Participants: Shakeela Yasuf
Series Code: DOA
Program Code: DOA000004
00:40 As-Salaam-Alaikum, to our Muslim brother and sisters,
00:45 Shalom to our Hebrew cousins,
00:48 peace be upon you to our Christian friends.
00:51 Welcome to "The Descendants of Abraham."
00:55 Today, we'll be speaking to a young man
00:58 by the name of Abdul Saeed.
01:01 And he will tell us about his journey to the God of Abraham.
01:06 I would like to welcome Abdul Saeed. As-Salaam-Alaikum.
01:11 Walikum Salam, sister.
01:14 Abdul tell us a little bit about where you were born
01:20 and your journey to the God of Abraham.
01:23 Sister I was born in Saudi Arabia
01:26 in a Sunni Muslim family.
01:29 My parents, my mom and dad were strictly Muslims.
01:35 And they were not only practiced Islam
01:38 not only just by the name
01:39 but they were practicing Islam strictly.
01:42 So my journey as a Muslim--
01:44 I was raised in Saudi Arabia as a young kid
01:48 and grew up in this environment where everybody is Muslim.
01:52 In Saudi Arabia-- Yes.
01:54 It is, there are lot of-- it's all Muslim.
01:56 Yes, majority of them is Muslim.
01:59 We cannot find anybody other believers.
02:02 Because they're pretty strictly to themselves.
02:05 Okay. And how did you worship God?
02:10 When you're living in Saudi Arabia.
02:12 Oh, living in Saudi Arabia,
02:14 obviously, you really don't have access to anything else
02:17 beside that as a Muslim and that was it for us
02:20 that my parents raised as a Muslim.
02:23 That admit us in Islamic school where we used to go everyday
02:30 to learn and read Koran and they also taught
02:34 to how to pray in a mosque five times a day.
02:39 So as a Muslim over there, that was my ritual,
02:44 my work that I have to do everyday
02:46 to pray namaz five times a day and read Koran.
02:51 Okay, and you learned Arabic.
02:53 Yes, I do learn.
02:55 I mean it's amazing the way anybody can read Koran,
02:59 but I read Koran so many times but I have,
03:02 is amazing I don't know what's the meanings are.
03:05 Interesting. It's just difficult to explain people.
03:08 Lot of time people asked me.
03:10 If you learned how to read Koran and know Arabic
03:14 you should know the meaning.
03:15 I said it's different because to learn how to read Koran
03:21 only thing you need to know about alphabetics
03:23 and they have sings on the top.
03:26 If something comes on the top you pronounce this way.
03:30 So I learned, I read Koran so many times
03:33 but I really don't know what the meanings are.
03:34 Okay, and you know, it's the same with me
03:37 as I was growing up,
03:39 we learned Arabic to read the Koran,
03:41 but we also spoke our native, our native language,
03:45 throughout, you know, with the family,
03:47 throughout the day.
03:48 What language do you speak?
03:52 My parents were from Pakistan and I speak Urdu.
03:56 Okay, Urdu, right.
03:57 And, you know, it's amazing.
04:00 Living there, but every place you go in Saudi Arabia
04:03 all the Saudi learn how to speak Pakistani Urdu.
04:07 So we really don't have time to learn Arabic or speak to them.
04:13 So only thing I used to do, I used to communicate with them
04:17 if I go to grocery store
04:18 if I see some Saudi working there.
04:20 Okay. And they were familiar with Urdu.
04:23 Yes. Oh, they because that's the business there stores are.
04:27 So they know lot of people don't speak Arabic so they learned.
04:30 They learned Urdu. Urdu.
04:32 So they can communicate with the customers.
04:34 Right, and I always found that interesting
04:36 and I have the same thing people say
04:38 well, as a Muslim you speak Arabic
04:41 and I said no we learn Arabic to read the Koran
04:43 but we speak our native language,
04:46 the Muslims around the world.
04:49 And when you were in Saudi
04:53 what was your life like as a Muslim.
04:56 In Saudi Arabia life as a Muslim that was pretty different.
05:01 Everything is rules.
05:03 Then you have to do certain rules as Muslim
05:07 to earn your good heaven.
05:09 We used to pray namaz five times a day.
05:13 And as a Muslim you must follow and pray namaz Allah's,
05:18 you know it was like if you miss your prayer--
05:21 morning Prayer, you cannot make up.
05:22 You will get punished for that.
05:24 So we just used to get up in the morning regardless,
05:27 we don't know what we're doing
05:29 our God's going to accept those prayers.
05:31 You just have to pray.
05:32 And you know as a Muslim we used to fast
05:36 and it was amazing thing to me during month of Ramadan
05:40 when we used to fast for thirty days.
05:42 All of people think you might loose some weight.
05:45 I said no. I actually gained lot of weight.
05:48 Because you're hungry all day and soon it's time to open,
05:52 break your fast.
05:54 You just stuff everything in your mouth.
05:56 So I grew up in Islamic country as a Muslim,
06:00 I never see anything different.
06:02 I see all those things you're doing just for your works.
06:05 Okay, and let's speaking of Ramadan,
06:09 you've been about Ramadan, when I used to--
06:14 I keep Ramadan and the fasting throughout the month.
06:19 As a child too I enjoyed that time.
06:22 Like you say, you fast all day, but after sunset you feast. Yes.
06:28 And before sunrise, you eat well too.
06:34 And it was like a really a month of really feasting.
06:39 And we had special foods at that time. And so on.
06:42 But like you said it was ritualistic
06:47 and you didn't really understand what it meant.
06:50 Exactly, same thing.
06:51 I mean only the reason I like that month
06:54 that you can eat a lot of different foods
06:56 and a lot of time your family get together everyday.
07:01 You know, your friends coming to your house.
07:04 You're making food for them.
07:05 And they're bringing different food.
07:07 But really nobody is caring what is exactly mean is.
07:10 The only thing they see, they're okay,
07:12 if this person is fasting or we're fasting
07:15 let's go stuff ourselves when it's time to open.
07:19 And, you know, that was it for us
07:21 month of Ramadan and nothing else.
07:23 You know, I mean you can see the bazaar
07:26 that used to get full.
07:29 Lot of people will go for shopping,
07:31 for different cloth you're buying,
07:32 I mean that was it for us.
07:35 All right. So you saw this celebration. Yes.
07:38 And that you told me too about Hajj and Umrah.
07:44 Yes, living in Saudi Arabia one of those thing
07:47 you can say privileges as a Muslim
07:50 or was for us it was so easy to go to holy city
07:53 to perform Umrah or Hajj.
07:56 I mean Hajj is the lifetime responsibility for one Muslim.
08:01 And Umrah is pretty much similar thing.
08:04 But Hajj has lot of things that you have to do in certain times
08:09 and Hajj journey lasts for 3 days.
08:12 Umrah you just go around Kaba seven times.
08:15 And you're done.
08:16 So for us-- I performed Umrah so many times
08:21 that I can't recount on my fingers.
08:23 But it was all same thing. It was the ritual stuff.
08:26 You really don't know why you are performing for that.
08:28 You just know, okay that's you got to do it.
08:31 Because you're Muslim.
08:32 So did you do umrah daily or weekly how many times
08:37 did you performed Umrah.
08:38 No, Umrah was like every time my dad got a time
08:42 to take a long weekend.
08:44 And we used to go to Mecca and perform Umrah.
08:47 Right. So--
08:49 And because you lived close by to in Saudi Arabia,
08:53 you're able to do that more often.
08:56 Yes, yes compared to people who lived different countries
08:58 because you have to get a visa to come to Saudi Arabia.
09:02 For us there was no visa, nothing.
09:04 Only thing we have to do just get a long weekend
09:07 and just go drive to holy cities.
09:10 To holy city and perform Umrah. Yes.
09:13 And Hajj, you know, for people who don't understand,
09:19 you know, Hajj.
09:21 Did you perform Hajj? Did you go to Hajj?
09:25 Did you make that pilgrimage?
09:26 Yes, I did perform Hajj.
09:28 And a lot of people who don't know
09:29 what exactly Hajj is,
09:30 Hajj is long three day journey
09:33 where you have to go from one day,
09:36 when you're done one day.
09:38 It has a timing.
09:40 You have to be make sure
09:41 you're in different city after certain time.
09:44 If you don't get there before the time is over
09:47 then you're not going to be accept,
09:48 your Hajj is not going to be accepted.
09:50 So Hajj is a once a year come
09:54 and that's only the time you can perform Hajj.
09:56 And you know, it's amazing to me.
09:58 Every time I have been to Holy City
10:01 to perform Umrah or Hajj,
10:03 lot of time we used to hear that somebody steals
10:06 something from other person.
10:08 Because there are so many people like so much crowded.
10:11 But I always used to think myself.
10:13 Okay, you're here to the holy city,
10:17 God's house basically
10:19 and you're stealing right over the God house is.
10:23 So I never get it, how come people
10:25 can do those kinds of things.
10:27 But basically they're just coming.
10:29 They don't know why there're coming to perform Umrah or Hajj.
10:32 They're just coming to you know coming to this holy city
10:35 and just stealing somebody.
10:37 So what's going to interesting to me
10:39 that why this thing happening.
10:41 So seeing all of that started to put questions.
10:45 Yeah, starting to mind, you know, that's not right.
10:47 If you're believing that you're in the God house,
10:50 you're going to be afraid.
10:51 You're going to be respect him.
10:53 You're not going to be stealing somebody stuff
10:56 and just move on to your life.
10:58 You're going to be have some kind of feeling guilty.
11:01 So always used to thought in my mind,
11:03 you know, how come people can do those kinds of things
11:06 when they are coming to Holy City.
11:08 Okay, okay. That's interesting. That's interesting.
11:13 With your family and your parents and all that,
11:17 you know, because I you know came up the same way
11:22 you know in a Muslim family and so.
11:25 One of the things I miss and I did enjoy was the community.
11:30 Did you have that there in Saudi or was it different?
11:34 Oh, yes there was one of those biggest thing I miss community.
11:39 Community was for us was it was like
11:41 if anybody gets sick or get hurt,
11:43 you just see everybody come to our house,
11:45 you know, asking for us if we need anything regardless
11:48 what time it is.
11:50 You know, things people use to pour things to us.
11:53 And just say okay, let us know don't think
11:55 that it's going to bother to us if it's 2 or 3 in the morning.
11:59 And we were so close to each other.
12:02 We were just like one bonded family regardless
12:05 if you're family member or not.
12:06 I really missed that sometimes.
12:09 Yes, that I can understand that.
12:13 You know, it's hard when you're separated from the family
12:21 and then after you left Saudi you told me that you moved.
12:24 Where did you moved to?
12:26 I moved to Pakistan.
12:27 My dad send all of us to Pakistan, to go back home
12:31 because we were really from Pakistan.
12:34 We lived there.
12:35 I lived there for most of my life, my young life.
12:37 And obviously I was Muslim still that time.
12:41 And I had to perform everything one Muslim has to do,
12:46 take all the responsibility to pray namaz five times a day.
12:50 You know, doing fasting for month of Ramadan.
12:55 We use to zakat, giving to your poor.
13:00 So I moved there for few years.
13:04 And you mentioned zakat. Yes.
13:07 And I know I'm familiar with zakat,
13:09 but for those who're not familiar with zakat,
13:12 what is that.
13:13 Zakat is one of those things that you have to,
13:17 is the set of amount that you have to take
13:20 from your whatever you've money in your saving.
13:24 And give towards to God.
13:26 I think that's seven percentage or one percentage something.
13:30 I'm not sure. I don't remember now.
13:32 But one of things that if you have money in your saving
13:35 or if you have a gold jewelry then you have to weigh
13:40 that jewelry in whatever pound is or jewelry is weight--
13:45 The pound for gold, yes.
13:47 Then you have to give that money towards to the poor.
13:50 Okay. Okay.
13:54 When you're praying five times a day
13:58 and when you're performing Umrah
14:03 what was going through your mind and your heart.
14:06 Did you feel close to God?
14:08 Did you feel God was hearing you?
14:10 What was your relationship to God?
14:13 Oh, you know what,
14:14 I remember I used to perform all those things.
14:17 You know, praying namaz five times a day.
14:19 Fasting for the month of Ramadan,
14:21 but I never felt I'm getting close to God.
14:23 I always thought I'm just doing works
14:26 that this is my responsibility
14:28 I need to do everyday regardless
14:30 if you're accepting my prayers or not.
14:33 So for me, okay I was like okay, I'm praying namaz.
14:38 I'm not even sure my God accepted my prayers or not.
14:41 Because it was amazing to me that, you know,
14:44 lot of a time you forget things what we have to do.
14:48 Sooner we're ready to pray namaz,
14:50 everything starts coming in my mind.
14:52 And I remember, you know,
14:54 namaz should be focusing towards God.
14:56 But instead of focus towards God I'm focusing things I forget.
15:01 So I never felt close to my God, close to God.
15:04 I always told that ritual stuff that my parents told me
15:08 that I have to do to earn my heaven.
15:11 Yeah, okay so.
15:13 You're more concerned with are you doing the right things
15:17 to earn your way to heaven
15:19 and focusing on that than really being able
15:23 to form this relationship, this personal relationship.
15:27 I never further have relationship with God.
15:30 I was thought I have to do things to make sure,
15:33 you know, you always put it on a skill level.
15:36 If you do good deeds,
15:37 your skills are going to be higher.
15:39 If you do bad deeds your skills going to be higher.
15:41 So always, you know, for me that I better do it those things
15:47 because I want to make sure I can go to heaven.
15:50 So it was just like I was hoping that God is merciful
15:54 and hopefully, He is merciful.
15:56 He is going to let me go to heaven.
15:57 Otherwise I will be big time trouble.
16:00 So never had an assurance that God accepted your prayers.
16:06 No, never.
16:07 I mean a lot of times they say when you're ready to pray namaz
16:10 you're focusing towards God,
16:11 but my gosh Every time I'm ready to pray namaz
16:15 my mind is some place else beside focusing to God.
16:18 So I know that same time, man, I am done praying namaz.
16:22 Now I'm not even, I was some place else.
16:25 Not even focusing my God.
16:27 I'm not sure He accept my prayers or not.
16:30 But I thought, you know, He is merciful.
16:32 Hopefully He'll accept my prayers.
16:35 So there was no relationship.
16:37 It's just, one of those things works
16:39 that we have to do to earn heaven.
16:42 Okay, so when you moved to Pakistan
16:44 did you miss Saudi Arabia?
16:47 Yes, because I was born there.
16:49 Right, It's your home. That was my home town.
16:51 And I miss their living style
16:54 that I used to be in Saudi Arabia.
16:56 And, you know, what's for me so easy to go to holy cities
17:00 because you know I used to go a lot.
17:03 And was not only that to go holy city.
17:06 I missed that much.
17:08 I missed the time with my parents
17:10 because it used to take us at least a day
17:15 to get to the holy city,
17:16 and we used to drive down there with as a whole family.
17:20 So that's the part I miss.
17:22 Because it was for us like a one day picnic thing,
17:25 my mom cooking dinner, cooking food, making sandwiches
17:28 to taking to us to go down to holy cities.
17:33 That's the part I miss.
17:34 I mean other than that I don't miss anything else.
17:37 I can see that in your eyes when you talk about
17:39 those times your eyes light up.
17:43 How is your prayer life different today?
17:47 Oh, my, when I accept Christ I find out
17:50 that I don't have to pray certain times.
17:54 Because in Islam everything has to do certain timing.
17:58 And you have to focus
17:59 and then you have to do on one direction.
18:02 Now I'm believer I can pray any time.
18:06 It's not necessary that I have to be in certain place to pray
18:10 or I have to be in different direction.
18:12 I can be laying down. I can pray.
18:15 I can be watching TV. I can pray at that time.
18:19 You know, sitting on the couch or on the computer.
18:23 Now it's amazing that my prayers,
18:26 I'm praying more often now then I was Muslim.
18:29 Because when you're Muslim you can do certain prayers,
18:31 at certain timings.
18:33 And that was it and you have to do certain direction. Right.
18:36 Facing east, facing Mecca. Facing east.
18:38 We always have to face Mecca when we pray.
18:41 So now you just pray when you're driving,
18:45 pray when you're sitting, pray when you're working.
18:47 And you believe God hears you.
18:50 Yes, because now I have a relationship with Him.
18:52 Because that time I was doing just that I'm not sure
18:56 I have a relationship or not.
18:57 Because that was a stuff I thought that those thing
19:00 you have to do earn to heaven.
19:03 Now I don't have to earn to heaven
19:05 because He came on to us and die for our sins.
19:10 So we can have relationship with him.
19:12 Because he came as a human being
19:15 because he know that we're in work doing enough
19:16 to be in heaven with him.
19:18 And you know, his heaven's a pure place.
19:22 But as a human being do sense regardless where we are at.
19:26 So God knows that we're not worthy
19:30 and we are not good enough to go to heaven.
19:32 So he came to earth to die for our sins.
19:35 So I don't have, now I don't have to worry
19:37 that how I'm going to go to heaven.
19:39 That part is over done. He already paid price for us.
19:43 Only thing we need to worry now what he did for us
19:46 so I can tell good news to others.
19:49 And that's what you're doing today.
19:51 You know, how did you come to Christ?
19:54 how did you come to know Christ?
19:56 Oh, it was a long journey for me.
19:58 When I came and when I almost start struggling that,
20:02 you know, that I'm doing all those good deeds good stuff
20:06 I really don't know God accepting my prayers,
20:09 accepting my good deeds,
20:11 because you still have to depend on Him
20:13 then He is merciful.
20:15 I was restless, I couldn't go to sleep
20:19 and I cannot understand everything
20:22 but my friends they were Christians.
20:25 This is in Pakistan.
20:26 No, that wasn't Pakistan,
20:28 I went to America for the education.
20:30 Oh, that's right.
20:32 You said that your father sent to be educated in America.
20:36 Yes, I came to America.
20:37 When I came to America was amazing thing
20:40 that I find out about the Christianity.
20:43 Because in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia
20:45 what they say about Christianity was totally different.
20:48 You know, you heard a lot of things that Christian do
20:51 all the sinful things because God die.
20:54 You know, Christian believed that he died for our sins.
20:57 Now they can do as many sins.
20:58 And I find out it's totally wrong.
21:00 He didn't said, you know, yeah he died for our sins,
21:03 but we should follow what he did for us.
21:05 So we can tell other people about him.
21:08 So my journey was long journey
21:10 and I always start questioning myself.
21:13 I started asking God who you really are?
21:15 Show me? Tell me?
21:18 And I used to ask my friends, tell me, give me the answer?
21:22 And there was amazing people. They never judged me.
21:25 They never point to me that you need to blame him
21:28 otherwise you will go to hell.
21:30 You know, they always showed me the love.
21:32 The love I never got it from any place else.
21:35 And I won friends.
21:37 He really gave me this example.
21:39 He said look, he said listen I want to tell you one thing.
21:44 That he said if you have a son, and if he did the crime,
21:49 a crime is he murdered somebody
21:52 and during in front of judge, judge will give you two options.
21:56 Either let your son get the death penalty
21:58 or you take his blame and let you,
22:02 let your son go free and you die for your son.
22:06 You know, I say, you know what, you love your kids so much.
22:10 You do everything for them.
22:11 Christ did exactly same thing for us.
22:14 He loved us so much.
22:16 He came to this earth because he knew we are not worthy.
22:19 We're not good enough. So he died for our sins.
22:22 Because he wanted to be have relationship with us.
22:24 So we can be in heaven with him forever.
22:26 Yeah, I like that. I like your analogy there.
22:30 Does your family know you're Muslim?
22:33 Yes, my family found out
22:36 few months ago that I am a Muslim.
22:39 It took me almost four years to let them know
22:43 that I'm a believer now.
22:46 And at first they were really upset.
22:49 I understand they were heartbroken,
22:51 I totally agree what they were saying.
22:53 Now they see the differences I have in my life.
22:57 I'm a new person. I am more respect to them.
23:00 I'm loving. I'm caring.
23:02 I do everything, you know, obey my parents.
23:05 And now they've start seeing difference
23:08 and now they've started accepting me who I am.
23:10 Okay, what's your favorite Bible verse?
23:14 Oh, the one Bible verse that really got me the most,
23:17 a friend he said you need to read this verse was John 3:16.
23:22 I'm going to read to you.
23:24 It says "For God so loved the world
23:27 that He gave His only begotten Son
23:31 that whoever believes in Him should not perish,
23:36 but him everlasting life."
23:38 It's amazing, you know, they told me regardless
23:41 what kind of sense you did if you just believe in him,
23:44 he will forgive all your sins.
23:46 And, you know, he died for us.
23:49 I mean who is going to do that.
23:50 Our Lord he came and he died for us
23:53 because he loved us so much.
23:55 So that's my favorite verse when he gave it to me.
23:58 He showed to me.
23:59 I say guess what, you got me now.
24:02 So John 3:16 touched you heart.
24:05 Touched my heart, yes.
24:06 And that's when you started studying more
24:09 and come to the God of Abraham. Yes.
24:13 This is the God of Abraham. Yes.
24:15 If you have, if you could say something
24:18 to our brothers and sisters,
24:21 okay, one thing you can say to them
24:23 what would you like to say?
24:24 I just want to tell my brothers and sisters that,
24:27 you know, we're living in Muslim world,
24:31 Muslim countries where we don't have access
24:34 for too many things.
24:35 One thing that we have to do all the ritual stuff,
24:40 that we make sure do this thing, do this thing.
24:42 To pray namaz, do fasting.
24:46 And we do all those things.
24:49 You know, it makes us just,
24:50 you know, I just want to let my brothers and sisters
24:54 know it's not worthy.
24:55 Regardless how good you are,
24:57 how much you do all the good deeds
24:59 you still don't know He accepting your prayers
25:03 or accepting your fasting.
25:05 But it just amazed that our God, our savior, he died for us.
25:11 And he told us you don't have to worry now
25:13 how you going to go to heaven.
25:15 Only thing you need to worry to tell other people good news.
25:18 And I just to other my brother and sister know,
25:20 you know what, you need to get
25:21 on those words and read closely.
25:23 So hopefully you'll accept Christ.
25:26 Well, thank you so much, Abdul.
25:28 I'm so thrilled that you're here with us
25:30 and what you did today was telling
25:33 your brothers and sisters, my brothers and sisters--
25:36 Thank you sister to let me come and let me shared my journey
25:40 with other brothers and sisters. Thank you.
25:44 When you get to the Descendants of Abraham,
25:47 you can be sure that you're lighting the way
25:50 for all in search of the Creator God
25:52 and His message of love and forgiveness to all nations.
25:56 Thank you for your support and for your prayers.
26:00 All contributions are tax deductible.
26:02 Please visit us online today at www.descendantsofabraham.org
26:08 or write to us at the address you see listed on your screen.
26:11 All correspondence will be kept confidential.
26:15 You know, we read in Injil, the holy book of God,
26:21 that He says whoever denies me
26:28 I will deny them in front of the father.
26:33 But whoever, whoever talks about me
26:38 I will bring them to the father.
26:41 And the scripture says, he who loves father or mother
26:46 more than me is not worthy of me
26:49 and he who loves son or daughter more than me
26:54 is not worthy of me.
26:57 Today you heard the story of Abdul Saeed,
27:02 and what he did today the story he told today
27:07 I would like to say, Abdul, you are worthy of him.
27:13 You have given up a lot for him
27:15 and I would like to thank you for taking a stand for God,
27:20 for our Lord and showing yourself
27:22 worthy of his sacrifice.
27:25 God bless you. Thank you.
27:27 Join us again next week as we continue to search
27:31 for the truth of the God of Abraham.