I was recently contacted by the Chronicles of Faith team, to promote some of their newly released videos, and when I viewed a few of their YouTube shows, I was pleasantly surprised and very much amused! I was so pleased by these brothers efforts, of bringing awareness to the Muslim ummah, that I asked them for an interview as well. It is always refreshing to see the youth taking initiatives to improve society, instead of only bemoan its ills. These guys deserve a big pat on the back!
My kids (especially my boys) love Ali Ardekani’s ‘Baba Ali’ videos, and the message really sticks with them when it is wrapped in humor. Chronicles of Faith is doing exactly that, spreading an important, moral message, in an easily digestible and crazy-funny format for kids, teens and adults alike. When I showed my kids a few of their videos, they were laughing and begging to watch the next one!
Some of their videos can be enjoyed by kids of all ages, and some are more applicable for tween and up. Either way, sit back and read the very first interview with Tarek Alaywan of the Chronicles of Faith Team. But first, enjoy an intro to one of our favorite videos from Chronicles of Faith, presented by Boonaa Mohammed.
1. MM: Assalamu Alaikum brother Tarek. It is a blessing to have you share with us a look into COF, thank you. Please tell us exactly what is Chronicles of Faith and where are you based?
COF: Wa Alaikum Salaam! Chronicles of Faith is a group of young Muslims, who are funny, yet take religion seriously. We hold the view that da’wah can be used in different ways, and our way is through comedy, of course ‘halal comedy’, which is not usual in Muslim communities in the West, nor in the rest of the Ummah. We are in Canada, Montreal specifically, but 3 of us have gone to Texas (Adel, Nour and Nafie).
2. MM: Who is part of the Chronicles of Faith team?
COF: In Chronicles of Faith there are 7 members, Adel, Nour, Mohedeen, Khadr, Nafie, Omar and myself, Tarek.
3. MM: Please tell us a little about each team member, starting with yourself.
COF: Well, my full name is Tarek Alaywan, a student in John Abbott College and also the president of its Muslim Student Association, originally from Lebanon, but I currently live in Montreal, Canada. Now for the members, Adel Ghadban, a Palestinian brother, a student at the Bayyinah Institute in Texas, and the founder of Chronicles of Faith and the ameer for Texas Team.
Nour Moudarres, a Lebanese brother, he’s our editor and also a student at the Bayyinah Institute. Mohedeen Tabbara, a Lebanese brother, a student of Concordia University, and the ameer for Montreal Team.
Khadr El Chami, a Lebanese/Syrian brother, a student in Concordia University. Omar Khan, a Pakistani/Guyanese brother, he works for Al Maghrib Institute as a manager for finances. And last but not least, Nafie Hamrani, a Moroccan brother, a student in Bayyinah Institute with the other brothers. We are all 20-27 years old.
4. MM: Mashallah, you all are gifted and have a promising path ahead, Inshallah. So how did Chronicles of Faith actually begin and when?
COF: It all began in August 2013 when Adel and Mohedeen were sitting in the living room playing NHL, and Adel said: ”Hey, we should start a funny Islamic channel!” Mohedeen agreed, then they called Nour on the phone and Nour was extremely excited for it.
5. MM: Alhamdulillah that’s commendable, putting your thoughts into action. What kind of message are your trying to convey to the youth with your videos?
COF: Our message is clear…“That you can be religious and fun at the same time!” We try to entertain our audience with a small reminder at the end of each video, so it can be a seed of guidance planted in their heart.
6. MM: Yes, I agree that humor is an effective way to get a message across, especially to the youth. Now would you please share the process of how you make a video?
COF: We write a script from a brainstormed topic that is relevant, and that the Ummah face. Then we shoot the scenes, we edit it, and put it all together, adding the sound effects and backgrounds.
7. MM: How long does it take to make a COF video?
COF: It takes about 6 hours to make a video.
8. MM: How do you come up with topics for your videos?
COF: Usually we have a meeting with all our members, and we think about topics that actually exists in our communities. For example, Muslims who are always late for meetings, part-time Muslims etc. We see these problems in our lives, and because of that, we want to fix these flaws by reminding others through the Quran and/or Sunnah.
9. MM: I do agree that those messages are very much-needed! Now I have to ask, who thinks-up all of the humor in your videos?
COF: How it works, is two of our members, Mohedeen and Khadr, are responsible for the scripts, but anyone who wants to volunteer, can pick a topic and write down the script. So in other words, each one of us, will think of the humor that Chronicles of Faith produce.
10. MM: Where do you make your videos?
COF: We have different locations, either at Mohedeen’s garage, or my basement, or at an Islamic community center, depending on the availability of each location.
11. MM: Where do you find your props and backgrounds for your videos?
COF: From Google and YouTube.
12. MM: There are 2 brothers on your team who are married right? Can they please share some of their best marriage advice for Muslimommy Muslimdaddy readers for our new marriage section?
COF: It is always great to hear other people’s positive perspectives on relationships. Yes that is correct.
“No relationship is perfect, you’re bound to argue sometimes … when it happens, swallow your ego and be patient, there is a reason why marriage is considered completing half your Deen. The reason for that, because it’s a character builder, not a fantasy world. Next advice I would say, is marry someone strictly for her Deen, not because she’s funny or beautiful, and even if she is, try to keep that intention as pure as possible at all times, and remember this intention even in your marriage, and Allah will bless it.”
“Marriage in my experience, is a relation based on ihsan (excellence). One of the most basic definitions of excellence is to give more than is due, and to take less than what is owed. I like justice, which emphasizes giving and taking exactly your right. But the secret to a truly successful and blissful marriage, is to be able to give the highest level of ihsaan, which is to be willing to give 100% of your rights up, in order to please Allah and your spouse. And Allah knows best.
13. MM: MashAllah! JazakAllah for the great advice brothers Nour and Omar. Inshallah it will be a lesson to us all! Now back to you brother Tarek, what is your team’s favorite motto, Ayah or Hadith?
COF: You might have heard it in every video we end up by saying ”Keep it halal!”.
14. MM: Oh yes, of course! I think that was a really nice touch, to add a catchy, yet meaningful phrase after your videos and end off with a reminder that sticks. My next question is, what words of wisdom can you share with the youth of today that you have found to be priceless?
COF: “This World is like a shadow. If you try to catch it, you will never be able to do so. If you turn your back towards it, it has no choice but to follow you!” ― Ibn Qayyim.
These words made me reflect the first time I read it. It showed me how this Dunya, no matter how rich, strong, or intelligent you are, you will never catch this world. And once you turn your back and go towards the opposite direction, which is towards Allah swt, your own shadow follows you, meaning the Dunya, and what’s in it tries to get you back to its fantasies. So my advice to the youth is, go back to Allah, stop following the desires of this Dunya, because it is limited, and it can destroy your Akhirah.
15. MM: MashAllah, what a truly deep and honest message, and very beautifully said brother Tarek. These are the talks that the youth need! Many people love the COF videos, so we want to know how often do you produce a video and when do you post it?
COF: We post our videos weekly, the upload day is Wednesday.
16. MM: Okay readers, circle that day for new COF videos! I heard mentioned on some of your videos about a clothing line COF started, tell us more please?
COF: MuslimGear is a Montreal based Muslim clothing company. It has been supporting the community for many years. The goal of MuslimGear has always been to provide a sense of identity to Muslims in the west as well as provide stylish clothing.
17. MM: Another much-needed endeavor, you guys are busy, MashAllah! Please share with us which team member does what? For example, who directs, edits, records, takes the video etc.
COF: Every member of the team makes a bit of everything, except editing, Nour is in charge of that.
18. MM: I find that social media addiction has become a problem among the youth, and I have read how it is making people feel more depressed and less satisfied with their lives. What tips can you share, to help the youth with social media addiction?
COF: Tips I can give is, “Go out! See your friends! Organize a trip! Go to the gym! Do something with your life!”
When most of us fall into addiction to social media, it means we are most probably sitting home all day and doing nothing, in other words, we are being ”couch potatoes!”. The best solution is to just get out of your house and do something, and the important thing is, to enjoy good and forbid evil. Meaning, do activities that are permissible in our Deen only and stay away from the haraam.
19. MM: You hit the nail on the head brother, it is boredom and lack of activities that is some of the problems of this addiction, great reminder! What do you see as the future goals of Chronicles of Faith?
COF: We see ourselves making more segments, Islamic reminders, short Islamic movies, that could affect Muslims and non-Muslims as well.
20. MM: Much to look forward to InshAllah! Now my final question is for Muslimommy. Please share your honest opinion of Muslimommy Muslimdaddy website, as well as our kids site at Muslim Kids Digest?
COF: My opinion on the Muslimommy Muslimdaddy website, is that it is an extremely beneficial site especially for mothers. Because mothers do the double work, and they have less time to practice their religion (I saw some articles regarding Ramadan, but I mean in and outside the blessed month). So for all the overwhelmed mothers out there, I strongly suggest to have a look at Muslimommy Muslimdaddy website, and if you have benefited from it, share it with your friends who may be in the situation as you, or going to be soon.
For Muslim Kids Digest, mashaAllah again an awesome site for the kids where they can enjoy activities and learn their Deen at the same time. Unfortunately most activities or shows in the West, may produce unIslamic features, so here’s an alternatives for our kids of our Ummah in the West!
MM: JazakAllah brother Tarek, and to all the brothers of COF for taking the time to share your wisdom and thoughts with us. Alhamdulillah, amazing efforts! May Allah Reward you all abundantly in this life and the next, ameen.
Be sure to subscribe to Chronicles of Faith YouTube Channel, KEEP IT HALAL HERE! And support their efforts in keeping up the great work for our youth. You can also find their smart MuslimGear clothing line, BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU WEAR HERE. I want to end off this interview, with one of my favorite Chronicles of Faith videos, because it spreads a message that needs to be said. Enjoy another humourous look at life with the COF team, and remember, as they say, “Keep it halal!”
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