Moral Teachings of Islam 23 – Trustworthiness

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Jamal Badawi

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The benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. I greet you with our customary greeting, greetings of peace. A greeting that has been used by all of the prophets from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon all of them. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid. Today in our Islam and focus program, we have our 23rd program in our series on the moral teachings of Islam.

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More specifically, today we'll be talking about the topic of Amana, or fulfillment of trust. I have joined me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University, or the command Assalamu alaikum.

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You have to forgive my pronunciation of Arabic, I haven't yet perfected my technique. I wonder if perhaps I might have you start today's program by shedding some light on the term Amanda, and why you translated the way that you that you do. Okay. First of all, the common usage of the term Amana, in Arabic If you talk to some Arabic speaking person, is usually used to refer to honesty, to be honest.

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But as an Islamic terminology, it carries more meaning than honesty, as people interpret it in a narrow sense.

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Indeed, the the term Amana has a number of shades of meanings, but all of those meanings seem to rotate around. One basic concept. That is the concept of accountability before God for any action in our life, that is our life itself is basically a trust. That's why I felt burned handed, the term fulfillment of trust seemed to be a closer

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explanation or the closest meaning perhaps to the Arabic term Amana.

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Indeed,

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in the Quran, there's reference to that in chapter 17, for example, in verse 34, it says, what oh four will add in the economist will fulfill your promise are always a commitment. Because the commitment you make you will be questioned for your answer, and they'll have judgment or day of reckoning, for whatever you promised.

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When to go back on one's promise, especially when you talk about illegitimate permissible type of promise

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is something that

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was likened in the Quran in one parable to a woman who needs a garment or spin a garment. And after spending so many hours to produce that garment, and when the garment is really strong and ready, she starts undoing it again. So teenage on once promises just like again, undoing a garment that was knitted, that we find, for example, in chapter 16, verse 22. And so this is the why the meaning is closer to trust than just honesty. Right? Well, I guess from your answers, normally, when we think of the word

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trust, we normally think perhaps of people who have been given a specific trust maybe like a lawyer who may act as a trustee or we think of some official or somebody in a position of leadership and so on.

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But as I understand your answer, the this notion of a man is not limited purely to people then who are in positions of responsibility. It's a broader, more general. Oh, that's correct. In fact, in one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him one of the very famous sayings which is narrated in Bukhari.

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He says that kill the camera and look at that's part of the Hadith. The full translation of the whole saying is that each one of you is right, right could be translated as Shepherd, a person who's responsible leader, Trustee, these are all meanings that refer to the meaning of Shepherd

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Each of you as a shepherd, or trustee, and each one of you is also responsible or answerable to God, for the trust that was given in his hands or her hands. And then he continues on, he says, a ruler, or a leader is a trustee, and he is responsible for people. He's leaving. And a man is responsible for his family. He's a trustee and he's responsible before God for that responsibility. He says a woman is also a trustee. And she's responsible for his trusteeship for the household that she's responsible for. He said, even the servant is a trustee. And he's responsible also for the property or position of the person whom he's serving. So in that sense, each and every person in some form or

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the other does carry some burden of that trust. And other hobbies, are saying, of the Prophet peace be upon him. He says legend alamanda amanat Allahu

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Allah, Gina Mendota

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that there is no faith for a person who is dishonest. And there is no religion really for a person who fails to fulfill his promise deliberately, that's to say. So this requirement is not only universal, in terms of requirement of every person, regardless of his particular responsibility. But it goes in all levels of responsibility individually social collective, all sorts of crap, we can start to analyze some of the some of the applications of trust on some of these different levels that you you've touched on in your in your answer, perhaps we could begin with the individual level, could you perhaps just

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elaborate more on on the individual level? Sure. Well, the most important form of trust on the individual level, is to live a meaningful life. That's a trust again, a commitment that we made to Gods

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to live a meaningful life in a way which achieves God's purpose from creating human beings here on Earth.

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More specifically, to constantly struggle against the forces of even an oppression and injustice, whether these evil forces are within ourselves or outside of us on the various social or universal levels.

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In other words, this whole notion of status, struggle or Jihad as a stand call it

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is the materialization or manifestation of the obedience to God. In its most broad sense, we said of course, obedience or worship of God does mean rituals but means also following his way of life.

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For each person,

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according to Islam, there seem to be some kind

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of contract sort of contract with Gods. That contract is inherent in our own creation. It is inherent in our human nature as human beings having some knowledge of God, it is manifested in the spirituality which is a universal characters that God has endowed to human beings. And as we said before Islam sees the human being as a trustee of God.

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On Earth, it does not regard the human being as basically a sinful being with sin. Being the centers are the core of his life. It's not doesn't say that he said, The there's responsibility, there's trust rather than the concept of sin, sin is there, but trust and responsibility is the construct that precedes and supersedes this other things, in order for a human being, to be responsible to carry that trust on Earth, to be truly the trustee of God.

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That responsibility requires a great deal of determination

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because it is not an easy trust. The Quran in chapter 33 particular verse 72, describes this trust or responsibility to establish the way of life ordained by God on earth, as a responsibility which is even more difficult for the earth, the mountains, the seas to carry, but the human being is carrying that heavy and challenging responsibility.

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This responsibility was also explained in the Quran are expressed in a different way. For example, in chapter 36, particularly verses 60 and 61. I had in a coma Ben Benny letaba shaitan in our motto movie, that God is addressing mankind say, Did I not take an oath or commitment from you mankind that is through creating us with

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Spirituality, that you should not worship Satan.

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Because he's your avowed enemy and worship me alone. This is the straight path. So again, worshipping Satan doesn't mean bound to Satan means obedience to Satan, obedience to sit satanic systems of life or ideas which are contrary to the moral teachings, or the way of life as ordained by God.

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The Quran makes it clear that in that kind of divine contract, if you call it question,

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it is a prerequisite that we should fulfill our part before we say, God, what is the promise that you made to us, addressing the children of Israel in the Quran, we find in chapter two verse 40, addressing them says, what oh phobia Howdy, Wolfie Bandicam fulfill the covenant or the oath I have taken on you, then I will fulfill my part. So the promise of God is also conditioned with our own fulfillment of our own part and responsibility. So in brief, then can say that the most important application of the concept of trust or fulfillment of trust on the individual level, is to select the way of life as ordained by God, not to be subjected to social values or other pressures, which

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are contrary to the way of life are then

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applied and straightforward and oppressive, move on to the next level of trust, and that is the social level.

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How is trust as a moral virtue related to one's social relations? Well, it relates in a variety of ways Maybe I can start off by referring since we're moving from most nanosecond to wider implications, the most intimate type of relationship especially in the family circle, we find again, that the text of the Quran and the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him emphasize also the nature of this trust or a manner.

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For example, at the time of marriage, whenever any commitment is made, let's say by the husband, to be to his wife to be, that becomes an important commitment that must be fulfilled. Indeed, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Both in Bukhari and Muslim

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was quoted as saying that the most important conditions or promises, that is worth the fulfillment, are those conditions which are related to marital relationship, the contracts, which gave you legitimacy to have intimate relationship with your spouse. So this is one important commitment that one has to keep.

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In another Hadith, he referred also to another very private and very intimate type of thing that goes on between husband and wife. And he indicated that the intimate secrets of this privacy of relationship should never be unnecessarily divulged to people outside he condemned very strongly people talking about this private things. And this is a question that relate to decency, and preservation of privacy within the family circle.

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Moving on to another social level, among friends, for example, if some friend tells you something confidentially, and take a promise for me that I'm not going to say that to someone else, then as a Muslim, one should keep that commitment should keep that promise. Even if you happen to have some difference of opinion with that person or get angry with him or whatever happens. You should always respect that particular commitment. In fact, in Abu Dhabi, one of the collections of the sake of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. He says that if a person tell you something in confidence and turns his face, then this is a man, it's a trust. You don't have to start just blabbering to

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everybody else what he told you in confidence. Similarly, if you're talking about a secret or confidential meeting, sometimes in various jobs or organization, there may be certain meetings where it is required that everybody keeps the information confidential, shouldn't be divulged to other people. That again, is regarded in Islam as something that must be observed and must be respected. The the payment of one's deaths is regarded also as another form of fulfilling trust because when one borrows some amount of money with certain promise, it's a kind of a covenant also a commitment to the person unless he is prevented by forces that are beyond his or her control should try to do

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that. The Prophet peace be upon him warns us and the collection in Muslim. He says that even a martyrs, a person who offers his life for the sake of God, defense of the face or country, whatever

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that person would be forgiven.

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All his sins except for debt. So this is another form of trust. Of course, obviously you can you cannot exclude from that social commitment, also

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the deposits if somebody gives you some deposit interest, and then come back and ask you for it. Well, you can say all in life, I NC in anything and always just like to escape that responsibility. In fact, the Quran is very strict and very clear about this. In chapter four, for example, verse 57, God says, In the La Jolla morrocan. And to add the amenity either way, there has been a NASA and

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it says God commands you doesn't say petition or anything just commands you got commands you that you should give trust, to people who deserve it to people to whom that trust is you. And that when you judge among people, you should judge injustice and equity. So this is this is only one glimpse of versus various verses and sayings of the Prophet that deal with some of the social implications of trust? And how about the question of trust as it relates to job responsibilities and other types of contractual relationships and arrangements with respect to jobs? A basic principle in Islam is that the person who is entrusted to do a system job must do his utmost to do it perfectly, or as

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perfectly as equally humanly do. Indeed, and one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he says that, in a law, you should be the hamidah document, and you can add that God loves. If one of you is taking charge of any particular work or doing some job or work, whichever work you're doing, that you should do it

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really in a complete and thorough manner. The other issue that you raised with respect to contractual arrangement, I should say at the beginning, that contractual arrangements doesn't have necessarily to be in written form, your word is just as good as your signature. So it's not a matter of what I proved that I said that I've said it, you should stand by, even though and this just a footnote, Islam actually was the oldest legal system to require and it's scriptures,

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writing of debts that we find sanctions in Iran 14 entities ago, to avoid disputes, but still say if there's a possibility that you could not have means of writing certain circumstances, your word also could be accepted on this question of contractual arrangements or agreements. The first verse in chapter five of the Quran is very obvious. It says, Yeah, you have levina manual alphabet or code, or you believe, fulfill your contracts or promises. It's just the command very clear.

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You know, you can just go around it.

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The the same principle has been also emphasized elsewhere in the Quran. For example, it was given as description of believers that true believers are those who fulfill their trust in chapter 23, verse eight, when Latina, homely Amanda Tim Brown those who fulfill their promise and their commitments.

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The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him emphasized also the same thing and he says Muslims should be bound by their own condition, whatever conditions, the IE contractual conditions, they have agreed to, except he said, a condition which made something unlawful, lawful, or not something lawful unlawful, that was narrated, both in Bukhari, and Muslim. So all of these measures and precautions provided for in Islamic teaching, are very essential to establish a sense of trust in dealings on the civil, commercial and other levels, which I think is a prerequisite for having any reasonable social peace. Now, in many of our

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previous programs, we've discussed the applications of many of the

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Islamic teachings on various aspects of life.

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Given that, you know Islam as a complete way of life and so on.

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I wonder whether today's topic of trust could be related to the government, or it certainly does. as you rightly said, Islam does not make a separation between so called religion and state. Religion, as a term in Islam means way of life which includes all aspects of individual social and what people call political. You know, this whole concept which is common, and the western mind is totally alien to the Muslim mind at all.

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Well in the very same verse that I quoted before, that God ordains us to give trust to its people, or to its decisions, which is in chapter 23, verse eight, that also does not only apply to somebody's deposit, say, can you keep that money for me, and then I won't ask for it. It goes beyond that. It also means any trust, or anything that's should be given to people who deserve it, which means when you appoint or elects or select somebody for a particular job or position or responsibility, you should get someone who's most deserving of a must person who is able to fulfill that particular duty, including political office also.

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In return for this,

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we find that the Prophet peace be upon him, warns people, particularly those in Polish

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government positions, that they must be very careful not to betray the trust placed and then, indeed, in one, saying, which was narrated in Muslim, it says in the Day of Judgment, people who betrayed the trust, they would have some kind of flags behind them,

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just to identify them, or to really put them in the humility, to humiliation should say.

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And he says the worst of all of those people who have betrayed their trust, are people who are rulers, and betrayed that people, because of course, the circle of damage that results from people who are in responsible positions in politics or government, the results of their errors and betrayal of their trust is not only limited to one or two effects affect millions of people. So their, their accountability is much, much harder than just some other person. Another aspect which is quite common, in some places, or amongst some people, are people who exploited the position of trust or power, to get benefits for their own padding their own pockets in a variety of ways.

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This was described by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that if any person is appointed in a given position of power, and he's already paid a salary for that, anything that he takes out of that, or in addition to that specific salary, or allowances, is called a balloon, or something that's really taken without any right. And a person would have to give accountability of that to God in the Day of Judgment. In fact, the Quran refers to this particular concept in chapter three, verse 161, that any person who embezzled any additional funds beyond his salary or announced he would come in the day of judgment with the burden of this particular extra that he has taken. And rightfully,

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some people would say, like, how about if a ruler exploited his position not for his own benefit, but perhaps just to benefit some of his relatives, nepotism or favoritism that has been specifically also condemned, there are more than one hobbies are saying of Prophet Muhammad, on the same subject, in collection of hobbies by hacking, in which he says that if the person is responsible for the affairs of people, and then he appoints someone who does not deserve to be appointed in a position out of nepotism or favoritism, then he has betrayed God, he has betrayed the Messenger of God, and He has betrayed the community of believers by doing this. So this is why in a different occasion, or

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different occasions, a prophet Muhammad peace be upon him regarded

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the betrayal of this responsibility as one of the most dangerous things considered even as one of the signs of the approaching of the Day of Judgment, once he was sitting with the companions. And he said,

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he was talking about the coming of the hour. And some people asked him, when is the hour going to come? And he said, when America is lost, that's when trust is lost.

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They asked him, What do you mean? How is trust lost? He said, when people are given responsibilities which they are not qualified,

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for qualified in terms of competence or honesty or whatever other qualification that should be in people who hold these positions.

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Now, are there any exceptions any exemptions from the criminal side, my time is getting twisted there from the fulfillment of promises? Well,

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the very text of the saying of the Prophet peace be upon

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which I mentioned in the context of another question a little early in the program might have given us a hint also, as to when those rare exceptions could be made. Remember that saying, in which he said that Muslims should be bound by their conditions unless that condition makes unlawful things lawful or lawful things unlawful, which means that the condition or promise is only valid so long as it does not contradict the teachings of Islam does not contradict its moral principles or what has been laid down in the holy book in the Quran, or the sake of the Prophet peace be upon him.

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Similarly, we mentioned for example, before that if you have a confidential meeting, you should not divulge the secrets outside you should respect that trust. But in one saying of the Prophet also

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in narrated in Abu Dawood, he made exception for three cases. He says that confidentiality of meetings or conferences should be respected except for three

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if that meeting, next plan for bloodshed, unduly unjustified bloodshed, or if it has any plan for some immoral acts like adultery, or fornication, or if that meeting has any plan in mind to take away the property of other people, and justifiably or commit some acts of aggression. So in this three cases, you're not required to keep it secret. In fact, you are required your it's your moral responsibility to warn people who might be subjected to this injustice, or clarity, that they should take precautions, you're not bound to keep that particular secret.

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The other case is the case when you make an oath or swear, for example, that you're going to do this or that. And then you discover later on, that this thing is really harmful, or that

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you don't have to do it. Suppose you swear that you're going to take drugs or punch somebody in the nose or something. And then you have some second second thought. You don't say all right, I must fulfill my promise regardless. And in this case, the prophet peace be upon him has mentioned as narrated and Muslim, that if you were to do something, and then you discovered that there's something better to do, or that this thing is bad that you plan to do, then you should not do it. But you should have some kind of act of atonement to make sure that you don't make hasty promises in the future. Well, this is the concept of atomic what kind of

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atomic is there for not fulfilling one's proper promises and why Okay, the this is called in the Quran, kasara Coronavirus, some kind of atonement. When the atonement for not fulfilling particular author promise is too fast. Three days, which is a beautiful atonement, it's not just punishing, but three try to give you some spiritual training and punishment in a different way, which is more welcome, more spiritual.

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But the reason is that in Islam it as a rule One should not swear too much. For example, in chapter 68, that is, prohibition of too much swearing. A Muslim should not swear on any book, even his own hollybrook if a person has to swear for some special reason, it could it must be only in the name of God. So that's the reason why there is this kind of atonement so that you don't really rush to swear every time there's any problem.

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Furthermore, we've exhausted our time for today's program. We want to invite everybody back next week when we're continuing our series on the moral teachings of Islam. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace