Episode Synopsis:

Hasti, formerly a music producer, worked with a lot of artists, toured around, and had his own record label. Now he identifies just simply as Hasti. The transition from who he was to who he is divulges through this episode. When he was at the “peak of life”, he would show people a picture that was not real. The peak of his career, involved a performance for 10000 people in one of the biggest arena’s in Sweden. He actually reflected during that moment and felt so proud that he actually can’t get higher than this achievement. This was everything he dreamt about. He felt he had truly made it.

Two to three weeks after, he became deeply depressed. He thought to himself, why? He had everything in life. The happiness he was trying to achieve, in terms of his music career, was only temporary. Every time he would go home he felt a lot of anxiety. When he would return late at night, and Fajr time would only be an hour away, he would think I’m so far away from Allah, imagine if death were to overtake him at this moment. He only kept up with Fajr and Esha, because it fitted in his schedule.

Hasti is a born Muslim, who’s family comes from Kurdistan. Before the fame, he actually wasn’t very inclined towards Islam. Culture played more of a role than religion, although, his mum would always pray. He actually became more introduced to Islam in the area that he lives in now.

Hasti explains how someone once told him, we need to treat the dunya as if it’s a hotel, we come in, stay a little while and leave. Everything we are chasing in this dunya is temporary happiness. Hasti explains how music controls your feelings. He felt whenever he played a sad song, his whole day would be low. And vice versa, when he listened to anything upbeat. Similarly, in a gym, the music is a hype to motivate you. Anything that controls your feelings to such an extent should be worrying.

For so many years, Hasti would be going through a lot of personal things, but couldn’t deal with them because his career took precedence. For example, he never spent time with his family despite living with them. When he first started feeling depressed, his initial reaction was he’s been affected by the evil eye or jinn. Whenever he felt lost in the dunya, he would look towards the religion. Automatically, he knew music was the reason for his depression. He actually never made dua for success or help in his career because he knew music was haraam. He felt afraid. During that time he actually made dua to meet someone who will guide him away from the wrong. His brother started practising which inspired him to start practising the religion. But this was the first time he actually met his now wife. She just asked him how he was doing, and he let out all his real feelings of how depressed he felt. He would continue making dua for Allah to take him away from this lifestyle. Due to his depression, he couldn’t be around people as he would get panic attacks. He opened up to his friend Musa, about possibly being affected by jinn and evil eye, who said he didn’t think that was the case and instead encouraged him to go with him for Umrah.

Hasti, despite whisperings from shaytaan that made him doubt whether he should go, decided he wanted to go. But now he felt in a dilemma because his money was earned through haraam means. His older brother gave him money for the trip. Faisal mentions how amazing it was that despite being involved in haraam work, there was always something reminding him of Islam. In fact, Hasti says, even when he was working as a producer and would find time to pray, he wouldn’t even go to the mosque for Jummah wearing the clothes that was bought through haraam money. He would go home to change into something else, and then go to the mosque.

He immediately gave Musa the money his brother gave him for Umrah, so that he wouldn’t have second thoughts of whether or not to go. He also requested to share a room with Musa so he can get advice from him. Till this day they’re actually sharing a hotel room on their travel to London. Musa was leading a group for Umrah, and on their way to the Haram in Makkah, Hasti had the sudden realisation that now he’s going to pray facing the Ka’bah directly. He noticed people walking before him and when they caught sight of the Ka’bah, they stopped. And then his eyes fell on the Ka’bah. And that is when he says, every heavy feeling he had inside him, at that moment he felt relieved of it. As he made Tawaaf, he felt even lighter. As tears streamed down his face, seeing people without legs performing Tawaaf, he felt the true happiness that he sought for his whole life. It was always in front of him but he was always in denial.

When Hasti went to Madinah, he decided he needed to change his life. He wanted to get married and have a family. He’s very family oriented and he felt he needed to get back to that. So once he got back to Sweden he needed to think of a way to tell people he would be quitting music. Alhamdulillah Allah made it so easy for him. The majority of the artists he worked with were Muslim anyway. When he called them, they were even shocked to hear him say salaam as a greeting. Some of the artists thought this was a temporary break from music. But he had to explain that this was more than that, and he actually had the backing of all his artists supporting him to become a practising Muslim.

When he came back from Umrah, he felt such a boost in his imaan. He deleted his Instagram account for a year just to focus on himself. He got married. In fact, his wife was performing Umrah at the same time he was, with her family. He made sure he was surrounded by the right people who would motivate him towards Islam and pick him up if he fell. He knew that by leaving something for the sake of Allah, Allah will give him better. In 2017, he went to Kuwait, with his friend Bilal, and met a lot of influential Islamic figures. He actually told Bilal, that this is the first time he’s out of Sweden and managed to pray all his Salaah. This trip was very good for him in strengthening his faith. He started a new career in various aspects of life coaching.

Hasti talks about how the practicing youth in Sweden today are actually helping towards bringing a stronger practicing community in general. They studied in Madinah and came back to Sweden and approached the youth there, so as to make Islam well recognised amongst the new generation also.

This episode ends with Faisal learning that Musa and Hasti actually were inspired by Freshly Grounded. They discussed, at the roof of Masjid Haram, how they want to do a podcast like this and SubhanAllah they are here today. They also did manage to create their own podcast called Islam Podden.

Hasti’s parting advice to anyone who has a career that they want to leave for the sake of Allah, is to make dua. Dua is the weapon of believer. He’s never regretted his decision. He feels Allah has given him so much better.