Abdullah, the founder of LightUponLight and VerseByVerseQuran discusses why he left Islam after promoting it for 15 years. I was Sunni last 15 years.
Followup video: https://www.youtube.com/wat...
I grew up Ismaili, my mom is Sunni dad Ismaili. Growing up in Canada in a public school, I was invited by a friend to join them after school for prayers. Being Ismaili, I didn’t pray Namaaz (the sunni form of the prayer), but I had done it before at my uncle’s house a couple of times when he forced me to pray, and felt comfortable enough, so I joined them.
I asked my dad if it was okay, who told me it didn’t matter how I prayed to God, it was fine. So I started praying with them daily. I also started going for juma (the friday prayer), and eventually started reading the Quran. I really liked it and felt that this is what God wants from me. When I read the Quran it made perfect sense and eventually I started to feel that Sunnism was more correct. It felt like it was unadultered and pure compared to Ismailism which felt modern and empty.
So as time went by, over the next year (still in highschool) or so I started attending sunni lectures organised by the young muslim / muslim student associations here and eventually after studying the Quran I came to the conclusion that Ismailism is a religion based on shirk and that praying to Aga Khan is an unforgivable sin.
Thus I left Ismailism and became officially Sunni. My younger brother followed me about a year later. He is still Sunni Muslim to this day.
When I was in high school, I found Islam. A friend offered me the Quran to read and I was amazed at how I found God’s message to me and how he wanted me to live my life. I read the entire book cover to cover in English, and proceeded to read Sahih Bukhari cover to cover (summarized edition). For many years I was still Ismaili, but I would attend conventions like ISNA Canada and also go to local Young Muslim events such as Suhaib Webb’s “Zina The Disease with 1000 Faces.” After some time I decided Ismailism was a perversion of the true message of Islam and I started to identify myself as a Sunni Muslim, around the age of 16 to 18. You can read this short summary that I wrote on why I left Ismailism to become Sunni (I wrote it many many years ago).
When I became (Sunni) Muslim, I followed Islam as much as possible to the best of my ability. This meant that even though I was leaving home for the first time and living on university campus, I had to avoid all the fun that my friends around me were having with girls and alcohol. I completely abstained from these vices.
During this time I started the web site Light Upon Light as I found there were not enough Islamic videos for people to watch for free. I even used to go and tape some of the events at the conferences and masjids myself. I have over 4 million downloads on this site.
As well, I was very much involved with Sh. Yusuf Estes and his Share Islam family of sites, providing technical support and advice for keeping his servers running smoothly, backups, administration, and so on. Some of his sites are Islam News Room, QTafsir.com, ReciteQuran.com, and many more. This was done on a volunteer basis.
I also worked with Eddy (The Deen Show) and Murad from IslamicTube on a daily basis. Eddy cried when he heard I left Islam and we talked about it a few times but it is what it is.
I also ran the site VerseByVerseQuran.com (now shut down) which was something I poured many years of work into and thousands of dollars. I was very sad to shut it down. It was serving mp3s composed of individual verses of the Quran (6236 verses in each recitation, and there was tons of recitations) , with around 1000+ simultaneously downloading at any given time going up to 2500+ simultaneous downloads in Ramadan. The Quran mp3s were used to develop hundreds of apps including recitequran.com, tanzil.net, mobile Quran apps etc. See the full list here) and I never charged money to anyone who wanted to use it. It was always free of charge. And I worked with Mahmoud Hammam (Custodian of http://quran.ksu.edu.sa
) on VerseByVerseQuran project and both of them will tell you I am truthful in that I did not ask for anything in return for what I did for them.
I don’t mention these things to gloat or show off, but to show that I was devoted to Islam and I truly believed in it with all my heart. Since most of you don’t know me, I only state this to make my story seem more personal and more real, and to show that I was a person who wanted to live and die for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa’ta’Ala. Also, I’ve had a lot of people tell me the most ridiculous thing – “oh you were never really Muslim anyway.” so I thought I would put this part to make it look more realistic and personable.