Yusuf Chambers, a Muslim convert from Britain
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My name is Yousef, I'm 52 years of age, I've been a Muslim for 27 years. I, ethnically I'm from an Irish stock with a bit of English in there as well, father was Catholic, my mother was Catholic, although only nominally Catholic, didn't really take it that seriously. We didn't have an any religious upbringing at all, no education in terms of religion. And we lived our lives as we saw fit. As we, as our desires took us we went, my mother and father used to give me some indications of what is right and what is wrong, but very, very little in the way of religious instruction. So we were free.
Basically, I left school at the age of 15, I ran away from home at the age of 15. My father had already left home when I was four. And the last thing I said to my father was, Dad, you better leave because my mom doesn't like you anymore. You know. So that was the last time I saw him as as a young as a child until I was 24. I want to seek him out after that.
That was part of the journey for me to find myself because once I'd left home, I started traveling a lot. I started broadening broadening my horizons. Meeting people, I'd always ask lots of very difficult questions. And usually people would, you know, come back to me and saying, Why do you ask so many questions? You're so annoying. Get out of here, you know.
But I kept asking questions, because my idea was that
I'm on this amazing journey with 1000s of 1000s of people around me millions of people around me. And I should be asking them, like, they should be asking me, what's it all about? Where's this journey taking us? You know, as someone got a roadmap, you know, where's the Sat Nav? You know? So yeah, I mean, I spent years and years and years asking and traveling and asking again.
And I, naturally when I read books on philosophy, or religions or the purpose of life, so I, I started to seek out those people that were writing those books. So I met the Christians, I met the Jews, I met the Buddhists and the Hindus, I met, I met everyone apart from Muslims, by the way,
because I didn't even know what Muslim was, or Islam was a tool at that time. I asked the Christian
least once or twice, and they said they didn't know what who God was. I met the some Hindu
worshipers. And they
weren't able to answer the simple questions about what the purpose of life was in a very, very simple, easy, understandable, digestible way. So I left them.
I met the Buddhists and I started doing Buddhist meditation for at least three months I was doing, and it made me feel good, you know, so I didn't leave off the Buddhist meditation. But I asked the question, I popped the question one day, and I said to one of the guys,
who happened to be one of those who happen to be white
Buddhists as well
as Tim, what's the purpose of life?
So he was stirring his herbal tea at the time, and he got around 15 rounds of stirring and
pot and they tried to ask the answer the question, he said, to contemplate the supreme
So I said, I'm
And he, he's trying to justify why he had evidently mentioned a contradiction in terms by any stretch of the imagination. It's difficult to imagine something that's super, and yet absolutely nothing. So he tried to give me the golden sutras. And I started reading that and I couldn't understand it. I didn't think I was a shallow individual who couldn't understand things because I've been reading a lot. I've been reading Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Russian authors and very complex materials, in order to try and find the purpose of life not to try and be big and intelligent, you know. And so this book I couldn't understand. So I said, it can't be the truth. Because the truth
has to be easily understood by most of the people, if not all the people
So I left that.
But I continue doing my Buddhist Buddhist meditation. So I started looking into the Chinese philosophy study doing martial arts, I studied doing Tai Chi, Tai Chi for three years, I was still reading and reading and every ism and every schism and every possible thing which which would help me to try and find me, Tim,
who am I, you know.
And it was a big struggle, massive struggle. So I went off and I was told that, you know, the top 5% of the world, they go to university, got to Sussex University,
studying politics and third world development, because that seemed really interesting to me. But it wasn't the paper, it wasn't the it wasn't the subject, he was the fact I was going there with this top 5% of the world, sitting with me. So I got there, and I was mortally disappointed, because most of them were just out to get drunk and
have a hedonistic lifestyle, whilst they were away from their family for the first time in their lives.
You know, so I was there in the university, and I was pushing, prodding, poking everyone again, and again, and again, trying to find out what this life is, you know, a 99% of the people just don't want to talk about it. This is what I found. You got to find the 1%. And when you find the 1%, you don't want to leave them. You know, one day, I had a particular
female friend that was
told me not to
bother bother calling her The day after, you know. So I went to the Islamic Society because
I was so confused. And I was having a real bust up with her on a fallout with her argument and wanted to know why she kicked me out. Because she said, she was kicking me out something to do with my religion. I happen to know she was a Muslim. So after all, these millions of questions
are now unanswered questions that you know, what led me to this faith was an arguments about her religion, which she claimed to be following.
So anyway, knocked on the door, the Islamic Society and I found this Iraqi guy with his headscarf
smile as well. Kind of a nice smile. And I said, Look, I've got a problem with my girlfriend.
So he said, You got a problem with the girlfriend? Is that why? So? Well, she's Muslim, and she just told me that she didn't want to,
you know me to come today. So I want to know why.
So he's kind of said, Well, look,
best thing I can do is give you these, give me a pile of books. And he said, read all these. So I did for two weeks, I just read and read and read and read, I read about how to make how to purify yourself as a Muslim, how to have a bath as a Muslim, how to pray as a Muslim, what's the history of Islam, I started reading some of the chapters or small chapters of the the book which they claimed was,
you know, sent from God. And slowly but surely, the answers started popping up,
just miraculously from this incident.
Then I discovered, of course, that the month was Ramadan.
So then I started to learn that these guys were fasting,
you know, for 30 days not continuously, of course, but they were fasting the daylight hours of, of this month, and this month was about the coming of this book, which we were taught which I'd been reading the quarter.
And it was a
you know, it was a revelation to me at the time as well because of course, I never knew Islam Muslims. That was the first time I heard about Islam, but I never ever knew what that Islam was a way that that white.
You know, Catholic people like me growing up in Britain could
could possibly accept, I thought it was a religion for brown people, and ethnics, you know. So
I slowly but surely started getting the answers to the questions that I had been, that had
been dominant in my life, you know, for the 10 years, and I couldn't sleep days and nights would go by why I couldn't sleep. There were
moments when, you know, I just think, what's the point of this life without knowing, you know, without having any certainty about a direction about a purpose or support? I mean, would anyone go on a journey? Without knowing the destination? The purpose? Absolutely not, you know, it's, this is plaguing me ever, every, every day I would, I would be looking at the stars. And I will be literally crying every night, crying myself to sleep, because, you know, you're tiny. And this is huge. And this is a this is a game plan.
This has, this is more than just, you know, a mere coincidence, Amir happening, that something has just happened out of nothing.
This is this is by design.
And you have to find the purpose. So you come across this book, which answers the all of the questions. You don't like what you read some of it you don't like, it is kind of good for you. Right? You realize it's good for you.
it was probably the third week of Ramadan. And
was reading that. And I was watching these guys that were fasting. And they were praying
in that place five times a day and that center. And I would join them and I would be doing the prayers with them. But I couldn't really know what was going on. But it felt right.
And one day I woke up and I said, Look, I'm gonna fast today. Because the fasting is the thing that really seemed to be very attractive. And it was a challenge for me, and I thought it might help me in the journey. So I prayed
I started fasting that day.
And it was like, somebody had removed the blindfold.
They unlocked the door,
they remove the ear muffs. And I was able to think clearly. And just that moment, on that day on that time was the the moment when I found Islam.
you know, when you're fasting sincerely to find the one that created everyone here and everyone out there, and every one that's going to be created later on, after we go and we leave this planet leave this journey
is the ultimate sacrifice when you give off your food and give away your the luxuries that you have and the water and you do it sincerely seeking the face of the one that created you
is the moment when you truly you found yourself, you know.
So that was that day, I was the day and I hadn't taken what was called the Shahada or the declaration of faith.
Because I thought, oh, God knows me better. So why would I bother, you know?
Anyway, I went on right until the end of Ramadan.
And one night, I was just super aware of myself of being like needing to get rid of the past and start something new. It just just felt like that. So the whole night, I was just like, I was making this ritual pollution, you know, watching because I was reading it all the time and the books I had with me and trying to get rid of something that was in the past. And then in the morning, very early in the morning I just walked I went out and I started looking for a mosque.
I went to a mosque. I got to the top of the stairs and the guy grabbed
have me and said, Look, what's what's going on? What are you here for? Can we help you?
I said, Yeah, I've just come to embrace Islam.
He said, Well, we don't know you. I mean, we've never seen you. What do you know about Islam? Who said, I've been reading about this for the last two, three weeks, in fact, and I mean, fasting as well. So they were quite surprised. And they said, Well, have you? Have you washed? I saw me washing the whole night, man.
I made the declaration of faith.
And then I kind of got hugged by 300 men, you know, and I've never been hugged by a guy before. Not even my father, I don't think I remember feeling that it really was a very amazing moment. It was,
it was unlikely that I would feel that way. Again, that feeling of elation, the feeling of
Actually, I was I felt very
relieved, because imagine spending 10 years searching and searching for something which you don't even you don't even know what that is. It's not like you're gone, you search something or search for something right? Which you know, and you pretty much know where you drop that thing. So you've got a very small area that you can check, you know, from home to work back to school. Yeah, like, I can trace retrace the journey with something like the purpose of human existence. In a sea of 8 billion people, with millions and millions of potential miles you need to travel. And that took me 10 years, I was 2025 or 26th time I embraced Islam. And I, I. So the feeling was amazing. It was something
which is groundbreaking. And then of course, ever since, you know, you got all the challenges of being a person who does claim to believe in God. So I didn't really have any concerns
about you know, taking that plunge and becoming a Muslim, or because I was doing it sincerely to try and if I didn't do it,
well, what was I going to do? instead? How would, you know, I was destined to fail to literally become an alcoholic or to
to be a person that would just live their life as a hermit. Literally, that's the way I was thinking at the time before I embraced Islam. So I didn't really have any
hang ups about accepting something was going to really, truly speaking helped me here, doesn't matter, the external didn't matter to me. At that point, I would do anything to find the truth. And I'm, there's a lot of people out there like that, in this world. I've met lots of them. And they, they, they they genuinely good people. You know, they have that feeling in their heart, they really want to,
they really want to spit it out. But really, there's nothing to be fearful of, rather than you should be fearful of the fact that you're not being sincere to yourself true to yourself. That creates mental conditions. There's a lot of people have psychosis and mental issues because they're not true to themselves, what their heart and their soul is telling them. They're not doing that. This is,
you know, we call it hypocrisy.
We mustn't be hypocrites, a community of Muslims, practicing the faith of Islam
is a family that most people don't have. And, again, that family, it's 1.6 or 171 point 7 billion people worldwide, I go and visit them. I can just say, peace be unto you, in a gathering of people in a room and I've got potentially 1000 invites, right in front of my face, you know, if I go and pray in a mosque in wherever it is Abu Dhabi or Kuwait, or America or from so. So that's the community that I never had. And I yearned that community. I remember when I married my wife, I said, I need to marry into a family. I need a family. Because we increasingly in the world, not just in the Western Hemisphere. We don't have we lonely, you know, 40% or more of the population of London
lives on their own.
That's shocking people don't even know their neighbors. This is just London, London, number one capital of the world, right that everybody loves to be part of that people are not part of each other, you know, distinct from each other. So I, I believe that the greatest thing that the faith of Islam gave me apart from the massive direction and being able to have soccer in the fact that there is a purpose. I don't need to go out to the pubs and get drunk anymore.
If I want to get drunk, I just pray.
if I want to find direction, I've got the sadness.
I've got the I've got the map.
If I want to
know anything about the faith, I rest assure I can go to someone who knows about the faith and they will give me direction as well. And I have that massive, beautiful,
And if you find the right members of our family, then you feel great.
Let's just be brutally Frank. We need to know who we are.
Where are we going? Who created us we ask ourselves these questions on a daily basis. Even if we don't vocalize it. We certainly think it is