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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How Abdul Malik - A Brother with Extreme Tattoos & Body Piercings Reverted to Islam

I came to Islam 24 years ago. Before this, I was a heavy metal punk musician. I grew up with a good education but I was rebellious. I was like a human version of Iblees (Satan) in the way that I rebelled. I would not bend my neck to anything. I questioned everything I was taught. I questioned history. I questioned that there was history and that there is “his story”. There are truths and there are lies and I rebelled against the British way of everything. I never drunk, I never did these things, but I thought I would rebel against the system, against the governments I think are unfair. I would do it through music. So I did music that criticized the government, criticized the society I lived in, thinking this would also make me happy. Happiness doesn’t come from the outside. Happiness comes from within. I now know happiness, as water, as life itself, comes from Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). At the time I thought I could make myself happy through the music. I thought forming my own ideas and the ideas of others, would make my life complete. So what did I do?! I played loud music and I deafened a generation; and I tattooed, and I was pierced, way before all the people were doing this thing. Now it is common place. Then...20 odd years ago, it was unusual and it was uncommon. If you see the holes in my ears, they are not from fighting in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, they are from my own stupidity. But we do these things, and we live with the consequences. I would say that the things I did were done through anger. Anger for various reasons; anger at society, anger at things that I didn’t understand, anger at the fact that there must be more in life than just property, money and wealth; these things that everybody says ‘is the meaning of life’.

I’ve always thought that there was a God and I’ve always asked where He was. I looked at every ‘ism’. I had a good university education, but I argued against everything, and at the end of the day, I looked at Christianity, and they said that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has a son. And I could not accept this. If Allah needed a son, that would mean He had a weakness; He is in need of an heir. If you have a son, you’re gonna die, he takes over. Why do you need this if you are All-Sustaining and All-Powerful? So this did not make sense. I looked at Hinduism, and they were worshipping the statues, and I said to one, “If I break your statue, will your statue come and hurt me?” I didn’t even know about Islam. And he said, “You know, it would be a terrible thing.” - “so if I throw your statue on the floor, it will kill me?!”, I thought this was ridiculous; it is a non-sense. I searched Jewish religion. I thought, 'well I can’t be this cause this is not just a religion; it’s a race as well, and I’m not of that race. So how can I join something I’m not part of the club?' It didn’t make sense either. I thought God created everything. Not just one people. I looked at all these different philosophies. Marxism, ism, skism; skism and ism…and at the end of the day, all they are is man-made, manufactured, made by man for man’s ego. And this, I did not understand.

Long time ago, I was walking along Kensington High Street, and a brother had a leaflet. And he was doing a very early version of dawah (calling people to Islam). There was no dawah 20 odd years ago. There were very few Muslim Reverts. (I don’t like the word ‘convert’. ‘Convert’ is to ‘change’. ‘To revert’ is ‘to go back’. I have gone back to what my natural inclination should have been in the first place. There is no room for ‘convert’). So I took the leaflet, and I saw the word "Islam", and I thought, 'What is this thing?'

When I was very little, my grandmother (because I grew up with my grandparents), took me to Hyde Park. And I used to see Arabic Graffiti on the wall, and I used to like the script, and I used to wish I could understand what it said. Somewhere, deep down inside, that must’ve stayed with me, cause when I got this leaflet, and it said ‘Islam’ on it, I wanted to check this out. Then, there were very few books on Islam. I found one, and it was Ghulam Sarwar’s “Beliefs and Teachings of Islam”, in its first edition (its now in its 9th or so edition). A very primitive edition then. And I read it. And I saw the script again and I said, “Ah! So it’s this religion that has this script"; the script that as a child I thought, ‘what is this thing?’ I was good at art, and I thought the script was beautiful; (and of all scripts, it is the most beautiful in the world!) And I looked at this thing, and I read and I read, and then I read one thing –

In the name of Allah, The Beneficent; The Merciful.
“Say: He is Allah, Uniquely One.
Allah The Eternal, Absolute;
He begets not, nor is He begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.”

[The Quran, Chapter 112]

This changed my life. To say that Allah is One. To say that anything that’s a creation has to have a Creator. You don’t have multiple creators for something. If you have multiple architects, they’ll all have infighting, they’ll all fall apart. You have to have unity – “Ikhlas”. To say Allah is One, The Absolute. He Has to be Absolute. If there’s not absolution; if there’s not completeness, then He is partial. If He is partial, then He is not the Lord of all. So He cannot be the Lord Creator. He begets none. Of course! We are His creation, separate from Him. Intact as a creation but separate in our creation. He doesn’t need a son, He doesn’t need daughters, wives or all the clutter that we have on Earth. And nor is He begotten. How can He be made of people or of something else? If something created Him, that must be more powerful, so that must be Allah. “Unlike unto Him, there is nothing” – This is what had the impact! To say, 'Unlike unto Him, there is nothing in the universe'. In the whole of everything. We can only see as far as far as our galaxy with the Hubble Telescope. This is as far as we can go. Now beyond that, how many universes are there? And beyond that, how many universes are there?? If there is nothing, within the light years, and in thousands of millions of light years, there is nothing equal to Him, and there is nothing like Him, then He is Lord of all. And if He is Lord of all, then what am I doing standing on my feet? I must be on my face!! Because He put me here, therefore it should be gratitude, that I show Him.

On the point of taking the shahada, there was nobody around to ask. I didn’t want to ask a lot of the brothers in the street because there were people walking around then, there were no reverts, there was no literature on Islam, there were no little dawah tables out with that ‘take a leaflet brother’! There was nothing. I look back and I think, it (Islam) then, shouldn’t have been partialized to a community. You should not put a boundary around Islam. You can’t put a box around Allah.

And so, when I looked at this thing, I thought, 'where am I gonna go?' So I looked through the phone-book. Yes! In those days there were phone-books! There was not “one two one, one one eight hundred”. So I looked through there and I saw London Central Masjid, Regent Park. And I thought, ‘ok…Go there!’ And looking like I did (I had a tour in the last week and I have a photo of how I used to look like). I had bright blue hair; long hair, ear-rings, tattoos, vest and belt made of bullets. I went in there and I took the bullet belt off cause I thought it might be a bit disquieting, and I tried to tie my hair back, as best as possible, and I said, “I want to make shahada”. And they were surprised and they couldn’t speak much English either, and they just looked at me as if they couldn’t hear me. I said, “Can you bring me somebody who can speak English?” And they brought me Abdullah, who was the Secretary of the London Masjid then. He said, “What do you understand about Islam?” I told him all I had read, and I’m an avid reader, so I read and read. He was surprised, and he said, “ok! I think you understand, but you know you can’t look like you do”, and I said, “I don’t wanna look like I do, but that’s all I have at the moment. I can change that, but I need to change my heart first”. And I took my shahada on 4th February, 1986.

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