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Lessons from the life of Abū Ḥanīfa (RA)

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Ismail Kamdar

Channel: Ismail Kamdar

Episode Notes

In this Jumah Khutbah, delivered at Ridge Road Musalla on 30 August 2019, Shaykh Ismail Kamdar discusses relevant lessons from the life of Imām Abū Ḥanīfa (RA). This is the first in a series of lectures on the lives of great scholars of Islam.

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

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al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Nabeel Karim Allah Allah He was heavy as marine We begin by creating a lawsuit by hand over to Allah and ask Allah to send his peace and blessings upon the final prophet Mohammed bin Abdullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and all those who follow his way with righteousness until the end of time.

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Today, inshallah I'm going to begin a new series of discussions over

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the next few months. What I want to do over the next few months is every time I get an opportunity to speak, you have to talk about one of the great heroes of Islam. And I want to extract from the lives some lessons that we can apply we can do some practical lessons from the lives of great people. And I thought the best place to start since we are in Durban and this is 100 v area is with the life of the great Imam Abu hanifa Rahim Allah. So inshallah that will be the topic of today's discussion. We will look inshallah, at the life of Imam Abu hanifa Rahim Allah, and we will extract basically four lessons from his life. The first lesson we're going to discuss from his life is the

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importance of having an intellectual approach to Islam. If you are a student of knowledge, right, then we'll look at his life and how he studied Islam and how he taught Islam. The second lesson which I want us to take from his life, is the importance of having taqwa in business. imao hanifa was not just a scholar, he was a businessman. And we will look at a few examples from his life of how business is supposed to be done. The second, the third lesson, which I want to take from his life is courage, particularly when dealing with political issues, right, the courage of improbable hanifa is something that's actually very relevant to our lives. And the final lesson, which I want

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to discuss from his life today, is the importance of being financially independent, especially for orlimar, especially for scholars. So these are four of the qualities of Imam, Abu hanifa, that truly stands out to me, four of the things that I believe are amongst his most amazing qualities. So let's begin in sha Allah, who was Imam Abu hanifa. His name was an Amen, even sabot. Right, and a man even tarbet, Abu hanifa was his punia. punia means a title where you attribute it towards your child, right? So Abu Bakar, Abu huraira is not necessarily your child, it could be a nickname. It could be for example, in the case of Abu huraira, he had a pet cat, so we call him Abu huraira, father of the

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cat, most of the time, it's attributed to, you know, your eldest child, so not mine, even sabbat, or him Allah was more famously known by his cornea, which was Abu hanifa. Right? He was from the second generation of Islam, the late Derby. He was born in the year 80. h, which is around

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70 years after the death of Rasulullah, sallallahu alayhi wasallam. So you're talking very early in Islamic history, still the first century of Islam, right? This is very early on in the immediate era. That's how early into our history he was born, right in the immediate era. And he came from a family that way, traditionally, clothes salesman, they had a business where they would sell clothing in the marketplace, right. And he continued his profession from his father. So in Abu hanifa, he was not a convert. It seemed that perhaps his great grandfather was the one who converted to Islam, because he and his father both seem to be born Muslims. And he was a web but not from the higher

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tabi because he was born at the time in the Sahaba, where Moses had already passed away and the future we're still alive, very old. So you got to see them in his childhood. So that made him part of the derby. Right? And he was a businessman. Now,

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one of the most interesting things about your mom Oh, honey, that's different from the other great moms, is when we look at the lives of the other great Imams, or shaeffer, he even taymiyah Malika

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Al ghazali, all these great scholars of Islam, they started studying Islam in the way like 10 years old, 13 years old, 12 years old. Mr. Abu hanifa, only started when he was perhaps in his early 20s. He actually started late compared to the other scholars, but he caught up very quickly. So in the beginning, Mr. hanifa Rahim, Allah was a businessman. No, as he's accustomed in many parts of the world, the child takes over the Father's business, right? Remember when he was father used to sell clothing, he started selling clothing. He was continuing with the family business. Until one day, a great scholar by the name of Amir ashabi came to his shop

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while shopping, he had a discussion with Abu hanifa and realized that this young man is really intelligent. You know, he's like a really, really intelligent individual. So he gave Abu hanifa some advice. He told him, don't waste your intellect. You should go study Islam. Right? Don't waste your intellect. You should go study Islam. So Mr. Abu hanifa Rahim Allah He listened to this advice, he hired his friend have even Abdul Rahman to take over the business. So notice he did not close down his business to go study Islam. He hired a business partner to continue running the business and he went off to study Islam. He studied under many Greek scholars from all over the world. His most

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famous teacher was Hamas, even abishola man, the great Hadith scholar of Iraq. I forgot to mention that Imani po and one in Kufa in Iraq. Right. So he spent some almasi 17 years studying with Hamas events of Israeli mind alone. 17 year to one was 31 teacher. Now let's stop here. And just there's so many lessons just from this part of his life. Personally, you know, one of the problems we have today is that

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when it comes to studying Islam, you know, sometimes when we see someone's intelligent or intellectual, we don't tell them, why don't you study Islam? How many of us actually do this when you meet someone who's an intellectual who's intelligent, who is a deep thinker? How many of us advise a person? Why don't you go and become a scholar of Islam wanting to become a Harley?

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Instead, retelling become a doctor, you know, become an accountant. You know, and if he's failing in school, we see gimmicky molana, right. Unfortunately, that's our culture. And then we complain, why am I not standing up here? He's not speaking on our intellectual level. Our folks, look at the early Muslims, the early Muslim would literally go to a shop and tell the shopkeeper you are intelligent man, go and study Islam. That man goes and study Islam, he becomes Abu hanifa. We want Abu hanifa study, we must do the same thing for our kids. If you have a child who is intelligent, and who loves Islam, then organize for them to go and study Islam, organize it. Don't think of it as something

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low, my son's going to study Islam. Right. And this brings us to another major misconception in our community. We think if somebody studied Islam, they're going to be poor. Right? This is a major problem in our communities. My son go into Allium cos you're gonna be poor for the rest of his life.

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Mr. Abu hanifa, was a wealthy businessman, was not an average businessman, he was a wealthy businessman, he was the best of clothing. And if he saw his students coming to class for the dress, he would give them money and send them to the marketplace, pleased to buy with the clothing. So you coming in the presence of the Hadees of Rasulullah sallallahu sallam, you should just in your best clothes. He would sponsor his students, entire families. If one somebody wanted to study Islam with him, but he did not have money to support a wife and children, he would pay for the monthly expenses as long as the person was studying with you.

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You do not have to be poor to be a student of knowledge or a teacher of Islam. There are many, many people in the world today who have studied Islam, and will also excelled in dunya. As well, we know what's the key difference here. When you choose somebody who is intellectual, to study Islam, that person is not going to end up quote, why he's got the intelligence to study Hades on a deep level, he also got the intelligence to make lots of money. high intelligence works both ways. Abu hanifa was that kind of person. So we need to get out of this idea that if we send somebody to study Islam going to be poor? No, this is a matter of how you approach life, how you approach business, how you

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approach money, you can be like Mr. Monica, you can be like Him and have both Deen and dunya.

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Now, the important lesson that we take from this is, again, some of us have this extreme idea. You know, I want to study Islam. So I'm going to give up my career. I'm going to give up my business, I'm going to live a simple life, right? And then you some guys will come from the wealthiest families, and they'll just let go of everything. They have resources that they could use with our resources they could use for building mastery or setting up Islamic organizations. They let go of all of that and say, No, I'm being pious. Now. I don't need money.

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I want if I didn't do that, Mr. Abu hanifa Rahim Allah kept his business running high and somebody trustworthy to run it and use that money to serve Islam. Meaning, when you want to be pious, you don't have to give up dunya you just have to start using it in the right way. Is that clear? To be pious, you don't have to give up your junior. If you have, Allah has blessed you with dunya that's a resource. Be grateful for it and use it in the right way. piety doesn't mean forcing yourself into poverty. If Allah has not given you money, that is your chest from Allah and be patient with it. If Allah has given you money, don't be ungrateful and

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Just get rid of it saying I want to be pious. use that money to serve Allah. use that money in a way that is pleasing to Allah subhanho wa Taala. And this is what Mr. Abu hanifa did. So this is just the first thing I want you to talk about from his life. Mr. Abu hanifa was a truly intellectual being. He was one of the most intelligent scholars of his time. And his way of teaching was fascinating. It was, it was like, unlike anything that happened at that point in time, in that point in time, the way Islamic education worked was a scholar would sit in the masjid, people will come and sit around him, he would teach and they would listen. Right? Mr. Abu hanifa came up with a

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revolutionary way of teaching. He would gather his students around them. And he would ask them for their opinions. And he would listen to every single students opinions, and he would counter the opinions with the opposite opinions. And he would really, really get them thinking on this deep level as possible, until they could come to some kind of agreement or what is the right opinion.

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Really, really deep discussions.

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He went even further than others, you know, generally Allah did discuss the issues of their times, right. Imam Abu hanifa discuss issues that didn't exist in his time yet. For example, they will discuss what we call hypothetical issues. Like for example, what happened is somebody traveled to another country and back in one day, I do moussaka. Now, did that exist at the time of Abu hanifa? No, doesn't exist today. Yes. So thanks. Remember honey pots for sighted discussions. We have some academic, you know, reference to go back to when looking at these issues that exist today. He used to not just think about making fatwas that were relevant to his times, but benefiting people in the

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future, you know, if this is to happen, what ruling Are we going to pass. So we had a very deep intellectual approach to Islam. And that's the second lesson that I want to take from his life is that this needs to be revived. This really needs to be revived, that those of us who choose to study Islam, we cannot we cannot just be people who memorize books and repeated on stage. That's not studying. That's parenting. We have to be intellectual in our approach to Islam. We have to be able to engage with the Quran and the Hadith and the statements of the early scholars to be able to study the different opinions to be able to make fatwas that are relevant to our time in our culture. You

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know, many times we have this problem that a fatwa may have been passed in India 200 years ago, while it was still under British colonial rule that was relevant to that time and to that situation, and now we are parenting that fatwa in South Africa. 200 years later, it has no relevance to this country or this culture our times. That's a problem. That's a problem with how we are approaching Islam. For example, I met someone recently who said that school is haram.

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Where you good schooling Hara no so and so fatwa book from India school is haram to listen, that book was written in the 1800s, when the British were ruling India, and they were trying to get people to give up Islam and follow British values by forcing them into their schools. So that Allah Ma, that time passed, the patois. The school is haram. The fatwa makes sense for the time on the stand, but you can't take the fatwa 200 years later in South Africa and pass it. It doesn't make sense, right? You fought wars are meant to mean, you know, first of all, they're not just meant to be from time to time to sometimes meant to be from person to person, then what was meant to change

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from person to person, there was a mobile honeypots approach as well, by the way, he will literally give a different factor to different people based on their circumstances. What do I mean by this? For example, if someone walks up to you and says, Can I take a second wife? You know, can I give the same answer to everybody? You know, that guy is abusing his first wife? We're going to tell him Yes, no, right? You're gonna give a different fatwa for a different person based on your circumstances. So why then do we think we just memorize a book that's written 200 years ago, and just forcing that upon people today is Islam that's not Islam, we have to take a more intellectual approach to how we

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convey the message of Islam, how we pass our fatwas and how we make Islam relevant to the time and place in culture we are living in one of Mr. Abu hanifa. His most important principles of fick is called local culture. In my opinion, he was the one who conceptualized this idea that fatwas should be made according to the local culture is an idea, right? today as canopies. Many of us want to import other cultures to South Africa. And we want to force people who are not from the Indian culture to follow Indian culture, in the name of Islam. Does the complete opposite of what you were taught him on he taught us that if you move to Africa, you should adopt to the African culture.

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That's what he's what he taught. This is actually read actual 100

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Books are pseudo fake. It says when you move to another area, you should adapt to their culture as long as it's not Hello. This is actually in the hundreds of books have

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something wrong with the way we are studying and teaching Islam. So Mr. Abu hanifa is someone we really have to take as a role model in how we approach Islam and how we teach Islam.

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Let's move on to another topic, that topic may have been a bit touchy with one segment of the community, the next topic will be touching with a different segment of the community, how we run our business. Many of us we don't really think about business as a religious thing, right? We don't really care with our money is halal or haram? And whether, you know, the way we are treating our staff is islamically. Correct. As long as it's lining our pockets we find with it. This is not from the teachings of Islam. On the day of judgment. There are two questions we're going to be asked about our money. And neither of them is how much did you allow us not gonna ask you how much money

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you made? You can ask you how did you make it and how did you spend it. And so from taqwa, from piety and righteousness, is to earn our money in a way that is pleasing to Allah subhanho wa Taala. That means being just to your employees, that means being just your employer. That means being just to your customers. That means being nice to people. That means selling things without hiding their faults. That means being an honest businessman.

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Sadly, in our community, so many Muslim Brothers come up to me and said, I'll never work for another Muslim and ever again, because they cheat us. They don't pay us on time. They mistreat us, they resist all these kinds of complaints, Muslims about other Muslims. Why? Because we stopped worshipping Allah, we sell worshipping money. That's what we've done. We become materialist, we become capitalists, and the Day of Judgment, you have to answer for that. Mr. armonico, was also a businessman. He also was a wealthy businessman, but he did his business the right way. Let me give you two examples of that. Once a old lady came to our shop, she wanted to sell him some clothes of

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us, right she got some clothing she wanted so she thought you sell it. Now, this was an old lady. She wasn't aware of the prices of that time. You know, what was the value of the clothing in the market at the time, so she offered it to him for 100. Durham's? Right in Oh, honey pan. Ooh, that is worth much more than that. So he told him, You know what? You sell it to me too cheap. So she's like, okay, 200 is still too cheap. Right? She says 300 he says two still too cheap. She says you Maki Mina right? Do you make a joke of me? Are you or do you think I'm old lady, you can make a mockery of me. Right? So he says no, he called one of the experts. It will Okay. Yes, this guy is

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the expert in clothing and the prices Let's ask him. So the expert team up. Remember he never pointed to the to the garment and told the lady to ask the expert How much is it what experts said 500 500 pounds. So imamo hanifa paid 500. for it. She offered it to him for 100. He paid her five times that amount because he did not want to rubber. She would have been a perfectly valid transaction. For me purely fake perspective. If she offered it for 100. He bought it for 100 is perfectly valid. But he's morality and piety on such a level that he wouldn't allow that for himself. He would feel guilty that he robbed an old lady because she didn't know the value of it. So

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he purposely paid five times the amount for the common. This is what I look for Baraka is money, enemies knowledge, how many of us today will do the same? How many of us today if someone comes in the office something and we know that this guy you know, he doesn't know what's the price of this thing is offering me selling this car for 20,000 Rand? Let me just grab it. Now how many of us will actually say you know, a brother this car you selling is actually 100,000 and you shouldn't sell it to NATO? How many of us will actually give him that advice? This is honesty in business. Example number two.

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Mr. Abu hanifa told his partner has he been under a man that a shipment of clothes are coming in. You need you to sell them for me. But one of these clouds is faulty. It has some faults on it. So if you are selling it, let the customer know about the faults beforehand. Right. The next day, huffs comes to him and says I sold all the clothes and he gave me the profits he shared the profits on the box. What about that one that was faulty? Oh, I forgot to mention the fault.

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Mambo hanifa gave all the money away. He says some percentages maybe 5% of 1%. is haram for me because we sold a faulty garment without mentioning the fault. So I'm not taking any of this money. Give it all the way. Many of us are unaware of this in Islam if you are selling something that you know is faulty. You have to mention the fault. For example, if you are selling used cars, right and you know that this car you are selling it has a

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faulty thermostats right? Or the fan is faulty or something like that. You have to mention it to the customer. And only this is final bite evolute has that fault, then only is the sale actually valid. Otherwise it's considered deception. And he has the right to return it. Right he has the right to return. So Mr. Obama took this very seriously. And he gave away all of his profits, which was a large amount of money because a small percentage of it was tainted. Now, I'm not saying we have to be on Imam Abu hanifa his level of piety when it comes to business, but we should have some level of piety when it comes to business. You have to start somewhere. Right? We should start with at least

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thinking to ourselves, firstly, is my job or business even harder? that's step number one isn't even Hello. I mean, if you're running a hookah lounge, I'm sorry, but

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we have too many of those popping up in our community. Without signs, right? If you are selling cigarettes, giving people cancer, not good. Some allama will tell you it's hot out normally the ones who smoke themselves, right? It's not. It's not killing people is not halaal. That's gonna give them cancer. Right? Don't do it. You know, so many times I hear stories about Muslims in this community being drug dealers and things like that make my mind boggling, you know, these are the guys who go to the masjid five times a day. Why don't we think about our business? Or the fact that this is one of the primary things we got the answer to Allah Subhana Allah on the Day of Judgment, our business,

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make sure your job is halaal. Make sure your business is Hello. Number two, make sure you treat your employees and your employer properly. Your employees don't oppress them, don't pay them late. Don't mistreat them, like your employer Don't deceive him. Don't pretend to do work that you're not doing. Right? Don't abuse his trust. It works both ways. I'd be complaints about both in the community. If you're doing business, your customers how do you treat your customers? Well, customer relations is becoming a lost art. Nowadays, you know, the good old days you'd be such that if somebody complained about the business right and the owner will come in apologized and offered a freebie in return.

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Nowadays, you complain about the business, they will push land about you all over Facebook. Now they this customers like this and this customers like that. And they will post it about 10 2030 different customers and they want to know more customers are coming to their shop. That's how you talk about your why would someone want to buy from you. We don't be unable to handle criticism anymore. For customer criticizes you listen to what they say you may be some truth in it. There is some truth in it, accept it and change it. There's no truth to it.

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Right is his opinion. You don't have to fight with people.

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So these are lessons in business we can take for your mama Benito. So we said four things that we can learn from number one. Number one is business number two is an intellectual approach to Islam. Number three is courage. Courage, right and actually number three and four. Related in terms of story, courage and independence. So why did Imam Abu hanifa keep his business running? Remember, he lived in a different time from ours. In those days, the olema were paid a salary by the government so they didn't need to work by this was started by

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the Salif Waleed, the first well even Abdul Malik, he started the practice of playing ping Allah ma a salary so that they don't need to work. They can just teach Islam and the government takes care of all their financial needs. Right. And then the salary was increased by Omar bin Abdul Aziz Rahim Allah. So by the time we had Ebola, we're getting paid good salaries. At the same time as me my Malik was living in Medina living off a very good salary from the government and he also lived a very wealthy life because of it. But you mama Juanita refused to take the salary. Why? Very important lesson, and he shall we discuss my Mulligan extending some beautiful lessons from his life

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as well. You see the differences of opinion, right? Even in these issues. Monique was like we deserve the salary. I'm taking it. Monica is like, I don't want anything to do the government are taking it out. We are right. Both we are right. Right. Put it in your right in your own way. But today, we talked about your mobile honeypot. So let's take the lesson from this. Why did Mr. Abu hanifa not want to take a salary from the government? Because he felt it would compromise his ability to pass fatwas. They don't like

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he refused to take a salary from the government. He refused to take a government position.

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Instead, he supported himself and he supported his own students by having a business. Right, the end of the story. And when the herbicides took over and they got rid of the Omega Empire, the abasi drooler wanted to make Abu hanifa a judge. Right. And Mr. Abu hanifa, refused. Maybe he doesn't want to work for the government. When it's a budget or maybe it doesn't matter. He doesn't work for the government. Right? Maybe in those days he didn't want to work for the government. Imagine the governments of today

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Right. So what did they do? They put him in jail. And he died in jail, he died in prison, Imam Abu hanifa died. by standing up for what he believed in by standing strong about what he believed in. He believed that he will refuse to take a government position, he will not take money from the government, he died upon death, he died in jail for that, you know whether his opinion is right or wrong. The fact is, he believed in his opinion, and he stuck to it even when things got hard. And he opposed the government for the sake of his opinion. Right? So there's two lessons we take from this part of life. The first is courage. How many of us today are brave enough to tell those who are in

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power that they are wrong?

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We live in a time where all over the Muslim world, we have Allah Ma, who are literally puppets of the government, right? passing the most ridiculous effect to us. You know, we have governments who are literally bombing Muslim countries. And then we have Allah Ma, calling him revivals of Islam. You know, you just, we don't have a backbone anymore. As a result, you know, Allah Ma, not taking a stand. And you know, what happens to the rest of the community, that courage is missing. This is a quality of a true believer, to be brave enough to stand up for what you're believing and to stand by what you believe in, no matter how it is.

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The courage of Abu hanifa is something all of us can learn from. We need to be brave, whether it's in the workplace, whether it's in an organization, whether it's in the community, with a to do with politics, we have to revive courage in our communities. Sadly, we are raising a generation of boys who will never become men will say boys for the rest of their life, because we don't teach them to be courageous. We don't teach them to be brave. Rather, we teach them to be afraid of the world.

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We have to divide courage and bravery in our communities, otherwise, you're not going to progress. So many times you're going to stand up and give a lecture to talk about this. Don't talk about that. Don't say that you can upset these people don't say that you cannot say those people. What's left to talk about, is give a Juma lecture on the same topic we spoke about last week, and the week before and the week before could be too scared to speak or anything else. Courage is missing. It has to be revived to our courage, there is no speaking out against What's wrong, and there is no change. So this is a quality we must survive.

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The final quality Abu hanifa we can take a lesson from from the same story is his financial independence. Now more than ever, Obama need to be financially independent. Why? Because when you are relying on other people for money, what happens? They can force you to transfer to us in their favor. They see the problem in our community, right? What we do, we we force the mind to certain positions where the compromise. So he's the Imam of the masjid. He's got no other source of income. And we force him to say this is right or this is wrong, otherwise, you're fired.

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And the guy's got nowhere else to go. He's forced to pass a fatwa. He Mama hanifa didn't want to be in that kind of position. So that's why he became a businessman. That's why my advice, you know, to, to, or anyone here who's studying Islam, who is a scholar of Islam, did many years in the audience. You know, I call this the Abu hanifa model of business, Abu hanifa model of business, I follow it myself. And that is keep your sources of income and your data separate. I myself have multiple businesses, and I have my Islamic work. So I can talk what I want. And no one's gonna say no fire more than I say something I don't like, Who's gonna fire me? Right? Monica was like that, that I

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literally learned this concept of Abu hanifa his life and I decided I'm going to do the same thing. And I say this should anyone here who studied Islam or is studying Islam, set up your own sources of income, right? become financially independent, so that you can no one can threaten you to fire you to pass a fatwa they don't like nowadays, the people don't make a photo that someone likes you all go on Twitter, and they put the hashtag fire mom, so and so. And it spreads all over the world. But it only works if the mom is financially dependent on the wrong people. So more than ever, this methodology of Mr. Abu hanifa, or being financially independent, it's needed today. If you are a

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student of knowledge, if you are planning on studying Islam in the future, if you are the scholar of Islam, try your best to be financially independent, doesn't mean you need to be wealthy. It just simply means your source of income is not your dogma. It's not your Islamic work. It's not your teaching Islam, right. If you can have a source of income separate from your teaching of Islam, then you have more freedom to teach what you truly believe. So these are some of the lessons from the life of a member of hanifa Rahim Allah. As I mentioned, you know, the purpose of studying Islamic history is that we take what we learn and we apply to our lives. Whenever we study the biography of

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any great man or woman in the history of Islam, it should change us in some way.

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We should have at least one of the qualities become our qualities. Otherwise there's no point in studying history. History is not simply about memorizing these facts or memorizing those facts or you know, knowing when this person was born or what this person father's name was no more than that, to be able to emulate the good qualities right to emulate this success in our own lives. So insha Allah This is the first of many lectures I'm gonna do on this topic inshallah next time, and I had the opportunity to speak to speak working on mollica Rahim Allah and listen to it from his life and in a sharpener, Mama even humble and we'll go to others as well. And you know, Allah subhanho wa

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Taala except this from us may help us to learn from the lives of the great people of the past to emulate them to be like them. And through that to revive Islam, you know, times just after the pharaoh walk through the world and will come to you guys Robbie diamino salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.