14 life lessons I learned from my father – Abdur Raheem McCarthy

Abdur-Raheem McCarthy


Channel: Abdur-Raheem McCarthy

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AI: Summary © The speaker discusses their personal and professional experiences with learning and working for their father's businesses, as well as their father's success in military and construction work. They emphasize the importance of fulfilling oneself and fulfilling one's values, as well as the need to be true to oneself and fulfill one's values. They also talk about their father's success in basketball and how he used to encourage them to be humble. The speaker emphasizes the importance of learning and practicing every day to improve their success rate and emphasizes the need to be true to oneself and fulfill one's values.
Transcript ©
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Salam Alaikum rockmelon I want to share with you something that is very, very dear to my heart. And these are the lessons and teachings that my own father taught me that has had such a huge impact on my life. And subhanAllah this is something that I wrote about two years ago. And while I went to film it, some brothers actually do like professional filming. And we, you know, we had the appointment tomorrow when a film and that was going through my laptop, I couldn't find no these points that I had wrote down I have with me about today about 13 Different things I'm going to share with you and cellos, I'm not going to go too long. So don't worry about that in shallow tonight, but

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Michelle is gonna be beneficial, you really benefit from these points in shallow time. And I was gonna I'm gonna do it in English. And also, I'm gonna do an Arabic as well. But when I didn't find the notes, we ended up delaying it. And as you know, now, many of you are with me on social media and my father, he's been he's been ill, he's not doing well. And we never know any, obviously, the amount of the ages or the time of death that's on in the hands of Allah subhanaw taala. But when someone gets a bit older, and they're ill, you know, the reality is that death is closer, right? So even though these points were, you know, something I've benefit I want to share with you guys, I've

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said, look, he said, it's even important that you have father he has himself, that's your father, here's the impact that you've had, that he has had on your life. So I sat down here today have a lot of just like a really busy time, my life was in motion. No, it's got to film it now, that you that here, not just the people don't just benefit the people. So I sat down here today at home and Hamdulillah, to film this, to let my father know the impact that he's had on my life. And also, so you guys can benefit from the things that he told me as well and shout, Donna. The first thing is, love what you do for a living. And this lesson, he taught me and had a huge impact on me. I remember

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I was working in Dubai in a school there. And we had a very long day teaching. And then we had a parents evening. And I had left the house probably like, you know, around around quarter to six. And now I'm coming back. It's like, seven 715 In the evening, I'm going to traffic coming back home. And my father said something had such a huge impact on me. He said, Do you know how long I've been working today. And I was like how long? And he said 16 hours straight. And I want you to realize that my father owns his own company. And when someone owns his own company, and someone's it's a very, very successful company on top of that, Mashallah. So when someone is successful in his own

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business, we're used to in the in the Gulf countries, you know, you hire foreign workers for cheap from outside and let them do it. You don't put yourself through any strenuous task. So I asked him, I said, Why don't you just hire someone else to do it? And he said something that really had a huge impact on me. He said, Do you know why I do what I do? He said, because I don't need the money. He said to me, and he said something a bit vulgar what he said, but he said, he said I could take $20 bills and and wipe myself with it. And then for the rest of my life, and I would never go broke. He said, I have money, I'm set for the rest of my life, Mashallah. But he said, I do it. Because I love

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it. I love what I'm doing. He said, I don't need the money I'm not doing for the money. And that reminded me of the statement that when you do what you love, you never go to work. Another lesson that he taught me was not to work for others, to do your own thing to work for yourself to be your own man to own your own business, and do your own thing. And this was when I was and I didn't realize this. And many of the things I'm telling you guys, I didn't realize them in the beginning. And I told him, I told my stepmother because my stepmother, I have a bit of a had before. And it's all love. Now I love her so much now, but I used to have like a love hate relationship, because she

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would do a lot of good for me. So that would have an impact on me. But she was very tough. So I had that hatred toward her because my mother let me basically do what I want him she had a lot of love for me. But she gave me a lot of freedom. Whereas my stepmother realized that freedom is not good for you, you need to do like this and like this. So it was it was difficult for me to accept from her. But when I became a father later, and I started to implement many of the things they told me, I realized, and all the good that my my father and my stepmother were doing. And he for me, may Allah bless them. So I said to them, I said, Thank you so much for all of the lessons that you taught me.

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So I remember when I was a student in Medina, he contacted me said, What are you doing? Like, what, why don't you come back to America and take over this company. So I'm getting old, I'm going to retire soon. This is your company, I'm his only son. He said, Come take it away. And that for me. I wanted to know student of knowledge, I want to be a scholar of Islam, I'm studying with the scholars. So and that's what I want to do in life. And that's what I enjoy doing. You know, I mean, I wouldn't mind having a couple million dollars to be honest with you and helped me email my family. But if I have to sacrifice my objectives in my goals to reach that, I'm not going to do that. So he

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said come back around the company. And I know that I think about it should I've done it shouldn't have all had it, but I'm done. I'm happy with the decision I made which was to stay in Medina to finish studying with the scholars and to then continue inshallah to teach and to give Tao Al Hamdulillah. But he told me something very, very profound, because he said what do you gain in the end? So I have this issue of tolerable and you know, and the reward we get of seeking knowledge and teaching others you know, as a as a Muslim we have this is something very dear to us, but perhaps animals I'm not gonna understand it in the same light. So I mean, one of the things I said to him I

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said in the end, I said I get a BA I get a bachelors of arts so I have a I have a college degree and he was like for what and if you look at it in reality like you know, Bill

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gates and many of the successful people in the world today, Steve Jobs, they didn't have college degrees, right? So my father asked me, So what are you going to do? What are you going to benefit from having a BA, he's going to go work for someone else. I know you're going to become the slave of someone else, basically. And I realized this as well, when I was a teacher in Dubai, even though I love teaching, but all of the things that came with teaching and preparation, and just you know, constantly being watched and being ordered around, it's like you're being pulled in chains by your slave master to the work. I realized many years later, when my dad was talking about that you need

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to do your own thing, have your own business, and work for yourself. And amazing story. When I first started working for my father's company, I was 18, I was coming from a serious Jedidiah no bad background, doing a lot of bad things. My father was trying to help me go straight. And he gave me a job. That is the worst job you can imagine. I was basically like the cleaner, and the boy that will run around on the construction site, even though my father owned the construction company I was working for. And he gave me basically, I don't even know if that was minimum wage. At the time, it was very bad. I was getting like $800 a month, which wasn't good. Obviously, he's saying, you know,

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I'm taking care of the, of your housing and your food and things like that. So it's 800 is enough. Anyways, you know, coming from my background, I was making more money when I was doing and the Haram before, but anyways, and he had an objective. And he did explain it to me. But sometimes, you know, we don't understand it's very important. I always talk about benefiting from our elders, those who have been through life before us. He wanted to teach me something very important. And that is that you start from the bottom, he said, I know as a salesman, you're very good. He said, you can. So he told us to tell me you can sell ice water to an Eskimo. He said, I know that you can run this

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company. He said, I know you're good when it comes to being in the office. He said, I know you're good when it comes to administrate it being an administrative things. He said, But what you need to do, he said, I want you to be on the field from the bottom, learn how it's done, see how it's done. And then you start to learn a bit of corporate injury, a bit of this and this JOHANNS then, and then you come into the office, then you're going to be very successful in running this company. Obviously, I didn't realize it at the time. But then with my experience in life later I learned what he was saying was correct, that if you start sometimes from the bottom, you gain that experience,

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and then you work your way up, that's going to help you be more successful in what you do in the future, Inshallah, tear down the wall. This is one of the most amazing lessons I've ever benefited from my father, my father, he hired some a different group of corporate news to come in and to do some work and one of the houses we're working on. And my father used to come to all of the sites and he would look at the sites himself. And he came in and he said, he saw that there was a board inside, it was crooked, it wasn't straight. So he looked down, he looked and saw another board wasn't straight, he told them tear down the wall, back back to take down the whole thing and build

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it again. And the people were shocked. They were like, once we put up the drywall put up this he said no one's gonna see it. And it's not going to have an impact on the building anyway, just crooked. He said, No one's gonna see it. My father said to these workers, he said, but I saw it. And he said what I do, he said, It's all perfect. He said, I won't allow anything to be crooked, or to not be correct. And he said, You take down the whole wall and you do it again correctly. And he said, I won't pay you a diamond to you do it here how much time is going to be lost and getting the job done. But it doesn't matter how much time it takes. What's important is that it's done

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correctly. And as a Muslim, we know the issue of Amana being trusted, when someone has entrusted you someone's paid you money to do something for them, that we must fulfill it. And the best way and the responsibility we're going to be asked about this, you will not be am on the Day of Judgment when you when we stand in front of Allah subhanaw taala, focusing on perfection, not focusing on the quantity but focusing on the quality. For many years, my father's construction company was rated the number one construction company in the area that we live in, in Virginia in the US. And my father said something to me very amazing. He said that I only build 25 homes a year he said I can build

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100, maybe even 200 If I want because he was very known for the quality of his work. He said I have a two year waiting list people who have on a waiting list now who want to build with me, but he said I only build 25 homes a year, because he said I realized that these are the only ones that I can supervise myself. He said every single house he said I go to all of the time I see with my own eyes to make sure that it's being done correctly. And we all know from the teachings of our beloved prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that he said in Allah you Hibou either amila or her dakumar Mulund and you'd kind of hope that our loves one of you does something that he perfects it,

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improve just 1% a day. There's my father used to always teach me and he would and he really installed us me just 1% a day just 1% a day. And a lot of times when we want to become better at what we do, we want to perfect whatever it is we're doing in life. We want to improve you know, drastically and a great rates right away. But that doesn't really happen. You know what happens a lot of times for example, you want to start working out or start dieting sometimes we go really hardcore, and we do a lot in the beginning and then we burn out and in a week or two weeks or a month or what have you. But if you take care

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gradually and just each day you become 1% Better 1% Better. At the end of the year, how much are you better, depending which calendar you use that 355 363 65 Whatever it is. So let's say 365 with 360 in the middle 360 times better than you were at the at the beginning of the year. And something I remember that Imam Abu Hanifa Rahim Allah that he mentioned, about learning different issues of the religion, he said, if you learn just three issues a day, don't try to do too much is three issues. And when I teach this and I remind the brothers of this, of the of the statement of Imam Abu Hanifa I always say that, you know, even if it's just one issue a day that you learn about your religion,

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that you're going to be what 360 times more and they know more about your deen or religion at the end of the year and 10 years, you're gonna know, three 3600 different things, a verse of the Quran, Hadith, the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad salallahu Salam, whatever it is, you're learning, you got to know something more than you did, because you just learned one thing yesterday and you continue. So it's the consistency that you're constantly trying to improve, not trying to do too much, keeping on slow pace and Subhanallah when I remind myself of these things that I learned from my father, we see the relation that a lot of them have directly with what Islam taught me that's why

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I said that. I didn't realize in the beginning in a how and how great these things were that he was teaching me. But then when I learned about a snap, for example, they should tear down the wall, the Amana in the responsibility you know, with and fulfilling what you've been entrusted with how many times in the Quran is Allah tell us about this? How many things in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, as he taught us about this, what was the name of avaliable Beloved Prophet Alayhi Salatu was Salam of Saudi Arabia. I mean, people knew him before Islam before the revelation came to him that he was the saw that he was the true for one, and the trustworthy

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one. So a lot of the things that my father used to teach me, I didn't really get it me for me, to be honest, I would have left the board crooked, hello, I'm not gonna waste time and the people are not going to see like the like the dude said, who are working for him. But the reality is, is that we know as as as as as the Quran and the Sunnah teaches us that Allah sees us that we're going to be held accountable. So that type of responsibility in that manner, and to fulfill what the obligations that we have. It's one of the great teachings so many of the teachings from my father actually been I've benefited so much from them later on in life, because of the teachings and what Islam had

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taught me. And I found that amazing smelling my father has been teaching me these things since I was young. And here we hear a lot of teachings in the Quran. And our beloved prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is teaching us this and his sunnah, and his traditions, Ali salatu salam, be simple. An amazing lesson that my father taught me is to always be simple and not to be extravagant, even if you have money. And this will happen in 2009. When we were at a conference in Canada, my father came from America to visit me. And he noticed were in the elevator, I still remember the story Cipolla very well. And the code I had on was a very inexpensive code, it was in a cashmere

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coat. And through an n 50. During that time, is probably even more now in today's prices. He asked me how much that cost was like $350 It was actually a gift. I didn't buy a booster and $50 and the shoes I had on so we're about $110. So he ate he looked at me he said look, because actually I had left my job and I was you know, looking for another job at the time. So he said that you know, here you are unemployed but you know, you were wearing these these very expensive clothes. And he said, I have I have millions more money than you he said, I'm doing better than you. But yet he said my jacket only cost $80 And my shoes only cost $40 Be humble. My father used to always try to install

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this in me Be humble. You tell me humble pie, humble pie, you always tell me this, especially before my basketball games. Because through all my practice and all my dedication and training in basketball, I became pretty good. So obviously sometimes when you become good at something that goes to your mind, and then you become a bit arrogant. So my father used to always teach me the importance of being humble. And we know from the teachings of our beloved prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam mantra well, but Allah that whoever is humble for Allah, Rafa who that Allah will raise his status, you need to sacrifice for your kids. And I remember when I said I

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became very good in basketball, how did that happen? Two people really sacrificed for me, one of them was my coach, and my basketball coach, may Allah bless him, and also my father. I used to wake up at 5am every day before school, I go downstairs have my oatmeal, that's porridge for you, if you bricks and then I would wake my father up, I will call my coach, and my father would get out of bed, my coach would get out of bed and he would take me to the gym, around 5:30am, I would train to around 715 You know, get showered, get dressed and be in the school by 730. And then every day after school as well, I would train for several hours lifting weights and then playing basketball for

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about three or four hours during the evening. So I put in a lot of time, but the fact that he in here's someone who's running an a multimillion dollar business, his own business is you know, and he's waking up at the time he normally wouldn't wake up at you know, like 5:15am every day in order to take that 20 minute drive from our house on the countryside all the way to go into our school. That's dedication. No matter how busy

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You're sometimes you just have to stop. And you have to go you have to sacrifice for your kids and what like that has a huge impact even now, we don't know what 3540 or 30 years later here I am looking at that impact that it had on me the fact that he made that sacrifice for me getting out of bed every day at 515 never make a huge decision in your life. Unless you think it out first in my Jamelia, my pre Islamic State, I was in a very bad situation, I was going down the wrong path. And I decided and I spoke with my father about this that one of the things that really helped me straighten out was to join the military. And suddenly my family and then it's a military family. My

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both my grandfather's were in the in the US Army. My father and they were in World War Two. My father was in the US Army during the time of the Vietnam War. They never deployed him, but he was really ready to be deployed on his base. Also, my uncle, my cousin, were also officers in the airforce. So I'm from a military, family. And military brings discipline and helps you straight up your life. So I said, this is what I'm gonna do. I have my father take me to the recruiting office, and the recruiting office where we live that has all of the branches of the military, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines and the Coast Guard. But for me right away, I was always a bit,

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you know, hardcore in my training and the things that I would do. So for me, I was going straight to the Marines. There was no other branch for me, even though my my father, and my grandfather's were in the army. And my, my uncle and my cousin were in the Air Force. For me, it was directly to the Marines without even thinking about it. I went there, we talked to the recruiter, I was about to sign the paper. I was about to sign that paper, my father said stuff. He said, Look, he said, Don't sign this. Until you do two things. First. He said take take one week, he says I'm requesting from you. He said, take one week, to think about it. Because this decision is going to change the rest of

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your life. The next four years of life, you're going to be in the military. So make sure this is something that you want to do. No, no, just thinking now because you want to change this this morning or yesterday, when you when you spoke to me. And you think the military is the ways you're gonna make the decision based on that. Really think it through for the next week, one week. And then as you're leaving, say, go to the other branches. He said, I love the Marines. But he said just you know, take from the army and everyone else read, read what they have, get to know all the branches and see which one you want to choose. And he said, if it's still something you want to do a week for

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now, he said, I will bring you back myself, the recruiter, even though he had the paperwork for me to sign. He told me listen to your father. After one week, obviously, I was back on the streets and back into the the rubbish I was doing before Islam. And eventually, the path led me to Islam. But it didn't lead me back to the recruiting office. So I never joined the military. But the lesson that I gained from that is to never make it in an emotional decision. Always make sure that it's something well thought through. And then you take the step and make that decision.

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Talk less and listen more. I never could understand how my father knew everything that was going on around us. Eventually he told me I got a bit older. He said it's because I don't talk much and I listened. He said everyone likes to talk, many people talk but many not too many act. My father is a person of not talking a lot but a lot of action. And he works Mashallah. So any he would always listen to know what's going on around him. And that's what we know from as the expression we have an expression Arabic and always says that you know, you have you have two ears, and one tongue meaning which one you should be doing more, you should be listening more. And also from the teachings of

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Islam. What did the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa salaam tell us? Whoever believes in Allah in the last day, fill your pool higher and holiest mode, then let him say good or to remain quiet. And he talking too much gets you in trouble talking too much if you're not acting isn't that no benefit. So only talking about that which is good, and listening to know what's going on around you. Even though my father was very silent, he was like most Irish way we can explode. And we can go very quickly if somebody gets angry. And he was someone who can control his anger which I respected. But if someone if he needed to be tough and need to put you in your place. And I remember some times when I stepped

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out of line I saw myself you know, being being tough and being this my father, you know, he would jump out of his chair and he would he would put me into play. So he was very strong when he needed to be strong. And as the Arab say they have the expression. It telco will help will help him to fear the anger of the honeymoon who's forbearing and forgiving the nice guy, it'd be beware of he gets angry. So he was always quiet. Well listen more than he would talk. If you became angry. He knew how to put it in a way where he could put you in your place and be strong when he needed to be strong. Just like the workers I mentioned before and they were messing around with his business. And he saw

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the corporate boards. He said take it down now he was he was always very quiet. Welcome to the jobsite, always very nice guy. Now you're messing with my business, take it down, do it again. Or you won't get paid a dime, only help those who help themselves. So this perhaps is one of the biggest things that had a huge impact on my life that my father taught me and that is he will only help those who help themselves. Even those who are close to us and I know my kids, they hate this one, but one day inshallah they're going to understand it as well just like I understood it later. If someone is being

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lazy and not striving for themselves, my father would never help them. But if someone's working hard, someone's grinding, he's struggling any, he's trying to do what he can for himself and need some help, my father will be the first one to help him out. Sometimes Subhanallah we don't even look at it being a big stream, some people who are close to us in the family, but if they're not serious about, you know, bettering themselves and working hard for themselves, that my father wouldn't help them. And this is something that I really, really value even when it comes like, for example, the beggars on the street. You know, some people asked, he said, Why don't you ever give to these

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beggars, many of them, that's what they do for a living, obviously, and they're not out there working. But I see sometimes a young boy, or you know, any brother or sister they're out next to the masjid or out on the street, they're selling, you know, tissues or selling different things on this, you know, trying to get by here, I might even give them a bit extra sadaqa. Because these are not begging, they're trying to sell something, to be able to, you know, to work hard, and to have some Halal forms of income, but someone who works as a beggar in the street, I don't respect these people. And I don't help these people, even when it comes to my own family members. Now, even my own

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children, if I don't see them working hard, I don't help them with their stuff. So you're on your own. And but if you're working hard, and you're struggling, and you fell down, needed some assistance, I'm going to be there for you. This is what my father told me, and what Allah evaluates so much. And this is what I live by, never give up, no matter how bad the situation might be. My father, even though was super successful. And he did have one part of his life where he No, he was even before he when he's when my mother, he was working as a plumber, in a nice position working for a very successful company in our area. And later, when he got divorced from my mom, and then married

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my stepmother. He opened his own business, but it wasn't successful. And you know, perhaps any one of the reasons I know him in the beginning of his life, he had a drinking problem or used to drink like most Irish Americans, or Irish people drink a lot, but didn't have stopped drinking, he ended up stopped drinking, he realized that wasn't good for him. And this is something a beautiful lesson. And sometimes you realize that something you might enjoy, obviously, as Muslims, we don't enjoy drinking, obviously, but I'm talking about and even for non Muslims, because obviously some non Muslims will hear this as well. So it might be something that you you enjoy, even for us, it might

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be for example, a dieting, and my wife was eating an ice cream the other day, and I wanted to have it was look very nice. But I realized the impact that would have, and I'm going to think about what I'm cutting down. So it's that good from someone leave that. So use you see these things, even though you might enjoy them, they're not going to be beneficial for you. And one of the things that really benefited from his story.

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Even though there's some that's something he taught me directly about this story, something that kind of reflected on is that he kind of you no went back and looked at what went wrong. He looked at what went wrong. And he reflected on his situation. And he fixed the problems that he had. He went and he when he wasn't he didn't give up on establishing his own company. But he realized this time look, I don't have the ability. So when work for someone else, he became the vice president of that company and he became very successful, he was actually running the company. And this you know, his boss was going through his own problems with his divorce and what have you. So he ended up you know,

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being able to know the market know the place, start his own business, saved his money, he had built his own home and Hamdulillah we had a beautiful, you know, house on the hill. 27 Acres is very beautiful, Mashallah. And then he started his own business started off small, you know, buying, buying the lot of land, he was selling the land, build a little Rambler, one story house, and then he started obviously, building the bigger Custom Homes, million dollar $2 million homes, Michelle after that, when he when he when he after he established himself, we didn't give up when he failed in the beginning. And he continued with his objective and his goal, which was to be successful, to

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own his own business, and not just his own business, that his business would be number one, it would be the best And Alhamdulillah he was able to accomplish that have a system in life, one of the key things that I really reflect on how my father's life was, he was someone who was very, you know, systematic in his life, he, you know, wake up at a certain time every day, go to sleep at a certain time, do the same thing over and over again, this routine, sometimes people might find it boring, but in the reality, this is the way to access, that doesn't mean you're going to have to be bored, because there's other things you can do, you know, here and there in order to you know, to switch

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things up. But the point is, is that if we're going to be successful, we have to, you know, fair, what are the key ingredients that we need to be successful? And what is the system that we need to follow in order for us to be successful. And this is something that my father lived by. And I believe it was one of the key things that helped him be so successful. So those I believe are 13 things that really benefited from my father led life lessons. And perhaps I can add more but I remember one of the do ads one of our brothers he told us one time when I did the holdup about any Habib, Habib, and I said no that for 50 for things that we benefit from life of could be and he said

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make it like seven now, so people can go more and so inshallah these are the main things honestly, that really had a huge impact on my life. Now the stories and lessons that I've benefited from my father, and he's still teaching me even till today. I remember when he visited me when I was living in Dubai, and he was talking about I was wasn't parking the car and in the best of ways he said Park in this way is better. So even now when I come to park I remember the lesson that my father taught me the last story that I'll end with in shuttle Tada. It happened when my father visited

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In Canada, and we went to were invited to the Sudanese masjid. And it was actually they made a big celebration, you know, they know how family ties. And so then, so they had an mashallah they made a huge like feast for my father and my stepmother. And it was me and checks it that log in Toronto and the sisters from the Sudanese community, they said that their English is not the best. So they didn't really my father was going to be there. So they asked to the lecture that I was going to give a small reminder that it'd be in Arabic. And I remember when I sat down to give the lesson, the lecture, it was after I said about 10 minute reminder, actually, there was some young youth who were

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there who didn't understand Arabic and my father, my stepmother, I was doing understand Arabic, but they say, okay, we can we put it English? And I said, No, our commitment to the sisters, is that we're going to make an Arabic I said, we can, you know, give a small translation to my father to explain to him what what was being said, but we gave a commitment to our sisters is going to be an Arabic, so my talk is going to be an Arabic. But what has such a huge impact on me from this story, was the fact that when the people talk to him after my lecture, and my heard my father speaking to them that mean to me directly, but he told them, he said, I can see that he's doing good. And he

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said, I'm very proud of him. And obviously, because, you know, perhaps I took the path in life that he didn't want for me, he designed something for me at his company, and no thought I would come and I would run that company after him. Maybe one other things for me in life, but I chose a different path in life. And hearing him say, they know he was happy for me. And he said, I'm very proud of him. And that will lay it was just an amazing feeling. hamdulillah then you know, all of the sacrifice, I made 13 years, you know, seeking knowledge and being away from my family. And then you know, to hear my father You know, when he came and he sat with me and saw me after all these years

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to see it that he was he was happy for me. And he was proud, proud of me well and had an amazing impact on me. We ask Allah to bless my father and to bless all of you and all of your parents. And Allah knows best Allah Allah Allah salAllahu Salam wa barakaatuh Muhammad, what does that little Hayden said?