the evidences that I was seeing were informing me

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of something higher power,

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some greater essence and greater power.

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Then, after all of this,

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after all of this,

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after all of these visits, and so on and so forth, and meetings, how is with I was in the university, and I was with

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a girlfriend.

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And she said to me,

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You know, I was with her for a number of years. And one night, she said to me, tell him tomorrow, don't come here.

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I said, Well,

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what sort of thing is that to say to somebody that you care about? said to me, Well, he's got something to do with my religion, you say? I said, Well, your religion can't be right. You can't throw people out without explaining to them.

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You know, why are you throwing them out? And you know, is there something that I've done or said, she said, No, it's to do with my religion. I said, Look, religion, are you one of you is wrong.

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She got very angry and went in the morning to the ISOC. Like you do when you have a girlfriend who's a Muslim, so I knocked on the door

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like you do open the door, man, long beard.

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You know, Saudi style.

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Excuse me. I've got a problem my girlfriend

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you will have you don't get rid of

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so says to me, Well, she's no good for you. And you You are no good for her. is better you get rid of her.

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I said you as well. She's kicked me out and you now you're telling me to leave her as well? What is this? What sort of a religion is this? What is this religion anyway? Oh, Islami? Yeah. Okay, release. So he piles a pile of books like this. I remember the day and it was two weeks later, I'd read them off.

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I went back to the

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I went back to the

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the girl and I said to her look,

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really sorry that focus your religion.

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In your religions, correct? You are the problem.

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I said, Why didn't you tell me about this religion? And why were we doing these things, you know, together? Being boyfriend, girlfriend? Why didn't we just like getting married? Why didn't you tell me? I wouldn't even consider this life. In fact, I'm quite convinced by Islam. Islam is really an amazing way.

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So I read all of this stuff, and slowly but surely, I started to understand more and more. Now, what was the month

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month, Shahada Ramadan, the month of the Quran, the month where that big devil Shakedown is locked up. So slowly, but surely, I found Islam and I started to understand it. And then towards the end of Ramadan, one day, I, I fasted one day, and it was like somebody had taken me out of the dark room,

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and removed my blindfold, and shown me the rest of the world. And it's the first time I'd really seen the world through the eyes of a believer, and the eyes of somebody that really had you know, well just started to live under mentally just started to live. So then I, I kind of just kept watching myself because I'd read about the gospel and we do you know, gosl, new bonds and purification. So I was washing myself the whole night. You know, I kept reading some Koran, in English. And then washing myself really thinking I need to cleanse myself of all the stuff that I've done and thought and said,

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In preparation for I don't know what, because I didn't even know what I was doing really. But in the morning, I ran out of the house. And I found the first brown person with a white hats.

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Because that's all I knew Islam was brown people with white hats. I said to him, excuse me. Is there a mosque here? So yeah, just up there.

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Walked into the moss. And this guy grabbed hold of my collars at the top of the stairs and says your mind, you know, he can really see there was something peculiar about me, I'm sure. And he said, Brother Najib, his name was was publickey brother notability brother. Mashallah. Big smile.

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full of promises, man, Masha, Allah told me and said, What are you doing here?

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I said, I've come to accept Islam.

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And I need you to go through the ropes with me. He said, Well, what do you know about Islam? So I explained Islam to him, because I've been reading I probably made read more about Islam than most Muslims do. Anyway, in that two weeks, you see, so I've read through it. And I was totally convinced and ready to take the Shahada. And then

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it says, took me up to the mom. And that was just after failure in the last 10 days of Ramadan, so it was ram gems, you know, the mosque was full.

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So I took the Shahada, and

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just a small issue of about 300 men that hugged me, I've never been hugged by a man. Up until that point.

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Even my father hadn't heard of me. So it was quite an amazing experience really quite enjoyable, really.

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I said, let's do some more hugging, you know, he's like,

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like, a dance after a while, you know, you know, 1000s and 1000s of people, Mashallah. Great stuff.

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I have to say that, you know, that ever since life has become a major test, it's been a I'm sure Sarah and

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Teresa Tracy, sorry, not manager.

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Manager.

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There was a joke, by the way, wasn't Jay Z, I generally have a problem with names

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will explain to you, you know, they'll have a lot more very important things to say. But fundamentally, it's been an amazing experience, you know, going through that and then finding Islam and trying to fit in trying to find, you know, a group of people within the Muslim Ummah, the, the, the, the family of Muslims that will, you know, effectively, you know, be able to help me to understand this life better as well. So, thank you very much for listening and

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Bye bye