Sacred Text Messages S02 E04 – Quran and the Content of Character #02

Hamza Yusuf

Channel: Hamza Yusuf

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The journey through the sacred messages of the Noble Quran continues as Shaykh Hamza explains the universal lessons on brotherhood, forgiveness, and Divine love.

Episode Transcript

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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim wa salam O Allah say the Muhammad Ali will suddenly will set him to steamer or hamdulillah a ceremony calm or at Allah He will broker to, I hope everyone's well, inshallah I wanted to continue on from last week discussing a little bit more about the verse in Surah 49, which is 100. But looking at it from another dimension from a text message that's in the 30th chapter, which is sort of Rome. And Rome is very interesting in the Arabic language, because it relates to, really the Europeans and sometimes trans is the Byzantines. But before I do that, I actually wanted to discuss a little bit the image that was on the podcast advertisement, which was

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a, some people wondered what the image represented, or why a Native American. And there were a few different reasons that I had for putting that image there or choosing it rather, one of them was that we were discussing nations and tribes, and it was a reminder that there are still tribal people in the United States, the Native American peoples, a lot of people literally forget about them. In fact, it's interesting, there's a lot of focus on other minorities, but the indigenous peoples of this country still exist, they actually exist as sovereign nations A lot of people don't know that also that the what are called reservations are actually the remnants of their native lands that they

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had in this country. And the reason that I chose that image is because the the podcast was discussing the content of character. And one of the things that you note about people is that character can actually be seen in the faces of people. So when you when you meet somebody who is an upright person of good character, you often see that reflected in their faces, the Muslims very often say things like he has a lot of light in his face, or she has a lot of light interface, what they're really saying is there's a type of purity, what the Arabs called metal wedge, which is the, the water of the face. And when we talk about in the West, things like saving face, or losing face.

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So this is very much at the heart of it that one of the Arabic words for face is Sliva, which actually means that you're so far what you bring on the Day of Judgment. So your face is really also the book of your actions and very famous American homeopath, James Tyler, Kant said that by 50, everybody has the face that they deserve. So you've lived long enough. And you can see this in people's faces that dissipated faces repeatedly, very beautiful when they're young. But then you see them when they get old, and they're very ugly. And that's from a bad life. Other people you see who might not have been attractive when they're young, but they're actually very beautiful when they're

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old. And that's from living a good life. So you can actually see the good life of a person on his face. So I felt that that picture really reflected the character of whoever that man was, he was letting us know who he was in that picture, just with that face that he had. And the thing about traditional peoples or Aboriginal peoples, is that even though they're not our religion, highly regarded literacy and highly regards the accomplishments that go with civilizations, we have always as a as a faith have recognized the right of traditional peoples to live it's one of the hallmarks of Islam is that wherever it went, it never eliminated the Orang Asli. The Malays call them you

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know, the original people, on ously are the the original people. These are what bamboo is from the people that first appeared, the Bedouin, because this is where we come from. And the fact that Allah has maintained these people on the planet is very interesting, because they're everywhere. And we forget about them, we forget about a lot of the extraordinary things that they have there. And I'm not romantic about this because there's a lot of negative aspects to people in, in a state of nature. The in group out group problem, pseudo speciation, is a is a big word for that. So I'm not romantic about but I also know that there really are some extraordinary, the Native American people

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that that embody these qualities. And one of them I had the the great benefit of coming to know as Chief arville looking horse, Chief harville. And I came to know each other at Davos because we were both part of the C 100, which was a group of religious leaders that were brought in after 911. And Chief arval. The way we first met was we were in a gathering of all these leaders and the head of it was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who at the time was Lord Kerry and I suggested to the group that we

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actually do a survey of the people at Davos that could be anonymous that way. But we find out, like what they believed, because these are some of the most powerful people in the world. And I would be interested to know, did they believe in God, what type of ethical framework they were working from, because these are the heads of major corporations and the movers and shakers on the planet. And Lord Kerry said that, you know, this was the first year that they had invited us and, you know, we'd really don't want to ruffle feathers. And he literally use that term, ruffle feathers. Well, immediately the other end of the room, it was a large room, because we were probably about close to

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100 people, religious leaders from all over the world. Chief arval raised his hand and he's very noble looking person, he he's got one of those faces that you can tell he's just comes from a lineage of just No, he's from Lakota people, which are the, they're also called Sue, in any way. He, he raised his hand and he said, my name is chief overlooking horse. I'm the pipe carrier of the Lakota nation, which is a is a huge honor in the Lakota nation is to carry the pipe, he said, I'm a pipe carrier in the Lakota nation. And in our tradition, a spiritual leader is only there to ruffle feathers. And if he's not willing to ruffle feathers, he needs to step aside and let somebody else

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take that position. So at that point, his wife raised her hand. And then Lord Kerry acknowledged her and she said, I'm the wife of the pipe carrier of the Lakota people. And I agree with what my husband's

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which is also something from that tradition, where they, apparently the Iroquois, ah, when they did their Council, the women stood behind the men. And if they agreed with what they said they would, they would like pat them, and if they didn't, they would kick them. So that was very interesting. So we actually hit it off after that. And a few years later, probably about four or five years later, I was actually in Louisville, at an event and she falvo was there and we stayed at the same house. So he and I were having breakfast One morning, and I said to him,

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I don't know if I ever told you this, but

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my great grandfather, Archibald Chisholm, he was a immigrant from Scotland, but he was very successful miner, and actually owned a large portion of that wasabi range in Minnesota. Now Minnesota is actually a Lakota word Minnesota, which means misty, early morning waters, because there's a lot of lakes in Minnesota. So I told them, you know, my great grandfather, strip mined a lot of the wasabi range, and there's actually a town named after him Chisholm, Minnesota. And

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I said, Could you find in your heart, like just to forgive my family?

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So at that moment, he like turned away. And I thought this was a mistake.

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Because I just, you know, we had really gotten along Well, before up to that point, and I thought, Okay, this was a mistake. So we didn't he didn't say anything to me the rest of the morning, we, we just had breakfast in silent, very uncomfortable.

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So the next day, we were on a panel together.

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And he said,

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we were asked to,

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to say something. We had benefited from another faith tradition outside of our own, and we were sitting next to each other. And he said that Christianity was the only faith tradition that he knew. And he didn't really have anything good to see.

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Because they had taken away his people's traditions and forced theirs on his people. So that was his what he said, but he said, I will say that as as the pipe carrier of the Lakota nation, I am not permitted to have rancor in my heart.

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And then he said, so I just want to let my brother

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Hamza.

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And then he said a word in the Kota which he said, met a friend.

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And then he said that I have no rancor.

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In my heart for his family.

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And so after that, it was it was really strange, because people came up to me and they were just saying,

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what because none of them knew the context of it. So they were saying, well, is that about us? That was we all felt it. It was so powerful. That moment

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So I think what,

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what was really powerful about it was,

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it was just a moment of forgiveness.

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Yeah, and that's part of what the saying of we made you in

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peoples and tribes, you know, to, to know one another. So

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he knew me and I knew him.

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And that's, that's where it gets down to that most basic level, you're at the individual level, because so many of our problems are directly a result of collectivizing of just looking at people as groups and not as individuals. And so that's the whole essence of this idea of judging people by the content of their character. So one of the verses in the Quran that relates to this is in Surah, Rome. And like I said, Rome is a very interesting,

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it's very interesting word in the Koran because

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it's sometimes tries his Greeks, and sometimes as the Byzantines, but it actually means the Europeans. Because if you study what we would call a kind of sacred history of Europe, Rome really is at the heart of the creation of Europe, the actual city, which is in Italy, it's not in. It's not in Istanbul, Istanbul is new Rome, is not in Istanbul. And so so the Romans are in their legend come from Turkey. They came from the fall of ilium, in the in the Troy what they call Troy at the city of Troy where and he has fleas, and he initially goes to Tunisia. And then he dedeaux is there and then she ends up committing suicide, he leaves because he has to go found Rome.

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And so he's has his destiny. So he founds Rome. And then even the venerable bead, who was writing in the, I think, in the seventh century, the history of England talks about, you know, that their origins are their Romans. And so, even though this is a kind of sacred history, and modern historians might not accept any of those. That's how the Quran is looking at it. And that's why many scholars said the Hadees that mentioned our Rome or Hadees, that mean the Europeans like the Prophet said, I'm not afraid for you from the Persians, the people that really troubled me are the Romans, in other words, the Europeans, because they will come one after another, and they won't stop. And he

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actually said that they don't end until the last hour. So this, this was his concern was the impact that the Romans would have on us. And in the Hadith, takamasa were Rome oxido ness, the end of time won't come until the Romans the Europeans are the majority of people. I mean, Mohammed said that that's based on Manta Shabaab apartment for men home, like whoever resembles a people is one of them. So if you look at how the whole world has become European, all the traditional dress all these marvelous ways of dressing, I mean, I was in Japan, and we were in a garden walking I was with Chef Abdullah bin Viola. Yeah, follow. And we were in this garden. And these people were dressed in

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traditional Japanese was for wedding. But it was so stunning to see their traditional dress, it was just so beautiful. But all the other Japanese were dressed like Europeans. And this is because of the party that I'm Rania. It's a principle of civilization that even Haldane actually writes about in his book, The Medina where he says that the mug lube will always you call it the Lavalier, the one who's conquered will always imitate the people that conquered them that this is something that happens. So now all these beautiful Muslim clothes that you had all over the world. I mean, the wonderful embroidery work, every Palestinian village had its own unique dress. You know, you could

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tell a Libyan from a Moroccan or an Algerian just based on their clothes. So when you went on Hajj, all these different peoples had these different clothes. All of this is disappearing from the world, even the food is becoming homogenized. So the hamburger now is the most popular food in the world, which is hamburger it's from Germany, right? So it's very interesting in sort of the room because it begins saying that they know the outward of this world.

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They know the outward of this world. I mean, they're masters of the outward of this world, the European civilization, it's it's, and much of it, I think was birthed by the Muslim civilization. In fact,

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I really believe my interpretation of the hadith of one of the signs of the end of time in that famous hadith of gibreel, which is him know, he puts it as one of the foundational Hadees in Islam, the one that prophesied, Sam was asked about the hour, he says, he doesn't know the actual time, but he does know the signs. And one of the signs that he gave is on Teddy than Emma to Roberta, that the servant will give birth to her master. And I really believe that one of the meanings of that is this, this the civilization of Islam, which was a servant civilization, gave birth to Europe, which is a master civilization. Because the thing about Muslims is wherever they went, they really,

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and they're human beings, they had greed, and they had ambition, and they had all of the things that go with, with human beings. So I'm not looking since comes some kind of fantasy or fairy tale. But if you look at Muslim civilizations, the things that they did, were always with these ideals, that they had these amazing ideals. So they produced hospitals, that serve the people that big pharma could have not emerged in the Muslim civilization, where medicine was solely for money. Muslims were much closer to somebody like Jonas Salk, he discovered the polio vaccine, and he wouldn't patent it. And they asked him why he wouldn't Pat, he said, Do you patent the rays of the sun, you know that

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this is for people this is to help people. And that I think, most Muslims, that would have been the type of impulse that was guiding them, whereas now there's so much in in the materialistic culture that we live in, it's just all about the bottom line. So big pharma just does not care about us. And they'll do their studies, they'll say the vaccines are safe, which the vast majority of people aren't going to have. But they know their bean counters, they have these people that do the statistical set, they know a certain number of people. But this is utilitarian ethics, they're they're going to be sacrificed for the greater good. This is the type world that we live in, and

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they're not going to give you informed consent about it. But they do know that so and they think, well, this is this is for the

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the common good. Well, no, it's more for the bottom line, because they're going to make billions. And that's what's driving them more than anything else. So these, this is the type of world that we live in. And I just don't think the Muslim world was like, it had a lot of problems. It had a lot of wrongs. And but overall, if you look at the civilization, it was a civilization of beauty. Their clothes were beautiful. Their architecture was beautiful. their relationships were beautiful. Their customs and practices, many of them were beautiful. I mean, they did have some things that were unfortunate that should have been jettisoned. But overall, when people, some of the most visited

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architectural sites in the world are Muslim, I find it fascinating that when the Israelis want to put a tourist brochure out, they have the Dome of the Rock, they don't put a synagogue, they put a mosque, when the end of the Hindus want to entice people to come to India, they don't put a Hindu temple, they put the Taj Mahal. When the Spanish want to tempt people to come to Spain. They don't put some Cathedral in Madrid, they put the Alhambra Palace on their brochures. What is that? It's really something just amazing about our faith. And so

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the Romans are very interesting people. And

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I don't want to collectivise because they have amazing, like all peoples, they have their evil, and they have their good and they have a lot of good and I'm my own. I mean, my ancestors are mostly from Ireland, and some from Scotland and Greece. So it's, you know, they're the people that I come from. But I think it's very dangerous to collectivise any group of people but we should understand civilizations and and what informs them. Christianity, I don't think informs this civilization to a large degree anymore. I think it's much more informed by materialistic and hedonistic ethos than before that so in this verse in Surah, arome it says women ayat II and halaqa common turabian Thoma

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either and Tom bash on tanta, Sharon, from among God's signs is that he created you from dust and then

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Either, and Tom bash on Santa Sharon, behold, you are human beings scattered far and wide. It's quite extraordinary that we were created from Earth, our physical creation, and then infused with this spirit, this rule, and from these two initial people, that Allah in the hudec now come in that can these two

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primordial human beings, our first father and mother,

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suddenly, we have this exponential growth all over the planet and tissue alone. And we know how we migrated now that we can tell from these genetic tags all over the world. And then women it he also from among God, signs on how come men on fusi calm as well, that he created from your souls, mates, the Tesco no ha ha, in order for you to find tranquility in them. So what's really interesting to me about this is that if you look at the nations and tribes, and then we're being told here in this surah that God created us from does so we're all from the same. You know, humility comes from a Greek word homeless, which is the topsoil of the earth. So it's a reminder that we're all from this

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dust and the province I sent him said, I was commanded omert on Ottawa that I was commanded to be humble had to lay your head down, Allah had so that no one would oppress another. Because if anybody had a right to be prideful, it was the best of creation. But he's saying, I was commanded to be humble so that nobody could oppress another justifiably with any type of justification, I'm better than him. Because that's what it believes did he said on a hydro Minho, I'm better than him, that is the demonic impulse to say that I'm better than so in these verses, we're being told that after we're told that we we spread all over the earth from this initial creation, then we're being told

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that we have mates. And the reason for those mates is Lita, schooner, la ha, in order that you find Sakina, with your mate, the word in Arabic for home is meskin, which literally means the place of Sakina. And this is why one of the great crimes of either the male or the female, it's, it's more from the male, unfortunately, than it is from the female, but it can be from from one side or the other, and sometimes from both, is to create an abode of strife, not of sukeena to oppress the other in the home, the place where they should feel more safe than any other place. Nobody should be fearful of being abused in their own home, not a child, not a servant, and certainly not a wife, or

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a husband. And so, what we're being told here is that this is why he gave us mates, the tuscana la ha, that you find tranquility in your mate, that you're brought together for the Susan and then which Allah beno commode that Anwar Rama and we put between you love and mercy, the mawatha in Arabic is a special kind of love. It's it's a divine love. That's why our last name is Edwin dude. Allah is the one that has mawatha and and the Prophet said, marry our dude. And even though that that is generally the female it refers to the female What dude is an interesting word in that it's both male and female. So what dude is for the male and the female is federal form. And so like I

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Jews, you know, it's one of those forms in Arabic That could be male or female in certain words. So the What dude is the one who unconditionally loves you.

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It's an unconditional type of love. And so that is what in a healthy relationship, there's that love. That is it's divine. It comes from Allah subhana wa Tada. And so, and then Rama, so mercy just having mercy in a home is so important. And then Allah says in the feed Attica Ayatollah Khomeini tougher Quran you know, these are verily in these are Signs for people who think, like if you think about these things, if you if you have to fuck or reflect, you're difficult is rough at Saqqara in Iran is negative. Like it's fact Gara fact got our other faculty the other day, and he fuckery is like the, the anchor boot it's producing your own thoughts, whereas to fuck or is to reflect on what

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our law is showing you. It's also to fat oil, which is to to do it with effort to think deeply to ponder. So this is what we're being told to do about this.

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And then Allah subhana wa tada says, and this is what relates to sort of 49 the 13th verse Allah subhana wa tada says woman is He who somehow it would have worked it out Who else cinetic on well when he come in a few adicolor Ayatollah al amin what will it mean there's two different rewire. So wash it's lil al amin in house it's little early mean so from amongst his signs God signs is is the creation of the heavens and the earth. And then this is called the Bach in Arabic rhetoric which is where you're using these opposites heaven Earth and then worked it out for LC Nettie calm, well whiny calm in the fanatical Ayatollah al amin or the highly mean so in your languages in your

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various languages and in your complexions, your colors, the colors that Allah has made you verily in that are Signs for those who know and also for all the worlds for for everyone. These are Signs for the incent the jinn. So if you look at that,

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first it says in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and then it juxtaposes those with tongues and colors, because the tongues come from heaven. And the colors come from Earth. So hung up with some art and data for elsina. So, the heavens there seven heavens, and then within those heavens, there's multitools. So we have all these languages aren't what are all they're all signs of God, these languages. I mean, languages are one of the greatest signs of God, that somebody can say ringgo in Japan, and somebody say too far in Arabia, and somebody say manzana, in Mexico, you know, and all those bring the same concept to mind. That's a miracle. I mean, that alone is a miracle that

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you can have all these different symbols for the same concept. And if you learn the language and hear the words, then you can you can communicate and speak there's a great story Rumi tells about the is the feel and resume and the ynab about the three travelers and that angor Yeah, so they find the, the some money on the road. And so the Greek says, Oh, we should buy is to feel with it. The person He said, No, no, we have to buy on good. And then the the Arab says no, no, we have to buy ynab. So they start fighting. mowlana says, if there was a translator, he could have told him they all wanted the same thing. Because they're all different words for grapes. And this is the human

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condition. We all want the same thing. We're all fighting over our misunderstandings of that. And so the tongues and the colors are signs from Allah. In other words, they're meant to create Marvel in your heart for you to just marvel at God's creation like to see the beauty in the ebony and even the Bible talks about the ethiop beauty. The beauty of the Ethiopian, the evany of the Ethiopians, and the most beautiful people in the world come from Ethiopia. In fact, I once told the Ethiopian that I'm convinced they must kill all the ugly babies because you never see ugly Ethiopians.

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So they adamantly denied that. But anyway, all these different colors. It's just for you to marvel at, because we all come from the same earth but even the earth, you have white sands, you have White Earth, you have red Earth, you have brown Earth, you have dark brown Earth, you have black Earth, pitch black Earth, and you see all these colors, because we were all created from all Adam, which is Adam from a Dima from the topsoil. The prophesize m said that Adam was created from all the soils of the earth. So he contains all the colors, the original human being had all the colors genetically. And so that's why Allah intended for this, he wanted us to see and marvel at how he could bring

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forth all of this diversity because Allah subhanaw taala loves diversity. And so, languages and colors are signs, not to oppress one another, but then in our economy, and the life outcome that the most dignified. This is why virtuous lives, or the lives that with God matter. Like they really have virtuous life irrespective of the wealth. I mean, one of the things about dunya is that you you cannot ever bring this kind of equality into the world is just won't happen. But the afterlife has the same inequalities, but to a greater degree according to the Quran. There's going to be people

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at the highest levels in Paradise, and they'll people with the lowest, doesn't matter which level you're in, if you get in woman's hand and not advise if you're just getting away from the Hellfire, you're victorious. But there are places for the savvy opponent overwhelm those people that are out strippers, and then the hell has degrees. So there's any qualities in heaven and hell, they're not all equal. And so that's a really important thing to remember. But here's the distinction between dunya and akhira. In the dunya, it's very difficult to get to the top, if you're poor, or if you're come from an educated family or have difficulties, but that same person can get the highest place in

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Paradise, the highest place, that's the difference. So the dunya so much is going to be determined by things like where you were born and who your parents are. And those things you can't choose. Those are chosen by God. But how you behave, how you live your life, how you walk, your path, how you walk, your talk, all of those things. Those are in your hands. They're not