Modesty Table

Alima Ashfaq


Channel: Alima Ashfaq

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Assalamualaikum everyone and welcome back to another new episode of modesty table. And I am so super super excited because I'm joined by the lovely Alma Jacques. Right to my side. I slowly come. How are you? Alright EcoSmart Hello, I'm really good. Thank you. How are you? I'm good. Thank you for asking. I am good. It's the sun's out in the UK would you believe and Alhamdulillah it's been a bright and sunny day today. So I'll handle all humbler guys who are tuning in for the first time. This is called modesty table. We are powered by the World Hijab Day organization, which is an amazing global initiative to raise awareness and create understanding for our sisters who choose to

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wear hijab. So, you know, without further ado, like I mentioned, we've got the amazing sister Arlene Marsh bark with us. And we love to talk to all sorts of ladies from all around the world who are doing amazing things within communities. Alma Schmoke is an Islamic educator. She has done so much community work so many workshops, she is the founder of the Muslim Renaissance, which we're going to be talking about as well. She's also an author of this super amazing book, the wars of the superstars, and I can personally vouch for that book. It's amazing. You could literally pick that book up at any point and you'll find something in there that will inspire you and motivate you so

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mashallah, mashallah, congratulations on all that you have achieved. And I think I've only mentioned like a little fraction of it. So Subhanallah that's, that's, that's our sister, Alma OSHPark, right here based in the UK.

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Tell me, tell me more, tell me a little bit more about yourself, we can see that you're in a room and you your family, your mom, and, you know, you do some amazing things. You're, you're a female scholar, you looked up, you know, with so many people who support you as well. I'm looking forward to this interview big time. So tell us a bit more about yourself.

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about myself. I'm one, you know, subhanAllah we have so many and I'll start with by this point, actually, my name is Eileen Moray. So within the Indo Pak community, right, and I Lima is a female scholar. So from a very young age, people have always come to me and said, Are you and I Lima, right. And, like from a young age, they've assumed like, you know, your scholarship, I know that that's really my name. And that has given me this realization that titles are necessary, and they can be a motivation and inspiration and an inspiration. But in reality, what matters most is what's going on the inside, you know, and that's where the Hadith where the Prophet sallallaahu Salam said

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that Allah subhanaw taala He does not look at your appearance, he looks at what is your heart? Because that is the birthplace of intentions. So like beginning with myself, you know, my name is Ali my people and like, Okay, is it my, your title? I might well now would make my name Ashfaq, which it's not. So yes, that's my name. And

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as far as names go, what a name to live up to. Right. Yeah, so

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I think you were definitely chosen for this path. Because you know, even if you're not an alma as such, who started definitely fits your sort of Persona, your, your Islamic motivational, I definitely respect you big time with a lot of the, you know, the, the data that you import on your social media platforms, through your books through your amazing stuff. And I think you're so right, when it comes to, you've got titles, you've got so many Imams with the scholars, et cetera, et cetera, they do a lot of good work as well. And some of them perhaps don't even live up to those job titles, right? But mashallah, it's good to see a sister representing and being so vocal within our

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communities, because I can you say, we need, we need people like yourself, we need courage. And, you know, like, that's, like we have said, you know, in the Arab world, you have share her with the Pakistanis. And like I said, the general term in stuff, but no, you need courage to go out in the community. And you know, I do a lot of lectures, and I do it to brothers, and I do it to sister and me and my husband was speaking and like if I went through the conventional route Subhanallah I would might, I don't think I'd have the courage to what I'm doing right now. So it's been a journey. It's been a journey of self growth. It's been a journey of really discovering who you are, and that's

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something that a lot of sisters go through. I started practicing at a very

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At a young age at a pivotal age, you know, when I was, you know, 14 going on to 15, that's the age where you like, you just want to chill out, you just want to have fun, you know, and you're just you're so impressionable. So I began practicing early, which was wonderful. And I do I go back and I, when I speak to young people, I'm like, when you commit to Allah subhanaw taala, at a young age, then Allah subhanaw taala will compensate you accordingly. Because it's so hard. Right? I remember, I don't remember the situations, but I remember the emotions. I felt as like a teenager and thinking, Oh, my God, like, I'm in the prayer room, I'm on my own, like, I Where is everyone else.

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So it's been a journey from a young age. And then I'm really like, studying Islam with different organizations, I had the opportunity to work with the many shields on a personal basis, once again, that gave me the realization that we have some wonderful individuals out there, and we do and but then we also have people who are questionable, I will draw the focus on the positive characters, and lift each other up and be louder, you know, and then Hamdulillah, then I've had the opportunity to volunteer to, you know, build my own organizations

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and work with some wonderful organizations. We did them to them as renascence. We we began with AMI Lima cannula. It was just an amazing project. And I remember Sheikh Mohammed Al Sharif, when we were thinking of doing the name, he was like, your mom didn't name you i Lima for nothing. And I'm like, Oh my God, I am highly man. You know what, it's it's so uplifting because many sisters, that's what we want to do. We want to say that you should, you know, be an idea. An idea is not a person who just has knowledge. And I NEMA is an individual who embodies how to how to behave as a Muslim, right as a Muslim woman, and that has the spirit of Rasul Allah, it sunnah to surrender. And that's to be

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a wonderful human being, you know, to be kind, to be generous to have empathy, you know, which we don't see much of. So yeah, it's been a wonderful journey. I'm, you know, I'm in I'm in a good place right now. Hamdulillah, it's given, you know, despite having a family despite having three crazy kids, right, I'm in a really good place that enables me to continue to study. And I don't Insha Allah, I hope I don't stop studying until I'm like, 50. And on my deathbed, or something, like that's my aim. And then just keep giving, just keep giving back to the community, because that's how, that's how you stay connected. And you need to stay connected, because the tests, they come at

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you like shake on, he says, they come back from the front, or come from behind, they come left center, he's just coming at you. So if you're not growing spiritually, and if you're not, if your outpour isn't from Allah subhanaw taala, then you're just going to fall for fall. And then you're in a situation where you feel almost lost and despair, which I think a lot of people do feel and that's my job. And that's your job, we lift them up. We don't like, you know, they're on the floor, and we just start stamping on them or something. Right, which a lot of people do. Someone's broken someone's pizza.

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Yeah, and around, Please, eat like, you're not the victim here. And I'm not saying like we should see people as victims, but we should a victim of Shavon. No. So we ask ourselves the question, What can I do to lift them up? What can I do to make them feel better? What can I do to bring them closer to Allah rather than a stock for Allah? How are they? How can they do that? So it's just reframing everything Subhanallah I'll be honest with you look, I mean, just the fact that you've made it so accessible stroke approachable, that term, our limo, it's amazing, because it means that the rest of us muggles, or, you know, normal people can have, you know, we have something to aspire to, to be

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like, you know, the best Muslim that we can be the best person that we can be, and to give back to the dunya while we're here in this temporary life, and then still uplift others and that's what matters, isn't it? It's almost like someone said to me once that, you know, I think when my nanny passed away, may Allah bless her and give her genital for those and everybody else who's watching everyone who's past, you know, in this terrible COVID year that we've heard, but you know, someone said to me, we're walking, talking sankaracharya projects for the people who have passed away. And subhanAllah that's, that's the way we should see that actually, if we want to be an alma, if we want

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to be an estado if we want to be those natural uplifters we all got something to give within us. And, you know, we should we should continue to do that.

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So amazing already just dropping the wisdoms, you know.

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So, you know, I wanted to touch on this whole Muslim renascence thing that you sort of kick started and tell me a little bit more about that. Where did that come from? And I think this comes from your sort of

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women empowerment aspect, right? So tell me a little bit more about that. So like,

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I remember, it's a story, actually, I remember like, being when I first started practicing, you know, people that listen to like, just like a five minute clip on YouTube now, are they it's just so small, so pivotal, and they inspire it. And that's it. There's no in depth learning. And that's what we have to change scholarship is to go deeper. So remember, I was listening to this really long lecture series, by Dr. Hisham and our the women around the beloved, some of my notes to them, and I'm sitting there and he starts off with like, Are you ashamed that I'm teaching you about these female companions, and I'm the I'm not even like in the lecture, I'm just sitting behind the screen.

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I'm like, making all my notes. I'm like, Oh, my God, I am, I can really be like, I should be. And I was like, right there. And then I made the intention, I'm like, and he's like, You should be up here. And I'm like, I'm going to be that person.

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I'm going to teach women and you know, like, I didn't think I never thought I'd be a speaker. I never ever thought I'd be in the public,

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you know, in the public presence at all, in that sense. But you kind of get pushed out because you become active, right? And then, you know, organizations get in touch. And they're like, We need help for the sisters here. They're here there. And I'm okay, you know what, so it was actually brothers who approached me. And they were like, Okay, we need, we need some help within our organization, with the sisters, we have a few problems and like, okay, you know, I'm gonna, when I, when I assess the situation, I'm like, these sisters, they're not the problem. The issue is you're trying to mold them in this box that you've created. And now that they want a voice, you are finding them

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problematic, when in reality, all they want to do is come closer to Allah subhanaw taala. So we had to undress that in one sense, and deconstructed. And we did and the brothers were open. And they were understanding, and we were able to work together to benefit the brothers and sisters. So when I first started speaking, like first three to four years, it was sisters only. And you know, and I was happy, and I was content. And then the requests started coming in from university for Discover Islam week that we need a female speaker to address the brothers and sisters. And that's where like, you know, you had that discussion, you went back to your teachers, like, should I should I know, oh, my

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god, like, do I really, I'm just, oh, you know? And then I was like, okay, you know, what, there's a need for it. There's an absolute need is

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it and you know, you weren't, you were saying, I never inspired to be an Islamic scholar, when I was younger, because I never saw no female scholars, I never saw any. I never, even recently there was a project called the rabbinic project and all you know, women reciting Quran after Quran of the Quran. And you know, I never aspired to be a Quran reciter until I saw women, right. And we have to be in the public presence. And we have to, you know, there are a set of guidelines we follow. It's a mood, it's an attitude, it's the way you carry yourself. We speak respectfully, professionally, you have a sense of grace to yourself. And I'm not saying I have that I know what I aspire to Insha Allah, but

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you don't even know how to carry yourself. And that's uncertain from us. renascence was born from that, that you recognize you acknowledge that is a problem within the Muslim community, with how sisters are viewed with, you know, this obsession with Muslim women and relegating them to the home at the expense of their own Iman. Right? And that's why our movement is not a women come out the house. No, our movement is that you understand your priorities. And your number one priority is Allah subhanaw taala. And secondly, Allah subhanaw taala has given you time, and where are you spending your time? Are you distracted? Like, I know individuals that they just stay at home and

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phone after phone after phone they just watching like Pakistani dramas like divorce marriage and mother in law. You know, you're at home. But look how you're spending your time. I'm like, so know where your priorities priorities are, and then manage them and be the best you can be. Some Muslims Renaissance addressed many of the issues that existed and then it grew. Many people don't actually realize it most of the month donations is about at about six years old. The second campaign we ran recently, but the first campaign was

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with just some amazing brothers and sisters from ISIS, I have a tendency to work with young people. Because you know, I can connect with them more. And they're so open to this, they're so hard working. And then we get together. And we've run seminars, we've run seminars, where we've just primarily to be females, because and it's been brothers and sisters, and they have been receptive. And we have been able to change their mindset about who women are, what is our worth, and what is our potential. And this obsession, that women are only mothers, that I can be the best mother I can be if I am the most educated, if I am being most equipped, spiritually, and to give women that

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validation that stop feeling guilty for wanting aspirations in your life, you know, we should be discussing more about aligning them correctly, rather than deleting them from our life. So

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I love that project. It's like, I mean, it's amazing just to listen to because, you know, this is, this is exactly what we need. I mean, I personally find it such a shame when women are, like you said, relegated to certain roles and certain responsibilities. And that's it, that's it, that's what your life is, it's such a loss of,

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you know, service or loss of skill sets or loss of, you know, like you said, there's, you know, everyone has something to give, and I think, you know, whatever you study, whatever you you know, spend time doing you, you've got almost like a duty, especially when it comes to Islamic knowledge to impart that on others around you, you know, first of course, your family and then your friends and then your community. And that's how we're going to uplift the Muslim community right now. And, you know, with Ramadan coming, I you know, of course, we wanted you to come and talk to us a little bit more about how to, you know, be the best that we can be as Muslim women. You know, we've got so

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much to discuss, I think we're gonna have a have to have a part two at some point, right.

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But Inshallah, I mean, I think if we go on from here, and just, maybe we can ask you about your hijab story and where that happened. I know you started studying from a young age, so 1516 years old? How did you come across hijab? And what was your understanding? And has that changed over the years? Okay. So, my hijab story, I remember Hannah law, so from, you know, coming from a family where, you know, you're like, 11, you have to wear your hijab to school, but other places, it's okay. Like, you know, you go across the street to your cousin, it's okay. So it's, whereas there is that expectation for women to cover. There's not really an understanding of why you cover or what

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are the benefits of covering, and, you know, I, my parents did the best they could, my parents did the best that they were equipped to do, unfortunately, because there were no opportunities of spiritual growth. They were not opportunities that were education. They weren't able to, you know, impart that knowledge the best they could. So I remember as Pamela Hara remembering the 11 year old, first year, secondary school, right already don't think enough. And my mom's like, she's like, okay, don't you know, wear the hijab. And or whether it's similar, you know, it's a similar double headscarf, and I'm like, okay, and she leaves it there. And I'm like, okay, mom's left the tour,

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find looking over there, when she leaves a run up the house, and I forget the hijab. It's not coming with me. And I remember being in assembly, actually. And then my cousin, he walks up to me, and he's like, I only made your mom said, you forgot something. I'm like, damn, I just tried to run away from this. I'm an 11 year old, like the peer pressure you

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it's too much. And there's no there was no love for it. But that came and they came so deeply and so wonderfully. So when I started practicing MF 50 I started listening to more lectures, but even before that, I would see a sister she was two years older than me and it was very harsh and amazing. And I would see her if she was she was wearing

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that my

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Oh no.

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It's fine. It's fine. MashAllah See, Sister, Sister Alma is of course a mom as well. And this is this is the life of a mom, this is what's even more amazing

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you know, my son, he's just probably walked in without anything.

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One sec. I'm just gonna drag him back by the way.

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It's okay guys, of course, on emotion

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Work is a mom of three beautiful children. So mashallah, mashallah, this is this is what happens sometimes when you're recording from home, but may Allah bless them and you know it's important to get these conversations started. And we're talking about Ramadan. We're going to be talking about Allah, my shoebox hijabs. So it's so interesting to hear when you're wearing it from when your family is encouraging you to wear a 1011 Perhaps we ourselves don't have the understanding.

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You know about her job so I can totally understand. And do we have sister Mo back how you doing? I am back. I gave you a warning. Right?

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But this this would happen.

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It's all

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mortgage job story. Yes. So I'm trying to remember where I left off. Yes. So you know, Hannah sister. So she would be walking around in school, and she would wearing the Abyan. She's wearing the hijab, and it was so graceful. And I'm there just rocking my uniform, right? Hijab, like half coming up. And I'm like, oh my god, like, I was so inspired by her. I was so inspired. And I would see her and I would actually make the art Allah subhanaw taala at a young age, and I would love to be like her. And I don't think she realized how

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effective of a role model she was. She was just living her life. She was just trying to come closer to Allah in a school of over 900 Muslims, she was the only like, he jurby Like you really like, who really behaved, not behaved, who really like imported grease, and imparted the spiritual and his character and his confidence and she was so proud of it. So I remember seeing her and then I, you know, my friend used to pray salah, and that Ramadan, I started praying with her. So to praying with her the full Ramadan, I prayed. And I remember, I was feeling really inspired. So now as a 14 year old, I'm praying five times a day, in and also in school. And I remember, I went to my grandma on us

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praise, I went to her house and she's like, I'm going to hedge. And I'm like big, I really want to go to hedge. She's like you want to go, she's like my granddaughter wants to go, like about 25 on this by the way. So my granddaughter like, you know, and then she paid for my entire hedge. So she covered it up.

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I went and this is my little brother, he joked before that no hijab, not full time, but no Avaya like the day before, like I'm praying my salah. So you see the spiritual,

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you know, the purification has taken place. So I have been I've been purifying my spirit, like my heart. And so now I get that opportunity, I get that window

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opens. So I'm like, I'm going to hedge and the day before, and I remember in school, like the girls were just like crazy. And I was just running around after them like playing tag and just feel so silly. And that might all my cousins came, or my cousins they did we did a huge sleepover, that early must go in on hij. And we just had so much fun. And the next day when I went to hajj when I came back, I've never taken the trip off, ever. And even like, even when it comes to like the Avaya like wearing loose clothing where the skirts wearing the loose, black never like it, it was the seed was planted so deeply, you know, and it was it was wonderful. And I'm so grateful to my cousins, you

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know, who continued that even though they didn't wear hijab, they were so proud of me, they lifted me up. And I'm also grateful to Allah subhanaw taala even though I've made so much of the house for my cousin's because, you know, the wonderful human beings and I would love that for them to progress further in terms of like their spirituality, I am so glad that they are my cousins that they have taught me empathy. Many times when you come from a purely conservative family, or all your cousins are wearing hijab, you can't empathize with the other. And assuming that they're not the other, they just like you, and it's my role is how do I lift them up? How do we come closer to Allah? And I say

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to people, don't focus on the hijab focus on the Salah, and the hijab will come? Right? The Hijab will absolutely come.

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It's definitely something I think, you know, it comes from inside than outwards, right? It's, I can't remember which speaker was listening to you. And he just said, he said, It's so beautifully, that actually, you know, this crown that we wear, which you know, hijab has always been likened to this crown that Muslim women wear that have it, hold it and you know, wear it proudly. And then I think it was

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was that there was another Gustavo who came over actually from America and she said, You know what, most

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Skin women are, you know, the ones that choose to wear the hijab, they are the women that walk this earth, the believers that walk this earth without opening or moving their lips, they say La Ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah. And that's so empowering. It's so you know, what an honor that we've been bestowed. And I always like to say that this is something that is exclusive to us as women, not for the brothers, not for the men, they can't, you know, even if they support the beard, for example, they can't be exclusively known as Muslim men, because non Muslim men also wear beards, you know. So,

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you know,

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it's, it's a handler, you know, very, very, and I love the fact that you've touched on the whole confidence thing as well, because it is when you see somebody unapologetically so proud of their deen and their faith, and this is something that is definitely within the noose, and, you know, this whole peer pressure of like, we don't want to seem to Muslimeen we don't want to be judged in that way. We don't want to be associated with something that's so negatively portrayed in the media, or that governments are actively trying to ban and, you know, you know, all this negativity around it. So, mashallah, you know, it's this is why it's so important to us right here, you know, to speak to

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people like yourselves, and share these stories of how we, you know, what we went through and the lived experience that you've heard, and you have to make, we've, I've, because I've worked, and I've had the opportunity to go on programs, I remember when I went on an exchange program, and went to the US. And, you know, there was a group of us. And I remember, like, we went, we spoke at citadel. And you know, I was questioning them about issues and policies that are really, really, I found troubling and problematic. And I remember like, the brothers and sisters would come and like too much. Calm down. I'm like, why not? Why, like, why should we calm down? You do it gracefully. You do

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it respectfully, but what are you scared of? Right? Be proud of your faith, be proud to speak up against in justices. And I remember, like, we met the American ambassador, ambassador to the UK, and he was like, you know, like, shaking hands. And like, you know what, I'm so glad to meet you. You know, it's okay. You know,

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it was hate, but I'm like, but it's really nice to meet you. So, you know, you had to overcompensate a little. Right, but you know, but you're proud. I'm going to wear my hijab, you have to respect it. And if you don't, that's not my problem, right? This is between me and my Creator. And I'm sorry, but if everything is acceptable under the sun right now, why do you have such a problem with the hijab? Like the hypocrisy is unreal? For sure, for sure. And I think, you know, for me, what else comes to mind is that whole thing about, you know, sometimes it's not the easiest thing to do, for sure, in today's society to wear hijab. And you know, I even think about my sisters who choose to

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wear niqab for example, think about that. And you know, that, that bravery, that courage that they display, and it's almost what we need to remember is that,

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you know, Allah has promised us that if we give up something for the sake of Allah, and if we put like, I don't know, this, you know, sort of modern woman, independent woman, this western idea of what beauty is, for example, if we give that up, then Allah subhanaw taala is going to give us something better anyway, you know, whether it's something that we're worried about, uh, you know, with workplace discrimination, or opportunities, etc, etc, it's the same thing, when we're talking about that type of stuff as well, that unless panel dollar has got our bucks, and that's, that's all we need, you know, intentions matter. Intention amount, and I was actually I've been invited by the

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moleskin network, I'm not going to say the organization, I get it wrong all the time. But it's like the Midlands, Muslim network. And they were discussing this, like, you know, how many Muslims you know, they don't, they don't progress, like the nonslip appears, because, you know, they're not willing to go to the pub, or they're not willing to, you know, just sit and drink and stuff like that. I said, Okay. You know, I'm like, That's so true. And they refuse to play the victim. And they have the knowledge, the problem exists, and come up with a strategy to overcome it, with a recognition that it's unfortunate that we just have to work a bit harder, and to point out these

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biases at every opportunity that you have in, you know, the most appropriate way. But that's why I do believe that we need to see more Muslims in the professional sphere, you know, and that's why there's like this

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divide between what's actually reality and what's idealism. I think a lot of people online are just lost with this whole notion of

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idealism that they're not living in the reality that there are sisters that have to pick up their kids from the Masjid. The sisters are who are just picking up the kids from the school because their husbands are working nine to five, what stay at home, have the inability to, you know, communicate with society that are women who have to go shopping, they have to be a part of society. You know, we're going to toddler groups, we're going to the book clubs, I'm taking my son to cricket, I'm taking my son to football. I like What world are we living in? So we need confident women that they can be Muslim, they can be proud but they can be a part of society that whoever they interact with

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they interact with them with the best of character you know, nicely candy I say that can walking back sisters that won't even like acknowledge me. Right? No, smile, no, Salam. And that's what we live in. If people are too busy, right, we're too busy in the dunya that we we forget that you know what's happening right now and that is to build meaningful relationships with each other. For sure for sure. And I mean, this takes us on to the next topic which is sort of Ramadan before we go on to the was of the superstars of course. But so how are you preparing for Ramadan? You've touched on you know, how we should be the best version that we can be we all know in our all our interactions with

00:31:19--> 00:31:40

the wider society as well. We're ambassadors for our deen you know, especially when we choose whether your job we are definitely known as Muslims. That's, you know, that's part of the point being identified as Muslim. So how are you preparing for Ramadan? And how can we the people who are tuned in as well how can they make the most of Ramadan?

00:31:41--> 00:31:46

So, first of all, I'm reconnecting with the purpose of Ramadan. So Allah Subhana Allah says,

00:31:47--> 00:31:52

Yeah, you heard in ermine, goodbye, they go slam katiba Allen livina. Hola. Hola. Como

00:31:53--> 00:32:04

Rahman. So you know, fast, like the people who have fasted before you. So Lana, so you may, you know, a team picker, you may attain Rama.

00:32:06--> 00:32:11

And so I'm thinking, okay, you know, that's my end goal. The problem is many people go into Ramadan.

00:32:13--> 00:32:54

And they just like baby, they come by the end of Ramadan, they've just given it their all. So they're depleted all their resources after Ramadan that you tired, like, and the point of Ramadan is that you come out even more energized. So I'm focusing on a more heart centric approach, rather than action orientated. I feel like sometimes we get it the wrong way around. We focusing so much on all the actions that we're achieving without the feeling and without, you're not making that real filler with Allah subhanaw taala so, for me, my main priority is the Quran. You know how much Quran I'm memorizing I've chosen a few programs that are just really important for me, like I love the Rama

00:32:54--> 00:33:14

foundation they're doing a wonderful LTM night on Fridays they're doing some Ramadan lectures so I'd say number one is recognize what is the purpose that you become more God conscious see as an opportunity see as a gift or Ramadan is a mood it's like an attitude. It's an invitation by Allah is going into either the gate

00:33:15--> 00:34:01

you know of in in Jannah, the Orion right? So Allah Subhana Allah is giving an invitation that you know, this is the gate that kind of I've created for you. So recognize what Ramadan is. Number two is have a bit of strategy and don't fall like we victimize ourselves. Or like we feel a lot of pity, like, oh my god, like 10 days, I haven't read no Quran, or I haven't done this, I haven't done that I'm really tired. Like stop feeling pity for ourselves and just, okay, you know what you're reading your five prayers, read them with meaning, you know, make each prayer a spiritual experience. When you read the Quran, okay, you don't have to finish the Quran, just read one surah and read it with

00:34:01--> 00:34:43

meaning and really connect with it at a deeper level. Because when you focus on the whole, then you know, the act, it's an all the action for infused by that spirituality. So yeah, so I'm focusing on that. My aim is that I'm going to come out of Ramadan, feeling empowered, feeling connected, and see Ramadan as an opportunity that allows me to alert during COVID-19 where he's taken so many people away. He's given me and you the opportunity that we have another chance to come back to him at a time when we're all feeling empowered. It's a communal affair, right? So you know, the husband fasting, the daughters are fasting. The sons are fasting, everybody's fasting, right? So

00:34:45--> 00:34:49

around the world, like what other faith does.

00:34:51--> 00:34:59

I know we don't recognize how one one other faith gives women like a gold standard that this is

00:35:00--> 00:35:43

All uniform. You know, this isn't, you know, a uniform is not seen as oppressive by the way, no, like, this is your gold standard, I'm holding you to a higher sense of ethics and morality number one. Now Ramadan is I'm holding you to a highest spiritual state that I know, like our crown needs, right? You know, so let's push it back. And then Ramadan is, you know, you build yourself up so you come out and you're stronger. And also the recognition that Shere Khan is locked up. So you know, he's, he's done. So now this is the time that the remnants of his like evil or both, you know it, it's still present but to be stronger, not on the money. It's such a gift from the last part of the

00:35:43--> 00:36:24

audit. So we are making it the chance to show us what you can do. It's Allah saying to us, show us what you can do, you know, you can't blame the shutdown during this month. But let's let's see what we can do. And I think that's, that's an that's the the beauty of the invitation, the beauty of the opportunity that we have in front of us of humble now we've reached another room with one very, very soon and you know, may Allah make it easy for everyone and may Allah just make it fruitful and successful for everyone that we attain the call like you mentioned, Inshallah, definitely looking forward to the Ramadan vibes. Very sad that I won't be able to travel to Masjid the Luxor during

00:36:24--> 00:37:09

Ramadan this year again, got it. But Alhamdulillah we have another chance to spend it with our family hopefully, let's see what lockdown rules and regulations. You know, mean, for us? It is going to be another different Ramadan, but I mean, lockdown for me, I think it's reset us, isn't it? It has given us a chance to rethink, you know, whether it's spirituality, whether it's accessing the masjid, whether it's how do we learn? How do we study? What can we do to continue that? Under these new sort of rules and regulations and restrictions? But before we go on to anything else, and I want to hear about the book, the book, The was of the superstars, how did that come about? How did you

00:37:09--> 00:37:14

come up? I mean, the title itself says it oh, you know, these are super mega dwarves.

00:37:16--> 00:37:26

And, you know, I've had the pleasure of reading it, and looking through it, and it was just such a sort of beautiful perspective on all of it, and an uplifting, uh, you know,

00:37:27--> 00:37:33

read. So tell us a bit more about why we're how, and you know, what story is behind this book?

00:37:34--> 00:37:54

You know, like, my defining factor is always my teenage years Subhan Allah, and I've had the club someone lives having said, like, on the Day of Judgment, when there is no shade except the shade of Allah, one of those people who will have shaded those who worship Allah when they're young. We haven't yet that's not like, that's you my age and your age three, right? We're still

00:37:56--> 00:38:40

because this is we're still young, we are still young, even though like my kids are like making the wrinkles come a bit earlier, but we are still young. And I remember, like, I sat Hamdulillah, you know, I had my friends. And, you know, we were quite, I wouldn't say popular, but you know, we were, you know, we had our space within the school, everybody knew us, I would want to tell you the name we call our little gang, right? It's just like, me, now you have to tell me, it was it was just really like, we so funny, like, so there are quite a few of us if they're listening. So we like it was about five of our skills. And we were bullied extensively when we were younger. So generally,

00:38:40--> 00:38:55

when you are bullied, you have a tendency to either just take it, and sit back and just give up, or you have the tendency to fight back and stand up for yourself. So like, we started standing up for ourselves. And then we called ourselves the notorious gang, by the way.

00:38:57--> 00:39:11

It was just really, it was just, it was really just standing up for ourselves and telling us that we refuse to be bullied. Some of it was it was a very horrific experience, but it's made me who I am today. So remember, when I

00:39:12--> 00:39:14

was part of the notorious,

00:39:16--> 00:39:56

like, 14, it's just so weird. But I'll have the light was wonderful. I love I love that period of time. In one sense. So you know, that time when you go through difficulty when you go through bullying, who do you tend to, you know, your parents can't help you, you know, as much as they want to. And as much as they love you, the teachers as much as they want to help you they can't and they have their own biases. So you end up turning to Allah subhanaw taala and that's what I was doing. I was making the art and I remember one day I was sitting with my cousin's in the car, and I'm going to school and I just started crying. I'm like, This is so hard. Why are people so horrible? So I was

00:39:56--> 00:39:59

making the art so that that was my that was my pivotal journey like

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I, I'm connecting ease and a way out with Allah subhanaw taala. And that's when the salah came, right? And then when the salah came, I have all my friends around me. And then you know, when you start wanting to practice Islam, you realize like this wearing over there, they just like going out with each other and doing like stuff that they shouldn't be doing, or like problematic stuff from an Islamic basis. Like I don't feel comfortable with that anymore. I don't feel comfortable. And then you look around when you label where all my friends in one sense, say I would go to the prayer room a lot, and I commend commend my friends, they did their best to accommodate me. But I was going

00:40:43--> 00:41:24

through a journey then where I needed some a long time I needed some me time. So go to the prayer room as much as I can, especially in sick form. And so we'll go there, we'll sit there and I just make that literally I was like, Oh Allah like, give me good righteous friends, Oh Allah, like, compensate me for this loneliness that I'm going through, like SubhanAllah. It was really it was, it was such an uplifting experience. And I look at it from a very positive perspective. And so yeah, so if that's I'm making that I'm making the art. So from then, on my connection with the art and with Allah subhanaw taala keeps growing. And then I met Sheikh Mohammed Al Sharif. And the way I met him,

00:41:24--> 00:41:33

I was listening to a lecture online. And I was the lecturer of him of how to purify your heart and connected to Alaska to highlight. And I'm telling you,

00:41:35--> 00:42:19

I just started listening to it. And then I listen to another lecture called regret, that Ramadan, I spent the entire Ramadan listening to his lecture again, and again and again. And slowly, it was chipping away at all my mistakes and all my fears and all my anxieties and it was just taking them away. And my heart was being where it was fear before whether it was disappointment, it was being filled up by loving Allah subhanaw taala hoping the last minute to Allah. So that connection was being built. And then Hamdulillah I was blessed enough to be part of a microbe Institute. That was you know, Sheikh Mohammed organization. I was like, yeah, he, you know, may Allah. May Allah

00:42:19--> 00:42:56

subhanaw taala bless him, you know, and this is why the online world is full of refutations, and they're so unhealthy. But I look at these people, and having met them having met their families, by the way, and you see good people, right? You see good people, you know, people judge people, when you meet them. You see their mom and dad, you see his sister, you see the people that he you know, he's working with and he tells us a story. He says when I was 10, I wanted to memorize Quran. So he says, like, for the next few years, like little other all the night, the last 10 days of Ramadan, I'm making them every night. I'm like, okay, you know what, one of the days that arrows going to hit

00:42:56--> 00:43:34

that DUA and I was gonna, like, take that job back up to him. So it was very visualizing experience. And, and he memorized the Quran. So that really redefined and I'm going to share the stories with you. Like this one, I remember was going to Canada, it's going to the life coaching certification program with Sheikh Mohammed. And you know, we were all going and we're there we're about to get on the plane and the like, there's no more room. And I know what are you talking about? There's no more room than that. I'm sorry. There's no more room for her. I never worry about everybody else. Why we I mean, there's no more room. So you're gonna have to wait behind and everybody's there. My family

00:43:34--> 00:44:17

members are like, okay, you know what, so you can meet the other sisters maybe get on the next plane. I'm like, I can't get on the next plane. I'm like, 17 I've got this is the first time I've just left my city. I can't get on the next plane. And I remember standing there. And right at that moment, I'm like, oh, Allah, like, you have to give me a way out. You have no idea. It took me a year to persuade my dad to do this. And he just about agreed right to leave. And subhanAllah the, you know, the one of the staff they come up they're like gnarly, much back and okay, that's me, like here, like next second. Like okay, you know what, follow us. I see everyone waiting, then I'm there

00:44:17--> 00:44:23

going past them. I'm like, by people. Like, where am I going? I'm gonna have you know what, we've got USPS in first class.

00:44:26--> 00:44:35

And this is the weird thing about it. I sat in first class, sitting next to this like really like, wealthy guy. And I'm like, I'm like, I don't this.

00:44:36--> 00:44:59

I'm not feeling it. So when bad economy and I'm like to the sisters, and one of the young sons was traveling with them, and I'm like, can I swap with him because it's really boring down there. So I go in economy, and I just you know, we'd like everyone. And he goes and teaches that in first class that even when Allah Subhana Allah gives you something wonderful. Would you realize that true success lies

00:45:00--> 00:45:26

Being with like good people, right? Even. So, you know, and so when I got the opportunity to write the other two superstars, it was that, that, you know, I personally benefited from making it. I've personally benefited from role models who encouraged me to raise my daughters and I look back, and I do and I say this from the bottom of my heart, every dua has either been answered that I've made,

00:45:27--> 00:46:11

or it's been drawn, and when I'm not making dua enough, I feel it, I feel it, I do. So you know, and so with all the emotion that I've derived from the 60s, it was written, you have the second edition, it was improved significantly. And that's why many people don't realize, the US is a superstar. It's not like a standard Islamic book. And you see, it starts off with a story grabs your attention, you've got you, you should be able to find an example within the eyes of the superstars that just speaks to you or speaks to someone you know, and then you know, it, I've been able to build upon it, and it's helped me be a better person, it's for me, by the way, everybody else is benefiting is just

00:46:11--> 00:46:51

an extra advantage as an add on from last time. So I think that's why it's so important. You know, like you said, it's not like the other Islamic books. It's not like your standard conservative Islamic literature. But it's got so much in there that, like you said, each one of us could relate to at some point or another. So, I mean, you see, it's a very special book and dua like you said, it's a massive thing. It's a massive, massive thing, you know, through our struggles, or through our happy times, through everything, we should be either thankful to Allah or be turning to Allah subhanaw taala. And to be fair, even through our struggles of humble love, for all the struggles and

00:46:51--> 00:47:10

the tests that we have, because there's, there's some sort of head in it, there's some sort of lesson in it that we need to learn. And that is why we are there. You know, subhanAllah one amazing, you know, book to be the author of I definitely take inspiration from that as well.

00:47:11--> 00:48:00

So I think it's been absolutely amazing speaking to you, and I want to just say a massive thank you for taking time out of your very busy, hectic schedule. I know, you've just recently had another baby. So, you know, how is that going? How's the little one doing? He is. He's amazing. You know, Subhan Allah, like, I love my kids, and everybody loves their kids. Right? But this, you know, and my friends just had a third child. He is near me, he's a gift from Allah subhanaw taala. And I, for me, parenting is a very positive experience. You know, I can't wait to get back to, you know, my greater projects, but I'm living in the moment and I'm enjoying it. i It's hard. There are times

00:48:00--> 00:48:23

when they all drive me nuts. Right? You saw a bit of a, like the guy running in wearing almost nothing, by the way. And I was like, Oh, my God, hi, the camera. We know it's wonderful. Hamdulillah I have come to realize that it's not the mothers don't have time. It's that where are we spending our time. And chiffons plan is to distract us. And I say that, you know,

00:48:24--> 00:49:10

an empty mind is the playground of Shavon. Right? So fill your mind with good stuff. And then shape on his like the bully rageous he's going to be pushed out. And you can carry on with your good work. So yeah, hamdulillah amazing experience. I mean, I think this is it as a mom, as somebody who's doing so much for the community around her as somebody who speaks you know, quite regularly, the seminars, the workshops, the zooms, all of that, I think Subhanallah it's definitely doable, right? You've definitely shown us that it's doable, it's manageable, and we just have to make the most of every minute that we get you still, you're an amazing mom, I see your posts about motherhood as

00:49:10--> 00:49:11


00:49:13--> 00:49:14


00:49:15--> 00:49:41

succeeding, you know, best success, you know, and this is it's, you know, life is definitely a journey and through the phases, you can focus on one thing at one time or several things at one time, but everything has its time and place. And I think that's what's special about you know, being dare I say, like a fangirl of yours as well. I definitely do. I do like

00:49:42--> 00:49:44

everyone, let's find it. I'm gonna do

00:49:45--> 00:49:55

too much i Hamdulillah that Allah has blessed us with the opportunity and making make us better than what you think of us because we are. We just

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we're just trying, but it's normal. We're just normal. Is that what you're saying?

00:50:00--> 00:50:39

I'm just No, no, no. Yeah, like people, they come and they're like, oh my god, like, you know, my friends in Sheffield. They didn't know why authored a book, or they did you know, before Facebook before they became friends on Facebook, like, oh my god, you never told me I'm a big swift friends, I'm not gonna come here and stop preaching to the choir friends, we just connect. It's only like you I'm like, I've been doing this for like, over like 12 years now. So you know you, we are normal human beings. We're just trying to do our part in the community. And I've worked with Sheikh at a very young age. And that's why I don't find your fun boy, by the way, because I'm like, I've been

00:50:39--> 00:50:55

that student, I've been a volunteer going and giving them tea and stuff I like fit in the room. And now I'm also sometimes on stage. We're human beings. And I know you've been kind and stuff. And maybe I should say, just like you not hated that kind going.

00:50:57--> 00:51:34

No, I think you want credit where credit is due. And I think you're a very important pillar in the community. Like, it's so important to me to see, you know, very vocal women doing what you're doing. Because it does, you know, when you're struggling yourself through the family commitments through the work commitments through the deadlines, and you still want to connect to Allah subhanaw taala, you still want to prioritize that as number one, but you want to have a bit of everything. I think this is what is, you know, this is something that you've pushed out that actually, you know, have your priorities, still focus on what you want to do, and you can achieve you can achieve to the

00:51:34--> 00:52:13

world through the power of the world. And I think that's what's important, you know, because we have so many people on social media out in the community that perhaps don't have that balance. And, you know, maybe behind closed doors, you know, sometimes it looks very, very different. I know that from personal experience, you know, sometimes you don't even get your pajamas, you know, during the day you're working on your laptop, under the duvet or something like that. But it's amazing to see sisters like yourself who are actually have got that motherhood thing going on. They've got the you know, the Islamic speaker thing going on, and they've got that time to give back to the community as

00:52:13--> 00:52:52

well. And serve the community, you know, and may Allah subhanaw taala be pleased with everything that you do and give you the ability. And you could be anyone else. Yeah, for sure. But okay, so we've already I told you, it was gonna go quick. We've come towards the end of the time now. So maybe if we could just have a few words of wisdom for yourself any advice you would have for our sisters? who are maybe thinking about wearing hijab or are struggling with it? What advice would you have? I think number one is focus on your Salah. Focus on yourself. Focus on your connection with Allah subhanaw taala. Make sure you know it, you know exactly what you're saying in your Salah. So

00:52:52--> 00:53:22

you're having those five daily cleansing with the hijab is just do it. Right? Don't worry about like this, oh my God, just do it. Just embrace it. What Allah subhanaw taala in a heavy squatty say when you when you walk to me over unto you, a fleet of You, I come to you, Allah Subhan Allah, Allah will support you in every way possible. Our lives are sweet, it's like a sweet chaos. Like, you know, it's like It's so chaotic, but it can be so sweet at the same time, like I'm gonna go back to my suitcase. Now after this whole

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find meaning and find purpose within your tests, and recognize that Allah subhanaw taala is just putting your jigsaw of the jigsaw pieces together. And I guess the last advice is connected to the Quran. Don't be ashamed that oh my god, I can't even recite like Elif better, right? And that's why many people are like, I don't even know how to recite Quran. And there's like, a memorization programs like I'm not even at that level. But let's forget what people are doing right? Focus on what you need to do, and build yourself up. Go on YouTube, like Boustead was seen with sanctuary. I just learned how to recite properly and make that your Ramadan goal. You don't even have to recite

00:54:04--> 00:54:09

the Quran, right? Just learn how to read the Quran and take it forward.

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You know, we are a sisterhood and we are and we should be there for each other we should lift each other up and I'll end on this note that the proximal Nelson and he is not known when somebody's fought in like struggling or sinning. Let's just say he didn't like a soccer a lot. How did you how did you do that? Now the proximal manager then said do you stand for or pray to net worth of you know go and do wudu he gave them a form of action to do to overcome from that. So similarly is commit to an action and don't allow your past to define your future in one sense and let's make the offer each of them definitely definitely lots of advice for everyone and wow, like you know so much

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wisdom so much advice there guys to definitely take

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Keep on you guys can catch up with Alma OSHPark she is on social media she is on Facebook as well we will be sharing that information so please do connect with her as well. I want to say thank you for tuning in and supporting modesty table which is of course powered by the World Hijab Day organization. Make sure you're subscribing to our YouTube channel and keeping up to date with all our fresh content we've got some amazing stuff coming for Ramadan as well. And of course the challenge this year is to try the hedgehog for 30 days we've bought that book and we've also got trying to fast for Ramadan this year as well. So not only will we be fasting throughout Ramadan

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inshallah we would love to see our brothers and sisters from all other fields as well join us if they can whether it's a day or whether it's the whole 30 we love and appreciate all our brothers and sisters around the world so dear sister oh my gosh work again massive thank you to you for taking time out we wish you the best we make special doors for you and your family as well. And we look forward to I'm sure inshallah apart to at some point okay, so guys, take care. God bless. And we'll see you back here same time, same same time, same place, same date, ticket.

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