Mohammad Elshinawy – Masjid Vibes & Common Tensions

Mohammad Elshinawy
AI: Summary © The speakers stress the importance of community involvement and active roles to achieve healthy and productive experiences, avoiding embarrassment and misunderstandings in gym settings, and being enforced and flexible in communication to avoid conflict. They also emphasize the need for effective communication and transparency in shaping society, and the importance of avoiding misunderstandings and building community. The speakers emphasize the need for everyone to act with mercy, be enforced, and act with a mercyier language, and to be proactive and authentic in communication to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
AI: Transcript ©
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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah welcome everybody back to behind the member blueprints in sha Allah for a better message where we try to chart out what?

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Anything but a crash course I guess

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for our message, I don't mean a crash course like an intensive Crash Course meaning how not to crash our mustards. We're trying to level up in our message in terms of how to do better not just how to cover our bases in terms of the bare minimums not just how to settle for business as usual.

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And today Alhamdulillah we have our our latest victim at IECA

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we have our good brother Daniel fun our new Executive Director at the masjid this is your um a month and a half in so almost two months Okay, so still welcome still the honeymoon phase? Oh yeah sha Allah sha Allah. May Allah azza wa jal strengthen you and give you the stamina and the wisdom and the guidance and the sincerity that will make this impactful for you and for the community. And for your loved ones and for your fer for your hereafter Allah mommy. So how am I going to introduce you? So I never told you this, but you are officially now. Daniel, Christmas lights before Ramadan? Can

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you care to share the story? Or should I be talking about from my prep from my password? For my password right now? Good. Well, that's already the funniest part. How many times have you done this tell our viewers so I'm, I'm very big on creating an experience. I feel like marketing is everything and displaying is everything. And one of my old jobs. I decorated the masjid and I decided to go bigger the next year, and we had lights outside. And a community member comes back to me and says, convert the brother Daniela need to talk to you, you know, I was coming for Fudger and I was you know, I was in the zone. And then I look at the front entrance and I see all these Christmas lights

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and it reminded me of my Christianity days. And yeah, I got I got a lot of I got a lot of feedback like that. But I also got Oh, did you listen? No, because I got an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and a bunch of youngsters coming and you know, posting on Instagram and stuff like that. And I felt like that was that was definitely a win. So I'm doing it again. Here he goes again. Yeah, so for the for the backfill on this. Six, seven weeks into his his work here at icpa. One of the first things he's doing once again, msgid is making sure there's a buzz for the upcoming month of Ramadan, may Allah deliver us allow us to see it, and putting in these lights about the vibes. And

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that's actually our topic. That is the reason why I began with that sort of

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jab at you in a in a banter I know you would accept sort of way and hamdulillah our our brotherhood has has taken off in a lovely way. And I do appreciate you in many ways and many more on routes in sha Allah. But for those who are new

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to Daniel's Christmas lights, con, let me give you your due right Daniel hamdulillah is

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certified in counseling or he has gotten his degree in counseling. And then he went on to get his master's in nonprofit management, which is such a huge niche, I mean, are an hugely needed niche. Should I say? More importantly, we had our brother on us on the show and he was speaking about one of the major challenges is people conflating not being able to recognize the difference between sort of the DNA of what a corporate for profit business needs. And sometimes there's overlap, but there's also a gaping canyon between that sort of need and between what the nonprofit, let alone and nonprofits religious, sort of enterprise needs and handler you've been in both. Let me just include

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that as well. In the intro.

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You've been involved in relief working with all the national organizations under law, you served as the CEO at one of the most active messages in the country at IAR Islamization of Raleigh, North Carolina.

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And that 100 And now you're serving here with us. So in light of all of that nonprofit management training, but also both sides of nonprofit management, the relief and the religious. Let us focus on the religious for this episode inshallah. And in forthcoming episodes, maybe we can unpack other subjects. What do you think is in terms of the vibe, obviously, and why it may not be appreciated by others or invested in by others? Would you consider that one of the greater oversight like what is the greatest oversight to you in massage that you try to prioritize shining light on when you get there?

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One of the things that I have noticed about massage it's at least generalizing right is and there's a lot of things that we can tackle but the main one that stands out to me is

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The reactive way of working right? I feel like a lot of the work that we do or have been doing has been very reactive. There's an issue, there's a pain point, we try to address it. And we come up with a bandaid or solution. And from my experience, I've noticed that if you dig deeper, we realize that we're only addressing a symptom of the problem, right? So

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we need to switch and we're seeing this where people are taking a step back, taking a break, really trying to strategize and think about, Hey, how can we be proactive? How can we be ahead of right the curb? And that's what I'm trying to do here, too.

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So, being more intentional, more about the why, right? Yeah. So

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there's this theory that a man called Simon Sinek came up with called the Golden Circle. And the Golden Circle basically talks about how all the work that you should be doing should come from your why. And your wife from your why? Oh,

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yeah. So there's a and he, you know, usually when people talk about this stuff, they come from, like a social or psychological framework, right? He brings a biological argument that, you know, the way that our brain works is there's different and I'm gonna butcher this, but there's different parts of your brain that receive and process information differently, right. And one of the first ones is our emotions. So his argument is that if we're able to connect on an emotional level, if we're able to be united on why we're doing the work we're doing, then everything gets, everything gets built on on that. So like, why, how and what, right. And we see this with a lot of work, right? We all match

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that a lot of nonprofits that are doing well, they have a vision, and then they have a culture, and then they have an understanding of why they're doing what they're doing. Right. So whenever there's like a shiny thing that's coming up, or, you know, dangling in front of them, they don't get distracted. Right. I think one of the biggest issues we feel experienced in machines in particular, is we're trying to solve everything, all the problems, right. There was an amount that I used to work with, he used to say a lot that the method in the United States is doing the work of 15 different institutions that are happening overseas, right. So this is a real problem. And that

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governmental institutions, I heard Oh, yeah, governmental institutions. Yeah. So

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if we're able to take a break, really just take a step back, you know, not really focused on the fires and focus on Hey, why are we here? Why are we trying to do the work we're trying to do, and then build off of that, you can be more intentional, more proactive, and you won't react as much spotlights, one of our board members who have invested over the ACC, what I've been trying to get him on the show, and hopefully, he's able to spare the time soon. He has a lot to share a lot to offer. And one of the things he's always been echoing is the notion that you can't have someone working in the business and working on the business at the same time. Some people are gonna have to

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have their heads down, or else we're gonna trip. Some people are going to have to keep their heads up, or else like we're gonna fall off the cliff. Yeah. And, you know, I actually have

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a few reflections here. But I do want to prompt you to speak way more than me that one of the deepest things I even appreciated about Yochanan suit

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is sort of the brand quality from marketing perspective. But even the the infrastructure quality, like we had a research retreat, because the orc had a reorg recently, and sort of how do you fit all of those pieces into the new model? And so the researchers, most of them are remote. They're not like a lot of the tactical people on the inside, right? Yeah. And so we had to be flown down. And we had to really work through this on how we're going to, like hit a homerun with our actual intention, not just sort of like brute force, put out whatever you can put out over the next three years. And after sitting through two days, and amazing stuff happening, like at the back end, my single

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greatest reflection was what a blessing it was to just be able to stop as you put it, pause and say, Hold on. What are we doing? Yeah, why are we doing this again? Yeah, what's this going to lead to? If we continue doing this? In a good way even right, it's not just like, the sky is falling stuff, even in a good way. You know, and then

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there's so many ads in the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet SAW Salem that

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if you actually stop and say, what's this about? You'll realize a big part of the why, like, Why did Allah subhana wa Taala have to tell us that he told Ibrahim and dismayed Allah Hema Salam and Tahira at purify my house for those who will pray in it like why like it seems like a day to day operations type thing but there was intentionality there that this place needs to be sort of presentable needs to have. It shouldn't have odor. It shouldn't have impurity should you think about like the average upkeep of a masjid and the vibe right? Yeah, atmosphere it has even to think even further.

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The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam

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He told us that you will liberate and master the doxa one day, and whomever is able to send to it some oil for its lamps. Like, look, it's fun love the visionary thinking of the why, why? Because it's illuminated people will be there. They won't just be worshipping during the day, it'll be available to worship at night as well. And so the big why and ensuring the atmosphere is not some small issue, right? Like, oh, no big deal, whether there's like upkeep or not whether it's conflict or not, people are still going to be keep coming. Maybe they won't keep coming. Yeah, maybe they will just keep coming at the bare minimum and the masjid will not serve the function for which it

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was intended. So I guess that brings us to culture, right like Masjid culture, what is a mustard culture how to identify what Mishima culture even is. Right? Are you saying the why you will obviously create an atmosphere? Yeah, and intention and a game plan? Yeah, I'm imagining it will create even like a sort of a certain field. It does. So the thing about starting with why is it gives you a direction, right?

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And then it becomes very clear, when we talk about execution of that why? Who is going to buy in and who's not right. So for example, when we talk about visions of nonprofits, that's your why, right? And

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division is supposed to bring, like, you know, people together that I, this is a banner that I can get behind, right?

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And so like an example of, of culture is like values, right? And, you know, we see this in corporate, corporate America and, and in the nonprofit space, right, where there's all this big talk about company culture, company culture, I feel like in the in the machine space or in the Muslim space, right, because values are very important to us, not only in terms of our work, but in terms of just the way that we exist as a, as a as a community or as individuals, that it's identifiable. Right. And then we know, we know, what are the what are the consequences of it, not bad consequences, necessarily, but good, right? Because then this also shows who's going to be on the

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bus, but also shows who needs to get off the bus. Right? There is a there's a thought leader named Adam Grant, he talks a lot about how there are givers and takers, and pretty much any group dynamic, right? And one thing that he noticed is that it's not about how many givers you put in a group to see like the goodness come out of it. But it's also how many of the takers that you take out. Right? And how do you determine you know, who should get off the bus? The people who don't align with your values? So bringing, so you might be a great fit for a different organization? Yeah, aren't necessarily saying five? People. Yeah, but just identify, is this part of what we're doing or not?

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Yes, yes, that's gonna become secondary. After identifying what am I trying to do? Yes, because we are all human, right? At the end of the day, we all have our shortcomings, right? That should not determine necessarily, if you're a good fit for an organization or not, it ultimately comes down to are you have you been bought in to the direction we're trying to go? Right, are our values aligned? Because if you cannot fundamentally agree, then everything that you're going to build off of that is going to be it's going to be riddled with conflict and disagreements, and stuff like that. So coming back to Masjid culture. So that's like the collective personality, if you will of the Masjid. Yeah,

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yeah. So how do we is there like a litmus for this? Or how do we gauge do we have like an aligned culture? Or is everyone in their own sort of imaginary notion at the masjid is supposed to be? Yeah, so culture in the masjid is a little finicky, right? Because it's not just employees that we're talking about. Right? Which most massages don't even have employees. Right. So we're talking about

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the the working environment. And then we're also talking about the beneficiaries, their experience, right? The best way to, to identify what your culture looks like, is just simply asking, and then getting the trends from those questions, the answers from those questions. So for example, we did a video for ICP recently, right? Where we asked people in the community, what is it that you liked about this machine, and we asked them for specific stuff, what we were trying to get was not we were trying to get like our wins. What we ended up getting was something I think, more remarkable, which was how it made people feel. And you know, like the,

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the, the, the average response we got was that it feels like home, it feels like I'm part of a bigger family. It's like a second home to me. Right? When we're talking to parents and people who are seeing kids they feel like kids are welcome, right? So from that, I you know, even regardless of what the if I'm not able to identify what the culture is, I can at least tell that it's a healthy culture, right? And non healthy culture would be people not feeling welcome. people feeling like I it's an obligation I have to print and get out of there. People who are no longer involved in the leadership, they don't recommend them I should, right or they they leave the masjid and then they're

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like, yeah, they're do not go there. Right.

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That's how you can determine what's a healthy or an unhealthy culture, right? We don't have any. Like, there's no research done on this, at least in the masjid front, I would love to see it or, you know, actively contribute to it. But in terms of like, you know, if we if we simplify my shed to family, or a home, right, it's about if you ask people after they've been visited, or they spent some time, how did they feel? That's how you're able to determine if it's healthy or not.

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It's probably it's perception is reality. How do they perceive? Oh, yeah, because you can say, as much as we usually get into this echo chambers in the workplace, where it will say, like, you know, we're doing incredible work. But do your beneficiaries really feel that way? Right, that's, that's where you need to, you know, push yourself work with others and try to up it up and you know, gauge and really see because, you know, you'll realize that most times, there's two different realities, right? They're the people were heavily involved the mesh that will,

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you know, for the most part, they'll be like the brand ambassadors, all I love display displays is great. But then you talk to someone who may be casually comes in there from their perspective displaces not so great, right. So being able to get like, you know, on the work from the employee side, from the board side, from the other leadership, active volunteer side, and then from a general community member who just come in to pray and attend some of the services. If we're able to, you know, ask them and get responses and then look at trends, right, then we can see where our culture is, and ultimately, our culture should be aligning with our values, right? Yeah. If you're a

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welcoming masjid, I would discourage you from yelling at children, right? That's something that your machine probably should not be doing.

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You know, like you'll see like seminaries and academic centers that focus on higher education will probably not be as acceptive or receptive to children shouting in the masala, right, or children shouting in the hallways, right. But I'm not sure that has an Islamic school needs to be more merciful towards the children, because that's part of your values. If you're claiming that you want to be the youth smasher. Right.

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We need to make sure that the experience for youth and the people who are bringing the youth is youth centric, right.

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So many things are going off. I remember him MZ check, have you leveled law, I don't know. Protect him. Bless him. He has this famous statement that has actually I've seen that I was not the only person who latched on to it. Like I'm gonna keep hearing it through surface and other circles is just, you know, inspiration from Allah azza wa jal, he just put it together so well. He said, Come to Islam as you are come to come as you are to Islam as it is. It's wonderful, right? Like we're not asking you to be angelic. But let's, let's agree on ideal. Yeah, you know, it's supposed to be promoting your values, while offering a very clear welcoming atmosphere, an inroad that should be

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easily noticeable. I remember, she helped a lot d'Oro we were speaking in the context of how welcoming our massages were. And you know, some shithole mud, actually sort of men said to me, that they have a very nice atmosphere in Valley Ranch, Islamic center should worship gossip that just leads leads, and general Muslim as a resident scholar there as well. And he said, I said to him, it's crazy how, you know, you might see some non Muslims, like we're gonna even know one step further now attend Juma on some sites around the country. But you guys actually have non Muslims attend your night programs. Your Saturday lecture, I was there for like an evening program out of

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Jomar. And he said, Mohamed, that's the way it should be. I'm like, Yeah, but aren't masajid ready for that? Yeah. And then she had a lot of Euro added. He's in Dallas as well. He said, Well, it all starts even before the doors of the masjid Muhammad,

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the average non Muslim, if they want to come to your mercy, they're probably going to Google you. They're probably gonna land on your YouTube channel. Yeah. How would they feel how welcomed versus alienated or apprehensive would they feel from perusing your YouTube? Yeah. And I was like, that's actually a great point. And, and then on the inside.

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I was told secondhand, but it sounds like something he would have said that chef or basil law or regular Evans from Chicago.

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He was speaking at an MSA. And this is an MSA right, you're supposed to be a much wider net even than the massage but this is a wider society. And he was telling the crowd, do you know what my issue is with you? He said your bhi is way too high. And everyone's like, what's the bhi he made it up? I think, you know, the BMI body mass index and like how much body fat you have? Yeah, he said your beard hijab index is way too high.

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Meaning like, there's must be a reason you guys didn't put it on the flyer? Yeah. If you don't have a beard, don't come, jab. Don't come. Yeah.

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And so we're not saying that sort of these are not teachings of Islam. But we're saying how much room do we give people to feel welcome to grow in our space when they're not there yet? Yes. And you know, you mentioned the fact that that don't think I'm talking about boards or anything

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Louisiana and just there on the receiving end. Oh exception. Why is that? Like, can you like, because it's not a given for everyone? Why are people more important than their I say places? Right? Like, a lot of times we get real, you know, invested in the place and building up the place. Yeah. But then the people and the people's experience and the people serving, we may not pay as much attention to?

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It's a very good question. I could spend a lot of time talking about this one. I feel like when it comes to our institutions, succession planning is basically non existent. And I'm talking about like methods in particular, right.

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i We see a trend of like people feeling engaged, right? It's heavily heavily engaged when they're very young, because their parents are making them do it. Right. Right. Then they either get to high school college level, let's say they even survive there. That's, that means you're doing good at a much from a machine standard today, right? If you're able to retain high school, college, right, for sure. Because most people are not able to. So if you're doing that, great, but it's not enough, because now we have a problem, where we have folks between 20 to 30. Or I would even argue 20 to 40, who are basically non existent to get married. Priorities change. When did they get back in? They

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get back in when they have kids. And those kids need to go to an Islamic school, then they're in the board, and they're here, and they're there. They when they come back, they come back, come back then yeah, that's when they come back. Yeah. So we have a gap, right? And we're seeing this gap in donations, we're seeing this gap in volunteerism, we're seeing this gap and community engagement, right.

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I feel like I'm there, I know that there was actually a, a Christian pastor who said this, I'm forgetting the name, he used to talk a lot about how

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we're supposed to, it's important that we, it's important to recognize that we are in the business of people, right? And that is what drives our communities, right? Just take take a community, and it's a bunch of individuals that come together, right? If you build a building, and hope that the place is going to fill up, it might not happen. And we're seeing this with a lot of churches, right? I'm seeing it at massages, I'm seeing big, beautiful buildings that look like museums, right? They're very beautiful, and nothing is happening. And the only people who are involved are like the kids, or the families of the people who built the meshes. Right. And that's a problem. I, we need to

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focus on building the experience and investing in the experience and like even professional background of like youth and people have different kinds of backgrounds. So they can we can cultivate the love of them, right? Once we cultivate, cultivate the love, regardless of to take a step back, they move, they will always reflect or refer or come back to the machine where that love is there. So we don't necessarily have to worry too much about, you know, the succession planning there, right? Because we know that it will eventually we'll get the return of investment long term. I'm not seeing that. At least in the machine space today. Right? There are some machines that are

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doing it now. But I feel like we're we're really behind. And because of that we have this generational gap. I think, you know,

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realizing the power of the socialization, socialization, we talk about it like in the brainwashing sense. Yeah. social conditioning. Yeah. But there is a social element towards sort of staying somewhere. Yeah, I mean, more than anything else. Yeah. Yeah. Dr. Hudson had he once pointed out that when Allah azza wa jal said that Ibrahim Ali said, I'm called out the pagans on their social reasons, which are, of course unacceptable for choosing something wrong. He said the following about the health of Indonesia, health and Mediterranean communicated dunya you only accepted this sort of, like indefensible idea of like a statue being God, because of instead of God because of the social

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warmth, the social bonds between Yeah, and so he's saying he called them out on this. But on the flip side, we should I don't want to say weaponizes When we should hard harness this. Yeah. For the for the truth, not for falsehood, right. Yeah, there's a social component, like why do we have to tend to mine anyway? Of course, Joomla is not everything. It's like a bad marker for a healthy community. They have to be they even have the issue and hit the Masjid. But

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why didn't Allah say just reach out to GEF make sure and that's mandatory. Now being there in the Juma is, is, is necessary. So you're saying people are important feeling welcome is important. And people being sort of dedicated in the massages are the way to bring people back they remember your thriving massage, it looks like it's the good experiences because of the experience. Yes. And investing in people can be in many ways, right? So for example, we see examples of massages where they invest in youth to go abroad or you know, again to seminaries and they come back as Imams, right? A good friend of mine. So thinking long term succession plan, yes. Prepare the leadership

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don't just Yes, because that's what we do. We import right? I'm an important technically right like, but it would an ideal case scenario.

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But people would grow up in that community. And, you know, all the hard work that the leadership of the past put in would bear fruits in the form of them being actively engaged, replacing them in leadership, right? Like that would be the ideal case scenario, which we need to strive for. But other than active roles, just having a connection to the masjid, because that justifies expansion. We cannot justify expansion by it as a bunch of people moving to the community, we justify expansion by like, organically, incrementally, right? By, hey, we have this many people attending our active services, not our events. Events are not a good benchmark. That's a benchmark of determining how

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many people are in the community. Now, how many people love dementia, they're actively involved in the mesh? Should we see that with the reoccurring services? How long does the classes and stuff like that? Based off of that we determine Okay, should we expand, expand doesn't happen first, expand should always happen second. So people come and they're, they're brought in the experience is good. And otherwise, yeah, obviously, they come from a place of sincerity. A lot of times you should always fact check ourselves, at least not others about our intentions. Yeah. But presumed sincerity, but certainly no presumption here. Passion. Yeah, Pat, too many passionate people in one place.

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Yeah. Without the proper safeguards or alignment on the why and stuff creates conflict. So let me kind of boil it that way. Yeah. What do we do now when we have a lot of people invested? good problem to have, but how do you mitigate now conflict, which could basically lead out all of that vibe that you worked so hard to build? And the activity brought people because of the vibe, but now they can have a sort of adverse reaction, which is that you you implode the vibe that you can have nice smells and nice carpets and smiles? But if we all know there's tension, you can cut it with a knife, the air is thick.

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How do we mitigate conflict? I know there's many layers to this, but whatever layer you want to take it? Yeah, I think it'd be a huge service for like people listening in on what are the biggest reasons for conflict? Maybe? What are some very practical tips on avoiding remedying conflict? Yeah.

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Yeah, you can dissect it in many ways, right? I feel like as someone who's working as an executive director, from my point of view, I have to think about how well and how effectively as an institution, but also as like, just leaders and individuals, are we communicating our expectations? Who we are we aligned in the values, right, this stuff is all the all the stuff builds off of one another, right? So if we're not aligned in the values, right, for example, our y, then you give room to someone to come and hijack your Y. Right? We see a lot of cases where

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certain programs that were never like in the forefront of an organization becoming the forefront because two or three people came and just hijacked division, right? And you don't even mean maliciously No, no, yeah, there was room so we filled? Yeah, so I want a disclaimer, right? None of this is malicious. Right? I would like to believe that. There's an abundance of sincerity in our work, right? Because like, forget about Muslims for a second, just humans who get involved in certain industries tend to be givers, right? teachers, social workers, nurses, right. And community workers like

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welfare and social workers, right. So in this case, we're talking about machines, givers tend to be abundant, right? So if loss is never, I would like to believe that it's not questionable. If sin is where it becomes questionable in our work, right. And I have a personal model is that

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I have a personal team model that I promote, and every team that I'm working is to serve serve, not lead serve with your son in a class, right? You end there's a bunch of things that fall underneath them. So bringing it back to the conflict, if we're not communicating effectively. So conflict is inevitable. You're working with people, you're not working with the robots, there's gonna be conflict, right? Not the North object. Yeah, conflict is not the problem. The problem is how we react to that conflict, whether you're an individual with your family, or you're a volunteer engaged in the masjid, or you're a leader that is responsible for policy and process making, right? So to

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me, if my vision and mission is not, number one, my vision and mission and values are not clearly communicated. I allow people to come and bring their own flavor to it. Right. And so we're not even I just want to highlight we're not even talking about not having a why which most people don't, yeah, we're talking about you put in the work. Yeah, really, we're thoughtful about getting that why together, you sacrifice the time to make the why you never trickle affected. You never socialized it to the rest of your group, because then what's gonna happen you're gonna retire or leave for whatever reason, and a new group is going to come in and completely take over a whole different way.

00:29:36 --> 00:30:00

Again, not maliciously, right. But it's a game. That's what deflates volunteers parla. I'm talking about what I hear from other organizations even I'm not sort of I know the the liability of this podcast is everything is assumed to be an internal experience. Yeah, it's not we just have our ears to the ground here. Yeah. But like from colleagues and otherwise, I swear, this one is an ICP. Yeah, it isn't. But like every time there's like an

00:30:00 --> 00:30:28

by election cycle, you know, there's like a turnover in leadership. Yeah, the owners of the Y. Yeah. assumed. And then the dedicated workers like, Come on, man, I just put four years of build. Yeah, all of a sudden saying we're not doing that we're doing this. Yeah. That you can like, even if you've bought into someone else's why Yeah, I'm not sort of like a here. Yeah, no turn right? Being gold except that Yeah, and this is why we have to reframe our way of thinking and leadership in the Muslim space from

00:30:29 --> 00:31:04

people, champions to facilitators, right? Our job is to be stewards of the good work, not to own it and lead it like technically, like, it's not our place to decide the direction, right of a community center. We're calling it a community center. It's the community that benefits from that community, collectively, right through their pain points and their experiences that we determined this is, you know, based off of this, we're going to prioritize this. Because then when we allow that when we when we decide, okay, this is the direction we're headed within reason, right? Islamic Islamic framework, right? The the culture and everything else that's going on, we had to think about

00:31:04 --> 00:31:26

technology, politics, social, everything that's happening in your area. When you understand your limit, you welcome partnering organizations and machines to take over the other slices of the pie. Right. And collectively, we become I think, one of the speakers in the past talked about the Muslim village. Right. That's how we become that way. You Will you will you listened to our last podcast. Yeah. So.

00:31:27 --> 00:31:37

So that's so the first thing is to make sure we are transparent with our why. Number two, is, how do we disseminate that communication was right.

00:31:38 --> 00:32:02

On it from from an employee and volunteer perspective, I try when I'm working with people. Because I I've had many disagreements in terms of my approach and work and stuff like that I can come off as maybe a little too corporate or a little too ambitious, right? That's fine. Right? But it's where is that coming from? When someone challenges me, right? And I can maybe call that a conflict, I choose not to.

00:32:03 --> 00:32:40

I try to come I tried to look at okay, this is not me versus them. And I'm trying to prove them wrong. This is an opportunity for both of us to learn. So we are on the same page and we have a problem. We need to solve it together. Right? So one shifting your your to shifting your your framework on how you address the conflict. Me coming from someone from a leadership and in a leadership role at my shed. I need to be open to people questioning me criticizing me disagreeing with me maybe even inviting it. Yeah, yeah, it has to be invited, right? Because some people are maybe intimidated. Right. So giving, like, different forums, different opportunities, micro mezzo

00:32:40 --> 00:33:05

macro, meaning like, one on one, one on 10, one on 100. Right, these need to be accessible. So what does that look like that? Is that like a regularized check in? Is that sort of an all hands? Because just I know, you may think that everyone knows, oh, yeah. All of this stuff, but a lot of us are just learning on the job and hoping you know, we can make the best out of it, myself included. Yeah.

00:33:07 --> 00:33:30

So what does that look like? So very practically speaking, someone who just wants to make sure I don't lose my most dedicated volunteers. I don't rub them the wrong way. I don't bump heads unintentionally. Yeah. What's a healthy dynamic to make sure communication lines are opened and promoted? So this is a good question. I'm gonna actually quickly tell a story. And then I'll give some actionable steps. I remember.

00:33:31 --> 00:34:08

I was having a team meeting and one of my old jobs, and I was sharing with the team, we had like a monthly meeting, and we skipped a few because it was really busy. What's usually happens during Ramadan time. And shortly after Ramadan, like I feel like maybe two months in, I had a team meeting. And I said that well, you know, I have an open door policy, right? My ignorant self, like, you know, I was like, oh, you know, but I'm available. I'm open, right? And one of my employees said, brother, Daniel, if that's not enough, you should not only be having the door open, you need to meet us where we're at come out of your room. Right. And this is very theoretical, like, you know, what he's

00:34:08 --> 00:34:44

trying to say? What he was trying to tell me was, you need to meet us where we're at in the trenches, and how, yeah, and have a conversation, right? Because not everyone's gonna know, right? Because he trusts me to be able to give me this feedback, right. But he's speaking on behalf of folks who don't trust me, right? We don't have that transparent, that level of communication. Right. So the point he was making was very valid, right. And I had to really reflect a lot into that and, you know, refine my way of working, which is more visible. Yes. Probing initiating, you know, meeting people where they're at not just assuming that they can come to you because there's, you

00:34:44 --> 00:34:59

know, there's different dynamics at play, and we got to be respectful and just be realistic of it. Right. We can't pretend that oh, you know, we're all friends. We're all family. No, we're not right. At the end of the day, there are dynamics even within the family. So actionable steps. Once you have your vision mission and a

00:35:00 --> 00:35:39

and values aligned, right? It's important that you socialize them, right? They should not be changing every year, they should be the same. You create parameters and for employees and active volunteers on how you can how you can communicate. So different forums, all hands, individual check ins, there's a tool called 15. Five, which I think is great. It does like a company pulse thing. So something like that, right, getting a getting a pulse to understand where we're at, whether it's negative or positive. It's okay. Right. That's the reality, right? Do you have like an open time or anyone can schedule a meet with you? Yes. So one of the things that I did, I used to hear a lot in

00:35:39 --> 00:35:40

the past about

00:35:43 --> 00:35:50

brother Daniel was not available. And he and I would be in the machine all day. So I'm like, what you mean, I'm not available? I'm here all day, I spend more time here than I do at home. Right.

00:35:51 --> 00:36:26

So to solve that, I realized that the office hours was not working, right? Because I would have office hours and even physical, physical office hours. Right. So like, people would not show up, you're fiddling your thumbs. And so yeah, I'm just sitting in the office, I'm just waiting. So instead, I decided to, you know, use leverage technology, I created a Calendly account, had a QR code, have it on my signature, where it's actively adaptive, adaptive, like, it adapts to the end of it. Yeah, my email, right. And then also, like, have a QR available. So like, people know that they can book here, my whole team knows about it, right? It's meant for community members and team

00:36:26 --> 00:37:01

members. And anyone, basically, on top of the regular, proactive check ins that I'm doing, right, because this is an example of people meeting me where I'm at, I also need to be doing the check ins and stuff and meet them where they're at. Right? So one thing that so that what we you know, if you limit like, for example, two to four hours a week, you keep your Friday completely available. That's one of the things I do, I try not to schedule any meetings on Friday. And I stay at the masjid as much as I can during the day and night, the high volume times. One of the things I like about IR, for example, is the Imams would stand after every Joma they will stand outside and greet everybody,

00:37:01 --> 00:37:27

and I'll just stand with them. You know, most of the time people want to come to me, they'll go straight to the Imams. But there were times where people would have questions for the memes that were relevant to me. So then they would be like, Oh, are our CEOs right here? You know, like, why don't you go speak to him? And there's a logistical or executive question. Yeah. This is an example of meeting people where they're at, you know, instead of just waiting in your office or just going running out, right, right after salah standing there and being present being that's actually very, you know,

00:37:30 --> 00:38:11

easily overlooked. Like you think about it. It is not even figuratively, it is physically actually acrobatics. To get past all of those ranks to get to the guy in the middle of Africa. Yeah, like only if you're not in the first row. You're gonna miss out on the first row. You're gonna be like, I can't walk over everyone's shoulder. Oh, yeah. So the Imam sort of saying he may not be able to get to the masjid. Yeah, may not know, my email or otherwise, and to try to sort of put himself in a place where there's foot traffic to say I'm here for you. Do you need me? Yeah. As opposed to? Yeah, I hope they don't come. Yeah. I mean, nonverbal? Could give off that vibe. Yeah. America, it's the

00:38:11 --> 00:38:41

most important thing is that it exists. Even if people I hear this a lot from people's like, well, you know, no one shows up, no one does this. It's like, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if people don't show up. Like one of the things I got from the old guard lesson that I learned the hard way was, it doesn't matter if people don't show up to the team meetings, always have them, put it on the calendar, it doesn't matter. Because you don't want to be in a position when the conflict arises, right? Where the parameters are not set in place, you're setting yourself up for failure. Right? So bringing it back to conflict, right? If we

00:38:43 --> 00:39:14

conflict should stay within the parameters. What that means is like, we need to identify where's the conflict coming from, so I can give you a good example. Work has been getting done a certain way for many years. And then it completely changes in price. And that can cause friction, because it's like, I'm so used to it. And we're we're creatures of habit, right? This no one likes to change their habit. And if you're talking about folks who are older and they're used to it, it becomes harder, right? So I've seen it open the door for

00:39:16 --> 00:39:34

just I know this is a moral issue. This is not just sort of like perspectives that you when you jump to faulty assumptions too bad but I do see it like clockwork creating faulty assumptions. You guys are overcomplicating? It you guys act all Yeah, the third Yeah. You know, stop corporate tising everything. Yeah, we're supposed to be anti establishment that Yeah.

00:39:36 --> 00:39:59

Your political alignment. But yeah, I actually have seen them. Yeah. And the thing is, like simple change. Yeah. And the people creating the change may actually be in the right. Like there's no way to scale this organization without automating that sort of updating this. Yeah. But because it is new, even if you communicate it. Yeah, it still made me resistance. And let's say let's say the people who are who are leading are in the wrong right if the people who are leading are in the wrong they need to be

00:40:00 --> 00:40:38

flexible, right? In the parameters, right? So for example, if it's a policy that's been happening for a long time, and now we're just implementing it, right, that shouldn't change, right? It's about how can we make it easy for you to, you know, implement the policy. Right. But if it's a new policy, and you know, it's going to change the way the the org works or operates, is it and yeah, ease it and spend the time get people's input? Because when you're just telling people what and how, and you're not talking about the why you're refusing buy in, you're closing the door for feedback and communication. Right? Then I remember when we implemented this ministered, OKRs objectives and key

00:40:38 --> 00:41:12

results. And you know, it's a corporate term sounds like some, you know, like, I don't know, posh acronym or something that you try to be aristocrat or something, somebody to some people, right, and they were like, you know, why do we have to complicate things? And, you know, why do I have to sort of break it down in this way, and I'm not even great at this model yet. I'm still learning from you, and from even the previous board members who introduced it. But as soon as I'm just gonna say the collective we, the people that were most resistant, received the explanation of why this is in your best interests operate like this. And they were given a reasonable amount of time to sort of get on

00:41:12 --> 00:41:40

board with it. Yeah, everything one way. Yeah. 100. Yeah, it's true. You're absolutely right. Like, I don't see, I don't see why I know what I'm supposed to do. But I don't see why I never did this before. And it seems you don't know what you don't know. Right? Yeah. Seems like it's pointless. Just going through the motions to look like a big business. Yeah. Then you realize, oh, I'm not gonna be able to justify my budget to the donor, which means I'm not going to have a budget and the board is working to get me my budget. When unless I have it this way. This, okay, then I'll do it. We don't have direction. I'll do it. We don't have we don't know how to measure impact. How do we

00:41:40 --> 00:42:13

know we're doing a good job? Right? These things help. They're right. But I get it. I understand. They're new. They sound corporate. They sound tedious. But just they need explanation. Yeah. My point was that people deserve an explanation. Yeah, communication, right. So like, the communication within the framework is so important, right? I don't know what like the audience looks like. But if assuming if the audience is on the leadership side, it's important that you stay flexible. It's important that when you're introducing new things, that you do a good job sharing the why before the decision is made, don't make the decision and then share the why. Right, share the why behind the

00:42:13 --> 00:42:54

arguments. So then they can you allow your team members to give their feedback, and then you can refine your process. Can I ask you because as time is winding down, I don't know if this maybe deserves a whole episode on its own. But they can also get it from like a marital counseling episode. Not from this podcast. But the idea of like, locking horns, like, I'm sure you have experience where all of this parameters are in place. You communicate or you didn't The point is, yeah, we got to this point is, you know, standoff. Yeah, hostility? Yeah. I love for good yelling. Allah forbid, you know, worse than that. Yeah. Have you ever had to de escalate from this? And how

00:42:54 --> 00:42:56

would you do it? Yeah. So

00:42:59 --> 00:43:22

I, so from my perspective, right, from my point of view, because some people you know, like begrudgingly just like, say their piece and walk away. Yeah. Or they'll murmur in the shadows. Yeah. Other people will be like, No, this is Allah's work. Yeah. And I'm gonna put you in your place and make sure you don't sabotage it. And they sort of, yeah, they take on the David and Goliath romanticize. There's a there's a story that I'm going to refer here, I think it's called

00:43:23 --> 00:43:56

dragons don't exist. Have you heard of it? Have you heard of this story? From you? I think we're I don't know anything about it. So the story basically, is along the lines of there's a small dragon in the house with kids. It's a it's a it's a it's a it's a kid's book. And it says that the kid is basically telling mom that a there's a dragon in the house, and the mom does not believe it. And the dragon continues to grow and grow and grow. And it makes life hard to live in the house. And eventually, it gets so big that it ends up taking the house away. Right. But as soon as they identified that it was a dragon, it started getting slower, lower, smaller, smaller, smaller, until

00:43:56 --> 00:44:18

it became into a manageable size. Right? This happens in families, it happens in groups, it doesn't matter. It happened to people, when you don't address a problem. When you see it. It needs to be seen. It doesn't just disappear, it will grow and grow and grow. And it comes out to we unfortunately get to points where there's no discussion, and it just needs to be discussed de escalated. Right? And

00:44:19 --> 00:44:52

when I think of de escalation, I'm thinking, okay, there is no way for me to have a conversation with this person. This person is not seeing brother Daniel, this person is seeing something that brother Daniel represents. I wasn't you're the dragon. I'm the or there's a dragon between us, but we're not able to laying there wanted to demonize. So I'll give you a real example. Right? My first month into one of my jobs. The vaccines came out. And you know, they were allowing vaccines for the elderly in the first wave and for COVID.

00:44:53 --> 00:44:59

And then there was a there was a situation where volunteers were allowed to get vaccines by

00:45:00 --> 00:45:00


00:45:02 --> 00:45:41

we were not allowed to let the volunteers know. And so we were not incentivizing people to volunteer for that event. I'm new in the team. I don't understand the dynamics, I don't have trust, right? I can communicate all the fancy words I want, but I don't have trust. So someone in the team, let's get out, tells her buddies, active members of the VA, who had been volunteering in that community for a very long time come, are saying that they're volunteers, I find out from some of the doctors, I panic, I go to, I go to the individual, they were volunteers, they're volunteers in general, now log, the Event Notes for the events, so they're ineligible for the eligible for the vaccine. Got it.

00:45:41 --> 00:46:15

So they come. It's very clear that they're not volunteering. They're sitting in the gym, I come and I see it as I'm coming. Right? I see from their body language, that they're, this is gonna be a there's gonna be conflict here. Right? As soon as I came, one of the brothers gets up starts, like poking out my body, right? He's like, you know, who are you to tell me I've been in this community longer than you alive, all this kind of stuff. Right? The other brother is like, just telling me I've been wasting my time a busy guy, kind of get the vaccine or not. I looked at this person right now. Yes. Yeah. Because you're trained in marital counseling. Maybe you went to the car and got your

00:46:15 --> 00:46:16

bet? No.

00:46:17 --> 00:46:27

I have I looked at them. And I realized there's no discussion with this person right now, of course, to de escalate. The first thing I did was right. I put my hand on the brothers.

00:46:28 --> 00:47:02

Shoulder, you know, because we're brothers, I have that privilege. I was able to do that. Right. If it's maybe our brother sister altercation, that's not going to happen. Right? I put my hand on him. And I lowered my tone. I showed him that we're safe, right by my body language. I did not respond in the same aggressive or even more, which we tend to do because we get triggered, or we get offended, like, whoa, why are you accusing me? It's not about me. Now. The story is not about me. It's their story, right? And as a leader or somewhere perceiving of yes, it's all that matters. Yes. And I know that they're there. It's, it's something that they see, that is probably not true, but I need to get

00:47:02 --> 00:47:32

them to get there. But first, I need to get them down. Right. So look, Brother, I am really sorry, can you I feel like there's a misunderstanding. What? Tell me more? What are you like, what's going on? Right? He explains the whole thing, I find out what the problem is. I'm like, Look, if I were you, I wouldn't be upset to like you. You're a busy guy, you have your business to run. You've been here for a long time. So I understand. This is this is the rules, right? I didn't make them. I'm very sorry. That they're inconvenient. Right.

00:47:33 --> 00:48:09

But I want you to know why we're enforcing them. Right? And if if circumstances were different, or if this was our, you know, like whatever the case was, we will deal with it differently. Immediately, I saw a flush of embarrassment, right? Because I know this is not this person's character. I know that this is not who this person is. They just behaved in a way that they needed to behave to communicate what they felt, right? What are they feeling, probably feeling that, you know, people just make rules, probably someone who has been involved in the community for a long time, not feeling heard or involved in a more or important, right, these are real things that people

00:48:09 --> 00:48:46

can feel. And we tend to do that, with as we're seeing the increase in the younger generation and the method, we're seeing a neglect of the older folks, right? And that's not okay. They need to we need to, it's not that their time is up, their time is not up, they just switch from individual contributors to mentors to advisors, they still have their role, right. So and even if they didn't offer the homage and I had the liminal ROM in the verses about parents, but it applies to every elder really lower the wings of humility to them out of mercy, just have mercy. Just have mercy. Yeah, you know, like I said, we are not sort of utilitarians we're like, you're you're a cog in the

00:48:46 --> 00:49:23

end. Yeah. And the industrial world. And once you finish your utility, sort of like, we are Muslims, we are believers, when it's very important. We know like, deep down, you realize that usually it's never personal. There's something else that's going on, especially when the response does not equal, from you know, logically speaking, the issue, that there's something deeper and I were having a bad day. Yeah, and misunderstanding what you are, what you need to do, everyone, this is a lesson to everybody, not only leaders, but you just need to take the time to think about okay, where's this coming from? And then is it worth it? Right? Is it worth the conflict? Is it worth the struggle,

00:49:23 --> 00:49:37

right? If it's a policy thing and you're a leader and you have to hold yourself accountable to that standard? Fine, just make sure that you were enforced and re emphasize that this is not personal. This is what it is but not before you bring them down and bring them the spotlights

00:49:38 --> 00:50:00

there's a lot here but communicating to begin with just never allowing it to sit we're not talking anymore. Don't ever let it get there. Yeah, I mean, that's when you know, that's when the dragon stupid. That's when the dragon Subic Yes. Hold on. You just you see them as the the worst embodiment of what you think. Yeah, they are upon a lot. And you know, I was reflecting as you were speaking about

00:50:00 --> 00:50:19

with anger and the prophet that itself was set up. When he came to Medina, he was openly challenged, insulted, why? The man who became eventually the head of the hypocrites, he wasn't even Muslim yet, but the head of the hypocrites and like he said some very insulting words, and the prophet that is so close that um, you know, he continued, he walked away.

00:50:21 --> 00:50:56

And he deescalate situation because people rose to his defense to well known Hadith, but it's a lengthy one, he de escalated those that were about to retaliate in his name, and then he left but he was still hurt. And so he had continued on his journey to visiting Saddam norba. That'll do the Han and he said to Saudi, Norbert, as soon as he walked in, did you hear what Abu Habib said? And the scholars pointed out like the beauty of his character is all sudden that in his absence now, he didn't say like that jerk or something. Right. He said, Whatever will hold them, the father of like, even maintained his honorific of respect in private. Yeah, on the day he insulted him. Yeah. And

00:50:56 --> 00:51:34

then outside of Nord, relative to me, I was sort of like, just let him go. Yeah. He to your point. It's it was something bigger. He saying they were literally finalizing his crown to be the king of Medina, when you showed up. Yeah. Right. And so the problem was it actually did he like had mercy on how difficult it must have been to get your your quote, unquote, Glory snatched from you. And he tried so much to sort of win him over. But the other of Allah was that his heart was ultimately sealed. Yeah, the the ego is not conquerable for him, and Allah is perfectly just, of course, what the prophets sort of approach to this. Yeah, you need to always be proactive on your side, right?

00:51:34 --> 00:51:47

You may win some people over there are times where I have not win people over and it's okay. It's like, it's a and these are a moralities. Like, sometimes you can say like, this is actually wrong. You shouldn't poke someone you shouldn't insult someone. Yeah, but

00:51:48 --> 00:52:19

that's not the end. What we're trying to say Yeah. And it's it's it's out of character, right. It takes beauty in a person to see beauty and people as they say, right. And that's something we need to work on who see the beauty and people even conflict the escalate, don't let the ever sort of turn into the stonewalled communication. Those are all great points. I'm just rehearsing them myself. I wanted to quickly you mentioned the practical points, because I know that yes, so now yeah, we're closing out now sort of give us whatever you think is like what people shouldn't forget, checklists for myself, Am I doing it? Right, please? Or in terms of everything we talked about? Or no, no, this

00:52:19 --> 00:52:31

conflict? Okay, so one, you're you're you have every you have established let's say, you've established mission vision values, it's been socialized to everybody's right. No one is above criticism always have

00:52:33 --> 00:52:53

public and private funnels of communication, right, in terms of like feedback and stuff, positive or negative. Make sure your language is empathetic and understanding not judgmental, make sure that your more people oriented people are face facing in the front and the people who may be more reactive and you know, rigid and process oriented in the back. Right.

00:52:54 --> 00:52:58

And this becomes a conversation of who should be on the bus and who should not be on the bus right?

00:52:59 --> 00:53:39

Or what seat they're on on the buzzer. Exactly. Yeah, what's the right? Like, for me, I've mentioned this in the team multiple times, and I've gotten like weird responses is like, if you have any questions related to anyone's performance or whatever, come to me, but I don't know if you're, you're caught this. If you have any feedback regarding my, my performance, go to the board. I'm not above criticism, right. So there needs to be the those those vehicles right? For employees HR process, right, make sure it's confidential, make sure you protect their privacy. And you build trust. Yes, on a on a community level, town halls, different like more condensed and focused like

00:53:39 --> 00:53:58

groups, like we have the Guardians, right. But something related to you something related to sisters giving them those opportunities, places for the pressure cooker to let out some pressure because sometimes it's just venting, right? And then when you get that vent out then you can find the meat and potatoes you're able to see okay, these are the actual feedback that we can we can we can keep in mind

00:53:59 --> 00:54:03

I'm just seeing if I'm missing anything else.

00:54:04 --> 00:54:08

Community I hope you're forgetting some stuff. This way I can bring you back.

00:54:09 --> 00:54:41

Yeah, that's that's pretty much it. If there's policy and process make sure that you guys use that as your parameters right. Don't make things up as you go. If you're rewarding also bad behavior. Yes. If you don't Yes, because except being arbitrary. There's a difference. Yeah, there's a difference between calming someone out so comment someone someone down and letting them go. Yeah, that's there's a difference. You need to have your parameters in place. And if you don't have that, that should be happening. Right. And then you try and and don't hold someone accountable until you do it as well. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. What is horrible time to set parameters in the middle of a

00:54:41 --> 00:54:53

conflict. Oh, yeah. Then it is arbitrary. Yes. And it's reactive. You know, the idea of I, what is it the disciplinarian said, what if I restart my diet 10 minutes after every meal?

00:54:55 --> 00:54:59

It's not a diet right to the same thing. So I'm gonna just set these rules as they go. Oh,

00:55:00 --> 00:55:29

This happened it we overgeneralize it and then we make a rule based on for that there's no why. There's no why there's no like, okay, but where did that come from? We're addressing the symptom not the problem does not for your time, brother Daniel, no, we were we were crunching this last few minutes because also it is coming in. I mean, it looks out from you and Sharla and I look forward to working together and Sharla sharing with our community, whatever we can, the digital community at this point, that we're hearing some awesome feedback from everybody we've had people in Australia ask us for like phone calls as if we know what we're doing. We tried to share what we could with

00:55:29 --> 00:55:40

them and we're sorry to everyone else that we were not able to reciprocate and say in communications with and I know some brothers they weren't my heart to be honest. When they said that this podcast had become required.

00:55:42 --> 00:55:49

Required listening for their groups for their action teams and volunteers that blew me away and one of them said this podcast is the answer to our do.

00:55:51 --> 00:56:14

I know it's not me I'm the host I'm just trying to like poach all of you to help us and may Allah use you all make you instrumental and allow for me to share of that reward as well. Alone. I mean, it is likely to our team behind the scenes, Dr. Ramadan with my hidden brother Sam and for the use of zucchini, and all of you may Allah azza wa jal allow you to see the rewards for this in your life and your families and your afterlives alum I mean is like literally and everybody said I'm on a cocktail bar

with Danyal Khan – Behind the Minbar Podcast

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