July 10th, 2010. I had just quit my job a few months before after a long stint at Finish Line. A few days before my girlfriend dropped me off on the side of the road and I walked several miles home probably listening to Justin Timberlake’s Cry me a river. A year prior I decided to give myself to Christ, and months later was ordained as a deacon with plans to pursue a path in ministry. I started a nonprofit and began mentoring youth in one of the more difficult schools in my city, meanwhile I was working as a paralegal with hopes of one day becoming a big shot attorney and landing my American express black card. That same year I spiritually tanked as I sat with scholarship delving into my sacred texts and feeling an inadequacy in the tradition, a lack of direction, but still nonetheless having full belief that God was on high and that He had sent Christ to rectify the affairs of the people. I began searching for answers. When I was at my lowest I set up a subscription for World of Warcraft and raided nightly building my tier 2 (WoW Lingo) gear on my Tauren Druid.
This was the young man that stepped into a 10-day course to learn the Arabic language, under the assumption that in 10 days I would somehow be able to comprehend how this foreign religion changed Malcolm, and created Nations.
In that class I listened to an enthusiastic Ustadh Wisam Sharieff with a voice and passion for the Divine words of God that was unmatched, even now. I came into this class knowing nothing aside from my basic research, and in a few days was pronouncing the letters and words (due to the teacher’s brilliance and the openings from God). He invited me to sit in the upper-level courses just to get a taste of the science of Tajweed, it was there I met my soon to be best friends, Ahmad and Faheem. Ustadh Wisam didn’t know I wasn’t Muslim, and for a few days he would take me out on his morning Dunkin Donuts route where he eventually found out that I was some Christian man taking a class on Tajweed. He never said a word, nor did Ahmad or Faheem. I didn’t need them to say anything, because everyday that I walked into that room I heard God speaking to me.
8 years ago on July 18th, 2010 I walked out of that class as a Muslim. I was unable to finish the class because my entire world had become mayhem, my home was in shambles at my decision, my love life had drastically changed, and Osama Bin Laden was on the run so my decision as a young black American Muslim convert had just put me on a few radars, but internally…I was at peace and with a stronger sense of purpose than I ever had before. 8 years ago today.
The path has been difficult, the tears I’ve shed could rival the Atlantic, and the heartbreak could make Nicholas Sparks look like an Amateur writer, but I’m still here despite being told that it was a phase. My message to you is to turn your hearts to the Divine and watch what happens. He answers, He always answers.
By the morning brightness
And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,
Your Lord has not taken leave of you, nor has He detested [you].
And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].
And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.
Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?
And He found you lost and guided [you],
And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.
So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him].
And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him].
But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].
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