Muhammad 24 – Methodology Of Studying Seerah 1 Introduction

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Jamal Badawi

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And we welcome you once again to wisdom focusing.

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js programming chalok will be

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on June 24, in our series Mohammed, last messenger of God. And our segment today is a brand new one will be concerning

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the new methodology of the study of the serum and we'll come to the definition of that. I'm your host, Rashad nimish. And you once again from St. Mary's University is dr. john Redwood.

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purpose you know, why don't we first start off with explain to our viewers what the term zero means. And take it one step further and maybe elaborate on the relevance to our series Okay, to begin with etymologically speaking in the Arabic language, the term sera means the way

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but as a common term, actually, it could also be used to refer to a biography about a particular person.

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But in Islamic Studies, both among Muslims and non Muslims alike, even orientalist, when used the term as Sierra v Sierra s e r h. v. Sierra, actually, it has been taken to affairs to the study of the life and burgerfi of Prophet Muhammad peace be

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about the issue of importance or relevance of the serum, we find that the doctors were voting in his book, Sera

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says that the study of the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is not a mere study of history, or a study of events, but rather the study of Islam as embodied in the life of Prophet Mohammed, not as a genius just or leaders, or judge. But as above all, the prophets and messengers of Allah.

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Dr. Roger highquality

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recent book also on here,

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it gives a number of reasons, elaborating on the relevance of the study of Sierra, at least for Muslims. To begin with, he says that it relates to the method of belief, the creed Muslim,

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because the Muslim testimony as you know, is composed of two basic parts,

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acceptance and admission that there is no deity but the one true God, Allah. The second is that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

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The acceptance of Mohammed as the Messenger of Allah means that he should be accepted as a leader.

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And that requires the study of his life, teachings guidance, because this is actually the way one can implement his servitude to God by seeing the example in the life of the Prophet

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as the exemplification of that, no wonder we find the Quran describes him in Surah 33 in ar 21, as postulates and has a good example, for us to follow.

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Second reason relate to the understanding of the most important source about Islam and that is the Quran that Muslim accept as the Word of God.

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Because the Quran itself mentioned some aspects of Sierra are the events in the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and direct the Prophet and the community of believers to determine their position visa v other believers, non believers, those who are fighting them, they have pockets and other categories of people. So it was essentially a sort of foundation of Syrah. Outline of Sierra can also be found in the Quran. On the other hand, the study of Syrah is needed in order to understand and interpret the Quran properly, understand, its teaching, its lows, and above all, the context in which certain portions of the Quran were revealed and above all, of course, the spirits

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of the Quranic teaching.

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The third reason is that the study of Syrah

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gives us a sort of modern and shed light on the most important revolution in the history of humanity. It shows how a deep rooted change had taken place in matters of beneath more than behavior,

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within ones on psychology or self, on the level of society.

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And on the level of the world at large, and how that revolution gave the humanity, righteous alternative to the bankrupt, an unjust system and established, as we all know, historically, a great human civilization that was quite unique in the annals of human history and civilization where material progress was not divorced from believing in God, and upholding the various ethical and

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moral values, as God had redeemed.

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And this is a matter I'd like to add, which is very much relevant to the situation of our world today, that the world is desperately looking for a righteous alternative that achieved material progress, but still is based on morality and based on the belief in

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a fourth reason doctors.

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Raja healthkart, he gives is that the study of the Sierra or biography of the Prophet is the yardstick against which one can measure

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the claims of Muslims to belong to Islam and the claims of Muslims to follow the steps of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and to really show whether they indeed and just fully follow his steps, or are they simply paying lip service to his teachings while claiming to relate to him,

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and would help us to understand the roots of the duplicity that we find in the so called Muslim world today. And many of the Muslim communities which underline the importance of avoiding that duplicity by getting to the criterion, the proper criterion for judging the behavior of people who claim themselves to be Muslims, on individual group for national level for that matters. In that sense, then, the study of Syrah

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is an inseparable part in understanding Islam.

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Not as a stain theory in a book, but as a living reality, as manifested in the person of its leader, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And as also quite clearly reflected in the lights. and actions of those who were very close companions to him were really raised under his supervision, who, because of that particular upbringing, were able to change the direction of human history. It was this vital living in dynamic understanding, which is the essence of the study of the biography of the Prophet peace be upon him, not the kind of celebration that you find in Muslim countries today, by making poems in praise of the Prophet, distributing sweets, or giving speeches, which does not

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succeed to really inspires the audience to try and change the painful reality of Muslims of today on various levels. In addition to this, Dr. unbolting and other writers in his caucus Sera, eds, also that the study of Sierra enriches our understanding of other areas of Islamic knowledge, such as the study of the area of Creed's worship, legislation or law, Sharia methods of education and upbringing,

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the study of Islamic history, who has access when it has to be the study of this era, or the biography of the Prophet peace be upon him. In addition to this, of course, the study of the

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biography of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, is characterized by certain unique characteristics, which actually exceed what might be available about the life of any other great person or even in others, great prophet or messenger, peace be upon them.

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Why and actually,

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tomorrow and why.

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And what are these characteristics as we just mentioned? Well, there's a nice summary to this in another book. I've also bought the Prophet's life by Dr. Satish today, and it's called the Sierra Nevada gurus, library, the prophetic biography, listens and exhortations.

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And he indicates that this characteristics, unique characteristics, involved in the study of the biography of the Prophet, makes it study,

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a joy, a joy on the spreadsheet on intellectual and historical novels.

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And he says, this is also in addition of being very essential and imperative. For those who study Islamic law. reformers, people who are engaged in inviting others to guidance or teaching them

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And he goes, five of those basic, unique characteristics as you might say. The first one he says that it is the most authentic biography of any great prophet or reformer or any great person for that matter.

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authentic and assumes that it reaches us through the most authentic and authenticated sources, with ample corroborating evidence.

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And that made it easy to sift out whatever additions or exaggerations some later writers have added, which did not have a firm historical basis because of that process of authentication.

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In terms of the competitive part, if we compare that with Allah, great profits take two great personalities like Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them. For example, about the life of Moses, we don't have that much money that you can drive, for example, from the Bible. In fact, we all know that many of the Western critics are not quite certain about the writing of the books even attributed to Moses and when they were written, and some believe even that many portions of it were written after Moses, sometimes even after a long time,

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after his death,

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the same thing can be said also about the life of Jesus peace be upon him. And literature is plentiful, indicating again that the the four gospels were not the only gospels available. And there is no known objective criteria as to why the others were rejected. And these were selected. Questions are raised about the time and places where they were written, and even authorship issue itself is not that finally settled.

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And the problem of course, if it arises with respect to these two great personalities, Moses and Jesus, the problem is even more manifests in trying to discern details on more authentic information about the lives of any other great people in the past, or religious teachers where they took away Buddha, Confucian or others, it becomes even more difficult, where great dependence actually is placed on traditions, some of which might be oral traditions, coming through the priestly class. And that is what he means by that first reason that the biography of the Prophet is the most authentic of all biographies of great people. And it comes with a great deal of corroboration. The second

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basic characteristic is, as one Western scholar William were put it, that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was born and lived in the full light of history. In other words, the information about his life is plentiful and clear about all the stages of his life. Even the preliminaries before his birth, even we find information about that, and then goes on to childhood years, years, his manhood his mission until his death, we have a great deal of details, sometimes even getting into the way he ate, drank, slept the way he just many of these minor details, we have clear and detailed information about that. Again, if we compare that with our great prophets, like Moses, or Jesus,

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peace be upon them, we find that the situation is different, because, for example, in the Bible, we don't get that much about the youth or the early years of Moses or Jesus. And the information is quite limited. In the case of Prophet Muhammad, there is very little vagueness, very little in excess of mystery, about his life, all the way from birth, to death. So that's an interesting from a historical standpoint.

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The third characteristic he gives is that the, the Sierra or biography of Prophet Muhammad is a biography of one person, a human being, above all, who was honored by God by choosing him to be the last prophet and messenger.

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And he continued to believe, and his followers continue to believe that he was nothing but a human being no more, never accepted Him. Or he spoke of himself as God or pseudo God, as we find in the various mythologies that forms of mythologies, preceding Islam, and that has an important impact on human behaviors on the individual and collective levels. Because he qualifies the prophet to be an example for people to follow. Had he been believed to be gods or pseudo God, or angels, he would have not been a typical modern role model for us because you'd be different. But the fact that he's a human being who achieved that human perfection, makes him in a unique position, and naked, the

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study of his life, very essential, very useful, as the perfect example of full humanity. The first reason is that it was a very comprehensive biography.

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As compared with the biography of any other great person, we find them that varieties of roles that he played throughout his life, from which various people in different pursuits of life, in different categories can refer to, and see a role model for that.

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As I am demand before even being a prophet, we can find the role model of a young man who is upright, honest, in spite of all the corruption around him, we find a role model of him as a dad as a person who invites people and try to guide them to the truth as revealed to him. We find him as an educator, as a friend, companion, as a father, husband, a grandfather, as a leader,

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as a commander in the battlefield, when the necessity is there,

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with his college perseverance, as a head of the states, trying to establish justice, equity among people and establish brotherhood, but above all, of course, the essence of all of that, as prophets and messengers sent by God, and any cursory review of the life of other prophets before him. We really can't find this comprehensive pictures, comprehensive role models in the same person. In a variety of capacities, many prophets, great prophets like Moses was known to be a liberator of his people, Jesus was known to be an aesthetic and northern features. But we don't really find the profit to combine so many roles that could be used as a reference point for others to follow. The

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final or fifth reason is that the study of Syrah or the biography of the Prophet is also characterized that it is in itself, the greatest evidence and proof of the truthfulness of his mission and his prophets.

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Those who believed in him did not believe in Him because they saw some metaphysical miracle that stand them, which was only for its time that other people would can claim. They have nothing to do with that. But the challenge, the spiritual, intellectual challenge, especially the miraculousness, of doctrine, that we have discussed amply in previous series, and his life actually as manifestation, as

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embodiment of the teaching of that core and all of that, without any single, or the slightest claim of being gods or pseudo God, but simply a chosen, blessed human being received that human perfection. So these are, in essence,

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some of the main reasons I would say why is unique area of study for any recession,

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productivity, most of the reasons you gave

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more or less to the importance of Syrah from Muslims, one might argue, then how relevant it is, at least in your opinion, this topic for those, especially amongst our viewers, who are not Muslims, okay, admittedly, of course, some of these reasons are characteristics given would be perhaps more relevant to a believer, the one who believes in them believe in the one God and the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad peace, but some of them actually provide ample food for thought for others minister about the authentication. Even for a historian, for example, the issue of detailed, comprehensive information available about the life of the Prophet even if you looked at it from the point of view

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of a detached scholar, instead would be very relevant characteristic. But even for the average person, and how you realize, of course, we're speaking in the context of North America, where the majority of viewers are not Muslims. I tested the study of the biography of the Prophet is very important, number one, because it gives the background of one of the major world religions followed or claimed to be followed by one fifth 20% that is, of the total Muslim world population, depending on which sets of statistics you accept, in some estimates, actually, it is the largest religion, or religion with the largest following in the whole world, actually, that's 1 billion and more perhaps,

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and the most of the fastest spreading religion in the world, both in the east and west, even though it is quote, unquote, younger in one sense than other great religions preceding Islam. So from that standpoint, again, to be very useful. It's a phenomena it is one fifth of the code word one has to understand the background behind that and the life of the prophet of course, shed the great deal of light on this. Secondly, it would help also Muslim and non Muslim alike to get to know and recognize that unique personality that God chose to bring about that great change in humanity. Even if a person doesn't believe definitely the impact of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him on humanity and

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history in the past, and for authentic

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Really, as changes obvious, cannot be ignored. Especially, this becomes important when we realize that many of the references about the life of the Prophet that are made available to the Western leaders are quite biased. He was maligned much more than any profit or any other great personality has been maligned because of some historical legacies. We've come to that. In that sense, then we can say that the importance of Syrah or the barber field Prophet Muhammad is important both for Muslims and non Muslims alike. the personality of the Prophet is not the sole monopoly or ownership of any group of people, Arabs or otherwise, or Muslims even not that he simply belonged to one

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generation of humanity, but to the whole humanity at large. And the thing that accentuate this particular point really is that his life is perhaps the, as we said, the most complete and the most authenticated of any others. But, unfortunately, we have to be careful of the plentiful pneus of the references written by non Muslim especially orientalist that really gives a very distorted picture about

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the history of that great person.

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How would you explain to us or elaborate for us? Why non Muslim writings about the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him,

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should be taken with a considerable amount of caution.

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Well, like many scholars point out that the a great number of studies about the life of Prophet Muhammad disciplining about and about Islam and gentlemen, actually had certain objectives in mind, there was a special reason for that. The objectives were basically missionary and or

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colognian type of objectives sometimes they went hand in hand. And as such, we find that it was taken with the attitude of hostility and hatred really directed towards the prophet and towards Islam.

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And as such, there was a great deal of interest on the part of those biased researches, ready to raise doubts about him doubts about his companions and his life. In fact,

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doctors

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whose name I mentioned earlier, gives three reasons why we could not really depends on writings by non Muslim writers and gentlemen, even though they might some writings might be reasonably fair, but the majority of them of orientalist writings cannot be dependable. The first he says that the efforts of those are infinite, generally speaking, and all the research they did in old manuscripts and books they have written,

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focused on things that would not be of practical use, really, especially to Muslims.

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they emphasize things like a scholasticism and philosophy.

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And we all know that.

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Not too many people really embraced Islam on the basis of just philosophy, or Callum's, scholasticism.

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And they try to focus on certain things. In their study of Muslim history, they focus much more disproportionately on the mistakes and conflict, let's say that has risen among Muslims, or the shed more light, specifically and blow it out of proportion on the period of weakness of Muslims.

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And, of course, this kind of attitude,

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divert the attention of any person who wants to understand Islam in its totality and integrity with all the weakness and strength of those who claim to follow that religion. One of those who have been very biased in his writing, of course, on the top of the list is Margolis. In his book, Mohammed which was published in 1905. He tried to blemish everything related to Sierra or the biography of the Prophet, to raise doubts about the chain of narration, ignore things that has been authenticated and play from a historical standpoint, all that in order to prove certain theories that he wanted to impose on the study of the life of the Prophet. The second reason given is that even some of those

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scholars, who may be judged on the surface as being reasonably fair will recognize the greatness of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon acknowledge certain clear fact, still even returning in their writing, still, a legacy of that mix up and to some degree, even distortion, of the true pictures and all that

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Have them seem to meet even those who are fair,

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except for very few on the denial of his profit, but simply a recognition of him as a great person to start with.

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The third reason is that many of those lifers, and maybe that's the heart of the message, are influenced by their own creed, by their own background, by their own concepts or conception of life, of the nature of the human and his or her role in the universe. And they try to project that particular religious philosophical background into the, the life of the Prophet and the teaching of Islam, and that leads to very, very

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basic methodological problems and errors. In fact, this is what they call

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an inaccurate pictures of Islam, reflected in an image distorting mirrors, you know, in some exhibits and all this when you have this,

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you know, mirrors that really distort the image. So your reality is there, but it's so much distorted, when reflected in that mirror, and mirrored whose makeup in fact is the Indian frame of mind, bias and, in many cases, really antagonistic attitudes of the writer towards Islam and the prophet of Islam. So I think, to conclude this important agreement,

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in essence with doctors encouraging

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that it is a big mistake to study the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him through this nun. Islamic sources, this biased orientalist kind of studies before one at least, try to understand his life and teaching in its own Islamic perspective first, and this is what this series is hoping to make humble contribution. That is a contribution to alleviate this problem and correct those kind of mistakes about perhaps the greatest personality in human history. Well, thank you very much, Doctor, by the way, we seem to have time we'll pick up on this topic next week inshallah. As always, your comments and questions would be most appreciated. Our phone number and address will be appearing on

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your screen. From all of us here in Islam and focus Assalamu alaikum. Hope to see you next week.