Channel: Abdurraheem Green
In this lecture Abdul-Raheem Green explains why the Quran is so dear to Muslims.
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May the peace and blessings of God be upon all of you.
I was traveling up here today from London well actually didn't actually come from London today. But I came from Rossing Dale near Manchester. But before that I came from London. But on my way up, I was thinking, who on earth would want to come
and spend their Sunday listening to some Muslims talking and whinging about how some people want to burn their book?
I mean, that fascinates me. Why would anyone spend their Sunday?
I mean, I know why I'm here now. Maybe I'll share it with you. If a few of you are going to share with me why you're here today? Because I'm really curious to know. So there's a gentleman I've been looking at you look so glum. And it's so sad. I'm wondering why did you come here today? So why did you come here?
curiosity? Are you are you Muslim? Why not?
Okay. And is that? Why did you come?
Yeah. curiosity. curiosity. What the Curiosity loop?
the uniform? That's why we're here today because I was invited. You had to come? No. I was invited. It was politically correct to come. No, no, I was invited. I was interested to support the community. Great. So you wanted to come?
Yes. How about the gentleman next? He I came here. I don't know anything at all about the Muslim faith. And I wanted to find out why you believe in your faith. Well, fantastic.
Good. That's a good start. Let me ask some Muslims. why they're here today. So some Muslim women, they do they do speak. Actually, you have a voice? So I hope I pick the right one. So a sister over here? Yes. Yeah. She's been pointed out to me asked this one. This is why here today.
It was interesting to see
how many Muslims would be supporting the whole issue.
And to educate people about
what the Quran is about, basically. Excellent. So are you happy with the turnout?
Good. How about you?
Yeah, what why are you here today? Why did you come?
Are you a Muslim? Why?
Because what you believe in.
I came partly because my long, long old friend abou type over here is a man I trust. And he does good work. He does some really good work. And if he asked me to come up, I know, it's because he's made a real effort. And it's important to him. That's one reason I came up here.
But the other reason is, it's to do with the fact that I really care about this country.
I really care about our communities. And I really, really care about how people think about Islam in England.
That's why I'm here.
Because I really, really want is slim to become part of English life. I really do. I don't, and I don't want Islam to have to change. I don't want us to have to compromise our religion.
But I do want Islam to be seen as an integral, normal part of British life.
And I don't think that's an impossible dream. I don't think it's something that can't happen. Because when I hear politicians and thinkers, and people in the media and professors and you hear people talking about the Judeo Christian tradition, if you heard that term, quite a lot, the Judeo Christian tradition,
I can almost guarantee although I have not done a research on it, maybe I will.
That this phrase is a very new phrase. You will not find Judeo being included.
As part of British tradition 100 years ago, Jews were not considered to be a part of being Britain. They weren't considered part of being British.
In fact, they had a status that is very similar as
Abu Talib actually mentioned very, very similar to the sort of almost pariah status of Muslims today. But things have changed a lot. So things can change, things can be different. It's interesting even that the right wing groups that we've been talking about, you know, the BNP certainly make an effort to show that they're not anti Jewish and not anti semitic. We've moved on from that now, you know,
that's what they say. And maybe it's true, maybe it's not, but it's interesting that they feel they have to say that.
So, I believe how, how do I think we can make a difference? I think we can make a difference by talking to each other. I think talking to each other is the key. When you tend people tend to be afraid of the things they don't understand. I know it's a cliche, but I think it's a really true cliche. But people are afraid of things they don't understand.
Because they don't understand it. They're afraid of it. When it's strange when it's different. It makes anything strange and different makes a person feel uncomfortable.
Add to that, that it may seem intimidating, threatening, it makes you more uncomfortable.
But when you begin to understand, why does a person think like that? Why does a person behave like that? Why does this person do what they do or not do, what they don't do? What motivates them. Now, with that understanding comes something that I really tried to teach a lot, I try to embed it into my family and the people who I get to sometimes give lectures to Muslims, a very important word that is linked to a very key state of being it's called empathy.
means being able to appreciate how another person feels,
being able to put yourself in their shoes, and think how they are thinking. Empathy is very, very important. And I believe human beings are naturally empathetic, they are naturally like that. I don't believe
it's the survival of the fittest. I don't believe in The Selfish Gene. I don't believe that what drives us is competition, reproduction and survival. No, I think the reality of the human condition shows that that is false.
How then is a human being ready to sacrifice his life? For a complete stranger? Explain it to me.
How do you explain to me a man falls on a railway track. And there's another man standing with his two kids, the train comes, he died, and this man is having a fit. And another man, a total stranger dives on top of him to protect him from the train a total stranger even leaves his kids there. How do you explain that?
How does the Selfish Gene explain that?
How does the idea that Oh, we're about his reproduction? Explain that?
No, there's something much more profound about the human being.
And therefore, I do want to try and explain
why the core en means so much to Muslims. And I'm going to do that by also trying to very simply explain what Islam is about what Islam is about.
And hopefully, I'll be able to link it up all together in the short time that I've got.
First of all, I want to ask you,
if I say the word submission, just the word submission.
What do you think the word submission does not have a negative or a positive emotional connection? When I say the word submission? What do you think negative or positive?
If I say submission, what do you think? Is that a negative thing or a positive thing? Just generally, if I asked you, just totally honest, I want you to be honest. Is it negative or positive?
it's positive to you.
Okay, but I think would you think generally in British society, the word submission, what do you think most people would say it's positive or negative?
almost universally, it's negative i but almost not everyone. But most people have a negative association. So when a Muslim says Islam means submission, and why by the way, is it negative why
Because we believe that we live in a free society,
right? We believe we live in a free society. So if a Muslim comes along and says, Well, we believe in submission, Islam means submission. Well, the person saying what you believe submission, I believe in freedom. So why would I be interested in submission, it's generally a negative thing. However, let's, let's actually examine this concept. And we'll get to the core and how it fits in in a minute.
Every society, every society, throughout history,
is trying to find a balance between two competing, and almost paradoxical, maybe contradictory ideas. Number one is individual freedom, most of us would agree that it's good for an individual to be free,
true or not, as an idea, it would be great if we could all be free to do whatever we liked. true or not as a concept, we will, the idea of freedom appeals to us. That's why it's very emotive, freedom free society, this is a you know, because we love the idea of freedom. But on the other hand,
we also realize that you can't leave individuals free to do whatever they like.
true or not?
Can we leave individuals to be free to do anything? They're like?
We asked the policeman What?
You can't leave people free to do. You can't Can you? Right?
There has to be some restriction
in order to protect society. So we limit the freedom of the individual in order to protect society. That's it. But the here's the question, Where is the limit? who draws the line? Who says and who decides? When the limits of the individual ends? In order to protect the society? Where does it begin? Where does this one begin? And this one, and this is the big question, right? For many years, I used to go down to speaker's corner,
in Hyde Park in London, and I would give speeches there about Islam. And
one of the things that I was often challenged on was the issue of Muslim women's dress.
And I was, you know, I mean, in speaker's corner, you don't have much room except for rhetoric. And you know, sort of making your point strongly it wasn't, it's not a place for a subtle, nuanced discussion. It's someone you know, you stand up, and you have to shout. But anyway, so the point is, is that I was being challenged that so there was a particular, particularly vocal young American girls,
you know, talking about Muslim women and the way they dress and this and that, and whatever. And so I just, I changed the frame with them, I said to them, okay, I've got a challenge for you take off all your clothes, and walk down naked throughout the park. So then they stopped, they were quiet.
I said, you won't do it? Well, you know,
I have to tell you something, by the way, that if he did that, you would be arrested, you would be arrested for indecency.
So you're not free to dress or undress any way you like. There are still rules in this country about how much a woman can show. And by the way, what a man can show and what a woman can show, even in this country are different. It's different. I can walk down the street with just my shorts.
Right? And nothing on my top. If a woman walked down the street
with nothing except her shorts, she would be taken away. Why? Because the woman is not like the man. There's something different. Now my question is who decides? How much is covered? Who decides how much is decency? Who decides how much we should show and how much we shouldn't show?
He is that's the really important question. Who makes that decision? I don't think it's necessarily a democratic one.
But the point here and the very important point, important point is no, we do have some standards. They may be different standards, but we have some standards. And we recognize even that there is a difference between men and women.
But the point that the Muslim and this comes to the core and
you see, we would claim from our perspective,
If that's when human beings decide to impose upon other human beings, their idea of where these limits are, I think this is right. And this is wrong. I think this is good. And this is evil. I think this is what you should eat and what you shouldn't eat, what you should dress and what you shouldn't dress, what you should drink, and what you shouldn't drink, what you should smoke, and what you shouldn't smoke, or whatever it may be.
And you leave that decision to human beings.
We believe as Muslims that actually human beings are incapable of making those decisions and getting the right balance, yes, we can make the decisions, but can we get the balance? Right? The problem is, is that human psychology in human society is so sophisticated, so complicated, the interaction between human beings is so sophisticated and complicated. Our perspective, the Islamic perspective is that actually, we can't get that balance, right.
And when we try, we always end up with prejudice.
We will have one group of people trying to impose their ideas. Let's take for example, the idea that we've heard about the media, I will tie it talks about the media. The media is very powerful in making you Think.
Think about it. Why do people dress the way they do? Why do they wear this type of shirt, this type of dress, this type of makeup, this type of an echo, I'll give you an example. My wife bought a dress last year, for 46 pounds. From a designer, this designer happens to be the person who designs clothes for Kate Middleton, who you know now who Kate Middleton is right? Okay. She's, you know, she's gonna be marrying Prince William. Right. And my wife now since the announcement of the engagement, my wife's a fanatic eBay, right? She put this dress on eBay. Take a guess how much she shoulda sold that. And she mentioned designer to Kate Middleton in her very clever advertising
thing. Guess how much she sold her dress the dress for Take a guess?
No, not that much. But she doubled it. So 100 no more than doubled 146 pounds. That's that's just so think about it. How what made people think that this dress was worth buying?
This is the influence and the power of the media.
But isn't the media responsible for selling us things?
Doesn't most of the revenue of the media come from advertising?
And the advertising is encouraging us by this by that have this have that?
What does that say about the way we are being taught to think or perhaps not think as a society? It's quite scary if you allow yourself to sit down and ponder over that. Those influences.
These are the things that are now controlling what we think is right what we think is wrong, what we think is, you know, appropriate, what we think is inappropriate. And I was listening to a program and they were talking about, you know, you always hear about film artists one, they always want to push the limits, push the limits, and I was thinking, push the limits.
Push that how far are you going to push the limits? You know, before a man in film, a man and a woman in the 1940s they were not allowed to sit on a bed together. They're not even allowed to sit on a bed. And then they sat on the bed. Yeah. And then they moved a bit closer. And then they kissed each other. Right. And now it's full on frontal nudity. And
it's it's there. It's basically pornography. And I think and they want to push the limits. What's the next limit bestiality?
What's the next limit torture? What's Well, we've already done that. I would say there's no limits. And this is the stuff that we end up watching. This is the stuff our kids end up watching. And it has no influence. It doesn't affect who does say it doesn't influence them doesn't affect what do they spend millions of pounds advertising. If what you see on the TV doesn't affect you.
push the limits push the limits. What, to me is just incredible. And if you think about it, then there are no limits.
And that's why we would say you need a book from God.
And it has to be from God. If you don't have your morals,
anchored in a transcendental reality or in God
Let's just say, if you don't have your morals anchored in something that comes from God, why God, because the concept of God as a concept, it's unchangeable. God knows everything, God sees everything.
His wisdom is perfect, his knowledge is complete. And it's something therefore that should be unchanging. That shouldn't be messed around with.
Only God ultimately can have that effect.
And if you think about it, if you don't have your morality, anchored in such a concept, whether it's the Bible, whether it's Dr. Ahn, whatever it may be, if you think about it deeply, you will realize that you have no real morality, because you can always push the limits, where is the limits? Who decides what the limit is? If you think about it, there is ultimately no limits.
And that's why we believe that it is so so important.
The Quran is not, you see, it's not only it's not only you see today, to talk to people about religion, to talk about God.
It's also abstract.
You know, it's so accepted that you know, your religion is your own personal thing.
And it doesn't really affect your life that much. This is such a common statement. I'm not saying that. Everyone's like that. But it's so common. Religion is a personal thing, as if I don't know it's just like, some chat you have with God every now and then. Or maybe not even that I don't know what they mean by it's a personal thing, and you shouldn't really bring it into public life.
But this idea of religion is so removed from what Islam teaches. The Quranic concept, and I believe that concept that all the prophets taught the the concept of Jesus of Moses of Abraham, of all monotheistic faiths, is that no, religion is your life.
It's not just a part of your life, it is your life.
In dictates what you believe is right and wrong, what you believe is good and evil. what you believe is appropriate and inappropriate. And you can't push the boundaries of that because that's god you're talking about.
You're talking about God,
you push the boundaries of God. How arrogant is that for a human being? A little human being we are specs on a planet that is a speck in a universe. That is a speck. As the as the Prophet Mohammed described, the universe is like a ring in the desert before the throne of God, imagine that a ring in the desert.
And we human beings with our limited reason, we're going to say and think that we know better than God, no.
This itself is a type of madness, we would think.
So this is very important the called the Muslims life is rooted in the Quran.
That's where we get our criterion by which we judge. And that's what we believe a truly mo successful, harmonious society must be rooted in something like that. in something like that.
for successful societies and indeed successful individuals. So this is the concept of submission. And if you think about it, we will submit to someone or something all of us Submit. Think about it. For example, ask the police officer what you're wearing a uniform. Why do you wear the uniform?
So you can be identified? Do you like your uniform?
The I'm talking about the actual put, let's put it this way. If you walked into Topshop, yeah. And you saw your uniform hanging up there. Would you say oh, that's what I'm gonna wear this Saturday night. You know, it's like
who else grew up when they went to school? Hands up who wore school uniform? Did you enjoy wearing your school uniform? Do you like it?
Most of you didn't. Right? So why did you wear it then? If you didn't like it?
Why don't you wear the school uniform? If you didn't like wearing the school uniform? Why did you wear it?
Cuz you had to,
but I thought it was a free country.
I thought it was a free country.
No, we all do things all the time.
There's things that we are okay. So what is it when you do something that you don't want to do because you have to
What do you call that? What are you doing? You're?
you're submitting right? I give up what I want. I want to wear these nice clothes. I want to wear this. But I'm going to give up that because well that's the rule. Or maybe you do it. Let's think about another situation.
Maybe you surrender and you give up because you love somebody.
I mean, in short, I hope God willing, that, you know, the sisters, he loves their husbands. Yeah. And the husbands here, love their wives. I'm hoping that's the case. Yeah. So it's normal, isn't it?
It's normal. You love your children.
You love your children, right? But it's not always you want to give up your day, maybe you want to give up your weekend, you maybe want to play football, maybe you want to go mountain biking like me. Or maybe I don't know, whatever it is you want to do. But you know what, you give up some of that time because you love your kids, and you want to do something for them. And you want to make them happy. That you you sometimes you give up because you love someone. You surrender, you submit, you can submit out of love. And sometimes you submit out of fear, because I'm afraid what's going to happen to me. If I don't do this, or if I don't do that. And sometimes you do it because Wait a
minute, I just know that's the right thing to do.
Now, if you think about it deeply, think about this. Think about this deeply.
Can anyone think of any moment in your entire existence when you are not submitting to someone or to something?
Think about it.
Your entire existence where you are not submitting to someone or something?
I mean, you can't.
Whenever you say you'll think that actually Yes, I am submitting to someone or something. When you're asleep, you're submitting for your need to sleep.
That our existence is submission.
So what is Islam saying, think about this, think about the concept, or I'm not? I'm not telling you the details. I'm telling you the concept of Islam. If you want to understand Islam, it's the concept that's key.
What Islam says is, look,
actually, the being that is most worthy
of our submission is God. If we submit to someone because we love them, Well, God is more worthy of our love. Because whatever we have, ultimately from goodness comes from God ultimately. So God is more worthy of our love. If we submit because we're afraid, well, we should be more afraid of God than anything else, because he is more able to punish us than any other be. And if you we submit because it makes sense, because it's intelligent, because it's wise, what who is more wise than God. So therefore, the one that is most worthy of us submitting to is God. So here's the question, how do we submit to God? How do we know the best way to live our life?
How can we know what God wants us to do? How can we love God? How can we express our love for God? How can we keep away from the things that God does? That's where the Quran comes in. We believe that that's why God has sent books, for example, the Torah to Moses, and the Injeel, or the gospel to Jesus,
and the Quran, to Mohammed.
These are all these these are books or guidance from God to teach us how to live our life in a way that is pleasing to God.
That is the essential importance of the Quran. That's what it's about.
Now, if you understand that,
as an as a boot, I have said, it's not the actual burning occur, and that's the problem. It's not the burning occur, and that's the problem.
The issue is the insult that is intended. The point is, I want to insult your book. I mean, a Muslim would says he said, that's actually one of the ways we've been taught that if we want to dispose of old core ads or tune core ads or something, one of the ways we're allowed to dispose of it is by burning it.
And it's not considered to be insulting or an but the point is, it's the intent.
But the issue here is,
you see for the Muslim that is ultimately as if someone is attacking. Well, almost the purpose of life itself. The whole foundation on which morality and decency and the idea of right and wrong
is built on this book, and someone wants to insult it.
Because if you look at the essential teachings of the Quran, for someone to say it's evil, it's an evil but it honestly it really is absurd.
Because if you look at the essential teachings of the Quran, what is it number one, there is one God, this universe has a creator. And there are many verses in the Quran that talk about look at the heavens, the earth, the alternation of the mountain the day, look within yourselves, look at the animals. Look, these are all signs that point to a creator. an organized systemize universe points to one who has designed it and created it and organized it and systemized is very simple, logical conclusion. And this creator can't be the same as the creation. This is the basic message message of the Quran, about God, there's one God, God is not like anything in this universe. And because God
has created the universe, and given us life,
we should worship God, we should thank God, we should praise God. Because God has power over everything, we should seek help from God. That's the basic message of the Quran.
And God is most wise, he knows what's best for us. And so when he gives us some guidance and says, This is the best way for you to live, we'll try to live that way.
If God says don't drink alcohol, it's not because God doesn't want us to have a good time
is because God knows that alcohol is going to damage us individually and collectively.
I mean, we only need to look at the statistics of what alcohol does, how much violence, how many deaths, deaths, how much abuse in homes, how many rapes, how much police time, is spent, looking after people pouring out of pubs and clubs on a Saturday night, on a Friday night, instead of going and dealing with criminals, they have to go and make sure that this person who's sold drunk, he would drown on his own sick. So he has to be looked after Is that a good use of police time is that what taxpayers should be spending their money on people who can't control themselves to look after them?
The Wisdom logic that marijuana is forbidden and alcohol is allowed. They're just as bad as each other.
There's no particular logic in it. It's just a cultural thing. It's not scientific.
So God is not saying don't drink alcohol, because I don't want you to have a good time. God is saying don't drink alcohol, because this is bad for you, this is not going to help you. It's not going to help you be a better human being, you're not going to be better because of drinking alcohol, you're not going to improve the world and make the world a better place by drinking alcohol you're not
and it won't make you happy. So leave it's it'll be better for you. So what the correct answers
and this is the case with everything God knows best.
Okay, so this is the Quran is this book of guidance, this wisdom from the Creator.
And that is what the Muslims based their life on that
God's guidance, so we do our best to follow it.
And that is the way that the human being will lead a good and a happy and complete life. And there is a very, very important thing that I want to finish on very, very important concept.
Is that the Muslims? You see, we believe the Quran is the actual speech of God.
You know, in, for example, if you're familiar with the Bible, then you will know for example, about the 10 commandments, the 10 commandments is actually God saying, Thou shalt not do this, and thou shalt not do that. Here's, it's almost as if you could put God in parenthesis you could say, this is God clearly saying something. Muslims believe the Quran is like that. It's actually the speech. It's God talking to us. It's God actually talking to human beings. And therefore, that is something very precious. That is something we have to hold in the highest respect and highest esteem. Because when we respect it, when we hold in that high esteem, that will ensure that we have a very positive
attitude towards acting upon it. That's the wisdom behind that.
I always remember a friend of mine from the Arabian Peninsula from actually Dubai. And when he came to my house if he ever saw the Qur'an
Underneath any other book, he would pick it picked it, he would pick it up, and he would put it on top. And I would say to him, Jamal, is that Islam? Does Islam say it has to be like that?
Is it? Is it forbidden? Is it a sin to put other books on top of the Quran? He said, No. He said, it's not a sin. He said, but I just don't like, you know, he didn't like the concept in his mind that any book should be above God's book. Because what God says is, it's just you understand, it's a linking, it's a concept, the concept that what God says is more important, put it on top, it's this, it's this connection
between what you do with your body.
And what you feel in your heart, is it and by the way, this is I mean, it's so fascinating, if you study psychology, and many of the
the research that has been done now into human behavior, this is exactly what they've discovered, there is this very powerful and strong link between your physiology between how your body is and your state of mind. So even for example, try this, just try it. Totally aside from our conversation, just something to, you know, if you're feeling down, you're feeling a bit depressed, just try this. Make yourself smile, just make yourself smile.
Yeah, make yourself move, like a happy person. Happy people that jolly and they move around, and they smile, and they're like this right? And force yourself to be happy and jolly. And you know, what you will find, you will start feeling happy.
It's by this is a fact that they found
if you behave in a certain way, you will start to feel that way. This is very important.
Okay, and I think if you think about that, then you can see why preaching the Qur'an respectfully is very, very important
because the the way that we physically treat it respectfully, is making a link in our mind, between the status that we give what this book says, in our life. And that, as I said, is what the life of the Muslim is based upon. And it is not religion as you may think of it. It is really a way of living. It's really what our life is about. It's this communication from God to all mankind also, by the way, Muslims don't believe the Quran is just for Muslims, we believe it's for everybody. It's a book for all mankind. The Prophet Mohammed is called the Rahmatullah mean, he's a mercy to or not even the mankind only every single living creature, the book is supposed to be the core and a book
of mercy. You know, what I'm gonna finish on? Something I think is very simple, but
It's profound for me personally. And I think it's profound generally about the Quran.
Every single chapter of the Quran every there's 114 chapters in the Quran.
Right? Every single chapter of the Quran except one except one. every chapter begins with this phrase, this millerhill Rahmani Raheem.
Which means in the name of God, Allah is not
the Arab God, or the Muslims, God, Allah is just the Arabic name for the One God who has created everything. If you open a Bible in Arabic, guess what they call God? in the in the Christian Bible in Arabic, God is called Allah.
Christian Arabs call God Allah, Jewish Jews who speak Arabic they call God Allah. It's just the Arabic term for God. Like you're in French, or got in German. So this Mendler in the Name of God,
the One God R Rahman r Rahim, what are those two words mean? are rough Man, these are the two names of God. All right, man, is the merciful.
Yeah, and this Mercy is a type of mercy
that has some conditions to it. The rahama or the mercy of God, God is merciful to all the creatures. But if we disobey God if we immerse ourselves in disobedience to God, if we constantly behave in a way that degenerate ourselves
On our communities, then this Rama, this Mercy is taken away. And it's it's exchanged with punishments.
So we wouldn't say that God's mercy is absolute in that sense. No, God is merciful to those who take the path of seeking God's mercy. But are Rahim also means merciful, but it's a different type of mercy. It's a constant mercy. Or Rahim is a is a mercy that is constant and is always flowing. And that mercy as the scholars explained, for those people who are immersed in that connection with God, who are immersed in living their lives and trying to live their lives in a way that is connected with God, when they live like that, even if they go off till now and then no still, that is a constant mercy of God. So how could anyone
looking at the Quran seeing at the top of every single chapter R Rahman r Rahim Allah, The Merciful, the mercy giving?
How could we say that the Quran then is a, you know, a violent book an evil book? No, it's it's about mercy.
God is about mercy. God is about love.
God is about forgiveness. God is about repentance. These are the themes that come up again and again and again, in the Quran, concerning God, and those are also the qualities that Muslims should imbibe into their life. And that is also the quality my brothers and sisters like to say, to vote, because since most of us are Muslims, that is also the quality that we need to display to others, to people who are not Muslim. Where is the quality of mercy? Where is our mercy? Where is our forgiveness? Where is the overlooking of faults? This is the qualities that Muslims should have. These are the qualities that we found manifest and imbibed in the Prophet Mohammed, may God's peace of blessings
be upon him who was though his character was the Quran, he was the walking Qur'an.
And what was he, you find he was so merciful, so forgiving, so kind, so compassionate. This is the example that we need to follow. This is the path that we need to tread. Thank you very much for giving me some of your time, allowing me to share a little bit of my vision. I hope that in some way, we've come to a little bit of a closer understanding of the basic concepts of what Islam is about why the Quran is so important. May the mercy and the blessings and the forgiveness of God be with us all jazak Allah Assalamu alaikum