Solutions – Episode 05 – Having An Islamic Identity

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Ali Albarghouthi

Channel: Ali Albarghouthi

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smilla who will have the de la salatu salam ala rasulillah Allah Allah wasabi wassalam in Alhamdulillah Hina Madonna staying in one istockphoto when we learn image roti unforseen our see at Dr. Medina, Mejia de la philomel de la mama homie, Lil fella, howdy Allah, Masha Allah, Allahu Allahu la sharika quassia ana Mohammed Abu Rasulullah sallallahu

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alayhi wa sallam.

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So, tonight inshallah we'll be talking about having, and developing an Islamic identity.

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And this is an important topic.

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Because often we don't understand what is meant by an identity and the importance of having an Islamic identity for both this life and the hereafter, and how, and why it is important to preserve it, and what does it mean to preserve it? And what, what aspects of identity needs to be preserved, and what aspects are really not part of identity. So, tonight, inshallah, we'll try to look at a better understanding of what identity is a feature of Islamic identity, what it means to have an Islamic identity, and then inshallah some recommendations to keep in mind. So, and I will try as much as possible in sha Allah to bring up examples so that it's not very dry, especially the

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beginning part, because despite the fact that whenever you engage, in theory, it's a little bit dry. But it's important that we understand the background, I mean, what is it really that we're talking about? So it's simply the definition of what is an identity is a my identity is this his identity is that her identity is this what is an identity mean? So identity basically, is something that you have a feature or a trade or characteristic, whatever is whatever, but it's something that you have, that is important enough to define you. Right. So we have a lot of qualities, a lot of characteristics, alaba traits, not all of them are important. So they don't get to define us. But

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some of them rise in importance. And they start defining us whether they are important, personally, for me, and that's why it defines me, or it becomes important because of the people around me. So for instance, an example. So suppose that you're very tall.

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That is not necessarily an identity, is it? They just simply are tall. But suppose that you exist in a society where everybody is really short, and you're really tall. So you stand out. And now everybody gives you a title, the tall guy or whatever they have the tall guys come, the tall guy is left. So you have a title that describes this feature. And then your profession is influenced by it, because all of them are short, they ask you to help them with things that they cannot reach.

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It's not a silly example is it, but at least is an example so that we understand. So they help you if asked you help us with this help us with that. So now, that feature of yours had given you a title had given you a profession, and sets you apart from everybody else that becomes an identity for you are the tall guy said so the tall tall guy came the tall guy left. So things some things are insignificant. But they are insignificant to you, but they become significant to another person. So an identity is a trait that is important to a person or important to a group that it happens to define them. That's what we mean by and identity.

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So not all of them are really equal. And they're not all equal in different places, different societies, different individuals. So when we're talking about identities, there are some core identities and tangential identities or secondary identities. So for instance, gender.

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Now, for a lot of people, it doesn't matter what your gender is, it does affect you. So islamically your gender does affect you.

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When it comes to Salah, it comes to dress comes to fasting, right? There's some minor differences, right? But overall, there's a lot of does it affect you whether you go to heaven or hell, your gender doesn't affect you at all. It affects some professions that you take, but for most people, gender is not a really core identity. But for some it is. For some it is so being female, because of the perception or reality that you're being oppressed or you're being harassed, you're being denied opportunity. So in order to embrace who you are and resist that outside pressure, that identity becomes core

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becomes very important and you start seeing everybody especially if you're a feminist if you adopt feminism as a

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identity or as an ideology, you begin to see everything around you. Not only male female interactions, but societal structure, even how society or you know how buildings architecture is developed, you begin to see patriarchy in it, and oppression in it. So a clear lens that affects everything. So gender as an as an example of an identity that is not necessarily core, but it can become core, or another example, a vegan person. Now, that your choice of food, is that a fundamental choice in life where you begin to define yourself and others as I'm a meat eater, you eat meat, right? Right. So you define yourself, you know, going and coming as a meat eater? who you

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are, I'm the carnivore, define yourself. No, but why do some people define themselves as vegans?

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What's different about this

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case is the harder choice. Right? So you have to go against the mainstream. And you have to force yourself sometimes, and it's the harder choice. And sometimes you need to defend and explain yourself. So there's an outside pressure. So either you're going to go with the mainstream, or you will resist it and to be able to resist, you have to embrace and fight. And so that thing becomes something that you do daily. It's a conscious daily choice to eat, not to eat meat, do you make a conscious daily choice to eat meat?

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Guys, do you make a conscious choice every after day I have to eat me, do you say that. But if you're a vegan, you have to say especially if you start because the masses are the predominant choice is not that. So to be a vegan, you have to consciously make a choice that I'm not gonna eat this or this or this. So it's difficult. So it becomes part of you because it is difficult. You're resisting outside pressure. So your profession. For some people, it's core identity for other people, it's not. So if you're a teacher, or for instance, you're a lawyer or a doctor, that could be really, really important. I only I only befriend other doctors,

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that is important to you, right? I'm not going to be friend, anybody less than a doctor, only other doctors or if you're richer than me, then you okay? But for other people, it doesn't matter. I just work, I go and come back, I earn money. It's not really a core identity of mine. It doesn't shape the rest of my life. economic class, I'm rich and poor. For some people, it matters for some people doesn't citizenship of the citizen of this country. I'm better than you. Right? That's a core identity. Right? you define yourself as being an American or a Canadian or French, or someone from Quebec, we are here we are with these people because we're not you. That's important for other

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people. Like I don't know, I'm from Iceland, it doesn't matter to me, right? You can come you can settle you cannot. So some Yes. for citizenship numb, not intellectual site. For some people, I'm liberal conservative, I'm to the left and to the right. Most of the time, it is a core identity, political party, first generation second generation, my parents came here I was born here, to some it's important to other people is just has happened. So why is it important? It's because of the pressure that a person, you know, whether it's self in itself, it's important or because of outside pressure, it becomes important.

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So another thing about identity is that some of them are are by choice or and some of them are by birth. So color to some people, that is an identity, right? I'm white, and I'm better. Or the opposite. I'm black. And so I'm better.

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That is by choice or by birth.

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by birth, I did not choose it. So racial identity is by birth, gender, men are better than women. Women are better than men. So it's also by birth, body shape.

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Okay, body shape.

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I'm handsome.

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You're ugly. Right? Now you but I'm saying that you know just you know, ANZ right. So, what does that mean? I mean is it is it is it by birth or choice, mostly birth, but it also also be by choice as well. Right?

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profession. That's by choice intellectual choice side that but that's by choice religion, that's by choice, language.

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muslimeen, your first language is by choice or birth. birth, right, but then subsequent languages that's by choice, economic class. Both

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All right. So it can be by birth, meaning I born rich, I was born poor. And if you're born poor, you cannot become rich in some places. So that's by birth, there's no choice in it. And some people, some in some areas, no, you can move from one category or from one, you know, line into, into the other. So, and that these, these two, whether it's by birth, or by choice, some of them are core identities develop as core identities and some not. And of the two, the thing that is given to you by birth and and think that you choose which one is the better one.

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choice? Absolutely. That's why we say I mean, if you want to be proud of something, don't be proud of something that is handed to you be proud of something that you made, something that you've selected, something that you fought for, but not simply being a color,

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right, or not simply being a gender.

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Or it's not simply being born in a place, what rules did you have in all of this? I'm proud of being this.

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Or being whatever citizen citizenship right or being here, simply because you were born, here you are, you're gifted that you didn't do anything to earn it, or to deserve it. Why are you proud of that, you need to be proud of something that you actually have accomplished and reached. Some are permanent, and some are temporary. So gender, if we assume it to be an identity, right? Is that permanent? or temporary? permanent, right? supposed to be permanent? color, that's permanent body shape, sort of half half? biological, social heritage on how you inherited this from my family. So I look this way that's permanent. I can't do anything about it. Social heritage, the same thing,

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right? My family has descendants from those my family, for instance, have this language that's not by that's permanent, you cannot do anything about it. profession.

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Temporary, right. Right. Oh, no, it's not permanent. Now, temporary, right, there's gonna come a time when you're going to stop. I'm a doctor, if you define yourself as being a doctor. And there are some people who define themselves as being the profession, I am a doctor, I'm a lawyer, I am this person. So what happens to you when you stop being that? Who are you then

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even if I say if you've defined yourself as being a parent, or being a parent is an identity? But if you think to yourself, is that permanent?

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It could be in some cases, I'm going to be pair parent to the rest of my life. But in some cases, that may not continue, right? So what happens to you when you're not a parent anymore? If we all if you invest all of your identity, or all of yourself into this, when you lose it, then you've lost everything? Right? So religion, is that permanent or temporary? Depends, right? You make that choice. If there's permanent or temporary culture, you're born into a culture, but you can move away out of it. So it also can be permanent, or it can be temporary, because that's based on choice. So if by choice, you can choose something to be they choose a temporary to be permanent, it becomes

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permanent. And some are comprehensive, and some are partial. There are some identities that influence everything else, and some identities that are limited. So like profession sometimes. So if I'm a particular profession, and then I allow that to decide who my friends are, where I live, how I present myself and become more comprehensive, if not, I don't care about it, once I'm done with my job, I really am done with it. That's a partial thing. It may not even be an identity. Religion is supposed to be comprehensive, or partial.

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Comprehensive, mean, it covers everything it's supposed to, it's not always the case, sometimes it's just partial, but it's supposed to organize all other identities. But sometimes it's simply only partial. But other identities as well, could be comprehensive or partial, depending on you. So my color could be a comprehensive identity. Right. So I only mingled with people of this particular color. I think that other colors and people of other color are trying to take advantage of us of trying to steal our jobs. So I will elect those people who belong to my color who will champion my cause. So everything I see in life is based on this color. And there's the opposite as well. You

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know, you can demonize this color, but in response, you can demonize the other color and so on. And then you have congruent and incongruent identities, meaning identities that clash, and identities don't that don't clash. So some of them clash by definition, and some of them do not clash by definition. So I have a religious identity and I have a cultural identity. Do they always agree?

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No. So sometimes there's a clash. Sometimes there's a clash between your profession and your responsibilities or that as a father, so you need to make a choice and there is a class you negotiate. And how do you negotiate you either say this identity is better than this one meaning me being a parent is more important than this job or my

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Job is more important than being a parent. So you prioritize, or you negotiate. So I'm going to take a little bit out of this and a little bit out of that so that they can live they can mesh well together, they can, you know, agree with each other. So, you know, go and negotiate with incongruent identity. What does it mean? here for purposes of this inshallah lecture, what does it mean to when I say we have must have an Islamic identity, it means that we must have Islam as the core identity, permanent and comprehensive.

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Islam has to be the core identity, the most important identity that we have permanent till the time that we die, and comprehensive, meaning it governs everything else, and decides where it goes.

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Why is it difficult, though, to have an Islamic identity? Or a religious identity in general, and an Islamic identity? in particular? Why is it difficult to do this? So, first of all, the first reason to move away from religion. And this is something that I've talked about, at least in the last two lectures,

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that in generally in the West, where they're moving and pushing you away from religion, towards a more rational,

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or a more individualistic choice of what is right and what is wrong. So, in popular culture, if you tell a person, for instance, I'm religious, and I believe in God, are they going to applaud you?

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You're going to say that and you may be embarrassed when you're saying or apologize if you say this, because they look down on this thing. Oh, I mean, I don't I do this because I believe in God, I believe in Allah as a DJ, and I'm going to the masjid, I have to stay away from alcohol, I can't shake a woman's hand. You look, you look at you as backwards, you still believe in these things. The religious choice is not a popular choice. It's not an interesting choice. It's not a celebrated choice, as I said, because there's that push away from religion so that religion is backward is in the back. We've left it behind, and we're moving forward and you're still talking about religion,

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you still are wearing this hijab, that there will be some women are coming to Muslim sisters. You still wearing this? Don't you feel oppressed? Isn't this oppressing you. So you have to continuously defend yourself. Why? Because you're religious. And it's not just simply Muslims, non Muslims feel that as well. Jews feel it Christians feel it. That Yeah, we have to constantly defend being religious, and justify it.

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What is offered as an x as an substitute is being spiritual. If you say I'm a spiritual person, or you get applauded, Oh, that's nice. You're a spiritual person. But what does spirituality means? Really? Do you know?

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Do you know what spirituality means?

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If you say no, you're right, because nobody knows. But it's this this vague notion and idea of being very sensitive and attuned. And but what does it really mean? I like to watch the sunrise and the sunset, which in itself is beautiful, right?

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The person is just sensitive. I meditate.

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But it's vague. And it's purposely vague, because you decide what it means to be spiritual. There are no demands that are put on you, there is no god to tell you, right and wrong. But rather, ask yourself, What do you feel is right? And what do you feel is wrong, you become the authority of right and wrong. So because it doesn't put any demand on you, and it allows you to do whatever you feel like, there's no time for Salah there's no time for fasting, there's no time for meditation, there's no guilt, necessarily. So it's an easy, and it's also popular choice and it can fit in every lifestyle. Whether you are a student or not busy person or not a housewife or not a soccer mom or

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not. You can fit this into your life and feel good about yourself. Because you think I am spiritual. And if you hear people saying

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the universe has sent me a message, the universe is telling me that I should go this way.

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The universe is teaching me that. Or there is a there's a few do this. There'll be bad karma. Or there's good karma if you do that, right. Now, do you believe in God? No. If you don't believe in God, where does the belief in karma come from? Like, who's counting? the good things that you've done and the bad things that you've done? And he's going to punish you and reward you for them? who's counting that? Have you heard that karma? Huh? And the universe is a universe a universe is telling me to study this the universe is telling me to go in this direction. What universe right. So if you think about it is a substitute for God, isn't it? You speak to the universe.

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Hmm, the horoscopes? Yeah. They about the universe, like what is everyone's thinking about it? What is the universe I mean, it's this table.

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Is electricity or light is this conscious enough that it cares about you, that is sending you messages? What is this universe, but again, it's left out to be vague, very vague, because it's very convenient. And the universe somehow like this, this carpet is moral, that is telling you to do the right thing and not to do the bad thing. So there's a push away from religion, but on the other hand, being spiritual is celebrated. And there is no religious authority to be a reference, you are the reference. Second reason of why it's difficult to be a to have an Islamic identity is that minority status.

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If you're a minority, there is a pressure on you from the majority, whether that is explicit or not to assimilate and conform, become part of the group. And to try to trim as much of as you have your Islam so that you don't stand out.

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If you stand out what happens,

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you're going to be either ridiculed, or mocked, or chastised or blamed.

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Or you become suspect, you're an outsider, you don't fit in. If you want to fit in, you got to talk like everybody else, and look like everybody else, and think like everybody else. So even just the mere fact or the act of exclusion, puts pressure on every minority to conform and to embrace what the majority is doing. And then the minority or members from that minority group, they begin to feel shame.

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I'm ashamed of this, because who likes to stand out, who likes to constantly defend and be suspected, and feel that they are monitored. And I constantly have to defend myself of why I'm wearing this or why I'm saying this and why I'm going to the masjid. Or, you know, so even worse, you know, I defend other people. And we are being associated with people I've never even seen in my life, and I denounce all the time. But at the same time, I have to explain why some other people are committing mistakes in the name of Islam, and I'm not the one who's responsible for that, constantly having to defend yourself, that brings shame, and feelings of inferiority that I am less than

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everybody else.

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And being defeated, and constantly having to apologize for who you are, and what you believe. And so becomes easier to imitate, let me just do what they do, at least uncovered and protected. I don't want to stand out because standing out will cost me a lot costs a lot, not only in terms of social exclusion, but also financially right, when you look a Muslim, when you behave as a Muslim, you may not have the same opportunities to begin with, or to be able to advance in certain areas. So to so if you can conform, if you drink, if you go out, if you talk like them, then you'll be able to fit in and if you fit in, you can get promoted. But if not, and you say I can't touch this, I can be

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here, I can go there, you're out of it, and you're out of the group, you don't get promoted, or you don't get included. Also the allure of this world, this is number three, the allure of this role, the attraction of this world is also a very strong obstacle towards developing a an Islamic identity meaning holding on to Islam. So what is presented in popular culture as the model to be

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used, we have celebrities, from the movies,

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from music, that from music industry and from sports. These are the role models that we have. And their lifestyle, their choices, how much money they make, and then eventually what opinions they have become the map that our children have, of how to be and what to be in this life.

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So that's why

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any listening to music is not just about listening to music, because you're not just being sold a song or being sued, what are you being sold as well, a lifestyle and the star or syllabus celebrity behind it? Who is making these choices? So you're being selected a role model, or watching sports and I'm not against playing sports, right? You can play the old all the sports that you want not boxing, right. But you understand why right? Because this is dangerous, you know, and it's very harmful. So I said exclude that. But many other sports, you can play all the sports that you want. But when you sport, watch sports on TV, you're not watching something that is innocent and naive.

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You're being sold something. So that star that is constantly scoring and he'll gets you know, highlighted and interviewed and focused on. If you are watching and you're rooting for that team. You start developing feelings for that person

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Yeah, he started miring this person. So if whatever you see and tell me if I'm wrong, whenever you see his image, you stop and you look, if he's on TV, you will pause and you listen. And if he's later on to express an opinion, political opinion, or a social opinion or religious opinion, you listen or not.

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Yeah. That's why when they want to advertise a cause, why do they hire actors? Not well, necessarily, but elicit actors, ask them to go and speak on behalf of this charity, and this charity. A person who's you know, talent in life, is to take a script, memorize it, and repeat it in front of a camera. That's their skill in life. Why is he advocating she advocating a cause?

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Because they know what

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they have that appeal. recognition, they know that if you're flipping a channel, or you're online, and you see their face, what are you gonna do? gonna watch it.

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And if you continue to watch the person over and over and over, you're gonna tell me that you're not gonna like them?

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Honestly, or you're not gonna like them. And if you will start liking that person, how they look, simply their appearance, but also their choices in life when they become normal. The more that you look at them, so that tattoos that is covering all of his body, don't they become normal? And, you know, the piercings on his body or her body? Don't they become normal? And if he's living with his girlfriend, or she's living with her boyfriend,

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doesn't that become normal? And then you have people say, so what's wrong with it? Because you've been seeing it over and over and over. So that is what is presented as the ideal if you want to become successful. That's success. So when Islam comes and tells you Haram, haram Haram, what happens? I don't want that right. There's a clash. I don't want this. I want to be successful. Islam is not telling me I cannot be I want to enjoy my life. But Islam is telling me that I cannot be I can enjoy it. It can be rich this way. I can't have fun this way. So there is this attraction to this life making money going out drinking, and that's my number four, on my list of why is it hard

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to have an Islamic identity?

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Because it takes an effort not to be trivial and silly.

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Right? What is easier to to be dumb or smart?

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What's easier

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in life?

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In fact, this life right as it is right now, right? The dumber You are the better chances you have right? of succeeding.

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Right? So what is it? It's so? And it's not only about religion, by the way? And if you look, I was thinking about it, consider academics, they were serious about the causes, what they're studying, and consider activists who or for the environment or against torture and against whatever it is activists and academics. Do they live trivial lives?

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No, they live serious lives. Do they sacrifice for these causes? Absolutely.

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Are their lives boring?

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Compared to other people who go out and they drink and they party? Are they life is boring? Yeah, they are.

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But it's not really boring is serious. And it's significant. And it's meaningful.

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So of course, if you want to have fun,

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and religion, by the way, is not boring. I'll touch on this inshallah. But if you want to have fun and you define this fun as I want to go out and party late, I don't want to go out with so and so on have fun with so and so committing Haram, and I want to drink alcohol or whatever I want to take drugs or whatever No, I think is it seems interesting and fun. And if you watch movies, they make it really fun. And attractive. The other side is not shown. But just the the attractive, fun side. So that's your definition of it. And I want to go out and I want to make a lot of money on I want to buy cars and you know, bags and shoes and this and that. If that's your definition of life, then

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anything serious in life is going to sound very boring. Studying is boring going to, you know, going to your job every day is boring. believing in something significant becomes very boring. But if you want something that is going to actually benefit you and leave an impact in this life, and if religiously done in the next life. Yeah, being serious at times means that it is a bit boring. forcing yourself to sit and study and write a paper to go out for activists, let's say write letters and march in support of this or against that and being arrested for it. You pay a price for all of this. There's a price to be paid. But that's

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fries is worth it if you want to matter. But if you don't want to matter, you can be trivial and silly and it's easier that's the easier choice to serve to be Muslim. Such as some people say it's you know, it's too uptight. It's just too boring. I just go to the masjid read the Koran again go to the masjid read the Quran. No slam is not just that Islam gives you this space and that other space. So you want halal entertainment go and have halal entertainment. You find that in the even in the lives of the Sahaba when Allah Allah him around the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam they used to say, I mean, and there's nothing wrong with that. They would prefer just just an example they would

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prefer it. Then they would sit after federal remembering Allah azza wa jal till sunrise,

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right, then they upgrade to our cars. And then they will sit and talk with each other since a social scene social gathering and the prophets Ali Salam is sitting and listening. And they said, we would remember the things we used to do in jelly and we would laugh, we would laugh and the province our listener would smile.

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So that's a social scenes, they're sitting and they're enjoying themselves and they're having fun, but it's a balance. They're not committing harm while they're doing it. And that's what is not what is dominant in their life. They simply just want to sit and laugh and have fun. That's not it. But they do they do what they have for Allah as origin for their hereafter. And once they're done, you need that other time to be for you to be able to recharge so no religion is not boring.

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Seek halal entertainment and that will help you inshallah develop a balanced life. So features of an Islamic identity.

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What distinguishes an Islamic identity, religious identity in general, but Islamic identity in particular, what what makes it special? First of all, it is the only identity that helps you in the hereafter.

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There is no other identity that is going to help you so that we have a lot of identities here and we deal with people and distinguish ourselves based on them. So the poor people live here on the rich people live there, the white people live here, the black people live there, the citizens of this country can allow are allowed entry here, but if you're a citizen of that other country, you cannot come in here right. So these are very different identities and we deal with each other based on those identities in this life. In the hereafter. All of these identities evaporate.

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Right.

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And the only one that remains is one of Islam or none Islam taqwa and non taqwa as Allah, as a surgeon says, one tells you the oma, are you almajiri mon, oh, criminals step aside.

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So this separation is not based on anything but who is the criminal and who was pious. That's the only identity that helps in the hereafter. And it's the only and then at that is significant in this dunya as well. Because number two, Allah gave it a lot of zildjian who had given it and if Allah had given it,

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it's the most significant one.

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Now, of course, Allah has given you other identities, but he chose this one for you

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chose it. Who was a mock woman Muslim mean, I mean, kaaboo have he had he is the one who had named you Muslims, before this Koran and in this foreign prophesized. The other people who are giving the good news, there's gonna come a nation quantum hydrometer, no craziness, there's gonna come a nation, whose name will be Muslims, followers of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and this is where they are. And this is what what they will look like. And this is how they will behave. So this is an identity that Allah had chosen for you. So if you chose it, you've chosen what Allah had chosen. And if it is, it is valuable because of that. Other things? Yes, Olam have given you some

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meaning, you know, your weight, your height, your color, your mother, your father, all of these, but these things are not very significant. They could be significant in determining some things in life, but they're not significant in the hereafter. So Allah have chosen it. One, it is valuable and not exaggerated. So some identities, they get inflated in importance,

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but not Islam. Islam is the most important identity, but some other identities, they get inflated, like the examples that we've seen, for instance, you know, me being, I don't know, having a particular color.

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It does not matter. But some people they inflate diet, that identity, so much so that it controls everything else. That's an exaggerated inflated identity, it has no reality under it, or how much money you have some people go by that. As I said,

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the as I said, you know, some, as I heard, like, some people will ask you, where do you live, and if you live in a place that they deem to be inferior, they don't talk to you anymore.

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They don't return your phone calls because you live in an area that is deemed

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below their standards, or what is your profession? Or where did you graduate from. So that is an inflated identity that has no reality and basis to it. Islam is not like that it is the real identity, it's a significant one. That is that controls, all others are supposed to be controlling all other identity. It's also balanced. It's a balanced identity. It's not exaggerated.

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So some people with some other identities.

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So for instance, you know, if women are oppressed, or mistreated, and I adopt womanhood, or feminism as an identity, I can go into the extreme, I can go into the extreme where I demonize masculinity, or males.

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Males are the root of all evil, all males are oppressive.

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So that is an imbalanced identity. Or, if I am black, and white people have been oppressive, or have been oppressing black people for so long as so horrendously. I can flip it the other way and say, well, all white people are devils, like the Nation of Islam, did

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he invent an origin story? Would they have been the original man was black. And then Yaqoob, they call Yaqoob came and he made in the lab, he made white people. And they are the devil, like every white person is the devil. So that is an exaggerated inflated identity that is out of balance. If someone oppresses you, or wrongs you, the remedy for that is not to flip that on them and demonize them.

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So Islam is a balanced identity. And that seems that emphasizes emphasizes in the right balance, not to an extreme. And it's also so panela balance between ideal our idealism and practicality.

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Some can be, you know, extremely ideal, that they don't mind destroying everything that is in front of them, or their opponents. But Islam is idealistic. This is how we're supposed to be this is how society is supposed to be. But on the road to that very pragmatic, there are things that you cannot do at this moment. Right? Yeah. And he when he sent us to the lysosome, sent more after the event to Yemen, just as an example of gradualism. It says, you're going to come to a people who are people of the book, Love The first thing that you call them to was La ilaha illAllah Muhammadan rasul Allah, that's your first thing. If they accept that, tell them that Allah had obligated on them five daily

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prayers, if they accept that, tell them about Zika if they accept this, tell them about fasting, see how see how it goes. So he didn't say go and say, boom, just dump everything on them. Right. And the gradualism of the Sharia of Allah azza wa jal what he started in Mecca, and where he started in Medina, and there is lesson in that for every hour and for the establishment in Islam and every society in every community, and within an individual as well dump everything on an individual like a new Muslim, he accepts Islam, this is the first hour of the first day, you give him everything. What does he do? He runs away, right? can take this, what do you do? He says, Okay, there are a lot of

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things that are our obligations. But at this moment, you can do this. You can't. And that's why Subhan Allah also if you're going to counsel someone,

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they're Muslim, but you can counsel someone, and they have a lot of problems. And you want to give them advice. And you find, for instance, that they're doing this Haram, this Haram, this haram on what so on, or they're not doing via this obligation, this obligation, this obligation, you can go and ask them, avoid all of this haraam, and do all of these obligations at once. So impossible, we won't be able to do it. What do you what can you do, you pick the most important obligation and go to the most serious harm, say, leave this and do that. Begin with that, what is what they're capable of doing. And then you go with them step by step until they reach a stage where they can leave all

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the harem and do all the obligations. But they can do everything at once or leave everything at once. There's so it's ideal, but it's also practical at the same time.

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It's noble, because this Islamic identity will teach you a nobility, there is some identities that will strip you of nobility.

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You know, you look with derision and with ridicule at other people, you put them down.

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You behave in ways where you strip them of their rights. Other identities will teach that it does not matter what what moral grounds you stand on as long as you benefit yourself. Because everybody else is an enemy or everybody who's different from me is an enemy.

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But an Islamic identity teaches you that even with your opponents you're supposed to be just

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and that to have Taqwa you need to be just an

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If you want Allah azza wa jal to love you Even with those that have wronged you and you hate, you need to have justice.

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And it teaches you self confidence. It teaches you mercy teaches you forgiveness, she teaches you speaking the truth, even if it is against yourself, it teaches you true independence. Will you not really following the crowd simply because they've said something, but based on evidence based on what Allah subhana wa Taala had said, and what Allah is the origin has revealed. Last is also one less of its feature, it's stable. It doesn't fluctuate.

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It's done definitions, its parameters, Islam is Islam. Now 50 years or 100 years from now, Islam is Islam. So it's a stable identity, it does not change based on people's whims and desires. So ways to develop it, ways to develop the this Islamic identity First of all, is to believe that Allah azza wa jal is the ultimate guide, and that Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam is the ultimate human guide. So if you want to seek guidance, where do you seek it?

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Where do you go for it? You go to Allah azza wa jal? What do I mean by guidance, mean guidance in all matters?

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And I'm going to touch upon this, but how do I dress? How do I talk? How do I think about myself and about this person? Or about that person about society?

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isn't that important or not? Is this type of dress allowed or not? Is this line of thinking?

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Right or wrong? Where do I go for guidance, I must believe that Allah azzawajal is the highest,

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and believe that Muhammad Ali was sending them on this earth is the best of guides, I must believe this. So I go to guidance for them, believing at the same time number two, that Islam is superior.

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In Islam, we are alula you Allah, Allah, Islam is superior, nothing goes above it, I must have that belief.

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And that belief is going to come and Sharla from knowledge from understanding from learning, because the more that you learn, that's the last point I had here. But the more that you learn, the more that actually this will be proven, the more that you will be able to not only say it, but actually believe it, that Islam is superior, there is no other choice better than the choice that Allah had made. Right? Because if you go by any other choice is a human's choice.

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Right? Any other choice is a human choice. And that human is just like you.

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And they will make mistakes just like you. And they change their mind just like you and they are inferior, just like you and me.

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But our last choice is better, and is more lasting. And eventually, it will bring you happiness in the hereafter and this life, any other choice has none of these guarantees and if it is an opposition to Allah's choice, it will fail. So you have to actually believe that, yes, this hijab is better. You may not know all the reasons, and you don't have to know all the reasons you can go and investigate, but I believe that this hijab is better, because Allah said, so

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if you believe Allah said, So, this hijab is better, and not hijab, that is at the same time fashionable, right? You know, I wear hijab, but I make it so that it still attracts attention, or covers part of my hair or the ears or the neck, right? Or has striking colors.

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That's, that's, that's, that's a hijab that somebody else had made. That's their choice, but allows choices for it to conceal. Okay, but isn't it more fun to do this than that? Isn't it just dull for me just to wear this thing and go out. And it's the same colors, or I can vary? Maybe a couple, two, three colors, but that's it, and I cannot put makeup on? I cannot put jewelry on? And I don't feel isn't that boring? It says, Well, where's your test in life? If you simply want to do whatever you want to do? If you simply just simply want to do whatever you feel like where's the test in it?

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The test in it is that

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a low ask you sometimes to do things that you don't feel like doing?

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But Allah says, and every time you read it in the Quran, it should stop you. Perhaps you hate something and it is good for you.

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What is Allah saying, Hey, listen, you're going to hate some of these things. You know,

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you're going to hate them. It's going to be difficult. Everybody's going out to this place. I'm the only one staying behind because it's hard. It's difficult. They're all having fun and they're sending me text and they're sending me pictures and said, Come on, man. What are you doing home and that's just difficult, but where's your test? If it's this is not going to test you? Yeah, haraam is really appealing, but you got to stay behind. You got to occupy your cell phone.

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What is useful you're going to have, you will want to must find good friends, that will bring you closer to Allah azza wa jal and protect you be a fortress against those temptations. So you must believe that a less choice is the best choice, not what people have said, or whatever now, whatever is popular at this moment. And we also must believe third, imitation is a form of flattery. And allegiance, is if you are imitating someone, you are praising them. And if you're imitating someone, you love them. And if you are imitating someone, you're one of them with me, because the prophets Allah Islam says mentorship behavior comin for a woman home, if you imitates a people, you're one of

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them. And you're one of them, meaning you want to be one of them.

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Or you're going to be one of them.

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So even if you say, Well, no, I'm just, you know, doing this, you know, because of this. And because of that, and he's cool. And he is this, but I'm not, I don't want to be exactly like him. He says, Yeah, at this moment. You don't want to be exactly like him. But continue on that path, a month from now a year from now. And I'll come and see you and you will look even more and more like Him and He will talk Patel talk more and more like Him. And if I see you a year or two from now and you're still on the same path, you'll exactly you will look exactly like him.

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Because Manisha behavior calm. If you imitate them, then you're expressing allegiance and connection and affection. And even if that affection, by the way, is not there, to begin with, your imitation develops it? So you want to ask yourself, who are you imitating and why are you imitating them?

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And is this what you want to imitate? Again, it's a choice that a lot as though did not make for you, you're making a choice opposite him. subhanho wa Taala you're going down a different path. So now your identity becomes in jeopardy. I don't dress islamically I don't speak Islamic Lee. I don't live in Islamic life. So how do you have an Islamic identity? And how do you call yourself a Muslim? Yes, you're still a Muslim? In terms of belief? Yes, you're still a Muslim in terms of specific practices. But what defines you as a Muslim? Is this really the most important thing in life that controls all other aspects, all other choices? Or have you trimmed Or have we trimmed our Islam a

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little bit here a little bit there, so that it can fit our other choices as well. So I'm Muslim whenever it's convenient, but also I'm something else.

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So Islam got adjusted or shoved into a place that can accommodate other things that are not accommodated.

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Number four, good news to minorities, because of a sort of law, hustle, allow it was lm says Islam better, and Islam or horiba, Islam started as a stranger, we'll come back to be a stranger. So happiness and good news to the strangers. That is when you find yourself alone, remember,

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a civilized sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and the few Sahaba that were around him when Islam started, when they did what they were the only Muslims. The only people praying the only people staying from haram The only people worshipping Allah, and not these idols, and sort of pseudo lies, a lot of them said it started this way. And we'll come back to be that way also. So give good news to those who keep holding on to the truth even though they are alone. So if you find that it is hard, remember that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that an immense amount of reward waits for you, because you're the only person who's doing it because it's difficult, because it is difficult and in

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some cases, that are sort of lies a lot he was seldom said what that they will be coming some people that they will be doing good deeds, later after him a lot he was setting them in their deeds, they will be rewarded like 50 so Hobbes, they say oh prophet of Allah, or like 50 people, he said, he says 50 people among them, like them, he says, No 50 people like you, because now you find people who help you to do what's good. At that time, they will find helpers there alone.

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So if when you ever you are alone, and you're a minority and it's difficult with your hijab with your beard with your Salah, we're saying that you are Muslim with sand constantly feeling that you are having to defend yourself. Come back and remember this hadith that are sort of lies Allah Hollywood, Selim says tober October is heaven. Toba is happiness. stopa is immense reward that is waits for you. But you got to hold on to what distinguishes you as a Muslim. Who are your friends that defines you as well. That tells you who you are. So if you want to preserve and have an Islamic intact, proud identity, look at your friends and choose the friends that will enforce that identity,

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not strip it, not criticize it. Who do you admire? Who do you look you look up to? And your kids as well as the people that you look up to are celebrities sport in the sports field.

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Those who act and those who sing. That's who you are. That's who you are. But if your models and you know, role models are people that are have done significant things in this life, meaningful things in this life, at least you can tell yourself, I'm better than pursuing the trivial. And if you're a role model, and this needs to be actually practice rather than pronounced, if your role model is Mohammed's a lot, he was seldom, truly Mohammed salatu salam, then you would want to follow his footsteps? How did he live? How did he eat? How did he drink? How did he stay home? How Tom, how did he preserve it? In that obedience of Allah? How was he patient, etc, etc, etc.

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Last thing in sha Allah we say is that the external and the internal in in, in an identity are connected. So I cannot say that I'm Muslim, but I don't act Muslim. But I have Islam here. That does not work right? is similarly false. If I say I have Islam on the outside, but there's no Islam on the inside. No one will accept this right. I'm practicing Islam on the outside, but I don't believe in it. No one believes you to be Muslim. If that's the case. And if you say I'm only have Islam here, but none of it is on the outside, like we've said before, now, no person will actually take you seriously. Just like if you say, You lie, but you say, but I'm honest here. Yeah, I cheat. But

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I'm honest here. I don't care about what is here. That's between you and Allah azza wa jal, right, but in dealing with me and him, I want to see a demonstration of what you believe. So when you go after something, I know it's important. Don't tell me what's important, what is not, if you stand in line, right to buy a ticket for a game for hours, I know that's important.

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If you can stand in Salah for five minutes, I know it's not important. So don't tell me Salah is important. If it was important, you would be standing. But if you're standing in line for just to hear somebody, or you drive to attend a concert, and you're not going to drive to attend a lecture, or spend 1000s of dollars, right to travel and attend to see a band, but not 1000s of dollars to go to O'Meara, you told me what is important, and not here saying that I'm judging you, I'm telling you, between you and yourself, what's the inside will demonstrate itself on the outside. So try to preserve the outside as well. Because know it, whether you know it or not, the outside also affects

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you on the inside, you know that. And there was this that this thing I'd like to code all the time, there was a study that they made. That was the last thing I know, it's the last thing I've seen Sharla they did this experiments, they put you know, they brought some, you know, students, and they have had them wear

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coats, you know, those white coats like doctors were and they had them do some experiments and whatever. And people who did not wear those coats, the people who are the doctor coats, behaved more like doctors ran those who did not

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write, it means that just a garment that you put on says for though anybody who says so what is the job have to do with anything, just a garment that you put on, has value in it. There's belief in it. Beyond even Subhana Allah Allah has put in it that is beyond you and me. But simply putting on something that makes you believe that you're important. You become important, because you believe that you're dignified, you become dignified because of a clothing. So the outside is linked to the inside and the inside is linked to the outside don't think that they're disconnected. So when you change something on the outside, you've changed something on your insight. So ask Allah as though

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just to protect us and to preserve us and to allow us to panelist deliver Islam as he would love does that come low here ah Subhana Allah obey Him the shadow lay that this stuff it will go to boiling