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Having authored her award winning first book, Khadija Mother of history's greatest nation, she has written numerous articles for Muslim magazines as well as the time as well as for the times and contributed to various BBC Programmes, sharing the message of Islam with the wider society. Thank you so much for joining us today.
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salaam aleikum, thank you for so much for inviting me and I feel really honored to be joining you.
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It's 9pm here in London. Okay, so, Subhanallah
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I believe it's about 4pm for you guys.
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So, isn't it amazing that Alhamdulillah through the technology that we have, we're able to connect in this way Alhamdulillah
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so Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam 'ala Rasulillah
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dear brothers and sisters Assalamualaykum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh and welcome to this session that we're having today. entitled,
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'be a Force to be Reckoned with'. I almost forgot the title. So before we begin, I'd love for you guys just in the chat, to just send me a little message and let me know, first of all, if you can hear me.
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And second, I want you to tell me something that you know, or something that you like, or something that you've experienced, that's got to do with Britain, and London, because, you know, I'm in London, I was born in London, brought up in the UK, My parents originally from India.
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But you know, I love hearing especially from people abroad, about what their impressions are of Britain, and especially London. So
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if any of you have anything you can share with me, I'd love to, I'd love to hear it. You know, what are your stereotypes that you have about Britain? Us Brits, we have our own stereotypes about Americans, you know.
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And everyone at the moment has been glued to the televisions right?
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Because of the elections. And Subhanallah, that's what I want to start talking to, to you about today. InsyaAllah, Alhamdulillah people can hear. One of the brothers is saying, I went to England and went to Chelsea stadium. Love watching English soccer, soccer. You see, we don't call it soccer. We call it football, right? Because it's the real original football. I know Americans think their football is the original football.
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No stereotypes. I just love popping in and out of a British accent. Okay, Alhamdulillah
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the London I well, Mashallah, you guys are well traveled. Hmm. I've never actually been to America. Although I had American flatmates and I've had American teachers. So Alhamdulillah.
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Okay, thanks so much for sharing, sharing that with me.
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Glasgow, somebody who's been to Glasgow.
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somebody saying Big Ben was smaller than I thought, yes.
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I love that you guys can travel within Europe as if it's like traveling to another state here. Yeah, that has been the case. But as you might know, Brexit means that our freedom to travel around Europe might might change very soon.
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Never been to London definitely want to visit London at some time at some point. Alhamdulillah InshaAllah , may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala allow you to, to visit London one day and may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala allow me to, to meet you one day in person.
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dear brothers and sisters, I want to start off today by asking you or telling you that
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Subhanallah We live in a time and I want you to just think for a little bit about
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where you've come from and where you are. Subhanallah, where you've come from and where you are. Because, you know when I reflect on where I've come come from and where I am, it really humbles me and it makes me feel very, very grateful. Because
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and you can write in the chat actually just type in the chat. Where are your countries of origin or maybe
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Have you were born and brought up in America? Maybe your parents are from America as well, maybe your second third generation.
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But I think for most of us, most Muslims in the West,
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we've originated from somewhere else, right? So I just want you to write in the chat, you know, just to get an idea of your backgrounds,
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where you are from, okay, so we have Kashmir, we have Yemen, we have Pakistan and New York.
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for me, my parents are from India. And my dad, I was sitting with my dad, and I encourage you to do this as well, to sit down with your parents and just interview them. And you'll find out a lot, you'll really find out a lot. My father was born in a slum in India, okay. It wasn't even a house. And he lived there for the early part of his childhood, until he moved into a block of flats, which was like a big deal block of flats. That's, that's the British way of saying apartments, right?
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We call them flats.
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Okay, so they moved into a block of flats. And that was like a big deal for them, right. And he, him and his elder brother were the first in the family to be educated. And from there, somehow, he went and traveled abroad. And that was a really big deal as well, for people of his time. And from there, somehow, he met somebody in Saudi Arabia, who invited him to come to London.
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And he came to London with his wife and I was born.
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And Subhanallah when I sometimes when I reflect on that story, when the first time my dad told me that he was born in a slum, right,
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I just imagined him, you know, barefoot, little brown boy, walking, you know, in some kind of shanty town type place, right.
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And then I reflect on the fact that I'm sitting here today in London, in front of you speaking to you in Michigan, right, and just doing that kind of reflection. Subahnallah makes realize how Allah subhanhu wa Ta'ala caused the universe to conspire to get to you where you are today. Think about all of the chains of events that needed to take place, right. And I'm sure each of us have our own story, right? Think about the chain of events that needed to take place, and the unlikely nature of those events.
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They needed to take place and conspire
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to make it such that you would be you and that you would be born in the place that you were born in or brought up in the place that you were bought brought up in. And you're going to a university in the wealthiest nation or one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. Right? Subhanallah, and that kind of reflection should really humble us. Because when I reflect on that I realized I could have also been born into a slum, right? my great grandparents or my great, great grandparents.
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A few generations back will probably Hindus, right. I could have been born into a Hindu family,
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but Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala didn't,
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didn't destined for that he caused the universe to conspire to create the circumstances that would bring you and me here today. And and that's really amazing. And it shows us, especially us living here in the West edge being educated in the West,
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that we are
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automatically privileged. Subhanallah, we are automatically privileged.
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So I want you to ask yourself, What do you have to be grateful for, in terms of all of the circumstances that needed to, you know, be just right for you to be where you are today. And I want you dear brothers and sisters, Muslim students to ask yourselves, why did Allah destined for you to be
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one of the most affluent percentages of you know, demographics in the world? Why did he cause us to have passports, those of us who are, you know, Americans and British, Subhanallah, if you've ever traveled, especially if you've traveled to the Middle East, we've traveled to certain parts of the world.
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You'll know that just having that American passport just having that British passport is like a ticket, you know, it just, it just gives you free rein really, to go to so many places, and people allow you, and people accommodate you in a way that people of other nationalities are not accommodated. Subhanallah, I remember when I went to visit Masjid al-Aqsa. Right, British and American students, we were all I should through very, very easily.
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And those of us who are from South Africa, or from India, or who had any other kind of passport, non Western, were actually held behind and some of my
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traveling partners, they actually refused entry. Subhanallah. So
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why did Allah destined for you to be of the most affluent percentage of people in the world?
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Were you created merely?
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And were you given these opportunities merely to go to university, to get a job?
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To have a family to make loads of money, to raise children, who would then go to university to get a job, to have a family and earn lots of money? And on and on and on? Is that what it's all about? surely, surely, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has given us a responsibility with that privilege, comes a huge responsibility, and I want us all to really reflect on that.
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University is an opportunity.
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it's yours for the taking, you know, you're never going to get yours. Like you've got now. Again, right? Subhanallah, I'm a mature student, right? I went back to university with four kids. And you know, some of them are adults now. And it's a whole different experience, right? Because, no, you don't have time to do readings, you do not have time to do hardly anything, you literally have to, you know, scrape and just grab the time whenever you can, right. Whereas, you know, in the earlier part of your life, when you're given the opportunity to go to university, you don't have most, most people don't have the huge responsibilities that come later in life. So Subhanallah, this, it's almost
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as if this time has been carved out for you, by society, to allow you to have time to think, to learn to express yourself and to learn to be a force to be reckoned with. So it's up to you whether you're going to make the most of that, or whether you're going to waste that opportunity.
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society tells us that university is about getting a job, you know, getting a career.
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But Subhanallah as Muslims, we know that we were created for much more than that. We were created with a purpose. And we are part of the Ummah of the Messenger Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam the Ummah of Muhammad. And so we are as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says: Kuntum khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaasi ta'muroona bilma'roofi wa tanhawna 'anil munkari wa tu'minoona billaah [Q,3:110]; that you are the best community, the best group of people that was raised out of mankind, out of humanity. Why? Because you enjoin the good, meaning you help society to lean towards good, you encourage good, you speak truth.
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you forbid evil, you prevent evil things from becoming normal in society, right? And you believe in Allah, you believe in Allah. And Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala told us in Surah al-'Asr: Wal 'asr, Innal insaana lafee khusr [Q,103:1-2] that all that by time all of humanity is in a state of destruction and loss.
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And then Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala gave us some rest bite and he said, except all of mankind is in loss and in destruction except the following people right? 'Illal lazeena aamanoo..'; except for those who believe who have
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Imaan [faith], right? 'wa 'amilus saalihaat..' and who work righteous deeds, who do the right thing, who obey Allah. 'wa tawaasaw bilhaqq; wa tawaasaw bissabr..' and they encourage one another, towards the truth. And they encourage one another to have patience. And you know, the scholars of Islam said
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that what that means is that Sabr [patient] that Allah is talking about is the sabr that that you need to have. When you're a believer in society and you're in you're making da'wah, you're calling people. And you're telling people to do the right thing, and you're enjoying the good and you're forbidding the evil. If you're a person who's engaged in that, you will need to have sabr, you will need to sabr because people are going to make you feel strange; people are going to make you feel like, you know, you shouldn't be saying the things that you're saying. You're not going to necessarily win popularity contests, right? So you're going to need to have sabr. But that's sabr also means
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patience in continuing to do the right thing. And patience in continuing to abstain from sins, because staying away from sins, and continuing on the path of goodness, both of those take patience, they take patient perseverance. And that's what sabr means, right?
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So, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has given us the blueprint, brothers and sisters, that we as believers were here from for way more than just, you know, to earn, earn some money, and to basically consume, and then to die. We're here to worship Allah, to serve Allah's cause. And to live our lives in a way that we would be able to share the message that we have with other people. And I would like to posit that, especially in the West, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala paste us here, because we have a gift, we have the gift of Islam, we have the gift of guidance, we have the gift of the Quran, and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has given us that responsibility to share that with the wider community who are in the Ghaflah (غفلة), who are in
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a state of heedlessness, and don't know about Allah, don't know about the purpose of their life. Right? Subhanallah, during this covid crisis, yes, we've had more convergence. Apparently, in the mosques, they typically are saying that they've been more people coming to Islam. But the suicide rate has also gone up, right? People are in a state of despair.
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And who are we except people who should be bringing the glad tidings of giving people a meaning in their life, right? We should be the people who who are showing people that life is worth living, that there is a purpose to their lives. Because unfortunately, with the movements that have taken place in the West, narcissism, and a state of meaninglessness has become the norm in most people's lives. And when the pandemic hit, and people are forced to shut everything down, and they're no longer able to escape, and to distract themselves, what happens? Either people seek meaning and find it, or they sink into the depths of despair, right.
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So my brothers and sisters, it's our duty to share this beautiful message of Islam with the wider society. Now
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as students, Subhanallah, you know, you're in a unique time in your life. Yes, I said, you're probably never gonna have the kind of free time that you have at the moment, and it doesn't feel like it. But, you know, believe me,
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you know, this time is very, very precious.
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At the same time, there are some unique pressures that are on you, right? That might not be on people who are older than you. And so, you know, that's also something that needs to be taken into account. And you're in an environment that sometimes can be very positive. And you know, there are very positive aspects to it. But there are also aspects to it that could pull you down. And that could cause you to go astray and to leave the path.
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So in my little talk today, I really want to highlight some ideas, some thoughts that I have, that I want to share with you, that will help you, InsyaAllah, to make the most of these University years and minimize any negative experiences that you might have, and any pitfalls that you might fall into.
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Because the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he did say that a time will come, a time will come to people in which, patiently adhering to one's religion will be like holding on to hot coals, it will be like holding on top coals. So what happens when you hold on to a hot coal, right, you just want to let go of it. You just have to drop it because it's too painful, right? And so people around us sometimes they're experiencing, holding on to this Deen (Islam religion), it like holding on to a hot cold. You know, there's all kinds of social pressure. There's all kinds of media pressure, pressure from the fashion industry pressure from all sorts of quarters, the music industry, the
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various industries around us, right? There are pressures there that can make holding on to the Deen feel like holding on top calls. So what are some of the things that we can do to safeguard ourselves? The first piece of advice is that advice of the Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam when he was talking to the young Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, right, he's young cousin Abdullah ibn 'Abbas it was just a kid at the time. And he said to him, be mindful of Allah and you will find him in front of you, you know, the famous Hadeeth. Be mindful of Allah.
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And you will find him in front of you get to know Allah, in times of ease, and he will know you in times of hardship.
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Know that anything which passes you by was never meant to come to you. And anything that happens to you was never going to miss you.
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And know that victory comes through patience, relief comes with suffering, and with hardship comes ease.
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So here the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is teaching
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his young cousin right?
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To be mindful of Allah, the concept of muraqabah, right? That the muraqabah means the knowledge that Allah subhanahu wa Ta'ala is watching you. The knowledge that you're being watched, and that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, your Creator,
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who cares about you, who could everything that he commanded you to do for your own good. Everything he prohibited us from is for our own good, it's because there's something harmful in that, that he wants to save us from.
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Allah is watching us, and there is nothing that we do that passes him by, right. When we know that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is watching us and is with us. It helps us to do the right thing.
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Right? So that's the first advice that I would give you. Be mindful of Allah. Be aware that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is with you and watching you, as you go around your university life and as you navigate through these years, the second advice that I will give you is be proud to worship Allah, be proud to worship Allah.
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And what I mean by that is, you know, you might have to pray, the time for prayer might come. And there might be people around, and you'll have to tell him, Well, you might have to pray in front of them. Never be afraid to do that. You know, obviously, if there's a special space for that, that you have in your university, you can use that, that's fine. But never be embarrassed to be a Muslim. Never be embarrassed to be a visible Muslim.
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Subhanallah recently, I was looking into the life of Ella Collins, and I've written an article about that if you want to have a look at it, it's on the 'islam21c.ccom' website. Ella Collins was Malcolm X's eldest sister. And Subhanallah, one of the things that really strikes you about her story and she became a Muslim before Malcolm did. Okay, she left the Nation of Islam and he embraced Islam before he did. And she's the one who funded his Hutch right
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now, Ella Collins, she was so proud. She never.. one of the things that Malcolm found most impressive about her was that she wasn't she was never embarrassed about her skin color or about her identity.
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And when she became a Muslim, she was a proud Muslima, Mashallah. And so when we are proud of who we are, when we own it, and when we're willing to express it in public, then InsyaAllah people also are affected by this, you know, people see us as role models, and people are secretly impressed by us. I remember I met a taxi driver in Ireland. And he said to us, you know, you Muslims, said, I really admire you. And we're like, Okay. And he said, because you always you're always willing to pray and show your religion in public. And he was a Catholic, and he was saying, you know, sometimes Catholics, they, they hide the fact that they're Catholics, right? And he said, he saw Muslim
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couples praying in the airport. And he was really impressed by that. So never think that people are looking at you and thinking evil thoughts. Most people when they see us, they actually.. it actually piques their sense of fitrah. You know, it makes them yearn for that connection with Allah that you have. And that's a good thing. So be proud to worship Allah.
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The third piece of advice I'll give you is, keep your guard up. Right? Shaitaan, he promised Allah and he told Allah, he will do whatever he can to push us off the path, right? To push us off the path. And so Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has given us certain guidelines for behavior, right? that help us to stay on the straight path. So just a few examples are things like, not being in seclusion, with the opposite sex, right? Not, you know, having kind of casual friendships and relationships, okay, with the opposite sex. Because these things they can lead, they can lead to certain attachments that are unhealthy, and certain attachments that, in the end, cause us a lot of pain and heartache. Instead,
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keep your eye on your real future. You know, what kind of real future do you want? InsyaAllah, one day, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala will bless you with a spouse. And you will have a marriage, a proper marriage, and you will raise a family, and you'll marry somebody who's worthy of being the father or the mother of your children. So, if you want that, and if you want that kind of that, that beautiful vision to be a reality, you have to keep your guard up during these years, when temptation is all around you, right?
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So, think about all of the things that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has put in place for us not to even go near to haraam, right? Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says:
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Wa laa taqrabuz zinaaa..[Q,17:32]: don't even go near, don't even go near to zinaa. And when you think of Yusuf 'Alayhissalam, right, he literally had to flee from haraam, he had to flee from temptation, right.
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And this is the way this world is, it chases off to you. And you know, the societies in which we live. Unfortunately, there are things all around us that kind of constantly poke at our, at our desires, right at awakening certain base desires about us, or certain impulses that are not evil impulses in and of themselves. But if they're left unchecked, and if they're not harnessed in the right way. And if they're not expressed in a Halal way, in the way that Allah ordained for us, then they cause not only do they cause us heartache, but they ruin, they can, they have the potential to ruin our lives. Right. And that's not to say that if you've sinned or if we've fallen into some evil
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that we there's no redemption, of course there is. There's always redemption. Allah's door is not closed. However, we want to prevent ourselves from having those heartaches in the first place. Right. So keep your God up. Number four,
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find an Islamic mentor. You know,
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the scholars of Islam, they talk about this concept of sahbatussoleeheen, keeping the companionship of righteous people. And all of us. I don't know about you, but when I went back to university, sometimes I would feel like I was in a dream world. You probably don't feel like it right now because I don't know. Maybe universities closed if you're studying online.
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But when you're back in the university environment, it's very easy to get lost in this kind of,
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in this other world right away from the reality of your normal, everyday life, and your life with your parents or your life with your family. So it's really important to stay grounded. And it's really important to have some people in your life, who remind you of Allah,
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who pull you back, keep you grounded, tell you the tough truths that you need to hear, right? One of my mentors, when I was a student in Egypt, she used to be quite tough on me, you know, if I made a mistake, or if I was doing something that she felt that, you know, I was going down the wrong path. And she would let me know exactly what she thought. And one day, I was only 16 years old, I got a bit annoyed with her, right. And she said to me, Fatima,
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a Muslim is a mirror of a Muslim, right? If I don't tell you that you have dirt on your back? How are you going to know you're going to be walking around with down your back all day? Right? That's what a true friend is. a true friend is not just a yes, man who just, you know, lets you do whatever you want, and says, Wow, everything is great and wonderful. A true friend is somebody who will tell you, when you need to sort yourself out, right? So find and have some people in your life, who are your mentors who are Islamic mentors, maybe there can be scholars who you study with, or maybe they can be just elders, people who, who are more knowledgeable than you, and who, when you are in their
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company, they remind you of Allah, and they will they have the ability to kind of pull you back.
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The fifth piece of advice I will give you is.. keep good company
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all the time, you know, as much as you can, because our social environment is one of the key things that affects our Imaan. Right, there was some research that some of the brothers here in the UK did regarding da'wah, and they're from a da'wah organization, regarding doubts, you know, what causes Muslims to have doubts and the Imaan. And one of the key things and you'll be surprised, it's not really always rational arguments and things like that, that cause people to have doubts. Their main cause of doubts. For the average person who you talk to who has doubts are usually emotional issues. And social pressure, right? Your social environment really affects has the ability to affect your Imaan
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and that's why the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that the person is upon the religion of his companion. So, be very careful who you become companions with, right? Who you become friends with.
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So make sure that you have people around you who support your Imaan, right? And not people who, you know, make you feel weak, or encourage you towards the wrong thing.
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Number six, know why you are here. Know why you're here? You know, probably your parents have invested a lot of time and money into you. Society has invested a lot of time and money into giving you this time and space to be able to study, right?
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So, be really clear what your aims are at the beginning of every year, what your goals are. And although it might not be 100% clear, be very clear about where you want to head, right? Because, you know, if you begin with the end in mind, then Inshallah you're much more likely to achieve your goal. And it will affect the way you experience every day, right? When you have a goal and you want to ace your studies, for example, you're not going to live every day, and you're not going to be tempted. On those days. When you're feeling lazy. You don't feel like studying, you don't feel like making the most of your time, right? Because you're going places you've got aims. And so stay
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focused and know why you are here at university.
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Know where you are going. Number seven, know where you.. know why you're here and know where you are going. So, you know Subhanallah
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many of the skills that you're going to learn at university they're going to be, there might not seem very valuable right now.
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But later on, you'll see that Subhanallah, you actually learnt a lot in terms of being an organized person, being somebody who learned how to express themselves, learn how to look into something, and learn how to think, right, all of these kinds of skills that we learn at university, they're all really important skills that one day, you're going to be glad that you nurtured Well,
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number eight, become a force to be reckoned with. And under that rope, learn to express yourself. You know, one of the great things you learn at university, or you have the potential to learn. And I think people don't realize the value of essay writing, right? An essay teaches you how to research to think and then to express
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the answer to one question, or one thought or one idea, and to really home in, and, you know, like, take it apart from beginning to end in a logical and in a very kind of
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coherent way. And that's an amazing skill for a human being to develop, right? Writing, develops our thinking. So it's really important that you take the time to attend the workshops at our university attend any extra classes that there are, that help you to become an amazing essay writer, or an amazing researcher. Because those skills of expression, you'll see, they will actually develop your thinking, and make your thinking much more advanced. And as a Muslim community, we need people who have advanced thinking, right? We need deep thinkers to help us to find solutions to the problems that our community has.
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Number nine, be patient as you formulate new thoughts is very easy at university to jump on to any bandwagon right, like, whatever sounds really good or whatever, you know, movement sounds good. And, you know, nowadays,
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I'm sure it's citizen is the same in America. You know, there are various political kind of parties and his political ideologies that can be very, very enticing, right? They can sound very compelling. But it's really important for us as Muslims to realize that, Subhanallah, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala gave us
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a set, gave us Islam as a complete way of life. And many of these ideologies, they
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are premised on sometimes flawed logic, right? Or they have holes in them, that sometimes you don't realize that they have, until you really study them deeply. So be really worried, don't jump onto every idea that sounds good, right? Be patient as you formulate new thoughts. Because not every shiny idea is something that's worth following. Right? And it could also lead you astray, could lead you to false things. So just as an example, you know, sometimes, you know, here in the UK, we have the left to right, who are you know, typically socialists,
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sometimes Marxists on them on the more extreme end.
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And Mashallah, you know, they really
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cooperate with Muslims, and they're willing to accommodate Muslims, that's great. However, sometimes that comes at a price.
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Sometimes that comes at a price or sometimes there are strings attached, or sometimes
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in cooperating with them, we can be sucked in to certain modes of thought and certain ideas that are alien to Islam. And that can even lead to kufr; that can lead to disbelief. And that's why it's really important for us to be careful. Be careful, and learn your own Deen. And that's,
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I think that's the next point that I wanted to make. seek knowledge, seek knowledge of your Deen seek knowledge of your Deen
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and when I say seek knowledge of your Deen, I don't mean go to the Islamic Studies Department, you know? or to the left you have departments of Orientalism, right? That's not what I mean. I mean, go and study Islam classically, don't study with Ulama' with scholars. And you might have to do that in your spare time. You might have to do it online. But
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Go to Muttaqeen, right? People who actually fear Allah, and who actually, you know, have Imaan and study, your Deen with them alongside your studies. Because what that will do is, first of all, it will give you strength, it will help you to know where the boundaries are, right so that when you do cooperate with other people, whether they're on the right or the left, or when you know, any part of the political spectrum,
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you will know what the boundaries are, you'll know which things you can cooperate with them on. And which things are the red lines, right?
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Speak up when you should. And the reason why I've written that is, Subhanallah sometimes at uni, I've noticed at university, I've noticed, Muslim students can be some of the
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shyest and I don't think they're shy, really, they're just afraid to speak up, you know, sometimes a teacher can be talking, a professor can be talking about Islam could be misrepresenting something or saying something that students don't actually agree with or want to interject and want to, you know, make a contribution to, but unfortunately, some of the Muslim students will hold back. Right? And I noticed that, you know, if I spoke up, or if I, you know, said to the professor, you know, actually, I think that's not accurate. And this is the way it is, after the class, typically, I'll get so many students coming up to me and saying, I'm so glad that you spoke up. I agree with
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you. We wanted to say that I wanted to say that but you know, I felt too shy where I felt.
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But I wonder where does that kind of reticence to speak up come from, because we're living in a time and we're in a space University is supposed to be the space where you can speak up, right? Where you can express your ideas, and where actually, you can make mistakes. So if you express your ideas, the worst that's going to happen is that your professor is not going to agree with you. Or, you know, people aren't going to agree with what you're saying, or maybe they'll give you a counter argument. But you'll have learned something. And expressing yourself is actually a muscle that you have to kind of exercise. And the more you do it, the stronger you get at it, right, the easier it becomes.
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So I really encourage you to speak up, especially when you see an injustice being done, or something unjust being said, or something inaccurate being, you know, conveyed, don't be that student who sits there, quietly, allowing lies to be spread, or misinformation to be spread, right? Because that's what causes society to degenerate. That's what causes the society to degenerate when we don't speak up. And our Deen encourages us to speak the truth, right? And that's what it means: 'watawa saubil haqqi..[Q,103:3]' that they encourage one another with the truth.
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The 11th. I think it's the 11th point is
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beware of becoming an ideologue.
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And I think I kind of covered that with when I was talking about, you know, the different political spectrums.
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But also things like feminism, you know, you have to be careful. Yes, there's some ideas and some things that we would agree with, right? We do care about the rights of women. We care about justice, we care about those things. However, there are certain areas where
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people in those various isms and schisms go beyond the boundaries of Islam. And so we have to be careful about that right.
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And lastly, seek excellence in all you do. Seek excellence in all you do. You know, the Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam told us that Allah is beautiful, he loves beauty and he loves for us when we do something to do it excellently. Right? So, whatever it is that you're doing University, whether it's taking part in the MSA, whether it's writing an essay, or whether it's, I don't know baking a cake for charity sale, do it with excellence, right? add value to it. Add the X-Factor to everything that you do, and you'll see InsyaAllah that you will thrive at university, right? use this time to build good relationships with the various professors, the faculty, and you know, help to help yourself by
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networking with people by really trying to suck all of the goodness that you can from this experience, out. So that InsyaAllah, when you go out into the world after having graduated, you will be a force to be reckoned with, you will be a tool of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, some person who will help further the cause of Allah.
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Bring more people to the Deen make the world a better place for us and for the society around us. And lastly, my brothers and sisters, I just want to highlight to you that
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when I say that, you know, we, in the West are very privileged, I want you especially as Americans to realize that the rest of the world over the last week has been glued to their televisions, watching the elections that are going on in America. I don't think you guys know about our elections when our elections take place, right? I'm sure you couldn't even name who our candidates were last time, maybe some of you might not even be able to name who our Prime Minister is at the moment. If you can, please write it in the chat.
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But, in the unique position of America is such that the whole world is glued to their televisions, because and I want you to listen to this carefully. It's because what happens in America is seen as being something that will affect not only you in the United States, but the rest of the world. And you as Americans. That means you as Americans have an enormous responsibility, whether you like it or not right, you have a huge responsibility to not check out of society, right? You need to be fully engaged in society. You need to be engaged at every level of society, whilst keeping your Islamic identity while not going beyond the bounds. Right. But I want you to understand that my dear
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brothers and sisters that you in America, you have you have a unique position. Right? And with that unique position comes a unique responsibility. And I pray that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala you know, with the result of the election that just happened. Well, I don't know it doesn't doesn't sound like a very clear result, the way things are going. But anyway, we pray that InsyaAllah, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala brings 'afiah (well-being) and goodness, both to you, and also to the rest of the world. And we pray that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala gives you all the strength to be students who excel and who become a force to be reckoned with. So Jazakumullahu khayran, InsyaAllah, with that, I will end my talk. And if
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you have any questions, you can ask them. “Subhanaka Allahumma wa bihamdikh, asyhadu alla ilaha illa Anta, astaghfiruka, wa atubu ilaik.
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Jazakillahu khayr. Thank you so much Shaykh Fatima.
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I really appreciate it. Thank you for taking time out of your day to come and talk to us. Does anyone have any questions for Shaykh Fatima?
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Somebody's saying Boris Johnson.
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Yes, Boris Johnson.
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Okay, who is, who is the leader of the opposition? I bet none of you can answer that one. Don't look it up.
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Yes, Jeremy Corbyn here, right.
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So, are there any questions or even any comments or thoughts that you might have that you want to share on this topic?
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People are telling me where they've been from Bangladesh. MasyaAllah, Pakistan.
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Okay, there is pressure at university to attend music events at the Students Union. This includes nightlife.
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I can imagine that there. There's a lot of pressure. But you know, this is your practicing ground.
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You don't have to succumb to that pressure. Right? You need to create your own social group. And I know sometimes other Muslims might be going to those things right. And,
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okay, that's their journey. They might be going through whatever, right? But you as somebody who is knowledgeable enough to know that you shouldn't be taking part in that
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Make an alternative event, you know, create alternative spaces. Like we need to reclaim our spaces Muslim women, for example, and have women only events, you know, really great parties and events that women can attend and let the hair down and, you know, wear makeup and whatever it is that we want to do, but in a halal way. So if there's some way we can create alternative events or alternative things, then that's great. And if we can't, that's what it is to be a Muslim, right? being a Muslim is about sabr. And you have to have a lot of sabr to pull yourself away from those tempting environments. And, you know, tell society that: no, I'm not going to take part in that.
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That's not for me. And believe me, if you give anything up for the sake of Allah, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala will bless you, He will give you something better in return. And he will give you a sweetness in your heart, you know, for having done that for his sake. So May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala make it easy for you.
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I love the point that we can inspire even non Muslims when they see us. Brave in praying in public, it shows us being strong in faith. Yes. Subhanallah, and, you know, I know this sounds a bit funny, but actually like listening to
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some of the kind of American speakers in the on the right, yeah. Like some of these, what do they call them? The dark web, right? The intellectual dark web types. And also some of these people who are islamophobes, right? Sometimes when you listen to their stuff, and when you kind of read some of the stuff they've written, you realize, actually, deep down, they're actually really impressed by Muslims. They're actually really impressed by how
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Muslims take their Deen so seriously, right? And that they just haven't just given up their whole worldview, just because of, you know, societal pressures, like, unfortunately, most of the Christian world has, right. So, Subhanallah, we should never be afraid here in Britain, because Muslim parents have been resisting certain things that, you know,
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the government was trying to impose on to Muslim onto children at school, you know, teaching them certain things about sex education and stuff that were against our beliefs. And Muslim parents were pushing back on that.
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We actually got a lot of support from Christians and Jews, who said, you know, you Muslims, you're in the front line, because you're the only people who are willing to speak up about these matters.
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Where, whereas we don't necessarily have the numbers or the clout, right, sometimes they don't even have the leadership who are willing to stand up for those things, right. So never be afraid to speak the truth. You know, Never be afraid to speak the truth. If you speak the truth, people will rally behind you. They may not do that immediately, they may not do that immediately. But remember, that when we act in a way that we make Allah, our primary concern and that's why I started off with saying, Be mindful of Allah, if you make Allah, your primary concern and pleasing Him, above pleasing creation, right, pleasing all your peers and all these people who are putting pressure on
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you make pleasing Allah number one in your mind, then not only will Allah be pleased with you, by Allah promises us that in the hadeeth, the Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam told us, that he will not only will Allah love you, but He will establish that your love, love for you in the hearts of people. Right? So it's a win win situation for you. Right? So always put Allah first and then he will take care of all of your affairs, InsyaAllah.
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When people ask you ignorant questions about Islam that are offensive? Should we answer them? Or is it not our responsibility?
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Well, look, you know, I grew up with people asking me questions about Islam. And sometimes those questions would make me feel uncomfortable because I was young, and I didn't know the answers, right?
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There are two ways to respond to that. Either you become like you've mentioned, you know, just not answer and not feel it's our responsibility. You might not be able to answer bear in them. Right. But why don't you think of it as a learning point for you, right? As as a growth point, maybe Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is giving you these questions, so that you will go away and get educated and learn what the answers are.
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Because the answers are there, you know, the answers are there, it's just that sometimes we haven't sought the knowledge. Or maybe, you know, we haven't yet reached that stage where we're able to appreciate those answers, right. So use it as an opportunity to go seek knowledge, you know, online, you can find some amazing da'wah courses, right? There's an organization in Britain, they've put some great our courses online, about how to talk about God, how to talk about Prophethood, how to talk about, you know, all the fundamental aspects of Islam with non Muslims. And the organization is IERA; Islamic Education and Research Academy. Okay, if you look up IERA, I think it's like
00:55:45 --> 00:55:46
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they have free online courses there, you know, and at the moment, they have a course from another institute that they have, which is called the Sapience Institute. If you look up the sapiens, SAPIENCE Institute, they have a course called no doubt, it's completely free online course. And it's all about how to deal with doubts that people have, either yourself or other people have about Islam, right. And the strategies are not just rational, it's actually spiritual as well, you know, so I really encourage you to sign up to some of those courses, use it as an opportunity to get more educated and, you know, be able to answer those questions.
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How do you stay true and strong to your dreams, when the reality of with the reality of life and responsibilities
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when you have a goal, and you have a vision for your life, you know,
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every single day, you edge towards that vision, right? Even if on Sundays, you're doing other things that are, that might be important, right? You might be focusing on different things.
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You know, we have to be balanced people, right, we have to be balanced and holistic in the way we think about our lives. So we don't just want to be great at studies and then terrible as, you know, a child of two parents, right? We don't want to be great in our public work. And terrible as a spouse, or as a mother, right? So a Father, so we want to have a balanced life, right? So what when we devote time to those various responsibilities, we're not losing out, we're not actually taking our eye off, you know, other goals that we have, in fact, that could actually be making us reach our goals faster. So for example, say you have parents, right? And your parents asked you to do
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something for them. Now, you might think, Well, me doing something for my parents is taking me away from this goal that I was trying to achieve, or this thing that I was trying to work on.
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But you obeying your parents, and doing something that will make your mom happy, for example, right? means that she's going to be happy with you, Allah will be happy with you. She might make Dua (supplication to Allah) for you. Nobody makes the offer you like your mom, right? And like your parents, and that Dua could be more powerful in helping you achieve your goal, then any amount of actions that you could have taken, you know, Subhanallah, so, as Muslim we know, we have the concept we know about barakah, right? We know that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala puts Barakah in certain things that we do. And anything that Allah takes Barakah away from, is never going to be successful anyway. So I think we need to
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focus on seeking Barakah, you know, and one of my ... always used to say
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that one of the ways to achieve your goals is to give a lot of sadaqa or give amounts of sadaqa charity that scare you. That's what he said. Right? So like amounts that you don't feel like you can afford sometimes just give it without thinking to charity. And you'll see how Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala multiplies your wealth. And he expedites and makes faster, you know, your achievement of your goals.
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So those are just some some thoughts I have on that.
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How was it for you going to school and handling Islamic Studies also deciding between these two?
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00:59:54 --> 00:59:59
yeah, I... when I finished studying in the UK, I went to Egypt to study
01:00:00 --> 01:00:01
01:00:03 --> 01:00:08
then I came back and continued here. But I would say that, you know,
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studying can be a lifelong thing, especially studying Islam, right? It can be a lifelong thing. But I would encourage everyone to kind of have something a little bit structured that you're enrolled into, in terms of seeking knowledge of Islam. And today, we have so many options. Subhanallah, I know in America, you've got some amazing options. From what I've seen, you have.
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I mean, there's too many to name right? So, I really encourage you to, you know, think of that as your spiritual nurturing, right? Just as we nurture ourselves physically, we nurture ourselves, you know, by going to lectures for so called secular knowledge, right?
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Don't be completely ignorant about your Deen. Right. Make sure that there's a program of study that you're involved in. Because it will benefit you in many ways. Not only will it strengthen your Imaan because you will have the answers to the questions, you know, that sometimes come up.
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But also it will reconnect you with the Qur'an. Right? And it will give you an opportunity to have sure your and scholars who are your mentors, you know, and that's, that's a really important thing, because Subhanallah, many a time, you know, the scholars of Islam, they're the people who help us see reality as it truly is, you know, they can help us see reality as it truly is. Sometimes we have blinkers on our eyes, you know, I don't know if you have that expression in America blinkers, right? It's like, you know, horses, they have these, like things that kind of cover their eyes.
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We have blinkers on our eyes. And we, we might be seeing something in a very narrow minded way. Or we might, you know, not be seeing things as they truly are. And sometimes our scholarly mentors, those people who are connected to Allah, and who are more knowledgeable, they can help us see things that we might have missed, you know, it's really important to have those mentors and I think, for me, having Islamic mentors has been key, you know, every stage of life.
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deciding between those two, I don't really understand what you mean by that. I think.
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You know, I don't think everyone has to study Islam as their main or their, you know, like their specialism.
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But I do think everyone should be in some kind of program of studying the Deen simply for their own life, you know, for your own practice and for your own spirituality.
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But if you do want to specialize, then I would say, you know, we need people to commit to one path, you know, to because there's so much to learn, is difficult to do two or three things right.
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So we do need people to be able to specialize.
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Okay, I think that's everything.. I don't really understand.
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Last thing that somebody said can overwhelm, you know, you need to make that clear, Jazakallahu khayr for speaking to us today, especially when it's so late in the day for you. Have a great rest. We'd love to have you join us again soon. Virtually and in person. Yes, InsyaAllah.
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So Jazakumullahu kayran.
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I hope that some of those thoughts have benefited you. You know, I feel really honored to be connecting with you my brothers and sisters in Michigan.
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May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala bless you, Alhamdulillah, Jazakumullahu khayran, InsyaAllah.
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With that I will leave you. [End]
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About Fatima Barkatulla
Fatima has had a rich Islamic education from an early age thanks to her parents. She is married and passionately raising four children.
In her teens, she studied Arabic and Islamic studies in Egypt at prominent institutes such as Al Fajr Center, Qortoba Institute and a college of Al Azhar University and is currently training to be an Islamic Scholar with senior scholars in institutes here in the UK and through regular visits abroad.
She has been a key contributor to the discourse surrounding Muslim women in the West, contributing to the Westminster Faith Debates, documentaries and live shows for BBC Radio, the World Service, as well as BBC Television, Channel 4 and Islam Channel.
In 2014 she was awarded the IKON UKHWAH International Award – for young women in dawah and community service at a ceremony in KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.
Currently Fatima is Director of SEEDS OF CHANGE – the biggest Muslim women’s conference in Europe.