Day 20 – Lexington, KY
Peace and blessings to All. This is Hamza Abdullah checking in for the Abdullah Brothers Ramadan Tour. A while back, I told you that there were a few stops that we circled on our tour. And of those we circled, we put stars next to an even fewer. With Kentucky, we circled it, starred it, cut it out and put it on the refrigerator, took a picture on our phone, then emailed it to each other for safe keeping. I knew Lexington was going to be a great stop, but I didn’t know it was going to be THE stop.
“#TeamFajr”…Send. *Alert* 1 New Interaction. Muhammad Saifullah retweeted you. “#PrepareForRamadan”…Send. *Alert* 1 New Interaction. Muhammad Saifullah retweeted you. “#BeBlessed”…Send. *Alert* 1 New Interaction. Muhammad Saifullah retweeted and favorited your tweet. This is what I would see on my phone. And I’m thinking, “Who is this brother?”. I click on his profile, and he’s a Muslim football player for the University of Kentucky. His twitter handle is aptly named “@TheUKRudy“. At that moment I said “I want to meet this brother”. So weeks went by, then we announced we were going on our tour, and who do you think was the first one to retweet, favorite and reply to my tweet? Yep. The UK Rudy. He said “You have to come to UK. Have to”. This brother stayed on our heads, tweeting, facebooking, getting all his brothers and sisters on board. I knew it was going to be tough to turn him away.
Humza Qureshi, and the Qureshi family planned an all out assault that we were not ready for. Humza is the president of the UK MSA (Muslim Student Association). He, along with his posse, put together a recruiting plan, that Coach Calipari would be proud of. They tweeted, made a FaceBook event and even created a petition. Come on man. A petition? How am I suppose to beat that? Then people actually signed the petition. LOL. I couldn’t make this stuff up. They recruited us like we were the missing pieces to a National Championship. We weren’t expecting it, and we surely don’t deserve that much. We are very appreciative, of their efforts, and we pray God rewards them.
When Husain and I decided to make Lexington one of our stops, we tweeted the MSA. And I’m sure if there was a “Cartwheel” button, it would have been pressed a few times. They were excited, and so were we. That’s what this trip is about. Everyone benefitting equally. We altered our route, so now we would make a 13 hour drive through the night from Washington DC. It wasn’t an easy trip, but with the grace of God, we made it. We arrived in the early morning and slept until Asr (The afternoon prayer). When we got up, we cleaned ourselves up and headed down to meet the MSA. We had a full slate of events scheduled, starting with the Jacobs Hope Center Cafeteria. The MSA invited us to their monthly appearance at the center. It gave me a chance to put others ahead of myself and say Alhamdulillah (All praises are due to God). Sometimes I may complain over trivial things, and here are folks, smiling and happy, that God blessed them with a meal. I need to take this attitude from them. To say Alhamdulillah, regardless of my circumstances.
After the Hope center, we went over to the local high school where a standing room only crowd awaited us. We spoke, gave out T-shirts, and had an informative Question and Answer segment. It was a very powerful scene. However, something caught me by surprise. Two elderly couples sat in the front row. 70-80 years of age, I’m guessing. They weren’t Muslim, they just came for educational purposes. They were Caucasian American, and they sat on the edge of their seat. One of the women, even answered a question right, and won a “#TeamFajr” shirt. She reminded me of my TuTu (Grandmother). After the program, I ran down to greet them, and to thank them for coming. They hugged me as if I were their grand child. They spoke softly and with so much humility. They told us, they learned a lot, and were glad they came. This almost brought me to tears. I had a moment. One of those, seal it in a jar, and put it on a shelf moments. If I had any doubts about doing this trip, they were extinguished with this conversation. If I may offer one piece of advice, I would say, emulate these elders. Never stop attaining knowledge. God willing, I can be like them, when I grow up.
The day was not done. We headed over to the Masjid, for Ishaa (the NIght prayer), with Midnight hoops to follow. We played until the wee hours of the morning, then headed to Umm and Abu Humza’s Crib for Sahoor (The pre dawn meal). Umm and Abu mean Mother and Father. The food was delicious and the company and conversation, made this, the best meal we’ve had on our tour. One brother who accompanied us the whole day was an interesting fellow. Wesley Robins. He was a member of the MSA 3 years running. There was just one thing. He wasn’t Muslim. At first I found it strange, but the more and more I talked with him, the more I was impressed. Good conversations are hard to come by, and this brother was laced up tight. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and this relationship that was formed, happened for a reason.
During this tour, I have felt so selfish. I feel as though, I’m benefiting more than anyone else. The People, the conversations, the clothes, the food, I could go on and on. I thank God for these opportunities, and I thank God for blessing me and my family. God willing we all will benefit. Major league shout out to the MSA of UK, Humza Qureshi and his family, Wesley Robinson and of course Muhammad Saifullah. I hadn’t pulled an all nighter in a LONG time, but this is one, I can be proud of. I thank you for your time, and patience. This post got a little lengthy, but I would be doing these special individuals a disservice, if I limited this entry. Thank you again, and God willing we’ll see you in Atlanta. Peace and Be Blessed.