Here is an amazing story about an Australian man called abu-bakr. It’s one of those stories I’ve never really been able to forget.
You can find his story on YouTube and I’ll put a link down to the video below; it’s quite short and funny. But for those who don’t have enough data or mb to waste, I have taken the time to prepare a transcript of the video.
He starts off like this:
“Uhm basically my story begins in first Year University. I had a year with a lot of problems that happened to me: my parents separated that year, my dog died (it was a particularly tough day), uhm subhanallah I had 2 car accidents in a space of one week and also sadly I had a friend that passed a way that year. I think that year led me to ask some questions along the lines of why am I here? What’s the purpose of life? Why do I get up in the morning? Why do I even bother? Why don’t I just sit on the couch, watch TV and watch Jerry Springer or whatever? I think I started to ask questions about the purpose of life and that led me to do a bit of a holy quest.
Naturally as an Aussie (Australian), the first thing I did was investigate Christianity. I had a few Christian friends and I remember going to a church camp; it was one of the funniest camps I’ve ever been to in my life. Everybody was singing. I didn’t know what the words were; I didn’t know what I was saying. It sounded great, they had beautiful voices but it just seemed really strange and everyone was telling me how much God loved me and I was thinking “God loves me? My dog died” subhanallah. So I kept investigating Christianity and I went to a whole lot of different aspects of Christianity. So we are talking about Catholicism, we’re talking about Anglican Baptist, priests, pastors, and every time I go there and ask questions, I find that they wouldn’t pick up the bible and start answering me, they would just answer from their own opinions. And I started to realise there were a lot of interpretations of Christianity and a lot of people had their own interpretation. One priest from one church was believing one particular aspect of Christianity whilst another was proclaiming another. So I started to think to myself, the bible is one text but there seems to be so many interpretations and it was confusing.
At the time I was in first year university, I was also working at a service station; one of my part-time jobs. One of my colleagues was an Indian Hindu. We’d regularly change shift and at that time I was very inquisitive and I’d say to him “Dude, what’s the deal with the elephant-head guy? Why has that god got an elephant-head?” He said “oh that’s Ganesha” I said “I mean couldn’t you have chosen a lions head or something a bit better?” You know we would have these really deep theological debates while people are buying petrol. Again I found that that was very hard to stomach, so I sort of investigated a little bit further.
A good friend of mine was a Mormon. This religion actually appealed to me most out of all the Christian religions; The church of Latter Day Saints. They were quite strict. They don’t drink alcohol, they don’t drink caffeine. So unfortunately coke’s out boys, cause I know Leboz (Lebanese) love coke. But again there was that leap of faith I felt that I had to make to embrace this religion, and I found that I wasn’t just into making a leap of faith; I wanted proof.
I also investigated Judaism, would you believe? Uhm my original name before Abu Bakr was Rubén. So if you’ve probably seen Hollywood movies, you’ve seen Rubenstein and they probably thought I was Jewish so they say “ahh this guy is one of us”. But again I just didn’t find what I was looking for. Lastly, I looked at Buddhism and I found that this religion was probably the religion I was going to choose. I thought that this was great. There were people pastier that seemed to me really switched on, and they seemed to be living one with the world and that’s what really appealed to me. But the more and more I looked into it, I realised it wasn’t a religion of God, it was just a nice way to live.
One of my close friends who is a Christian would you believe said “tell me the religions you’ve investigated”. So I went through them and said “Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism”. He goes “What about Islam?” I said “Islam! They are terrorists. I’m not going to investigate that religion. They’re crazy! Why would I even look at their religion?” But, lo and behold, I found myself walking into a mosque one day. This is my eternal quest. So I walked straight in, shoes on, straight across the prayer rug. There was a brother praying, I walked straight in front of him as he went into sujood, I might have stepped on his head. Subhanallah! I didn’t have any clue what I was doing. I looked over and I saw this brother and you probably know this guy; its Abu Hamza. He’s come here and he lectured a few times. Subhanallah, I call him Abu Da’n because he has got a very large beard mashaAllah. He came walking out towards me and I thought today I’m about to die! This is the last day of my life. I am a dead man! I’m a white boy in Leb-land. What am I going to do here? I’ll be dead! He came walking across as though he just walked out of the Sahara desert, a big abaya, a big beard. But subhanallah, the first words he said were “Good day mate! How’s it going?” Subhanallah, I was very taken aback by his welcoming nature.
As Aussie, I don’t wan’t to offend any Australians here, but my upbringing is from my country upbringing. My parents raised me as an atheist, they were raised as Christians. They were dragged along to church every Sunday and they hated every minute of it. So as soon as we were born, they drummed it into our heads that “when you die, you’re worn through, that’s it. There’s no after-life, there’s no God, it’s all rubbish.” So I was raised as an atheist.
So when I walked across and I saw Abu Hamza and he was talking to me in a very polite fashion, which I was very thankful for because I was sure I’d seen him on the 5 o’clock news hijacking a plane the day before. Now Aussies are hospitable, don’t get me wrong but Leboz are the most hospitable people I’ve ever come across. And as the brother Abu hamza was saying, these brothers were making me cups of tea. Honestly, I needed to keep going to the toilet every five minutes. They just keep putting tea in front of me and biscuits. I’ve never seen anything like it. I think to some degree, I kept coming back for the biscuits, but also for the religion.
So when I sat there with these brothers I actually started asking questions. I asked all the questions that I asked of the priests, the pastors, of my friends and subhanallah the thing that really struck me was every time I asked the question, they wouldn’t just answer. They would pick up the Quran and they’d say “read this bro” and there was the answer. Every single time and I would ask another question; the hard questions, not the easy questions. Why do women have to wear the scarf? Why the hijab? How come I can have 4 wives and she can’t have 4 husbands? I wanted to know all the tough questions, which are the first questions I guess you ask when you first come across Islam. But lo and behold they kept on answering the questions with the Quran, not from their opinion. I got frustrated with this. And I actually said to one of the brothers because by this stage, I had been going there for a couple of weeks. There were always a few brothers there whenever I went and I said to one of the brothers “what’s your opinion on the matter? Why don’t you give me your opinion?” And one of the brothers turned to me one day and said “I cannot have an opinion when this is the word of God.” Subhanallah! I remember that really hit me. So I asked them if I could take a copy of the Quran home, and I didn’t say I was going to use it to chuck up the couch or anything like that. I said I was going to respect the book. So I took it home and started reading it.
What I found while reading is that it wasn’t as though I was reading a story. It was as though I was reading someone commanding me, someone giving me guidance. One night I decided to really try and get the spiritual mood happening and I’m sure some of you have already heard this story before, so I apologise. I lit a candle, had the window open, had the curtains drawn. I was trying to get that really spiritual feeling. It was a nice summer night in Melbourne. And I was sitting there thinking: this is it! This is the night. I’ve been investigating all the spiritual proofs, all the scientific proofs (of the Quran) about the fact that the mountains are the pegs, about how the embryo develops inside the woman all these amazing proofs but I still needed that little push. It was like I was at the edge of a cliff, I was ready to jump, I just needed a push. So I was sitting there. It’s very quiet, I was reading Quran. I stopped. I said: Allah, this is my moment. This is the time I’m about to jump into Islam, all I need is just a sign. Just a little sign. Nothing huge, maybe a bolt of lightning…maybe half the house could fall down or something you know, just small. Small for You, I mean You created the earth, come on. So I sat there, I was waiting for the candles to start gliding up 4 metres high like in the movies. And I say “Okay, Go!” (Looks around) and Subhanallah, nothing! Absolutely nothing happened! I was really disappointed, to be honest. So I sat there and I said: Allah, this is your chance… I’m here. I’m not going nowhere. I’ll give you another chance. Maybe you’re busy. It’s day time in the other side of the world, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on. So maybe this time it could just be a siren…forget the house falling and candle just something small. Maybe a bird could fart outside..I don’t care, just anything. So I said “okay, Go!” (Looks around) and Subhanallah absolutely nothing happened. And I mean I couldn’t have even said “oh that was it. That creek just set in the wall, that was it!” Absolutely nothing happened! I was really disappointed. I was gutted. I was sitting there thinking this is it, this was my last chance Islam and I really haven’t found it. I pulled back the Quran and turned back to where I was reading. Subhanallah the very next verse on the page read: For those of you who asks for signs, have We not shown you enough already? Look around you. Look at the stars, look at the sun, look at the water. These are the signs for the people of knowledge. And Subhanallah…I threw the duvet over my head and I pretended I was asleep, I was that scared. I couldn’t believe how arrogant I had been towards my own specific signs when all the signs have been there for me all along. The fact that we have this world, the fact that there is this creation, these are the signs for all of us.
The next day I decided this is it, I’m becoming a Muslim. I had been investigating Islam for probably about 6 months to be honest. I went in and I said to myself this is it. I am going to make shahadah (testification of faith). I had no idea what I had to say. I had no idea what the words were. It was probably close to isha prayer, it would have been 7 or 8 in the night. I went in and I couldn’t believe there were about 1000 people at the mosque. I thought Subhanallah look at this religion, look at how strong they are! It was the first night of Ramadan. (Laughs) Ramadan Muslims. So I sat there and I was nervous. I got up and this person is saying to me, you got to say these words bro “Ash-hadu…” I’m like what? Ash what? Cant I just say it in English? The guy said: no you got to say it in Arabic. And I looked at the sea of beards that I could say in front of them, and I thought I get these words wrong I’m a dead man again! I had this fear you know, and they were staring at me. And I don’t know if you know this but Australians can’t stare, Lebanese people can stare. So I was sitting there, very scared. I got up and subahanallah as soon as I started to say those words, all fear went out of my mind. It felt as though a shower was inside my head and someone just turned on the cold tap. I felt like I’ve been flushed clean.
I said the words and I wasn’t expecting so many brothers to come up and “Takbeer! Allahuakbar!” An start kissing me and hugging me. I’ve never been kissed by that many men in my life, but it was a beautiful day I must admit. That day was the Day I had more brothers than I could ever have imagined. More sisters as well. Since that day I never looked back.
My family initially was very worried that I was going to be a little bit weird towards them, that I would break out the AK 47’s and the grenades but they realised that this religion was actually making me a better person. Prior to Islam…you’re not going to believe I had a Mohawk. I did. I’m not going to show you any photos. I had army grades. I had the Metallica t-shirt. I had the cherry docs. I was shocking right? I thought I looked great but I looked terrible. Alhamdulilah ever since then I look as good as I do now. No, don’t laugh please. But my parents were the first people to actually say to me once, which truly amazed me. My father actually asked me for the Quran recently which I was really happy about. I always thought he’d be one of the hardest people to work on. But he said to me that: ever since you’ve been a Muslim, you’ve been a better person. You’re more reliable. I can count on you to come pick me up when my car breaks down. Whereas before I’d say “dad, I was drinking last night, i don’t know if it’s still out of my system.”
..end of video.
I’ve read alot of crazy convert stories but Subhanallah this guy Abu Bakr, just something about his story that really struck me. Many of us have read over that verse in the Quran regarding the signs without seriously pondering upon it. I couldn’t help but feel like God had him in mind when he revealed the verse to the Prophet saw for the very first time, knowing thousands of years later it would shaken and impact one of his beloved servants.
May Allah swt give us more wisdom and understanding of His book and i pray it brings about the right effect. Ameen.
See you in my next post ^.^