“I asked a Korean Imam and researched about scholars. The Risale-i Nur Collection also helped me. So now I know Islam is really a peaceful religion. Now I am so happy. I am so happy to know the truth.”
Although the sky has turned black with dark clouds and the humanity is in a great pessimism, plus, the vast majority of Muslims are struggling with great troubles, however, we hear some heartwarming and consoling news.
Recently we have heard such a pleasing news from the Far East, South Korea… A few months ago, a famous Youtuber Jay David Kim declared that he converted his religion into Islam. Jay David Kim, a South Korean Christian, after making a detailed research on the Islamism, then he concluded to choose it. Reciting “Confession of Faith” became a Muslim and changed his name as Davud. He began to perform five times prayers a day, to fast and to fulfill precisely all the other requirements of Islam.
Narrating his story of becoming a Muslim, Davud says the main factor that affected him was Risale-i Nur and a family that introduced himself to Risale-i Nur.
Such kind of inclinations towards Islam confirm Bediüzzaman's following statement : "If we present the true Islam, the honesty and uprightness befitted to Islam, then they will include in crowds." The increase of these events makes us happy. But it also made us reminded on “Our duties and responsibilities with respect to true Islam and the guiding for honesty worthy to Islam”. He warns how serious and heavy responsibilities we are in charge.
We prepared this interview that is carried out in English by a Youtube channel with Jay Davud Kim.
Translation: Özden Atukeren
How does it feel to wake up to a new day as a Muslim?
I am so happy! Actually, I am so happy. There are some hardships and difficulties in Korea as a Muslim, but instead of that, I am so happy, because so many Muslims in Korea said congratulations. In all line in YouTube in Instagram in many places everyone said congratulations, Mashallah. And the happiest thing is, I have become a Muslim, because I really admire this situation. So now I am so proud of that I can say “I am Muslim” and “I am on the right path” and “I am with Allah” and I am so happy.
Mashallah man! That is amazing. So we have a couple of questions for you, if you would like.
You got a lot of messages. Do you get also -you know- bad comments?
Sure, there are still many Islamophobia and some people say “Oh will you join Isis?” or “Will you be a terrorist?” and... But I don’t care. Negative people always see the negative things. So I don’t need to care about them.
You grew up in a Korean family, right?
Yes, a Catholic family.
Did you have any prejudices against Islam back then?
Of course. Of course, I had. When I was 8 years old. There was a 9/11. It was a big shock for me. Because every TV program, media, news, always on the news about 9/11. And they talked about Islam, terrorists, Osama bin Laden. So when I was young I thought, “Oh Islam is a dangerous religion. On the one hand Quran and on the other hand sword.” So many people think, "Maybe they can attack people for their religion." So I had a lot of prejudices. But now, I met the real Muslims, not in media. They thought me a lot of positive things and the real things, the real teaching in the Quran. Real teaching of Muhammad (pbuh). So I know that was the prejudice. Now I know the truth.
That is really cool man. I mean it is a hard situation to be in.
Yeah! Right, right! But I am so lucky. I am so lucky that I knew the real Muslim people.
Which resources did you use when you were researching about Islam? You know the Risale-i Nur Collection.
Oh yeah, good question. At first, I researched on Google. Yeah. But it was not a good idea because there are so many bad things in the internet. I changed my thoughts “Oh maybe I should meet, ask Muslim people.”
So I searched for a Muslim and asked them:
“Why don’t you eat pork? Why don’t you drink?” “Why did you wear hijab?” “What is the purpose of your life?” “Who is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?” “What do you think about Jesus?” and many things. And they answered me. And oh! This was totally different than I thought. And I asked Korean Imam. Researched about scholars. The Risale-i Nur Collection helped me too. So now I know Islam is really a peaceful religion and now I am so happy. I am so happy to know the truth. Yeah, mashallah.
I want to ask you, what was the thing that fascinated you the most about Islam?
This is a really good question. The most impressive thing is the purpose of your life. The attitude of life. Because in Korea, we are educated about the competition. Like, study hard and you have to go to a good college and you have to get a good job. But Islam teaches you a different thing. Like the good job is not a real success. The real success is following Allah’s teaching well. And after that at the day of Judgement, you go to paradise if you follow His words well. And that is real success. You know…
Yeah like... It doesn’t make any sense for someone to… You just enter to this world and… What is your purpose? You’re just going to invent something called telephone and then you’re just going to leave this world. That is your purpose…
Yes! That doesn’t make any sense. Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense. It impressed me a lot. Like, “Wow, this is what I want.” Because I had lost my way. But it feels like, in a dark room, He gave me the light. I can see where I have to go. So it is a really amazing feeling..
Also what shocked you about Islam, when you were doing your research?
So many things. Actually at first the shocking thing was hijab. Because at first, I thought Islam oppresses women. That is the biggest thing I had against Islam. But when I was in Indonesia, I asked them “Oh, why do you wear hijab?” And the answer was really different. Because I thought they would say:
“Oh I wear hijab because they forced me.” “Because it is an obligation.” “Because I have to wear.” But the answer was totally different. They told me: “I chose this. I chose the hijab because I am so precious. Allah teaches me, Allah told me I am precious. That is why I wear a hijab; Because I don’t want to show that to everyone.”
And that answer shocked me a lot. Oh my God, this is totally different. It is different than what I thought. After that, I knew that. I realized that that was the faith; the belief. And it shocked me a lot. Allah doesn’t force you to anything. What Allah said, makes you more precious and healthier and happier. And there is always a reason. And it is a really amazing thing for me.
I know how you feel man.
What Allah tells you is not oppression. It is just a thing that will make you happier, eternally happy.
Yeah, it shocked me a lot. There are so many things.
Also, did you make any other research about any other religion?
Like you were a Catholic and…
Sure. I studied about Catholicism first, because my family is Catholic. And Buddhism, Hinduism… We have freedom about religion. There is a reason why I cannot choose any other religion. If there’s a God, He is Almighty; The Only One. The Greatest and the Most High. Only Islam teaches you that. The only one true God. Other religions, they have many different types of God. I didn’t understand that from my heart. So… That is why I chose Islam.
Yeah… And it is one of the principles that Risale-i Nur Collection proves. Because like… Imagine an army. What is easier? For one commander to command the army or three commanders? One commander is much easier, right?
Yeah, yeah! It is more logical and easy to understand. If my heart did not move, I would not have wanted to believe. It touched my heart. So… That is why.
Before taking the shahada and officially becoming a Muslim, were you afraid of some kind of a reaction from your family or your friends?
Of course. Surely That is the… That is why I hesitated for a long time to do shahadah. But I was really afraid about the prejudice in society. Because in Korea there are so many prejudices and stereotypes. And if you say, “I am Muslim.” It is hard to get a job.
And today! This morning, my cousin texted my mom. “Oh I saw your son converted to Islam. So can you persuade him well? And make him Catholic again please.” In the future I know that there will be a lot of pressure and opposition from society or my family. My belief is mine and nobody can be responsible for my life. This is my choice. And the relationship with Allah is only mine.
And that is how you dealt with it. You just faced it.
Yeah that is brave and really good. How did your first prayer feel like?
Oh yeah. Actually I did it in the masjid. An Indonesian imam helped me. It felt like I was connected to something. I didn’t know that was Allah, but it felt like I was connected to something. And it made me so peaceful. I am with Him. So… And I pray to Him. Five times, every day.
You pray five times a day?
I am really trying to do prayer. Because I really love those moments. Because it feels like I connect and I am close to Allah. It gives me peace of mind. Yeah, I really love the prayer in the mosque. And I did it all together, you know, with my brothers… And I felt that “Oh I share this feeling… Between left side, right side, and this line. And this is in Korea. And the world. Billions of people share the same feeling with me. And it felt so amazing. Yeah. It is like… The world… everywhere brothers share the same feelings together. And in the same direction.
And how about your first time fasting? How did that feel like? Was it hard?
I remember, because it was so hard. Because I didn’t know that I’d be thirsty. Because I thought, “Oh fasting? Just don’t eat food for a couple of hours. It is not a big deal.” I felt like I am dying. I practiced the feeling of a Muslim. What they did. And after fasting I drank the water. And it felt like I got everything of the world. And that moment was really important for me. Because that moment is when I started to have belief. It made me stronger. Every single day for a whole month. Because I did fasting for a month. When you drink water and eat something after fasting you feel grateful for the water. I am so thankful for the food, water, “Oh then who created this? Who creates this water? Who creates this food? Who creates this nature?” and final question, “Who creates me?”
And you understand the real owner of things.
Yes! That is what I got from Ramadan for fasting. I really want to say: “If you want to understand Islam, why they believe this, just try to fast.
And do you think worshipping is hard in Islam?
I think compared to other religions it is not easy because you have to take the time; Five times in prayer. You cannot eat something like pork or drink. At first it is not easy. And especially for Koreans it is not easy. But if you understand the reason… Why does Allah say do not eat pork? Why does Allah says do not drink? Why does He say pray five times? Why does He say fast for a month? If you understand the meaning of that then you can understand that it benefits you: in the afterlife of course, but also in your life. It benefits you too. Yeah it is hard but if you overcome the injury then you can benefit a lot of things.
Yeah and it makes total sense too, right? Because like… Imagine… He is the One that gives you twenty four hours and He just wants one hour back by, you know, doing the five times prayer.
And like, He feeds you all the time and He just wants you to give a break for one month. And that is not much, right?
Yeah it is just small hardships. Very small hardship. Allah is so merciful.
You were an example for a lot of people. A lot of people heard about Islam after watching your videos. Were there any Korean people who watched your videos? And started researching about Islam?
I have never thought Koreans would watch my videos. Because I think Koreans are a bit negative about Islam. And they’re not interested in Islam. But I got some messages in Instagram. “Oh I was Korean who was interested in Islam. But I was also really afraid. But, I saw your video and I got a lot of information. And also I got the courage that I can tell other people.” So if I get those kinds of messages I get so happy.
That is amazing! That made me happy too man! Really that is pretty cool!
It is all because of Allah!
What do South Koreans think about Islam? Are they still afraid after the 9/11 attacks?
Korean people are. They are not aggressive to Islam like other Islamophobic countriea. Because we don’t know about Islam well, we are just afraid a little bit. Curiosity. Because if you don’t know something you are scared. If they know Islam well. Not in media things. Then I think their perspective will change. I am sure.
What do you think about Turkish people?
Oh it is a good question. Actually most Koreans have good images about Turkey. Because there are some points. At the first World Cup, 2002, and we remember that. And so many people think Turkey is a brother country. And the second thing is so many Turkish people helped South Korea when we had hard times. Like you know. Korean war. They came to Korea and fought for us, and they took care of the war orphans. And the Koreans know about that. And we really appreciate that. And we think Turkey is a brother country. And I also think Turkey is a brother country. One person helped me a lot to convert Islam.
Actually Turkey has a really big meaning for me. Yeah.
He was Turkish, right?
Yeah. I made a video with him in his home in Ramadan. And I saw the Muslim family. That was my first time. Seeing the Muslim family’s dinner. So it was so impressive. And it was so beautiful. “Oh Muslim family. Wow it is so amazing.” It touched my heart so. It was the moment that I wanted to become a Muslim.
I feel you man. That is amazing. Was it the guy that had the Risale-i Nur Collection?
Yeah he had. And he gave me the book. Yeah about him. So he told me about the theories and the thoughts about actually he was really interesting And he talked about the universe, and Muhammad, and Allah, and Quran. And I think it is really interesting. So many things I am impressed.
Because you know. The Risale-i Nur Collection is also the tafsirs and commentaries that we read?
It is very common in Turkey isn’t it?
It is very common in Turkey and also in the world because it has been translated to, I think, more than fifty languages.
Hmm. Oh yeah right I have heard. Yeah actually it impressed me.
And the last question: What would you like to say to your brothers and sisters who are watching you? Why should people choose Islam?
I just want to say that. See, Muslim people are just the same as other people. Islam is not a dangerous religion. That is the first step. Like for me, “Oh Islam is not a dangerous religion. Oh then what is different? And who are they? And what do they practice? What is in their religion? What is in Islam? What is in the Quran?” Then in this process you can get a lot of things.
That is amazing man! I am really happy to meet you too.
I hope one day you can come to Istanbul so that we can have a whole conversation.
Editing: Erhan Akkaya