About the Speaker
I was born in Lebanon to a Muslim family per our birth certificates, but not Muslims in fact and in practice. Due to the excessive mixing with our Christian neighbors, we used to celebrate and partake in all Christian events with no exceptions at all. At times, my father would even hire a man, dressed as Santa Claus, to deliver the toys and place them under the Christmas tree in our home at 1 past midnight!! This goes without mentioning that we never performed Salaah during these many years.
At the age of 11, my grandfather passed away which was a wakeup call for my mother. She decided that it was time to change. However, we started practicing part-time Islaam according to the Sufi innovated Shirk-filled ways. In fact, the first major event my mother undertook was travelling, while bringing us along, to all the major grave sites of the so called saints in Syria and Lebanon. It is during these times that I started praying the prayer of someone who is clueless about the essence of the Salaah and the spiritual aspect of it. I would often combine all prayers at night often performing all of them in a few minutes. This was when I actually prayed since abandoning the Salaah was my predominant condition. I eventually enrolled in a Tahfeeth class to learn Juz' Amma but that did not last long either. When I reached the prime time of my teenage years, I was totally misguided and had thrown the religion behind my back and had become fascinated with basketball and rap.
When I turned 18, I moved to the United States as a student and got into all kinds of Hollywood- like situations in my life that time and mannerism prevent me from being elaborate concerning them. The bottom line was the fact that I joined an underground rap group called "Scums of the Earth" who were all Buddhists and I subsequently became a Buddhist myself. I suffered a lot for 5 years internally even though externally I appeared to be living a lavish life and enjoying myself.
After reaching rock bottom and the epitome of humiliation, I got hired by a Lebanese brother who was running an insurance company. He treated me very kindly and helped me out a lot. He used to establish the Salaah and in turn, I started to pray with him out of shyness and as a token of appreciation to the assistance he provided me with. He would also take me with him to the Masjid on Fridays and I would listen to the sermons and become more convinced that the way I was leading my life was a destructive one.
It was during these days when Ramadaan came and it was a time for reviving my soul and experiencing real Eemaan for the first time in my life, perhaps. My life started to change slowly and I eventually met a brother who studies at Madinah Islaamic University thereby guiding me to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, may Allaah exalt his mention. He would spend time with me teaching me the basics and giving me all kinds of authentic Islaamic books. Before he returned to Madinah after the summer vacation, he led me to a Masjid where Sheikh Abu Mujaahid Fareed Abdullaah, who graduated from Imaam University in Riyadh, was the Imaam. It is there where I learned the sound Aqeedah, Fiqh, Traditional Arabic (my native tongue and I actually used to be good at it back in school in Lebanon), and other Islaamic sciences. The Sheikh was very knowledgeable and humble, may Allaah preserve him.
I eventually decided to migrate to Saudi with my wife and children and Allaah facilitated that by His Grace and Mercy. When I came here to Jeddah, I got involved in the Da'wah Center and eventually worked for them full-time thus providing me with the time and means to enhance my Da'wah skills and further my knowledge in the Deen. This is besides the classes and the lectures I attend here conducted by various Shuyookh upon the Sunnah.
I presently hold weekly classes in Tafseer, Aqeedah, Da'wah, Arabic, along with delivering Fridays sermons in Arabic and English.
I have been granted permission to deliver lectures in many hospitals here some of which none had been able to access before. I praise Allaah for that.
Overall, I am a regular brother who strives to act upon the teachings of Islaam and share them with others among the Muslims and the non-Muslims. Needless to say, I strive to live up to and propagate the Qur'aan and the Sunnah according to the understanding of the Salaf (righteous predecessors).
I ask Allaah to accept our deeds and pardon our shortcomings.
Abu Mussab Wajdi Akkari