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Interview with Tuaha ibn Jalil

  1. Please share your story of change with us. How were you as an adolescent, and how did you eventually come to Islam?

I was a zestful and energetic young lad who had no other purpose except to enjoy life to its fullest. I used to do crazy stunts because I believed you only live once, but once is enough if you do it right. However, I was wrong; it’s not YOLO. It’s YOLT – You only live twice. 

It was a fatal bike accident that changed me completely. I had a near-death experience that made me the person I am today. The accident, which I thought to be a catastrophe for me, resulted in a blessing from my Lord. 

 وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ 

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing, and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. [Quran 2:126]

2. In the midst of all the dawah work and travelling, what do you do to give justifiable time to family & friends and unwind yourself?

It’s all about striking the perfect balance and setting your priorities straight. Every Muslim has four main dimensions in life; religion, family, finance and health. One has to give every dimension its due time. 

As they say, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I chose my passion for dawah (call to Islam) as my work; this is why I love Mondays and hate Saturdays, Alhamdulillah. I’d advise the youth never to get so busy making a living that they forget to make a life.

3. Your busy routine seems to keep you on the go. How do you balance the time you give to Allah (SWT)’s worship (Ibadah) while also giving enough time to dawah (call to Islam) activities?  

In short, the following Hadith helps me maintain a balance.

Abu Huraira (RA) reported: The Prophet (SAW) said, “Allah Almighty said: O son of Adam, be free for My worship, and I will fill your heart with riches and alleviate your poverty. If you do not do so, I will fill your hands with problems and never alleviate your poverty.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi – 2466] 

If a Muslim dedicates his time to worship (ibadah), then Allah (SWT) will care for all his affairs.

4. What tips would you give to young Muslims who want to practice Islam but face social pressures and disapproval from family members?

In these times of trials and tribulations, Islam is going back to become something strange; as our beloved Prophet (SAW) said,

‏ بَدَأَ الإِسْلاَمُ غَرِيبًا وَسَيَعُودُ غَرِيبًا فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ ‏

“Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so glad tidings to the strangers.” [Sunan Ibn Majah – 3986].

If you are facing peer pressure, I’ve five tips for you:

1. Spend time with those who resist peer pressure!

2. Learn how to be assertive.

3. It’s okay to ask for help.

4. Choose your friends wisely.

5. Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t!

5. What advice do you have for those practising Islam who want to bring their friends closer to Islam as well?  

Make dua for them in tahajjud. Help them in their matters and create ease for them in their affairs; this will help you win their hearts and ultimately motivate them to accept your dawah (call to Islam) call. 

Learn the knowledge, equip yourself with prophetic dawah (call to Islam) techniques, and implement them. Last but not least, be the best in akhlaaq (character).

6. Raising kids in post-modern times has its challenges. What do you think is the key quality parents should try to inculcate in their parenting to combat these problems?

The key quality is to be happy and look happy in front of your kids; this will strengthen your mutual relationship. Remember, a good relationship is a prerequisite for great tarbiyyah (nurturing and training). 

So, what do you do with yourself to keep yourself happy? 

Also, be friends with your kids, review your communication style and be interested in their interests.

May Allah (SWT) make our kids the coolness of our eyes and the leaders of Muttaqeen (those who fear Allah).

7. How did you cope with the tough times of covid and the new world dynamics?

Covid was a blessing in disguise for me, Alhamdulillah. I spent a lot of time with my family and myself, which I usually don’t get to often. After all, a Muslim never expects circumstances always to remain the same. He lives life as a traveller or a stranger in this temporary world.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never waste a single second of your life. Nothing is more valuable than time. I wish I had spent more time with the Quran.

9. Do you think it is possible to manage full-time dawah and a career/business side by side?

Yes, it’s possible but difficult.

10. What hobbies do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

I prefer meeting up with my brothers, travelling or dining out, and riding bikes on curvy roads with dawah (call to Islam) riders.

11. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

 I read Ibn al-Qayyim’s commentary under these verses. 

تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ 

“They arise from [their] beds; they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them, they spend [Quran 32:16]

 فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ 

And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort for eyes as reward for what they used to do.” [Quran 32:17]

Ibn Al Qayyim says: “Their reward is hidden in the depths of the night they wake up to pray and they are not seen by people, completely unknown. So Allah (SWT) hides their huge rewards from people.”

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